Saturday, October 31, 2009

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sparky Spunky


Brisco and I at Nationals

You wouldn't know it to look at him, but Brisco is quite the character. This little Sheltie had my heart from the very start, and to this day (9 years later) he still makes me laugh.

Brisco is an easy-going, "hey, how's it going?" kind of dog. But...put a leash on him and take him to an agility ring, and he's talking trash to every dog he passes.

Every now and then at home I'll get the soft toys out. Well, this just sets him off! He acts like he's 1 and flies around the kitchen, barking and bouncing. I love that fake-you-out kind of move that dogs have when they're playing. They run at you, fake left and run to the right.

This morning we had a fun play session--at 6:15! Brisco was a wild thing, which I encouraged just because I love to see him like this. Cosi was just sitting there, watching this Gong Show and Brisco was a maniac, running around the kitchen table with a stuffed squirrel toy in his mouth. I love this dog. He brings joy and celebration to my life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween

My town has a huge Trick or Treat night. We have tons of children going up and down the streets, so we need to be prepared. I thought I'd share some of our Halloween tips with you.

Avoid The Bell

Instead of having the children ringing the doorbell and setting off the dogs, we all go out on the front porch. The dogs are much happier being able to watch the commotion than hearing it from inside. So instead of putting your dogs away, get them out into the action. (On leash, of course.)

Good Ol' Down-Stay

Once we're on the porch, I have a blanket or dog bed (for Miss Jenny) and put the dogs in a down. They rest on their blanket as Jack and I hand out the candy. If a child wants to pet the dog, I closely supervise as some of the costumes can be "scary" for the dog. They may be thinking, "What kind of person is this? He's got a funny face and weird hands!"

The best compliment I ever got was from a father taking his children trick or treating. He looked at my dogs as we were handing out the candy and said, "Now that takes work. Nice dogs." Thanks. It *does* take work, but it's worth it to be able to have my dogs with me.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Mud Fest

Cosi is thinking, "Why aren't we running today?" Well, Big Guy, it's like this. The rain made for very muddy conditions on Saturday. The rings were not tended to, and by the end of Excellent Standard, there was two inches of muck in the middle of the course. I opted to stay home on Sunday (make me crazy!). Instead we spent a beautiful fall day with our Anna with walks, bike rides, and short sequences in the yard.

Our next trial is *indoors* in NJ on our favorite surface, dirt. I'm looking forward to some good runs then.

Until then, enjoy the Indian Summer, everyone.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Interesting Quote

I saw this quote on an email signature, and wanted to share it:

"Pedigree indicates what the animal should be.

Conformation indicates what the animal appears to be.

But performance indicates what the animal actually is."

No author was given, but I sure would like to know where this quote originated. Quite interesting, eh?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Sweater Update

With all the rain we had this weekend, I made great progress on the sweater. (See this post.)

The pattern is a short-sleeved, V-neck pullover. The yarn I chose--two strands of different colored yarn entwined around each other--is working up nicely, giving a nice, variegated look to the garment. I'm working on the body now which is just "grunt" work. Nothing glamorous, just knit your brains out. Then I go back and put on the sleeves. I hope to have a photo of a finished product by December. Keep your paws crossed.

UPDATE: I took this photo last evening. Here's the work in progress:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Take a Breath

For the first time in three days, we can get outside. The crazy weather this fall brought three days of cold, miserable, rain. I understand that some of the northern areas even got snow. We were cooped up for three days, bored and restless. Today we took a lovely walk. Mike got to check on the ducks, and Cosi got to play a good game of fetch. Ah, the everyday, normal things. It's good to have them back.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Hmmmm.....

Things that make you say, "Hmmm...maybe I should rethink this."

I was looking at my videos, and I found this one of Mike and me running a standard course (12" class) last year. Check out how GREAT he runs!

video



Hmmmm...think I should try running him in one class?

Punkie

Jamie and Punkie


We lost another good dog (to the Rainbow Bridge) this past week--it was my sister's dog, Punkie.

Jamie got Punkie in an unusual way. She had a golden retriever, Sophie, who was the perfect family dog for her growing boys.

Then she met a woman through her church who had a little Schnauzer that she adored. She mostly fed it cookies (I mean Lorna Dunes, not dog treats) so Punkie was really fat. This woman didn't have much, but she adored her dog and spoiled her. When she suffered a stroke and had to leave her home for a nursing home, she asked Jamie to take in Punkie. Because Sophie had died of old age, Jamie and her family decided to add Punkie to their family.

Punkie soon had daily walks, lots of people to "talk" to (she loved to grumble as you pet her), and lost about 10 pounds! Punkie lived such a good life with love and companionship. We will truly miss her sweet expression and grumblings.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Belly Break Through

Mike, Me, Cosi


I am so grateful to own multiple dogs. I have been using one dog to show another dog a behavior. It's worked beautifully.

Mike has never been a dog that you can pick up, cuddle, rub all over, ruffle his fur, etc. He just doesn't like it, and I can respect that. However, I do expect my dogs to let me touch them anywhere to check for injuries, bites, or tangles. Since touching Mike's belly is an issue for him, rather than forcing it or even click/treating it, I decided to use another dog to show him what I want.

Enter Cosi. In the morning I ask Cosi to lie on his side while I do a belly check which then ends in a rub, a tickle, and a kiss on the forehead. Mike has been watching this because I've so obviously staged it in front of him. It's worked. I can now come to Mike, ask him "Where's your belly?" and he will lie down, slide onto his side, and lift a hind leg exposing his belly.

You have to know Mike to know what a huge leap of faith this is for him. I hold his trust dear and know his limits and don't encroach on them. Checking Mike's belly in the morning is one of the best gifts I've ever gotten. Not to mention the lick (kiss) from him when the belly check is done. "Thanks, Mom!" he says.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Excellent

Finally!

This weekend in the dirt at Dillsburg Cos and I made it into Excellent jumpers. We had a fabulous run in Excellent Standard on Saturday morning. We only droppped a bar. His contacts were spot on (he even held the dog walk contact until I could catch up, do a front cross, and release him into the weaves), his weaves were blazing fast, and he had a quick table. In the ending sequence of teeter, tire, jump, when I released him from the teeter, he headed on through the tire and over the jump without looking to see where I was.

Then in Open jumpers we had a really good course. I actually planned on three front crosses, something I've been working on. When I rear cross too much, he head checks to see where I am. We started out gang busters, then lost our connection at one point. I called him off a jump, incurring a refusal (you can have one R in Open and still Q). We re-connected and ended with a blazing time of 24 on a 38 second course. We finished first and beat the 2nd place dog by 12 seconds. Out of Open! Wahoo!!

I checked his course time for his standard run that morning. It was 47 (course time was 64) and the winning dog Q'd with 53. He would have won the class, as he was faster than any other time listed. I check this to keep my optimism that once we gel and are more consistent, we're going to be contenders.

On Sunday he had a PERFECT standard run going. Then I must have rushed him in a two-jump sequence because he dropped two bars in a row. Stupid Handler. However, f-a-s-t weaves, tight wraps on two jumps, hit a wicked weave entrance, and gave me 110%.

Our first Excellent jumpers course was good, twisty and turney at the end, but do-able. Well....my guess is that Cosi's tank was out of gas. He lost his mind at the start line and it was u-g-l-y. The only saving grace was the last six jumps. We had a brilliant ending with all the bars staying up with 180's and 270's. I guess we still have a way to go in the maturity department.

My overall assessment of the weekend was fun. We had such a good connection for a number of runs, and it is always so good to feel that. I'm starting to rely on our experience together and trust him more. He's three years old and has one-and-a-half years' trialing experience. I'm thrilled with our teamwork. When we're connected, it's quite a rush. =:O)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

New Computer

Jack's computer (6 years old and we got it used!) finally bit the dust. I ordered a new computer, and it should arrive this week. It made me think of this picture. The caption is "The #1 Reason To Buy The Warranty!"

Monday, October 5, 2009

EnRICHment

I've had a funny four days.

On Day #1 I found an extra bonus in my paycheck. An unexpected award for a job well done.

On Day #2 I got a rebate check in the mail. An unexpected (forgotten) check for $7.

On Day #3 I found a quarter in the ladies rest room at work.

On Day #4 I was walking the dogs and found a 5-dollar bill on the ground!

Is the Universe trying to tell me something? Perhaps that I should be playing the lottery this week?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Aurora

Anna and Aurora joined us on a lovely walk. Anna brought her bicycle and showed me the latest Boston Terrier craze! I was impressed with how well BoBo stayed with the bicycle.

Anna and Aurora get ready to roll.

What an awesome team!