Friday, December 31, 2010

Just in Time!

We finally got our computers back up and running just in time to post to the blog and say, "Happy New Year!" to all our faithful readers. The pups and I wish you all the best in 2011.

As to our Christmas can see from these two photos how opening gifts just wears a body out. Miss Jenny was particularly affected.

Meanwhile Susie and Cosi found a stack of pillows removed from the couch and quickly made the perfect nap spot.

Now that we're back from Grandma's house, we're busy putting the rooms back together. The rennovation is 95% complete, and we will probably spend the New Year's holiday weekend lugging boxes of possessions back upstairs. All the work will be worth it; the rooms are looking awesome.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Grandma's House

We made the trip over the river and through the woods and got to Grandma's yesterday. The pups love Grandma's house as cookies abound.

My dogs are crate trained, so whenever they travel or are in a new, strange place, all they need is their crate and they're comfortable. My mom has an older dog, Susie, who was never crate trained. Susie's had some medical issues this year, and the meds she's on make her restless at night. Mom bought a crate and thought Susie could sleep in there at night and wouldn't disturb Mom and Dad who had been popping out of bed every hour on the hour to see if she was OK. Susie would have none of it. No crate for her! (She's a terrier, so willful is her middle name.)

Since the experiment failed, Mom asked if I would take the crate home. I said sure, we could always use a crate. When we arrived last night, my dogs immediately made a bee-line for the huge crate (two of my dogs could fit in it). Not to be left out of Comfort City, Susie has a Temper-Pedic bed, one that any human would die for, where she sleeps at night. Well, this morning we all got our Christmas surprise. Susie is in the crate, and Cosi was on the comfy bed. Go figure. Here's the photographic evidence:

Cosi on Susie's bed.

Susie in the crate.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Topsy Turvey

I haven't decorated for the holidays because our house is topsy turvey. We're rennovating the second floor office, bedroom and bath. That means all the furniture and possessions have to be removed from these rooms. Here's a picture of the dogs in the empty home office:

So, as you can see, we're down to bare walls and under construction! When we get it done, I'll be sure to take pictures of the pups in their new digs.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Treats

Last night was the last agility class before the holiday break. We often exchange simple gifts--I usually take in a bag of treats and a toy for everyone in class--and have a class that's just focused on fun, not necessary sequences or specific training. Coleen had a terrific, three-station setup. First we worked contacts with front crosses after them (just what we need to work on). Number 2 station was a line of straight jumps where we practiced running the line and then practiced front crosses (decelerate, turn, accelerate). Again, just what the doctor ordered.

Station 3 was the most fun. Imagine five tunnels and two tables. You ran one tunnel, then table; then two tunnels, then table; then three tunnels, then table; until you finally got to five tunnels to a table. It was the perfect way to practice get cranked (do a bunch of tunnel work) and then do a control behavior (sit or down on the table). That was the BEST exercise ever. As I watched the dogs on the table, every one of them was wagging the tail. They were having a blast.

My friend Judy left a special Christmas gift on my car seat. When I got home and opened it on the floor with the pups--it was for them, after all--and tried to dig in the bag with Jenny's head in the way, I was stunned. Look at the lovely box of biscuits she got at a local bakery:

We're living large now! They looked so good, I am tempted to taste a few myself! So every night at 8 o'clock the dogs each get a treat from the Aunt Judy box. We'll have a howling good holiday now.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last Trial of 2010

This weekend Cosi and I traveled to Maryland to attend our last trial of 2010. It's called the "Kitty Litter" trial because of the combination of sand and gravel that they use to build the rings. The footing is awesome...and it does look like kitty litter.

We were close on both days in standard. But, alas, no Q's for us. It was our usual M.O.: Close but no cigar. Jumpers was good on Saturday but awful on Sunday.

Our list of things to work on over the winter include directionals, better front cross timing, and more tricks and games to play ringside.

Merry Christmas to all my agility buddies. See you in 2011.

Friday, December 10, 2010


I was looking through some old photos and found this one. Ah, Summer! My favorite time of year. I saw this picture of Anna, Leah and my dogs from a warm summer afternoon. (Once again, note Jenny's top-notch position.) I love the photo and love the time of year so I though I'd share it on the blog.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Caption Contest

Below is a photo of 6-month-old Mike discovering something interesting about the table obstacle. What caption would you put on this pic? What is Mike thinking? Let's hear your ideas!(By the way, check out the amazing tail Mike has!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I saw something at the last trial that was just, flat out terrific. We're often quick to criticize judges--booger of a course, called a contact that we thought the dog had, or is too quick with that refusal fist. However, I saw a judge at the last trial that really made me pause. There were actually two instances. During a dog's jumpers run, the first obstacle was a tunnel. The dog went in. Due to just a wierd coincidence, the dog in the next ring got a MACH. The crowd went nuts and cheered, whisteled and hooted. The dog coming out of the tunnel froze, blasted by this loud crowd noise and was totally confused. The judge came over to the handler and instructed her to play with her dog. She did. When the crowd noise died down, the judge told her to start her run again.

The second instance (the same judge) came in the next day's standard class. The handler and dog team started the run with jump, jump, teeter. A judge's whistle sounded. However, it wasn't the standard course judge. It was from the ring next door. The handler stopped, the dog refused the teeter. The judge saw her confusion and explained the whistle wasn't meant for her. The judge then asked her to go back and start her run again.

How kind, how generous that judge was to give these two teams a "do over" when circumstances really warrented it. I was very impressed by this; it restored my faith in fair play.

Have you ever seen a judge ask a team to start over?

He Ain't Heavy...

he's my Trax! Cosi caught up with his brother, Trax, at the NJ trial this weekend. Here Da Boyz pose in the crating area:

Can you tell which is which? (Answer is below.*)

Cosi and I had a perfect storm of a weekend at NJ. We finally got that elusive third leg in Excellent A Jumpers, so now we're in Excellent B for both standard and jumpers. We qualified in standard both days, for a total of 3 for 4 runs. How sweet. My work these past two weeks have been on focus, getting Cosi to focus on us before the run, not the other dogs in the ring. His head was really in the game this weekend, and the connection with him when running was the best ever. How I love that feeling! He came in 6th in standard both days, only 3 seconds off the winning time.

Trax also had a super weekend, earning his AX title, so now he's in Excellent B for standard. Wahoo! Go RyLadd Shelties!

(*Trax is on the left; Cosi is on the right.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Meet the Gang

I had a request for more pictures of my dogs, so here goes:

Brisco is my champion. We attained our MACH in September 2005. He's now 11 years old and still the sweetest, dearest dog. His temperment has always been one of quiet ease. He loves where he is and is happy to just hang out. His favorite thing in the whole world is to lie in the grass in his yard, watching everything around him, occasionally snoozing in the sun.


Jenny is 10 and still rules the roost. She keeps her boys in line. Jenny's comfort comes above all else. Therefore, she always has the best seat on the couch, the best vantage point to bark at the squirrels (from the top of the love seat), and the best lap (Daddy's) after dinner.


Mike was my second agility sheltie, and he loved the game, but played it differently than Brisco. Where Brisco went all out, Mike was cautious, wanting to get everything right. Mike's sweet nature means that his cuddles are extra special as they are perfectly timed. He knows just when you need that extra attention; he is such a dear. His favorite thing is to see the ducks at the pond when we go on our walks at the local retirement village. I would love to take him herding as his father is a champion herder.


Cosi came into my life and changed everything. I was crusing along, thinking I was a good agility handler, knowing a lot about it. Wrong! Cosi challenged me to get fitter, faster, and think in a whole new way about my dog training. He's a joy to be around--a fun dog through and through. I would have quit agility if it weren't for Cosi. He's brought so much joy into my life, and I am forever grateful.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Crazy Weather

Today it is raining...sideways! Whenever my dogs have to brave the elements to potty, I always have treats ready for them when they come in. Cosi loved the wild wind and rain, barking at the sky as he ran to the fence line.

When it's bad weather, what do you do to exercise your dogs? I'm in need of some suggestions. I feel we haven't been exercising as much (walking) as we could because of our weather patterns. What are some alternatives?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Distraction Work

Cosi will often watch the dogs in the ring at a trial as we're waiting ringside. He gets higher and higher in his arousal state, and sometimes it results in a run where he can't even think. To work on that, we're training using distractions. Yesterday I took all four dogs to the training center. I put Mike, Jenny, and Brisco in an x-pen. I ran Cosi on a short sequence. Then I placed a crate pad mat on the floor, put Cosi on it and asked him to stay. I got out Mike and right next to the mat, I had Mike jump a low jump. It was too much for Cosi. He lept up and said, "I can jump that jump too!" I got his collar, placed him back on the mat. I jumped Mike. Cosi stayed put. I fed Cosi, dropping the treats on the mat. I jumped Mike, fed Cosi. Cosi started to understand. Then I moved Mike to a jump that was maybe 5 feet away from the mat. Jump Mike, toss a cookie to Cosi. I put Mike back in the x-pen, and ran Cosi in a short sequence. Back to the mat, get out Brisco. I ran Brisco in a tunnel, and I fed Cosi who was still on his mat. I got out Jenny and asked her to run in the tunnel...fed Cosi on the mat.

It turned out to be a good training exercise and got all four dogs playing. Our next step is to have Cosi on the mat during class while the other dogs are running. The goal is mat=calm. Rest here until it's your turn to play. Here's a picture of Mike working his teeter 2o2o position. What a good boy!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thank you, God, for this beautiful day
This wonderful dog
And the chance to play.

That is my agility prayer, but it is also appropriate on Thanksgiving.

Thanks for Brisco and his sweet ways, how he guards us all, and how he wags his stumpy little tail when he sees me.

Thanks for Miss Jenny and her constant need to have attention, reminding me to slow down, pet her, and relax.

Thank you for sweet little Mike who wants so much to herd the ducks at the pond.

Thank you for my daring, brave Cosi who will attempt any game. He finds the joy in life and reminds me to do the same.

Thanks for my support team at home who facilitate me playing my favorite game: agility.

Thanks for a loving husband who cheers me on when we win and hugs me when we "lose."

Thanks for my agility buddies, breeders, and classmates who understand the intense love we feel for our dogs and how that translates into happiness.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The RV Life

This weekend Cosi and I went to NJ in style! Our friend invited us along with her two dogs to travel in her RV. What a difference. I'm hooked. Now to buy one I just have to win the lottery...

Here are some pictures from the weekend:

Cosi and I are sleeping in style with plenty of space above the cab.

Cosi and Deemer were playing with the toys. Who has them *all* now?

Cosi's favorite space was under the table. It was such a Sheltie thing to do!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A Family Affair

Last weekend at the New Jersey trial, I ran into Heather, owner of Trax. Trax is Cosi's full brother (from the same litter). Trax measured over 18 inches, so he's been running in the 20-inch class, much to Heather's dismay. She was going to get her second challenge measurement at the trial, and we all had our paws crossed that he'd limbo under the 18" mark. He did!

Now Cosi, his brother, and his daddy (Riot) will all be competing in the 16" class at AKC events. How exciting! Let's make it a RyLadd finish--1, 2, 3!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vanity Plates

Whenever I'm driving, I enjoy looking for vanity plates. I'm not a very creative person, so I like to see a clever play on words or someone's hobby interest out there for all to see.

On the way to work this morning I pulled up behind a Mini Cooper. I call these "clown cars" because they look like the little cars in a circus where the door opens and 10 clowns come pouring out. The license plate on this car was ACTUL SZ--actual size. How funny is that?!

My friend Shirley has poodles that do quite well in agilty. Hers is the best agility plate I've seen. It's PQQDLES. See the double Q? Love it!

What's my license plate? Why it's CLN RUN--clean run--of course.

Have you seen any good vanity plates lately?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

An Impaired Driver

The statistics show that someone talking on the phone while driving is as impaired as a drunk driver. Well, today I saw something that may create a whole new category of "impaired driver."

I was driving home from work, got off the freeway, and ended up behind an old, beat-up pickup truck. From the smell of its exhaust, I'm guessing it was burning oil as well as gas. We headed into a series of traffic lights, and I noticed he was bothering with something on the front seat. Then I saw a pair of ears sticking up from the front seat. I thought, "Oh. A dog." Wrong. It was a calf! Apparently the calf was having none of this stay-on-the-floorboard stuff and was struggling to get out of the vehicle. The driver was attempting to stick his fingers in the calf's mouth to soothe it, I guess, but nothing was working. As I turned right and he continued straight, I prayed he got to the farm without going off the road or hitting something.

Are there any statistics about drivers and calves causing accidents?! LOL

More Dirt!

This weekend Cosi and I will be running in the dirt in New Jersey. Gotta love that dirt footing. Many of our trials involve traveling, and sometimes it's just easier to take just one dog instead of all four. The piece of the puzzle that makes these trials possible is the Pet Sitter. I have been fortunate to find the perfect pet sitter. She's reliable, follows the rules I enforce, and the dogs love her. When I come home, the dogs are relaxed ("Oh. Are you back? We were snoozing."), and the house looks great. Going to trials is not a solo venture. Many people "behind the scenes" make it possible. So today's big shout out is to Debbie. Thanks, Debbie, for your support.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Puppy Fever

Cosi as a puppy.

Last night in class I heard that a member of our agility club got a Sealy puppy. Anna's talking about getting a Whippet puppy. A co-worker got a Labradoodle puppy. Geez! Is it in the water, or what?! There seems to be a rash of people getting puppies.

Who can resist the sweet faces--no matter what the breed--and that smell of milk breath? We all know that the cutest puppies are Shelties with those rounded muzzles and almond-shaped eyes. I got all of my dogs except Cosi as puppies. Jenny was the oldest puppy at 4 months. Cosi was a year and a half when he came to us. Having gone through the potty training, the chewing, the socialization at the right time, I'd now take an older dog any day. Yes, there is something about the "blank slate" of a puppy; some older dogs come with "baggage." Cosi was, by far, the easiest dog I've ever raised. I know a lot of factors go into that (his breeder obviously did an excellent job with him), but he was already housebroken and knew some basic manners. It was just getting him into our routine and bonded with me that was our focus for the first six months.

Best of luck to all you new puppy owners. I'm available for puppy holding and cooing...but I don't think I'll be getting a puppy anytime soon. =:O)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Playing in the Dirt on Halloween

Cosi's standard run from Halloween weekend.

This Halloween weekend found us playing in the dirt at Dillsburg. There were some very challenging courses this weekend. On Saturday we missed a good standard run by just one dropped bar--same ol' curse haunting us! But the standard course on Sunday was very technical. The big dogs were biting the dust, usually within the first five obstacles. Yikes! I was so thrilled that Cosi and I actually finished this run--with just one dropped bar.

In the FAST class we had a near perfect experience on Sunday. A perfect score in FAST is 80 points; we ended up with 79. Too cool!

The crowning achievement this weekend was in jumpers on Sunday. It was a "gimmee" course--not technical, no fancy moves, just run, jump, tunnel, weave, and out. Thank goodness. We Q'd and got our second leg needed in Excellent A. Our time was 25.83--the exact same time of the first place Excellent B dog on the same course!

No more ghosts and gobblins for us. And I'm not haunted by what "could have been." We tricked the judges and got treats at the end of the day.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Transferring the Value

Every morning after they get their kibbles and supplements, my dogs enjoy a special treat--a garlic and brewer's yeast biscuit. They enjoy these biscuits so much, I decided to transfer the value they see in these treats to brushing their coats. It was my goal to have them want to be brushed. It was also selfish; I wanted to cut down on my weekly grooming time by doing a quick, daily maintenance. Here was my process.

After the bowls are licked clean (Jenny and Cosi make up the Bowl Patrol), I pick up a slicker brush. Cosi is first and gets a quick brush down his back, around to the front to his ruff, then the feathers on his legs and finally his tail. Mike is next, then Brisco. Finally, Jenny gets her ears brushed first (they seem to get tangles in them) and then the rest of her curls. When I'm finished brushing, everyone gets into his respective crate to wait for the treat distribution.

I started this routine this summer. This morning I saw the fruits of my labors. They actually queued up for getting brushed! Brisco barked when he was next, as if to say, "Hurry up!" Jenny is now positioning her head at a cocked angle, giving me access to the first ear without any prompting.

What does your dog value? Could you transfer that to something (like grooming) that you would like them to do? I'm here to tell you, it stinkin' works!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Follow up

Here's the article on CNN where I read about Steven Boyd and his dog that says grace (yesterday's entry). Click here to read the story. It's quite inspiring--both the man's and the dog's story.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Saying Grace

Here's a great way to start your day...

This man gave this video to his mother as her Christmas present last year. Not having a lot of money, they decided to exchange gifts that were written or hand-made. I especially love the last part of the prayer about the neightbor's cat!

Grooming Tip

My poodle, Jenny, has, like most poodles, runny eyes. I think she has allergies because sometimes the girl can s-n-o-r-e. The stains on her face from the eye discharge are tough to deal with, and I've tried many things. However, I think I've finally found the solution.
Jenny is on Angel Eyes, a supplement that she gets with her morning meal. This stops a lot of the discharge from her allergies. But her fur is still darkened and detracts from her beautiful poodle expression. I stumbled upon this solution: one night as I was getting ready for bed, I was washing my face with a new product. I was using an Olay cleansing cloth. On an impulse, after I was finished, I took the cloth (it only had a bit of soap left in it) and used it on Jenny's face. I knew it wouldn't sting because I use it to remove my eye makeup. After a week of using my "second hand" facial cloths, Jenny's tear stains are gone. She has to be more comfortable without that sticky stuff clumping up her fur. Not to mention she's gorgeous now without that running mascara look on her eyes. Who knew? Maybe Olay shouold feature her in their next commercial!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Congratulations on a Good Showing at USDAA Nationals

Congratulations to Coleen and Jett on finishing third at USDAA Nationals in Gamblers. The HOT Agility Club had a party for Coleen at our club meeting. We had pinched a photo of Jett from Coleen's house while she was away and had a photo cake made. We decorated the table with the original photo, their ribbon and medal from Nationals. Congratulations to a well-deserving team who puts fun at the center of every run.

The photo cake.

The ribbon, medal, and original picture.

Monday, October 18, 2010

No Jury Would Convict You

A co-worker came into the office today feeling frustrated. She told us this story:

In her laundry room she has a spray bottle with a water and Fabreeze mixture. When she gets her summer/winter clothes out of storage, she sprays them with this mixture so they smell fresh. She got out some sweaters yesterday, misted them and let them dry. She noticed an odd pattern on some of the sweaters. The mixture had never affected her clothes before. Hmmm...time to question the children. It seems that her teenage son had a problem with a wasp in his room. He took the spray bottle, emptied it and mixed Colorox bleach and water. The mixture took care of the wasp, so he returned the bottle to the laundry room. Tell Mom? No. Why bother her with these details.

We all agreed that no jury would convict her. This story reminded me of a sitcom scenario. Unfortunately, it was true. We told her we liked her sweater, that the pattern added to the appearance. She didn't believe our fib.

Saturday Night Live

This weekend's trial at Dillsburg was like an episode of SNL. Now, you have to know that I'm talking about the old SNL, the ones with John Belushi and Steve Martin that I would watch in college in the '70's.

On Saturday we had a stinky FAST run. Just plain ugly. We were like "two wild and crazy guys!" OK. Got the kinks out...on to Standard. Well, apparently the FAST class stinkies were just the beginning. We were awful in Standard and Jumpers, bars down all over da place.

On Sunday we Q'd in FAST and took first place. Then in Standard we had a clean run going until we hit the serepentine, which was in the last five obstacles. I was too close to the second stantion when I called him over, and he dropped the bar. Stupid! Stupid! (like Chris Farley). I checked his time: 40 seconds and change. Winning dog time: 43 seconds. Grrr. In Jumpers we had a blazing run going until the weaves and I cued my send to the next jump too early. He popped at good ol' #10, and we were done.

It's like my friend, Rosanne Rosanna Danna says, "It's always something!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Small Trials

I went to a one-ring trial on Monday and Tuesday this week. First of all, it was hard to say "Monday"; we all kept saying "Saturday." Or we'd say, "We did well this weekend." Then we'd laugh, realizing that it wasn't the weekend. The up side is that the work week is shortened for me. I only have to work three days, then it's back to agility on Saturday and Sunday. Ahhh. I could get use to a schedule like that.

Cosi and I were on fire on Tuesday. In FAST he got the send, but I stepped on the line. I felt like I should have been wearing big clown shoes! What a rookie mistake. He even had 78 points--a great run. There were no yellow copy sheets at this trial, so I didn't know the results until I checked the monitor at the secretary's table. They had Cosi as qualified. That wasn't right, and I told them so. They showed me his sheet; the scribe had circled Send Bonus instead of Fault. I told them I had stepped on the line, and the judge--who was right next to me--called "fault." They looked at me, confused. I said, "Do what you want, but it's not a correct score." When the judge checked the scores, she recalled the run. We didn't Q, so the record is correct.

The standard course on Tuesday was great; there were challenges, but the course really flowed. We were totally connected, and Cosi turned in a time of 36.9, with only one dropped bar (heart breaker!). The jumpers course was flat-out fun. The course was fast, and the 24" and 20" dogs were done in no time. Cosi and I were third dog in the 16" class and smoked the course with a time of 25.4. All the bars stayed up, but he turned wide on a rear cross and we got a refusal when he went past the plane of the next jump before I could call him back. Ratz. That run is like a sore tooth; I just won't let it alone in my mind. I wish we had a mulligan in agility. I'd love to run that course again. Maybe we can convice the AKC that you get one Do Over. Think they'll go for it? LOL

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Fall Projects

Now that the days are getting noticeably shorter, I turn to knitting. With evenings beginning at 7 instead of 9, I find that I walk the dogs earlier and sit and knit longer. I knit only a few things over the summer--some hats and baby blankets for a local women's shelter. These were quick projects that I could make and still have time for long dog walks and agility practice.

A co-worker gave me some lovely alpaca yarn (she has an alpaca farm!), so I began surfing the web looking for patterns. I decided on a hat and mitten set. The yarn is multi-colored in muted shades of brown, rust, and green. I thought a plain pattern (no cables or fancy stitches) would be good. Let the yarn color be the "star" of the project. I've never made mittens before. I like to try new patterns and learn new techniques.

I'm a teacher. I show adults how to use their computers. I think knitting is a lot like computer use. You don't learn everything there is to know about computers in one lesson or one work project. You pick up tidbits here and there, as you need them, in context of something you need to know to get the job done. Same with knitting. You don't learn every stitch, every technique just by knitting one pattern. Each project tests your knowledge and stretches you to learn something new. The most amazing part of knitting is that it's been around for eons, and most of the knowledge is passed down by word of mouth, by one person sitting with another, showing them how to slip stitches or make a cable. Knitters are networked like crazy! All you have to do is ask for help, and an avalanche of experience is available to you.

The other byproduct of knitting that I enjoy is the peace. When I knit, I sort my thoughts, tune out the world when I need to concentrate on the pattern, revel in the knowledge that I'm making something for someone, and just enjoy being. My dogs recognize the knitting basket. When I take it down from the top of the entertainment center cabinet, they all take up napping positions. They know Mom's going to sit for a while, and you might as well get 40 winks. So knitting is a relaxing time for them, too. How cool is that?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Agility Trials

At last weekend's agility trial, a large group of us from the same training center crated together, watched each other's runs, groaned about the challenges on courses, and congratulated each other on great runs (Q or no Q). As I was thinking about last week's trial, I realized what a plus this was for Cosi and me.

When I was working as a timer, my classmate came and said Cosi was distressed in his crate and should she take him outside to potty. How kind! I never would have known Cosi was having a tough time (tunred out he *did* have to potty--NOW!) if it weren't for this wonderful network of kindhearted folks.

So this blog post is a big shout out and THANK YOU to all the terrific people who train at Canine Companions: Judy, Beth, Sharon, Conny, Patti, Julie, Barb, and our fearless leader, Coleen. Thanks for good times and fun memories.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Our First Excellent B Q!

Cosi and I went the LKC trial this weekend, and what fun courses! The standard and jumpers runs on Saturday were close, but we had an off-course in standard and a dropped bar (just one on a gorgeous run!) in jumpers. The FAST course on Saturday was good, but I didn't snag enough points.

On to Sunday. The standard course was tough requiring a lead-out pivot and a 90 degree turn to the dog walk. Then there was a serpentine after the weaves to the table. By then I was thinking, "Wow. We're clean so far! Breathe!!" We finished the run with a time of 43 and change.

I looked at the jumpers course map. Oh, my...there were two serpentines, two pinwheels, a wrap, and rear crosses all over da place. I was unsure about handling the opening, and we did drop one bar. But the rest of the run was glorious. We were connected and running like a true team. What a rush! I went to check on the standard results, and to my surprise we took first. The cherry on the sundae!

Here's the Excellent B standard run from Sunday, first place in 16" class, for 48 MACH points:

Monday, September 27, 2010


See that red blur in the foreground? (If you can't make it out, click on the photo to blow it up on a separate web page by zooming in.) That's Cosi chasing a plastic bag when we went lure coursing. My agility instructor has a gorgeous place with lots of places for dogs to run free in fenced in areas. The large field in this picture is where I took Cosi on Sunday to test our recalls. We entered the field together (he wasn't pulling at the end of the leash), and I asked him to sit. I removed his leash, and he looked at me with expectation. I extended my left hand, palm out. He began nose touching as we had practiced so many times. After the third one I yelled, "Good! Go for a run!" and he took off with unabashed glee across the field. I counted to three. I called, "Cos, come!" To my delight, he turned immediately and came running back to me. What a great test of our Brillant Recalls course! What a great dog. =:O)

Sunday, September 26, 2010


The Shetland Sheepdog Club of Greater Baltimore held their specialty agility trial this weekend. This is my favorite trial of the year--shelties everywhere, the best handlers around, fun, fun, fun. This trial is special to me because it's where Brisco got his MACH. I was happy to hear that next year they are changing to a new venue, one with a dirt surface. I was thrilled--you know Cosi + Dirt = Good Runs.

Here's a photo of Brisco and me right after our championship run. What a glorious day that was. I hope to get a MACH on Cosi as well. Keep your paws crossed!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Susie in earlier times.

My mom's dog, Susie, has not been well. She's been suffering since July with Cushing's disease and an enlarged liver. The meds the vet has been offering are not working, and she goes through these periods of great distress.

Every day on the way home from work, I call my mom and chat about the day's events. Today she used the words "put down" when talking about Susie's condition. This makes me very sad on two levels: Poor Susie's suffering has to be bad for Mom and Dad to decide this. My mother has had a canine companion every since she was 5. Her Irish Setter, Major, was her first babysitter. He wouldn't let her step off the curb. He played hide and seek with mom and her neighborhood friends. She cried on her honeymoon because she missed her cocker spaniel, Shortsnort. My mom is the original dog lover person. I'm sad to think of her without a canine buddy.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Non-Agility Weekend

Fall is finally here in Pennsylvania. I love fall agility trials--cool (sometimes downright cold) in the morning and warm in the afternoon. This is a non-agility weekend for Cosi and me. I'm sure by next weekend's event, we'll be in full swing with much cooler weather.

We got a Mind Game from a friend, and, boy, do the dogs love it. I'm going to get pictures this weekend of Cosi playing with it. The dogs have to move pieces to get to the treats underneath. Cosi is a whiz at it, pushing objects out of the way and gobbling up the treats. Then he looks at me as if to say, "OK, what else do you have?"

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dog Name

Most agility dogs are given names that denote speed and precision, like "Rocket," or "Zip," or "Jet." However, there are some more whimsical names out there, and one of them caused my friend to have a good laugh. She was the gate steward at a trial last weekend. The gate--for those who don't know--calls the dogs to the ring and lets them know how soon they're up. She had success finding one dog in the area near the ring, but when she called the name of the second dog, she got no answer from the owner. So she called out, "Romance? I'm looking for Romance!" Then she stopped and realized what she had just yelled. Everyone was giggling, and the comments started zinging: "Hey! I thought you were happily married!" and "You've heard of on-line dating? Well, this is agility dating!" Romance, the dog, was next in line and got to have her run, and everyone that day waiting at the gate got to blow off nervous energy with a good laugh about her name.

Be careful what you name your dog!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

We did it! AX

Cosi and I got the last elusive Excellent A Standard leg this weekend and obtained our AX (Agility Excellent) title. We're now in Excellent B in standard, with any Q's accummulating points. Wahoo!

On Sunday we had to great runs, but no Q's (dropped bars). I was so excited, though, about how we were running. I even had strangers come up to me and tell me what great runs we're having.

No video from the weekend; I was "flying solo" and didn't take the camera along. Next time. =:O)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Thanks to Susan Garrett

Cosi and I just completed our on-line course for Brilliant Recalls with Susan Garrett. What a great learning experience! Not only did I learn practical things like games to play, but my understanding of dog training as a whole increased.

I saw a difference in Cosi this past weekend. He had more focus and didn't get "sky high" when looking at other dogs on course, which is a huge distraction for him. In fact, if you look at our video (see previous post), you'll actually see us get in the ring while the previous dog is finishing! That never happened before because he would be a loon. He walks with me onto the course, not dragging me at the end of the lease. He sits and watches the other dogs, but he didn't bark madly and lunge.

We had 9 runs this weekend, with Cosi staying "in the zone" for all but one run. Yea, Cosi! Growing and learning together. It's all about the journey, right?

Monday, September 6, 2010


We did it! On Sunday Cosi and I Q'd in FAST to win our Excelent FAST title (XF). Cosi is the first dog I've done FAST classes with. What fun! Here's the video of our run (Jack was there on Sunday.):

We ended up taking second place in this class. The first place dog beat us by only .3 seconds. We both had the same number of points, so it came down to time. How exciting! Lesson Learned: Grab that extra bar on course and get more points. =:O)

My friend Gail had videotaped us with her camera on Saturday (yea, Gail!). So here's one half of our double Q on Saturday in standard:

Saturday, September 4, 2010


When Walter Payton (the NFL running back)--my favorite athlete of all time--was on the Chicago Bears, his nickname was Sweetness. I'm thinking of dubbing Cosi with that name as today was one of the sweetest days with him. We double-Q'd in Excellent (cue the choirs of angels sound track)!

The standard course was good, challenging, but nothing short of glorious when we ran it. He hit a wicked weave entry. Then there was a discrimination at the very end which I cued, and he read it perfectly.

On paper the jumpers course was so twisty and had so many turns, I was sure there would be bars down when we ran it. I guess it was my "let's just let it rip" attitude that helped. We just went for it. The best part was that Cosi's daddy, Riot, had run the course just three dogs ahead of us, so Karen and Riot were ringside, watching our run. The fact that she saw us so connected and running well was such a boon--the cherry on my sundae.

I found out that he took first in Excellent A Standard; I didn't wait around for jumpers results today. I'll get his Q ribbon tomorrow.

Where's the video? Oh! Didn't I tell you? I didn't bring the camera today. Isn't that always the way? LOL

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Excellent FAST

We have two of the required three legs towards our Excellent A FAST (a gambler's game in AKC) title. I'm hoping this weekend we can get our third Q and move up to Excellent B FAST. I enjoy this game as it allows you to make up your own course. Jack also enjoys this run as it's something different for each dog.

I'll often use the FAST run as a warm up or a "training" run. In the video below, you'll see me make sure Cosi sticks the teeter landing. The day before, he ran off the teeter with barely a stop. We have 35 seconds to complete 15 obstacles and the bonus. I can take the time to "train" certain obstacles, not caring if we Q, place, or win. There's no substitute for the actual ring. I want to be sure he knows that the rules apply here, too, not just in the back yard or at agility class.

Here's the video of our Q in Pittsburg in FAST:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gearing Up!

Cosi is ready to weave it up!

This weekend begins the very busy fall agility season. I'm psyched! We'll be going to the Berks trial for three days this holiday weekend. With Hurricane Earl off the coast of NJ (where we were last week), I'm sure glad we'll be farther inland. Looks like we picked the perfect weekend for a vacation last weekend, eh? Sometimes the fates smile upon you.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Shore Trip

Jack and I just got back from a weekend at the Jersey shore. Home again. That's how I feel when I'm at the ocean. Some photo highlights of the trip:

Posing for a photo op in Cape May. If you look very closely, you'll see there is a Sheltie on my purse. I got it at a Brighton shop years and years ago. Love to travel with this purse.

My chair oceanside on Saturday. Heaven.

I bought these flip flops at a dog trial way back in April in anticipation of this trip. They say "Dirty Dogs Have More Fun" and on the back, when you walk, they leave the imprint of "Teddy was here" and two dog paws. I had to have them!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fair Week

Here in south-central Pennsylvania from August to October every small town hosts a fair. This week started the fair in our locale, and this fair is more than just kiddie rides and good food. It's huge! It occurs from Sunday to Saturday with many events, contests, and vendors all week. Our agility group puts on an agility demo every year. Last year my friend brought her family to come see the demo. Here's a picture of them with Cosi:

Here's the video of Cosi's run. We set up mirrored courses and have two dogs running at once so the crowd can cheer for a "winner." First dog on the table wins. It's so much fun to share our sport with the fair crowd. They certainly seem to be having a good time cheering on the dogs.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Birthday Girl

Jenny is the August birthday girl. Heck, she's the only girl in a house of male dogs. But I believe she likes it like that. She certainly takes control and keeps the boys in line.
If Jenny were writing her "bio" for a singles magazine, I think it would read like this:
Single, apricot girl looking for a Sheltie to boss around. I like long naps on the porch (I get the sun, you get the shade), and cold drinks of water with no slobber! If you are looking to spoil someone, I could be it!
Here's a photo of Jenny and her pack at one of her favorite places--my parents' house where Grandma gives lots of cookies and kisses.
Happy 10th Birthday, Miss Jenny.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Are you ready for some dog walks?

How come...

There's a channel for every sport known to men:





car/horse racing



Many of these channel I just don't plain understand. How come there's no dog agility channel? Wouldn't it be glorious to flip the dials and come upon European competition, World Team tryouts, or just Podunk's trial from last weekend?

Come on, you great savvy business people, get with it! Give us an Agility Channel. You know what the call letters are, don't you? Channel CLNRUN? Or how about just Channel K9S?

Until then, here's a video of Cosi's jumpers run from Cheswick in July. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Dog Days

The Dog Days of summer are upon us. It's been so hot and humid lately. Cosi and I were practicing tonight, and it the air was so oppressive. I put up a small jumping grid to practice turns. After four reps, we were both wiped.

I've added playing the games we're learning in our on-line course. Cosi is very successful at figuring out the "rules" of any game. He's loving the extra treats and tug-time he's getting.

Cosi's array of favorite toys

Sometimes I think it would just be easier to teach him the numbers 1-20 and let him read the course map.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Odd Question

Last evening I was walking my four dogs at the local retirement community. They have 1,400 acres with lovely paved paths winding all around. We have a different walk just about every night. I often get stopped or people slow down their cars to comment, and I find these are the most-asked questions:

Are they all yours?

Are you a dog walker?

They look so beautiful! Do you have to brush them every day?

How do you get them to walk together like that?

However, last night's question from a woman out on an evening stroll was a first. Do they fight?

What an odd thing to say. It made me wonder what her dog experience had been. It's all about perspective, isn't it?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Equipment Changes in AKC Trials

Beginning on September 1, the AKC will institute some equipment changes. I found this information in the judges' newsletter on the AKC site. Here's the rundown:

A-Frame - lowered to 5' 0" for 4's and 8's.

Dog Walk - no up contact.

Table - positionless table and electronic timers can now be used.

Weave Poles - only 3 attempts and then you must move on.

Tire Jump - lowered by one full jump height. So my 16" dog will jump through a tire 12" off the ground.

There you have it. Let's get ready for the fall trials!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

I'm a Hottie!

So I went to the doctor's office yesterday after work. As I sat in the waiting room, there was only one other person--a middle-aged man--in the room. I had come right from work. I was wearing a pair of yellow jeans, a shell top and a cotton sweater. I took out my phone and started checking my email. The man spoke up and said, "When I look at you, I get hot!"

Now remember that I've been working to get to a healthier weight; so far I've lost 25 pounds. I began to smile, though, when I realized that he was referring to the fact that I was wearing a sweater, not my new physique.

It's official! I make men hot!

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Date

Hey. Did anyone notice today's date is 8-9-10? If I were choosing a wedding date, this would be it! No excuses for forgetting it, eh? And as to the time of the ceremony? Well, that would have to be at 5:06:07 p.m. So the time and date would read 05:06:07 08 09 10. =:O)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Brisco's Injury

We were all playing in the yard on Saturday. I was throwing the holey roller for Cosi, the clutch ball for Jenny (who then went off to have a good chew), and the frisbee for Mike. I heard a yelp, and looked over at Brisco. I didn't see it all, but I think he was running and his hind end slipped. He slid and hit his head on a rock that lines the garden in the yard. I ran over and saw a gash right between his eyes. Here's a picture after the clean up and application of medicine:

It looks better today; he's not bothering with it so it must not itch or pain him. My beautiful boy...he's still beautiful with his "battle scar."

Friday, August 6, 2010

Agility Picnic

Cosi enjoys the pond at last year's picnic.

Aurora has a good run around the pond.

It's time to get all the dogs together, pack up the shade tent, people food, and dog treats and head to Coleen's for the annual agility picnic. All the people who train at Canine Companions get together for a wonderful outdoor adventure. The fields will be open for runs, the pond is ready for swimming (or Cosi's version of it), and the building will be open for training. F.U.N.

Wish you were here, Anna!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


August is my favorite month of the year. Not only is it the height of summer, but for me it's also the month of vacation, relaxation, and no responsibility. In December I don't "feel" that New Year feeling, that winding down, that start of something new coming up. I feel that in August. Being an educator, my "New Year" always starts for me in September. (I know, I'm old fashioned. School should start after Labor Day!) So August is the time when you enjoy the full swing of summer and all it's lovely outdoor activities, barbeques, and summer sights sounds like cicadias in the trees and lightening bugs at dusk.

August is also a great time for birthdays. Miss Jenny will be 10 soon. Here's a picture of Jenny with her favorite person--Daddy.

Enjoy your summer.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Good Place

After a relaxing day in the sun (and the pool!), I'm in a very good place today. I heard from a friend that she's delirously happy in a new relationship. Another friend said in an email that I influenced her decision to begin dieting and losing weight. And, to top it all off, I had a perfect score (a very unusual happing) on my recent annual evaluation at work.

The planets must be aligning because I'm feeling really good about what's going on around me right now. I believe you need to recognize these times and savor them. Here's to good times!

Friday, July 30, 2010

A Swimming Weekend

Since Cosi and I will not be going to trials in August, I thought I'd make a little me time. I'm going swimming on Saturday for the first time in a very long time. I recently lost 25 pounds and had to actually go shopping for a bathing suit as the ones I had were two sizes too big. The weather promises to be lovely for being poolside on Saturday. Here's to treating ourselves with sun, relaxation, and drinks with little umbrellas!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Got Treats?

Our on-line training seminar with Susan Garrett starts this weekend. In preparation for playing "31 games in 31 days," I'm assessing my treat arsenol. I have some Laske Krunchers and some TreatCo steak biscuits, but I thought I'd ask you what are the treats your dogs enjoy? Any good tips or recipes? Let me know...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Pittsburgh Weekend

Jack and Cosi and I traveled to Pittsburgh this past weekend for a 3-day trial in Cheswick. GREAT facility! The temperature outside was 98 with a heat index well over 100! The humidity was off the charts. I was scrounging the back of the van for a jacket as I was cold from the air-conditioning. The dogs were quite comfortable.

Cosi and I had five fabulous runs. The highlight of the weekend was an Excellent A FAST Q; I've posted the video with this article. The best part of the standard and jumpers runs were that we were together and focused. I saw a huge improvement in our jumpers runs, especially, because he wasn't racing me or getting so high that he just starts course-building. Instead I set the line and he followed. Lovely.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Caption Contest

Jack took this picture:

I think it deserves just the right caption. Put your suggestions in the comments and I'll choose a "winner."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Brilliant Recalls

Susan Garrett, the agility trainer extraordinaire, is conducting an on-line course to help you get brilliant recalls from your dogs. After reading the course outline and her blog page, I decided to participate in the course. So exciting! The course begins August 1.

When Cosi and I are ringside at a trial, he can focus on me if we play games with treats. But just standing with me--like when we're waiting our turn in line--gets him so excited because he sees other dogs on course, running. He wants to get out there and run; his focus goes from me to the agility course. Then running the course excites him (tunnels really do a number on him) and by obstacle #4, he's a loon. He can't think or focus, and the usual things happen: a bar drops, he goes off course, or blows past an obstacle.

The purpose of this on-line course is to play games with your dogs to keep their focus on you even in the face of distractions. I want to use these games to have tools I can use as Cosi and I wait our turn at the gate. The bonus is going to be playing these games with all my dogs. What fun!

I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

All A's

Mike--the gorgeous pup at the top of this blog page every day--had his annual checkup last night. He got all A's on his report card. Nothing more satisfying than knowing your dogs are in tip-top shape.

I had to laugh at the vet. Mike's coat is so thick and impressive; the first comment out the vet's mouth was, "Wow! What a coat! How's he handling the heat?" Mike's great in the heat; he's in the air conditioned house!

Mike's been my shy sheltie, and I've worked with him to build confidence and look to me for direction in "scary" situations. I see such progress in him and was so proud of how he handled the vet's office. It was packed with dogs, cats, and people. One person even came up to him to say hello. Mike did what I've taught him; he touches them with a nose then comes to me for a treat. We even played his favorite game (I always take a container of treats to the vet's office) called Rule Outs. When the exam was over, I asked the vet to play Rule Outs, and Mike performed beautifully. He a love, that Little Mikey-Mike.

Monday, July 12, 2010

No More Vacationland

Naps on the porch with the pups are the best!

It's back to the grind today--no more Vacationland. I had the most glorious weekend--snoozes on the couch with the pups, agility training time with Cosi, and fabulous walks with the pack early in the morning.

I also got in some knitting time. My co-worker asked me to make a pair of socks for her from yarn from her own Alpacas. How cool! She also hand dyed the yarn, so the socks were truly unique.

Friday, July 9, 2010


Dan and Jack at Dan's graduation.

I'm back from vacation and here are a few updates:

Dad comes home from the rehab hospital today. What a relief!

My nephew Dan is here visiting with us. It's so wonderful to connect with him. He's very busy with work and getting ready to go to college. He and Jack are talking highpoints. (They hike/climb to the highest point in the 50 states. Jack has 49 highpoints; Dan, 20.)

Cosi and I are working on our contacts and are now participating in Susan Garrett's "amazing recall" e-workshop. We get to train with Susan on-line! Too cool.

Thanks for staying tuned...

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Training Update

Cosi and I practice weaves.

Cosi and I will not be going to many trials this summer--one in June and one in July. The main reason is footing. The venue where most local trials are held is at an indoor soccer facility that has carpet instead of sprint turf. The footing, therefore, is quite slippery for Cosi. I've watched our videos from last year, and I can see his butt sliding around as he tries to wrap the first weave pole. People use sticky spray (resin) on their dogs' feet; I've also heard stories of dogs ripping knees because their feet planted and stuck and the body twisted. No thanks to that! I'll opt to stick with sprint turf or dirt.

On the plus side, having fewer trials this summer gives us an opportunity for regular training sessions. We're working on independent contact performance and more lateral distance handling (for FAST class courses). We've been training on Sundays and Tuesdays, and class is on Wednesday. Three training opportunities a week--a perfect schedule! We're gearing up for a very busy fall, trialing almost every weekend in September, October, and November.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Flyin' Fur

I got an energy burst this morning and decided to bathe all three shelties! The fur is flying!

Brisco--my sexy senior--started it all. When he gets dirty, his fur gets sticky like cotton candy. I don't like the tacky feeling. Then I thought, "Mike hasn't had a bath since December." And Cosi...well, after swimming and agility, he smells like swimming pool and has that fine dirt from the trials in his coat.

Now all the boys are fluffy, soft, and sweet. I can't stop kissing them. Not to be left out, Jenny goes to the groomer's for her monthly doo on Wednesday. This week the Maytown Pack will be stylin'.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Balance Ball

I purchased a balance ball for fun for the dogs. We're just working on knowing that this is a fun thing (lots of cookies when you touch it) and then getting a paw--or two--on it. Surprisingly, guess who's the best at this? Jenny! She immediately lept onto it and balanced, rocking a bit, so that she could get her treats. My goal is to have this as a fun activity for Cosi so that we can take it along to a trial and play before we run. It'll be a good focus game, plus it helps to work their balance and core muscles. I'll try to get pictures of Miss Jenny--my little circus dog!--on it, but it's tough to take pics and hold treats.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


First, an update on my father. Thank you for your kind emails, comments, and offer to help. He's still in the hospital and will stay there until his respiratory therapy is no longer needed, probably until Monday. I talk to him daily, and his breathing is much improved.

Today I surprised my friend, Kathy, with a visit to her produce stand at the farmers' market. Oh. My. Goodness! I was in heaven with so many lovely items to choose. I brought home potatoes, tomatoes, golden beets, zucchini, and garlic scrapes. I couldn't wait to have lunch! I roasted all of the above in a bit of almond oil and rosemary. You just can't beat the from-the-ground-to-your-table freshness and taste. If you have the chance to get to Eastern Market on King Street this summer, GO! Do not walk. Run!

Thank you, Kathy, for the feast I had today.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


My Dad has not been well this week, and yesterday he was hospitalized with pneumonia. Unfortunately Mom and Dad are 10 hours away. I hate this separation.

Please keep Frank in your prayers...

P.S. Yesterday was Mom and Dad's 59th wedding anniversary.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hotter Than...

..well, you-know-where!

This weekend's trial was north of here, but it sure felt like we were in the the jungles of South America. And just to keep it interesting, the humidity was about 80 percent; there was no air-conditioning. I crated near an open door and got a nice breeze, but the ring was at the opposite end of the building and was so blasted hot.

Onto better things...the judge, Jack Cadalso, was awesome. His courses were fantastic, and Cosi and I had great runs all weekend. Unfortunately, there were dropped bars, so no Q's for us. But it's fun to look at a course map and feel confident that you can handle the run. Another plus from the weekend was that I had two strangers come up to me and tell me what an awesome dog Cosi is. They apparently watched him ringside and liked his style. We don't Q as often as *I* would like, so it was fun hearing that at least we're looking good!

My visit with Janice was quite lovely. She spoiled us with a home-cooked meal on Friday night. We also played Rummikub for bragging rights. It appears that I am the Rummikub champion of the WORLD!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heading North

Cosi is ready for another adventure.

Cosi and I will be heading to Northumberland (about 2 hours north of home) for a one-ring trial this weekend. I really enjoy those small trials. We'll be staying with Janice; she graciously offered to host us. So it's a win-win for me this weekend!

Keep your paws crossed for us.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Work Space

My desk at work.

After being in my new space at work for a month now, it's really starting to take shape. I've added my own touches and it's now "my" office. My favorite item in the office is my candy dish. I looked around the cupboards in the kitchen for the perfect dish. No glass--too breakable. No plastic--too cheap. Like Goldilocks, one was too small, another was too large. Off I went to the attic to roam among the treasures there. And I found it! My first sheltie (Sonny) had a ceramic dog dish. It's white with black paw prints around the outside. It's heavy, the right size, and makes the perfect statement!

Candy Dish

It's become quite the conversation piece when people come into the office.

Now I just have to find candy that looks like kibble...

My bulletin board with paw print border!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dog Days of Camp

Coleen often takes photos of the dogs at camp. I found these on the day camp web page and wanted to share with you A Day In The Life of Cosi: At Camp With My Buddies.

I'll race you to the gate!

Cosi has good experiences with water at the dog pond.

I think one of the best things I do for Cosi is allow him to just be a dog. He has tons of energy and needs to run and jump and bark with his buddies. I also love how he is in beautiful condition because he's allowed to run full out. I enjoy giving him a full life--a balance of work (agility), play (camp), and rest.