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)