Thursday, June 30, 2011

Holiday Weekend

Cosi and I are off to a three-day agility trial this holiday weekend. We're running FAST--my favorite game--as well as the standard and jumpers classes. Should be fun.

We've been playing Snooker in class the past three weeks. My head and my heart are not in this game, but we give it good try. As to our success in Snooker, let's just say there are no Super Q's for us in the near future! LOL

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Balance Ball Work


A fun activity that I am incorporating into our training routine is using the balance ball. I bought the above Fit Paws "ball" (it's really more like a flat oval) and the dogs love it. I ask Cosi to "spot" which means to put his back two feet on it and the front two feet on the ground (just like at the dog walk). Mike is really getting the knack of getting on and standing up. It's a great confidence builder. Jenny can get on, but not to keen on staying on just yet. More like, "There. I did your stupid thing. Now hand over the treat!" LOL

It's a fun exercise, works their core, and is a nice transition to shaping for other behaviors. Do you use a balance ball?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Just For Anna

Here's a picture just for Anna:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Foundation, Foundation, Foundation

Just like the real estate world has the mantra "location, location, location," I think the dog training world should have the mantra "foundation, foundation, foundation." It's all the work that goes into making a great dog a great dog, not necessarily a great sport dog. I think I'm one of the odd balls that loves foundation work. Most people skip over this to go on to the more exciting things like jump grids and contact work. I am most pleased when someone (a non-agility person) tells me what nice dogs I have. That's the foundation work shining through.

I signed up for another on-line, Susan Garrett course. This time the topic is...have you guessed yet? Foundation! It starts in a week. I'm eager to get started. I love her approach to training through games. I want to teach more balance work and incorporate more trick training into our routine.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Update

Brisco is doing better. He's been settled for two days. He's not 100 percent, but working towards it. UPDATE FROM THURSDAY EVENING: Brisco is perfect. He passed the "good potty" test with flying colors! I've got my boy back.

We got an update on the house rennovation project. Two items we ordered months ago are finally arriving. They will be the final touches; these last two pieces of furniture will complete the living room and dining room. Yea!

Finally, an update on agility. Cosi and I have been trying to master the rule set of Snooker. Anyone have any helpful hints? We're overwhelmed.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Brisco


Brisco's been having some stomach upset this week. We're on "the basics" with lots of water, plain food, and no treats (gasp!). He ate better today and so far (fingers crossed), so good. Tomorrow will be the tell-tale day. With Brisco being 12 and a bit fragile, I'm quick to go into nursing mode when he's off. My number one fear is dehydration (with the vomitting). I'll keep you posted...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Reflections

The sudden and unexpected death of a friend and colleage last week has me quite introspective. What would be my regrets if I died before I had time to...

tell the people I love that I love them

enjoy each day as a gift

be present in the moment and give my attention to those around me

It may sound cliche, but these are my thoughts. So I acted on them. I made some calls to friends, emailed others, to re-connect. As I walk the dogs in the evening, I stop thinking about the day's events and what is troubling me. I look at the sky, the scenery, the dogs and think, "Thank you, God, for this beautiful day and these wonderful dogs." At work I look people in the eye and give them my attention instead of typing while they talk.

Not ground-breaking, earth-shattering stuff, but just a little something in memory of Mary.

Lazy Weekend

What a lovely, lazy weekend. No trial. No house chores. No engagements. Just knitting, snoozing, agility training, and grooming. Ahhhh....

I had a good experience on Sunday. I took the Recallers course from Susan Garrett on-line. GREAT course with such practical application (not just to agility). On Sunday I took Cosi to practice. I left him out of the van and we went to the potty area. The gate to the large, open field where he likes to go for a run was open. He spied it and headed towards it on a trot. I waited. He sped up (like, "Awesome! I'm gonna go for it!"). At the gate I called, "Cosi, come." He turned on a dime and came racing back to me, faster than he had been going to the field. I pulled his #1 favorite toy out of the gear bag, and we had a great game of tug. What a good boy. I'm here to testify that these foundation games Susan Garrett has devised work!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Boyz


The boys all got bathed and combed out tonight. Aren't they the most gorgeous Shelties on the planet?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Williamsport

Cosi and I just got back from a succesful trip to Williamsport. We stayed with my good friend, Janice, and Friday night the thunderstorms would not quit. There was one at 1:30 a.m., 3:30 a.m. and as we were packing up to leave at 5 a.m. It was pouring buckets as we inched our way to the site. Needless to say, we were not a well rested team.

The judge at this trial liked pinwheels and it showed in his course design. All weekend we went round and round. We Q's in jumpers on Saturday and took first place. Sadly I have no video as my friend Rosie (who usually helps me out with that) was only three dogs behind me in the running order. I couldn't ask her to tape as she needed to get her dog ready to run. The jumpers run was a thing of beauty--smooth, under control, and efficient. LOVED it. We missed a QQ because in standard he dropped a bar.

On Sunday it was standard first, and he ran past the table. However, when I checked the results, if he didn't have that refusal, he would have beaten the first placed dog by 7 seconds. Wow! That kind of statistic keeps me hopeful. :-)

A great weekend with good--although dizzying--courses and fellowship with friends.

Friday, June 10, 2011

"The house began to twitch"

I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz movie last night. We had terrible thumderstorms. I was standing in the kitchen packing up dog food for the upcoming weekend trial when I looked up and saw debris literally flying past the window. I yelled, "Doggies, come!" and all four rallied around me. We went into the powder room and huddled there for about 10 minutes.

After the storm we went outside to see damages. We have large trees (probably over 100 years old) and with every storm we have limbs come down. One very large limb fell on the fence gate and popped it off the support posts. Another limb split the Rose of Sharon bush. Luckily the neither the house nor the shed were damaged. One limb had jammed against the back door, and I couldn't get out that way.

I felt bad for Cosi. He came home from camp yesterday afternoon all tired and feeling good. He had been outside in the heat and had gone in the pond to cool off. He was still wet when I picked him up. So I had to get out the blow dryer. If you leave a dog wet and damp, they can develop skin issues. The dryer is his #3 hated thing. Then I needed to trim his nails and feet. This is his #2 hated thing. Finally, a storm came--his #1 hated thing! I could just picture the balloon over his head. "Can this evening get any worse?!"

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Purchase


I found this wonderful decoration and purchased it for the rennovated living room. I put it on the mantle; it makes me smile.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Congratulations, David

We were thrilled to be able to attend my nephew's high school graduation in Indiana this past weekend. Our David will be attending Butler College in Indiana this fall, majoring in music. We are so proud of him.

In the photo below David and I pose together before the ceremony. As you can see, it was a *bright* day!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Rule Changes

I got the agility judges newsletter yesterday and read about some of the new regulation changes. Here's a quick recap:

The exit of the weave poles now has to be at least 12 feet from the edge of the ring (the fencing). Thank goodness! I know some dogs have problem weaving into a wall.

It used to be that if a handler knocked over a stanchion, you would NQ. Now it's if *either* a dog or handler knocks a stanchion, the team NQ's.

Finally, if a handler wants to change the score to NQ their dog, they may. For example, if you know your dog popped at #10 in the weave poles but the judge didn't see it or call it or the scribe didn't record it, you can correct the score and have your team NQ'd. Good news for the few honest people left in the world, eh?