Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Foundation Work Proved

We have painters at the house painting the two porches and some outside trim. They opened the back door to paint the inside trim, and there were the dogs, standing. The painters told Jack they were amazed that the dogs stayed and didn't try to run outside. When Jack told me this, I was so proud. Part of our foundation work is that the dogs wait to be released to go outside. An open door does not mean you bolt. I credit Susan Garrett's crate games with this success. Just this one piece--wait to be released--works so well in every day life, not to mention it keeps your dogs safe. They don't go bolting headlong into the street or after other dogs.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Get Ready to Say "Awww..."

Cadie Pruss (Acadia Shelties) posted this picture on her blog. Sorry to "steal" it, Cadie, but this is the cutest thing I've ever seen. I think the caption should be, "OK, kids, this is how you do the Sheltie Shuffle!"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Awesome Class

We were really challenged in class last night with twists, turns, 4-jump lead outs, and front crosses all over the place! F. U. N. Cosi and I were really connected, and it felt great. Starting next weekend we will be at trials every weekend in October. I'm eager to get back into the trial scene and keep this connection going.

I also learned at class last night that a fellow agility competitor we all know in class lost her house in the flood. She and her husband and two golden retrievers got out to safety, but 4 feet of water covered her house. We will have a house shower for her next month to help replenish things such as kitchen items, linens, and food lost in the flood. The agility community is a good one, eh?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Da Boyz R Workin' Out

With a cold and rainy day not suitable for man nor beast, Cosi and Mike decided to workout indoors. Here Cosi gets ready to work on the balance ball while Mike queues up. He starts in a sit, then I ask him to sit up (beg) and hold it. He really wobbled when we first started this, but now he's getting really good at holding it. We then progress to working our contact "touch" behavior (back feet on, front feet on ground), and finish with "dancing" where his front feet are on the ball and he pivots around the ball moving only his back feet.

Mike's turn. He's not as advanced as Cosi, but he can't wait to get on the balance ball. His turn consists of sit, down, sit (doggie push ups) while on the balance ball.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Know You're a "Dog Person" When...

...you judge a person by how nice their dogs are.

...you use the dog bowls to fill the dishwasher so you can make a "full" load

...as you channel surf the television, you bypass a documentary about people in favor of a Dogs 101 episode on Animal Planet.

...when there is a dog in the movie and he gets hurt/lost as part of the storyline, all you can think is, "But what happened to the dog?"

...you hate when people snore but when your dog does it, it's "cute."

...you know what a GSD is.

...when car shopping, you only consider cars that you can get a crate in.

...every jacket/coat you own has a poop bag in the pocket.

...you don't remember the person's name, but you know their dogs. As in, "you know, what's-her-name...the one with the goldens?"

Can you think of some others?

Monday, September 12, 2011


Cosi and I continue to work on his tricks. I bought the small balance balls. First, I was thinking they are so portable, easy to take ringside. Second, he's never had to "work" with something small before. He'll really have to think about how to use his feet. So far we've progressed to his placing his foot on the balance ball and dragging to towards him. My goal is for him to place his two front feet on two separate balance balls and stay there. No photos yet. We're a work in progress.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 Year Anniversary of 9/11

This was an emotional day for many people. I was watching TV this morning at 8:30 and saw a documentary. It was very well done. It was both movie clips and still photos from people who took images from cell phones or cameras, and you practically re-lived the day. Then I watched a National Geographic Channel special of accounts from survivors. One was a man with a guide dog. To know what they went through...that really got to me.

No matter what the situation--life's trials and tribulations, elations and celebrations--our dogs are there with us. I know that dogs were used to find survivors as well as casualties after the attacks. They were also used as therapy dogs for the many people who needed help as they provided emergency services. Knowing that they played a role in that historic day makes me appreciate the work they do for us every day. Here is an account from someone who helped by making his therapy dog available at ground zero. Click here to read his account.

Friday, September 9, 2011


Remember when I said we've had an earthquake then a hurricane and asked what next? Well this week I got my answer. Now we have a flood. It's been raining since Monday and the Susquehanna River has crested at 10 feet over flood stage. We live about a mile from the river.

I was to attend a USDAA trial this weekend, but I still can't get to a main road. I have a 4-day weekend and no trial to go to! What's up with *that*!?

The back yard looked like a lily pond at one point. The doggies and I made it through the worst of it with only a flooded basement. We never lost power or had to evacuate like a lot of people around here. I am grateful for that.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Progress At Last

Cosi and I have been drilling the 2o2o method for contacts for the past month. As I said in another post, he's been seeing 2o2o in his dreams. Any item with a differentiation in height (a curb, a decoractive wall on our walk, steps, etc.) is an opportunity to work his contacts. I don't need the dog walk or A-frame set up to get the idea across: plant your front feet, lower your rear, and bob your head in a touch.

This weekend at the Berks trial I had an opportunity to reinforce that, yes, I am serious about this behavior, and you will do it even at a trial. There are two cues for Cosi. The first is my word "touch" as he approaches the down side of a contact. The second is a physical cue. I put my arms behind my back. He watches me, and I figured I needed a cue to tell him we're not moving. With no arms to guide him to the next obstacle, he is more likely to stay put.

Berks was a three-day trial, and I had in my mind that I was going to use these three standard runs as practice, as money in the bank, towards reinforcing our contacts work. Forget Q's. Forget going fast. I wanted focus, 2o2o contacts, and controled speed. Friday was a nightmare. The beginning of the standard course was tunnel then A-frame. Perfect. A good test of our contact work. He came out of the tunnel, and he was high as a kite. He tried not doing 2o2o, so I had him lie down before going on. My message was, "You *will* stop!" He was frantic and our teamwork just wasn't there.

Saturday was 50 percent better. He tried to bag the first contact, but I waited him out. Bam! He went into the 2o2o position, and I was thrilled. Then he finally did a 2o2o A-frame! I was over the moon.

Sunday's course started with tunnel then dog walk. Good. Another good test of being high from the tunnel then get control on the contact; he nailed it. He did 2o2o for all three contacts and a down on the table. Check out that A-frame! Have you ever seen anything more lovely?!? I messed up with giving him a directional cue of "left" too early on the last sequence on the course. So, like a good dog, he spun, going left. We could have Q'd on the standard course, but, oh, well, next time. I was never more proud of him and our teamwork. Here's the video from Sunday: