Saturday, November 26, 2011

Keystone Trial

We had a superb weekend in NJ. On Thanksgiving day we traveled the two hours to the trial site and set up. It was getting close to lunch time, so we looked around for an open fast-food restaurant. Golden Arches to the rescue. Nothing says "Thanksgiving" like a QP and Diet Coke. ;-)
The hotel was new to us; we had stayed in another location before. This one was closer to the site and was very convenient to restaurants. The dogs gave it a four paws up as it had lots of grassy areas for walks and sniffs and potties. Here is a photo of how Mike relaxes after a tough day on the road.

On Friday we started with standard. He had to be reminded of his contact behavior on the teeter; he tried to go on without doing 2o2o. I made him lie down; this caused him to be too close to the double, and he dropped the bar. Here's the video:

In jumpers on Friday, it was very twisty, turney course with lots of crosses and lead changes. Good. We've been working on our front crosses. I'm trying to not get my arms out so wide. We Q'd and came in third! Here's the video:

On Saturday we started out first with jumpers. Another good course with a tunnel as the first obstacles. Tunnels tend to crank him up, so I had to be on my toes. We had a fabulous run, but alas he dropped the third from last jump. But a great run, fun course, wish we could run it again. Here's the video:

Finally in standard on Saturday we watched the 20" dogs run the course. Not many Q's as the course appeared to have a lot of traps. As I prepared for the course, I kept thinking that I need to be aggressive in my handling. I held him to his contact behavior; again, he released early on the teeter. Guess what we'll be working over the winter!? We Q'd and came in 6th. Here's the video:

I guess you could say we QQ'd--Cosi Style.  We Q'd once in jumpers and once in standard, just not on the same day.  =:O)  It's a step in the right direction.  He was so fun to run this weekend.  What a joy he is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

As I think about the many blessings in my life, I am most grateful for a husband who lets me follow my passion of dog training and agility. Cosi and I will be running at a dog trial this holiday weekend. Here is a picture of Cosi with his brother, Trax, at the trial last year.

With another year of agility trials almost at an end (we have two trials to go in 2011), I think about our progress this year. I re-worked our contacts to the point that I feel confident of his doing a 2o2o contact on cue. We progressed in FAST to 9 Excellent B Q's. One more and we will have our Master title in FAST. I keep working his foundation games, and they have proved valuable during our ringside warm up. Games of focus help us gel and connect before we go to the line. He still likes to test his start line stay, so there's a point to work during the off time in January. Keep your paws crossed for us this weekend. I hope to have video as I have a videographer this time. =:O)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Good Choices

Yesterday was Thanksgiving in my mind. We had a family gathering. Everyone brought a piece of the meal, and it was a great time. I finally got two mirrored pieces hung in the dining room. These are two pieces Margie and I found about a year ago. I was waiting for the renovation to be complete to get these hung. Well, yesterday was the day. I found two candle holders and some candle rings on sale at Michael's (a craft store). Here is the finished product:

I made good choices, eh?

The dogs were impressive yesterday, too. We have a gate that separates the kitchen from the dining room. The dogs are only allowed in the kitchen. With company coming, I took the gate down so people didn't have to deal with it. Cosi, especially, made good choices. When we were in the dining room hanging the mirrors, he stood at the doorway, asking if he may come in. I gave him his release word, and he came in, laid down near me, and just hung out watching the commotion. I was so pleased that he remembered his criteria. An open door doesn't mean you bolt through it.

Then as guests were milling around getting ready to leave, I asked the dogs to get in their crates. They ran in and stayed there. I looked around after coming back in the house, and there they were, waiting for a cookie. Good dogs. Thank you, Susan Garrett, for good foundation training.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hero Dogs

Dogs are amazing. They help us in big ways--working side-by-side in very important jobs like herding or guarding or police work--and in small ways--providing comfort, used in therapy, companionship. I watched the American Hero Dog Award show last night. Click here to see a video about the "contestants." I say contestants in quotes because many dogs deserve to be called hero. You don't have to pull Timmy from the well to be a hero.

I enjoyed the show and was glad to see a showcase for these wonderful dogs. The American Kennel Club has been acknowledging outstanding dogs with a similar type of award. They break it down into categories such as companion dog, therapy dog, assistance dog, and police work.

With all the negative news these days, this bright spot of positive energy is welcome and comforting.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vetrans' Day 11-11-11

Thank you to our vetrans for their sacrifices. Here are the men who served from our family:

My father, Army

Jack's father, Navy

Jack's brother, Navy

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Normal" Weekend

What is a "normal" weekend? What do regular people do? To us agility people normal is packing up on a Friday evening, getting up at O'dark thirty, and driving to a venue to run and jump and bark. Get home around 5, eat something, go to bed at 7. Get up on Sunday and repeat.

This weekend I experienced a non-agility weekend. On Saturday I "slept in" until 5:30. I cleaned the house, decorated a bit for Christmas with new floral arrangements (a new skill I'm working on), then walked the dogs on the most perfect fall day. I put the dogs back in the van and headed over to the agility training center where we here having a house shower for our friend who lost her house in the flood in September. Good news--they may be able to move back in to their house on Thanksgiving weekend. Their two goldens--Tanner and Gus--were on hand to enjoy the party. It was great to see the support the agility community provided this couple.

Then, just to cap off a perfect Saturday, we got an extra hour sleep! Did you "fall back" with your clocks? Unfortunately, no one reset Cosi's stomach clock, and he pested at 4 a.m. (his 5 a.m.) for his breakfast. *sigh* Guess I sleep in my next life...