Sunday, December 9, 2012

End of Year

Cosi and Dixie and I attended our last trial of the year this past weekend. We went to the "kitty litter" trial in Westminster, Maryland. Because of the footing (sand and gravel mixed with dirt), I *love* this trial. The footing is excellent for the dogs and easy on the human knees.

We had a jumpers Q and a standard Q, just not on the same day. With those Q's we are at 756 points. *sigh* Our goals for 2013 include imporoving our jumping so QQ's are not just one bar away like they were this past weekend.

Dixie did great at the trial. We ended up crating ringside. She would look out at the action in the ring from her crate, nice and quiet. Good news there. She would bark, however, at dogs who were sitting with their owners ringside and were tugging or getting excited. Miss Bossy Britches had something to say about that!

On the plus side, Dixie was doing really good things: pottying on leash In The Rain, walking through the crating area, saying hello nicely to strange dogs (determined to be OK by me), and settling down in her crate for a snooze so I could warm up and walk Cosi. No separation crud to deal with--yea!

Cosi was a super star. His contacts and weaves were terrific all weekend. We had great courses, fun to run, and flowing. We took second place with our two Q's, which was a lovely bonus. No videos as I was there solo.

We wish you all a very merry holiday and all the best with Clean Runs in the New Year.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Thanksgiving Weekend

We traveled to NJ this past Thanksgiving weekend for a three-day AKC trial. Cosi was terrific in his FAST runs and took first place on Friday and Saturday. We Q'd in Standard on Friday and Sunday. No jumpers Q's this time. Bummer. I had my heart set on getting a QQ over the three days. A highlight came on Sunday when Riot came in first and Cosi came in fourth. The RyLadd dogs sandwiched Maureen's two shelties. It was a 4-Sheltie finish! Shelties rule the 16" class!

Another highlight of the trial weekend was Dixie. What a great little traveler she is! Her first hotel experience, her first trial, her first exposure to lots of noise, dogs, and strangers--she sailed through it all with flying colors. We sat ringside, and she watched the action, alert and eager to take it all in. She was quiet in the hotel room, and braved the cold and wind when we went for a walk around the hotel grounds. A lot of people at the trial ooo'd and ahhh'd over her. She was the belle of the ball.

Here are some youtube video links for our runs this weekend:

FAST (first place) on 11/23

FAST (first place finish) on 11/24.

Standard on Sunday where Riot came in 1st and we took 4th.

Some pictures from the weekend:

Dixie finds the hotel bed quite comfortable, thank you very much. Here she is resting with Mike:

Dixie got a new toy at the vendor at the trial. It's fuzzy with fringe on the end, perfect for little puppy teeth to grab onto and tug! Here we are playing in the hotel room:

At the setup, Dixie visits Uncle Cosi at his crate then says hello to Heather and Jordan, Trax's family (Cosi's brother) next door. It was a mini-RyLadd reunion!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Big Girl Steps - Dixie's Training

Dixie is a work in progress! She is showing me understanding of rules, especially the self-control rules. For example, I opened a container of treats that were on the floor. She ran over to investigate. I covered the container with my fingers. She backed up and sat. What a good choice!

Her walking on leash is improving with every walk. At first she fought the harness and pulled away from the tension of the leash. Now she knows she can take the tension away by coming closer to me. Today she walked on leash right next to me.

We're playing more Crate Games, working more on the "break" release command. And--this is huge to me--she is tugging. Today she played tug with me at a new place. Excellent!

Cosi is back from being on the DL for two weeks. He had an appointment with a physical therapist this weekend, and the PT pronounced him 100 percent. We had a great practice on Sunday and tomorrow we have an agility lesson. Tuesday we practice again, all in preparation for a three-day trial this holiday weekend.

Jenny is hurting. Her shoulder has tendonitis; sometimes she is a three-legged dog, holding the leg out to keep from putting pressure on the shoulder as she walks. Other than that, she is bright as a penny.

Mike has a new howling partner. Apparently Dixie likes to chime in when he starts. The girl has pipes. Mike also has a new playmate in Dixie. His favorite game of "Chase me!" is also her favorite game. It's good to see Mike run in the yard with her.

Dixie is now four months old (as of 11/11). She's getting a bit more leg. I love her coat color. It's a light buff color with red top hairs. When the sun shines on it, you can see the variance in shades of sable. So lovely.

Cosi practices sit pretty.

Dixie at Mary's.

Jenny hogs the bed. She's allowed. She's our senior citizen.

Mike has the sweetest expression. Everyone's favorite--that's our Mike.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Joy of Tugging

Dixie has discovered the joy of tugging. We've gotten some wonderful toys as gifts. Her new favorites are the Monkey Man and the Starfish and the braided fleece/fur toy. I tried to capture her tugging with my phone camera. Not too great a photo, sort of blurry, but you get the idea. ;)

Take *that* you monkey-man!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Great Trick

Now *this* is a great trick to teach your dog...swearing on the "Bible":

Anna, I'm seeing Aurora's next party trick! Get training!

Monday, November 5, 2012

So Many Games...So Little Time

The good news is that Dixie is very smart. When we play games, she figures them out very quickly.

The bad news is that I could spend all day (I wish!) working with her. This going-to-work stuff is hampering my dog training! LOL

Here's a list of games we've been playing:

Puppy Stretches

Crate Games

Impulse Control Game called It's Yer Choice

The Collar Grab game

The I'm Gonna Smoke Ya game which creates drive for the puppy to come.

I want to add more body awareness to the list. Her walking on a leash is improving, but whenever the pack and I stop (for a crosswalk or to make a turn), Dixie feels like she has to make a h-u-g-e circle around us, coming back to where she started. I'm thinking we need to work on our sit-stay.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Puppy Pictures

I was going through the pictures that Mary sent along with the documentation on Dixie. I loved this picture so much that I wanted to share it. It's Dixie with her grandma, Whimsey (Cosi's dam). The expression on Dixie's face is so intent. It's as though she's waiting for an answer to a very important question. Perhaps, "Will I go to a new home some day?" or "Will I ever get as big as my brother?"

What do you think she is asking?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

We weathered the storm and had little damage. The usual tree debris is in the yard, but no water in the basement or large limbs down. We were very fortunate.

The dogs came through the storm like troopers! Cosi lead the charge into the yard for potty time. Even the puppy was out in the wind and rain! Today is my first day back at work, and I miss her already! Dixie sure blended into the pack quickly and easily. It's as if she's been here all along. I was grateful for the extra two days of being home with her. When it was storming, we practiced walking on a leash in the downstairs hallway. We trained with Crate Games and It's Yer Choice games. I enjoy the foundation "work."

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Welcome New Puppy

We went to Manassas, Virginia, on Saturday to pick up our newest family member. After much discussion and brainstorming of names, we settled on calling her Dixie. She is fitting in beautifully with my pack. I've started working crate games with her, and she's a quick learner. Mary was very generous and gave me Dixie's crate. I'm sure that's why the drive home and first night went very well. She slept off and on in the car. I was thrilled to see she'll be a good traveler.

Here are some pics.:

Jack has a new (sleepy) girlfriend!

Are we home yet? Dixie in her crate with her pig pillow. Thanks to Lexi, Dixie had a "friend" on the way home.

Jenny says, "Stick with me, kid. I'll show you all the good napping spots."

What a face! She is a cutie pie!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Dauphin Trial

The fall season is winding down. I love the fall trials. Cold mornings followed by beautiful, cool afternoons. It's good for the dogs; they're not running in excessive heat. It's the kind of weather that you're longing for in the hot summer and cold winter months.

Cosi and I had great runs at the Dauphin trial. We Q'd in FAST on Saturday and took first place. Then we Q'd in jumpers. On Sunday we were watching the jumpers course as Karen and Riot (Cosi's daddy) got MACH2! It was so exciting; they are such a well-connected team, moving as one as they fly through courses.

On Sunday we Q'd in standard, by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin. I thought for sure we had a refusal called. But, Merry Christmas to me, we got an early gift from the judge. Below are youtube links to our runs on Sunday. If we had kept that second bar up in jumpers, we would have placed! I guess it's back to the box work in the yard, keep working on our jumping skills.

Standard Run

Jumpers Run

Monday, October 15, 2012

Keystone Trial

Anna and I competed at the Keystone trial this weekend in Barto. It was a USDAA trial, so there were many runs both days. There were so many highlights for me, here's a quick list:

Cosi finished his PD title, and we moved up to P2 on Sunday. Finally! We got that last standard leg on Saturday.

We ran six classes and all the bars stayed up in every class. That was a HUGE highlight for me.

On our P2 Jumpers run on Sunday, Cosi ran at 6.8 yps. It was a fast and furious ride; it was so much fun.

Going to the trial with Anna was the sweetest highlight for me. Aurora got first place in Starters Jumpers on Saturday! It was great to have someone to talk on the way home. Discussing the day, the courses, the "what if's" and the "wasn't it great when...s" Thanks, Anna, for a fabulous trial. Let's do this again!

Here's the links to YouTube videos.

Saturday:

P1 Snooker

P1 Standard

Sunday:

P2 Jumpers

P2 Standard

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fal Trials

I haven't written for a while as I've been away at fall trials. Cosi's jumping is improving, and we continue to work daily on it. We've been having very good, connected runs. We've been running in Time2Beat classes as well as standard, jumpers, and FAST. I like this class as you get to use either the A-frame or weaves two times. I look at it as practice for standard.

Here's our standard run from Lancaster Kennel Club's trial at the end of September. Check out that difficult sequence after the table. We nailed it! :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Newest Family Member

We will be welcoming a new Sheltie to our family in October.  This is another RyLadd Sheltie from Mary Galloway.  She will be the first female Sheltie for me; I've had four boys.  Right now her name is G2.  I'll wait to see if I want to change it, but so far I really like that name.  She looks just like her grandmother, Gossip.  So, it's Gossip #2, G2 for short.  Here are some pics:

Gossip (grandmother) with G2 at 6 weeks.

G2 and her littermates at 8 weeks. Nothing cuter than pups at rest!

G2 at 11 weeks.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Swimming

I finally remembered to take my phone along when Cosi goes swimming. I got pictures and a short video. Here goes:

After an agility practice, Cosi is hot and ready for his swimming. Here he is at the top of the ramp, waiting to go into the water.
Down the ramp...
and he's swimming! Here's the video:





Monday, September 17, 2012

September Trials

Just got back from Frederick, Maryland. We were at a two-day trial. Great courses, fun jumpers runs. We Q'd in standard on Saturday and missed JWW by one knocked bar. We ran in the Time To Beat (T2B) courses both days. I like doing more than just the two runs a day.

It was a RyLadd reunion at the trial this weekend. There were RyLadd Shelties everywhere! I enjoyed seeing all the various sizes from little 8" Jordan (who got her MACH 2 on Sunday!!) to 16" Cosi and Hoax. Gossip was rockin' the 12" class. Fun times seeing everyone there.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Groundhog Day

This Labor Day weekend was more like the movie Groundhog Day, a repeat of last year's Labor Day weekend. Remember, Anna, bailing water from the flooded basement? Well, another hurricane--this time Isaac instead of Irene--dumped rain for the past two days. We haven't had to bail the basement this time, but the rain and pounding storms reminded me of last year at this time.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Elizabethtown Fair Demo

Cosi and I participated in the agility demo at the E-town Fair last night. Here's our intro (a short sequence of obstacles) and our "race" against Beth and Zip:



I enjoy these demos. It's a great place to work distractions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dog Version of Michael Phelps

Well, maybe not that good, but Cosi is turning out to be an excellent swimmer.

Last night we went swimming, and I'm starting to take me out of the picture. I put a life vest on him, which has a hook for clipping on a leash. I put on his 6 foot leash and asked him to wait on the ramp. I went to the side of the pool and told him, "Go for a swim." He went down the ramp, hesitating, unsure. Then he finally made that last step off the ramp and swam only a small distance then made a tight turn back to the ramp. We waited a few minutes and tried again. He had more confidence the second time, perhaps thinking, "Hey. I can do this! I don't need Mom next to me." He swam farther out into the pool than ever before. By the third lap, he was his old, confident self. I want to keep swimming him in the winter, and I didn't want to get in the water with him then. We'll keep working to shape this new behavior. Maybe in four years he could be an Olympic Champion!? Hmmmm...maybe not. =:O)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Love This Pic

The caption to this picture is "Road Trip!" Made me laugh; had to share.

PT Evaluation

We were fortunate enough to have the services of a wonderful physical therapist available at our training center. Many people bring their dogs because of injury or chronic ailments such as a slipping knee or stubbed toe. I took Cosi for an evaluation. I just wanted someone who knows structure and anatomy to get their hands on him and tell me how he is doing. I have found that Shelties are very stoic and don't show pain readily.

Great news! Cosi is in great shape. I watched Cosi's face during the 30-minute massage. When the therapist would find a sore spot, Cosi's eyes got real big, and all I saw was white. Then when the therapist got out his cold laser and lasered Cosi's lower back, his eyes slid shut and he relaxed. The bubble over his head was, "Ahhh. Yea, that's the spot." The therapist recommended that I add stretching to our exercise routine. Now in the evening when everyone settles in after our walks, I slide off the couch and do stretches with Cosi. He's half asleep and lets me maniuplate him easily.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sizzle - 2007 to 2012

Gail and Sizzle in 2007 when he was 8 weeks old.

My friend, Gail, lost her border collie, Sizzle, this weekend. I don't have all the details, but she had to make a very difficult decision to have Sizzle put down when it was evident he had a brain tumor. It was a tragedy to hear of a wonderful young dog's life cut short. However, Gail did right by him, making sure he never suffered.

Hug your dog, everyone. Find joy in all they do with us and for us. Gail, you are in my thoughts this weekend.

When our friend, Rosie, ran with her IG, Wiley, this weekend at a trial, she had Sizzle's arm band number with her. She saw it when she went to get her arm band. She wanted to have his number with her on the runs today. What a great salute to a terrific dog.

Monday, August 6, 2012

One small step for Cosi...

...one giant leap for Shelties everywhere!

This past weekend I took Cosi "swimming." I've been working on getting him to take that one last step into nothing where he leaves the safety of the ramp beneath his feet and goes swimming. He goes down the ramp until the water is up to his elbows, then just goes limp and hangs in the water. That's his version of swimming. I call it ABS (all but swimming). To get him out in the pool, I've had to put my arm around his ribs and encourage him to step off the ramp. Well, on Sunday he finally made that one last step on his own! I was thrilled. He made a very tight turn, and he swam back to the ramp. He has very good technique; his feet are below the surface, making steady and strong strokes.

The next time out, he swam a bit farther from the ramp. That was enough for that session. My goal this summer is to get him swimming without me in the water. I've been swimming him every week. I feel like a proud parent of a child who made it from the Guppy Group to the Dolphin Group in swimming lessons.

We are on hiatus from agility trials during August. We are still going to classes, running in the field, and going on nightly walks. We'll ramp back up for a hectic fall trial schedule come the end of the month. I'm enjoying the down time. I have a lot of body awareness exercises to work on with him (from Susan Garrett's Puppy Peaks and Contact Success classes). There are plenty of things to do in the cool confines of the house.

This month Jenny turns Big Girl 12. Her mobility is not what it should be, stiff legged and not jumping up on couches like she used to. But she is still bright as a new penny, eager to be first (her trademark move) at whatever we are doing, and begs to go on the walks at night.

Mike had a bout with an intestinal virus for two weeks. With no home remedies for diarrah working, I took him to the vet's. Two days of meds and he was back on track. He's living large on his porch, chasing the birds away from the fence and barking at my neighbor's diesel truck when he starts it--that's the "family business" Mike inherited from Brisco. Brisco used to chase the birds and bark at the truck. It's nice to see Mike keep the traditions going.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cheswick Highlights

We had such good runs this weekend, but here are some highlights for me:

First, in the FAST class on Friday, we were the only 16" team to qualify. Check out this send bonus...weaves, A-frame, tunnel in a discrimination. Here's the link to the YouTube video:

FAST

On Saturday we triple Q'd: FAST, Std, and JWW. In the FAST class I was thrilled with the wrap he did on the triple. In Standard check out that GO! at the end of the run. In jumpers, check out his tight wraps on the jumps and the nice, flat jumping. Here are the links to the YouTube videos:

FAST

Standard

JWW

On Sunday we ran in Time To Beat. The little stinker walked up to the jump and started the timer before I released him! So our time of 31 second was not accurate. It was more like a 26 second run. Then in Standard the BEST part of the weekend was the opening with independent weaves. I left him to weave and got in perfect position at the A-frame. Here are the links to the YouTube videos:

T2B

Standard

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Family Weekend

We all traveled to Pittsburgh this weekend to a trial. It's a bit more work, taking all three dogs along, but the saving grace has been the fact that the facility is air-conditioned. So no lugging fans or worrying about keeping the dogs comfortable.

Cosi and I had great runs this weekend. The Fast class and Time To Beat classes added to the fun. There was a really challenging send bonus on Friday. It was weaves to the A-frame, to a tunnel in a dog walk/tunnel discrimination. We nailed it! So exciting. I'll have video uploaded soon as Jack was there to tape the runs.

Last year at this time we lost our Brisco to cancer. I see this weekend as a tribute to him. He would have loved to run these courses. I still think of him often and smile. Cosi and I are a different type of team than Brisco and I were. But Brisco got me into this sport, and for that I am forever grateful.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

New Titles for Brisco

Today I found out (thanks to Beth in class) that Brisco has earned some Lifetime Achievement awards from the AKC. He's earned Bronze, Silver and Gold designation for Jumpers. He earned Bronze and Silver in Standard. He was only 5 Q's away from the Gold award in Standard.

I was always so proud of our teamwork, and this recognition of his longevity in the sport is so wonderful. To a fabulous dog, terrific partner, and the sweetest Sheltie of 1999--Congrats, Sweet Pea.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Distractions & Reinfircers

For every Susan Garrett course I've taken, she asks the participants to make a list of distractions and reinforcers for your dog. She breaks it further into toys, food, and environmental items. Today I learned that the hose trumps a meaty bone chew.

I was watering the garden, and I had given the dogs a bone with meat on it in the yard (keep the mess outside). I figured they would enjoy a chew while I worked. Cosi left the chew behind and came over to the garden. I knew he loved the hose, but didn't realize it trumped a bone! I took advantage of his interest and played the 1-2-3 game and the reward was biting the hose water. It was fabulous. It was difficult for him to wait for 3 with a HOSE in view. Gotta love Susan Garret and her games.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Berks and Incredible Heat

Cosi and I went to the Berks trial this weekend, braving incredible heat (96!) and tough courses. On Friday we Q'd in jumpers, earning our MXJ title and coming in second. We also Q'd in FAST.

On Saturday we were 0 for 3. The send in the FAST course was very difficult, with only a handful of Q's across the jump heights. We had excellent runs in standard and jumpers courses, good connection, just one dropped bar or one minor disconnect to an off course.

Sunday was our day. Lucky for us my friend, Marlene, came to watch and volunteered to video us. A huge shout-out and thanks to Marlene! What a day to have on tape. We ran in the Time To Beat class for the first time. We came in second and earned 9 points. The jumpers course was next and the wild angles on this course was causing a lot of people a Q. I did a front cross on the wrong side of a jump, almost sending Cosi to a tunnel. Thank goodness I pulled him back and we went on after three spins. The judge didn't call it. Merry Christmas to us; it was a gift. We came in 5th because of the time spent spinning. Sorry, Cos. The standard course was straight forward and fast to run. We ran it in 37.2, snagging QQ #2. I didn't stick around for results. I'll check the FastTimes web site and get it tomorrow.
Here are the runs from YouTube:

Time To Beat

Jumpers

Standard

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Trick

My kitchen table is magical. Every time I want to teach Cosi a new trick, it seems he learns more quickly at the kitchen table. I share my breakfast with my three dogs (portion control in action!). I have a banana every morning, and that is their favorite part. I taught Cosi to sit pretty using banana at the kitchen table. Now I'm teaching him what Susan Garrett calls "puppy yoga" the same way.

I put my arm out as a brace. He puts his forepaws on my arm. This is phase one. I tried to shape this in other places, but he just didn't "get" that he was supposed to put his paws on my arm. Kitchen table--first try, perfect!

Phase two is to shape him so that his head goes between his front paws and he is rewarded under the braced arm. Phase Three is to fade the arm and have the dog do a stretch on the floor. Fun stuff.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Williamsport

Cosi and I traveled north this weekend to the Williamsport Dog Training club trial in Northumberland. It was unbearably hot; on Sunday they turned all the lights off except for the ones over the ring. You'd wait in the dark to run, sitting on the floor in front of one of those jet engine fans. Here are some random thoughts from the weekend, a diary of sorts...
On Saturday I saw my friends Barb and Scott Miller (fellow Sheltie People). They had purchased a trailer and were camping at the site. The Gear Queen in me came out. Daddy, I want one! LOL Scott mentioned that his sheltie Trev was not feeling well. When I petted Trev, he was so warm. Later that day Barb ended up taking him to the local emergency vet service. Then they had to take him to Leesburg, VA, to get surgery. Trev's gall bladder had burst. People at the trial were so supportive. We helped Scott pack up the trailer. We covered their working assignments at the trial (Barb and Scott work almost every class). Many people asked if there was something else they could do. It was heart-warming. On Sunday Scott drove back to pick up the trailer. The update on Trev is that the surgery was successful. He is 11 and a half, so the first 24 hours after surgery will be the most critical. Many prayers and tons of good energy going to Trev.
For me, Barb and Scott completely represent agility competitors. They love their breed, they are generous, friendly, they support the clubs by voluntering at every opportunity, and they get angry with people who are less than kind to their dogs. After reading a few blogs about the agility blog day regarding attitude, it had me reflecting this weekend about the agility environment. As with any sport there are positives and negatives. I think it's all what your focus is; that's the experience you're going to have. For example, whenever Ron comes to the line with his black lab Danni, we all stop what we are doing and give him our support. We cheer outrageously when he has a good run, Q or not. Ron has cerebral palsy and to see him compete, out there working his dog, makes me grateful. Grateful that there is such a thing as agility where we're all equal on the playing field. Ron is brilliant at distance handling because he can't run. His dog's focus is phenomonal. We all have our strengths and weaknesses; Ron uses foundation training and distance handling to the max. It's lovely to watch.
Then there was a junior handler this weekend who had everyone cheering, oooing, and ahhhing. It was a little girl running a gray/black miniature poodle in the Novice class. She had wonderful timing, patience, and Q'd. She was at the trial with her grandmother. I talked to her on Sunday and asked her how old her dog is. She answered, "Sam is 4, just like I am 10. And we have the same birthday! People think he's a puppy because he acts so silly." How cute is that? I hope that the agility environment nurtures this talent, and our attitude can bring in more people to the sport like Sam and his handler.
As to Cosi and I, we had a good weekend. On Saturday we ran jumpers first, then standard ("backwards" from the normal schedule). He was at the start line and as I did a 2-jump lead out, he stood up and went the bar. His nose broke the time beam, and the clock started. I asked him to sit again, he did. I released him, and we ran clean. As I came off the course, someone stopped me and said, "Check your time. He started the clock and there was like five seconds on the clock before you began." Oh, that Cosi! In standard we were good, connected, but he went in the wrong end of the tunnel. I must have had my arm out and sent him. The heat in the building was unbearable when we left on Saturday afternoon.
Sunday was even hotter. In standard we had a brilliant run. We smoked the course in 41 seconds, connected, working together. It was awesome. He dropped the top panel on the panel jump. Someone told me his front foot slipped as he took off for the panel. When I checked the standings, he was 8 seconds faster than the winning dog. 8 seconds! Holy Mackrel!! By the time jumpers rolled around, it was 90+ degrees and humidity was high. We didn't have a connected run, and that's OK. No Q. But the Q on Saturday is #9. Our next jumper's Q will earn his MXJ title. Something to look forward to, eh? I love how this dog works for me, no matter that it's hot, cold, dark, etc. The owner of the facility put a hose out on Sunday for us to use to cool down the dogs. I am grateful to Coleen for teaching Cosi at camp how to "get it" and play with a hose. All I had to do was pick it up, and it was "game on!" for Cosi. He was nice and wet as I put him in his tent with the fan going full force. Next time I peeked in on him, he was asleep on his back, belly getting the breeze. Love this dog. Love agility.

Here's the video of the jumpers Q we had on Saturday:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Found This

Found this picture on the web, and it made me laugh. See caption below:

Mmmm...your neck smells good. Hey! You gots sumfin on your face. Lemme get it fer you.

Does anyone know what animals these are?

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bath Time

I somehow got a surge of energy this weekend. Maybe it was the fact that I was on vacation all last week and rested well. On Saturday we had the perfect, no humidity day that you need to wash windows. I washed all the windows and screens on the glassed-in porch we have. Sparkling!

On Sunday I gave both Cosi and Mike a bath. I use Chris Christensen products, and their coats are fabulous--so silky, so smooth, shine that just won't quit. Here are a few after-bath pics. It was another gorgeous day, and after they dried a bit, I groomed outside. The undercoat on the boys came off in comb-fulls! If that's any indication of the hot summer we are going to have, look out. I picked up handfuls of fuzz from the grass and put it on the fench for the birds to use in their nests.

Cosi (and Jenny) poses after being groomed. See the clumps of fur on the grass in the background?

Sweet Mike looking awesome after his comb-out.

Enough with the picture taking, Ma. I'm outta here.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Traveling With Dogs

Cosi's breeder, Mary Galloway, sent me this photo of Cosi and Riot when Cosi was a pup. Look at those loooong legs. LOL

If any of you are on the AGILEDOG list service, you've read about the agility competitor, Judy Shinogle, who was killed last weekend on her way to a trial. This accident has touched many people across the country. I remember when there was a similar accident--although, luckily, the driver lived--closer to home. It spurred me to take some precautions. I'd like to share some tips for traveling with your dogs.

Secure your dog in the vehicle in a crate or in a dog seat belt. A loose dog will suffer injury in case your vehicle tips or swerves.

Get your dog a "traveling" collar with his name and a phone number on it. I have an agility trial collar I always put on Cosi. There are no tags on it so he's safe with it in a crate. It has his name and my home phone number written on the collar.

Put contact information and a description as well as a recent photo of your dog in a plastic sleeve, and attach it to the dog's crate with zip ties. For example, I put my vet's name and number, my home phone number, my spouse's cell number, Cosi's breeder's name and number. In other words, anyone who could help in an emergency whether it's take care of the dog medically or take them in if need be.

My heart goes out to Judy's family. The blessing is that she was a person who touched others' lives, and she will be remembered always as someone who loved her dogs. That's a fitting tribute.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Continuing Education

I registered to take Susan Garrett's Contact Success course. It's a 12-week course on teaching contacts. I really enjoy her on-line courses, chock full of tips which create plenty of "Ah ha!" moments for me. I've gotten so much out of the Puppy Peaks class, and I'm sure the contacts course will do the same.

Last night in class my friend said she was going to start working her 2x2 weaves with her new Border Collie. How exciting! She had been doing some baby jumps, and is now ready to work in more obstacles. Then she said something that really got me: "I'm so afraid of messing up this dog." It's like she read my mind. I felt the same way when I first got Cosi. He has so much potential, could I bring out the best in him? What if I mess up?

A very wise person told me that we are sent the dogs we need. Perhaps my fear of failure brought me Cosi. I'm always worried that I'm not the best handler for him, that he would be World Team material with someone else. I'm working on turning that around to listening to the lessons he has to teach me. Brisco taught me so much, and Cosi is opening up whole new chapters for me. As those thoughts flashed through my mind, I said to my friend, "Don't worry. Listen to what she has to teach you." It's all a journey.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Down Day

We finally had a weekend with no trial. We had a perfect down day. We walked then later played in the yard on a gorgeous spring day. Tomorrow is practice and maybe some swimming. At last week's Monday/Tuesday trial we Q'd in standard (a first-place run) and in FAST. My training goal for the next few weeks is the "go" command. He needs to run ahead of me when I tell him to go. There is too much head-checking which leads to dropped bars. We are enjoying the down time!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gear Queen Purchase

In order to maintain my Gear Queen status, I must stay on top of the latest trends. To that end I purchased a collapsable wagon. I can now haul my gear bag, food bag, fan, mats, and crate to the site with no strain on my back. Behold my glorious red wagon:

It starts out like this and comes with a cover to help keep it together.

Then it opens and can carry up to 150 pounds!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Good News...Bad News

This weekend at the SSCGB trial, it was a case of good news/bad news every day.

Friday - Good News! In FAST Cosi and I got all 80 points WITH one second to spare! Awesome. It was a glorious run. Sorry, no video. I was by myself this weekend. Bad News - Jumpers was awful with Cosi going very wide and one off-course after another. Very deflating.

Saturday - Bad News - Standard was a very technical course. Hardly anyone was Q'ing, us included. Good News - We had a superb jumpers run and took third place! Sunday - Good News - Standard was a fun course, with multiple challenges. We ran brilliantly, but dropped the last bar. Jumpers - another wonderful run with only one bar down. Bad News - We had the winning time and would have been first. *sigh*

We'll get 'em next time!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Auntie Marilyn's Favorite

Is it his handsome good looks? His sweet temperment? Or his charming smile and expression? This winning combination has won many hearts over the past 8 years. Happy Birthday to Acadia One No Tump, "Mike," also known as Auntie Marilyn's Favorite.

Happy Birthday, my sweet Mike.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Boys Will Be Boys

Write the caption to this picture of Trax and Cosi:

Here's a hint: A female dog was walking past as we were trying to take pictures. LOL

Monday, April 23, 2012

A True Athlete

Cosi proved to me this past weekend that he is a true athlete. We were going for our second Standard leg of the weekend. If we snagged this Q, we would have our title and be able to move up a level to P2. The course seemed straight forward enough, but as I walked it, I took note of the hard left turn to the dog walk. I decided to be sure to decelerate at the previous jump and rotate my shoulders to indicate a tight turn. Cosi took the turn too quickly, and he lost his balance on the up ramp. It was quite a spectacular slip/fall, but--good news--he is 100 percent fine. No cut, scrapes, or limping of any kind. I'm always concerned that the edges of the contact equipment are sharp and can cut. I was also concerned that he may have bitten his tongue in the fall. I went to him, held him for a second to be sure he was ok and calm. I then asked the judge if I could put him back on the dog walk. He said yes, so Cosi and I did a fast dog walk (this told me he was ok mentally) and left the course. Here is the YouTube video of the run and fall.

What I like--if you can call it that--about this run is that it tells me Cosi is a true athlete in every sense of the word. He is mentally and physically ready to compete. I think all the work we do on the balance discs (the peanut, the donut, and the disc) really help him recover from a slide or slip. His stretches keep him supple. I was very proud of his trying to keep his balance, but even more proud of the fact that he got right back on the equipment with no hesitation. What a dog!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Trax is in da hous!

Heather and Trax were completely awesome this weekend at the USDAA Mid-Atlantic Regional. Here is what Trax's crate looked like by the end of the day on Saturday:

Cosi and I had a lot of runs, but my favorite was our Snooker run. I finally made it all the way through a snooker run, and Q'd! Here is the link to the YouTube video.

We also did well in Round 1 of performance speed jumping on Friday. We snagged a standard Q on Saturday, and got the snooker and pairs legs on Sunday.

Trax and Cosi--Brothers!--ran P1 pairs relay on Sunday. Heather and I anticipated this run, and it lived up to our expectations. Here is the link to the YouTube video of RyLadd brothers rockin' the pairs course!

On Saturday Karen, Heather, and I took a breather from the trial scene and took Riot (Trax's and Cosi's daddy), Trax and Cosi outside. It was a beautiful day, and we lined all the boys up for formal pictures. Then we let them play. I got a few pictures, and Heather was snapping away with her SLR camera.

from left to right...Cosworth, Riot, Trax

The boys take a photo break and play with Karen.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Dauphin

I only got in one day of the four-day Dauphin trial. Cosi and I ran on Sunday. Here's the day in a nutshell: four dropped bars. *sigh*

My focus this week is the fact that Anna will be here! Aurora is going to start her 2x2 weave training. I am so excited to see them both. Then USDAA NE Regionals are this coming weekend. How exciting. Things are looking up.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Oh, Hail, No!

Last night as I'm driving to our local retirement community to take the dogs for a walk, a wall of hail begins to come down. It was wild. Literally five feet behind me is a sunny day. Ahead of me are dark clouds and the moth-ball-sized hail is pinging off the car. I turned around and came home. I checked the car for damage. All I could find was slush on the windshield wipers.

Spring can be strange, eh?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Good Practice

At our practice tonight, I worked on a three-jump grid and deceleration exercises. At first the bars were dropping, then he caught onto the game and started to read my deceleration and turned perfectly. I love when his head is in the game.

No class this week, so I'm hoping tonight's practice will be enough before the runs on Sunday.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bad Decision

If I were a dog in training, you would have carried me off the course today. Let me explain...

I didn't make it into the local three-day trial at the end of April. I only made it into one day, so I thought I would "make up" the two missed runs with another trial this Easter weekend. It was held at a venue I have not visited with Cosi simply because of the footing. It is indoor/outdoor carpet. He is used to either dirt or sprint turf where he can dig in on a corner and get traction. I am embarrassed to say that our two runs today were horrible, and it was all my fault. He practically did a face-plant in standard; however, he Q'd. Then he dropped a bar in jumpers because he slipped on a turn. The good news is that I learned my lesson; the bad news is I let Cosi down. I should have known better. It was selfish to try and make up the opportunity to get a Q.

The only positive that came out of this trial was that he got his #10 Q in Excellent B standard, earning his MX title. And I promise no more runs on iffy footing. Only the best for my high-drive, tear and run boy. Sorry, Cos.

If you're brave enough to watch, click here to see the run on YouTube.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beautiful Walks


The dogs and I are enjoying beautiful walks on these spring evenings. The flowers in the formal gardens are so lovely, I had to pose the dogs and take a picture....and then someone walked past as I was snapping a photo (note the heads turning):

Monday, March 26, 2012

First USDAA Trial

Well, not the first first, but the first one where I wasn't working all day every day! I have no video as I was by myself at the trial. Maybe next time.

Cosi and I did well at the On Target agility trial on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday we Q'd in Gamblers (that's our third leg so we get to move up) and in Standard (our first leg). Then on Sunday we Q'd in Jumpers (first leg). All Q's were first place runs; but then I have to tell you that the classes were very small; and in one class I was the only P1 dog! I was very pleased with our teamwork, and the courses were fun. In the Performance Speed Jumping (Steeplechase) run, we were good, but I sent him in an off-course tunnel instead of over the A-frame, which disqualified the run. Bummer. And it was such a good course. I'm still kicking myself over that one. And Snooker...well...Beth, you know how I stink at this game! We dropped the second red bar and then he went over another jump and we got whistled off. Typical! LOL One of these years, I'll get the hang of that game. I may be 80, but I'm going to get it!

Friday, March 23, 2012

New Computer

During a super busy work week, I've had to install, update, and customize a new computer. I *think* I'm ready to go now, so here's what's happining this weekend.

Cosi and I will brave the elements (it is to rain all weekend) at a USDAA trial about an hour north of here. I entered P1 (Starters) everything--gamblers, standard, jumpers, snooker (!), performance speed jumping, and performance grand prix. We'll see how it goes. Keep your paws crossed for us.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Luck of the Irish...Part Deux

We had another great day today. We had a fabulous standard run with only one dropped bar. But it was a very technical course, and I was thrilled with our team work.

I found out that my friend Scott Miller and his awesome sheltie Trev got their MACH4 on Sunday. Wahoo!

In JWW we ran fast and clean and came in second!! What a great weekend!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Luck of the Irish!

We tapped into some Irish luck today and got our first QQ at the York County Dog Training Club trial in Palmyra. Wow! This is huge!

We took third in standard, behind two superb, fast dogs. They have running contacts; I make Cosi stop and do 2o2o. Thus there was a four second difference in our times. Note the four--count 'em, four--serpentines in this course! Here's the YouTube link to our standard run: Click here.

In the jumpers run there was a broad jump. Rats. When was the last time we trained that? About a month ago!? We Q'd and took first place--beating the same two dogs that beat us in standard! Un-be-lieve-able! Here's the YouTube link to our jumpers run: Click here.

As I watched the videos, I see his start line stay deteriorated today. I will be dilligent in correcting that tomorrow. Gotta watch that boy!

What a fabulous day. Memorable, to be sure.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Triggers

Susan Garrett's newsletter and today's post talked--at length!-- about incorporating triggers into your dog training. What interesting stuff! I love foundation work, and I found this information completely fascinating. I'm going to take the time to examine what triggers I have been using with Cosi to transfer the value of toys and treats to his work. I need to observe what we both do in response to certain triggers. What a neat learning experience.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

If Bad Things Come in 3's...

then I'm done.

#1 - I got home from work on Friday evening only to find that the kitchen phone decided to die. Some of numbers on the keypad wouldn't work. Tough to dial a number when you don't have 0-9.

#2 - My computer--which has been on it's last leg for about a year--decided to power down. I tried to boot it back up, and only through coaxing, praying, and computer CPR was I able to get it back.

#3 - I got an email today from a trial secretary saying I'm #89 on the wait list for a four-day trial I had entered in April. #89?! Really!? Might as well say, "Forgit it, kiddo. You ain't in."

I bought a new phone system with a base and two mobile handsets.

I ordered a new computer; it should be here next week.

I bought an external hard drive and backed up all my data.

I'm off to check the web sites of various agility venues to find a trial to replace the one in April.

...and it's only Saturday.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Trax!

A huge shout out to Heather and Trax on winning the 16" class in jumpers and getting a double Q at the trial in NJ this weekend. Wahoo!!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Knitting & Training Time

I've been taking some time to finish two knitting projects. First, I made some hats--one for a family member and others for a local charity. Once they were finished, I started on a pull-over sweater. Winter is when I love to knit as the days are short and it's dark by 5 p.m. We're having an early spring this year; it's been 60+ degrees F this week! It seems as though we skipped winter this year and went right to spring. No snow that stayed, just rain, rain, rain. And it always seemed to rain on agility class days. I lug Cosi's crate from the car to the building in the blasted rain every week.

I've been enjoying walking the dogs in the evening (it's starting to stay light even after 6 p.m.) wearing only a light jacket or sweatshirt. I had someone at work today ask me how much time in a week do I spend training my dogs. Other than the structured class time (1 hour) or practice time (2x a week for about 20 minutes a practice), I do a lot of "training" during our walks. It's a good time to teach directionals of left and right. Then I use the "out" command to get the dogs to move away from me if a car is coming towards us. I use "out" during FAST and Gamblers classes to get Cosi to move away from me and take obstacles.

How much time do *you* spend training your dog in a week?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Master FAST Title

Cosi and I got that last elusive Q in Excellent B FAST this weekend. That brings us to 10 Q's, which translates into a Master FAST title for RyLadd Spontaneous Combustion. Wahoo!

Saturday's standard course was very technical, so I looked at it as a training run. We had gorgeous contacts, and I was very proud that we only had one off course. I had a brain freeze during jumpers where I forgot to start my front cross. Cosi said, "While you're sleeping, I'm going to take this jump over here." No jumpers Q for us. Oh, well. We'll get 'em next time. I thoroughly enjoyed running with Cosi this weekend in the dirt. (Then when we got home today, guess which Shelties got baths and are now the most gorgeous dogs on the planet?)

Congrats to Trax on his Q's this weekend, turning in fabulous performances with Heather on the jumpers course on Saturday. You go, girl!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Trial Season

After being completly disappointed by Westminster this year (we talked so much about it in agilty class last night!), I doubt I'll watch more conformation. I guess I just don't "get" it.

On to better things! Cosi and I are headed for our first trial this holiday weekend. I'm eager to get back into the swing of things, see friends, and run and jump and bark. Keep your paws crossed for us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to my Sweetie. Thank you for all your support of me and my pursuit of agility excellence. Love you...

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Super Bowl

OK. Now that the football Super Bowl is over, it's time for the Super Bowl of dog conformation to take place. That's right. It's time for the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Gotta love an event that has a Sheltie on the front page of their web site.

I so enjoy watching this event every February. Not only is it well done on TV, it is also my chance to "breed shop." Here's the question: If you could have any dog, what would it be? As they read the breed standard and you see a gorgeous example of the breed in front of you, could you have this dog in your life? Fun game.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February

Here it is February first already. Our "down time" of January is gone. Tomorrow is Ground Hog Day, but I don't need a rodent to tell me we will have an early spring. Last night I walked the dogs in a fleece and jeans--it was 54 degrees F at 7 p.m. With this mild winter we are having, we should have spring by March!

I practice with Cosi yesterday, and we worked on contacts and jumping and turning. Jumping 180's and 270's is good practice for him. His left lead is his weak side. Anna reports continued success with Aurora's agility training. That is so exciting! I can't wait to see Anna and Aurora sturt their stuff in the agility ring. Cosi and I are gearing up for our first trial in two weeks. Keep your paws crossed for us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

iPad App

I haven't posted much lately as January is our time off. Last week in class a friend told me about the Agility iMap iPhone/iPad app. It allows you to map any course (all obstacles are icons) quickly with a drag and drop. You can then number the course. You can print it, email it as a photo or PDF, and keep it for reference. No more saving paper course maps from classes or trials! I was playing with it for hours on the iPad. F.U.N.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Trick

I've been shaping Cosi to "sit pretty" and we finally are at the point where I can stand back, away from him, and ask for the behavior. Here is our final product.

I have no way to "photoshop" Jenny out of the picture. She's a busybody and had to be in the picture. :)

I also took this picture of my sweet Cosi. This is what I see every morning when I go out the door to go to work. Some days it's really difficult to see that face and go. I long to stay.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, Cosi (and Trax)!

Cosi turns Big Boy 6 on Sunday. As a tribute to him, I've put together these photographs of the many activities we do together. Since Cosi is such an athlete and all round good sport, we have done a lot! Enjoy...

I tried to teach Cosi how to read a course map. It was easier to teach him the obstacles.

Cosi loves toys. Here is a small selection of his favorites.

Cosi plays hard and then sleeps hard. Here he is the evening of a trial. Those hotel beds are comfy.

Since we have access to a heated pool, Cosi gets his life vest on and off we go. It's not his favorite activity, but he does it for me.

Now here is what Cosi loves--lure coursing! He chases that plastic bag all over the field, following the line. Running as fast as he can is his favorite.

For the first three years, Cosi went to Camp at Coleen's every week. Here he socialized with other dogs, and--more importantly--got to run, run, run. Here he is waiting for me to throw his favorite ball, the Holey Roller.

Cosi's favorite obstacle on an agility course is the weave poles. The repetitive motion, the rush to beat me to the end, the joy of getting the reward all make for a fun experience. My eternal gratitude to Susan Garrett for designing two by two weave poles and training this obstacle with fun in mind.

I end with *my* favorite picture of Cosi. Photographer Roxanne Franklin took this portrait of my boy when he was two. He is the most handsome Sheltie on the planet. Love you, Cos. Happy Birthday.