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:

video

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.