Thursday, June 30, 2011


Okay so we bloggers were challenged to talk about volunteering so here goes. I feel like in our area, finding volunteers isn't a problem. I like both systems of signing up ahead of time (especially for the big jobs like scribe and timer) as well as having a board with blanks and letting people jump in when they have time. Most trials in our area do a combo of both and it seems to work really well. I got the chance to be a ring steward at a two ring, two judge trial not to0 long ago (we had one for each ring) and I really, really enjoyed it. Other than one person accusing me of not giving them their worker's dollars for two days (which was a big mix up as I was, he was just loosing them) it was a very pleasant experience and I would gladly do so again. I really got to put people's names to their faces and got to meet some people I didn't even know, but were just friends on FB. Everyone was very willing to pitch in if there was a hole and the doggy dollars were a very nice touch. Some of the trials in our area have a worker's raffle and I have won a variety of fun stuff including a NADAC hoop and a portrait sitting with a photographer. I have also been to very small trials in our area (mainly USDAA) where pretty much every competitor present had to pitch in and help, some more than others of course, but our USDAA is so small that we all pretty much work every class or have the option of being there till midnight. I really haven't seen the issues that maybe bigger clubs experience or bigger trials experience. I feel like I am young and I don't have any medical issues and I enjoy volunteering so I do. I don't think people should be made to feel guilty for not volunteering at all. For some, the trial is very serious and they need time to think and strategize and plan or tend to their dogs. For me, I need to be busy, I am always up and walking anyway so it is better for me to be using that nervous energy for something productive. My dogs don't take a ton of time to warm up and as long as I have walked the course 5 or 6 times, I am good to go. I enjoy working with others and learning about course building and even though I am not a morning person, will come super early to help get courses started. Just don't try carrying on a lengthy conversation with me if it is early:)

I have met those that are not suited to be volunteers at all. They are very nasty to others, they don't have patience with the newbies, and they seem to get on a God trip with whatever job they have been assigned. I always try to be nice to everyone because I was a newbie once and I probably wouldn't volunteer near as much as I do if I had had a bad experience. Heck, I have been doing agility for probably 10 years now and I still have trouble remembering how to set a USDAA double or at what height the table goes up or down in AKC. So I guess the big picture is don't make people feel guilty if they don't want to volunteer and if we who like to volunteer want to shoulder a big load and do alot of work, let us. I really enjoy helping so use me and abuse me. I will for sure let you know if I need a break or can't volunteer for whatever reason.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I'm so excited! (as sang by the pointer sisters)

Getting really excited to head up to Ann braue's three day agility camp!!!! I can't believe we leave a week from today. I can't wait to get some outside eyes and opinions on my baby. It's going to be hard, I am a perfectionist and I have an ego that tends to get in my way sometimes. I am wanting to go into this experience with a giant open mind and soak up everything like a sponge. I have been to a Karen Holick seminar before so I am excited to hear from Ann and Jennifer. Biggest issues we are having right now are collection and I look forward to learning how to take a dog that is super amped at a show and remind them that yes, they do know how to collect.

I will have to say, the other night in class, we really had the best class that we have had in months. Baby-D and I were just clicking and he was listening and I was trying some stuff and we were successful more than we weren't. I really feel like this was the first class where we were really in sync. Not sure why, courses were hard but doable, temperature was not horribly hot but not cool. Did get a little stress at then end as we ended with a hard weave pole entry so i quit while we were ahead. Wanted to end on a good note so had him do some dog walks as he LOVES alice's rubberized dog walk (WHEEEEEE).

Today is Baby-D's second birthday and it is hard to believe I have had him two years. It just seems like yesterday he was just a cuddly little bundle of fur. He is still my baby, still sleeps beside me, touching me, and still lays in my lap when we watch tv. He still has impulse control issues that we work on daily, and still is a lover of all people, dogs and things. Happy birthday baby-D, may there be many, many more!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

early mornings

I have been taking a work out class twice a week at (YIP) 6:00 am in the morning. For those who know me, I am NOT a morning person and I generally do not wake up till around lunch time. Most people just leave me alone till I start conversing with them or after I have had my moring diet coke. Well, the good news is because I am up, I am getting alot of training done with baby-D while it is still cool. Since I moved my equipment back, I can't do much more than a few small drills, but I can do lots of stuff with weaves. I have been doing lots of weave pole games to work on collection in and also entries with just sets of 4. Getting a mix of success and failure but the failure is good because it gives me a chance to let him know that he is wrong and then set him up for success. Today we worked on a hard pull back to an obstacle after the weaves, something we saw at the show and were not successful at. He did better for sure but does look at the off course option still. Guess we need to do some fast heel work around inviting obstacles like tunnels, maybe even some stay at my side work while we run around the course and no taking obstacles unless released work. I love this time with him though, all the discoveries of what he is lacking in or what he has down. They are like clay right now, turning into whatever you mold them into. Every show I have a list of things we did well and things we need to work on and the next few weeks till the next show are devoted to getting all of these things better. I do so much better when i have a goal to work towards or specific things to work on versus, oh just go out and train whatever. Can't wait for open practice this week to work on some accel/decel drills. Maybe I can get some videos made this time of what we are working on. Now, if I could just get out of bed on the days I don't work out and run:)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

learning experiences

Ah, my first three day trial with baby-D. I had gotten really use to just running two day trials with miller so this was my first time back at three days. I am really glad we did all three days though because Baby-D improved every day. Did we get a Q, nope, not a single one, even in FAST. I knew this would happen, seems to take an adjustment period each time we move up a level, even though we train at the top level we can in practice. Our biggest issue coming to this weekend was yet again, Deuce has kicked it into another gear so we are having huge collection issues, especially into the weaves. I truly believe he knows weave entries, just isn't getting collected enough to get in them at all. He is hitting second pole every time with this freaked out look on his face, like how did these get here? He is also still 50/50 on two jump lead out pushes. I refuse to give up on them though. He is going to get them or blow out my knees one or the other. I had opportunities to do rears into the openings with these set ups but chose to stay strong, make him collect and suffer the lose of Q if he didn't. Here are the positives and negatives for the weekend starting with the negatives and ending on the positives for a change:

Negatives: I can no longer leave baby-d in the hotel room while we eat. Bummed. Like getting my eat on. Even tried crating him with a peanut butter kong this time and still when we pulled up, could hear him in the parking lot. Had to get take out the other two days:( Hate to not get to go out with the group as agility is as much about the socialization of humans as it is of running of the dogs. Weave pole entries are 50/50 right now. He had some he blatantly didn't collect into and then he hit some at 100 MPH no problem. At least it gives me something to work on. Who knows what is going on other than he has kicked it up a notch and needs to figure out how to handle his speed. I am also having trouble in classes like FAST where I am racing to get points. It seems to send him over the edge and he starts shopping like a crazy man. He has to learn that we can both run balls to the wall and he can keep his head. Chalking this up to a baby dog issue that experience with take care of. He needs this skill for snooker, gamblers, and FAST. He gets the sends (well most of them) no prob, distance isn't a thing for this crazy dog. My timing, well, enough said:) Still seeing stress, especially when he misses weave pole entries and has to re do them. I do feel like at this point he needs to go back and get them. He seems to hate being wrong but I think that is a good thing. No video, need to remember to bring my camera!!!!!

Positives: Our runs got better as the weekend progressed. Much improvement. Feel like we are getting so close to gelling as team. I really like having three runs a day but really for this time wish FAST was at the end, not the beginning of the day. Weave pole entries were 50/50 this weekend and so were collection spots. He is staring to read lateral distance better as come with not continue forward. Need to work on accel/decel exercises. Need to trust my dog but doing better. Had the best jww run on sunday that left me so happy. Great crosses, great attention, fast, fast, fast, no reactive handling. I am very excited to have these problems even though I sometimes bitch. I have always wanted a fast aussie that has the skill set I desire and I think we are getting there, slowly but surely!!! His contacts are exactly where I want them right now. Driving to his position, no matter what, hanging on to his 2 on 2 off and waiting for release. Had one self release but he quickly stopped when he realized what he did. Couldn't hang on to one teeter, tried to bang it back down and reposition to the laughing crowd's amazement. Must stop using him for the bang game drill in beginner class. Was overall very happy with everything although a little sad as I am human. This makes the second (or third) show with no Qs in anything but I have to keep telling my self that it isn't about the qs right now, more about us getting together as a team. Still is hard when every other young dog right now is kicking ass in the Q department. Guessing we might be in Excellent A for a little while but making peace with that.

Next stop, Ann Braue's camp in Wisconsin for three days of agility goodness and then another three day show in July on sod indoors, yipee!!!!!

Monday, June 13, 2011


Haven't been back out to the agility field since my latest out break of poison ivy. I HATE poison ivy and never want to go back on steriods again. Well, after hearing that my vet mowed, decided to go out and see if I could practice with baby-D. The weather here lately has been so nice, high in the 70s, low humidity. Thought I'd better take advantage while I could. Sad to say that the field was 3/4 covered in poison ivy. I got the shivers just getting anywhere close to it. Tony and I went to look at sprays for PI and unfortunatley will have to wait till his unemployement situation settles before we can invest in the big guns. I have heard from several sources that it is super hard to kill anyway so really don't want to spend lots of money on something that might not work. Sad to say but have decided to bring my equipment back to the house and just do small drill work there. Going to miss my field for sure, especially wanting to work on collection issues. The good news is since I am teaching twice a week, I can use the all star field for practice alot more. Now to get the rest of the equipment from the field and get it rinsed with water to try and get rid of any oils that might be present on it. I think I will let tony handle this chore.

On another note, I ran another 5 K this weekend and shaved time off of my first time. My first time was 31.47 and I finished this one in 30.53 and actually got second place in my age division. I am so addicted!!!! Actually am going to try meal replacement and protein shakes (got some free samples) to see if I can get my weight down even more and am trying some pre-run supplementation. I also found a running program I would like to try but it again has 5 days of running so not sure how I am going to fit that into my busy schedule. I signed up for a work out class that my personal trainer is teaching in wamego for some cross training opportunities. It is only 20 bucks for 4 weeks so i am excited. The only drawback is that it is at 6 am:( I am NOT a morning person so this will be a huge battle of wills. I am hoping that that this will encourage me to go to be earlier and actually sleep. I would like to also run more in the morning as the temps get higher. I like running at night but always in the back of my mind fear people snatching me up. Plus when I run at night, I am up till 1 or later wide awake. So here is to turning over a new leaf of working out more, eating better still, and cross training. I know they all benefit my dog agility for sure.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

USDAA St. Louis

I really wish we had more USDAA in our area. I would seriously quit AKC and just do USDAA. I think I have said this before but I just prefer the courses and the games to any other venue. Went into this weekend needing two standard Qs for baby-Ds starters title. We had one of all the games so I entered him in a couple of runs a day plus steeplechase and grand prix. I know he is too young to do those hard courses but I feel like it is good experience for us to be with the big dogs, even if we have no hopes of a Q. I try to pick a few parts on the course to focus on instead of the big picture. I am happy to say that we picked up another snooker leg, another gambler's leg, and another standard leg. While I had hoped to get both standard legs so we could move up to advanced, it just wasn't to be. He knocked the first bar of the run after we had stayed till the bitter end to run standard. Oh well, wasn't meant to be so another show in starters. We can finish up the rest of his starter's titles I guess. Overall was SUPER happy with his contacts. He was driving to the bottom and I was releasing him as soon as his little feet hit the turf. The last run, after he knocked the bar, I decided to keep running but not release him and make him hold. He did, releasing on my okay and not my motion so I was very happy. For some odd reason, he seems to love the higher A-frame and did not slam into it once.

The funniest part of the whole weekend was in starter's standard on sunday. After the a-frame, the dogs had to come to a jump that was almost 180 degrees from the bottom of the a-frame. You had two options, you could come to the end of the a-frame and baby sit it (there was an off course tunnel down there too calling their names) and do an ugly rear to get them over the next two jumps into the weave poles OR you could trust their contacts and go get a nice front cross. Well, I had decided to the do the later and trust him. Well, he came down the a-frame and I guess expected me to be there, but instead of me, the judge was there watching his contact. He gave her the funniest look, like "you aren't my mom, where is my mom!!!!" The whole crowd was laughing at him scanning the course for me. He finally found me and released himself from the a-frame and we continued on the course.

Positives for the weekend: GREAT contacts. Speed into position on his part, no baby sitting them on my part. I am doing 110% better on running them like we run them in class. It's all about trust:) Not as much reactive handling, still some wide turns but we can tighten those. Did a threadle and a tight front cross in snooker to get two 7s. It was fun and I liked having him tight and then letting him loose to run full blast through the closing. He is certainly a distance dog, just need to learn how to get through the opening without him running wide open with wide turns. His turns on the flat were amazing, so much so that in grand prix when I said turn over, he just did a nice tight turn and no over but great turn. all i could do was smile and his beautiful turn!

Negatives for the weekend: Bars before tunnels are starting to come down regularlt. Starting to see a pattern here. Am no longer saying go tunnel when it is the obvious next obstacle. Will work on this for sure. Not getting collection anymore into the weave poles which is good and bad problem. Good that he is speeding up on the course, bad that he has forgotten his job of collecting into the entry. 2 jump lead outs where 50/50 again. One was really good and one where I did a moving front cross was crap. Apparently steeplechase is a not our thing, which is a bummer. I am hoping with time, this will change. I have had two times where this was our worst run of the weekend and not sure why. When I walked the course this weekend, it was very fun and very doable. I only saw one spot that I was concerned about it. We missed both sets of weave pole entries, had one wrong course and he ran past the a-frame. It was another the wheels fell off run. I hate those but he is a baby so we still have them. Seems to have to have one a weekend.

Have a show next weekend in AKC. Ready to get back on some excellent courses but really ready for some more USDAA. May have to travel down to TX or to CO for some shows, don't know if I can wait all summer for another one!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

puppy fever

We are getting a new puppy so i thought I would expound here as I am getting alot of curious questions. Am I crazy for adding yet another dog to our pack, yes. Is it too soon to add another puppy with Deuce just starting, yes and no. Two things, this is the last time this cross will happen so if I pass on this, there will not be another chance. This puppy will be my husband's newest agility prospect, not mine and Harley is 8 so it is perfect timing for him and yes, we are still pretty much in puppy mode from deuce. Will it be hard for me to keep my hands off of training his puppy, yes. I am a control freak and to let him do everything will quite frankly kill me but I have to try. We weren't very successful at sharing harley last time and that is why he runs so inconsistently and for the most part stayed stressed as our criteria is very different. I learned from a very good friend who also has a hubby that shares the same hobby as she that you have to just keep you mouth shut, let them make mistakes, and be there if they need you. The more you try and control the situation, the worse it will be. SO with that, if you see me walking around with a roll of duct tape for my mouth, you will know why. I do have to be fair to my hubby in that he as well as I have grown so much in our knowlege of dogs over the years of being in the sport of agility. We both started out as dog "owners" but not dog "people". We learned about feeding good nutrition, good vet care and good training and how that goes such a long way. He is bound and determined to teach a dog proper running contacts so I am going to support him and let him go down that journey. I prefer two on two off but he can always go back and teach that at a later date. I am going to have to trust him and let him have full control with this baby. Of course I will be there to guide him but I will be very careful to not exert my "well, if that was my dog". She will be our dog, don't worry, but I do want her to bond with tony more and to be "his" dog. Deuce is very much bonded to me and pretty much goes everywhere I go and does everything with me. He loves tony, will cuddle up with him at night on the couch but you can tell he is a momma's boy for sure. This is what I want for tony, a daddy's girl:) I will keep my blog updated as to when we know which puppy we are getting and try to post pictures. This is a another western hill's dog as i am very, very happy with deuce and with other western hill's puppies. Are we crazy, probably:)