Friday, November 30, 2007

We're back from the trial today!

Hi! We are back from the trial today. It was a very long day - up at 5:00 AM, left at 6:00, first run at 11:00 AM, second run at 3:30 PM and home at 6:30. Whew we are exhausted! But we had an absolute blast - can't wait to go back tomorrow, and then on to Lafayette on Sunday!

Our Standard run was first, tricky in a couple of spots, but some nice open flowing areas. Started with a single to a triple, with a quick turn to another single. On the quick turn to the last single - there were actually several off course ops - the weaves in front of the triple, the tire between the third single and the triple, and the aframe off to the side of the last single.

If handlers miscued anything they did at that triple, they most all had an off course. Some front crossed after the triple and had off courses to the tire, some tried to layer the tire and got off courses to the aframe. There sure weren't many Q's.

For our run, Mum decided to lead about 5 feet from the triple with feet pointed toward the next single. She led out almost to the triple and just felt that she was too far from me, so she released me and got in a front cross after the triple, but got her cross in with feet pointed in the right direction before I even got over the triple, so it was a great flow, and as tight as can be after a triple. She was very pleased with it.

I flew through the rest of the course. Took the teeter, then the tunnel under the dog walk, a single then the table. A little slow on my sit on the table ('cause Mum has always had me go straight down on the table and I got a little confused and we lost a second or two). Then it was back to the jump and up the dog walk with the tunnel discrimination, but I did it nicely. Mum swears I bailed my contact, but we got a gimme on that one and the judge didn't call it. Off to three jumps in an arc and up the frame, a little right to the chute, right to the weaves, then a tire, right to a single, then to the right to the tunnel, then off to two more jumps to the finish.

Mum said it was one of the best speeds I've had in all my runs. For a while we didn't think we Q'd because of the contact, but turned out we definitely got that gimme, Wow! Lucky are we!

Then it was three hours until my JWW run. By the time I ran it was more like 3:30 PM, nearly my dinner time. Mum didn't expect me to be too fast because it was really late in the day. But I was raring to go just like my first run in the AM. We did really well on the speed, Mum did a nice rear cross with me and bolted toward three jumps to help me with a tunnel entrance which we got. Weaves had pretty good speed, And a nice open flow to the finish with just one quick front cross. And we Q'd again!

We are just in shock - this is our 6th Double Q in a row, which means we've had 12 Q's in a row in three trials. Mum still is shaking her head over it. One thing I know is that we are really, really starting to click. My speed is increasing from trial to trial now. And instead of getting 15th place against those fast Ohio pups, we getting more in 5th to 7th place now, and it keeps increasing. Really cool time for us.

We drove home and the sun was going down, the sun was incredibly bright and Mum had trouble seeing, which scared the heck out of her because - well you know, we had that car accident about four months ago on the same road. She really needed her sunglasses but didn't have them with her! But we made it home safe and sound, got our dinner and now we are about to veg out on the couch with a nice movie!

AKC Agility Invitational starts tomorrow!

The 2007 AKC Agility Invitational gets underway tomorrow and continues Sunday as part of the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and the National Obedience Invitational in Long Beach, California, at the Long Beach Convention Center.

The AKC Agility Invitational will include all the top dogs ranked in agility events during the the year. The top five ranked agility dogs in each of the AKC recognized breeds will compete in this prestigious event. In addition, they competition is open to the top 3 international agility competitors identified in their respective countries. All international dogs will compete at the AKC required jump heights.

Click here for the running order, and here for results and more information!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Human relationships!

I just don't get human relationships, they seem so complicated. One day they are friends, and they may have been for years! Then one little thing happens, someone gets sensitive, one won't talk to the other, and, just like that they aren't friends anymore. They break up and the ole goodbye letter comes out.

The saddest part is that one person thought they were friends, but the other may not have every thought that and was just 'being nice.' Well, doesn't seem very nice to me, it's fake! What is up with that?

Luckily, Mum doesn't get into this kind of stuff very often, she's very matter of fact, says her mind, doesn't like gettin into the caddy stuff, she's not clicky or sensitive, doesn't 'hold on to things' and doesn't like to gossip; probably why she gets along a lot better with men 'cause most women just don't understand her.

Us dogs, we've got it right. We sniff each others butts, and find out all sorts of stuff about the other pup - what they ate, where they've been, if they're healthy and lots more. And smells never lie! Butt sniffing is kind of like a lie detector test, helping us make a much more informed decision about the other and how we'd like, or not like, to spend time.

Such behavior would not go over well in the human world, but in the canine community, it's standard operating procedure. But two-leggers, I'm tellin' ya, you would be much better off if you tried our method!

Getting in the zone!

With the trial coming up this weekend, and being off agility for about a month, we are so looking forward to getting out there and giving it all we've got this weekend.

One of the things that both Mum and I are pretty pleased with is our ability to 'get into the zone' before and during and after our run. No matter how late we get to the trial (oops!), no matter how many dogs are around the gate, no matter how close the quarters are on the way to the gate or in the crating area, no matter how much noise, confusion and, and, and...we most always just zone when it's time for our run.

Oh, I admit that there have been the occasional times where we've lost it, but it was primarily due to the fact that we didn't stick with our usual routine before our run. And, it made us feel off.

We see a lot of people utilizing different tactics to 'get into their zone.' Mum likes watching people and see how they do what we do. What Mum does is something that she learned a long time ago when she had to perform playing the flute in front of a huge audience. You just tune them out. Clear away all that is distracting in your mind, and totally focus on exactly the task at hand. That's what she says she does - just tunes everything out, except she, me and the course; getting there, running, after play and cooling down.

I know that's tough for a lot of people. Mum learned it very early in her life and has used this tactic in all types of situations - being interviewed on TV, giving a speech in front of hundreds of people, and making new client presentations.

The 'get in the zone' thing starts at the time Mum comes to get me at my crate. And it continues until after we've completed our run and cooled down with a walk around the trial site, a quick rub down and some stretching. Some folks don't understand our 'routine,' but now that we've been trialing awhile, they are getting to know our process more. Some folks used to get offended when we wouldn't stop and talk with them before or after a run. It's just we're in the 'zone.' Mum tries to be cognizant of others who are in their 'zone' and not bother them. And there are others who aren't really the 'zone' type.

What do we do between runs? Mum loves to watch the other teams run, learns a lot that way. Sometimes she lets me hang with her, especially if I don't have another run that day. But it gets pretty chaotic and not really a suitable place for me to hang much, so I go back with Gracie and hang with her in our crate. Sometimes Mum works the trial, works with Gracie on focus issues around where folks are trialing. Sometimes she tapes other folks runs, and sometimes she borrows her friends iphone (with great iphone accessories, btw) and checks her email or sends one to a friend to give them an update.

But one thing is for sure - we are so looking forward to 'getting in the zone' this weekend!

Dog classify photos in the same way humans do!

Seems I can love certain photos just as much as Mum, according to a researchers from the University of Vienna who performed a new study recently.

According to Science Daily:
Like us, our canine friends are able to form abstract concepts. Friederike Range and colleagues from the University of Vienna in Austria have shown for the first time that dogs can classify complex color photographs and place them into categories in the same way that humans do. And the dogs successfully demonstrate their learning through the use of computer automated touch-screens, eliminating potential human influence.
Read more about this study!

I have to say that after reading the article that we could have told them this was true, at least for Gracie. She has always picked out the pups on the TV and computer screen, and ignoring pretty much everything else!

(Credit: iStockphoto/Rami Ben Ami)

Massage!

You all know how much I love a good massage, especially after a long day at a trial. And I'm lucky that Mum obeys!

But unfortunately, and sadly for Mum, I can't reciprocate, even though my kittie brother Wiggy tries to give it a good shot. She'd love to get a massage once a week, but it's just not feasible. She did, however, find something interesting today. One of those cool Massage Chairs.

They say the experience of sitting in this chair is like hands rapidly tapping on your back, gentle rolling and alternating strokes, relieving spinal pressure, and kneading to work out knots and ease soreness. Now I know Mum could use that after an agility trial too!

Note: This is a sponsored post.

I've been a bad boy!

Yes, I have, I've been a bad boy. Mum and I have been so incredibly busy the last week or so with work, that we've barely been able to visit our friends in the blog-o-sphere! I hate that...I miss my friends!

We are super excited to take a few days off this weekend from our hectic work schedule to go and do our favorite thing - agility! Wish us luck, K?

But when we come back and get rolling again on the computer next week - we are catching up with everyone! And I sure hope you will forgive me!

Five pups in Rushville survive euthanasia attempt!

Oh, this is just the saddest thing...and hit really too close to home. The city animal shelter in Rushville, Indiana euthanizes animals. If that isn't sad enough, one of the pups was found in the carcass storage freezer on Friday, having survived her euthanasia attempt. And it seems she isn't the only one. One of the shelter employees blew the whistle on Friday, now a police investigation is underway.

After some medical care, Gabby, the pup, is safe and sound, staying with a foster family until she can be adopted. Read more about Gabby and the investigation. And thank you to the shelter employee for speaking up. I'm sure she is going to need a lot of support in the weeks to come.

This hit really close to home for us. Mum and I visited this very shelter back in the early Spring of 2006. It was before we found Gracie, and Mum and I were looking or a friend for me. The shelter had listed two border collie pups on Petfinder.com, so Mum and I went out to visit them. Turned out they were black lab pups and not right for us, so we left to search another day.

It's our bet that this happens a lot more throughout US shelters kill shelters than any of us could ever imagine. Good luck Gabby, we'll be routing for ya!

Organic and recycled - only the best for your pup this holiday season!

Be sure and stop on over to my Green Dog blog and check out all the organic and recycled gift ideas for your pup and pup lover.

There are organic toys, and treats (we pups have to be cautious with all the stuff coming from China), organic pup blankets and towels, recycled toys, healing stones, and even organic pup Christmas stockings!

Security!

Here in the neighborhood where we live, there have been some scary goings on! There's a man, who says he is a delivery man, that knocks on a homeowners door during the middle of the day. Then when the homeowner answers the door, he burst in and takes the people hostage, then robs or does really bad things to the women. Very scary! And Mum is pretty happy she's got a couple of good watch dogs right now.

We came across this blog the other day that we wanted to share with you - it's all about home security. The site has great info on everything from alarms, and safety tips around the house, to preventing back injuries, and all kinds of home security subjects. We bookmarked it!

And we're not opening the door for any delivery guy, they can just leave the package on the front step, while I bark at them! Grrrrr.....

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Therapy!

I think the work that therapy dogs is just amazing. We have a good friend, Spencer, who is a therapy dog. I'm just a little too high spirited for that kind of work now, Gracie too! But maybe in our later years it could be something that we could do. Mum thinks Gracie would especially be good at it.

There are two great stories in the news this week about therapy dogs. Combat veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center are being given extra therapy as they recover from their injuries, all in the form of a furry friend.

The dogs that bring the cheer are part of the Pal pet therapy program at Walter Reed. Having passed their CGC and going through a screening process, they are now full-fledged therapy companions to hundreds of combat veterans - and a shining light in their road to recovery. The ArmyTimes has the full story.

And on the other side of the country in LA at the UCLA Medical Center, Jamie Hosn, who spent three months in a coma and faced a dim prognosis, is now recovering and relying on an important therapist -- a chocolate lab named Kobe. Kobe helps her escape the 'hospital environment' and gives her hope and joy as she progresses. MSNBC has the full story.

For more information about therapy work for dogs, visit Therapy Dogs International, and DogPlay, who has an extensive listing of therapy dog organizations and websites by state, as well as on the national level.

More about loving' sports!

I've talked about my love for sports before. But Mum has always had a secret love for some sports, well lets say some sports teams. She is a big fan of the Indianapolis Colts of course. She worked for a company that sponsored the Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders when they first came to Indianapolis and was in charge of the sponsorship, so she got to meet a lot of the staff and players. Then when she lived in Dallas, and worked for the Texas Special Olympics she got to meet some of the players and coaches through their involvement with the organization. It was during the years of their back-to-back Super Bowl Wins.

And she's a Yankees fan. Why? Even she's not sure, maybe it's her love for New York. Whatever it is she loves watching their games whenever she can. One of her dreams is to go to Tampa for the Yankees Spring Training Schedule. All she needs are some New York Yankees Spring Training tickets. And she'd love to see them at Yankee Stadium - the home that Ruth built - before they move into their new stadium.

Wow, and I thought I'd been through a lot!

We were reading our doggie news today and found this - a pup in the UK that recently recovered from surgery to remove his the 40th pair of underpants he had eaten.

Taffy, the 18-month-old springer spaniel, has also eaten 300 socks, 15 pairs of shoes and a key fob to a car. It seems that this is the first time that Taffy had to have surgery, however, because all the other items passed through. A miracle, I would say.

I also have to say, what??? I bet cleaning up that poo was a colorful experience. I wonder if they had to get a second mortgage just to pay for all the extra undies. I sure hope they had insurance on the little guy. He should get a job cleaning up at a lingerie store.

Ok, now I'm just being silly. Because the reality is that bowel obstructions in pups are very serious matters - things can go seriously wrong very quickly. And the pups need immediate medical care if they begin to act like they are in pain, begin vomiting unusually, or have a poor appetite. Some pups have a runny stool.

For more information, the Merck Veterinary Handbook has great info on gastrointestinal obstructions. And make sure and puppy proof your house, K?

A little bit techie!

Yes, I'm just a little bit techie, probably enough to be dangerous, but definitely enough to get by in the World.

Mum and I love little gadgets - I like my clicker, the kitties love their lazer pointer, and Mum loves her SoniCare toothbrush. I guess these are gadgets, maybe not techie, but definitely gadgets. And Mum loves to give gadgets that fit with what her friends and family like and like to do. Here's a fun idea for the techie at heart!

It's a ultra-small, personalized hi-speed USB thumb drive. At first we thought, oh, just a another thumb drive. But personalized makes much more fun, and the best part is that you can order just one if you want, or more if you want. No minimum order, no set up fees. You pick the color, one of the standard logos or upload your own and that's it, in 1-3 business days you've got it in your hands.

You could give Personalized Flash Drives with all kinds of pup pictures on it, or you could upload a bunch of music to give to your music loving friend, you could even download a doggie ebook for your doggie friends!

The 12 Dogs of Christmas!

We thought you would enjoy these great 12 Dogs of Christmas gift ideas! From DVD's to books - it's dogs times 12!



12 Dogs of Christmas Paperback

Twelve Dogs of a Canine Christmas

Do you know the history of the 12 Days of Christmas? Seems there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding the famous song. Check out Snoops.com article for a great explanation of where it may or may not have originated.

The human bed!

I love my Mum's bed.

Nearly everyday Mum and I get up at 5:00 AM, work until about 11:00 AM and then we take a nap, because we are usually up until 11: PM. And we have to take a nap.

But the best part, is that I get to take that nap in my Mum's bed. It's soft, it's cuddly, it's big and it has my Mum in it. We get to cuddle. And she rubs my sore muscles until I fall soundly asleep. Sometimes in the sun, which is great this time of year when it's cold and windy outside.

Just before Mum adopted me, she got a new bed. One of those mattress and box springs that are real high. She loves it. But sadly mattresses don't last forever and she definitely kept the one she had before way, way too long.

I hope she gets one of those tempurpedic mattress sets next time she gets a bed. They have those for pups too, and they look like they would be so comfortable. They mold to your body, and support all the right places. Sounds like a little slice of heaven to me.

Wait a minute, what time is it? Oh, I thought so, it's time for our nap!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Street Dogs!


Traer Scott, the acclaimed author of 'Shelter Dogs,' has published a new book - a collection of mesmerizing black-and-white photographs of stray dogs she encountered in Puerto Rico and Mexico.

"Street Dogs" aims to draw attention to the needs of abandoned dogs. Most are former pets and are friendly and eager to reestablish human relations. Scott found these dogs working in tandem with rescue groups, and many have since been adopted by US families. Scott's fascination with shelter and stray dogs began when she rescued her first stray while on her honeymoon.

Learn more about Scott and her new book in an article recently published by the Christian Science Monitor.

Heirlooms!

Mum has one heirloom from her Grandmother, it's a wonderful old clock that sits on the mantel of our fireplace. It's an old one, a windup, and Mum loves and cherishes the clock, even though she doesn't wind it anymore - it has the most horrendous bong, and really interferes with Mum's phone conversations and makes me bark every hour. BOL!

Neither one of us is the type to keep a lot of things around - I have one toy I love (which Gracie destroyed the other day, grrrrr); and Mum has a few things around that she keeps from friends and family that she feels keeps her connected with them.

Our neighbors have an amazing Howard Miller grandfather clocks, that has been handed down through their family for generations. It has a beautiful bong to it, it almost sings. Of course I bark at that one too. Maybe a better clock for me would be one of those cuckoo clocks - they usually have birds that announce the time, and I really love birds. But I'm sure I would bark at that one, as well, but at least for a purpose!

Our neighbors, like Mum, really cherish their heirloom. Mum wonders occasionally, what will be the heirloom that she hands down? Will it be Mum's Grandmum's clock? Another clock? Or will it be something else that Mum has cherished over the years. Telling time is always a good thing to hand down to your descendants, that way they will always remember and think of you, hour, after hour, after hour.

DVR Alert: WTHR, Channel 13 in Indianapolis continues their investigation into puppy mills in Indiana!

WTHR, Channel 13 in Indianapolis aired a story last night investigating an Indiana Puppy Pipeline, visit their site for more information, and watch the video!

Their investigation continues tonight, November 27th at 11:00 PM, with an undercover story of dog auctions in Indiana.

For more information about puppy mills, read my previous post.

Keeping warm!

It can get pretty cold here in Indiana. Right now, we are still training outside (even though we are skipping this week because of a three day trial this coming weekend).

I have a nice fur coat coming in for the Winter, but it's kind of an effort for Mum to keep warm when we train outside, or even inside the barn.

Mum always has some nice fleece blankets on hand for my crate at trials. But she's been shopping around this week looking for clothes to keep her warmer. She ordered a nice down jacket this week and has been looking around for some nice fleece - hopefully some that doesn't pill or collect a whole bunch of doggie hair. She came across this site that she thought was interesting - Carefree Casuals, and really liked this fleece jacket. And seems they are offering free shipping on any order over $50 - and 30% off any three pullovers.

Of course the jackets must have pockets so Mum can keep my treats really close at hand, BOL!!!

A happy tail from the Virginia Puppy Mill seizure!

November was a big month for pup rescue in the Virginia area, as over 1100 pups were seized from a Virginia Puppy Mill, and sent to shelters all up and down the East Coast.

But thanks to hundreds of good Samaritans, the pups have been cleaned up, cared for and put up for adoption - and hundreds of other good Samaritans have welcomed many of them into their homes, forever.

The Washington Post has a great story about one of the pups. This is Barbara Grewe and Gerti. Gerti was adopted from the Montgomery County Humane Society, a shelter that took in over 160 of the Virginia Puppy Mill pups.

As with all rescues of this nature, both pup and their new adoptive families will have new, wonderful, and very challenging days ahead as both begin to adapt to their new living situations. These pups have never been socialized, or free from their cages. They have never seen a toy and don't know how to play. They have never walked on a leash and have no idea about potty training.

They will have a lot of adjusting ahead for them. We are very happy to hear that the shelters are taking these circumstances into consideration and helping potential adopters learn and be aware of the special needs of these pets - through training sessions, screening, and awareness.

These pups and their new families have a long road ahead of them - we wish them well and are sending lots of love their way.

Addicted to sports!

Yes, I'm addicted to sports, what guy isn't? I love agility, so wish my Mum would get me on sheep again, love playing ball, get high on a really good sprint race, and if I could, I'd probably even work on my golf swing.

So what is it about this addiction, why am I addicted to sports? Is it the competitiveness, the endorphin rush, the high I get after a good chase?

Many may attribute it to a working dogs need to have a job. And with the lack of the job I may have been born to do, I've turned my motivation toward sports. In this day and age, with the lack of real farm jobs, real work for dogs, many working dog breeds (and those with mixed working dog heritage) have turned their bred given desires toward dog sports. And many have gone happily.

Dogs with jobs are the happiest dogs on the planet. They have a purpose, fulfillment, exercise, and they know what they are supposed to do. Throughout history dogs have served man in an incredibly wide variety ways, from herding, guarding livestock, clearing out the vermin, to protecting man, assisting on the hunt, and much more. They were bred to do these jobs. But now, with the lack and need for dogs to perform such duties, dogs and owners have turned to the next best thing - sports that cater to their individual talents.

They've turned to sports like carting, schutzund, agility, flyball, disc dog, dock dog, earthdog, tracking, field trialing, lure coursing and much more. We applaud the two-leggers who conceived of the idea of satisfying the working dog, who now may be unable to work at their original bred born jobs, with satisfying sports that cater to our breeds characteristics. Without a job, or sport, many of us just wouldn't know what to do with ourselves. I know I wouldn't.

A quote...

"Old age means realizing you will never
own all the dogs you wanted to."

- Joe Gores

Finally someone just said what Mum has been thinking. For years, Mum had cats, and she really loves them. She had them because she traveled so much and it just wasn't fair to have a pup. But the year that she started working for home and realized that it may be a more permanent thing. She ran right out and found me.

Now, she's not only a cat lover, but she's a dog lover too. Many people said to Mum when she got me, 'I thought you were a cat lover.' Mum just responded, 'nope, I'm a animal lover!'

After a couple of years with me, she adopted Gracie. Now Mum isn't a hoarder by any means, but just loves having dogs. Loves the way we learn, loves teaching us, loves the differences in us, loves caring for us, and absolutely loves having fun with us. But often wonders if two is enough.

So when she found this quote, it really hit home. We bet many of you feel just the same way...

Monday, November 26, 2007

Johann, but you can call me JoJo (YoYo)!

Yes, I have an unusual name. I don't think Mum or any of our friends have ever heard of a dog named Johann. So how did I come to have this wonderful name bestowed upon me?

Mum loves classical music (if you hadn't guessed already). You see when she was young she played the flute, was pretty good at it too. And when she was to choose her profession in life, she chose playing the flute. We'll dream on little girl! To make any money in that line of show business, you have to either be a bad girl, a really gorgeous girl, or be incredibly lucky or know 'people'. At that time, Mum didn't have any of those things going for her - even though she is making me tell you she wasn't bad looking by any means. There you go Mum.

Since she loved classical music, she decided when she adopted Wolfie, my kittie brother, that he was going to be named Wolfie (short for Wolfgang, of Mozart fame). Well, then she adopted Wiggy, my other kittie brother. And decided to keep the trend, naming Wiggy, Wiggy (short for Ludwig, of Beethoven fame).

Then I came along as an addition to the family, and Mum had a tough time with my name. She did all kinds of searches on the Internet to find a nice male name of a composer. All she could come up with is Johann. She knew her friends would make fun of my name, and they did at first. But now no one can imagine me with any other name. I'm Johann. Well, people more and more are calling me JoJo (pronounced YoYo), which I think suits me just fine!

Dog names are important, so be sure and think them through carefully, K? And even more important are the dog breeds or mixed breeds that you choose. So please, consider both carefully and do your research - read, search on the Internet, ask friends and family, read articles - and be sure that the breed you choose fits with you and your lifestyle!

In honor of the biggest online shopping day of the year!

In honor of the biggest online shopping day of the year, I thought I would share with you some of my, and Gracie's, most favorite dog and dog lover gift ideas! And now we present...

My favs!

NozToNoz X-Series Soft Dog Crates


Affordable Agility's new "Travel Jump Set"


Good Boy!

Whole Dog Journal Magazine

Obtrack Skrylle Dog Coats

Grizzly Salmon Oil for Dogs

Sports Dog Gift Basket
Sports Dog Gift Basket

Grizzly NuTreats

Sheepy Octopus Tug



And now for Gracie's pics!



ToughChew™ Dog’s Nest ®-High Lofting Polyester Fill


Earthdog Hemp Adjustable Collars

Bark’n Boots™ by Ruff Wear

Bark’n Boots™ by Ruff Wear

Water Trapper Doormats

Dog Breed Keychain - 11 Breeds
Dog Breed Keychain - 11 Breeds

Dog Catcher Treat Jar
Dog Catcher Treat Jar

Multipet®
Santa Loofa Dog Toy

Christmas Henrietta Chicken Toy

Christmas Henrietta Chicken Toy

Control Unleashed

Warm Fleece Jacket

We hope you have a great day shopping online! And remember, you can find everything you would every want or need for your cool dog (and dog lover) at JohannTheDog.com - and 10% of our profits go to dog rescues and shelters!