Thursday, February 28, 2008

Who is my Mum?

Over the past year or so since we've been blogging on Blogger, many folks have asked to see a pic of my Mum. Who is your Mum, what does she look like, who types for you - inquiring minds want to know?

Well, she's pretty shy in reality - although most people think she's incredibly outgoing. But she hides her shyness really well - learned early in her marketing career that being shy wouldn't get her anywhere.

I'm crazy about my Mum, have been from day one. We are together every day, every hour, every minute - accept when she has to go shopping or to meetings. We're soul mates, fur sure!

So without further ado, this is the best pic of me, my Mum and my sis Gracie. A friend of ours took this pic at a Disc Dog event a year or so ago....Gracie and I are looking a bit serious, 'cause we were bored and wanted to go play some Frisbee! Let us go, Mum!

Thinking back to this day it was a special day - we got to see some great friends, and the weather was great! We are soooo wishing for good weather right now, even a stay in a Las Vegas hotel sounds appealing right now, at least it's warmer there. The weather has been miserable here - 10 degrees this morning, snow for about 3 out of 5 days, freezing rain expected again tonight - is there no end in sight? Where's Spring?

Oh and if you were wondering, Mum is wearing one of our Agility Rocks! sweatshirts...you too can get one of these soft, warm, comfy, all cotton sweatshirts and we'll donate 10% of the profits to dog rescue! While you're there, check out my other cool shirts!

Speaking of agility!

If you haven't visited our Squidoo Lens on Dog Agility lately we've been adding some new links, new books and DVD's, vids and more. We think you'll enjoy some of the new additions.

One of the new DVD's we've added is a new release from Clean Run:

How to Win at Gamblers and Snooker DVD
ALL NEW! Do you want to know how to play Gamblers and Snooker? Or maybe you are looking for ways to improve your distance work and obstacle discrimination skills for the standard classes? Learn from 13-time national champion Terry Smorch.


If you'd like to link to our Squidoo Lens on Dog Agility on your blog, we would, of course, love it! Here's a handy chicklet, or just blogroll us!

To keep everything organized, dvd's, cd's, old vcr agility tapes, and your tv and audio equipment - you may want to look into some cool audio racks!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Agility course maps!

We were over at Jake's blog today and he had a link to a great site we wanted to share! It's Kvarkin Kennel, Mia Laamanen's site. From Finland, she has been involved in agility since 1991 and responsible for organizing agility competitions since 1994. She became an agility judge in 1997 and has judged in 16 different countries and also judged the Agility World Championships 2006 in Basel, Switzerland.

Her site has loads of agility courses from all over the world - England, Finland, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Norway, Slovenia, and lots more. Worth checking out!

Timing!

Mum has decided to give me a couple of more weeks of rest on the muscle pull before going back to full practice mode. I'm still not up to par. I'm going to need some time to build myself back up - endurance and confidence. She's putting together a plan.

But she has already decided that when I get back into full training mode, she's going to start timing some of my obstacles and sequences to try some of the tips that Silvia gave us at the seminar and to see what gives me more speed.

Guess she'll have to invest in a stop watch or one a cool chronograph Seiko Watch to time me.

More from the Silvia Trkman seminar!

Mum and I were going through our notes from the Silvia Trkman seminar last night and wanted to post a few more things Silvia shared that we thought would be interesting to those agility dog/handler teams out there.

Remember that these are my and my Mum's interpretations, K? And there really isn't anything new here that you won't find on Silvia's great website! It's a mish/mash of items, but here we go...
  • One of the most important things a handler can do on a course is to let the dog know exactly where to go next, and let them know as early as absolutely possible. Example: once the dog is committed to an obstacle, signal the next right away.
  • Blind crosses are becoming more and more popular in Europe, especially Germany.
  • She says she is kind of unpopular in some of her handling - especially because she bends over and points a lot, and because she uses her opposite hand for an opposite turn. But she says it's very important to do whatever works for you and your dog, there shouldn't be a set standard of how you do things.
  • When planning your handling strategy always think about the smoothest and most logical path for your dog.
  • Start sequencing early in training - it's always about the sequence not the individual obstacle in a run.
  • Keep it fun for your dog; don't do the same sequence over and over; break things up, mix things up and make it more interesting.
  • Remember that sending a dog to an obstacle and stopping in the process of sending, gives the dog two different signals.
  • Don't get in your dog's path it just slows things down.
  • When training obstacles with speed, use a reward at the ends of your obstacle, or sequence far out - about 25 to 30 feet - to keep the speed going following and through the obstacle.
  • Train your pup for independence. If your dog is checking back and in with you, he/she isn't focused ahead and you will lose time.
  • Take your time in training obstacles (like the dog walk). Your results will be much more reliable. She recommends taking about 4 months when training with her running contact method.
  • When training the weaves, Silvia uses the channel method (to promote obstacle independence and speed), starting the channels out 3-4 feet. She continues to move the channels closer and closer (progressing just a little each time and not keeping them open at the same place for long at all), while at the same time training entries and proofing entries. By the time her dogs are weaving, they already know difficult entries.
  • She takes about 3-4 months to train a dog on the weaves; 2-3 times per week with 15 reps each. Once a dog has learned the weaves, she then continues to train then 2-3 times per week with 5 reps each session.
  • Using an S shape for a line to help a dog with entries will take up valuable time. If you train your dog obstacle independence, and entrance independence on all obstacles, you won't have to shape a line.
  • The very first thing she teaches and works on with her dogs, before any sequence or obstacle training, is teaching the dog to run with her, with restraints and rewards - speed is the reason.
  • Always try to get your dog to run full speed.
  • Do fast recalls.
  • Your dog will be faster if you run with them.
  • Confidence is key with any dog - correcting and redoing creates a lack of confidence - just keep going.
  • Refusals are sometimes a sign of a dog with a lack of confidence. (as I found out it can also mean the dog is hurting, just my thought on that).
  • Train your dog to be independent - not dependent and not a 'check-in' dog.
  • Redirect to another behavior from an undesired behavior.
  • Attitude in a dog is a very important part of speed - the more confident, the more speed.
  • Let your dog know they are always the best and they never do anything wrong - it builds confidence, keeps up speed and makes for a much happier dog.
  • Don't be cautious or have any hesitation, go for speed all the time, don't be afraid, take risks and go for it all the time.
  • Have fun, have fun, have fun!
Hope you enjoy!

Personalized address labels!

Since Mum is in marketing and she promotes me and my website a lot, she's always looking for ways to 'get the word' out. One of the ways is through personalized items like cheap address labels. She can customize them, put my pic on them, and send them out with our regular mail.

One day we had some personalized info on a trial entry envelope and the trial secretary saw it, they checked out our website and ended up buying one of our cool agility shirts. When we got to the trial they were wearing the shirt and we thought it was so much fun! All of us had a great time talking about the shirt, how they decided which one to buy, how fast the service was, what they thought of the quality - it was a great time to meet and talk with one of our customers in person - which we don't get to do very often.

VistaPrint has always offered a wide range of printing services for folks that like to market their wares like we do. They offer all kinds of promotional items, like postcards, address labels, stamps, magnets and lots more

Right now they are offering a discount - 75% off address labels if you use coupon code 'BlogAddress75' upon checkout. Whether you are promoting a business or just want to have some fun, try out these inexpensive personalized address labels.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Silvia Trkman seminar recap!

We're back from the Silvia Trkman seminar, and we had a blast! Our drive there on Thursday was uneventful, but our drive home was (as Mum calls it) terrifying! Cincinnati had a huge ice storm on the Thursday that we were there. It took us 45 minutes to get the two miles to our hotel from the training center that night.

The next morning we woke up at 3:00 AM to folks ice scraping their cars in the lot of the hotel. Then again at 3:30 AM, 4:00 AM, 4:30 AM and 5:00 AM - that's when we decided we probably wouldn't get much more sleep and got up for breakfast. Maybe next time we'll take some camping gear and just stay in the car! Then during the day on Friday there was another ice storm, then it turned to rain. Our drive home for the first 30 minutes was fine, but as we headed north it got snowy, the roads started getting slick, and it took us a total of four hours to make the two hour drive. Very scarrrryy!

We had to pick up Gracie way out in the country, so we took the back roads home from there, which was much less stressful. We are super grateful to be home safe and sound. After the accident last Summer, Mum worries huge amounts when we are in the car with her.

At the two day seminar, we met pups, from all over the country and their humans, learned a lot, got some great tips, and even a personal team/dog evaluation from Silvia.

We enjoyed Silvia, a lot. She's really nice and friendly, incredibly positive (like us), and she cared about each and every team. She gave lots of individual attention, and shared loads of her training info from pup to adult to high levels of competition. And we got to meet her pup, La!

I wasn't at all up to my usual speed and excitement for my runs. After being injured, I lacked a lot of confidence, and was very apprehensive and cautious on the flooring (horse stall matting, not my favorite). Mum ran me one run at my usual 16" on the first day, but put me down to 12" the rest of the seminar. She rubbed me a lot, and warmed me up and cooled me down. But I wasn't running well, AT ALL! Mum worried about me, but I'm really fine, just a little sore from running 4-5 runs each day. (I supposed it's pretty common that after you get injured at a trial, you'll be apprehensive and have less confidence when you first go back - something Mum and I will have to work on before our next trail).

There were teams from all over the country at the seminar, even though it was small with about 10 working dogs and 10 auditors. We met teams from Virginia, Ohio, Atlanta, Washington State, Illinois, New York and more. They were all fun, and hard working. Some were very experienced, some were trainers and some were judges. I think we were the most inexperienced team in the group, but we still felt very comfortable.

I want to note that whatever I share in my posts about the seminar is from my, and my Mum's, perspective. I'm sure that every team came away from the seminar with their own perspective - each team has different needs, challenges, goals, and training info that they wanted to learn more about. So...with that said...

One of the key bits of information Mum and I came away with is that Silvia (probably, like other Europeans) teach, train and compete differently than we do here in the US. Personally, I really liked their 'philosophy'. Here is some of what we picked up...
  • Have lots of fun and never slow down from the very beginning - speed (beyond safety) is the most important.
  • Build obstacle independence.
  • Don't worry about mistakes, just keep going and keep it fun (keeps the speed and confidence going).
  • Take your time learning obstacles and handling (don't be in a big 'ole hurry) - from pup to adult.
The courses that teams in Europe experience are much different than the ones we see here, I thought. They are more difficult, not as flowing (by any means), kind of jerky, have portions of courses where the obstacles are very far apart, and parts where the obstacles are so close together you can barely get through them, and they have really difficult weave and contact entrances. Because of this, running with me was very important for Mum during the two days.

This was something we expected. I'm pretty good on my difficult weave and contact entrances. But tight serpentines and treadles are not my strong suit, so we got a lot of practice on these during the two days of the seminar, and some tips to work on at home to make them more speedy and fun.

We spent most of the two days walking and running the (European style) courses (4-5 each day) with individual critiques of every run, which was great! Then after lunch there was about an hour or two when Silvia talked a lot about her methods, and it was a great opportunity to ask lots of questions and get interesting and informative answers.

There is really so much to share that we learned. Silvia is very open about sharing her training methods on her website, so I'm not going to reiterate, but just link to the locations on her site where she shares her info about these subjects.

We learned about her training philosophy, running contact training method, cik&cap turns, and training the teeter, weaves, and speed. Silvia uses the Channel Weave Method, BTW. Mum and I came away with some great ideas for our training going forward and for Gracie's.

Yesterday Mum spent a lot of time absorbing what we learned and how we'd like to apply what we learned to our training plan going forward.

Here is what Silvia said in my personal evaluation:
  • I can jump really, really tight.
  • Mum is pretty much in the right places at the right time for me and her handling is good.
  • My overall speed can be much better (she said I have loads of potential).
  • I'm sometimes hesitant because Mum is hesitant and not as confident as she could be, and if she's worried, so am I.
  • I'm worrying about the flooring and my footing, so I'm hesitant. (Some of this could have been on these days because of my injury....we'll see.)
  • Always concentrate on being fast, work all exercises with the goal of building speed. Reward for fast, more and often!
  • Work with me so that I look at the course more like it's just running, with things to run over and between - running full out as much as possible. I will enjoy it more if I'm able to run more full out.
  • My contacts are good and my weave poles are good (Earlier in the day she said one of my dog walks was really, really good! Yeah!)
  • She told Mum, not to worry too much, just go for it all the time! (Yeah, Mum!)
  • Mum needs to help me not worry about making a mistake and I need to just go for it too!
  • Make sure that I am always prepared and know where to go next, cuing as early as possible so I don't have to think. (Gee Mum, did Jen Pinder say the same thing? Yeah!) Perhaps look at the cik/cap method to help cue me more clearly and earlier on tight turns on jumps.
  • Work on letting me know at all times that going fast (full out) is a really good and fun thing!
Here's our plan to apply what we learned and agreed with going forward...
  • The first thing Mum and I need to concentrate on is building up my confidence after my injury. In a couple of weeks I should be fully recovered. So our plan is to do some sequencing and course running in an environment where I'm really comfortable (like the back yard or in a horse barn or on grass), then translating that to other environments like different floorings, unfamiliar places, etc.
  • Adjust our sequence training to only build speed using what Silvia recommended - using food (like a target for me, or a toy for others) as a reward far out at the end of the sequence. Example: In building weave speed and entrance difficulty, have a jump before and after the weaves in a wide variety of positions, run them like a sequence one way and then the other, both sides, driving to the target food about 5 or so yards out from the ends of the sequence. This will also build lots of confidence, which I'm lacking right now.
  • Work on building speed and confidence through serpentines, threadles, and pinwheels, with rewards out from the end, as well. Starting with distance between the obstacles and gradually putting them closer together to get the speed when they are tight. Help Mum be more confident with handling me through these more difficult sequences so I know exactly where I'm going.
  • Reward all times and anytime during a training session for good, full out speed!
  • Build speed with me just running with Mum, with restraint, and rewards at the end of a quick run. This will be great with Gracie too!
  • Continue to build obstacle independence and speed. Example: set rewards at both ends of the dog walk about 4 yards out (it's key that the rewards are out further than just near the last obstacle to continue the full out speed as much as possible), run the obstacle with Mum lateral, veering off in various directions, falling down, or even standing still, etc. So that I can do the obstacle at full speed no matter what's going on around me. This will also build lots of confidence.
  • Work on my teeter speed with the same process of rewarding 4 or so yards out. And perhaps even work on adjusting my tipping point.
None of this is really 'new stuff,' but what Mum and I came away with is an overall different view of how we train. Maybe it's something that our trainers have said to us times before, but what really sunk in to us from going to the seminar is that speed in training (for me) is everything right now. Duh! I should always be rewarded for speed, and when we say speed we mean as full out as possible - on obstacles, in sequences, and when I just need to run with Mum.

There was so much that we learned, so if you have any questions, and we can share some info that she gave us during the two days, leave a comment and we'll respond!

Here are a couple of my runs during the seminar, with a bit of critique from Silvia:

And here are some of the fun pups we met there as well. It was great that there were a variety of breeds there. We got to see some really fun runs! I'm sure I'll think of more things about the seminar to post about, but for now...

I wanted to thank Silvia for a great time and share our appreciation for her taking the time to come to the US to teach us and all the others at her seminars this year. We really appreciate it! And I'd like to thank the Queen City Dog Training Club for being incredible hosts and letting us attend the seminar. Mum and I felt very welcome, well fed, and we had a lot of fun!

Lunar eclipse!

The other night, Wednesday, Mum and I took in a bit of the lunar eclipse. It was pretty cool. A really clear night and we could see it from our living room window. Nice since it was about 10 degrees outside. Mum took a quick pic from our little digital camera - here's what we saw ...


After a little while it turned red kind of like this...this isn't Mum's pic, but you get the idea...

Pretty cool! Next total Lunar Eclipse? December 21, 2010, be sure and mark your calendars! Anyone else out howling at the Moon on Wednesday/Thursday?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

It's International Dog Biscuit Day!

Today is a day to celebrate! It's International Dog Biscuit Day!

To honor my friend the biscuit, we've put together some interesting stuff, here goes:

If you're not home and you see from your webcam that your pup is begging for a treat, here's a solution!


What's my favorite biscuit besides the ones my Mum makes?



Enjoy International Dog Biscuit Day!

Around the dog blog-o-sphere!

While we were gone the past couple of days there was a lot going on in the dog blog-o-sphere. We did some catching up and wanted to share some of these posts we found. Interesting stuff!
  • Taj MuttHall has a great vid of an (In)competent Border Collie - too fun!
  • If you have trouble getting your pup to 'like' nail trimming - the Training Journal for Devon and Jamie discovered a really great idea, check it out!
  • More from Taj MuttHall, info and a link to an article in National Geographic this month - Inside Animal Minds; they are smarter than you think!
  • AgilityJedi, one of our new blogging friends, posted a great article - What is a reactive dog? - interesting, and thought provoking.
  • Did you ever wonder how??? Who to brush your pups teeth, trim their nails, teach them a trick? Here's an interesting site to show you all kinds of things you may have been wondering about.
  • Good friend Charlie, and pack leader of the infamous Dogs With Blogs, has a rough go this past week...first thought was Kennel Cough, then seisures, turns out he has congestive heart failure. He's on meds now and doing well. Go and give good vibes, K?
  • Doolittler reminds us of the dangers of antifreeze...as an accident or as a poison bait.
  • The Animal Law Coalition published an article by Martha Leary in Wooster, OH. She was hired to temporarily take over a kill shelter. She quickly turned it to no-kill successfully, when her term was over, read the sad story of what happened to this once successful no-kill operation.
  • If you're still considering which candidate to vote for in the Presidential election, and want to see how they voted on animal issues affecting us pups, check out the Republicans and the Democrats at the Baltimore Sun's Mutt Blog.
  • If you've never met a Hamster, now is your chance! We have a great Hammie friend in Girl Girl, definitely a Hammie worth meeting.
  • Pet Monologues has a post about animal phones - if you need a chuckle today!
  • Cat agility is making the rounds through the US. Stop by this site if you like to know where you can see it in action at a pet expo near you! The site also has resources, training info and much more if you paw around a bit.
  • If you haven't seen Spencer's new movie, it's pretty fun and cool!
  • If you have pups and kitties, and have trouble keeping the pups out of the litter, see this post from the Dog Training Blog for a nice idea. Sadly this didn't work for my sis, Gracie, she just chewed the door apart, but it could work for your pup!
Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

And, we're off!

Checking my to do list...my bags are packed, so are Gracie's, and we are off for a couple of days! We won't be blogging, or checking email - it's just me and Mum and agility.

Mum and I are going to the Silvia Trkman seminar near Cincinnati; leaving tomorrow morning. We are doggone excited that we get to participate in this opportunity with Silvia. And we're looking forward to meeting Silvia's pup, La! (Learn more about La here, then click on About Us and La's pic!

My nails are trimmed, the fur cut from between my pads, teeth brushed (although we do that everyday), new treats are packed that Mum ordered from CleanRun, I'm brushed and looking good. Weather.com says the drive will be uneventful, although not so good for our drive home on Friday night. Hopefully that will change, Mum hates driving in bad weather. And we've got all our car safety measures in place!

Gracie is going to stay with a friend who has a Golden, and she is going to just have a blast. We're dropping her off tonight, since we're leaving really, really early in the morning. She'll just be exhausted when we pick her up! Our neighbor is looking after the house and taking care of Wolfie and Wiggy, the kitties. I'm sure W & W could use a little break from dogs for a couple of days.

My iliopsoas muscle pull is healing up very well. Been doing my treadmill, my stretching routines, and my 'back-end' strengthening exercises (which we are going to post about in the near future, good stuff for any performance dog). I'm back to doing zoomies with Gracie, every day and not feeling any effects, which is great. Got in a little jumping and weaving practice this past weekend and did well!

Mum has decided to let me lead the way on what I can handle and not handle at the seminar, because of my recent injury. It's going to be a couple of long (but, super fun) days - she's going to have me rest when tired, stretch me out a lot, rub me down between runs, rest me if I've had too much, and look for any subtle clues I give that I'm getting too sore. There will be so much to learn with me, without me, or by watching other pups.

We'll be taking lots of notes, hopefully vids and pics to share with all of you, pending Silvia's permission, of course! So check back on the weekend or first of next week for all the details.

Game time!

Since Mum and I are going to be gone for a couple of days and won't be blogging (no Internet access), we thought we would give you some fun while we're gone!

For you sheep herders out there - click here for a fun game!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Wednesday is Love Your Pet Day!

It's Love Your Pet Day this coming Wednesday! Everyday is love your pet day at our house, and I'm sure it is at yours, as well.

So, today, in honor of Love Your Pet Day, we thought we'd share an amazing flickr set that we found by Lori Tingey. She's a photographer with DC Studios in Las Vegas. And she loves animals. This is her 500 Interesting Set. Also check out her Crazy Cats set, Farm Dogs set, Chickens Gone Wild set, and her Goat Gazing set.


And, check out this site if you'd like to send an ecard to your friend .

Monday, February 18, 2008

Cat tells about her seminar experience with Silvia Trkman!

Cat stopped by today to let us know they attended Silvia Trkman's seminar in Keene, New Hampshire, with her pup, Tessie, over the weekend. She said she had a great time, learned a lot, and that we will really enjoy it.

Cat posted a recap, highlighting all the great tips and tricks she learned at the seminar and will soon have a video up from the event. Good stuff worthy of checking out.

FCI Agility World Championship comparison clips!

We were checking out the FCI Agility World Championship 2007 vids on Guy Blancke's site at Smooth Moves Agility the other day. Some interesting comparison vids, including:

Border Collie versus Papillon - (Exerpted from Best of 2007 DVD )
Fastest @ 1 is fastest a few L8ER?
Darn Shute Exit (with some tips)
Team Agility Small - (Exerpted from Best of 2007 DVD )
Individual Jumping Large - (Exerpted from Best of 2007 DVD )
30 second Course Building
Individual Jumping Small - (Exerpted from Best of 2007 DVD )
Team Jumping Large - (with Zen ?)

Most all of these are excerpted from the Best of the 2007 FCI Agility World Championships DVD that came out recently and that he narrated.

You can also see his vids from the 2006 FCI World's - including this one we found on YouTube.com of the fastest dog in the event in 2006, clocked at 11.6 MPH.

New camcorder!

Here it is...the new camcorder. We are so excited!

We've been using an Olympus Camedia digital camera (bought in 2004) for our videos-horrible quality since it's really a digital camera. But, now we can have such improved quality of our vids - so much so that maybe Mum can actually see how I'm doing out on the course!

We researched a lot before buying this one. It's a Sony DCR-SR62, has a 30G HD, 25x zoom, touchscreen, blah, blah, blah. We like the hard drive capabilities. It's very easy to use, plops right on the tripod, downloads right into our Adobe Premiere Elements software for editing (which also uploads straight to YouTube, BTW) with a USB, or we can burn right to a DVD, and we didn't have to buy anything in addition - no cables, no nothing. We bought it through Amazon, since Mum had a gift certificate. The price was pretty good to begin with and we got free shipping.

So we're pretty psyched. We're taking it to the Silvia Trkman seminar this coming week...and ask her permission to video some of the seminar.

Washable rugs!

Oh my gosh, I couldn't resist showing you these new Dog Friends Washable Rugs we found today from Orvis.com, one of our favorite stores for dog products. They are just too cute, Mum wants one, or two, or...

Their website says:

Terrific, hardworking mats with appealing canine motifs, these easy-care area rugs add charm to the porch, entryway, mud room, kitchen, or bath––anywhere you want a soft, absorbent cushion underfoot that stands up to active traffic and laundering without fraying or fading. Choose four friends, Ralphie and Lulu, doggie treats. 22" x 34". Washable.



Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gracie and I did some agility today!

Gracie and I got in a little agility training today, it was warmer and not too bad outside, yeah! And since we got our new camcorder, we were able to vid some of our training.

Gracie has been working on focus with Mum, weaves, and doing a bit of distance and rear crosses. This was a nice little run for Gracie to practice all those a bit. She did great on going ahead of Mum on a jump, this is new to her. And her rear crosses look good. Her weaves are coming along nicely, but she is still working her footing along with the speed she'd like to go. (If any of you have any thoughts on her footing in the weaves, feel free to comment - we'd love to hear your opinions).

I'm not practicing much agility since I'm still doing the last bit of rehab with my iliopsoas muscle pull. And I'm focusing more on tricks to build my core and backside. Tricks like beg, sit pretty, dance and crawl; and of course I'm working out on the treadmill.

But Mum and I wanted to see how I would do for the seminar with Silvia Trkman coming up this next week. I'm doing pretty well, jumping looks good, weaves are still a little slow, but I'm definitely coming along.

Mum has decided not to put me in a trial until probably the end of March, first of April, just so that I really get mended. Hope you enjoy!



Are you being green?

A lot of my pup friends decided at dawn of the New Year to make their life a little greener. We work to be as green as we can - maintaining an organic lawn, changing the light bulbs to ones that take less energy, unplugging the appliances when not in use, eating healthy, reusing bags, washing in cold, doing the dishes only when we have a full load and using more green products; stuff like that.

We were wondering how everypup was coming along with their New Year's resolutions to go green. What little and big things have you been doing to reduce your carbon pawprint? Let us know and we can share some tips with each other!

And if you need any ideas, be sure and check out my Raise A Green Dog blog!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Treadmill update!

I think I'm really getting the hang of this treadmill. Mum's upping the speed and length of time, and will gradually increase both of these as the days go by. Right now I'm up to 3 MPH for about 5 minutes with slower speeds on the front end and back end for warm up and cool down, and we do this several times a day.

Check out my latest!

A nice treat!

Since it's been cold and kinda boring around here, accept for my treadmill, of course; Mum decided to whip us up a nice little treat for my after workout and for Gracie's dessert!

Here it is!

Looks like glop you say? Yeah, but it tastes so good! It has yogurt, carrots (Gracie's fav), blueberries, banana and a little peanut butter.

All together now - YUMMMMMMYYYYY!!!!!!

Thanks Mum, makes our day a little brighter!

Our blogging friend, Khyra, says Mum should stuff our old marrow bones with this stuff and freeze. But it's been so cold, we think we'll wait on that until it gets a little warmer. Can you say 'brain freeze'! But we are really looking forward to them come Spring and Summer.

BTW - we are super behind on visiting with everyone - with my injury, my Grandmum's passing, my rehab and getting caught up with work. We're sorry, but hope we can catch up more this weekend.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Geese!

Geese amaze me! They always have, they always will. Maybe it's the herder in me, but I am always fascinated by them.

They fly over the house and I run from one side of the yard to the other trying to herd 'em in. I see them at the ponds around our house, sometimes hundreds of them, and I can't help but want to herd them. Mum thinks I'd make a pretty darn good geese away dog. And living here in the type of neighborhood I do, I'm sure there would be quite the call for my services, these folks really don't like all the Geese poo around.

My curiosity got the best of me and Wikipedia gave me some great information to satisfy my curiosity about these creatures. Here's what they have to say:
Goose (plural: geese) is the English name for a considerable number of birds, belonging to the family Anatidae. This family also includes swans, most of which are larger than geese, and ducks, which are smaller.

True geese are medium to large birds, always (with the exception of the Nēnē) associated to a greater or lesser extent with water. Most species in Europe, Asia and North America are strongly migratory as wild birds, breeding in the far north and wintering much farther south. However, escapes and introductions have led to resident feral populations of several species.

All geese eat a largely vegetarian diet, and can become pests when flocks feed on arable crops or inhabit ponds or grassy areas in urban environments. Geese usually mate for life, though a small number will "divorce" and remate. They tend to lay a smaller number of eggs than ducks but both parents protect the nest and young, which usually results in a higher survival rate for the young geese.

Not all couples are heterosexual, as both females and males will form long-term same-sex couples with greater or lesser frequency depending on species. Of the heterosexual couples, a significant proportion are non-breeding despite having an active sexual life.

The male goose is called a gander and the female is the goose; young birds before fledging are known as goslings. A group of geese on the ground is called a gaggle; when flying in formation, it is called a wedge or a skein.
Great stuff Wikipedia, thanks!

One of my and my Mum's favorite movies of all time is Winged Migration. If you have never seen the movie, visit the Winged Migration website where you can find the trailer, wallpaper and more info about this amazing piece of film. It was originally released in theaters in 2001. We saw it first on HBO in 2004 and have watched many times since then.

Here's a little clip from the movie...

The DVD and Original Soundtrack are both must haves if you like great music, great film, great documentaries. There is talk on the Internet that some of the 'migrating' was staged with trained birds and that some of the scenes were 'created.' Nevertheless, it's a spectacular piece of film making and one we will never forget.
















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Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

My commercial - Why Buy.com Rocks!

The nice folks at Buy.com asked me to do a commercial. And I have to say, that was an easy call on my part. Why? Because I have purchased all kinds of things from them in the past - from software, to dog agility gear, to toys and much more. This is why buy.com rocks!

They have all kinds of items for two and four-leggers, they have great prices, incredible price comparison shopping, it's convenient and online, saves me time and money, and they have great coupons for first time customers - what could be better! And they have a lot of other 'celebrities' pitching for them, from Ryan Seacrest to Howie Mandel!

So I hope you enjoy my little commercial - why buy.com rocks!

It's Pet Theft Awareness Day!

Today is not only Valentine's Day, but it's Pet Theft Awareness Day - a day to become more aware about the dangers of pet theft.

Pet Theft Awareness Day is sponsored by Last Chance for Animals, an organization founded in 1984 by Hollywood actor Chris DeRose. Last Chance For Animals has its roots in fighting and exposing the inherent cruelty of vivisection.

Nearly two million companion animals are stolen each year. Some are taken under false pretense through "free to a good home" ads, abducted from their yards, or are taken from humane shelters through a practice called pound seizure. These animals are then sold to research laboratories, dog-fighting rings, or puppy mills, where they are abused and often killed.

Be safe, take these precautions to protect your pup (courtesy of StolenPets.com):
  • Don't leave companion animals unattended in your yard. It only takes a minute for someone to steal your pet.
  • Don't allow your pet to be visible from the street.
  • Don't leave your dog tied up outside restaurants or stores.
  • Don't leave any animal unattended in your car, even if it is “just for a minute.”
  • Don't use “free to good home” ads to place companion animals. These ads are often answered by Class “B” dealers. Contact a rescue group for assistance in conducting your own adoption.
  • Do spay and neuter your companion animals. This reduces your animal’s desire to stray and reduces the risk of your companion animal being stolen for breeding purposes.
  • Do provide your companion animals with collars, ID tags, and licenses. Speak with your veterinarian about backup forms of identifications, including tattooing and microchipping.
  • Do keep recent photos and written descriptions of your companion animals on hand at all times.
  • Do keep dogs and cats indoors, especially when you’re not home.
  • Do know where your animals are at all times. Treat your companion animals as you would a small child.
  • Do educate family, friends, and neighbors about pet theft

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

CBS is looking for America's Top Dog! Deadline Feb. 15th!

If you've got the right stuff, better get your application into CBS quick. The deadline is February 15th!

Calling all talented dogs! CBS is looking for the most extraordinary teams of dogs and owners across the nation to compete for the title of "America's top dog." From purebreds to mutts, show dogs to stunt dogs, Pugs to Great Danes and agility dogs to dogs who dance the Tango - we want all types of talented canines. The winning team will walk away with bragging rights and a significant cash prize!

Click here for the application!

Learning the treadmill!

Mum did it. She got me a treadmill. Yes, you heard it right!

Since I need to do more endurance training in the winter than the yucky weather will allow. And since I need to walk more for my recovery from my iliopsoas muscle pull - Mum went out and got me a treadmill.

She says that she's gonna use it too, and Gracie, as well. But for now, it's mine, all mine!

The day we got it, Mum tried me out on it. First she had me get on it while it wasn't running, clicked and treated! Once I love that, she had me sit a few feet away from it and started it up. Clicked and treated. I was a little apprehensive about the noise - because I absolutely hate machines. But Mum felt pretty confident that I would get it, since I was great on the hydrotherapy machine (which is basically a treadmill underwater), and it was really noisy!

Once I felt OK with the noise and was getting used to it. It was time to try it out. Mum put me on it, then started it up - well, that was not a fun thing! I panicked a little, but I trust Mum. Once she turned it off, I jumped right back on.

Mum thought I'd cope better if she turned it on and then put me on - she knows what I like and don't like. That worked pretty well! She lured me with treats, and before you know it, I was liking it!

For the past two or so days I've been doing about 10 minutes intervals, several times a day, up to (so far) about 2.5 MPH; with slower warm ups and cool downs. We're gradually increasing the time and speed as we go and I get used to it more.

Gracie tried it out a little, and I have to say she was much more scared of it than I am. So Mum is working with her much more gradually to get used to it. Every dog is different and Mum knows what we can and can't do. Gracie is watching me do it, and she gets her dinner on the treadmill now. Every day, a couple of times a day, Mum and Gracie give it a go. Even though it's taking longer for Gracie, she's coming around and I'd say in a week or so, she'll be a pro, just like me. She is getting lots of clicks, praise, fun times and treats!

Here's a vid of my first time on the treadmill - this was the day we got it. Within about 10 minutes of seeing the thing for the first time, I was walking on it just like at the end of the clip.

Hope you enjoy!


A little R&R!

What do you do when it's 10 degrees outside? Take a lazy nap in the sun!


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tish and Cruella's one year anniversary of a life saving adventure!

Our incredible blogging friend Tish, over at ChattieKat, posted yesterday that it was one year last Friday since she saved her pup Cruella's life as she began to lay lifeless from choking on a hot dog. I was overwhelmed and incredibly scared when I read her story about that horrific night.

Tish had trained in CPR for two-leggers, but had not taken any classes on pet CPR, as yet. But she was able to transfer her knowledge from her two-legger class and help her pup, who I am very happy to say lived through the very scary episode. Tish, too, lived through the ordeal.

It wasn't until July that I learned of Tish and Cruella's frightening moment. But the minute I heard, I wanted to shout it from the rooftops - in the hopes that more two-leggers could learn from Tish and Cruella's experience.

Not long after that I put together a Squidoo lens on Canine CPR and on August 16th, just a day after I created it, this lens was named by the Squidoo team as Lens of the Day. I was really happy that Squidoo also felt the info was very important to share.

I'd like to encourage everyone reading here that it's so important to know first aid for your pup, basic, intermediate and advanced first aid techniques like CPR. Check with your local Red Cross Chapter for a wonderful overall course on first aid and sign up today, just like Tish did!

And thank you to all the bloggers out there that have reposted information about my CPR Squidoo lens! Getting the word out is important and I'm grateful to you. And if there are other doggie bloggers out there; feel free to share the info too!

This week is Have a Heart for Chained Dogs week!

This week is Have a Heart for Chained Dogs week here in the US. Sponsored by Dogs Deserve Better, this week is the week to shine the light on the sad and neglected life that chained dogs experience day in and day out.

Dogs should not have to live chained or penned as prisoners, yearning for a place in a family, craving acknowledgment, respect, and love. They deserve better, and we as caretakers have the obligation to provide it for them.

Dogs Deserve Better is a wonderful organization helping to free the chained dog. Their focus is on education, changing legislation and bringing more awareness to the sad life these pups lead.

Here are some tips DDB shares to help a chained dog in your city or neighborhood:
Start changing the way you and your community think about the chaining and penning of dogs today.




















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Sunday, February 10, 2008

DVR Alert! AKC Agility Invitational, tonight on Animal Planet!

The 2007 AKC Agility Invitational was held in conjunction with the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship and the National Obedience Invitational in Long Beach, California, last December 1-2, 2007.

Now's your chance to see them in action! Animal Planet will be broadcasting a taping of the event tonight! Follow the ups and downs, ins & outs, backs & forths and overs & unders of some of the world's best four-legged athletes as they attempt to conquer an obstacle course full of hoops, tunnels and weave poles at the AKC Agility Invitational.

The AKC Agility Invitational invited the top dogs ranked in agility events during the qualifying period (July 1, 2006 through June 30, 2007) and is based on the Top MACH Dog formula (Double Q's x 10 + MACH points earned during the qualifying period). The top five ranked agility dogs in each of the AKC recognized breeds were invited to attend this prestigious event. In addition, this competition was open to the top 3 international agility competitors identified in their respective countries. All international dogs competed at the AKC required jump heights.

Click here to view a list of the top five ranked dogs for each breed that received the initial invitation to the 2007 AKC Agility Invitational.

Check out the 12" class winner - wow, nice A-Frame!



DVR Alert! It's time for Westminster!

It's time for Westminster! The Westminster Kennel Club 132nd Annual Dog Show will be held on Monday and Tuesday, February 11-12, at Madison Square Garden in New York. 2,500 dogs in 169 breeds and varieties will be judged in seven different groups, duking it out for the chance to claim "Best in Show".

There are four new breeds eligible for the first time at Westminster in 2008: the Plott (Hound Group), the Tibetan Mastiff (Working), the Swedish Vallhund (Herding) and the Beauceron (Herding).

The Hound, Terrier, Non-Sporting, and Herding group competition will be televised live Monday on USA Network from 8-9PM ET and continuing on CNBC from 9-11PM ET. The Sporting, Working, Toy, and Best In Show competition will be televised live Tuesday on USA Network from 8-11PM ET. Don't miss it!



Thursday, February 07, 2008

Muscle pull update!

Lots of good folks have been asking how my recovery is going. Thanks all for all your good wishes, means a lot! And I'm not doing too bad I must say...

I visited with a soft tissue specialists on Tuesday. Shereen D. Farber, Ph.D., OTR, FAOTA, is her name. She has her Ph.D. in Comparative Anatomy and Neurobiology, has been working on two and four-leggers for years, has written several books and is a really nice person.

She worked on me for over an hour, all the time showing Mum what exercises and stretching she needs to do with me at home. Here's a vid of some of the specific exercises she gave Mum and me for my iliopsoas muscle.


Doc Farber really doesn't think I have a strain or tear now. I may have had a very slight tear three weeks ago when it happened. But she credited my Mum, and my Doc (Aunt) Bonnie for helping me recover to this point. Now she thinks I just have a very minor pull. And that I will most probably be able to do the Silvia Trkman seminar on the 20th and 21st that Mum and I are soooo looking forward to. I may have just a little restricted activity there and will not be able to overdo, but I'll be able to do a lot more than we thought a week ago.

She also indicated that I had some (I think she said) scar tissue build up in my left front shoulder from an old injury and that it was not moving and flexing properly. She worked on that spot a lot too and gave Mum exercises for that part of my body. It's very possible that I've been compensating for that shoulder for a long time - and that's why my neck hurts some. She also said that because of my structure - my bum slopes down a lot - that I will have to be very good about warming up more before any major activity. Because my bum slopes so, I don't 'stack' quite correctly, naturally; and don't extend my back legs like my sis Gracie does. And I may always have problems there if I don't pay strict attention.

Doc Farber told Mum that I should tell her what I want and do not want to do in the way of activity going forward - follow my lead so to speak; since I'm pretty in touch with what I can tolerate (accept on the agility course and when chasing birds, of course).

I wasn't feeling well the day before or the day that I visited with Doc Farber. My breath was smelling pretty bad, so Mum knew that I had a tummy ache. She thought it was from the Traumeel. So she took me off that and started using the cream instead. And she gave me some Acetylator (since we didn't have any yogurt in the fridge) and I felt a lot better.

But today is wonderful! Mum has been doing all the exercises with me three times a day. I had a really nice rest today...and this afternoon I am nearly acting all back to my normal self. Even did just a little zoomies with Gracie this afternoon.

So Mum and I are on the Internet tonight looking for a treadmill for me. Yep, you heard me a treadmill. The weather is so horrible with the rain, snow, cold, and wind that we just can't get in enough exercise. And I really need to keep up with my endurance training to keep fit for agility - especially in the cold.

We came across another good article for those of you interested in reading more about the iliopsoas muscle and injuries to that muscle in dogs:

One of the most common muscle injuries in a dog: By Daniel Beatty, DVM

Dog movies!

Winter is a great time for me and Gracie to catch up on some great dog movies. We love them! Some of our favs?

Good Boy!
Fluke
Eight Below
Homeward Bound
Underdog
My Dog Skip
Because of Winn-Dixie
Air Bud

Oh, my, just too many to list! If you'd like to check out all types of fun and education dog videos, check out my Squidoo lens - it's all dog movies, all the time!

Here's a great clip of the movie Fluke, set to To Be By Your Side, by Nick Cave from the movie Winged Migration.


And for a wonderful clip showcasing 112 Years of Dogs in Movies from ReelDogs, check this out!

Frevilla, Spain!

My good Twittering buddy, Freda, built a city in Spain recently, called Frevilla - through myminicity.com. I didn't know much about Spain, so I went Googleing of course.

We found out that Spain is a pretty cool place. And it has some really nice vacation spots, and places to live. We'd love visiting Costa Brava, the sandy beaches and hike the rocky terrain, the Mediterranean, and the mild climate.

Someday we wouldn't mind visiting some place where we could stay in Costa Brava Hotels, Costa Del Sol Hotels , Benidorm Hotels, Alicante Hotels, or Barcelona Las Ramblas Hotels.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

We're trying a new variety of Fromm's!

Since the beginning of last year, I have been eating a great food - Fromm's Four Star Chicken Ala Veg. Love the stuff.

We switched from another brand, because that brand was not agreeing with my sis Gracie. But there were major advantages for me, as well. I started building a lot more muscle mass, had more energy, my poo became smaller - it just agreed with me and my sis.

Well, lately Fromm's has come out with a new variety that Mum ordered for me and Gracie today, It's Surf & Turf and contains no grains, has a little more protein. We're pretty excited to try it out.

Here's the scoop from their website:

Fromm's Four Star Grain-Free Surf & Turf dog food formula contains a blend of fresh Wisconsin duck, wild salmon, chicken, hand-picked vegetables and fruit, eggs, and real Wisconsin cheese, In addition, this food includes a combination of Probiotics and Prebiotics to enhance the growth of beneficial bacteria, and inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria such as E Coli and Salmonella.

INGREDIENTS: Salmon, Duck Meal, Potatoes, Pea Flour, Sweet Potatoes, Duck, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Dried Tomato Pomace, Salmon Meal, Whole Dried Egg, Pea Protein, Chicken, Flaxseed, Cheese, Salmon Oil (preserved with mixed tocopherols), Chicken Broth, Carrots, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Apples, Green Beans, Lecithin, Chicken Cartilage, Potassium Chloride, Cranberries, Blueberries, Salt, Chicory Root Extract, Alfalfa Sprouts, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Folic Acid, Parsley, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Bifidobacterium Longum, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Enterococcous Faecium, Vitamin A, D3, E, B12 Supplements, Choline Bitartrate, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Riboflavin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Biotin, Zinc Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Cobalt Carbonate, Calcium Iodate, Sorbic Acid, Iron Proteinate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Sodium Selenite.

GUARANTEED ANALYSIS: Protein: 30% min.; Fat: 19% min.; Fiber: 3% max; Moisture: 10% max; Ash 6.5% max; Omega 6 Fatty Acids 3.2% Min; Omega 3 Fatty Acids 0.5% Min; Lactobacillus Acidophilus 100,000,000 CFU/lb Min; Bifidobacterium Longum 100,000,000 CFU/lb Min; Lactobacillus Plantarum 100,000,000 CFU/lb Min

If you'd like to try out Fromm Foods and treats, check these out!

Monday, February 04, 2008

No! No! No! No more!

Mum and I have had it. I am still not feeling well from the trial three weeks ago, three weeks!!! And Mum is getting really concerned. She hates seeing me in pain.

We called our Vet, but she's on vacation until the 14th. So Mum took me to see a friend of ours who does Reiki and massage on Saturday. It felt good, but I still hurt.

Mum called a soft tissue specialist this morning and we're waiting on a return call, we just can't let this go on, we need information.

Our friend thinks it's the iliopsoas (pronunciation: il-e-o-SO-us) muscle. So what does Mum do when we get home? Starts Googleing, and emailing a wonderful agility friend who has been doing agility for years. She found out that this iliopsoas muscle is a toughie. It's a key muscle for agility (which most are anyway), but that injuries are occurring with this muscle in agility dogs more frequently lately.

For those of you who don't know where this muscle is, here's a pic.

According to Deborah Saunders great article (link below)...
The iliopsoas muscle flexes the hip and the lumbar spine. This and the other sacropelvic muscles are subject to stressors induced by speed, endurance, strength, isometrics, and trauma. Any of these stressors can alter the biomechanics of the region and place the involved and surrounding musculature in a state of hypertonicity.
That sure would explain why my back hurt, my thigh hurts, why I don't want to extend my back legs during stretching, and I'm walking oddly. I am progressing because the pain is much more isolated now, which is good. And Mum is keeping up the stretching (not too much) and Traumeel.

What else did we read? That a minor pull would take min. 6 weeks of healing, a severe pull could take up to three months, a strain could take up to 6 months and a tear could take up to a year - all with daily physical therapy, perhaps light therapy, no jumping/weaving of course, no zoomies, no wrestling with my sis, leash walks only....all those most favorite things

Here are a couple of really good articles on the subject if you'd like to read up on the issue:

Questionable Hindlimb Lameness - Deborah Gross Saunders, MSPT, CCRP, Diplomate ABPTS (Orthopedics),Wizard of Paws Physical Rehabilitation for Animals, LLC, Colchester, Connecticut

Non-responsive Hind-limb Lameness in Agility Dogs: Iliopsoas Strains from Clean Run, March 2007- Sherman O. Canapp, Jr., D.V.M., M.S., Diplomate ACVS

The Dangers of Winter Injuries Resulting in Hip Flexor Strains - By Sherman O. Canapp Jr., DVM., MS., Diplomate ACVS & Debra A. Canapp DVM., CCRT (Available in the April 2008 issue of Clean Run

We still aren't certain that's what's going on. Hopefully we can get in soon and see the soft tissue specialist to get more answers, and figure out a plan of treatment.

Sad thing is that we had to pull out of the USDAA trial this coming weekend, and we have the Silvia Trkman seminar coming up on the 20th and 21st. This seminar is nearly a once in a lifetime op (well a dog's life anyway) and we most surely don't want to have to miss it. But of course my health comes first, so that's are concentration now.

But I have to tell ya...another injury is just about to make both Mum and I lose it! Every year of my three short years, it has been something big, no agility for up to six months, we are tired of it. We really miss agility when we can't do it - it's the most fun thing we do!

We'll keep you posted, and paws crossed for us, K?

Oh, and if you have any additional information on this injury especially in agility dogs, or have any knowledgeable persons that you think would be good for Mum to talk with or contact, leave a comment, K? We could use all the help we can get.