Friday, May 30, 2008

Agility trial playlist!

We're off to the agility trial in a couple of hours, but first we wanted to share this.

Mum started making playlists for our IPod and car CD player for when we go to agility trials. You know, something to get us in the mood for winning, confidence, focus, motivation and fun!

So here's our current playlist...

Tubthumping - Chumbawamba
What a Wonderful World - Louis Armstrong
Pride and Joy - Stevie Ray Vaughan
Night and Day - The Temptations
Wild, Wild Life - Talking Heads
It's Love - King's X
I Can See For Miles - The Who
Beautiful Stranger - Madonna
Learn to Fly - Foo Fighters
It's My Life - Bon Jovi
Too Marvelous for Words - Frank Sinatra
Question - Moody Blues
Hero - Chad Kroeger
The Best is Yet to Come - Nancy Wilson
Times Like These - Foo Fighters
Bring Me to Life - Evanescence
I Am A Rock - Simon and Garfunkel
The Good Life - Tony Bennett
Mama Told Me Not to Come - Sterophonics
Bridge over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
Thunderball - Tom Jones
With Arms Wide Open - Creed
Baba O'Riley - The Who
I've Got the World on a String - Peggy Lee
The Time of My Life - David Cook
Ride my See-Saw - Moody Blues
The Heart of the Matter - Antoine Dufour

One of our favorite places to download tracks and buy cd's is Buy.com. They have some great deals on music sometimes.

So, what songs do you listen to to get you going, motivate you, and get you in the winning mood?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Leaving in the morning for more agility fun!

We'll be leaving in the morning for a three day AKC trial near Dayton, Ohio! We're driving back and forth to actually save money. They will be long, fun days.

Our goals? Keep it fast, bolt the start, weave speedy! Q's? That would be super nice, but not the most important thing right now...

Gracie's going with us for moral support, she is the best cheerleader!

We'll report back as soon as we can. Hope you all have a terrific weekend.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I've been tagged!

My good friends Levi and Cooper tagged me!

So here's how the game goes. Each player that is tagged answers a set of questions about themselves. At the end of the blog entry, the player tags 4 or 5 other dogs to play. Then they post their names and go to their blogs and leave a comment, letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to come read your blog for the rules and quiz. After answering the questions, you then go back to the person who tagged you and let them know you posted your answered the quiz.

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?

Wow, 10 years ago, I wasn't even a sparkle in my Mum's eye! As a matter of fact I don't even think that Mum was a sparkle in GrandMum's eye, BOL!

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today (well since today is almost over, I'm gonna do tomorrow).

Wake up, do my business, and eat a hearty bfast.
Load up in the car for the ride to the agility trial
Run two runs in AKC - one standard and one jumpers with weaves
Hopefully Q in both!!!! (Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace)
Socialize with other pups, walk around the agility site, and I'll probably get a nice rub down after my runs
Load up in the car for the ride home
Have my well deserved dinner
Get the zoomies, chase Gracie, dog Wiggy and hit the sack for another night of agility dreams.

3) Snacks I enjoy:

Oh I love snacks (treats we call them around here). Some of my favs are homemade frosty paws (with blueberries, yogurt, banana, and peanut butter), Zukes Salmon Mini Naturals, and Lakse Kronch Salmon treats.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Oh wow, that would be so cool! First we would set up a Johann The Dog Foundation to help pups in need that are in shelters and rescues, it's always been our big dream. Then I'd get my Mum and I a big motor home so we could travel to agility trials in style and comfort (and air conditioning). And I'd like to get all five of us a really cool piece of land near the mountains and the beach with a really great little cabin; so we could hike to our hearts content, have our own agility practice field, and visit the beach anytime we wanted.

5) Three of my bad habits:

Herding birds is a really big bad habit of mine, although Mum lets me within reason. I do like to bark at folks walking by the house or coming to the door, but I don't do it too much and Mum likes the alarm system. I love to roll in yucky stuff, which Mum lets me do (she thinks I need to be a dog). So if Mum lets me, are they really bad habits? Hmmmmm....

6) Five places I have lived:

My first few weeks of life I lived on the streets, but I haven't told Mum where. Then I lived in a no-kill shelter for a few weeks before I was adopted by my Mum. Ever since then we've lived in the same house, same neighborhood - which we love. I have a pretty doggone good life!

7) Five jobs I have had:

Jobs are what I live for, for my sanity, I'm a working breed you know! So work is really play for me. First I'm Chief Dog at Johann The Dog, Inc., and have to make sure that Mum runs that business well with my dog store website, newsletter and other sites.

I also consider agility my job (play), as well as herding when I get the chance. Keeping Gracie and my kittie bros in line is one of my jobs around here. And I make sure I know where my Mum is at all times.

So I'm going to tag some pups that I've never tagged before!

Ricky
Tatum
Crikit
Fenway

We had practice today!

Gracie and I got to go to agility practice again today. Usually we have a private lesson for an hour on Thursday mornings, but since we have a three day trial this weekend, we moved to classes on Wednesday for those weeks we have 3-dayers.

I got to go first this weekend - take that Gracie!!! We worked on some sequences, no full courses. Our goal was to have more focus from Mum (she's been a bit spacey in running me lately), and her working me tighter, and of course, fast running, bolting the start line, and fast weaves.

And we accomplished all of them. Being in a class is really fun sometimes, all those dogs running before me get me all wound up. Nearly every sequence run, I bolted off the start line. Mum's been doing a couple of things for that. First, she leads out when I'm wound up and I'll bolt easily...secondly, if she has to run with me because there is a turn coming soon after the start, she stays with me in a running position, and then she says GO!!!! And it's working on the bolting start lines, fur sure!

She also kept running really fast and ahead of me while I'm in the weaves, getting ahead of me, and saying, Go, Go, Go... That worked really well again today, like it did last week. I think I may have done about 6 sets of weaves in that hour and they were all speedy.

I ran a bit wide a couple of times, so Mum worked on her timing to tighten me up. I'm not really liking her doing front cross now, so she's working hard to not even have me think that she's in my way when she has to do them....that's working too on keeping my speed up. And she's only doing them when she absolutely has to and is way ahead of me from a start line stay (for example).

Gracie had the second hour, with a whole new set of students...all early in training. Gracie can do some advanced stuff, but she still has that puppy in her, so it was good to have her in this class for another test of her focus. Only two times during the entire hour did she go and visit another dog or run off, and that was because her run was completed, and she was running out her last few jumps, with Mum way behind her saying, go, go go!. She came back to Mum nearly immediately when Mum called her back. Good girl!

She, again this week, had weave troubles. First she just walked past the weaves. Then they tried again and she pulled out at the 10th pole. One more time and she pulled out at 10, again. So Mum took her over to the other ring and tried the weaves with her there, with wire guides on the last two poles - she just jumped over them. Mum was having trouble figuring out why she's doing, and has been doing, this weird weave thing. Was she hurt?

So Mum and Gracie continued with the jump/contact/tunnel sequences they were doing, instead of doing weaves. Gracie had no signs of hurting and she was doing really well, but started to get incredibly unfocused after about 20 minutes into the hour - she was sniffing, blowing by jumps, ignoring Mum. She finally did the sequence, and when Mum took her back to their spot to give her her treats, Gracie started nosing Mum for more treats. Well, that didn't sit too well with Mum, and for the first time in about ever, Mum told Gracie, a firm, no. Gracie looked at Mum like, what was that? I haven't heard you say that forever! After that, she started taking Mum more seriously.

For those of you who don't know, Gracie is a rescue, and grew up in a pack of 70 dogs. She is incredibly sweet, fun, and the nicest pup you could ever meet. How she got that way after growing up the way she did, we'll never know.

But Gracie has another side, she can be incredibly stubborn - and loves to blow Mum off any chance she can get. Mum works with very positive training methods, and redirects unwanted behaviors at all times with Gracie, because Gracie can get very stressed out, very easily, and can really hide what she's feeling - many have had a hard time trying to figure out what Gracie is feeling. This work has really helped them form an incredible bond. But Gracie sometimes takes advantage, and she did that in rare form today. So just that little, firm, no, got Gracie's attention, big time!

A side note, Mum doesn't use the word no, like ever! And there are several reasons for that. One, Mum calls me JoJo (pronounced, YoYo), and she doesn't want to use 'no' and confuse me. Secondly, if she said no to me, I'd roll over and give her my belly, it upsets me so much (I'm, very sensitive), and thirdly, she always redirects our 'bad' behavior, keeping with the positive approach. It really works for us and we like our life that way. For more serious matters, sometimes she'll use the uh, uh. It works, but even that doesn't happen very often.

So after Gracie got a firm no, she was focused, ran great, ran ahead of Mum (even to the correct obstacles!). And she wasn't stressed. So Mum thought, she would see if Gracie would try the weaves again. Mum had Gracie run an easy little course, with a tunnel, jump and weaves. Doggone it if she didn't do them perfectly. And the she did them perfectly, again, and again, and again....

So Mum and Gracie have some thinking to do...the positive/redirect training has been great for Gracie over this time, and they are going to keep it up. And Mum and Gracie are really beginning to finally understand one another...Mum is getting to know when she's getting stressed now, when she's having the time of her life on course, and when she's just blowing her off. This will help tremendously in their further agility training.

Gracie has always been a happy dog with us. But it's taken a long, long time for Gracie to settle into being a real part of our family - knowing us, loving us, trusting us, and letting us know what she's feeling. And Mum and Gracie have worked really hard to get there. Today has been a big step to get even further.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Kate and Gin make it through to the finals of Britain's Got Talent!

Kate and Gin wowed 'em enough in the Semi-Final of Britain's Got Talent to make it into the Finals this Saturday night. From their website...

Signature was voted through to the final on public vote alone. It was then up to the judges to pick between the two acts which have gained the next highest amounts of votes. Those acts are Kate & Gin and Dean Wilson. Here is the final results show!

Piers gives his verdict first. "When I said this is going to be tough, this is what I meant. The act I want to see in Saturday's final is Dean. Simon says, "I like originality and I love animals. It goes to Kate and Gin. Amanda is torn, but eventually says, "I'm not going to break two hearts, I'm putting through Kate and Gin".

Therefore, Kate and Gin, as well as Signature, progress through to the final on Saturday night.

Go Kate and Gin!!!!!

Monday, May 26, 2008

This Memorial Day we honor the dogs of war!

This is USMC Sargeant Stubby, hero and veteran of WWI, and perhaps the most decorated War Dog in history.

In 1916, the United States was deep in a conflict that changed the world. A time of innocence and idealism would collapse in the face of WWI. As areas of sporting events, education and otherwise peaceful intentions were pressed into service by the military, a group of students participated in military training in Yale Field and were joined by a charming, happy Bull Terrier, one we would quickly identify as a Pit Bull today.

Stubby, as he came to be known for his chunky body and good sense of humor, was an endearing mascot and treasured companion, so when the young men were reassigned to Newport News for final training before deployment, they couldn't abandon him.

It is difficult to say how many soldiers returned home due to Stubby's alerts over gas attacks (he could smell the gas in time for the soldiers to get their masks on) or when he identified and captured (by the seat of his pants, no less) a German spy.

In 1926, after a life worthy of several movies, Stubby died. His remains were preserved and are still maintained (along with his "uniform" made by the French ladies and his medals) by the Smithsonian Institution of Washington, DC.

And this is Chips, the most decorated war dog from World War II.

Chips, a German Shepherd, Collie, Husky mix was donated by Edward J. Wren of Pleasantville, New York, was trained at Front Royal, Virginia in 1942, and was among the dogs to be shipped overseas. He was assigned to the 3d Infantry Division and served with that unit in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, France and Germany.

His assignments included sentry duty at the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in Casablanca in January 1943. Although trained as a sentry dog, Chips was reported on one occasion by members of Company I, 30th Infantry Regiment, to have broken away from his handler and attacked a pillbox containing an enemy machine gun crew in Sicily. He seized one man and forced the entire crew to surrender. He was also credited by the units to which he was assigned as having been directly responsible for capture of numerous enemy by alerting to their presence.

In recognition of his service Chips was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart, both were sadly later revoked, because of the impression it may give to soldiers. In 1993 Disney produced a TV movie about Chips called "Chips the War Dog".

These are just two of the thousands of dogs that have given their lives to military service over the years. This Memorial Day, we honor our brave brothers and sisters who valiantly served their countries.

Read and learn more about the wonderful work and lives of military dogs throughout history, through my Squidoo Lens - The Dogs of War.

There are several sites dedicated to our canine military heroes, including:

A Tribute to the War Dogs of the US Military
WarDogs.com
The United States War Dog Association

And watch this interesting video with rare footage and pictures of War Dogs throughout history.

If you would like to read more about the dogs of war, there are some great books available:



A Dog Among Diplomats!

More Summer reading ideas for dog lovers...

A Dog among Diplomats
by J. F. Englert

He reads Proust. Surfs the net. Is the soul of diplomacy.
And when it comes to solving crime,
Randolph is the dog for the job.

Poetry-loving, bon vivant dog detective Randolf returns (after A Dog About Town) for another installment of the Bull Moose Dog Run mysteries.

Imogen-mistress of Randolf, heiress of a mining fortune and partner to artist Harry, has disappeared, upsetting Randolf and Harry alike. Detective Peter Davis informs Harry that Imogen has been implicated in the murder of a foreign diplomat, whose body is discovered at one of Manhattan's last boarding houses in red heart-laden boxer shorts, with an open parachute on his back and pictures of a scantily clad Imogen by his side.

To find out more, Labrador Randolf goes undercover at the U.N. as therapy dog to a diplomat with the blues and keeps Harry in the loop by various ingenious methods. Englert's droll mix of mystery, philosophical musing about man and beast, political doings at the U.N. and the mysteries of love make this an elegant, funny and inspiring romp in the park.


We were fortunate enough to have Randolph send us his first book, 'A Dog About Town', and we really liked it. But we have to say that Randolph has outdone himself with this new book 'A Dog Among Diplomats.' It's even funnier and smarter than the first book, and is a real page turner. Way to go Randolph!

Cannes goes to the dogs!

The contribution of dogs to film is being recognized Internationally, with the addition of The Palm Dog award, presented at Cannes. This year marks the 8th year the award has been presented at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

Past winners include Mops, Marie Antoinette's dog in Sophia Coppola's 'Marie Antoinette' in 2006, and Bruno in the 2005 Mongolian film "The Cave of the Yellow Dog".

This year's winner is a mutt named Lucy, whose owner gets arrested for stealing dog food while on a road trip to Alaska in the film 'Wendy and Lucy' by Kelly Reichardt.

"The film's got everything -- dog food, the dog pound and the dogged determination of a down and out," said Rose, a journalist who every year is joined by leading British film critics at Cannes to pick the best screen mutt.

Check out this vid of the history of the Palm Dog award!

Banks have gone to the dogs!

We were watching the tube the other night and saw an interesting commercial for WaMu. They bill themselves as the bank with a difference - informal, friendly and fun.

Their commercial shows a tough guy that seems to have over drafted his account. But with WaMu free checking he has auto overdraft and consequently has no worries! This tough guys idea of no worries is....we'll watch the vid and you'll see!
WaMu has many services that we they say are different than other banks, including free checking, overdraft services, Savings Accounts, online banking services, credit cards, investment services and for small business bankers like me and Mum, they have some free services for small businesses as well. No more nickel and diming on those business accounts.

Pups are becoming very popular for advertising services other than thosefor pets. Take the famous beer commercials, or the infamous VW commercial featuring the quivering JR. Dogs are taking over the advertising world and pitching everything from network services, Gatorade, and tires to tacos and soft drinks.

So, tell us, what's your favorite commercial featuring dogs? Check and see if it's on YouTube and add the link in the comments, we'd love to see it!

Gidget and the Sex in the City gals!

Unless you've been living in a doggie den, you've no doubt heard about the new Sex In The City movie opening in theaters in a few days.

Along with Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda, there's another girl hitting the New York streets with the Sex in the City gals. It's Gidget, a star in her own right. Gidget plays Samantha's pup in the movie, and some say steals the show!

Here she is with Kim Cattrall doing a scene from the movie on Rodeo Drive - raw footage alert.

Gidget has been acting with a wide variety of stars. Check out some of her work!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines!

Green Dog logo ideas!

We were checking out an interesting logo creation site that helps you create a really fun and easy logo design that you can use for any purpose - business, non-profit, personal, and even for blogs.

Creating the logo and subsequent business card were pretty easy. You can choose from a wide variety of clip art, and fonts, select your color, resize and more. It makes it very easy to brand all your marketing materials.

We created this one as a test for our Raise A Green Dog Blog, and I think it came out pretty well!

Geese away!

I so want to do this! Working with my Mum, and herding geese at golf courses, sounds like a great job for a herding breed like me.

I think if I learned a few herding techniques, I just may be pretty good at this. With a nice life insurance quote, I could be good to go, 'cause some geese can be pretty nasty. Add to that, there are about five golf courses within 20 minutes of our home. And there are no geese away dogs around here.

Don't you think it looks like fun!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Blooms everywhere!

It's a great time of year in our backyard garden, lots of plants are blooming. We wanted to share some of them with you!

This is Mum's favorite shrub, a white bridal wreath spirea...

Here I am running near the purple phlox, and another one of Mum's favorites on the left, the Candytuft...


And this is our clematis, it's the first year it's bloomed and Mum paid attention this year to train it up the fence. It should look great come summer...


Mum and her other dog friends love gardening. Which makes me wonder...do dogs and gardening go together?

Mum's favorite movies!

Warning, warning: This is not dog related!

We are super excited about a new movie coming out from M. Night Shyamalan, entitled "The Happening." He is one of Mum's all time favorite movie writers/directors. We love curling up on the couch, watching Signs, and The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable.

Well, he's back! The Happening will be in theaters on June 13th! Check this out...

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Agility practice today!

Gracie and I had agility practice this morning. Bright and early, a very nice weather day to run agility.

Mum started with Gracie again, doggone it! Why does she do this to me, I can't stand when Gracie gets to go first. And I make sure everyone knows it. You can hear me barking and whining all the way over to the pig farm a mile away from our practice field. (Oh, and dog did those pigs smell good today, whew!)

Gracie did really well, she's even getting some distance from Mum on jumps. She made all her contacts today (Mum led out so it would help her some). She was a bit unfocused at times, especially coming out of tunnels. So Mum needs to get her attention more there. But then she went to the weaves and wouldn't do them - just like she wouldn't do them in our back yard the other day. Mum and Gracie tried a few more times and our trainer couldn't believe Gracie was missing her weaves either and thought that maybe she was hurting some and that's why she didn't want to weave.

So Mum and our trainer rubbed her a little, found a little tender spot on her back, rubbed some more, and tried the weaves again. This time she did them just like the pro weaver that she is. They finished off on a really great note and then it was my turn.

We decided to work on tightening me up on everything. I can get really wide coming out of tunnels, and around jumps lately. So Mum got some instruction on that - staying with me coming out of the tunnels and sending me to the next obstacle so she can catch up with me at a lateral distance; and cuing me early on the jumps, verbally and with her body language. It worked well!

Mum also wanted to get additional tips on getting me faster on the weaves (other than putting a treated target at the end of the weaves). So our trainer had Mum run as fast as she could past the weaves while I am going through them (rather than staying with me), and dog did I zoom those weaves! So we'll just keep working on that this next week.

Since we've been doing more USDAA lately, Mum asked if we could work on some gambles. Our first one was a jump, around to three more jumps in line, then a turn out to the weaves - and Mum had to layer the three jumps as the gamble. So then I was about 20 feet out from Mum doing the weaves, laterally. I did it like a pro! Mum ran way out past the weaves at full speed and she got out my squishy basketball to motivate me. Mum revved me up with the ball, then our trainer held it while I did the jumps and the gamble, then she threw it as a reward for me after my last jump! It was so cool!

Mum didn't want to carry the ball, because she thought it would distract me from doing the gamble, so having our trainer hold it and throw it for my reward was pawsome!

Then we did another gamble - taking a jump into a tunnel, then the teeter. Then I had to turn out from the teeter to two jumps, then turn more out to the tunnel, and then head back toward Mum over a jump. Mum couldn't go any further than the teeter and final jump line. It took a few tries, because Mum was really late on having me turn out on the last tunnel - but she finally got her timing down and it was a beautiful gamble!

Sometimes Mum wonders if she will ever get her timing back with me. Ever since my injury, her timing has been way, way off! And her handling has been pretty bad. A good reason for us not Q'ing much lately. Our trainer thinks Mum and I need to practice more - not for me, but for Mum's handling. Mum's not sure why her head isn't in the right place - she has always been a really good handler, picking up tips and tricks very quickly and applying them immediately. But lately she just seems a little spacey to me. Get a grip Mum!!! I need ya!

On a side note, Mum decided to put both Gracie and I back on multi-vitamins. She gave them to me for about two years after my adoption, Gracie too. But took us off on the recommendation of our first vet who said our food was of great quality and we didn't need them. But since my last injury, Mum thought she would like to see how I did back on vitamins. She thought, maybe it would help with my muscle strength and overall fitness.

Well, she thinks they are making a big difference in my stamina. I ran fast my entire practice time today, and I didn't even want to slow down after we were done. That's huge for me! So Mum and I are both excited and will be keeping me on vitamins for now and measure how I do with them.

Overall it was a great practice session. With the three day weekend coming up, Mum hopes to get us working out in the backyard a little this weekend!

Since Gracie was kind of sore during practice, and our Auntie Bonnie (our vet and Chiro) wouldn't be able to see Gracie until next week for a chiro adjustment, Gracie got a good rub down when we got home. Mum will check her out daily, it may just be a little soreness. But she'll have to be watched. She's not like me and doesn't tell Mum when she hurts, she will just keep working, and working, and working - it's that BC in her, Mum says.

If you'd like to learn more about agility, click the chicklet!



This weekend here in Indy is the Indy 500. The people and traffic are getting kind of crazy around here. We're not going this year, but you can bet I'll be sporting my driver gear in a post come Monday. Stop by and see me, I look cool in my Indy 500 car and my helmet!

Another summer read idea!

Here's another summer read idea!

Narrow Dog to Carcassonne by Terry Darlington

It was absurd. It was foolhardy. And it was glorious. When they retired, Terry Darlington and his somewhat saner wife Monica—together with their dog, a whippet named Jim—chucked their earthbound life and set out in an utterly unseaworthy sixty-foot canal narrowboat across the notoriously treacherous English Channel and down to the South of France.

Aboard the Phyllis May, you’ll dive through six-foot waves in the Channel and be swept down the terrible Rhône. You’ll meet the French nobody meets—poets, captains, scholars, madmen; they all want to know the couple on the painted boat and their narrow dog. You’ll visit the France nobody knows—the backwaters of Flanders, the canals beneath Paris, and the forbidden routes to the wine-dark Mediterranean Sea. Aliens, trolls, gongoozlers, killer fish, and the walking dead all stand between our two-person, one-whippet crew and their goal: the ancient, many-towered city of Carcassonne.

A tale of travel, travail, dubious wine, a balky pump, and a boat built for only a few feet of water, this exuberantly inventive and hugely entertaining odyssey of the spirit, senses, and heart will enchant lovers of France, England, and all that lies between.


What an overactive imagination can do!

If you've got 17 minutes to spare, check out this movie - The Invisible Dog. Very Stephen King-esque! Scary!!!!!

Bath? Me?

Mum doesn't give me a lot of baths, one maybe every two or three months (oh, sometimes four). She brushes me and cleans off yucky stuff if I roll or get in the mud frequently. But a full bath? Not very often.

Lately I have been looking kind of messy, and I'm starting to blow my coat. It had been quite a while since my last bath, so guess what happened?

Yep, I got the dreaded bath last Saturday. Can you believe Mum gave me a bath the day between our agility trial days? What was she thinking? But I survived and I think I'm looking pretty good, see my britches?

Mum uses our favorite shampoo, Buddy Wash, lavender scent, which smells amazing. It's made from pure, natural ingredients and botanical extracts.

Of course, it wasn't a good time to take my pic after my bath. I didn't want to stay still, after bath is zoomin' time!

Pet blogs from Alltop.om!

Check it out, there is a new directory on the Internet from Will Mayall, Kathryn Henkens, and Guy Kawasaki, call Alltop.com.

You can think of an Alltop site as a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. Alltop sites are starting points, to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. All categorized and organized.

They are beginning to build a nice little pet section. So if you have a cool site that you think fits in, let them know about it!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Orpheus tames the wild animals!

This video is a background movie for a baroque concert performed by Brisk of The Domestication of the Animal World (2007). We enjoyed it so much we wanted to share it with you.

The story is about the myth of Orpheus. Orpheus enters the woods after he lost his love. He plays on his lute and the music is so beautiful that he tames the wild animals.

In this part of the movie the dog is loose and Orpheus is trying to get him back!

This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week!

This week is National Dog Bite Prevention week - a week to learn, educate, be aware and share info to keep you, your children and your pups as safe as can be.

Our friend Susan Daffron, founder of the National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals has some tips she would like to share with our readers and is our guest blogger today:
This week is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, which is designed to increase awareness of an all-too common problem: dog bites.

Many people seem to think that a dog would "never" bite them, but the statistics show that every year, 4.7 million people in the U.S. are bitten by dogs. Even worse, sixty percent of those people are children. Every year, roughly 800,000 people require medical attention for dog bites, and about 12 people annually are actually killed in dog attacks.

The statistics are scary, but the good news is that almost all dog bites can be prevented. The three keys to preventing dog bites are education, responsible dog ownership, and animal control. Here are a few tips:

1. In many rural areas, animal control resources are limited, so it's especially important that you gain an understanding why dogs bite and educate your children on dog safety. Statistically 50% of children will be bitten by a dog before their twelfth birthday. Don't let your child become part of that statistic!

2. Many dogs are friendly, so it's not like you have to walk around fearing every canine you meet. But it pays to be cautious. The majority of bites are from a dog the person knows. Never assume a dog is friendly; always ask the owner first (if one is around).

3. Dogs bite for three main reasons: to defend territory or to express fear or dominance. Often it's a combination of all three, so pay attention to the behavior of any unfamiliar dog. If he seems edgy, afraid, or behaves oddly, he's more likely to bite.

4. Don't look an unfamiliar dog straight in the eye. If a dog knocks you down, curl up into a ball and cover your face.

5. Teach your kids not to approach any dog that looks tense or aggressive. If a strange dog approaches, they should stand still. Make sure your kids also know that they should not run or scream. Teach your children not to tease dogs or disturb a dog when he's sleeping or eating. Also explain that they need to tell an adult whenever they see a stray dog or a dog that is acting "weird." Never leave little kids alone with a dog unsupervised.
Thanks Susan for sharing these tips! If you'd like additional information and resources that can really help you, your children and those you love stay dog bite free, visit this post with great links provided by the Humane Society of the United States. Check 'em out, get educated and share the info!

I'm a masterpiece!

Oh, doggie, I'm a masterpiece.

Mum recently received this cool picture on canvas from the nice folks at PictureItOnCanvas.com! And we absolutely love it!

It was super easy to order, after uploading our pic, and we got it in just a few days.

You can select from the canvas only version, canvas stretched over wooden frame (which we got), or the gallery wrapped version that's ready for hanging. And they come in all types of sizes at what we thought are very affordable prices. Ours even has a framing hook all ready for us to put on the wall.

We picked this photo because it's one of Mum's favorites and I think I look pretty doggone handsome.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

USA BCs, Shelties and a Pyr will take on the World at the 2008 Agility World Championships in September!

From the AKC, comes this final announcement of the 2008 World Agility Championships

Team Selection:

AKC is proud to announce the 2008 AKC/USA World Agility Championship team members.

Large (26” height)
  • Marcus Topps – MACH Peak’s Juice – Border Collie (Texas)
  • Linda Mecklenburg – Rival’s Super Power, MX, MXJ, NF – Border Collie (Ohio)
  • Ann Braue – MACH Bluefire Casusin’ Commotion – Border Collie (Wisconsin)
  • Carrie Jones – NAC MACH2 Sagehill’s Time Steppin’ Jive – Border Collie (Virginia)
  • Geri Hernandez – NAC MACH Hob Nob Sharper Image – Border Collie (California)
Medium (18” height)
  • Ashley Deacon – MACH Luka De La Brise – Pyrenean Shepherd (California)
  • Paulette Swartzendruber – MACH Bare Cove Blu Lite Special – Shetland Sheepdog (Massachusetts)
  • Karen Holik – MACH3 Triune’s Feelin Hot Hot Hot – Shetland Sheepdog (Florida)
  • Joel Lavalley – MACH5 Taylormade Marvel – Shetland Sheepdog (Tennessee)
Small (14” height)
  • Marcy Mantell – MACH Plail’s Few and Far Between, CDX PT MXF – Shetland Sheepdog (California)
  • Joan Meyer – MACH5 Triune’s Hello Again MXF – Shetland Sheepdog (Kansas)
  • Melanie Del Villaggio – MACH2 Crystalove Dare to Tri Chaos – Shetland Sheepdog (Tennessee)
  • Dee Anna Gamel – NAC MACH4 Hilltop Kelsi Lee Kinsella – Shetland Sheepdog (Georgia)
The 2008 Agility World Championships will be held in Helsinki, Finland, Sept. 26-28, 2008. Mark your calendars!

Big congrats to the final team members and good luck in Helsinki!

Dogs and ticks!

It seems like the ticks are everywhere this year. When we were at the agility trial this past weekend, we heard people talking about how they found 1, 2 and 3 ticks on their dogs from walking them around the building where the competition was held.

Gracie and I have been lucky. Mum has never found a tick on us, but we are vigilant about checking our fur for ticks anytime we are anywhere out of our yard, or in a tall grass or wooded area.

Since we've never had a tick, we did some research and wanted to share it with you.

Here's some great info from DogsandTicks.com:
A tick-free dog is a healthy dog.

Each year, thousands of dogs contract Lyme disease, anaplasmosis and other vector-borne diseases. With their furry coats, proximity to the ground and love of exploration, dogs are 50 to 100 times more likely than humans to come in contact with disease-carrying ticks.

Ticks can be present anywhere—from the deep woods to urban parks. Their Web site is filled with tips to educate you about Lyme disease and anaplasmosis, as well as other diseases carried by ticks and mosquitoes. You’ll find pictures of ticks, information on how to protect your dog from ticks and how to recognize symptoms of tick disease in dogs. With tick education and awareness, you can help keep your best friend happy and healthy.

Learn more about the different kinds of ticks, what they look like, in what parts of the country you find them, and what diseases they carry.

Learn how to check your dog for ticks, and properly remove them; and how you can prevent them from sticking to your pup.

Keep this tick prevention cheat sheet handy and in your first aid kits (in your car and home).
DogsandTicks.com has a list of traditional tick preventatives on their site for you to review. Being the green pup that I am, I've also been looking into holistic alternatives in preventing ticks and tick born diseases.

Some of our Twitter friends have mentioned Diatomaceous Earth combined with a mix of essential oils - utilizing the D Earth around dog runs, in the yard and even suggested rubbing some in your pup. We use D Earth around our yard every year and we love it. But is can be very dusty and shouldn't be breathed in, so caution is recommended to protect your pups airway, if you decide to do this.

Our friends at Only Natural Pet Store have a couple of essential oil blends for ticks, including Neem Protect Spray, and their own brand, Only Natural Pet Herbal Defense Spray. They also have a new product, Anibio Tic Clip (which unfortunately at this date is on back order), that utilizes a bioenergetic field around your pet to create an energy barrier that repels insect pests for two years, through a tag for your pups collar. If you're interested in this product, check back with them for availability.

Dr. Pitcairn, who wrote the Dr. Pitcairn's Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs & Cats recommends dusting your pups coat with an herbal repellent powder, preferably one with eucalyptus to ward off ticks. Dr. Shawn, the natural vet from Martha Stewart's Sirius Radio program, has a nice Q & A on prevention of ticks (and fleas) for pets.

I have heard repeatedly from my holistic vet that only some essential oils are safe for dogs, and many, many are not safe for cats. The reviews on the OnlyNaturalPet website show that these products work more for dogs, but have had some adverse reactions in cats. So, caution is recommended.

So, what do you use for your pup to prevent tick infestation? Do you use the traditional methods, or go the holistic route. What product(s) do you use, and what results have you seen? Let us know, so that we can have a nice resource of info here!

And remember, it's always good to check with your vet with any health matters relating to your pup!

Monday, May 19, 2008

New harnesses!

Hey, check it out, Gracie and I got new harnesses!

Mum thinks we are looking pretty hot in these new harnesses from Puppia that our friends at GollyGear hooked us up with. We received several kinds of harnesses and tried them all on, and finally settled on these.

I'm wearing the size large and Gracie is wearing size XL. They are made of a mesh material and only have one nylon strap that goes around our bellies, so there are no obstructions of our movement, or nasty buckles to rub on our shoulders.

So far they are passing the Gracie pull hard test pretty well. We'll keep you posted on the progress, but so far we are really liking these. Our next big hiking trip will be the real test. We like them because they are soft, durable, washable and they fit a variety of sized dogs. I have a 19 inch girth and Gracie has a 24 inch girth. Gracie's isn't adjusted out as far as it could go, so they would even fit a larger dog than Gracie.

I'm wearing the navy blue (even though Mum also got me the lime green) and Gracie is wearing the purple.

Now we just have to find a supplier of Puppia harnesses for our JohannTheDog.com website!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I got one Q and a dopey Mum!

We're back from the trail today...and I returned with one Q and a dopey Mum!

We left real early, about 5:00 AM, and got there pretty early about 7:15. We walked the course at about 8:00. Standard was first. Nice little course, with some speedy areas, and a nice tunnel/dog walk discrimination. Mum decided she would just be happy if I ran it faster than yesterday.

Well I surprised her and not only ran it a little faster than yesterday, but I ran it clean! And I handled the tunnel/dog walk discrimination like a pro. She was pretty darn proud and happy that we just may have broken our unlucky streak.

Here's the vid!

After Standard, she walked me out too cool me down, then took Gracie for a little stroll. By the time she got back inside they were already walking for JWW. So she only got to walk the course for about four or five minutes. And the course was a bit tricky in places.

She watched a few runs and then had to go right out to the car and get me. But she sure didn't feel really comfy with her knowledge of the course. Then it was my turn, and wouldn't you know for the first time in, oh about ever, I broke my start line stay. She was leading out to almost the third jump and I took off before she got just past the first jump. This is where the dopey Mum part kicks in.

So after I broke my stay, she had to run her butt off and she got all turned around, I didn't get all the jumps in because she got lost and couldn't get there in time. I went into the wrong tunnel instead (there were two side by side), and she tried to get me to go in the correct one and entrance, and I went in the wrong one again, and then again, and then again! Dog was that fun to take the tunnel four times in a row. Mum was just laughing her fool, dopey head off.

Finally she got me into the correct tunnel and we finished the course, faster than I've run in a long time. (Luckily, the person viding us messed up, so we don't have a video). Guess it pays sometimes to makes mistakes, have fun, and have a dopey Mum! I had so much fun on that run, and Mum didn't care, she was just happy I was running well.

So, we're not sure if we've broken our unlucky streak or not, guess we'll see at the next trial in a couple of weeks. But I know a couple of things, Mum needs more than 4-5 minutes to walk a course, I couldn't wait to run again today (aka, broke my start stay), and I just love those tunnels!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Protection!

Most of you know that I'm kind of accident prone - a dog attack, dislocated toe, broken foot, iliopsoas muscle pull, and bruised ribs in our car accident. Sometimes, Mum calls me the $10,000 dog, because that's about how much I've cost in vet and rehab bills in my nearly four years of life.

Well, Mum isn't one to take chances with me around. She of course has car insurance, home insurance, and she has insurance on me, as well. In Mum's eyes, sometimes you can't be too careful and she thinks with me around she needs to protect her assets!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

We're getting closer!

We're back from the trial yesterday! Not a bad day, no Q's, but we're getting closer!

We were at an indoor facility north of Cincinnati, Ohio. A new place for us. We liked the flooring, it was soccer turf, soft with cushion beads in it, soft on my paws and not a bad place to run at all.

My first run was Standard. We started out pretty good, speedier than before, but still not up to my usual speed. When I got to the weaves, I wasn't sure about my footing on this new flooring, so I popped out, then Mum got ahead of me and did a silly front cross before the table, trying to get me down on the table and pointing in the right direction for the next obstacle. Well, I ended up taking an off course jump, which Mum knew was her fault. She liked the ambition!

So no Q for that run. After that Mum was anxious to see what I would do with the weaves in my JWW run. Nice course, flowing and open. Definitely not up to my usual speed, but I made the weaves, and the run looked really clean until I turned super tight and went back in the tunnel, second to the last obstacle. Oops!

Mum and I weren't unhappy with the day, she was happy with a little bit more speed (maybe I need to build muscle more, hmmm...) and ambition, I was happy just to be running! We go back on Sunday, tomorrow, for another try! Wish us luck!

Here are the vids from the runs. Not great, but not too shabby, we are getting closer to breaking our unlucky streak. I can just feel it!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Trial tomorrow and Sunday!

We have another agility trial tomorrow and Sunday in Fairfield, Ohio. Mum was late with the entry so we didn't get in on Saturday, but that's OK, we'll be able to drive back and forth, and we'll still be able to get in two days of agility! We can hardly wait.

The trial is in an indoor soccer facility, so we hope we don't have any elephant or circus animal remains and smells like we did last weekend, BOL! And of course we won't have to contend with any rain, either. Big pluses!

We got in a little practice this week in the backyard. I was a zooming freak on the jumps, tunnel and weaves. Gracie worked on her weaves, but was incredibly distracted, she popped out of the weaves a lot! Silly girl.

She hardly ever does that at practice at our trainers. Mum thinks it may be our weave poles, and the fact that our grass is really uneven from all the drought we had last summer. Sometimes Mum thinks that Gracie touches her toes on the weave pole strip with the uneven grass and gets confused. She tries to go so fast, she's not picking up her feet. So Mum is trying to get the grass to grow more, by starring at it and throwing on some chemical free fertilizer. The fertilizer will work, but I don't think the starring is gonna work, Mum!

After our little practice Gracie and I got in some wrestling and zooming. Here she is pummeling me - Mum didn't get a pick of me pummeling her, what's up with that?

So wish us luck this weekend. We are aiming to break our losing streak and get some Q's!

Happy Birthday bro!

My kittie bro, Wolfgang (aka, Wolfie) is 10 years old today! Happy Birthday, Wolfie!

Wolfie was rescued from my GrandMum's yard back in 1998. He had been born there in her yard, from a stray calico kittie that often helped GrandMum in the garden.

GrandMum's yard was a safe haven for kitties, with lots of wood piles to hide and sleep in, a water fountain and pond for drinking, salamanders and mice for hunting, and pooing in the compost, oops!

The neighbor girl helped GrandMum find homes for the kitties and had Wolfie's Mum spayed. But everytime someone would come to look at the kitties to adopt, Wolfie would run and hide. It was easy to find homes for Wolfie's brothers and sisters, but not for Wolfie.

One day Mum was visiting GrandMum. It was a beautiful, sunny, Spring day. And GrandMum asked Mum if she would like to see the last kittie left of the litter. Mum was apprehensive, since her first kittie, Thumper, has passed on about a year before. Mum wasn't wanting any pets, anymore. Her work schedule was busy and she didn't think it would be fair to a new kittie. But she said, 'ok, I'll just look.'

Wolfie was playing and scratching in a big pile of dirt that GrandMum was using to raise some beds for the organic garden. Mum took one look at Wolfie and said 'he is the cutest kittie I have ever seen!" Wolfie took one look at Mum and went right over and rubbed on her leg. He had never gone near a human before, and GrandMum was just amazed!

Wolfie was about six months old then, was still nursing with his Mum, and was basically feral. But he and Mum hit it off right away. So Mum had a decision to make. Does Wolfie grow up feral, or does she (the only human Wolfie would get close to) take him home. Mum picked up Wolfie and took him with her to sit on the bench in the front yard to ponder the question. Not long after Wolfie's birth Mum jumped up on the bench with Wolfie and Mum, sniffed Mum, sniffed Wolfie, sniffed Mum and left. It was just like she gave was telling Mum that she needed to take Wolfie, and telling Wolfie that it would be good for him to go with her.

So Mum took Wolfie home and they have been best buds ever since.

Wolfie (named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart) is very different from any kittie Mum had ever adopted. He is amazingly loving, cuddly, feisty, extremely playful and just an all around great guy. But Wolfie has never, and probably never will, like anything or anyone other than Mum. But that works for them, and Wolfie has a great life with us. He even graced the cover of Florida Feline earlier this year.

His favorite things are hunting mice and bringing them into the garage for Mum, when she lets him have the chance; batting around a golf ball on the vinyl floors, jumping up to the very tip top of our desk to watch Mum and I work all day, and running to jump up on the high railing of our second floor to get away from me and Gracie.

He will only sleep at Mum's head, with his paw in her hand. If Mum won't open her hand for his paw, he will meow and paw at her until she opens it, then will go soundly to sleep. He has never been sick, and never been hurt in his entire life (knock wood).

Before Mum got us pups, she used to let Wolfie outside every day, supervised of course. Wolfie learned through Mum's commands to stay in the yard. He would test out his boundaries every now and then, but when he would try to leave the yard, Mum would say 'boundary', and Wolfie would turn right around and stay in the yard.

Wolfie is a pretty cool cat. He was very accepting of me and Gracie as an addition to the family, but he still prefers Mum, and I'm sure always will.

Happy Birthday to you my kittie bro!

Furniture!

Mum, Gracie, Wolfie and Wiggy and I love our bedroom. It's big enough for all of us to sleep in and Mum got us a nice queen bed not too long after she got me.

When Mum got the queen sized bed, she wanted something creative for her headboard. One day she saw a great idea on HGTV. So she asked GrandMum if she could have a couple of the old wooden doors to use for her headboard. GrandMum and Mum attached the old doors to the bed frame and now we have a really cool headboard that fits right in with all our other bedroom furniture.

Buying furniture isn't one of Mum's favorite things. I think the only furniture she's purchased over the years is our couch, chair and ottoman in our family room, and my cool desk for our office. The other furniture has been handed down from GrandMum, including our dining room table, chests of drawers, armour for the TV, and other pieces.

She sometimes looks at Trica Furniture, Lane Furniture, and Highland Design Furniture, and bar furniture, but doesn't really feel they fit with her style, even though others may really like their pieces. She'd rather stick with the great antique hand-me-downs that she got from GrandMum. She doesn't have to worry if we mark it up a bit in our wild tangents, and it's a great way Mum to remember GrandMum, too!

A puppy gets his bark!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A tough time for humans and dogs around the World!

It's been a tough, tough time for humans, dogs and other animals around the World this month. An earthquake in China, a cyclone in Myanmar, tornadoes in Oklahoma, a volcano eruption in Chili, and the dogs that have been left there.

And there have been many personal and individual tough times for our friends, from Charlie's pacemaker implant, Cruella's diagnosis with Cushing’s Disease, Daisy's life threatening injuries sustained in the Missouri tornadoes, to the passing of dear Cooper in late April. These are sad times.





I just want to dedicate this blog post to all those pups and humans effected by these personal hardships and natural disasters. We are thinking of you, saying our doggie prayers for you, and hopefully giving you some strength to carry on in the face of such adversity.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Art of Racing in the Rain!

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, we learned about a new book being released by Garth Stein called The Art of Racing in the Rain.

About the book:

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. Using the techniques needed on the race track, one can successfully navigate all of life's ordeals.

On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through. Having learned what it takes to be a compassionate and successful person, the wise canine can barely wait until his next lifetime, when he is sure he will return as a man.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life . . . as only a dog could tell it.
There are lots of new books coming out for Summer featuring pups. So we thought we would bring you some of the ones we find that we think you may have an interest. This is just the first one, barring any used cisco router problems, we'll be bringing you more throughout the coming weeks, so you can load up on your summer reads!

Here is a video promo for the book, enjoy!

Animal Attractions TV on PBS!

Have you seen the new program on PBS called Animal Attractions TV?

This new series, produced exclusively for public television stations, is filled with brand new information on behavior, nutrition, best breeds, health and heart-warming true stories of people and their pets.

Produced by Emmy Award-Winning PineRidge Film and Television, the series is produced in a new, entertaining style that will attract viewers of all ages.

Check out your local PBS listings to see if the program is in your area.

Here's a video preview - who knew cats could have talent?

Supplies, supplies and more supplies!

One of the things about running our own business that is frustrating is all the supplies you need. Paper, file folders, pens, printer ink and more. You have to stock it up so that you have it handy when you need it. And what's really frustrating is that I can't use this stuff myself, I need Mum to help me - no opposable thumbs you know. And sometimes when I need something, she's too busy to help.

What I'd like to see is that we don't need any of this stuff. When we're done with it we have to throw it out and that's bad for the environment. Although it's nice that you can recycle some of these items, I think it would be even better if we went paperless.

There's been much talk for years about going paperless, wonder if I will see it in my lifetime, or Mum will see it in her lifetime?

Of course going paperless would most probably mean I would have to have either a laptop or blackberry strapped to my side to keep up with my to do list, my email, videos, photos and more. Maybe I could get one of those cool backpacks for my portable device and I'd be all set?

First corneal implant in dog performed in the US!

From Science Daily (May 12, 2008) comes news that the first corneal transplant was performed in the US! Here's the story:

Sinisa Grozdanic an assistant professor of Veterinary Clinical Sciences performed the surgery that restored sight to 7-year-old Dixie, a Mountain Cur breed owned by Brett Williams of Runnells.

"We are excited for Dixie," said Grozdanic. "She was our patient for such a long time and nothing really worked. She was gradually going down visually and we were finally able to do something to definitely improve her quality of life."

"She is my pet and my friend," said Williams. "She is the best dog I've ever had. Even when she was almost blind, she was still my best dog."

Dixie, who had gained weight due to inactivity from her blindness, has lost seven pounds since the surgery.

"She used to walk right behind me when we'd go for a walk. She couldn't see and was scared," said Williams. "Now she wants to run ahead."

Dixie's sight was restored through a two-step surgical procedure that involves cutting into the eye to take out the cloudy cornea and inserting a permanent, plastic cornea. The new cornea is sutured, or stitched, into place. The entire eye including the new, plastic cornea is then covered with tissue from the dog to help the eye heal from the surgery. Because of the tissue and the bandages, the dog cannot see after this procedure.

Read more!

Fun things to do with your dog!

The weather is great and it's time to get out there and have some fun with your pup!

If you need ideas, we've put together a Squidoo lens that's packed full of all kinds of things you can do with your pup, from teaching them tricks, dog agility and frisbee to playing fetch, hiking, camping, canoing and loads more!

Here's just a sneak peak - it's Tony, a student at UNC, that took a couple of days off to hike and camp with his dog to High Top. Check out their adventures. (click the video to see the larger version.) Guess they didn't need any expensive gas or even car insurance for this trip!


Have fun with your dog, 'cause dogs know how to have fun!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Messy weekend of agility!

Wow, what a messy weekend of agility. Saturday's courses looked incredibly promising. I don't think I've seen courses that open and flowing since I was in novice and starters, which we thought would fun for a change.

Awww, but our unlucky streak continues. Everything was hopeful until Mum got me out of the car. Seemed there had been some kind of a children's circus thing with elephant ride where our ring was on Wednesday, so there were an incredible amount of smells. Mum even had to pull an unpopped kernel of corn out of my mouth just before we went into the ring - something I had picked up off the ground.

I started off great, but then on the third jump the smells just started to over take me, Mum called a big come and I started off again, but as we rounded the jumps where I found the first smell, I became determined. Mum was watching me so much she got lost on the course which I don't think has ever happened, except for that one time she ran me when she was hurt.

So Mum did the unthinkable, she picked me up off the course, and hoped for a better standard run.

All was going very well, and pretty speedy for our Standard run, then about 15 obstacles in after the teeter, another smell just overwhelmed me, I back jumped a jump and no Q.

Now I have to say that not all the dogs sniffed, but many, many did and there were far fewer Q's than expected on Saturday. Oh and did I mention the horses just about 50-60 feet from the ring, yep had that to contend with too, which threw a lot of dogs. Me, I love horses, I always try to herd them, so they didn't bother me.

Woke up Sunday, it was raining. OK, we can deal with that. Windy, hmmmm. Decisions, desions. Mum thought we could maybe do jumpers, even though she had no plans on putting me on muddy wet contacts on a windy day. We drove to the site in one of the biggest downpours Mum has ever experienced. By the time we got to the site it was thundering and lightening. That subsided, so Mum walked the JWW course. The first part of the course was very soppy, it was still raining, and Mum knew by the time the bigs dog ran, the course would just be a slippery mess.

So we packed up our luggage and went home. The course may have been fine for some dogs, but not dogs like me that just recovered from an iliopsoas pull. It was a NQ weekend again. Hope this nasty streak of our subsides soon, it's getting kind of boring.

BTW, the IFCS World Agility Championships have concluded with Russia coming in first place, Canada second, and USA fifth, after dominating the past three championships. Members of the US team took away some nice medals throughout the weekend, big congratulations to them. Here are some vids from Guy Blancke, and here are the final results and the courses.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Agility, yee haw!

Did someone say agility?

Yep, Gracie and I got to go to practice today. And I have a trial this weekend. Finally Mum got her priorities straight!

Mum and Gracie started practice with another team for the first hour - which is great, because it gives Mum more time to breath between runs, when the teams alternate. And this was going to be a tell-tale time to see how Gracie would do with distractions.

I could see that Mum was a little nervous to test out the Grace-ster on their first run in a while with distractions. But she told herself to remain calm, cool and collected - keep it upbeat at all times. And she did it.

She also decided to run with the treat bag the first time to give Gracie just a bit of extra incentive for success. She ran off before the first jump, but after two calls came right back to Mum. Not too bad.

Then Gracie ran the jumpers course, and was bullet fast. Mum had to run her butt off. Gracie missed an obstacle or two because Mum was late, but stayed focused and alert. Mum was pretty darn proud.

Then they went into the other ring for a nice standard sets of obstacles. Gracie did amazingly well, on this run, and all the rest of her runs today. She was focused, attentive, ran off once to visit, but came right back the first time Mum called her. She was so fast, Mum had absolutely no way to keep up with her, and she made her weave entrance one out of two times perfectly even going at those speeds. Gracie was so fast on a set of straight jumps that she started spinning looking to Mum for direction instead of just running off - now Mum couldn't have asked for more from her today. What an amazing improvement.

There is a lot I could say here, but after two years of training, Gracie is finally showing some maturity, amazing drive, great focus and real happiness for agility. But she and Mum are not going to rest on their laurels. They are going to continue with the plan to keep working in training, with some intermittent times of practice with distractions. And not trial until Mum feels really comfy that Gracie can handle a trial.

And they need to work on stuff because of Gracie's new fifth gear, contacts in particular, and distance work. Gracie and Mum tried out some stride regulators today on the frame, but Mum needs to decide what to do with Gracie's contacts. All the time before this she had pretty good running contacts, but in a trial we can all see that she's going to be loads faster. So decisions need to be made.

Finally after their hours was up, I got in a couple of runs. Mum didn't want me doing too much before the trial this weekend, but did want me to get in some exercise. So I did the full jumpers course (Gracie's was shorter). Mum made a couple of handling mistakes - but, I too, was blazing fast today. Wow, was that ever fun and really great for Mum to see. She looked at our trainer and said 'guess, he really is well.' Yep, I am!

I did some of a standard course after the jumpers and did really well on that too - speed was good, contacts good, Mum's timing was rank. Mum has some reminders that she's jotted down to remember before our runs this weekend:
  • Drive, drive, drive to the next obstacle.
  • Keep the arm flowing. (No jerking it in and out; she gets a little hyper like that).
  • Cue the next obstacle earlier; as early as possible.
  • Don't talk so much, keep it calm and confident and use the low voice :)
  • Watch her line on the front crosses (Drive them to the second obstacle to make it a clearer read for me).
So guess we'll see how we do this weekend. AKC with two runs a day. We should be running at about 9:00 AM and be done by Noon.

Be sure and check my previous posts on the IFCS World Agility Championships - the results are coming in, and Guy Blancke has some vids up on his site. The links are all there.

What will you do with your stimulus money?

We're really interested to know what other pups and pup lovers will be doing with their stimulus money from the IRS? Let us know!