Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf!

As Hurricane Gustav bears down on the Gulf Coast, I can't help but think about the animals so tragically effected by Hurricane Katrina.

Much preparation is currently underway in the Gulf area for animals.

To keep folks informed, we're blogging about the animal evacuations efforts in preparation and throughout the storm over at Rescue Me - my blog devoted to helping pups find their forever homes. If you are looking for information on animal and pet evacuations in the Gulf area head on over there to keep up-to-date.

Gracie and I are sending our doggie prayers for all the humans and animals that are evacuating and preparing for the expected massive storm.

For more information on Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies, visit my Squidoo lens.

I did it. I passed!

Well, I did it! Wasn't expected and I only passed by a whisker. But I did it; I passed my Canine Good Citizen test!

On Saturday morning, Mum and I headed south to the Columbus area to a really cool country area, where we've trained for agility before. We arrived and there were a couple of pups and people waiting to take the test.

We warmed up a little. Well, maybe warmed up isn't the best word since this isn't agility. But we worked on some distance stays, and recalls. Some heeling, etc.

Then it was time for the test.

Right off the bat, I failed the 'sit to greet' test. I just couldn't help myself and had to give the tester a big ole smacker-oo on the lips. Not acceptable for the Canine Good Citizen. But I had a few tries, so we went on to the other tests and then came back to that test.

I proceed through the test, walking loose on leash, sitting, staying, coming when called, greeting another dog (hey, I passed that one!), grooming and handling, and the long, long (did I say long!) supervised separation from my Mum. I whimpered a bit, but a little is acceptable.

Then we went back to the sitting for petting and I finally passed. Mum was so proud of me!!!

We got a really cool patch for our efforts and a paper to send in to the AKC for a certificate, which Mum is doing right now, as soon as she checks into keylogger.

For those of you who don't think you can pass the test, just like I didn't; don't sell yourself short. You may just be able to do it, like I did!

After the test Mum took me to a the edge of the Blue River for a little hiking and water wading as my big reward. That was so much fun! Overall it was a pretty good day.

But I do have to tell you. Obedience stuff is just not my thing. All that control is incredibly tiresome and borning. I thought we arrived to do some cool agility in the horse barn, but noooooo! All I wanted to do was run agility. So Mum promised we would do some this afternoon in the backyard. Thank Mum!!! That's the reward I was looking for!

Here's a little vid of my test:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Almost time to think about Howl-o-ween!

Halloween is closer than you think? What are you and your pup going to do?

How about throwing a really cool Doggie Howl-o-ween Pawty, with cool costumes, fun games, great eats, and good friends!

Check out my Squidoo lens on Throwing a Great Doggie Howl-o-ween Party for everything you need to make it the event of the season!

Patricia McConnell's new book!

Patricia McConnell and Karen London have a new book out - Play Together, Stay Together!

From the book jacket:

"Play is fun, but don't be fooled into thinking it's just goofy or frivolous. Play is powerful stuff, and it has a profound influence on your relationship with your dog. This engagingly written booklet shows how play can enhance your relationship with your dog, improve your dog's responsiveness, and provide your dog with the mental and physical exercise he or she needs."

"Inside is up-to-date research on how to tell your dog you want to play (most of us aren't very good at it!), some charming tricks and games to wow your friends, and an important section on how not to play with your dog. If you'd like a happier, more responsive dog and a closer relationship with each other, then this booklet is for you."

Sounds like a great new book! I love play! To find out more about Patricia, visit my Squidoo lens - Patricia McConnell: A Great Dog Friend.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

CGC? Maybe me?

Our good friend Cosmo, just recently passed her CGC. We are so happy for her and her Mom, they've come a long way! But I have to say that I can't help wondering if I could do it?

I know I've talked in the past that I didn't think I had a chance to pass the CGC test after reading the requirements on the AKC website.

But, while we were at the CPE trial this Sunday, Mum mentioned to a few of our friends that a Canine Good Citizen tester will be at the upcoming Show N Go we running in in a couple of weeks. And wonders never cease, there just happened to be a CGC tester tenting with my friends. Mum talked with her a while, and told her about me. She asked Mum to bring me over to meet her and she would do a little quick testing to see if maybe I could pass.

She thought I'd pass that test with flying colors. She even had me do the 20 foot meet and greet with her big, big Airdale Terrier (my biggest chance for failure), and I didn't really even show that much interest. The key Mum thinks is that she needs to give me commands and give me a job - like sit and stay - while we perform these CGC duties. It really kept me focused.

So, we're gonna try it. The big day is September 6th (or 7th if it's raining). Mum is taking me and Gracie to the agility Show N Go, let us run a couple of runs each, and then she thought that I'd be less wound up and we could do the test.

What do you think? Will I pass?

Puppy class!

You may have heard from our good friend Xsara that Silvia Trkman got a new pup! Yep, a BC named Bi.

You can check out Silvia's website news section for updates and more pics. And Silvia has added a new section to her website to give puppy updates and post about what she and Bi are up to. Great puppy foundation information!

We are so very happy to hear that Silvia's La is doing very well and back to her crazy self. Fighters they are!

Here's one of Silvia's new vids. Puppy Class!

Gracie's big performance!

Last weekend surely was Gracie's weekend. Not only did she compete in the CPE trial here and get a 1st place and a Q in Snooker, but she performed at a children's birthday party.

Gracie had a blast entertaining the youngsters Saturday night, even though it was a sweltering 95 degrees at 6:00 PM, and humid as heck. I think Mum had more trouble with the heat than Gracie did, though.

The evening started out loading up the car with a few jumps, some weaves, Gracie's practice tunnel, and treats and water of course. They arrived at the house around 5:30 and Mum set up a little agility course. Mum gave the Birthday Girl's Mom this cool coloring sheet that teaches children how to approach a dog safely.

Then it was time for Gracie to do her stuff. She did a few tricks - wave (got some big, ahhhh's for that), sit, down, shake, high five, lie down, and bang. Then the little ones lined up in a single file, to have Gracie sit for treats. She did great! Sat nearly every time.

After that it was time for a little water break, and then a little agility. Gracie did some jumps, tunnel and six weaves. She was hot and tired, but she did them like a pro. Many of the attendees were video taping her activities and she sparkled for them.

Then it was time for more tricks, more treat giving by the youngsters and Birthday Girl. After that Gracie did some jumping with the water hose and buckets of water. She jumped pretty good! And got a nice cool off in the process.

I hear they really liked having Gracie attend and perform at the party. And she earned her first bucks as a performer.

Mum and Gracie got home at about 7:00 and I definitely had to check them out for all the new smells they brought home. The kitties even wanted to smell them instead of checking out their new cat supplies, goofy kitties.

Both Mum and Gracie were beat when they got home; and I was ready to play!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Water agility?

Our good friends at Just Agility posted about some new products from Affordable Agility, we just had to share.

It's time for...water agility! Yep, that's right, check this out (click on the photo to see a vid).

Those water obstacles could get Gracie going so wild, we would need a new fence installation!

If you get the chance visit Portugal's Hugo and (the amazingly fast Cocker) Trantor's blog for some good agility information and agility fun. Recently they came back from EO2008, here's one of their runs. Nice job!

The stars aligned for Gracie!

Yes, it's true the stars aligned on Sunday for Gracie at the local CPE trial. She got a Q! And a 1st place in snooker too boot. Way to go sis! Doesn't she look proud!

For those of you who don't know Gracie's been on agility hiatus for almost a year. Why? Because she started showing major stress after trialing a couple of months and would run off from Mum during runs. She got to the point of sometimes not taking even the first jump a year ago, so Mum decided it was time for Gracie to have a break, work with Mum on foundation skills and course practice only at practice. And the success of their hard work together really showed this weekend.

The day started after a busy day on Saturday performing at a children's party, which we'll blog about later. It was sooo hot and humid. But we braved it out with our travel insurance in tow.

Her first run was Standard. She took the first 8 obstacles like a pro. Then coming out of the tunnel, going to the 6 weaves, Mum lost her. And she ran off. But Mum got her back and took a couple of obstacles on the way to the exit. Mum sensed that she wasn't as stressed as she had been at the USDAA Show N Go a couple of weekends ago. And she didn't 'pit stop' in the ring which was a great sign.

Mum started getting a feeling after her Standard run that Gracie was getting close to Q'ing. Just a gut thing Mum felt. She has a good gut, by the way. Well, it happened!

Their next run was Snooker (level 2 for a nice flowing, shorter course). Here's the map:

Mum didn't care if she placed, or even if she Q'd. She just wanted Gracie to stay with her. So she planned out a nice flowing course, utilizing the entire course plot. Mum needed to 'collect' Gracie at certain points on her earlier Standard run, so she planned where she would 'collect' her - at the exits of the tunnels. Mum also planned to pre-Q Gracie on the Red coming out of the 1st seven.

So Gracie started with the red out near the far tunnel (#5), let out and collected her coming out of the tunnel. She then sent her to the #6 red and the #7 tunnel, collected her at the exit of the #7 tunnel and sent her over 7b and pre-Q'd her on the next red, directed her back to 7b and 7a, then turned her in and back into the tunnel for 2. Mum collected her at the exit of 2 and sent her to 3, 4 and 5. Then it was on to 7 and the two 7's, and up on the table.

Gracie checked in with Mum every time Mum collected her. Gracie got lots of 'good girl's' for that. She was fairly fast (not her best speed, but good). She jumped on the table like a pro. Mum gave her big hugs and kisses on the table, took her out of the ring, whet over to where the treats were (cheddar cheese, my fav!), and Mum started crying her eyes out she was so proud of the Gracester!

Then when Mum checked the results, not only did Gracie get 1st place, but she was about 20 seconds faster than the other pups, and got more points.

What a great accomplishment and milestone for my sis. I just couldn't be prouder. She was fairly fast, accurate, determined and acted like she knew her job. Just a wonderful run to watch.

Mum and Gracie got lots of congrats, which made Mum even more mushier, but really happy.

Then Gracie was signed up for the next event - Jumpers. But Mum pulled her from that event, because she just wanted to remember Gracie's amazing, wonderful run for weeks to come and didn't want anything to spoil it.

Mum had someone tape the run, and was really happy that she got it on tape. But she looked this morning and their must have been some kind of malfunction - because we don't have the video. Very sad that we don't get Gracie's run, or many of our best runs on video. Mum's thinking maybe we should stop videoing all together and we'd have all good runs, BOL!!!

After the party on Saturday, and the trial on Sunday with all the heat and humidity, Gracie slept like a rock last night. She worked her little heart out and we are really proud! Way to go Gracie!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Hiking with your dog!

Mum, Gracie and I love to go hiking. The smells, the sights, the sounds, the critters, the scenery, the Earth - just nothing better.

The weather is getting cooler in many parts of the country, so it's a great time of year to go hiking. I'm hoping that we can find a free weekend from agility soon, so we can take off and go hiking in one of our State Parks.

We like hiking so much that we put together a Squidoo lens so we could have all kinds of great 'hiking with your dog' resources right at our paws. Check it out, we think you'll enjoy it.

If you've got some great hiking dog pics, upload them to Flickr and leave us a note with the url to the pic. We'll add them to the lens!

Before you take off on your hiking trip, be sure and stock up on everything you'll need. Here is a great list of dog hiking books for cities all over the US that you may enjoy.

And try out these for your next hike:

Coda's Hiking Dog Gift Box

Coda's Hiking Dog Gift Box

Dogmatic Freeleash Hands-Free Leash for Dogs

Dogmatic Freeleash Hands-Free Leash for Dogs

Granite Gear Ruff Rider Pack - Blue, Small

Granite Gear Ruff Rider Pack - Blue, Small

Bow-Ow First Aid Kit for Dogs Canvas Bag

Bow-Ow First Aid Kit for Dogs Canvas Bag

Hydro Bowl Portable Water Bowl for Dogs

Hydro Bowl Portable Water Bowl for Dogs

Tinted Stainless Steel Water Bottle

My namesake was a smarty!

Many of you know that I was named after Johann Sebastian Bach, the great German composer. All of us four leggers in the house are named after composers - Wolfie (Wolfgang), Wiggy (Ludwig), and Gracie (Grace Williams).

I often wonder how much I compare or have things in common with my namesake. Here's what I found out today...

He was smart - I like to think I'm smart. He fathered 20 children - well, they snipped me early on, so guess I won't find that out (thank goodness). He has white hair that looks like it has mats - I'm getting more and more white every day and get an occasional mat in my fur, too. His music wasn't fully appreciated until long after his death - I feel my talents are pretty appreciated, thanks to all my buds out there. In his early adulthood, Bach lived in Weimer, Germany - my Grandmum's maiden surname is Weimer.

Johann was a smart fella about life too. I found out today that he's said some very wise things during his lifetime. We came across this site that has loads of quotes by JSB. Here's just a sampling:
“There's nothing remarkable about it. All one has to do is hit the right keys at the right time and the instrument plays itself”

“I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed . . . equally well.”

“If I decide to be an idiot, then I'll be an idiot on my own accord.”
Love these quotes!

Were you named after someone famous? Check out this site and see if they said some thought-provoking, funny, wise things in their lifetime.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Running contacts redux!

Since I've recovered from my iliopsoas muscle pull in January and continuing to get my speed back, I've been missing my dog walk contacts, a lot! I missed them pretty much all through Regionals in July, and several trials before. My frame contacts are still really good, Mum and I are both happy with them, no babysitting, no worries that I'll miss them no matter where she is. But we needed to find a way to retrain my dog walk running contacts.

We originally chose running contacts, because when I was just learning them a couple of years ago we tried 2o2o. The minute I'd try to stop, my backend would fall over my front end. It was kind of silly looking and not a good situation. We also found out later with other sheltie friends that it's pretty common with shelties. Most people want a nice running contact and I did before my muscle pull, but now that I'm faster and more eager, I'm blowing them. So, we decided to retrain them.

After a lot of thought on how to retrain them, we settled on a system. One that would give me specific criteria to meet, that would be clear, concise and one we could train on the flat and then apply it to the dog walk when we could get on the equipment at class. We reviewed Sylvia's method, and Rachel Sanders Frame method and more.

This is the plan we decided to follow:
  • Utilize a mousepad (for me, a yellow floppy disc for Gracie, since we decided to teach Gracie the same method) for (lack of a better word) targeting.
  • The criteria for targeting would be a paw touch on the pad - running to it and running off of it. Not a stop and not a nose touch, with the command 'get it.' (The command is so that we can continue to trial and work on our dog walk contact during trials, as well.)
  • Begin training the paw touch on the flat, utilizing clicker work to help me know exactly what the criteria is.
  • Move the mouse pad to a board (or in our case, our teeter board, since that's what we have at home), and continue the touch training.
  • Take the mousepad to our trainers once a week and work with the mousepad on the full dog walk; continuing to decifer my striding and where to place the mousepad.
  • Once the mousepad has found it's firm placement with my striding, and touches are hit 100%, begin to fade the mousepad by cutting it down in size over time. Also work on fading the size at home and continue working it on the flat.

So we've been into this work for about two weeks now. I only train on it a couple to few times per week. Gracie too.

During the first week, Trainer J didn't believe that I fully understood that the paw touch was the criteria, so we have continued to work to define it for me over the past week with clicker work on the flat. Mum thinks I'm really starting to get it now.

Here's a vid of our two weeks of work on the mouse pad. We added in the 'get it' during the second week. Mum's using 'get it' with me, but is still kind of shaping the behavior with Gracie.

This past weekend at the trial, Mum used 'get it' on almost all my dog walks. She saw me several times, look to the bottom of the dog walk and 'think' for a split second - gave me good boys for that. I didn't miss a single dog walk all weekend; so we think it's working.

Another one of the main goals is to get both me and Gracie good speed on the dog walk during this entire process. Gracie's dog walk is at about 1.8 seconds, mine is just under 3. So we'll be anxious to see how that goes as well.

Enjoy the vid!

Taking care of Madison!

You may remember that last week our neighbors went on vacation, and asked Mum to take care of their Belgian Sheepdog, Madison (aka Maddie). Doesn't Madison look a little like a big version of me?

Well, It drove me crazy every time Mum went over to their house to play with Maddie and feed Maddie, and hang out in the backyard with Maddie, and walk Maddie, and even do a little agility with Maddie. I just couldn't stand it! I thought Mum was going to have to give me acne cream for all the breakouts I was getting from the stress. Just kidding, BOL!

Mum was pretty excited, when after 10 days, Maddie's peeps were coming home. She told Maddie she only had to wait three more hours and they would be home. That would have been about midnight on Thursday after we were asleep. Then Mum got a call on Friday morning that they missed their plane! And they wouldn't be home for about 5 more hours. So Mum went back over and fed Maddie again, and had to tell her to wait just a little longer.

Maddie was so good all those 10 days. He was even free in the house the entire time, when he wasn't with Mum. What a good dog! Mum couldn't leave me and Gracie in the house that long, fur sure - we'd get into some serious trouble.

Maddie was sooooo happy when his peeps got home. He went zoomin' all over the yard, jumping miles high at the same time. Then about an hour later Maddie's Mum came over and gave Mum presents for taking care of Maddie while they were gone - she got a $25 gas card, and a really cool sweatshirt. Mum was really surprised and happy.

I was jealous, because I thought I was the one that put up with everything - all that non-attention from Mum every time she went over there to take care of Maddie. Humpht, what's a dog gotta do to get some presents around here?

BTW - Mum took these pics with her new Palm Centro, not bad huh?

Fun at USDAA this past weekend!

Mum and I competed at the Pawsitive Partners USDAA trial here in Carmel this weekend. Five runs each day, and dog did we have fun!

I came away with some pretty nice loot - two Q's in Jumpers for my Jumpers Champion title, and second place in Standard and Pairs on Sunday. And a really cool Gun Stuffie! Too fun.

We started on Saturday with Jumpers, nice course, pretty flowing. I was moving pretty well, not my speediest, but good. This run is in the vid, we didn't get full vids of any of our other runs for the weekend, doggone it!

I got 4th place in this run. It was my 9th Q in MJ, working toward my Jumpers Champion title.

Next up on Saturday was Snooker, a pretty nice course with three jumps as a 7 and four reds. We decided to go for three sevens and a 5, hoping that would give us enough for a SQ. But nooooo, I took an off course tunnel on my way to 2 (that Mum actually directed me to, unknowingly at the time). So no SQ on Saturday. We need two for our ADCH.

Then it was time for Standard. Dog this was one of my worst Standard runs ever! Pokey, unsure, un-confident, slow down on the table, pokey weaves; and I knocked some bars. Mum was getting a bit concerned, since she hadn't seen me run like this since just after my last injury. But we pressed on...

Then it was time for Gamblers. So Mum got out my target before my run this time to pump me up. It worked for speed. We got in the dog walk (the 7), two frames, several jumps and a tunnel and tire before the buzzer. The Gamble was two jumps going out, then a turn out and back to the teeter and then another jump. I made the two jumps and the turn out, but Mum was just on the line at that point, and couldn't give me enough umpf out to the teeter. She was happy though, I was running faster again.

Last run of the day was Pairs. We were clean and OK on speed, but our partner missed the weaves a few times, so we ended up over time.

We went home feeling a bit down in the dumps. Our best bud wasn't there this weekend, and Mum's back was hurting badly from stupid yard work she had done the week before. She had been in a funk all week, and after running me the pain was starting to rise, and rise. She took some pain stuff to help her sleep Saturday night, and slept well. Maybe she needs a Orovo detox.

So we got up on Sunday to do it all over again. The first run was Jumpers again. A really nice course, my speed was pretty darn good, we ended up 5th place and a nice Q for my Jumpers Champion title. Yeah!!!! I get new initials by my name, cool!

This is my absolute favorite event, I could jump all day. Mum used some of Stuart Mah's deceleration on the jumps and I turned in much tighter than I did the day before. Fun!

Next up was our Gamblers run. The gamble was tough, a right entrance macaroni tunnel, going out, then back to the weaves and a jump. Toughie! Not many got this gamble. We got in two frames, two dog walks a tunnel and some jumps before the buzzer. (See the map below, click to enlarge) Mum put me in the tunnel from the two jumps curving in (not from the frame side), that gave her a good position to send me to the weaves and not pull me over the jump. Nice plan, but Mum took up too much ground directing me to the weaves, she didn't have any left to get me fully there. So no Gamblers Q. That's OK, we do better when Gamblers is outside and the first run of the day. We'll get there. It's the SQ's that we wonder if we'll ever get!

Next up was Standard. It had already been a long weekend, so Mum knew she had to pull out some stops for me to get some speed up. She got out her white cheddar cheese from her lunch, reluctantly (because of my IBS, she didn't know what it would do to my insides). I went wild for it. Mum and I ran our guts out on that course...we were fast, smooth, flowing, accurate, tight, got a really fast down on the table (almost immediate). We finished with a really nice Q, some big congrats and 2nd place! That's the first time ever I've gotten second place in Standard in USDAA. Way too cool! Sure wish we had a vid of that run.

Then next up was Snooker again. Mum planned out three sixes to go with the three reds, because the 7 was the weaves and we're not speedy enough through those to get them all in. And Mum thought I may have some shoulder soreness form the weekend, so running a lot and just jumping would feel better for me, than twisting in those weave poles.

Mum had to lead way, way out, to keep me off other obstacles, and I didn't keep my start line, so she had to run like heck to the first six jump with me in tow. The judge wasn't ready for us to go that way and we nearly knocked her down. She scrambled to get out of our way. We were sorry, but it was kind of funny. There was a lot of joking about a potential clipping call on the Judge after our run, BOL!!! Thanks Judge!

We made it through two reds and two sixes (two jumps). Heading back to the third red I took an off course to the weaves. Great ambition Mum thought, and to think that I actually wanted badly to do the weaves - Mum couldn't fault me for that!

Last run of the was was Pairs again. We were paired with someone we've seen at USDAA for the past couple of years we've been running. They've been doing agility for over 10 years and were excited to run with them. Their speed was great, and that leftover cheddar cheese made my run great. We finished with a nice 2nd place and big congrats again. Wow! Too cool.

So here's what I need to finish my ADCH - three gamblers, two SQs, 1 pairs, 1 standard and that's it!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The USDAA Show N Go!

Gracie and I did our thing at the USDAA Show N Go on Saturday. We have mixed feelings about the day.

It was a beautiful weather day, 75-78 degrees, some sun, some clouds. A great day to be with friends and do agility.

Mum admits she was kind of nervous running Gracie on Saturday, she just wanted her to succeed. Mum made mental notes to be early on direction for Gracie, but was she? Nooooo!!!!! She has a real hard time being early enough for the Gracester. Consequently Gracie had time to think on her own and ran off some. But most all the times she ran off, Mum got her back after some time, and had Gracie finish the courses.

Also, Mum has to remember to take Gracie out to get ready for her run, much earlier than she does with me. Gives Gracie a chance to move around, get her focus, and figure out that just perfect pee spot, which takes Gracie much longer than me. Because Mum didn't do that, Gracie marked up the ring a couple of times. Once after her Gamblers run, and then during her Jumpers run.

Mum entered Gracie in three runs, me in two. Goals for Gracie were to stay focused and keep with Mum on the course; and if they had time work on some weaves in competition. (Gracie doesn't usually stay focused enough for doing weaves, cause she has to slow down).

Goals for me were to work on dogwalk contacts and speed. Mum and I accomplished my dog walk goals, I made my contacts in both Standard (once) and Gamblers (twice) every time. Mum was really happy with that. But my speed really wasn't there this weekend. And, Mum couldn't believe I missed the fairly easy Gamble, but she didn't really pay attention that she may have had to give me an 'out' jump on the last jump.

And oddly enough I got first place on my Standard run, despite Mum's horrible handling. But that wasn't that difficult, only four in our height class. Got a nice bag of Zukes for doing that, which paid for my run. Nice!

Gracie didn't fair as well on her goals. But she had some really nice moments of greatness; an awsome finish in her Jumpers and Gamblers run, and a less than 2 second dog walk on her Standard run.

She ran off just a few feet from Mum on her first run - Gamblers. But came right back to Mum very quickly. Mum did three weaves with her in the opening to try and keep her focus; she missed poles on every try. As things progressed throughout the day, she ran off more and more. But eventually, every time, Mum got her back. You'll see in the vids. It's obvious in the vids that Mum is way late in getting Gracie's attention when she needs to pull back in from running near the outside of the course. That's where Mum looses her all the time. And I'd like to see Mum use a calmer voice with the Gracester out there. Duh!!!!

They have much more work to do, but they both had fun, nonetheless. Mum and Gracie stayed upbeat the entire day, and just made mental notes on what they need to work on. Here are the courses for the day:

On a side note, as Mum and Gracie were going for their second run of the day, I busted out of my crate and ran up to them. I was super jealous because Gracie got to run on Saturday. Made me crazy barky and whiney. But luckily enough, I just ripped open the zipper from my crate and Mum was able to fix it on Sunday. Lucky us! Gracie and I have gone through way too many crates and crate repairs of the last two years. Very expensive!

I'm entered in a USDAA trial next weekend, five runs each day. We'd like to pick up some Standard and Gamblers Q's toward my ADCH. Gracie's going along for the ride, and Mum plans to work on her focus around all the dogs and activity, because she's entered in a CPE trial the next Sunday after. Mum can't wait to see what she does! Will she improve, will she regress? We're keeping a positive outlook that she'll be even better than she was this past weekend!

Thanks to our friend Berry's Mum for video taping us this weekend!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

For my sis Gracie, my Saving Grace!


It's Gracie's turn to shine!

It's been a year since Gracie has attended any kind of formal agility trial. This month it's her time to shine!

This Saturday the Gracester is entered in a USDAA Show N Go that's being put on by a new club in our area. It's being run just as a regular USDAA trial would be, but the nice thing is it's located right where we practice every week at our Trainer's house. She's entered in Standard, Gamblers and Jumpers.

If this morning's practice is any indication, she will be amazingly great! She was totally focused, did an amazing aframe, jumps like a pro, and has some pretty good speed. Today she got to do nearly an entire course and stayed focused for the whole thing. Mum had to work hard to keep up with her, and has to really concentrate on keeping her attention. But the two of them are really starting to get a good communication going.

This weekend she may not be perfectly clean, but as long as she pays attention to Mum and doesn't run off, we will definitely, and I mean definitely, consider her run a complete success!

After a nice first showing at a CPE Trial last Summer, you may remember that Gracie was running at a USDAA trial a few weeks later, when she started running off. On her last run she ran off and tried to get under the orange fencing to get out to the road. She freaked out. Mum pulled her from the rest of the runs that weekend. And entered her again in an indoor trial a few weeks later, where she continued to run off, sometimes not even taking a single jump. After that Mum decided that Gracie just wasn't mature enough to trial and needed a break. So they have spent the past year working on focus, foundation work, tricks and games, and/or sequencing, every day.

Mum and Gracie have an incredible bond and it's really starting to show at practice. Gracie is having the time of her life doing agility, she loves it! And she really gets jealous when it's my turn. Mum thinks if Gracie can just keep her brain (and of course Mum needs to stay really cool and calm, and be right on top of cues for Gracie) she has the potential to be an amazing agility dog.

And if she can stay focused at trials, and continue her focus at practices, Mum can really start getting her to understand her job better on contacts, working away, nailing those weaves and more.

It's been an entire year. I sure wish you good luck my sis, Gracie, even though you're in my same jump height! I look forward to many, many more great competitions to come with ya girl!

My kittie bros check up and practice today!

Yesterday afternoon, Mum took my kittie bros, Wolfie (right) and Wiggy (left), for the annual checkup with our best vet - Auntie B. It's weird to think that the kitties only leave the house once a year for their checkup. And dog, they sure don't like it! They caterwauled all the way there.

Once they got there they got their nails trimmed, because they bite Mum when she trims them. They used to be OK with it before Gracie and I came along. But now they spend a lot of time being on guard. Ha! On Guard!

Wiggy did pretty well with the exam. But when it was Wolfie's turn, he turned into the meanest cat you ever saw. He tried to bite and scratch everyone in the room and there were three trying to corral him. He got Mum, but she didn't care. Poor guy was scared to death.

You may remember that Wolfie was feral for about 8 months before Mum found him. He hid from everyone that came to adopt him from my GrandMum's yard. But when Mum walked in the yard he came right over to her. No one could believe it. So she took him home and they are crazy for each other.

Both of them got home safe and sound, with their updated shot for distemper. Got a clean bill of health (their 10 and 9 years old now, wow), and made up with Mum when she fed them dinner.

While Mum was at Auntie B's she asked about my tummy girgles that were still going on, even though I was keeping food down and my poo was solid. Mum perscribed some Chinese Herbs that I'm taking now, to help settle my tummy. So far they are working great, no more girgling. This could come in real handy at trials sometimes.

Since I am feeling nearly back to my old self, Mum took me and Gracie to agility practice this morning. We worked on some 180's and 270's, and getting me to take them faster and tighter. We also worked on some start line lead out situations, that we've never done before (those will need further work).

I ran a nice little course, got to the dog walk and bailed it again. So we got out the mouse pad and started doing some work with it. With additional work this week, Mum thinks I'll understand the criteria for the mouse pad and then next week at practice when we see the dog walk again, we can test it out. We'll keep you posted and even try and get some vids of the mouse pad work with both me and Gracie next week.

So Gracie and I are going to the USDAA Show N Go on Saturday. She's entered in three runs, me in Standard and Gamblers. I need to work on distance and the dog walk, so that, along with gaining more speed will be my goals for the day. Should be fun!

I'm entered in the USDAA trial (indoors) the following weekend, five runs each day. So I also need to work next week on building my stamina after being sick.

What plans do you all have for the weekend? Something fun I hope!!!

The Dog Days of Summer campaign!

This comes from the American Red Cross!
WASHINGTON — The American Red Cross is launching a new campaign for canines that will help pet owners keep their furry friends safe during the hottest days of summer. The Dog Days of Summer campaign promotes Red Cross pet safety trainings and programs, which are especially important as we enter the peak summer months.

The Dog Days of Summer campaign strives to teach some new tricks to dog owners and caretakers about heat safety, pet first aid and CPR, and disaster evacuation plans. The Red Cross is also encouraging dog owners to cool off during these dog days by diving into the American Red Cross Pet Photo Pool. Get your camera ready and sniff out these instructions to enter our Dog Days of Summer photo contest. Two pet owners will receive a free copy of the Dog First Aid guide and DVD.

“The Dog Days of Summer campaign is a great way to educate the 67 million American dog owners about how to keep their furry family members safe this summer,” said Elisabeth Rohm, actress and American Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet Member.

And if you're in vacationing with your pup in las vegas hotels or other vacation spots in the hotter states pay particular attention to share this info with others! And stop by and add your photos to the pool. Gracie and I did!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Yawning is contagious!

Our Twitter friends over at Dog Trust told us about an article on BBC News today.

Seems that Yawning is known to be contagious in humans but now scientists have shown that pet dogs can catch a yawn, too. Read more...

Mum and I were doing a little experiment the other day, before we even read this article. I was sitting up on the landing of the stairs, and I yawned. So then Mum yawned, and what did I do? Yep, I yawned again. And this went on for about 3-4 times in a row.

My kittie bro Wiggy does the same thing. When Mum yawns, Wiggy yawns. See?

I know, I know, we're all just a bunch of yawners around here, BOL!!!

I'm getting well. I've kept my food down for about 36 hours now. No poo yet, but I bet it's gonna be a nice one when it happens. I'm feeling a little better, but still don't have my energy back where it was end of last week.

Guess we'll see how I'm really feeling when we go to agility practice in the morning.

Hope you all have a great day! Weather sure is nice here, hope it is for you too.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Drat, I'm sick; and other stuff!

Drat it all!

Yesterday, around noon, I got sick all over the floor. Threw up my breakfast. Then threw up several times throughout the day.

Mum ran off to the store and got me some yogurt, organic baby food with chicken and brown rice, cottage cheese, and some Emergen-C. Gave me that in the afternoon and I threw up a little around midnight.

This morning she put in just a smidgen of kibble to the bland mixture and so far (as of 4:00 PM today) I've kept it all down. Yeah!

Have absolutely no idea why this is going on. Just may be a little flair up of my IBS, or too much partying on Saturday. Dog, that was a fun party!

Wolfie and Wiggy have their annual checkup tomorrow afternoon. So if I'm not better, I'll be joining them at Auntie B's our vet. But so far, so good!

Look what happens when I'm not on guard all day. Wolfie and Wiggy have taken over my practice agility tunnel! Can you believe it? To be fair it was their tunnel before I was born. Those squirts, just wait till I'm feeling better, I'm taking back control!

Mum got the lawn mowed again yesterday, so the lawn police wouldn't give us a ticket. She also went over to the neighbors house to get some instructions. We're going to take care of Madison, our best Belgian Sheepdog neighbor bud, for 10 days starting on Wednesday evening. Mum says she's going to teach Maddie some agility.

Hope she doesn't forget about my agility training, and Gracie's, too. We need to practice Mum! And I need to start work on that mouse pad training she talked about for my dog walk contact.

On Sunday, the hot air balloons where out in force. A string of them came right over our house. Mum thinks it's cool, I think they are aliens from outer space and wanted to put some acne medicine on them to get them to go away! Bark, bark, bark, bark, bark....

Oh, gotta go! It's time for dinner. Hope it stays down. I need some kibble to keep my energy up!
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