Monday, September 29, 2008

Big AKC Weekend!

I did really well at the AKC trial this past weekend in Terre Haute. Mum is so proud! This is the first time I've come away with more than one 1st place at an AKC Trial in Exec B, ever.

If you read yesterday's post you know I got those two first place finishes in Standard and Jumpers on Saturday. Well, I was fortunate to pick up another first place in Standard on Sunday. We ended up with some really cool blue ribbons, and 84 MACH points for the weekend, which is the highest number of points we've ever received in an AKC trial weekend, ever.

We left on Saturday morning at about 6:30 AM and got to the site at about 8:15. It's a great site, a fairgrounds. We ran in two rings with one judge, on grass. The weather was amazing. Started at about 65 degrees by the time I ran my first run at 10:00 or so; and about 72 by the time I ran my second at about Noon. Sunny and hardly any wind.

We started with Jumpers both days. Mum really liked how I looked in my JWW run on Saturday. Nice speed, turned pretty tight (still room to get me tighter). It walked like a tough course, but seemed much more manageable when run. There were some nasty spots, but some nice open areas to stretch out.

Trainer, Mum and I had worked on some handling situations on Thursday, so Mum wanted to take some of that knowledge and put it to good use in this run - perfect set ups for what we worked on on Thursday.

Mum stared me in the down stay, about 6-7 feet from the first jump, so that I had plenty of room to collect before #1. She led out just past 1. She pre-Q 2 and then directed me over 3 and sent me to the weaves with me on her right. But I thought she needed to Q my weaves earlier. She went nearly out to 11 and did a front cross, just at the time I exited the weaves. Then she sent me to 5 and booked it to get the front cross in after 7 for an around to nine.

Then she sent me out to 10, gave me a big come and front crossed just after 11. (This is the part I loved how she handled) she stayed on the right of 12 and 13, reared 14 (I was tight), tried pre-Q'ing 15 (not early enough, but it worked OK) and got the front cross in before 16, and then high-tailed it through the rest of the course! This is exactly the type of maneuvering we practiced on Thursday at Trainers - came in super handy, even though Mum needs some practice on it.

The Standard course Mum liked. Again, nice places to open up, which we love. Mum led out just past 1 with me in the down stay. She then sent me to 2 and stayed lateral from me so she could get a front cross in just after 5. (Some dogs were taking the wrong entrance and Mum wanted to support me, so I didn't have to think). Sure didn't need any of the best acne treatment for that, it was blemish free! She picked me up coming out of the tunnel, and ran past the frame as I was descending (she wanted to test my independent frame a little), and it worked well. We kept on and she picked me up at the end of the chute, front crossed and sent me to the weaves.

She did a post turn (with a step back thrown in) to the teeter - but it seemed more like a side step move than a post turn; which we learned from our Trainer and at the MAB seminar. I was a little wide, but I didn't hit the dog walk like some dogs did.

So she arced me to the dog walk and was at the end before me, stutter stepping a bit so I'd make my contact. Then she took off as fast as she could (me too!) 17-20. Some dogs had trouble taking the chute after the tire, so Mum made sure to support me through that run.

So it was 2 first places for these runs, 32 MACH points for STD and 22 for JWW. And we got really cool Terre Haute Kennel Club totes for each 1st place, which we are going to keep in the car for our grocery and dog store trips.

My down stays worked really well pretty much all weekend, except for during my JWW run on Sunday. For some reason, and we had camera malfunction on this one, but I had to collect several times to make it over the first jump. Mum had put me back about 6-7 feet, and that put me very near the fence, so maybe that something I need to get used to. Maybe I missed stepped taking off - just not sure. But the major stutter stepping Mum noticed and thought odd.

The opening of the run was messy after my weird start. I was way over responsive to Mum's movement in this run, and she wasn't ready for it. So I refused one jump, and then when off course. Very messy. We'll have to think on why, but after the bobbles, Mum decided to push me as much as she could without loosing me for the rest of the run. So she ran, gave me loads of go's in that deep growly voice I love. She got a little ahead of me in parts, but I caught up quickly. Mum was even at #16, just as I was completing #14 (probably too far ahead, but...) I caught up to her in time for her to rear 18 and 19. So she and I were happy with the speed during the rest of the run, which I ran like I normally would - not as obsessively responsive. It was just a weird funky run.

Standard on Sunday was a nasty course. Way too many off course ops even for me. So the big dogs had to improvise and really work it. Jump #2 to 3 looks fairly easy on the map, but in real life #2 was just about 2 feet south of the dog walk line. So Mum put me in a down stay about 5 feet from the chute, led out to the chute, met me at the exit to help me over 2 (she over handled that), then hauled butt to get a front cross in before 3 - worked well, but it was messy. Then she gave me a go, and then a come for 6 to keep me off 19 which was closer than in the map. She front crossed before the DW, which made for a difficult time for her to beat me to the end, but she stutter stepped just before I got to the yellow and I made the contact. She sent me over 2 and then sent me to the table.

After 11 she sent me to the tunnel and did a running blind cross between the tunnel and frame, since she didn't have enough time for a front cross. Then she sent me to the weaves. She couldn't run out too much from the weaves, but this time I kept my speed up in the weaves (fairly well) with her right by my side. She arced me to the double, then ran for the end of the teeter to get a front cross in. I looked at the tunnel, but then she turned toward 20, so I headed for 19, and finished it out.

Not too bad of time on STD. I could still get some more speed, Mum thinks. And she knows she can get me tighter in spots. Still need to work on the DW running contact, a faster down on the table, teeter work; and we need to continue working on weave speed. But we were really happy with the weekend; the progress I've made this year, and with how much fun we had.

Gracie got to meet some folks, work on her focus, work the practice jump and do some tricks in chaos. She even did her bang (play dead) right in the middle of a bunch of people. Now that's trust! Heck, I wouldn't do that.

Here are three of the vids from the weekend (had a camera malfunction on JWW Sunday):


Next weekend we have another small AKC trial in Lebanon - only 10-12 dogs in my height class. So we're going for whatever we can get!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

OMD!

Just a quick update, 'cause we've got to get to bed soon...but we had an amazing day at the AKC trial in Terre Haute today!

I got - count 'em - two first place finishes, two blue ribbons, one double Q, and 54 MACH points for the day. We are just jaw dropped. Mum is sooo proud!

It's true there weren't a lot of dogs running in our class, but with the 16 points in STD and 11 points in JWW - we were running pretty good (even though Mum thinks she can tighten me up some more!) I can't wait to tell you all about it when we get back from tomorrow's runs. And I think we got video too.

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Friday, September 26, 2008

More AKC this weekend!

Have to tell you, today was just about the most perfect Fall day I've ever experienced. Sunny, 75 degrees, no humidity, a slight breeze. Gracie and I got in some rolling!

We'll be off in the early AM to the AKC trial in Terre Haute. Two days, driving back and forth, but it's not too much over an hour. Exec B is running first both events, so we should be back in time for me to watch Mum mow the lawn.

There are only 10 dogs in my running height. So I should get better than 6th like last weekend, well I better. At this trial last year, I ran my fastest STD and JWW runs ever of my entire agility 'career.' We're gonna see if we can best it. Mum's got the cheese!

We'll be checking our Tweets (from Twitter) for updates from Eric at the FCI World Championships. And if you haven't seen them yet, lots of new vids are up on his update site.

Hope everyone and everypup has a great weekend!

Then and now!

Fall 2006 - 2.25 years old

Fall 2008 - 4.25 years old

Raw photos - no Photoshop - only cropping.

Tell me you're not seeing what I'm seeing! What the heck am I going to look like when I'm 10?

The hawk is back!

Mum, Gracie and I were inside yesterday just finishing up our dinner. Mum looked out the back door and look what she saw!


That mangy hawk is back, and this time it had the gall to sit right on my fence! Couldn't believe it! Mum could only take the pic through the window (that's why it's not so good). She didn't want to open the door, 'cause I would have been after that dude!

Indognito!

When we got an email from the nice folks at Hachette Book Group wanting to send us their new book "Indognito: A Book of Canines in Costume," we couldn't say no.

With Howl-o-ween just around the corner we were anxious to get some costume ideas. We opened our mail the other day and saw a really great book, filled with amazing photography and great ideas for any pup planning on donning attire this scary season, or any season.

Originally from San Francisco, Karen Ngo the author and photographer, has worked for many years in the fashion industry in New York City as a creative director and entrepreneur. Her dog images have been published in magazines and on calendars and stationery. Currently, she resides in Austin, Texas with her dogs Martini and Emma.

For photography buffs (oh, and dog buffs) like us, this book is a feast for the eyes. Colorful, whimsical, fun, eye catching and interesting. We got a couple of great ideas for costumes for Gracie and Me this Halloween. We particularly liked the crocheted sheep outfit - now that's something I could get into. And we liked the Angel/Devil dogs. Bet Mum would make me out to be the devil, 'cause I'm a bad, bad boy!

If you are looking for inspiration, or a great gift book, we recommend it for those of you and yours who like looking at pups in costume. It's fun!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Great practice today!

Had a great agility practice today. Gracie too!

Went out to our trainers house for an hour private. I worked on a new start line stay, since I am sooooo blowing my standing wait at trials now.

We started doing a standing wait for the start back this past Spring when I was building my confidence back up from January's injury. It worked for that purpose, but it's overstayed it's welcome.

Mum started with putting me in a down, since some dogs start faster from a down, than a sit. Both Mum and Trainer liked how I looked coming off the start in a down. Mum thought I was speedier than the sit I was using last year. And I already have a nice stay...so we're going with that at the next trial this weekend in Terre Haute.

We also worked on some handling moves with three jumps coming off the frame. A triple after the frame with a turn around to a serpentine and then off to the teeter. Mum needed some work on tightening me up in situations like this. After some instruction, she's getting it with some pre-Q'ing. She just needs to move faster and get out of my way.

I also did a pretty darn good teeter today - something else we wanted to work on. And my weave speed looked pretty good. I bailed one dog walk and got another. Mum just has to say' get it' and still shorten her stride a little, still. But we are getting closer to a more independent DW. It's gonna take some time - and it would help if she would get that darn board painted and work with me on it in the backyard!!!!

Gracie started the day, but she was incredibly unfocused for her runs. Trainer suggested Mum leash her up and start with me instead. After I ran, Gracie was begging to get her turn. That worked!

She ran really well and focused. Some folks stopped by to ask some questions while Gracie was running. Trainer went over to talk with them at the fence line, so Mum decided it was a great time to work on focus with Gracie. She didn't do too bad. She ran off to visit them, but came back. It was great practice with distractions.

Mum worked on her DW, but she bailed it too the first time, got it the second. Her weaves are looking good. Mum noticed that Gracie is pretty independent on her weave entrance when she's on Mum's left, but still needs some help with the entrance when Mum's on her right. But she nailed all the weaves on the second try, both directions.

Mum is having trouble staying up with Gracie, they need more work on Gracie running ahead of Mum, especially in a line of jumps.

After practice Mum filled out some more trial entries to leave with Trainer. She entered Gracie in the upcoming USDAA trial. This one is going to be one ring (which we've never seen around here with USDAA). But Mum thought it would be great to get in some Gracie time, since there won't be any conflicts. We think what really gets Gracie running off, is Mum's stress level increase when she's running both of us. It will be a good test.

Mum also entered Gracie in the previous weekend's USDAA, just one run on Sunday, since I'm running five runs per day that weekend. She also entered Gracie in two runs per day at the December CPE trial; and then put me in for one STD run per day for practice.

So we have a lot of work still to do, but this work is too much fun to call work, right?

Trainer was playing around with me and thought I was pretty thin. I've always been thin, but this year, Mum just can't keep any weight on me. She's increased my food intake a lot too. Someone at the trial thought that maybe I should have my thyroid checked. With me loosing all my undercoat, and not putting on any weight; could be a sign. And it's really common, they said, in Shelties. Mum decided that she'd email my Auntie Bonnie (my best vet) and talk with her about it.

Well, better go, it's dinner time!

PetSmart's favorite things!

It's been like Christmas at our house this past week. The nice folks at PetSmart are having a special sale promotion - running from now until November 1st. It's their PetSmart Favorite Things sale and you can save up to 15% off over 1000 products in their stores.

They wanted us to check out some of the favorite things they thought we would like and we got the box of goodies the other day! Wowser! All for me?

The box included a furminator. Can you say excitement! Mum was going around the house jumping up and down, and yelling stuff like - 'I so wanted one of these'! She quickly started using it on my kittie bro, Wiggy. He's a long haired Maine Coone mix, that doesn't blow his coat like I did this year. He really needed a good brushing and boy did he love it! Mum will be anxious to use it on me next Spring when it's 'blow your coat time'!

We also got a Gentle Leader, just Gracie's size. She's a real puller and we don't like some of the harnesses we've had in the past that restrict her leg movement - not good for agility dogs. We found a nice one for her (and one for me), but Mum wants to try this out on Gracie during our walks. I'm sure it will take a little getting used to, but hopefully Gracie will catch on quick and won't even need it soon after! We hear it's a good short term training device, will be fun to try it out. And the box came with great spare lead that we surely will put to good use.

They also sent us some great poo bags, and a holder that attachs to your leash, which we can always use. And they sent us some Greenies Pill Pockets. I'm afraid Gracie and I can't have those, because of our stomachs not liking a few of the ingredients, but we're going to donate them to our shelter. I'm sure they will put them to great use! And we got some of the Nature's Miracle Dander Remover and Body Deodorizer. Again, it's not our kind of thing, but the shelter will absolutely love it!

Thanks to PetSmart for sending us some of their favorite things! We absolutely love some of your favorite things too - especially that Furminator!

USA Team practice vids at FCI Worlds are up!

The USA Team practice vids at the Worlds are up on Eric's update site!

Mist: the sheepdog!

Mum loves some of the great television they have in the UK. Maybe it's because that's her heritage. Me? I just love the sheep stuff.

Have you met Mist: The Sheepdog?

The bravest and brightest of the Borough Farm dogs, Mist has seen many adventures in her three years. She's battled rams on cliff faces, won and lost sheepdog trials, and been lost on Exmoor - twice! She always takes advice from her kind mum, Gail, but enjoys working and playing with her favorite uncle Jake.

"Mist: Sheepdog Tales" is on Five's Milkshake slot at 9:30am from April 12th 2008. Watch your local listings in the UK for more information.

Mist and her family are an active bunch - sheep herding, farming, and more. I'm sure they don't need alli to keep slim and trim. And Mist stars in her own DVD - Mist: The Tale of a Sheepdog Puppy, which was first broadcast in the UK, Christmas Day in 2006, and spawned the children's television series. The DVD is the story of her life (so far!). Be sure and stop by her website, there's lots of fun, for children and adults!

Here are a couple of previews:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I got an exercise ball!

Winter is coming up and I am determined to stay healthy this year. Every year of my life so far I have had a major injury during the winter months. This year it is not going to happen - no pulled muscles, no broken bones, no surgeries, no nothing, nada!

Last Winter Mum got me a treadmill, which I work out on during the really hot and really cold days, when we can't stay outside long. Love it, love it! And I'm still doing my tricks (like beg, big wave, dance, etc.) for core strengthening; my stretching exercises. And I'm doing my hill climbing (Mum even broke down and got me a flexi last weekend at the trial - so that I could go up the hill further without wearing her out.) We don't like flexi's in our house, this is only for special.

But we wanted to go one step further for my conditioning. So Mum ordered me an exercise ball from eBay (great price, by the way), and we got it the other day. Mum needs to work up a plan for me to 'work out' on it, and she's going to reference information from Debbie Gross Saunders' website, talk with our outstanding vet, Doc Bonnie; and maybe even break down and get the 'Get on the Ball' DVD from Clean Run.

Me? I just can't wait to get on the thing. Hurry up and get it inflated, will ya, Mum!

Honored, honored, honored!

A week or so ago, I was incredibly honored to be featured on the Giant Squid Community Showcase Blog. It's a blog that highlights Giant Squid lensmasters and their amazing lenses.

This honor was extra, extra special. Some of you may know that my Mum is a marketing consultant by trade (when she's not doing my JohannTheDog.com stuff, my blogs, my Squidoo lenses, and our agility). She takes pride in her work for her clients and loves to help them succeed.

All these years that Mum has been in marketing, she's worked to build and brand other people's businesses. But with my stuff, she gets to do it her way, all the time! She loves (ok, I'll say it) to sometimes use me as an experiment in branding, trying out different social media activities, online marketing tactics and the like - to see how they work, what they'll do, and if they will potentially work for her clients. She's learned a lot, and has had a lot of fun with all of it.

So when we saw this very gracious post on Giant Squidoo Community Showcase that said 'a good example of a Giant Squid Lensmaster with a powerful brand is JohannTheDog,' she was a bit speechless for a change. When someone notices and says these types of words, it's an incredible confirmation that you are on the right track; and that doesn't happen very often for a person.

I'm happy for my Mum, someone clicked and she got a treat!

SunLight solar powered flashlights!

A few months ago, we saw a blog post on EcoGeek, one of the green blogs that we frequent regularly to keep up on green stuff, mentioning that SunLight was giving away their first 500 lights to those that wrote in and provided the reasons why they wanted to try one of their solar flashlights.

We asked to receive one so that we could test it out and then blog about it on this blog and my Raise a Green Dog blog. And share some alternative lighting sources with our readers on Green Dog.

The flashlight was developed with the assistance of the Space Alliance Technology Outreach Program. It was supported by NASA and shaped by specific field work on prototypes in Africa in the harshest conditions by scientists from the US Department of Energy. And their entire project was funded by research grants from the Rockefeller Foundation. They say their flashlights are the next generation of portable, reliable and environmentally friendly lights for nightly use, for camping and outdoor activities, and a product which should be in every family’s emergency preparedness kit. And you know how important we think emergency kits are!

The company has developed several programs to aid in the distribution of these lights to those in need. Their programs include 'WarLights.' 'Lights For Good,' and 'BoGo Lights' - their Buy one/Give one - program which has successfully provided lights to many, many thousands of people in the developing world, changing lives because of purchases and participation.

So we've been trying it out, conserving our energy in the process, and we really like the light! We put it on our windowsill during the day, and then some nights we'll use it to light our kitchen/family room at night. It has two modes of operation, task light and room light. And we definitely plan on using it for those early morning and late night poos, and taking it with us in the car for agility trials. Now that the sun is coming up later and later, it will really come in handy.

Keeping track of my agility stats!

Mum was entering my weekend agility run and trial stats into the computer this morning. Looks like I'm 295 MACH points and 1 DQ away from my MACH title.

At the rate I'm going (averaging about 6.9 points for all my Q and NQ STD runs, and 2.8 points for all JWW runs, at a 57% Q rate for STD and 60% Q rate for JWW - which sounds horrible by the way; must improve!) My math isn't very good, but...I'm a little over 61% of the way there with 47 trial days. So that means I will have to do about 30 more trial days to get there at the rate I'm going right now.

As of today I have plans for about 20 (AKC) trial days scheduled between now and the end of February. My goal is to get my MACH before my 5th birthday, which is June 25, 2008. If all goes well, I should make it, yes? Big thing, is I need to stay healthy this Winter! Big, big thing!

So how do I keep track of all this?

After a couple of my first trials running agility, I knew I needed something to help keep track of my trials, runs, points, YPS, and more. Being the semi-geek that I am, I started looking around for a computer program to help me.

And because I like to save my money for running agility, I wanted something that was inexpensive. I found the perfect program for me very quickly, and the best part is it's free. (I did follow the instructive suggestions and gave a nice donation to the shelter that rescued me in exchange for the program - have every year!).

So what program do I use? It's the Agility Record Book. I've used it since early 2006 to keep track of my agility runs and trials. Love, love, love the program. They even have a Yahoo Group with great support from the creator - David Connet. If you need something to help you keep track of your trials, runs, training and calendar - we highly recommend this program. And, I want to publicly thank Dave for putting together a really great computer program for us to use. I'm sure it's a lot of work for no pay. Thanks Dave!

Here are a few screen shots of what the program looks like (which I might add, supports all the major venues). It's fairly bare bones, but it is free and does exactly what we need it to do - and being bare bones makes it more simple and easy to use. We don't even utlize all the functionality, like the calendar (since I use Google's shared calendar for that - see side bar), or the training journal (hmmmm...maybe we should!). (You can click on the image to enlarge).


There are other programs out there, one being Agilityjot (comes with a free 30-day trial, and then is $36.00 per year). Another is Agility Trial Journal (also has a 30-day trial, and costs $79.00, supports only USDAA, AKC and NADAC). Most of these are all Windows based (sorry Mac users). Those are all we could find, if you know of others leave a comment!

So tell us, how do you keep track of all your stats? And how do you like your program or system?

It's time for the FCI Agility World Championships!

The FCI Agility World Championships get underway Friday in Helsinki, Finland. This event is one of the top dog agility events in the World - a not to be missed event. Many top dogs from 34 countries will be competing during the three day event.

The schedule for the event is as follows: (With event, time, and judge listed)

Friday 26.9.
Opening ceremony 8:00
Jumping team large ~ 9:30 Anne Savioja
Jumping team small ~ 12:00 Allan Hansen
Jumping team medium ~ 14:20 Anne Savioja
Agility team large ~ 16:30 Allan Hansen

Saturday 27.9.
Jumping individual small 8:00 Anne Savioja
Jumping individual medium ~ 10:00 Allan Hansen
Jumping individual large ~ 12:00 Allan Hansen
Agility team small ~ 15:20 Anne Savioja
Agility team medium ~ 18:10 Allan Hansen

Sunday 28.9.
Agility individual, medium, judge 8:00 Anne Savioja
Agility individual, small, judge ~ 10:30 Allan Hansen
Agility individual, large, judge ~ 12:40 Anne Savioja
Prize giving and closing ceremony ~ 16:30

Team USA, whose members qualified back in May at the AKC World Team Tryouts will be on hand. You can see all the results of the qualifications here.


2008 AKC/USA Team

Back row, left to right: Joan Meyer, Melanie Del Villaggio, Marcy Mantell, Dee Anna Gamel, Ann Braue, Carrie Jones, Karen Holik, Paulette Swartzendruber, Ashley Deacon, Joel Lavalley
Front row, left to right: Geri Hernandez, Linda Mecklenburg, Marcus Topps (Photo courtesy of the American Kennel Club)

Here are the running orders for the event: (Additional competitor information is here)

Running order Individual Small (pdf)
Running order Individual Medium (pdf)
Running order Individual Large (pdf)

Running order Team Small (pdf)
Running order Team Medium (pdf)
Running order Team Large (pdf)

If you live in or around Helsinki, be sure and attend the event, you'll be glad you did. Ticket information can be obtained here.

Eric Larson owner of Agility Video Service will be reporting live from the event in a couple of ways; although mostly for Team USA and Team Canada.

Through Eric's site you will be able to view news, course maps, and photos here! And you can get instant texts/messages from Eric via Twitter (an instant messaging system he will be utilizing throughout the event). Follow these instructions to receive these messages via your phone. Or to receive Twitter messages via the web, sign up for Twitter here. Once you have an account with Twitter go to this page and 'follow' Eric.

We also hope that Guy Blancke at Smooth Moves Agility will be showing us some great video of the event. Check his website for info during the event. You can see some of his vids from last year here.

And the AKC website will have updates throughout the event!

For last year's event information visit here!

We will be reporting some information from the event this weekend. However it will be limited as we will be out of town at an agility trial. The minute we get back each day we will be at our computer desks checking out all the results and report them to you. But keep an eye on Eric's site, and sign up for his Twitter updates to keep up on the latest action!

Here are some other sites online with the event, thanks to our friend Hugo at Just Agility:

Aurea - Agility
Agility br Agility br
Blog Marta Pires Blog Marta Pires
Agiliteiros.com Agiliteiros.com

To get you all warmed up for the big event, here's a little best of video:

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Giant bug!

Mum, Gracie and I were in the office working our little butts off, when we heard all this commotion in the kitchen! Wiggy, my kittie bro, was trying to get at a giant bug in our backyard!

Take a look at the size of this thing! It's huge! Takes up just about as much room as my teeter.

So we huddled around and tried to decide what to do. Do we herd it into the house so we can take our time with it? Do we strategically place ourselves on each side of the yard and surround the darn thing? I was sure it would be enough dinner for all four of us four leggers. Could even be enough left over for to make good use of some of our dessert recipes!

Well it was a fun time trying to get the doggone thing! Huh, Wiggy?

Fun trial weekend!

We're back, safe and sound, from the trial this past weekend. It was a long one, driving two hours each way, each day, three days in a row to Cincinnati. But it was worth it!

We saw some beautiful sunrises on the way over to Ohio. This pic, taken with our Palm Centro, sure doesn't do the sunrise justice!

By the time the sun was up and shining bright we made our way into Ohio.

Mum and I just love the drive over there. It's a lot of corn fields until you get into Ohio, and then you see a lot of hills and trees. Some of the trees are even starting to turn into their fall colors.

We got to the trial site in plenty of time each day. Gracie and I stayed in our crates while Mum walked my courses. The trial was indoors in a soccer facility, with super nice soft turf to run on.

Had a few nice runs. Only the nice runs were in Standard. My jumpers runs were all in a 60x130 ring with hardly any moving room for Mum. Didn't make jumpers all that much fun for us this weekend, even though it's my favorite event.

All the Standard courses were nice and flowing, kind of reminded me of USDAA courses; which are my fav. Every Standard course had some room to run and stretch out, get some good time, no discriminations, making the runs really fun and fast.

This was probably the course where I had my best run. Some of the big dogs had an off course to 13 from 3, and just a few had some trouble going to the off course jump after the teeter, but overall we didn't see too many baubles.


The JWW course that same day was a whole different story. Here's the course:

Lots of NQ's on this one, including mine! There just wasn't any room for me and Mum around some of these jumps, and Mum had to try and layer; which doesn't work with me, well. I nearly pulled off 10 'cause Mum wasn't there to support me, but Mum got me back on course. Then coming from 14 to 15, Mum just couldn't get there, again and I ended up taking the 10 for an off course.

You can see the other Standard vids here:


Overall, I kept up my speed pretty well throughout the whole weekend. Mum and I know I still have more speed, but she thinks I'm getting just a little speedier all the time. We got some nice compliments from some top folks about our runs this weekend. Very different from the last time we were at this trial and I was still recovering from my muscle pull.

This was the first time I had seen 24" spacing on weaves. Didn't seem to affect me, I got used to them instantly. Mum watched many of the dogs in the 24" spacing and she loved watching how much more easily the big dogs got through them, and she saw some of the smaller dogs be even faster than she's seen them before in the weaves. We are now fans of the 24" weaves. Big time!

I picked up some nice MACH points for the weekend. Even though we only Q'd in two of the Standards runs and none of the JWW runs, we got more than double the Q points we used to get, which shows that we're running faster. And on the Q's we got, I was within 4-6 secs of the top 16" dogs, a couple of which were national top level. Felt pretty good about that.

I have to say that Mum is going to have to step it up to continue to keep up with me, or we're going to have to get better at our distance work.

The great thing is I made my dog walk contacts all weekend. So that mouse pad work is really paying off. We are just going to keep it up, 'cause Mum wants total independent dog walks with me, like my weaves and my frames. And it's obvious in the vid that I still need teeter work, just way too cautious. And I can use down work on the table, not fast enough for Mum's taste.

Oh, forgot to tell ya. One of the reasons we didn't Q in one of our JWW runs, was that Mum trashed one of my jumps. Yep, you heard it. She ran right into it. Everything was so tight, she just didn't see it coming at all. And she completely trashed it, bars went rolling toward me, and I stopped in my tracks, looked up at her and gave her the "what the heck?" look. But we ran on, and finished the course like the pros that we are (that's a laugh!). Mum was embarrassed to say the least, a little bruised inside and out.

Gracie got to walk around some inside and do a few tricks for people, but mostly she and Mum stayed outside and walked around the grounds. It was a super nice weather weekend. And Gracie had some fun, but most importantly, she was the best support sis, ever!

Mum is definitely signing her up for one of the upcoming USDAA trials, so she's getting her chance to shine again soon. And I'm sure after running both of us at USDAA Mum is going to need to check into Barbados villa rentals for some nice R&R!

We're off to Terre Haute for an outdoor two day AKC trial this coming weekend. Just1.5 hour drive this time, then the rest fo the trials are within 30 minutes. We're excited to be running outdoors again. Miss it!

It's Dogs in Politics Day!

Did you know that for years dogs have played a big role in history! Yep, in more ways than you'd think.

Harry S. Truman once said...

"If you want
a friend in Washington, get a dog."

From Richard Nixon's Checkers, to the next Obama dog - dogs have helped, hurt, and stood by their Presidential masters (and nominees) for centuries, through the best of times and the worst of times.

I have always been fascinated by these political pooches, so last year I put together (oh, you guessed it) a Squidoo Lens on Dogs in Politics! Maybe I should start franchise opportunities with this stuff? Hmmmm....anyways...

Be sure and stop by and read up on the history of dogs in politics. There are some fun dog political jokes, trivia, videos, historical accounts, and fun! You can even vote for who you think will be the next Presidential pet. And we're sure you'll dig up some dirt!

These dogs, dig Obama, how about you?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Updates on those in Texas!

We've continued to blog about the rescue and shelter information coming out of the Texas and Gulf Coast areas over at Rescue Me.

And we've been getting a lot of emails about how folks can help. There are a few organizations that we frequently come across that are on the forefront of helping during these disasters. One is Best Friends Animal Society, the others are the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), and the other is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). There are other organizations helping rescue, shelter and rehome pets and other animals during the recent hurricanes. You can read about them on Rescue Me.

If you are looking to help out the pups and other animals in need we highly recommend any one of these wonderful organizations. A quick Google search will direct you to their home page, where you can find information on how to donate to their rescue efforts.

Each one of them has amazing disaster preparedness and readiness programs, and have helped thousands and thousands of animals and pets during these recent disasters and of course, Katrina.

Our hearts have been heavy as we've blogged about these pups and other animals over at Rescue Me, this past week or two. The stories, the images - sometimes they can just be too much.

And, we are still hearing stories of our friends that don't have power, have been flooded, and are visiting their sheltered pets at humane societies, while they stay at the two legger shelters. I can't imagine what all the two and four leggers will have to overcome throughout the coming weeks and months for their lives to be back to some semblance of normal. The clean up, water damage repair from a restoration company, the filing of government assistance, and even possible relocation, will be going on for many weeks, months to come.

Much has changed from what we blogged about during Katrina. Improvements, awareness, and action have helped many more animals this year. Education is still important, but it's really great to see a move in a positive direction for animals during disasters.

We are keeping everyone in our doggie prayers!

We're back from the trial today!

We just got back from the first day of our three day AKC agility trial in Cincinnati. Not a bad day!

I ran my Standard run, and got 6th place out of about 30 - 16 inchers. Dog there are some fast pups over in Ohio! We even ran against a couple of pups that have finished at the top national levels of competition and were just within a few seconds of their runs. So we felt pretty darn good about our Standard run today.

Our JWW run was another story. It was in a ring that was super narrow and really long, so it had way, way too many twists and turns - and had two places where it was fairly necessary to layer. Mum found out today that she's not good at layering jumps with me. We've never done it, so Mum wasn't surprised that we didn't do it well. I was pretty speedy and Mum just could get there, so I took an off course. But she didn't mind, I was running good for such a twisty turny course.

We'll have a complete recap probably on Monday. And the best part? We finally got a really nice run on video! Woo hoo!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It's big time agility season, and more stuff!

This weekend, we have a three day agility trial in Cincinnati! Can't wait, since we've been off for a few weekends. This time of year is one of the peak times for trials around Indiana. It's cooler outside, and so many choices of where to go within just a couple of hours.

We're gonna have a lot of traveling and trialing. Here's what our upcoming agility schedule looks like:

September 27-28 - AKC - Terre Haute
October 4-5 - AKC - Lebanon
October 11-12 - USDAA - Lebanon
October 18-19 - USDAA - Lebanon
October 24-26 - AKC - Dayton
Then we may take a few weekends off.

Mum may have to look into some digital signage to earn some extra bucks! But, we sure are gonna have fun!

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Yesterday Gracie and I had practice. We joined a class since we didn't want to do our private lesson this morning, the day before a three day trial.

I worked on my DW contact some, didn't do too bad, but I still am not associating the 'mouse pad' on the dog walk. I do really well when it's on the flat, or put on the ground with a jump, tunnel, or other obstacle. So Mum went to Lowe's and got me a board. She's gonna paint it like a DW contact, and then work with that on the flat, then add in some height to one side and work me with that at home.

I am checking in when Mum says my 'mouse pad' word - Get it, get it! So that's helping me with my contact. But if Mum runs full out ahead of me on the DW or veers to the side when we're running, I'm still bailing it. If she shortens her stride when I approach the contact, I am shortening my stride too - no matter where Mum is (unless she is way behind me). So that's helping me a little. But Mum still wants me to run full out on the DW, no matter what she's doing, so we'll continue our work.

Yesterday at practice I was super speedy, running full out most of the entire hour. My weave speed was good, not the best I've done, but speedier than most times.

Gracie did good during her hour. I don't think she ran off once. And Mum has been working on her DW 'get it' too. Gracie is really associating the get it, with getting her paws in the yellow. She even did the DW with Mum way at the start of the DW, and hit her yellow. Good girl!

Her speed wasn't the best, but she was accurate and paying attention to Mum. Mum needs to work on getting her commands out earlier, because Gracie was looking back and starting to spin, because Mum was late.

Otherwise it was a great training, and we're really looking forward to the trial this weekend.

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Just before Ike rolled through here on last Sunday, all the birds that I like to herd were swirling around in the sky, there were hundreds of them. When the birds do that it just drives me crazy! I run around barking and trying to herd them. They, and I, were at the top of our game that day. (You may have to click on the pic to enlarge it and see the birds).

Ike didn't bring us but about three inches on Sunday, a sharp contrast to what others got. But we were on the outer edge of the tropical depression (which it was called at the time it hit us). It rained all day though, and packed some pretty nasty winds - 40-60 MPH - that lasted for hours it seemed. Mum, Gracie and I even had to go out in that stuff to take a quick relief. Well, Gracie and I did anyway. But Mum watched for any flying debris, stayed really close to us, and then made us go right back in.

After the rain the sun came out and we got to enjoy a little of the day. Gracie found a lot of yucky stuff to roll in, and I enjoyed the rainwater from the pool. By the end of the day I was super tired.

-----------------

We've got a lot of stuff to do to get ready for the trial this weekend. Laundry, clean out and pack up the car, run to the store for some of that really great white cheddar cheese that Mum thinks I may need by the third day of the weekend. And there' s money making work as well. So I better get at it!

Hope you all have a great weekend too!

Be a responsible dog owner!

When I went for my Canine Good Citizen test, they were celebrating Responsible Dog Ownership Day! What does responsible mean? According to the dictionary:

re·spon·si·ble
[ri-spon-suh-buhl]
Pronunciation Key
-
adjective
1.answerable or accountable, as for something within one's power, control, or management

Having a dog is a big responsibility and one that should be taken very seriously.This month the AKC is working to help folks better understand more about how to be a more responsible dog owner.

D
og owners and dog lovers everywhere will join hundreds of AKC-affiliated dog clubs across the country to celebrate the sixth annual AKC® Responsible Dog Ownership Day in their local communities. Over 370 events will be held by local organizations across the country, with the goal of educating and entertaining all current and future dog owners. Click here for an event in your area!

Can't attend? Do what I do!

Join me and 'take the promise'!
Find out more info!
Join the nearly 6000 other and sign the responsible pet petition from the AKC!

Take good care and enjoy your pups!

Getting organized!

Mum likes to be organized. With all the activities we do, and work stuff, we have a big lack of time. So being organized is pretty doggone important at our house.

So what does Mum do? She labels everything! She's kind of obsessive about it. (Folks have told her she's very meticulous at times, that's an understatement). But she's always been that way. She thinks an organized life is a happier life, and leaves more time for the fun stuff.

She's organized all of our stuff with labels; our training gear, our trialing gear, our ribbons (by what year we won them) our file folders and other stuff for work, our stuff to do box, our stuff to throw out box, our toy boxes, our medicines (heartworm and homeopathic)...you name it she's labeled it.

Put a label maker in her hand and she'll go crazy! Lately she's on a big kick about labeling stuff with expiration dates, especially our treats. Because recently she bought us some treats and realized when we got home that they had expired. She took them back to the store, and now checks the dates every time she buys us something now. She doesn't want us getting sick.

And she's on a kick to label our agility stuff, so that when we are at a trial, our stuff doesn't get mixed up with someone else's stuff. What does your Mum do that's kind of wacky and obsessive? Tell us, we want to know if other Mum's are like ours!