Friday, October 31, 2008

Cynosport, USDAA nationals Update!

Looks like the video feed is up and running!

Update from the USDAA website:

As the technicians are preparing for live coverage of this weekend's events, they are streaming live from the main ring throughout the day (Oct 31)! Visit the live stream option in the video area. Free registration is required but it only takes a moment. Check it out!

Runs begin again at approximately 6:30pm (Oct 31) Mountain Standard Time (that's 9:30pm on the East Coast). Check in early and you might catch someone you know course building or just walking in front of the camera (or maybe something else...)!

Coverage may be interrupted during preparations for tonight's events.

Upcoming Live Streams:
$10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase®/Performance Speed Jumping Championships Finals - 11/01/2008 06:30 PM
Dog Agility Masters Three-Dog Team/Performance Versatility Pairs Championships - 11/02/2008 09:00 AM
Grand Prix of Dog Agility World Championship Finals - 11/02/2008 12:30 PM

All times are Arizona Time. Friday and Saturday, this is three hours behind the time on the East Coast (Eastern Daylight time) and the same as the time on the West Coast.

After the time change on Sunday morning at 2am, the times for Sunday's webcasts will be two hours behind East Coast time and one hour ahead of West Coast time.

USDAA nationals and Cynosport update!

Day 1 - Wednesday, October 29th

Results:
European Standard
European Standard Performance

See the course.

So far, we've found one vid on YouTube, enjoy!


Day 2 - Thursday, October 30th

Results:
Steeplechase Quarterfinals
PNS Quarterfinals
Team Jumpers
Performance Versatility Jumpers
Veterans AA Jumpers
Team Snooker
Performance Versatility Snooker
Verterans AA Snooker

See the courses.

Day 3, Friday, October 31
See the courses.

Steeplechase Semifinals and PSJ Semifinals
Grand Prix Quarterfinals and PNS Semifinals
Team Standard, PVS and VAA Standard
Performance National Finals

Update:
Live streaming video (change - Performance Standard Championship Finals - 10/31/2008 06:30 PM is off the list now):
  • $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase®/Performance Speed Jumping Championships Finals - 11/01/2008 06:30 PM
  • Dog Agility Masters Three-Dog Team/Performance Versatility Pairs Championships - 11/02/2008 09:00 AM
  • Grand Prix of Dog Agility World Championship Finals - 11/02/2008 12:30 PM
Get more information about Dog Agility.
Get more information about Cynosport and the USDAA Nationals.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The dog ate my....

Nearly every week day we surf the 'net sniffing out news about us pups. We find so much good info, and fun and interesting stuff, that there is no way we could blog about it all. So lately, we've been Twittering about it through Twitter.

Twitter bills itself as a "a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?" And that's just what it is. We have over 800 Twitter buds, many of them, what I call, Twoofers (those are dogs on Twitter), and many two-leggers as well. It's a great way for us to share even more information beyond that on our blog.

But we felt we needed to bring this info that we find to you, as well. So today we added a Twitter widget on the side of my blog - appropriately named "Twitter Updates". So if you're in the mood for some interesting dog info, be sure and check out the Twitter feed.

So why the title of this post "The dog ate my...."? Today we found some pup swallowing nightmares caught on film. X-ray film that is - with some very interesting pics of just a few of the things dogs gulp down that may require some expensive surgeries. Check 'em out!

Time to play!

Play, it's the best thing ever! Gracie and I love to play, and we love to play with Mum.

The very first minute Gracie and I met, it wasn't play at first site. When Mum was looking to add to our pack and find me a playmate, we met a lot of pups.

But after being attacked by several dogs about 5 months earlier, I wasn't in the mood for some of the pups we met. So we kept looking to find just the right bud for me and for our pack.

When I first met Grace, I gave her a little fake snap/bark to show her who's boss.

Growing up in a pack of wild dogs, Gracie was (and still is) very keen to dog communication. She had to be to survive. Consequently, Mum and I both have learned a lot about dog relationships and communication from watching how Gracie handles herself with other pups. I still have my moments, but because of Gracie (and with Mum's help of course), I am getting better and better with all kinds of pups, all the time, even in a highly charged environment like an agility trial.

The best part is Gracie took my little initial 'tiff' in stride. So we took her home to live with us, and we've been the best of friends ever since.

Play is an important part of our life. Every single day, we play together in the backyard, and we spend time individually just playing with Mum. We play bow each other, Mum included, and have a great time, just spending a little quality time together.

So when we saw Patricia's McConnell's recent posts on her blog about dog play and her recap of the Association of Pet Dog Trainer's recent symposium, with an entire day of seminars devoted to play, we had to share it with you.

For more about dog play, check out Tricia's new book Play Together, Stay Together

"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."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Woo, hoo! Fantastic practice at the pawty!

We arrived at the party and what did we see? Devils, ghouls, princesses, and other fun costumes on dobes, boxers, shelties, border collies, terriers and more!

Gracie, Mum and I had a fantabulous time at the Howl-o-ween Pawty, hosted by the Pawsitive Partners Dog Agility Training Center on the south side of Indy.

After we were freed from our costumes we got to play. Play at agility!

Mum had decided before hand that she wanted to work my dogwalk, some jumping sequences and turns off the Frame. And we got all of that in. I think I must have done 8 or so dogwalks and about 5 frames during my two runs, but I was loving it!

We really pushed the running dogwalk to test it out. I did great if Mum was running laterally, but the minute she veered out, I bailed. So we need some work to get me to understand I have to run it all the way down, no matter if Mum turns or not. But it's really coming along. And we are pleased.

We did a jumping sequence with three jumps to the teeter and Mum did three front crosses to handle me through the sequence, all in a row. She stayed out of my way, and still was able to keep me pretty tight. She was really happy with that. And she did a nice rear cross after the frame to send me to a jump, worked really well, much better than the same situation last weekend.

Still need jumping practice, tighter turns, and of course the dogwalk work. But what a great time I had. I ran my guts out, and was super fast. What fun!!!!

The best part of the evening? Gracie ran two runs, with a course that Mum planned with about 12 obstacles. Gracie was super focused and didn't run off a single time, not once!!! She actually looked like an agility dog :) and Mum was super proud of her. She did a nice running dogwalk and frame, a super fast down on the table x2, she took jumps in long lines, and turns as well. And after a few tries she did her weaves, but that was Mum's fault for not helping her with the entrance. She still needs that reassurance.

There were probably 20 or so dogs there, and a fairly charged environment. So to see Gracie super, super focused was really great. She had the, and I mean the, best time!!!!!

We want to thank the folks at PP for holding the event, it was a great time to get in some practice, and see all of our friends!

Hope you all have a Happy Howl-o-ween!

We're off to the Howl-o-ween Pawty!

Cynosport Live Vids!

Mark your calendars and turn on your reminders...

USDAA has announced the following upcoming live streams - click here (registration and login required):
  • Performance Standard Championship Finals - 10/31/2008 06:30 PM
  • $10,000 Dog Agility Steeplechase®/Performance Speed Jumping Championships Finals - 11/01/2008 06:30 PM
  • Dog Agility Masters Three-Dog Team/Performance Versatility Pairs Championships - 11/02/2008 09:00 AM
  • Grand Prix of Dog Agility World Championship Finals - 11/02/2008 12:30 PM


More to come.

We've added language translation to our blog!

This morning we added language translation to my blog (see the right hand column with all the flags) for our ever increasing International readers!

We tested it, but of course can't read the translations. :) Let us know if it's working properly if you get a chance. We'd love to hear.

And a big, big, big, thanks to Wayne Horkan, Chief Technologist for the UK and Ireland at Sun Microsystems for the code!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

An unlikely love affair!

More agility and other stuff!

I ended up with a pretty good haul at the AKC trial this past weekend in Lewisburg. Went 5 for 6, and woulda had the six if Mum wouldn't have pulled me off a jump. I got a free toy for every Q, so Mum picked out some for me and some for my favorite cheerleader (aka, banshee) Gracie.

We had some really nice runs, and ended up with 46 MACH points for the weekend.

The drive over and back each day was pretty uneventful, which is always good. The trial was at the Circle G Ranch, my absolute favorite place to run agility. Dirty, dusty and sometimes muddy. Nothing better.

We saw some of the horses on the ranch, although not as many as we usually see. Here's one of the guys (gals?) we went to visit between runs. Gracie and I both love the horses.

Mum filled up the gas talk on the Disco a couple of times while we were in Ohio, because it was over 10 cents cheaper per gallon than here in Indiana. Very nice to have fuel prices go down just when we were making some long trips. We found gas for $2.29 at one time, unbelievable!

Mum really liked the courses this weekend. We had never run under either one of the judges, and wondered if they had experience in USDAA. The courses were very nice, open in spots, technical in spots, great spots for speed, and tricky stuff that we found challenging, yet fun. Most of the AKC courses we see are much more twisty turney, and can at times be slow for me. I love the wide open spaces.

We particularly loved the Standard course on the third day (the one Mum goofed me up on). Here are courses from Friday and Sunday. The first map is JWW on Friday, the one I promised to post. It has a great jumping sequence (7-14) we definitely want to practice again and try out several handling variations. On this run I was only two seconds off first place, getting fourth. And I have to tell you, there are some amazingly fast pups in Ohio. I have my moments, but those pups are so consistent and fast. A couple I wouldn't be surprised to see win some national titles.

But what we love about going there is that these fast pups are super nice, and Mum gets to talk handling strategies throughout her walkthroughs and before and after runs with their handlers. Makes it so much more fun.

The second map is my standard run on Friday. Both of these are in the vid posted Friday night. The third map is Standard on Sunday, a very fun, very open course, which presented challenges of it's own. My refusal was on jump 16 when Mum decelerated too early. You can click to enlarge.



So here's what we learned:
  • Mum is loving my dog walk more and more. And it's becoming more and more independent with each trial day. We plan to push it to the limit at practice this week and see what goes.
  • We definitely need jump work. Since Mum has been working with me on gaining confidence over these past months, we've neglected tight turns and jumping work at speed. So Mum and I will be working some of Linda Mecklenburg's jumping sequences from Clean Run and Stuart Mah's acceleration and deceleration in upcoming practices.
  • I really need work on driving through pinwheels. I don't like them. Mum is going to talk to some folks about ideas, using more rear crosses, etc. Then we'll be working those as well.
  • My speed is good, but could still improve.
  • I'm getting less and less confident on the table. Slow to go down, slow to come off and I've started looking around a bit too much. We're loosing a minimum of 1-2 seconds, working the table.
  • Found out this weekend, that I don't particularly like weaving into a wall. Bet most pups don't, but it's something to practice for next time. We've begun to see this situation more often than we used to.
  • Mum loves my running Frame, but we need to work on turning after, especially rear cross situations and push outs after the Frame. It worked when we ran, but was super sloppy.
Overall we were very pleased with the weekend. After we got home and started inputing the data in Agility Record Book, Mum realized just how close we got to qualifying for AKC Nationals for 2009. I got my 6 DQ's and was only about 80 points away from the 400 needed. Not bad for not competing one third of the year due to my injury.

So on to other stuff:

Tomorrow night is the big Howl-o-ween Party at the agility training center. We plan on going and working my dogwalk, some jumping skills, and turns off the Frame. Gracie's gonna go and work on focus in a stressful environment - her favorite thing :)

Both Gracie and I are going as prisoners and Mum is going as a cop. Should be interesting! We'll get some pics, hopefully.

Gracie is getting bored out of her ghord, not running this past weekend and having to be my cheerleader. She got into a roll of toilet paper, her toothpaste, a loaf of bread off the counter (no consumption, thank goodness), and some of my toys which didn't sit well with me. Hopefully she'll feel better after some runs tomorrow night.

Mum got another couple of pet business clients and has been doing more and more marketing consulting for them, helping them get ready for the holiday season.

And we've been working on getting our JohannTheDog.com store ready for the holidays as well. We've got some really cool new products we're adding. If you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter to keep up to date, click here! And we'll keep you up-to-date.

Last but not least, Mum got out my exercise ball today and worked with me for a few minutes for the first time. I did great - jumped right up on it with no fear. We're looking forward to working with the ball even more.

Hope you all are having a great week! Don't know about you, but I'm not ready for winter!!!!

World's first known dog?

Interesting news from ABC Science...

Earliest dog dined on big game

By Jennifer Viegas
Discovery News
The world's first known dog was a large and toothy canine that lived over 31,000 years ago on a diet of horse, musk ox and reindeer, says an international team of scientists.

Their research, which has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Archaeological Science, could push back the date for the earliest dog by 17,700 years, since the second oldest known dog, found in Russia, dates to 14,000 years ago.

Remains for the older prehistoric dog, which were excavated at Goyet Cave in Belgium, suggest to the researchers that the Aurignacian people of Europe from the Upper Palaeolithic period first domesticated dogs. Fine jewellery and tools, often decorated with depictions of big game animals, characterise this culture.

If Palaeolithic dogs still existed as a breed today, they would surely win best in show for strength and biting ability.

"The most remarkable difference between these dogs and recent dog breeds is the size of the teeth," says lead author Dr Mietje Germonpré, comparing the tooth size more to wolves than dogs.

"In shape, the Palaeolithic dogs most resemble the Siberian husky, but in size, however, they were somewhat larger, probably comparable to large shepherd dogs," adds Germonpré, a palaeontologist at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences.
Read more...

What's your pup's IQ?

What a fun gift idea!

How smart is your pooch? Now you can find out! Put your pup's brain to the test with the Pooch IQ Kit. Use the kit to challenge your pup with 15 fun exercises, and then tally up your pooch's score to get his/her IQ. Great for dogs of all sizes, the Pooch IQ Kit is a fun way to find out just how smart little Fido really is.

Inside the Pooch IQ Kit, you'll find:

* Testing Booklet with 15 Exercises, Scoring Key, & Detailed IQ Explanations
* Tons of Dog Toys and Puzzles
* Several Challenging Props
* So Much More!

Pooch IQ Kit

It's Me or The Dog, new episodes airing!

New episodes of It's Me Or The Dog, began airing last Saturday, October 25 at 9 p.m. e/p on Animal Planet.

This coming Saturday, Victoria hopes to take control of a newly engaged couple's home and their five emotionally distressed, poop eating pugs who are putting a strain on the couple's pre-marital bliss.

Watch and see!

Midwest Dog Agility Championships results announced!

Last weekend, while Mum and I were in Lewisburg, Ohio at the AKC trial, the 1st Annual Midwest Dog Agility Championships were being held in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

We hear there were lots of really talented dog and handler teams at the event. They had individual and team events judged by Trisha Stall, as well as costume and crating area contests.

Check out the results! Looks like our friends Flash and Elan did very well, as did our recent Relay partner, Hope. Congrats to all!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Only two more days to Cynosport!

It's nearly time for Cynosport and the USDAA Nationals. Only two days away. Many of my buds are making their way to Scottsdale, and getting ready for the biggest event in the US for canine athletes.

Last year Mum and I put together a Squidoo lens on Cynosport, and have been updating all year as information comes available. It has a recap of 2007, and links and information for 2008 and , as well as a blog feed to pull in all the blog posts that Google indexes on Cynosport and the USDAA Nationals.

Many of our blogging friends are planning to blog from the event if they can. We'll keep an eye out for you and try to bring you links to their posts, as well as any event results we find sniffing around.

Big, big congrats to all that qualified, and good luck to all the competitors! Have fun!!!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Muddy, dusty agility!

Just got back a little while ago from the Dayton Dog Training Club agility trial at the Circle G Ranch in Lewisburg, Ohio. We got up early, left early, and then waited about three hours to run. Tomorrow we are going later! :)

It rained hard all the way there today, a bit of a knuckle whitener. But we got there safe and sound.

We're running in a horse barn this weekend - dusty, dirty, and with the rain, super muddy. We're so dirty, we could use a new Tea Collection. But the messier the better, is what we say. And the temp was cool. Great running weather.

Our first run was Standard. Mum put me in the second tunnel (see the vid) and since she ran in front of the entrance too early, I popped out. Learn something new everyday. So Mum decided to push me pretty hard on my dogwalk to see what I would do.

Check out the running dogwalk in my vid! I think it's improving.

The rest of the run was fairly speedy, weaves are looking better all the time. My Frame was faster than Mum anticipated and she bobbled me on my next jump, but I saved it.

Turned out to be a fairly nice run that we were both happy with. The best part is that after the run, we found out the judge didn't call the tunnel fault and we got the Q. Gotta gimme, for all those times on the other side. Guess Karma really does step in (but of course!).

Jumpers was about an hour later. A nice course with a tricky weave entrance and a twisty turn-y part. Mum loved how I tackled the weave entrance. Then Mum tried to handle me tight through the loopy part. I'm still running wide, so we need work on that. But a fairly nice run, nonetheless.

We ended up with a DQ, and 22 MACH points. Sixth place in Standard, and Fourth place in Jumpers. And we were just within a second or two of first place in JWW. That was nice.

The best part? All three of us were covered with dirt, dust and mud. Too fun!

EDIT: By the way, I think the jumpers course (at least that jumping sequence) would be a great practice set up for many, so many different ways to handle it. We want to practice it again :) We'll post the course map later in the weekend.

Here is a vid of my runs today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Agility, agility and more agility!

Yep, we had a USDAA trial last weekend. Are we slow to tell you all about it? Yep, yep, yep!

Been a busy week. Have to tell you that doing five weekends of agility in a row is just a bit taxing - on the body, on the mind, on work and on sleep! But we still had lots of fun last weekend. And we only have one more in the series of six to go this coming weekend. Whew, even I need a little break!

Here's the recap:

Gracie was entered in Standard each day, Gamblers and Jumpers.

I was entered in Standard x2, Gamblers, Snooker, Jumpers and Grand Prix. Did we get any Q's? I got two, one in Standard and one in Jumpers. Gracie didn't get any, but she sure got close on one of her runs.

Did I get the needed SQ or Gamblers Q, nope not a one. Dang!

Was I fast? Not too bad! Did I take off courses? Yep. Did I run really well at times? Yep. Did Mum handle me poorly at times? Yep. Did she handle me well at times? Yep.

Did Gracie run off during her runs? Yep (but just a little). Did Gracie focus? Yep, (most of the time). Were there moments of greatness? Yep. Were there times so horrifying they could only happen during Halloween month? Yep. (Just kidding!)

Did we have fun? You bet!

Here are the things we learned:

For me:
  • Mum is handling me a little better in jump sequences and making me a little tighter, still needs work, though.
  • Lots of teeter work during the week can make for off courses to the teeter during the next trial. :)
  • I'm starting to change my footing in my weaves a little, sometimes trying to one foot, instead of two foot hop. Mum likes the ambition.
  • I'm getting more and more confident every weekend.
  • I still need to be queued earlier, I'd sure be a lot more direct and faster.
  • Mum sometimes can't get in front crosses she's planned, and when she does some she gets in my way!
  • I made all my dogwalks, so the mousepad work is working.

Gracie:
  • Gracie still would prefers not to stop and do her weaves or her table.
  • Mum was right in making her do them once she was focused, she has to learn to take the time to do them.
  • When she does her weaves, she's ramming her shoulders into the poles.
  • If Mum is a split second late, Gracie looses focus and runs off.
  • When Mum runs like a maniac (at least she feels like it), giving Gracie lots of good girls and chatters, she will run very focused. When Mum is quieter Gracie looses focus. She needs the reassurance.
  • Gracie needs loads of contact work, although she only missed one DW in competition, and no Frames.
  • Gracie really can do a down on the table and her weaves in competition, yeah!
My recap:

I ended up with a Q in Standard and a Q in Jumpers.

My first standard was a little messy, but got us a Q. During my Sunday standard run I went off course to the teeter to Mum's jaw dropping amazement. But she liked my ambition.

My gamblers run was really nice, we got to the gamble and it was two jumps and then an arc back left to the teeter. Very doable, but Mum gave me a turn after the second jump and I turned super tight, just like I'm supposed to. So I missed the teeter. She should have just rear crossed and let me go out to the teeter.

A super Q was an absolute long shot since there was only one given out for all small dogs and one for all big dogs. Mum decided to try anyway for four sevens, just in case everyone else crapped out. But I missed a weave entry and it put us out.

My pairs run was fast and Mum didn't get the front cross in that she planned, so I took a wrong tunnel entrance. NQ.

Grand Prix was a really nice run, but Mum gave me just one too many 'comes' and I veered around a jump.

My last run of the weekend was a jumpers run, my fav. I wasn't as speedy in this run, but we got a Q nonetheless.

Overall Mum was really happy with my runs, I'm continuing to speed up incrementally at each trial, which makes for more off courses, handling oopsies, and learning experiences. But Mum doesn't care one bit since I'm more confident and getting speedier.

My runs:


Gracie's recap:

Gracie's first run was gamblers. She absolutely loves contacts, so Mum planned a dog walk and two frames. She did sooooo great! She was focused, and even when the buzzer sounded and Mum needed to take her through a black hole of nothing, she stayed with Mum. Usually Mum won't take her to empty spaces on courses, but Gracie was so focused she wanted to give it a go. And go they did! Gracie got her first two obstacles in the gamble, and came out wide and missed the last two jumps, but Mum didn't care. She stayed with her!

Her next run on Saturday was Standard. This was a little more 'runnie offie'. But Gracie came back every single time Mum called her back. And Mum had decided to make her really attempt her weaves, and she did those really well too! After a failed attempt at the table, she came back and did a really nice down and stay. She got unfocused a little after, but finished out the run finally. Mum was super proud.

On Sunday Gracie started with Standard. She ran off some, wouldn't do her weaves or the table, but came back to Mum all but one time. She didn't go far, so Mum went up to where Gracie was and put her in the next obstacle. She finished out the run with a long stretch of straight jumps. Mum gave her the opposite arm to keep her from coming in and she had a great finish.

Her last run of the weekend was jumpers. Mum walked the course, but when she got to the line, totally forgot it, from 'last run of the weekend' tiredness. So they did part of it, and finished it out. Gracie was really focused through all of the run and only ran by one jump. Mum was glad she forgot the course, it was a great way for Gracie to end the weekend.

Gracie's runs (enjoy the music!) :)


We have to tell you that this is the best that Gracie has ever done at a trial ever! She is slowly but surely getting rid of her luggage. After last year and only getting her to take maybe one to three obstacles, we are so proud of her!. She was focused about 80% of the time. We can't wait to see how she does in her trials in December.

Here are some course maps for Starters and Masters (click to enlarge):

Overall it was a pretty good weekend. Mum's back hurt her a lot throughout, but she managed through. It's still hurting her, but getting better all the time. She went to the Chiro today to get adjusted again, and already feels better.

We're off tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday for an AKC trial in Lewisburg, Ohio. It's at a horse barn, running on soft dirt. It's my absolute favorite place to run agility - the dirtier, dustier the better. And it's our last of the six trials in a row - so we are going to savor it.

Hope you all have a great weekend!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

DVR Alert: Living with the Wolfman on Animal Planet!

Tonight is the series premiere of Living with the Wolfman on Animal Planet, 10:00 pm e/p.

In tonight's episode...
Shaun Ellis is the Wolfman. He's dedicated his life to understanding wolf behavior, in order to protect these persecuted predators. But Shaun isn't just an observer. To learn their inner most secrets, he's joined a pack.

Now he has a new challenge. After years on the fringes, girlfriend Helen Jeffs wants to join his pack and his mission. It'll mean a complete life change. She'll have to ditch her beloved lemon drizzle cake and eat meat, meat and more meat if she's to win the wolves over. Her first test is meeting Matsi, the pack watchman. If he sees any weakness in Helen, she won't get past the first hurdle.
Set your DVR's for Tuesday nights at 10:00 pm e/p. There will be a total of eight episodes, starting tonight and running through November 9th.

Bloggers Choice Awards!

The top three Best Animal Bloggers have been chosen for the Bloggers Choice Awards 2008. I didn't make the list this year, but all of you sure helped me get close. Thank you to everyone that voted!

It's time for a new year. If you like my blog, vote for me by clicking on the button below. (Alert: You'll need to sign up for an account (apologies for that), but you won't get any spam - I never have; and you can vote for and find all kinds of blogs - many of your favs). And thanks in advance for your vote!

My site was nominated for Best Animal Blogger!

Animated dog agility course map!

Found this on Agility Vision's Blip TV channel, enjoy!

Podcast - physical benefits of delaying spay/neuter!

DogTalk Radio's Tracie Hotchner's Saturday Podcast featured a discussion on how early spay/neuter may be harming our dogs. Hear Dr. Christine Zink, DVM, PhD, DAVCP on the physical benefits of delaying neutering and trainer Parvene Farhoody on how it can reduce aggression.

And a Twitter acquaintence shared this link on a rebuttal to Dr. Zink's position on the consequences of early spay/neuter.

Sheep fun!

He may not be much or herding practice, but he sure does keep the lawn trimmed. Or is he a she?


Sheep vs. Cows!


Thanks to our friends at ashility.de for finding these!

Monday, October 20, 2008

USDAA planning live video from Cynosport!

Cynosport World Games '08

Big news for USDAA fans! From the USDAA website...
USDAA is pleased to announce that preliminary tests on new high speed Internet connections at WestWorld of Scottsdale will now permit video streaming from the 2008 Cynosport World Games in Arizona. USDAA has contracted for the extension of the high speed services onto the polo field so that the event can be streamed live for the tournament finals, and for a daily wrap-up report at the end of each day of the event.

Should tests go as expected on Monday, October 27, a broadcast schedule will be published on the USDAA news page and Special Events page at www.cynosport.com. The live stream will be archived for future retrieval, and special clips shown through the day will be uploaded for on-demand viewing. A DVD is also expected to be produced for post event home viewing, for which a link will be set-up for advance purchase in the USDAA Store.

"We are excited about this technological development for this year's event," says USDAA President Kenneth Tatsch. "We have been trying to get the facility to help with this effort for the past four years, and finally, thanks to another major event who pressed for installation of the connection, we are going to be able to run a stream for our competitors and others who are unable to view the event in person."

There is a chance, no matter how slight, that the connection could be interrupted. Should this occur, we have made back-up provisions to capture key runs and get them uploaded to the web as soon as practicable.

Presently, a video commercial is being streamed on the USDAA web site here. The link for the stream will be on the Cynosport home page at www.cynosport.com once the full production and distribution system has been put into operations.

Come join us online for this year's Cynosport World Games and cheer on your friends from your own home or office! Or schedule a watching party at your neighborhood sports bar. Many sports bars today have party rooms that have Internet connections.
So mark your calendars!!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

What we've been up to this week!

Lots has been going on this week. Since Mum has been feeling better from her fall a couple of weekends ago, we've gotten a lot more done. She's been working with a few new pet business marketing clients and really loves helping them out. And we've got another new one starting next week - an online dog store, cool!

Lawn stuff

Mum got the lawn mowed yesterday. It was about time, Gracie was getting stuck in the grass doing her weaves! She's getting ready to fertilize (organic fish emulsion) for the last time, since here in the Midwest the Fall is the best time to fertilize. You can read about our organic lawn repair experiment over at Raise A Green Dog, here and here!

Some of the leaves have started to turn. They aren't as pretty as previous years because everything has been so dry lately. But take a look at our Burning Bush. It's beautiful this year! Guess it likes it dry.

Agility practice

We had agility practice this week, a private with our Trainer. Gracie was super hyped since the sheep where out in the next pen, so she and Mum got in some good training. She was very, very focused, really acted like she wanted to do her 'job,' and she nailed nearly all her contacts, and got 80% of her weaves.

Mum learned a few tips. Trainer said that Gracie still needs some help from Mum in the weaves. She knows how to do them, knows how to get the entrance. But when she gets in super hyper mode (which means she's stressing a little), she needs Mum's support. It helps if Mum gives her lots of good girls through the weaves, and keeps her hand low to help her focus and keep her concentration.

Gracie was so fast on some runs that Mum couldn't keep up with her at all. Mum used her opposite arm to keep her from turning in to her and continuing on a drive - three jumps to a table. Gracie read it so well, helping her from taking an off course aframe; her favorite. Gracie was at the table before Mum got to the last of the three jumps. And she did an immediate down. Good girl!

Mum also learned that if she shortens her stride (like she does with me) on Gracie's dogwalk contact, she gets it well - pretty much wherever Mum is.

I had really good speed in practice this week. Mum was handling me with only rear crosses and at good distances. My weaves are becoming more consistent in speed, so Mum thinks she needs to work again on me gaining speed in them. She thinks I have more to give.

Mum and trainer talked about gambles some. Mum really needs to think more about how she is handling my movement in gambles. She needs to hold her position until I'm fully committed, and use my turn command when appropriate for an out jump or other obstacle. I can get them, if Mum handles me right, duh!

I made all my contacts, dogwalk and frame. On jump sequences she just needs to work on her timing with her lines. With my varying speeds it's such a fine line.

Trainer suggested we work on quick and faster releases coming off the table. We both have quick downs, but we're both slow on the release. Good stuff to work on to gain a second or two.

Since the weather has been cool out, highs of about 60-65, we have been on the move almost all day, everyday this week. 'Bout to drive Mum buggy! She's getting us more exercise with some sequences and weaves in the back yard. But we still want more. Every time she moves, we run to the door to go outside. So she can't wait to see how both of us do this weekend at the USDAA trial, we've got some energy to burn.

I'm entered in Grand Prix, Standard x2, Snooker, Gamblers, Jumpers and Relay. Gracie is entered in Standard x2, Gamblers and Jumpers. Hopefully we'll find someone willing to video tape us this weekend. We sure hate to be a bother to folks, when they are busy running too. But maybe we'll get lucky. And Mum will get that Cat5e patch cable taken care of and we'll be good to go.

Here are the thoughts Mum is taking into the trail this weekend to help us:

For Gracie:
  • Use the cheese to get Gracie's focus before her runs - use the practice jump off leash and work her warm up.
  • On Gracie's start lead outs, be quick about them and deliberate, so Gracie doesn' t have time to think of doing something on her own.
  • Keep up the chatter and good girls with Gracie during her run to help her concentrate, focus and be confident.
  • Move less with Gracie if she's running super hyper, and make her moves deliberate, so Gracie can read her better.
  • Keep her hand motion going through Gracie's weaves for confidence; and keep it low for driving through.
  • Praise, praise, praise.
For Me:
  • Anticipate my speed before the run if she can, and keep her lines accordingly in jump sequences.
  • Send me to the next obstacle after the table, for a faster release.
  • Keep me obstacle focused by queuing the obstacles earlier and by name, and use her acceleration to the next obstacle.
  • Decelerate to keep me tight on jumps, and pre que to the next jump/obstacle if appropriate.
  • Keep her shoulders square when sending me to an out jump, until I take off, then move.
  • Use the cheese only when I'm not in hyper mode to get me there. Use the regular treats before runs when I'm in hyper mode.
  • Show me the dog running before me if they are fast to get me more motivated for speed.
  • Hold her position when sending to gamble obstacles until I am fully committed.
  • Run as fast as she can through the last jump to keep my speed up through the end.
Gracie

Mum has been thinking a lot about Gracie this week. She watched DogTown last Friday night, and saw a pup that Best Friends had rescued from living on the streets. The dog liked humans, but really didn't see any point in playing with them - there were other dogs, and the wide open spaces that really interested this pup.

Sounded so much like Gracie. Considering where Gracie came from, an animal hoarder and living with a pack of 70 dogs for the first six months of her life, she really has come far in trusting humans. Especially Mum. We blogged about animal hoarding and Gracie on our Rescue Me blog this morning. About her issues, and how she's overcome and continues to overcome them. We're pretty proud of her. Whatever she does this weekend, Mum will be proud. We just secretly hope that she doesn't run off this weekend. :)

Other stuff

Every time Mum feeds all four of us (early in the morning and late in the afternoon) it seems that Gracie and Wiggy have a ritual. Wiggy will saunter over to Gracie and start rubbing up to her, while Mum is getting our food ready. Gracie then begins reciprocating and starting to clean Wiggy's ears. Sheesh it's disgusting! Get a room, will ya!

On our way to Trainer's house yesterday, we were amazed at how the gas prices have plummeted. Take a look at this! $2.72.9 for regular. I don' t think gas has been this low in price since before I was born!

If you read our post yesterday, you know we participated in the Pet 'Net Adoption Event. It sure was fun. We joined with about 15 other pet bloggers in bringing awareness to the great benefits of pet adoption. The event was mentioned on the Today show, and we hear there's been some other press. And we got some blog traffic; well over 350 new visitors to Rescue Me, and about 50 new visitors to both my blog and Raise A Green Dog yesterday.

We got to meet some new people and pups from all over the country, through emails and comments. And we got to read all the other blogger's posts - who all did a great job in promoting pet adoption.

And last but not least - I got some mail today! My new title pins - SAM and RM - arrived in the mail. So Mum quickly reorganized my title pin display and added a new picture, since the old one had faded from the sun. (You can click it to enlarge) I think there's just enough room for a couple of more USDAA title pins, and the MACH and ADCH, don't you?

Getting some energy!

I don't have problems scraping up some energy, I'm pretty much always ready to go!

But Mum does sometimes. She's older than I, she works long hours, doesn't get as much exercise as she'd like. She eats right, but sometimes that's just not enough. So she called in for a free trial of FRS Health Energy, the stuff that Lance Armstrong has been touting everywhere, to give it a try.

It's not your typical caffeine jolt type of energy boost, she didn't want the jitters and that stuff gets your heart rate to an abnormal level, not good. This stuff is packed with herbs, vitamins and minerals (and is sweetened with cane juice rather than refined sugars) and gives you an overall energy boost that lasts.

So far Mum gives it high grades. She's been using it on trial days, and as long as she doesn't fall smack on her hip :) she really feels like she has more energy for runs, driving back and forth to trials. And the energy sustains pretty much all day. And she doesn't have to check out those sites that reviews diet pills, since she has more energy and can get in some extra exercise throughout the day.

In the free trial, we received a ready to drink can and a bottle of concentrate, some power to mix with water (great for on the road), and some chewables. The products were free and we paid for the shipping.

If you need a boost, it may be worth looking into.


Need All Day Energy?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Shining a light on pet adoption!

This month - National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month - is a very special month for me. You see, I'm a rescue dog. I was saved back in 2004 by the amazing and caring folks at the Southside Animal Shelter in Indianapolis from a life on the streets.

I stayed at the shelter for a few weeks after they found me. Then on September 3, 2004, my life changed forever.

That day my Mum searched on Petfinder.com and saw a cute little black and white sheltie pup. She knew in her heart that I was the one for her. She jumped in the car, drove about an hour - that was the day my Mum adopted me and took me to my new home to meet my new family.

I'll never forget that day. I was only 12 weeks old, and acted like a shy little thing (dog, did that change!). This is a pic of where I lived at the shelter. And the first photo that Mum ever took of me. I had really short fur, big ears, and a scrawny tail. But, Mum says it was love at first sight.

Lucky pup? You bet. I have a wonderful life, and an amazing family with my sis Gracie, my Mum and my kittie brothers, Wolfie and Wiggy. I get to learn tricks, hike, canoe, take long walks, herd birds and sometimes sheep, wrestle with my sister, cuddle with my Mum, and do lots and lots of dog agility. I just couldn't ask for more. And I get to share my life and make friends with pups and humans all over the world through my website and my blogs.

But not all dogs are as lucky as I. There are thousands and thousands of dogs in shelters and rescues all over the country, just waiting for their forever home.

We hope that you'll take some time out of your busy schedule like we will be this month to help those pups in need. Whether you help through adoption, financially, by volunteering of your time, or by donating a few useful items to your local shelter or rescue group. I know they will be very grateful. I was!

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We are participating in the First Annual Pet 'Net Adoption Event, a blogging event shared with many other pet bloggers in the blogosphere. Be sure and stop by Petside.com's Pet 'Net Adoption Hub see all the blogs participating, read all the wonderful adoption stories, and get more information about how you can help pets in shelters and rescues all over the country.

Updated my Dog Agility lens!

Mum and I updated our Dog Agility Squidoo lens today. There's some new info you may want to check out. Here's what we added:
  • Links and dates for International and National competition - FCI, IFCS, EO, Cynosport and more.
  • Basic information and resources for warm up, stretching and exercises for the agility handler.
  • Links to my other Squidoo lenses about dog agility - Canine Athletes (how to keep your dog fit, healthy and happy), Dog Agility Equipment (great equipment, great deals), Music and Cameras for Dog Agility, Agility Video Showcase and more.
We received a request to put together a complete lens on warm up, stretching, conditioning and exercises for the agility handler. Time is tight right now since we are in peak agility season, but we'll put it on the to do list, and keep you posted.

If you have any thoughts, ideas, and/or suggestions for our Squidoo lenses, feel free to leave a comment with your recommendations. We'd love it!

And, if you'd like to share this resource on your blog, feel free to link it. We're adding new info all the time. Here's a chicklet for your blog if you'd like one - right click, save it, add to your blog and link it up to the lens.

Had some music fun this morning!

Squidoo added a new module yesterday to their arsenal of cool widgets to create lenses. One of the new ones is an Amazon MP3 module to showcase tracks that they sell for anywhere from 89 to 99 cents. So I went to work on my 'Music for Dog Agility' lens.

Whenever Mum and I attend a dog agility trial, she's sure to take our tunes! We love listening to music before runs, between runs, after runs; on the way to the trial site and on the way home. It helps us focus, relax, and remember to always have a great time no matter what.

So we thought we'd share some of the tunes on our player. Check 'em out and be sure to add your favorites to share with everyone!

What are you gonna be this year?

Halloween is right around the corner. We've been Twittering with some dog buds about what they will be wearing on the big night.

I've been invited to a Halloween Agility Party at the training center. We get unlimited discounted runs if Mum and I both dress up (oh, Gracie too!). We'll probably be going to get in some inexpensive practice.

Not sure yet what we are going to go as this year. Last year, Gracie and I went as prisoners, and Mum went as a warden. That was pretty fun. This year she is going to remember to take pics before we leave the house, instead of at the party when it's so chaotic. That should work much better. It was crazy getting Gracie and I to be still with all the dogs and barking!

There sure are a lot of new options for Halloween Costumes for us pups this year. I've seen everything from Super Heroes, and Pumpkins, to Pirates and Princesses. We were talking with Tatum yesterday and she wants to be a Princess. This one would look great on her!

So, do you have plans for the big Howl-o-ween night? What are you going to dress up as? And do you have any big plans? Any big parties? Leave a comment and maybe we can share ideas!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Agility dogs beware of the robot?

We were searching around YouTube today and found something interesting. Don't think us agility dogs are in trouble, yet!

Here's what they say...
Throughout 2007, a group of Wollongong University Undergraduates embarked on a project supervised by Dr. Koren Ward, to take the Aibo where it has never been before - ultimately behaving 'like.no.other.puppy'.

This first step has paved the path that will one day allow robot dogs to successfully compete against organic dogs. It is simply a matter of time ...
Check out the Aibo doing the teeter!

New pet information site!

Mum and I found a new pet website today. PetWave has a lot of general information about pets - from breeds, to training, to care and nutrition, message boards and more. They are new and it's in Beta, but we think the site shows promise!

We found a few articles we enjoyed. I liked this one on teaching your dog to crawl, since I haven't learned that one yet. We're going to give it a try.

And they have lots of other articles from why dogs eat strange objects, all the way to facts about siamese cats! May be worth another bookmark.

New tug toy!

Mum acquired a new tug toy for us yesterday! Check this out, it's all the talk on the agility boards (well, last week anyway). Its from Clean Run, one of our favorite sites for toys, treats, agility gear and more.

This is the Tug It Training Toy. And here's what Clean Run site says...
Tired of trying endless ways to teach your dog the wonderful game of tug? Finally there's a training device to teach a dog to tug that makes the process both fun and easy! The Tug It! is made out of nylon/polyester mesh so it automatically delivers food reinforcement as the dog clamps down on it. The harder the dog mouths the toy, the more food reinforcement the dog gets.
So Mum is going to try it out with Gracie. She tugs when she's in hyper drive mode at trials and in classes, but Mum wants to use it for getting her in that mode when she wants her to, at practice in the backyard, and in private lessons.

Mum's going to use string cheese in it to start and see how it works. We'll keep you posted!

Pet bloggers to help shine light on shelter adoption!

Many of you know that I am a rescue pup, adopted from the Southside Animal Shelter here in Indianapolis when I was 12 weeks old. So when we were asked to participate in the First Annual Pet 'Net adoption event we jumped at the chance!

Here are the details, and be sure and stop back on Thursday, when we will be blogging more about pet adoption.

First Annual Pet 'Net Adoption Event to be held on Thursday, October 16

Pet-Centric Bloggers & Site Editors To Raise Voices In Unison To Shine Spotlight on Animal Shelter Adoption

Organizer Petside.com To Feature Event Hub At Petside.com/PetNetAdoption

Englewood Cliffs, NJ, (October 13, 2008) -- In an effort to heighten awareness about animal shelter adoption, Petside.com (http://www.petside.com), the popular online destination for pet owners and pet enthusiasts from NBC Universal Digital Media, has organized a landmark consortium of some of the Web’s favorite pet-focused sites to launch the inaugural Pet ‘Net Adoption Event on Thursday, October 16.

Each participating site and Weblog will highlight content devoted to the topic of animal shelter adoption on this date, with Petside.com hosting a comprehensive one-page hub (http:///www.petside.com/petnetadoption) with links to all of the special coverage.

"Due to the current troubles in the economy, animal shelters are full to over-flowing and shelter adoption is mission critical for animal lovers across the country," said Kim Jack Riley, editor-in-chief of Petside.com. “Through the power of these diverse and robust voices being raised at once online, we hope this experiment -- The Pet ‘Net Adoption Event -- will help focus some much-needed attention on the cause.”

Sites slated to join in the event include:

About Petside.com

Petside.com (http://www.petside.com) was created by NBC Universal, in partnership with Procter & Gamble Productions, Inc., as a comprehensive source of information and services that helps pets and their owners get the most out of life. Offering customized content and a highly personalized experience, Petside.com is ranked among the top 10 pet Web sites and offers unique editorial features, expert Q&A's, tools and how-to videos.

We finished it out!

We did it, we finished out the USDAA trial, despite Mum's ouch.

Here are the good points:

Mum's feeling lots, lots better. She even stayed to help tear down and clean up.
I got my Standard Agility Masters Title.
I probably had one of my best and fastest runs ever during my Relay run.
I got my Relay Masters Title.
My teeter is much better.
My weaves are getting a little speedier.
Got all my Dogwalk contacts this weekend.
We still really love my speed coming off the start with me in a down stay.

Things we learned:

I need continued work on my Dogwalk, weave, teeter and all over speed.
Gracie needs to be entered in at least two events on the days that she runs to give her a chance to blow off and then get serious.
Mum needs to really work on queuing me earlier on the next obstacle.
I need to be sent more to obstacles for obstacle focus running, makes me lots faster.
Mum needs to accelerate and decelerate to get me tighter on jump turn.
I need support on the gambles, having Mum hold positions longer till I'm fully committed.
Gracie needs precise and much less movement from Mum than I do, she's much more reactive, especially during trials.
Mum needs to find a way for Gracie to really want and love the weaves, she just doesn't want to stop for them in a trial run; slows her down.

And the best thing we may have learned this weekend:

Sometimes you have to feel bad to really appreciate when you feel good!!!

Here's some video:


So I ran Gamblers, Standard and Steeplechase on Saturday; Relay, Standard, Grand Prix and Snooker on Sunday. Gracie ran Standard on Sunday.

The Gamblers run is the first one in the vid. Decent speed, pretty flowing, made my DW contacts. After the last Frame, Mum planned for me to take a jump after the tire, but the judge was in the way standing right in front of the jump, so being the good mannered boy I am, I veered into the tunnel instead. Got us behind and Mum discombobulated going into the Gamble, so I wasn't as speedy going in. Mum didn't hold and support me to the out jump, so I turned into the weaves. But Mum turned me around and I took the jump and the teeter (much improved teeter Mum thought). There was an out jump that Mum wasn't in a position to get me out to, so finished with an NQ. But Mum liked how I handled everything in this run, just wish the judge wouldn't have been in our way.

Standard run on Saturday was the one I needed for my SAM title. Got it with a fairly decent run. In the vid.

You'll remember that Mum hurt bad after my really awful Steeplechase run. So we went home.

Came back on Sunday starting with the Relay. I ran second to my partner because I'm faster if I do. We told our partner that this was potentially our RM title, no pressure right? That's right, no pressure, there is always next time.

The judge had us do a reverse baton exchange; which means that the person not running holds the baton, and passes it to the partner after their run. Mum holding the baton while I was waiting kind of freaked me out. But the beauty of that is I couldn't wait to get away from that thing. Took of like a bat out of heck.

Even before Mum got anywhere near the first jump, I was gone - she yelled chute (second obstacle), and thankfully caught up to me a bit. Took the other two jumps with Mum out about 20 feet from me. I just barely made my DW contact (Mum thought I missed it). I took the jump wide after the DW for a near off course, but came back in for a jump to the tunnel. I was out of the tunnel with Mum just at the entrance. Mum had to send me to the tire and then weaves. She caught up to me there, and we took the last jump together. Whew, what a fun run, and ended up with 1st place!

Mum went off to run Gracie. Dog was I jealous! Gracie was super focused on Mum before the run. Took the off leash practice jump quite a few times, worked her warm up very well, good girl! Mum set her up at the start, and led out a bit so that she could get a front cross in after the second obstacle - the tunnel. But Mum was late, and veered Gracie out too much, so Gracie started off looking for direction somewhere else. Mum got her back and set her up for the weaves, but by that time, Gracie didn't want to concentrate that hard, she just wanted to run. She did a few weaves and then got stressed and started sniffing heavily. So Mum picked her up and took her off course.

We learned some good things here - Gracie needs queuing way, way earlier than I do, or else she'll find something else to do immediately. It's really difficult for Mum to practice this with Gracie, accept in a trial situation. So they are going to keep practicing at trials. And we learned that she needs to be entered in at least two runs per day one to blow off some steam and the next to get her focus. Next weekend Gracie, next weekend - two days, two runs each day for you!

Here's Gracie with the toy she got at the trial. Like me she got a toy for her entry. Gracie's Standard run was 15 obstacles, a $1 for every obstacle. She took two obstacles before running off, so we're thinking the toy cost Mum about $13.00, with Gracie earning $2 of the $15.00. Better really enjoy that toy Gracie!

Standard was next for me and I was still fairly speedy, even thought it started to get hot. I ran pretty good and got a 2nd place on this run. Fun stuff. See the vid.

Grand Prix was after that. I had some pretty good speed, but not enough coming off the Frame and Mum didn't support me on the jump. Got a refusal. So we kept on, working on some speed. The weave entrance was super nasty, so Mum decided to let me do whatever I wanted and not micro-manage me. Missed a couple of poles, but she didn't care. I had some pretty good speed.

Next up was Snooker, and Mum was encouraged that I had a shot at a SQ. But I just was too beat to get my speed up. I took an off course and we were out. Wouldn't have gotten it anyway. Only 2 SQ's given in my height and those pups are super fast. But we'll keep trying.

Overall and considering Mum's hurting we were really happy with the weekend. We get more tries at the USDAA trial next weekend. I'm entered in Grand Prix, Standard x2, Snooker, Gamblers, Jumpers and Relay. Gracie is entered in Standard x2, Gamblers and Jumpers.

And the weather is looking good, so far. 65 and Sunny, perfect Sheltie/BC running weather!