Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The hawk is back and he's feeding in my yard!

That darn hawk that hangs around our house, got super bold this morning! He found some mice and started feeding in my yard! Can you believe that little bugger?

Here he is in the corner of my yard near the fence, checking out Mum with the camera. (And yes, Mum put a temporary board there to keep Gracie from escaping until she can fix the fence.)

He got a little spooked when he came close and tried to take his prey up to one of my fence posts.

He dropped the little mouse and had to try again to get his prey to safety. He made it the second time.

Here you can see his breakfast dangling from his talons! (It's kinda hard to see, but it's right in the middle of the top of the fence post.) Hey, that's my mouse!

Mum finally scared him off and he took his prey to the backside of our hill to feast. Then Mum went out about an hour later (she wouldn't let me go out, just in case) and he was back for seconds, OMD! What a glutton!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A few videos from the European Open 09!

We've found a few videos from the European Open this past weekend.

Here's a montage of the French teams:


Silas Boogk and Back:


We believe this is Roger van de Laarschot & Troy (sheltie) from The Netherands:


And we believe this is Stephanie Tiemann & Chilly and Thorsten Tiemann & Pepper (both Manchester Terriers)


See more here and here! And check back, we may find more.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grateful!

Gracie, Mum and I had a fantastic day yesterday...We got to do agility!

We met up with our bud Cash (that's his photo below) and his Mom who invited us to come out to their house and play agility. When we got there we were amazed at their place. I think it may have been about 5 acres of fields with an agility course set up in the corner. Can you say buggy eyes?

That's us in the car waiting for Mum to stop talking and start the party!

I have to tell ya that I think it's been November since we've been on somewhat of a full course, and Mum wasn't exactly sure what to expect from either of us, or her. But she was super proud of us.

I got to run first, and Mum of course couldn't wait to see now I handled a full lowered dogwalk. It wasn't perfect, but not too bad. I bailed a couple of times, but mostly I made it into the yellow, maybe a bit further back than Mum would have liked, but I had a few nice ones right smack in the middle. So Mum was pleased.

It wasn't until she got out the cheddar cheese that I really started to bail. She wanted to see how I would react more in a trial environment, which cheese will do for me. We still have a lot of work to do, and we know we have to work more on turning after the dogwalk. So back to practice we go.

We worked some on distance, some on tight turns, and the like. Mum was super pleased with everything I did, especially my frame and tight turns. I was as fast in the first run as I was in the last one four hours later. Guess all that backyard work, body work and conditioning is really paying off.

Then it was Gracie's turn. You'll see in the vid, after a bit of a ruff start when she lost her brain just a little, she really got into it. She bailed her first dogwalk, so Mum helped her the rest of the day by throwing a treat bag. She missed some weave entrances, but made most of them. And her speed through them wasn't too bad.

Mum loved many of her frames, total running with no bailing. Loved her tight turns. And she got more and more focused as the hours went by. Mum couldn't have asked for more from the Grace-ster. Good job, girly!

It's been a while since Mum has run that much in one day, so we expect her to be sore, today; especially since she had to mow the lawn when we got home!

We want to thank our bud Cash and his Mom for letting us come out to play. Not doing a full type of course for that long had really worn on us. We were getting manic and cranky. And spending a day doing agility with a good friend was just what we needed. We are grateful!!!!!

Enjoy the videos! (Here's mine)



Sunday, July 26, 2009

European Open 2009 info and updates! Edit: Final Results!

Eric at AgiltiyVision.com has a few videos up of the winners of the individual agility event yesterday:

Small - Nicola Giraudi with Twister a Parson Russell from Switzerland.
Medium - Jari Suomalainen and Frodo a Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog from Finland.
Large - Krisztina Kabai and Chilli a BC from Germany.

We also hear that Nancy Gyes came in third place in the finals with Ace, congrats!

They're using electronic contacts over there this weekend. So cool! You can see some practice work on them thanks to some USA practice video from Friday.

EDIT 7-26-2009: Final results!

Large Dogs:
Standard
Jumpers
Qualified for Finals
Finals

Medium Dogs:
Standard
Jumping
Qualified for Finals
Finals

Small Dogs :
Standard
Jumping
Qualified for Finals
Finals

Results by Country:

Large Dogs
Medium Dogs
Small Dogs

Team Results:
Small/Medium Dogs
Large Dogs

Recap:

Nancy Gyes and Ace received third place in the finals for Large Dog. Krisztina Kabai and Chilli a BC from Germany took 1st and Niina-Liina Linna & Rhett, BC, from Finland took 2nd. Mindy Lytle & Switch from the US took 31st.

Top US finish in Small Dogs goes to our friend Katie Trachte and Jeep in 28th place. Nicola Giraudi & Twister, a Parson Russell, from Switzerland took 1st, Susanne Prier & Unique, a sheltie, from Denmark took 2nd and Elena Kapustina & Party, a Parson Russell Terrier, from Russia took 3rd.

In the Medium Dog category Jari Suomalainen and Frodo a Small Dutch Waterfowl Dog from Finland came in first place, Silas Boogk and Caja in 2nd and Silvia Trkman and La in 3rd place. Sarah Dow & Siryn from the US took 11th place. And our friends Hugo Santos & Kissy from Portugal took 22nd.

Team USA 1 took 6th place in the Team Finals - with Nancy Gyes and Ace, Elicia Calhoun & Bree Sea, Ann Zarr & Skylar & Susan Cochran & Aiko.

Congratulations to everyone!!!!

Click to see some pawsome photos from the event by AgilityVision.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

It's Gracie's Birthday today!

Today is my sis Gracie's Fourth Birthday!

Gracie has a few surprises in store for her this weekend. For her presents, she's getting some Zukes Mini Naturals (her favorite treat) along with some raw duck necks for dinner. She's getting a couple of new plush squeaky toys that Mum's been hiding in the closet. And I'm gonna share my new Nina Ottosson Dog Turbo Dog Puzzle with her, of course!

But the best part is that we're all going to a friends house tomorrow to do agility with them! And they have a full size dog walk, OMD!!! Hope she won't need any of that NC short term health insurance after she's done. It's been a long while since we've seen full equipment, so we can't wait. Hopefully we get a little video to see who we both do. Can't wait!

Happy Birthday Gracie!!! We wuvs you!!!!

Friday, July 24, 2009

'Secrets of Russia' from Svetlana Tumanova!

The nice folks at AgilityVision.com sent me a couple of DVDs the other day to test out. They have a new service they are providing to the agility community - DVD's and Video on Demand's of some of the great seminars they have been holding recently.

Last night we watched "Secrets of Russia: Foundation" by Svetlana Tumanova (with translation from Olga Chaiko). And we had a great time learning some new tips and tricks on foundation work.

I have to tell you that I love watching European agility competitors, and I love learning from them. They just have this desire to build drive, motivate, create distance and have a lot of fun with their dogs early in their foundation work. Silvia was our first introduction and we weren't disappointed with Svetlana.

We understand from reading that Svetlana doesn't teach agility, she instead concentrates her time training her own dogs. And this is the first time Sveltlana has shared her secrets for building a strong foundation in the agility dog with those in the US.

Until just last year, no large dog from the United States had ever won a medal in individual competition at the FCI World Dog Agility Championships because Svetlana has been on the podium every single year since 2001

So what did we think of the DVD? We thought it was great! We learned a few things I thought I'd share to give you a taste:
  • Like Stuart Mah, Svetlana teaches her dogs to be very obstacle focused from the early stages.
  • She concentrates on teaching the dog to constantly work ahead, building drive and confidence for the dog and she does this by throwing rewards.
  • The video shows working a dog on 1, 2 and 3 jumps in a row, 180's, 270's, how she handles front crosses, serps and threadles.
  • Her main focus during the seminar is helping you and your dog best communicate with body, hand and verbal signals; in a very easy to understand manner.
The video isn't your 'basic' foundation work video, it starts right off sharing info on helping your dog learn to work away from you, learn the obstacles, and learn some handling moves and sequencing at a low jump height. It breaks down every single move to help you learn how to teach these things from the beginning.

We think Gracie (and I, even though I'm a pretty good distance dog) will really benefit from some of the things we learned from the video. We've been wanting a way to help her be faster, work away from Mum more, and build her confidence. The info we learned will definitely help.

The VOD from AgilityVision.com is $14.99 for three days of viewing. The video is about 2 hours long, so it gives you plenty of time to watch it a few times and take notes. The DVD is $49.99. And we hear that they may have a Masters level DVD with Svetlana coming out soon.

Here's a trailer of the DVD, enjoy..oh, and we think Olga did a great job of translating!

Look-a-likes from all over the World!

Mum and I love going through my mail everyday. We get some of the most interesting emails. Lots of folks wanting us to try out a product or two, lots of folks just wanting to say hi, lot of folks who send us pups looking for homes for our Rescue Me blog.

Every now and then I'll get an email of a pup that saw my pic on the Internet and about fell off their chair! Why? Because they thought I look just like 'em.

We really like these emails because for the past few years, my brother from the shelter is always on my mind. Some day we hope one of those emails will answer our big, big question; where is he?

In the meantime, it sure is fun to see the pics from pups all over the world who look a little like me :)

This is Jody, who's Mum found me on Facebook, just the other day. Jody's bigger than me, but we definitely are collie like :)

This is Cable Girl. Her Mom sent us her picture in February of 2008. They found her as a homeless pup in Kyrgyzstan and brought her home to the US. Lucky Dog!

This is Ace, who's family sent his picture in January of 2008. Ace is now enjoying his retirement after an amazing agility career! Way to go Ace!

And this is BunnyBell, one of my buds on Twitter, who lots of our Twitter buds think we may be bro and sis from another mother, BOL! But BunnyBell is much smaller than I...

...and of course there's my buddy, Cosmo. When she lived here we used to hang out some :) This picture was taken in October of 2006. Now Cossie is enjoying an agility career just like me.

So looks like I've got some look-a-likes out there, and some new friends! Some day I'll find my brother from the shelter. Some day...some day...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

We're guest blogging for Dog Sport Magazine!

Over the next couple of months, Mum and I will be guest blogging over at Dog Sport Magazine, talking about Raising a Green Dog.

We are super honored to be able to share what we've learned about being green with some of the most elite dog sports enthusiasts in the country!

Our first blog post - What is a Green Dog - was posted yesterday. So head on over and take a look. And if you're into dog sports like me check out some of the other articles on the site for great info! They have info on everything from rally, obedience and disc dog to dock dog, dog agility and more.

In the coming days we hope to be able to offer Raise A Green Dog and Johann The Dog readers a discount for a subscription to the magazine, so stay tuned! In the meantime, check out a free issue!

If you are into dog sports and social networking as much as I am, check out Dog Sport Magazine on Facebook and Twitter!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Memories!

The other day Mum was cleaning out a cabinet and what did she find? My memory box! (Yes, of course, I have a memory box - every dog does, don't they :)

She pulled a few things out, like my first collar (the red one, which didn't last long since I quickly grew out of it) and my second collar (the EarthDog collar made of hemp that I still wear to this day), and my first tags. Then she pulled out my old cast from when I had my broken foot. (Wasn't exactly happy to see that thing after having to wear it for 8 weeks straight. I smelled it a lot!)

And then she dug deeper and found my baby teeth! Here are all the ones she found between October 25, 2004 and November 11, 2004, when (best guess from the shelter) I was right around four months old. You can click on the picture to bigify. Oh, and she found the package from the Chilly Bone that she used to give me to help with the teething process (which is long since chewed up, BTW).

We feel lucky that we found some of my teeth lying around the house. I remember each morning about that time, Mum and I would have a little toofer scavenger hunt. Mum would get up and survey all the carpet in the house looking for little teeth and get so excited when she found one. Then she's individually wrap them in a baggie and put in a little note with the date she found it.

Guess like a lot of pups, I swallowed the rest of them.

List groups buzzin' about new AKC Class!

Well, since it's pretty much all over lots of list groups, guess they won't mind if I post the info here. I found this on a total of four list groups this morning and last night.

Seems there is a new AKC agility class potentially in the works and it was tested at a few shows this past weekend. Here's the info...
This is what has been posted on the judges list. It came from one of the AKC reps. It was played for the 1st time this past weekend at a few select shows. They still have to work out the kinks not sure when it will become a "real" class. It's much like USDAA's Steeple chase.

(List poster)

RAD
Run and Done

The goal of this class is to present a fun and flowing run. It is a single course open to all dogs. This is a hybrid class; a combination of the Standard and JWW classes.

Seventeen to nineteen obstacles will be used on the course. A combination of contacts (excluding the dog-walk) and weave poles equaling three will be required. At least one contact and one set of 12 weave poles will make up this combination. One set of 12 weave poles or one contact may be taken twice to meet this requirement. Only one spread jump can be used, but it may be used twice to encourage flow in the course design. One to two open tunnels can be used on course but may only be taken a maximum of two times.

Tunnels are optional. The rest of the obstacles are bar jumps, single bar jumps and the tire. Jumps need to be at least 50% winged. No dog-walk, table, chute, panel jumps or dummy tunnels will be allowed. The minimum usable course area must be at least 7,000 square feet.

No wrong course faults will be allowed. A wrong course will result in an NQ. No refusals/run-outs will be called. Dogs will have three (3) chances to complete the weave poles, after that the dog must go onto the next obstacle and will receive an NQ for the run. If the weave pole sequence is broken before the weaves are completed, the weaves will need to be restarted at the first weave pole. Mandatory Eliminations (Failures) and Excusals will apply.

Course design should encourage a smooth flow. Only three turns of 180 degrees on a course will allowed. All spacing of obstacles must meet the requirements of a Standard AKC course.

Overall challenge level will be a minimum of 5 challenges and minimum 3 side switches.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Judges briefing info:

RAD - Run and Done

RAD is a hybrid course, a combination of Standard and JWW's classes. One course will be open to all levels in AKC agility. Fast, fun and flowing courses are key elements in this class.

Judging; Dogs will be judged by jump height not by class.

Refusals: There will be no refusals or run-outs (R) in RAD.

Wrong courses will be called and will result in a non-qualifying score (NQ). The hand signal for the wrong course will be an open hand as it is in the Standard and JWW's classes.

Weave poles need to be completed in three (3) attempts or less, or a failure to perform fault (F) will be called. An attempt is when all four of the dog's paws cross between the first and second weave pole. If the weave pole sequence is broken (skipping a pole) before the dog completes the weave poles the dog must start the weave poles over at the first pole.

Mandatory Eliminations and Excusals will apply In RAD as they do in the Standard and JWW's classes.

Time: The course must be completed within 55 seconds for the 20, 24 & 26 inch heights, 60 seconds for 16 inch height and 65 seconds for 8 & 12 inch. These times are both the standard course times and the maximum course times for RAD. These times may change as the data is collected and analyzed.

Note, during the first stage of RAD both the 12 inch and the 20 inch dog's path needs to be wheeled and recorded on the spread sheet provided.
For more info on the AKC agility program in general, click here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

European Open 2009 this weekend!


This weekend, July 25th & 26th is the European Open in The Netherlands. Over 600 of the top dog/handler teams from around the World will be competing for the top spots.

AgilityVision.com will be providing Video on Demand coverage of the event throughout the weekend. The VOD for the entire weekend is 24.99; the finals coverage will be 19.99. Katie and Eric will also be Tweeting from the event on Twitter @agilityvision. And Melanie Miller, one of the competitors may also be Tweeting at the event @agilemindsmel.

Here are some links for further info:

Time Schedule
Practice Schedule
The Rules
Complete List of Entries

US participants include:

Large Dog -

Ace and Nancy Nancy
Aiko and Susan Cochran
Skylar and Ann Zarr
Bree Sea and Elicia Elicia Calhoun
Nika and Elicia Calhoun
Dan and David Skvorak
Slick Lisa Marie Bowers
Yankee (BC) and Olga Chaiko
Sweep (BC) and Roger Anderson
Switch (BC) and Mindy Lytle

Medium Dog -

Smitten (BC) and Melanie Miller
Export (Mix) and Tracy Sklenar
Jib (Poodle) and Suzi Cope
Siryn (BC) and Sarah Dow

Small Dog -

Roo (Sheltie) and Janneke Case
Reebok (Sheltie) and Lisa Jarvis
Harry (Miniature Schnauzer) and Anna Ericsson
Rock-It (Sheltie) and Barb Davis
Sully (Sheltie) and Mary Jo Johnson
Jazzmine (Sheltie) and Della Sliker
Binkie (Sheltie) and Janneke Case
Jeep (Sheltie) and Katie Trachte
Breeze (Sheltie) and Anne Stocum
Jente (Swedish Vallhund) and Sue Megenity
April (Poodle) and Lori Borrowman
Chase (Sheltie) and Deborah McBride

The event promises to be one of the top dog agility events of the year. The US will have some hefty competition on their hands, including a powerhouse medium team of Silvia Trkman and La Slovenia), and Silas Boogk and Caja (Germany), and Polona Bonac and Sja (Slovenia), Vikno OŇ°tarijas and Gala (Slovenia).

We have a couple of good friends competing in the event this weekend, besides those in the US:

Our friends from Portugal - Hugo and Kissy (Cocker Spaniel) and and from Slovenia - Barby and Xsara (Beagle).

Others who will be great to watch...Fanny Gott and Shejpa, Dave Munnings and Dobby, Greg Derrett and GT, Bernadette Bay and Zen and lots more.

To get you in the mood, here is Silas Boogk and Caja, last year's winners in the medium category:


Good luck to all the competitors!!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Around the dog agility blog-o-sphere!

We got a little behind in sharing some dog agility info, tips, sites and more. Some of this info you may have found already, but anyways...let's get to it!

Silvia came out with her Summer tricks video, love it! (There's also a new vid of the Labubi Drum Band :)


We ran across this great list of FCI and World Championship winners from 1992-2008.

Our friends Hugo and Kissy from Portugal had some fun with a box last month. I think they like playing with boxes as much as we do!

The IFCS 2010 website is up and running. The 5th IFCS World Agility Championships 2010, May 14th – 16th, 2010, Hand Equestrian Centre, Clevedon, North Somerset, BS21 6TG, United Kingdom.

Check out some of these runs with Silvia, La and Bu. Very interesting discrimination work, and turning after a running dogwalk.

Surfing around we found this great site Spass-mit-hund (which in German means, Fun for Dogs). They have a lot of cool, fun ideas on how you can have fun with your dog doing tricks and utilizing everyday items for interesting play. Here's the German translation. If that doesn't work, go here :)

If you haven't yet seen the new Running Contacts blog, check it out. It's got clips of lot of folks utilizing a variety of techniques to teach running contacts.

Here's another little trick vid from we believe Sian Davies from Scotland. Mostly basic tricks but we picked up a couple of new ideas. Check out her YouTube channel for more.



Here's a clip from Rachel Sanders's CRIC presentation on The Pre-Sports Puppy. The complete DVD is available from Clean Run.
Clean Run has a great article in their magazine article section - it's The Ultimate Doggie Swimming Hole - I want one!

There's a new UK Dog Agility Magazine. Here's the website. Looks like eventually they may have some great little articles from some top European competitors. Keep an eye out.

Special thanks to aurea.userworld.com for finding some of this info for us to share.

More info on this weeks European Open coming in the next day or so, stay tuned!

I's a gas, gas, gas!

Love that song!

But its all right now, in fact, its a gas!
But its all right. I'm jumpin jack flash,
It's a gas! gas! gas!


That song gets me movin! And it also was the first thing Mum and I thought about when we (think?) we discovered something that's been going on with me the past couple of weeks. Listen along while you read if you want :)


So you may remember that Mum thought I was having some tightness in my iliopsoas. I'd be playing and wrestling with Gracie, then suddenly I'd want to come inside, lie down in my bed or the nearest comfy commercial furniture and not want to come up for quite a while. This happened once the week before last, and once last week. Mum gave me a couple of days and then, viola!, I was fine, and completely back to my wacky self.

Last week when it happened Mum poked me all over trying to find out where it hurt. I stretched out my back legs, nothing...She was baffled and gettin' kinda worried.

So, it just came to happened that our friend Coryelle, who is an animal communicator, emailed us the last day it happened. Mum got bold and decided to ask her if she would be willing to 'talk' to me and see what was up. Could save us $100's of bucks and wouldn't that be nice!

So Coryelle called Mum last week from Germany and said that she thought it was something like a gas bubble in my stomach/side area. And that it hurt a lot, but we 'released' it was gone. So they got to talking about what diet changes I had had recently and Mum instantly remembered that each day I got the 'bubble' was the day that she mixed my glucosomine/chondroitin supplement with my kibble and yogurt. Well, well, well...she stopped doing it and guess what, no gas! And so far so good.

Mum is going to try the supplement with me on it's own, then she's gonna try it with my kibble to see if that food combo affects me. But you can bet she's not gonna combine the yogurt and the supplement!

When Mum was growing up, her Mum talked a lot about food combinations and how you shouldn't eat certain foods like breads and fruits at the same time, for example, because it doesn't digest together and you receive much more of the benefits of the foods when eaten separately.

Interesting stuff. Guess time will tell.

Fun weekend!

We had a pretty fun weekend! It was super cool outside, so of course we spent as much time as possible outside.

We got in a little hiking, too busy smellin' to look at the camera.

I think we would have gone further and further. But after hours it started to wear Mum out. Guess she needs some of those Clarks shoes to keep her going longer :)

Later we took a nap with Mum on the human bed. Gotta love that! Gracie and I each have our own spots. I like the foot of the bed, so I can keep an eye out for the kitties.

Gracie likes a nice pillow to cuddle with during her nap. Then Mum gets the middle section, until we both start cuddling close to her. Gracie likes to lay completely spread along Mum's back, and I like to cuddle near her neck on the other side. We're goofy that way :)

In between we had some fun in the backyard. Gracie with the hose, again!!! This one makes her look particularly mean, so unlike her :)

And I got my chance in the pool after a little dogwalk practice. Love my pool!

All, in all a great weekend! Hope you had a great weekend too!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

Gracie and I tackle the Nina Ottosson Dog Turbo!

We finally have video of me and Gracie tackling the Nina Ottosson Dog Turbo that I got for my Birthday!

The Dog Turbo, is one of the more challenging Nina Ottosson Dog Toys. Of course, Mum, Gracie and I wouldn't have it any other way, BOL! We all like a challenge. The Dog Turbo has channels and pegs. Mum puts the treats in the channels and we have to move the pegs with our paw or nose to make the treats come out the sides. Mum thought this type of toy would fit well with our likes and personality.

A few things we have to say before you watch the video. Firstly, we were (oddly enough) not quite prepared when we opened the box that Mum was going to need to teach us how to play with the Turbo. But it makes sense now, of course.

Mum started by putting the Turbo on the floor with the treats in the channels and just let us play with it to see how we would interact with it.

Gracie and I both immediately started trying to get the treats out of the channel with our tongues, successfully I may add. So it was up to Mum to teach us to use our paw (or nose in my case, at times) to move the pegs to release the treats. She put her hand over the channels and tapped on the pegs, telling us at the same time to use our paws. We know what those are, so we picked it up fairly quickly.

Mum started by putting the pegs fairly close to the treat exit place, so that we would be successful quickly. And she turned the puzzle so that we understood the direction the pegs have to go because the channels are curved. She even turned the toy sometimes for Gracie, so that she would better understand the direction she needed to paw at the pegs.

This video shows our first interactions. Now that we've got that down pretty well, Mum is going to increase the difficulty by not moving the toy and by putting the pegs further out. Then she's going to increase it even more by putting the pegs into the circular section, so that we have to move the pegs around the circle and into the channel area for the treats to be dispensed.

I have to tell you, both Gracie and I just love the toy. Mum was really selective to get a toy that both Gracie and I would like. We like to use our paws and our noses, and moving those pegs seemed to Mum like something we would really enjoy.

So enjoy the video, and remember where you can get this super cool dog puzzle, and others! They are great toys for indoor play and working our brains when it's too hot or too cold to get out there and work our bodies.

EDIT: We've been having some folks indicate they couldn't play the vid, so we reinstalled the code. Hope it's working better now! If not go here!

And if you're looking for the link for the shop that ships Internationally, click here! :)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

We loved Dogged Pursuit!

Our Twitter bud, Dusty, was super kind enough to send us his new book, Dogged Pursuit: My Year of Competing Dusty, the World's Least Likely Agility Dog.

What fun we have had with our evening parties this past week, as Mum has been reading us this super great book. It surely gets 5 Paws Up from both me, Mum and Gracie.

It's witty, fun, intelligent and a great story about being involved in this wacky sport we love - agility.

Like Mum, Robert learns early on that his sheltie needs a job. And just like Mum, someone recommends agility. So sure, just like Mum, Robert decides to give it a go, sounds like a fun time, right? But sadly Carmen, is diagnosed with hip dysplasia early on, and her agility career is over.

But wait! Rob is hooked and what do people that are hooked on agility do? Yep, you guessed it, they get another dog. So Rob heads off to the Central Illinois Sheltie Rescue in search of the next great World champion agility dog. But things don't go as planned and Rob, and his new teammate Dusty, have a lot to work through.

We had a hard time putting this book down and have to say that we may have finished it in record time. Mum was smiling and laughing her way as she read us the book. Occasionally Gracie and I would bark out in agreement with some of the things she was reading us, like....when Rob equates the embarrassment of knocking a bar to a little like 'farting in church', BOL!!! When he describes the measuring judge as 'having the bedside manner of George S. Patton'. And when they had finished out a run 'with more refusals than a Catholic girls' school on prom night'.

For folks like me and Mum being fairly new to agility, it sure brought back a lot of memories of our early, and even current days, in the sport - fitting in with the 'crowd,' getting used to traveling to remote locations, learning the rules, dealing with the competitive spirit, and the ups and, literal downs, in the ring.

If you like agility, you'll love this book. It's a great Summer read and we highly recommended it to anyone who enjoys agility or just loves dogs. Just one thing...we were aching for more!

You can get the book at Clean Run and Dogwise for $24.95 (and remember, Clean Run has discounts for multiple book purchases); or you can head on over to Amazon for the Kindle version at $9.99 or the hardback at $16.47 with a 34% discount. (Prices are listed as of this date)

OMD! This is hilarious!

What talent! And what a big bladder, OMD!!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Day in, and day out!

Ahh....the life of a dog! It's not bad, fur sure! Most work days are pretty standard for us. We get up, eat, help Mum with work, do some training, take a long walk, and then Mum goes back to work for awhile. Then it's veg and cuddle time on the couch for all four of us. Love that!

Thank goodness the weekends are a little more energetic, or we would go bananas! BTW - I love bananas.

Yesterday we woke up kinda late for us, 6:00 AM. And of course we immediately started waiting for our breakfast!

Mum got a little work done. She stopped in mid morning and gave me a nice massage, since my iliopsoas has been stiffing up again. Then she noticed that I was really starting to blow my coat, so she took off after the big brush. Here's the result of her efforts to my dismay. I think I've lost half my body weight and she didn't even use the Furminator!

After that ordeal, I had to get away for a little break. The landing on our stairs is a super nice sunny spot at a certain time of the day, and I took advantage of it.

Gracie took advantage of her bed, next to Mum's feet. She likes to stay close :)

Before we know it, it's time for dinner, then of course a little agility! Gracie's really loving her dogwalk and targeting training. She just can't wait to get out there! We need to check to see if she's got some of that ephedrine in her, sheesh! But in reality, I think it has something to do with food :)

Since I'm on low activity duty because of my muscle tightness, Mum got out my big birthday present, the Nina Ottosson Dog Turbo. It's something I can do that wears out my brain, and deters me mostly from manic running and wrestling activity. Mum says, 'thank dog'!

Interestingly, it takes just a bit of training to help me understand how to play with it. But I picked it up pretty quickly, as did Gracie :) We love the toy and can't wait to share more of it with you. Video to come later, we promise!!!

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Fun Games - Bang. Wait....Double Bang!

Gracie and I are dead, dead doggies, Mum shot us both, OMD!!! Just kidding...

This is one of Gracie's favorite tricks and also one of the first tricks she learned. When Gracie learned this trick, Mum knew that she was finally having some fun in life after coming to live with us after being taken from a hoarder. Way to go Gracie!

So to make it more interesting Mum decided we needed to 'play dead' together, now that was a trick, literally. First you'll notice that one of us likes to go right, and the other likes to play dead left. BOL!!! So Mum just has to make sure I'm on Gracie's right, or we bang into each other, we don't like that and well, it kinda ruins the trick :)

Since this vid, we don't have to go into a down first, we'll go 'bang' from a stand or a sit! But Mum still likes to point that finger gun at us, BOL!!!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A little of this, and a little of that!

It's gone from super hot, to super cool...and the last few days have been so nice outside! A great relief after the 90's we had last week.

We were Twittering with a friend of ours in California last week and told them that we had a lot of Cardinals this year. (Great bird herding, by the way). They just had to see a pic, since they had never seen a Cardinal.

For some reason this is the first year we've seen Cardinals in our neighborhood since we moved here. Don't know why they weren't here before, and we don't know why they came back. But it's cool to see a variety of colors of birds for herding, BOL! BTW - they like to fly into the windows a lot, silly birds.

Mum took some pics of the flowers blooming in our yard this week. Here is one of our yellow daisies. Mum loves how the sun is backlighting and enhancing the cool yellow color of the daisies.

And here's our lavender, in full bloom. Mum loves it when I zoom through it, 'cause I smell so good when I come in side.

Here are our Black Eyed Susans, not many of them this year, but they look nice!

Awwww, and our Hydrangea. It's looking very good this year with all the rain, but now that it's gotten really dry, Mum is having to water it a lot. See, it's getting droopy.

So what else has been going on? We've been working on our running dogwalk, of course, and doing some other agility in the backyard. We've been taking some long, long walks since the weather has been cooler (we missed those with all the heat). And we got somethin' in the mail this weekend.

The nice folks at Animal Planet sent us some Groomer Has It poo bag holders, for blogging about the show. We had fun watching the show, and want to congratulate Huber for winning this year's Groomer of the Year. Maybe you can buy some loose diamonds with your winnings, Huber! Thanks Animal Planet for the poo bag holders, we like 'em!

Today we're supposed to get some deliveries from the Brown Dude. My uber cool Birthday present is supposed to arrived today - the Nina Ottosson Dog Turbo. We can't wait for that!

And Mum order some memory to upgrade my 'puter. Now she can get some of my work done faster, BOL!!!

We updated the front page of my website - JohannTheDog.com - 'cause we found some neat dog gear, toys, treat and other stuff pawing around on the Internet this past weekend. You may want to check it out - those Nite Ize toys are super cool (they have balls and discs that glow), and you won't want to miss the Tuffy's Sheep. You know us herding breeds love our sheep!

We also really thought the Tubtrugs are cool, they are made from 100% recycled post industrial waste, and Mum thought they'd make great cooling off tubs for me and Gracie. And Clean Run has a new Ice Pod Cooling Disc to help keep us pups cool in our crates while waiting our runs.

And the best new thing? Two brand new Nina Ottosson toys are on the market now - the Dog Trubble and the Dog Domino, and the supplier will ship nearly anywhere in the World.

You may want to head on over to Raise a Green Dog this week, we found some super cool green toys, treats and other gear. And we'll have some other information from our friend Eddie at Pets for the Environment and his buds at the Environmental Working Group about a study they've just released about fluroide in dog food, yuck!!! That's nasty stuff if you get too much of it. So stay tuned.

We're gettin' ready for the big Fourth of July weekend. We hope to get in some nice hiking, agility practice, a little barbequeing, and more! Hope you all have a super great holiday!