Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Do you have a cold?

Aaaaaachhhhooooo!

Mum and I have been working on perfecting my "Do you have a cold?" trick. You know sneezing!!! While working on the trick out at the edge of the pasture the other day she got a pic of me in mid sneeze, BOL!!!

The very first time she tried getting it on cue for me was way back in August of 2007 when we lived in Indiana. Here you can see it on video at about the :46 point. We're hoping to get the latest version on video soon!


I have to say that we've been missing our carpet lately, it's much more difficult to get a grip and do lots of our wacky tricks on our hardwood floors. But Mum promised she's going to look for some rugs for us very soon, so we can get back to it. Although I have to say that we are really enjoying all the outdoor hiking and trail running. And Mum's a whole lot more fun being skinny and not having to look into those Top ten diet pill ideas, you know, BOL!

So do any of you know "Do you have a cold?" post your vids and share with us!

Off to the farmers market!

A couple of weeks ago Mum took us to the square here in town to pick up a few fresh veggies. While we were there, we got to tour around the courthouse square, meet some nice people and see some of the town sites. Took all of about five minutes, but here's a little of what we saw!

Here I am in front of some beautiful Crepe Myrtles a vendor had for sale. They are one of Mum's favorite southern trees. The neat part about being down here is that we get to enjoy the northern beauties and the southern beauties all at one time!

We walked around the square, around the old, but presently used courthouse. Guess we found my spot, BOL!
We walked some more and found a place in the side walk where they had recorded lots of key important dates for the area in honor of the Bicentennial. Gracie is going to give you a little tour!

Here's a little vid, pay particular attention to 1878, that's the date that 'nothing happened' BOL!!!

And here I am at my last stop at a statue of Williams Jennings Bryan in front of the courthouse. Bryan was a three time candidate for President of the US and fervent believer in banning the teaching of evolution in public schools and saw Darwinism as a major internal threat to the US.

He was also the attorney for the prosecution (the World Christian Fundamentals Association) during the infamous Scopes Trial, (held right in this courthouse and fictionalized in the play, Inherit the Wind) in which Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for John Scopes, a high school biology teacher accused of violating the state's Butler Act which made it unlawful to teach evolution.

We talked with a few other folks, one who asked Mum how much she wanted for the dogs, OMD! That old guy had been around here for a long time, and definitely needed some dermapril review for all his wrinkles and leathery skin. Mum of course told him that we weren't for sale, then we headed home and took in some pawsome hiking later in the day, with Mum keeping a very watchful eye on us!!!

Off leash rawks!

A couple of days of rest after the trial, I was feeling much better so Mum thought it was time for us to go out hiking and have some fun.

It's been warm here, but cooler in the mornings and evenings, so we hiked up the ridge a few times.

Once we come out of the woods, we're right near the ponds. It's far away from the other dogs down the lane near our mailbox, and far from the roads so Mum has been letting me off lead a bit in this area. Off lead rawks!

Mum used the 30 sec burst function on our new camera to take lots of picks of me running loose, here's one of our favorites!

I get to wander free around the woods by the ponds and get into stuff. Sure makes Gracie crazy, since she can't be off lead yet! She's not as good as I am with that reliable recall stuff.

Then we make our way closer to the ponds where there's a dry feeder creek that I like to frequent, lots of good smells!

Then we make our way through the back pasture, which is getting high right now. We expect they'll be cutting again soon and we'll get to get into the hay bales again!

And after that we head up to see the frogs again. We finally got a photo of one sunning himself on a big stick, which by the way needs to look into acne product reviews, it's got all that bumpy stuff all over it, BOL!

After we come out of that pond area we have a pawsome view of the front pasture and the mountains. We had to stop and take it all in one day. Ahhhh.....

Hope you are having a pawsome week!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The trial last weekend!

If you've been keeping up with me on Facebook, you'll know that I had a great first run at the agility trial last weekend. But not so fun runs after that...

Mum was so happy seeing me run my first run! I was fast, fairly accurate :) (I sucked into the tunnel and ran past a jump and spun before the weaves, both of which resulted in faults). But it was such a fun, speedy run! Mum promised she would run her legs off for me and she kept her promise (although she thinks she looks slow in the video, BOL!).


The cool part is that we were running against a couple of very good pups here in TN, and I'm very proud that I beat the time of one of them (who has represented the US on the World Team before), and I was just within a couple of seconds of another pup that had a pawsome weekend running, and won every class she Q'd in. It's always good to see how you're measuring up, yes?

Anyways, after my great first Standard run, something started going wrong. Mum didn't know at first what was up, as I was running past a few jumps in my next JWW run. I seemed pretty fine when we got home. I got a massage, and some extra rest with no long hikes. Then we headed to the trial on Saturday, the next day and I ran my STD run....refused a jump and wasn't using my backend well through the weaves, and my dogwalk was slower. Mum thought she had made a mistake on the jump so ran me in JWW after and I refused the last three jumps, and my weaves weren't nearly up to par. Mum looked over the video from the first run and saw where I limped my back hind leg after the run was over. So we headed home, not planning on coming back on Sunday.

Mum massaged me when we got home and I was super tight in my backend, under and over. This is the same type of way I acted when I pulled my iliopsoas over a year ago. So Mum was concerned.

With all the hiking, ball work, massage, stretching and everything else we're doing...Mum is just baffled why this keeps happening to me. So she made a special appointment for me at the University of Tennessee. She put together a comparison vid so the vets up there can see what Mum sees during my runs. They've looked the videos over and definitely see what's up with me, which is great, because so many times I'll act absolutely fine once I get to the vet. We have our appointment a week from Monday.

Mum and I are pretty bummed...after all this time we were soooo excited to be running agility again, and for this to happen is kind of heartbreaking for both of us not being able to do the very thing that we love so much.

We're hoping with super crossed paws that the folks at UT can help get to the bottom of all of this. Mum is looking into all kinds of best muscle building supplements for me and other stuff. She has resigned herself to the fact that I may not ever be able to do agility like I used to. The resulting effects of the dog attack my first year of life and all the other injuries may just be rearing their ugly heads.

Super thanks to all our friends for wishing us well at the trial. Have to say that Mum and I had the very best time on that first run. There's just nothing like a good speedy, fun run. Mum didn't care at all that she and I messed up...we were just happy being out there. Oh, by the way? I was 22 seconds under standard course time, which means if we would have run clean (always a hope right?) I would have won the class and would have received 44 MACH points for that one run. Woo hoo!! Just the thought of the possibility makes us giddy!

Chicken backs rock!

You may remember that a few weeks ago we took a quick trip up to River Ridge Farms again to pick up some raw parts for us to munch on.

We went through the chicken necks pretty fast having one about every other day. So Mum got out the chicken backs we got. We've never had chicken backs so she was anxious to see if we would like them and we did! Well, kinda...

Mum cut the whole chicken back into two and gave the larger one to Gracie and I got the smaller half since you can't cut them completely even, doggone it.

She cleaned out our crates and gave us each our part....Gracie went gung ho on the chicken back, but it took me a little time to get used to it. But after just a little bit, I was as into it as Gracie was! And we've been getting 2-3 every week since. They are like their own little thermogenic fat burners, BOL!

Mum is going back to the organic farm again soon and getting us more! We can't wait!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Frogs, frogs and more frogs!

A few times the past couple of weeks, Mum has taken us up to where they are either filling in a pond or starting a new pond, not quite sure. But DOG...there are a lot of frogs up in that pond!

Gracie and I pull every time we walk near there so we can go say hi to the frogs. Check it out, oh and you may want to turn up the volume :)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Reminiscing about agility on my Gotcha Day!

This past weekend was the anniversary of my Gotcha Day!!! The day I got, got!

Milestone days sometimes bring on a little reminiscing, no?

It's been six years since Mum adopted me from the Southside Animal Shelter in Indianapolis. Mum woke up one day and said, "I want a dog to do stuff with." So she got on Petfinder and found this pic of me and my brother and instantly fell in love. I am her first dog ever!

Neither one of us had a clue or twinkle in the eye for agility in the beginning, but after an agility class when I was almost a year old, both of our lives took a major turn. We immediately began agility training and haven't even thought about looking back, despite my bad luck over the years.

I like to think I'm a lucky dog. Much has happened to me and much has had to be overcome for me to do agility, my absolutely favorite thing to do in life, besides be with my Mum, of course!

For those of you who don't know, when I was one year old I was attacked by a bunch of dogs. It was touch and go for a while, but I recovered and competed in my first agility trial just a couple of months later at the age of 18 months and one day, with a little shorter fur on my backside. It was USDAA and I got four Q's - three 1st and one 2nd - and came home with lots of ribbons. Needless to say we were completely hooked on agility!

About a year later, I turned up with a dislocated toe, after three trips to the vet to find out what was up, I finally got an x-ray that showed my toe out of whack. A little adjustment and six weeks of leash rest and I was back to my wacky self. And back running and competing in agility!

Then, when I was three, Mum had to board me when she went to Las Vegas for work. While I was there I got a broken foot. After eight weeks in a cast, I recovered well from that too and was back in agility in about five months. Came back and got a QQ in my first AKC trial back at it in Lewisburg, Ohio!

Just about a year later, I started not running well in agility, I got hesitant, till one day I sniffed in front of lots of jumps during an AKC JWW run. Turned out I had pulled my iliopsoas muscle. It took a lot of trips to vets and rehab specialists to figure out what was wrong, but once we did, it was into recovery I went. Took off a few months and I was back at agility again! Yeah!

That year following, we competed in 24 trials in Indiana and in Ohio. During that time I had a great string of 7 QQs in a row through three trials, and in one trial that year I got three first places with a total of 86 MACH points for the weekend.

Also that year, I competed in the USDAA regionals in Indiana and our team came away with 15th place and a nice DAM Q, qualifying me for nationals in all three events with the other GP and STP Q's I got that year. I ended up after that year about 100 pts from my MACH and five Q's from my ADCH. What a rush!!!

Competing at nationals in both AKC and USDAA was not to be that year, I was 50 or so points away from qualifying for AKC nationals when my iliopsoas started acting up again. Mum, Gracie and I were planning a move to the mountains, so Mum decided it was time to take me off agility, get us moved and settled in, let me completely recover and work through a plan to help prevent my iliopsas from acting up.

Turns out a trip to our new vet at the University of Tennessee after we moved, helped me and Mom figure out that it was the resulting affects of the dog attack back in my first year of life that is deterring the strength and flexibility in my back through some fused skin layers from the surgery, and that's why I have iliopsoas troubles.

I've been off for over a year, getting well and working my rehab. Mum and I have been working on my strength and flexibility, and all indicators seem that it's working well, although we both realize that I have troubles throughout my life. Mum and I sometimes think about what would my agility life be like if I hadn't gotten hurt so much, and had to take off more time recuperating, than actually being able to play the game. But alas, such a waste of time, right?

So, lots of you know we've been practicing agility again for the past few months, and the best news in the world is that I'll be competing next weekend in my first trial back since the Spring of 2009. It's the best Gotcha Day present ever!!!!

Thanks Mum for getting me....I am furever grateful to have you and agility in my life, no matter what we've been through...I'm a fighter, just like you! And right now, I'm just glad we can do it again! Let's go and kick some agility course butt and have tons of fun at the trial this weekend, K? I am ready to run, run, run, for however long I can!

We've been tagged!

The super nice folks at Dog Tag Art were kind enough to let us pick out and send us for free some pawsome new tags, since it's so important to have up-to-date information on the tags you wear!

Here I am with my EarthDog tag since I'm a green dog, you know! (Click to bigify!)

And we found a pawsome cute agility tag for Gracie! See she's got her lucky agility tag on, 'cause you know how much she needs luck on the agility course, BOL!!!

The neat thing about Dog Tag Art is that you can choose from lots and lots of tags created by some talented artists, or you can create one of your own by just uploading a pic and doing a quick little design.

They are very durable too, we've been wearing them on our hikes and during travel, and they don't even have a scratch on 'em! Here's a zoom in version of Gracie's tag!

And the new thing that Dog Tag Art is doing is called Virtual Leash, where for only $1 a month you can have a unique website (a.k.a. online profile) for your pet with unlimited emergency contacts that can be instantly notified. The website can send you and your emergency contacts, messages through email, Twitter, text message and voicemail when your pet is found. Virtual Leash also uses Google Maps to show potential finders a safe place for your pet. You can change this address easily and at anytime.

Your pet's unique website is printed on the tag (along with your phone number) and worn by your pet. Your pet's website can be updated as you move, travel or even when they are at a pet sitters for the weekend. How cool is that!

Oh and did I tell ya, they are very inexpensive too!

Monday, September 06, 2010

Treibball - updated!

Back in 2007, (can you believe I've been blogging since 2007, OMD!) we blogged about a new sport we found coming out of Germany - Treibball!

So we thought it would be good to update some information that nice folks have sent us and we've found around the Internets about the sport, since this is one of the most highly searched terms for my blog.

Here's a video we shared from our 2007 post:


And here's some info from our 2009 post:

Being the herding breed that I am, I have to say that I'm a bit fascinated with this Treibball sport.

We understand the sport has actually been around since about 2003 in Germany, and officially became a dog sport in 2008 with competitions held there. (If any of my European friends have more info, feel free to leave in the comments :).

From what we can gather, the ultimate goal is for the dog to herd eight large balls into a soccer like net as quickly as possible. These balls originate from a formed triangle in the center of a field. But we see other variations as well - herding through obstacles, lanes, and more.

What I like is that it's something new and fun to learn - and would be great to work on even inside during the heat of summer or cold of winter. Inside I could learn to herd those balls around tables and chairs, before venturing outside to wider spaces.

We found a few sites (use translate.google.com) that may be of interest:
  • This site, Treibball, has some links to starting training, exercises, a blog and more.
  • And here's a Wiki that explains some about the sport, which we believe is also called 'Drift Ball' (EDIT: Drive Ball) from what we can gather from translations. This site also has some tips on what rewards are important in teaching Treibball.
Here's a vid to enjoy, as well!


And a few updates:

We received several emails in the past year about more info for folks to learn more about Treibball we wanted to share. Now all you have to do is get some competition going, get some video on blu ray movies then on YouTube and have fun!
Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Great practice tonight!

Gracie and I got to go to another agility practice tonight. Dang was it fun!

We did a standard course, complete with all the new AKC rules; lowered tire, four paw table count, no judging on the up contact (no worries for me) and other stuff.

The interesting thing is there was an off course tunnel coming right off the dogwalk that Mum thought would be a challenge since we've been working our running dogwalk during our own Monday sessions with a tunnel as the reward and focus point. Mum decided to direct Gracie right into the tunnel since she's still working her dogwalk, but for me she decided to go with the plan and direct me to the jump right instead of into the tunnel. Good test right?

Well I passed!

We had worked on my running dogwalk with a higher table and plank to the tunnel on Monday, and I was at 100%, so Mum moved me up to the full dogwalk and I was at only about 85%. So she decided to test me tonight and I did the dogwalk seven times tonight and was at 100%, even with turns after. We'll see it if it holds for the trial next weekend. If not, I'm sure you'll hear a driveway alarm going off, BOL!.

Mum has decided that both of us will do a down on the table since we love USDAA, and we both come off the table faster that way anyway. One question Mum asked tonight is what if our paws during the down are hanging over the edge of the table, does it still count as four paws on for AKC? Yep, it does according to our instructor tonight who is an AKC judge.

Mum remembered something with me tonight that she had forgotten in our year off of agility and me recovering from my iliopsoas pull. If I'm doing a lot of work far from her laterally, like the five jumps in an arc during tonights run, she has to keep her arm out. If her arm is down closer to her side, I'll come in toward her. Duh, Mum!!!

All my runs were good except the one where she had her arm down, sheesh! My teeter is better, it's been kind of wonky since the one where we practice is really slick, and that time I flew off the top. It even freaked Gracie out on Monday, She was barreling up the teeter and when she lowered her body for the drop she went sliding down to the end. But now Gracie is loving the slide, oh no, watch out! BOL!

Speaking of Gracie, she was great again tonight at practice, completely focused, didn't run off at all. Since she's been having a little weirdness with the teeter she ran by it the first time, but took it like a pro the second. Gracie even has her running frame back, still needs work on her running dogwalk though.

Mum was super impressed with Gracie on Monday. After she ran a sequence Mum would throw a treat after the last obstacle for her reward. Gracie scrambled to get it, and then you could see in her eyes she wanted to get her zoomies on and run around the building. But instead, Gracie did a few crazy in place turns and then settled down and focused again. Mum and I both saw that she was trying to keep control and not zoom off, even though she wanted to, oh so badly! What a crazy, good girl!

We have one more practice next Wednesday with a drop in class before the three day trial the following weekend. We can hardly wait! Oh and did I tell ya, it's packed dirt...my absolutely, positively favorite flooring for running agility. Watch out Mum, you better be ready for me!

I'm a rock climber!

This past weekend we got to do a little hiking up the ridge. And guess what I got to do? A little rock climbing, BOL!

OK, OK...so Mum had to put my little self up on that big rock, but I had a great time scouting out another angle of the squirrels, fur sure!

We got to see some of Mum's favorite plant, Coriopsis. She used to buy and buy these at the nursery, and plant them in our beds in the back yard. Now they are blooming everywhere here naturally. So cool!

We also got to see a stick bug. There were two of them right in the middle of the trail that kind of spooked us, then we had to get a closer look. They are difficult to see in the pic 'cause they look just like a stick, but he's to the right of the green leaves. When we got home there was another one on our front screen door, only it was green. Guess they turn colors with their environment.

We got to go and visit the creek bed. It's bone dry right now, but this is the same creek I got to swim in this past spring. Can't wait till it fills up again.

And over by the ponds we saw some Goldfinchs flitting around, we got very close before they flitted off. :) They're eyes looked like loose diamonds, so cool!

Then we headed around the pasture and saw a deer grazing...kind of difficult to see, she's running off 'cause Gracie started screaming her fool head off and scared the doe.

Hope you are all having a great week!