Thursday, February 26, 2009

Look who is in Clean Run!

So I have been waiting forever for this to come out in Clean Run. You all have to check out Clean Run Magazing for March on Page 67. I can not tell you how proud I am of my really cool instructor. Her and Pickle are such a great team. I am so lucky to get the chance to not only work with someone with her accomplishments but Alicia has gone so above and beyond to help me and my dogs. I would say that I owe all I have learned and how I run to Alicia, but then she might get mad having seen me run with my dogs! LOL. Anyway, Pickle and Alicia have worked very hard and have just accomplished so much and I hope they both know just how awesome their accomplishments are.

Show and tell in our class tonight!

I am teaching the class in Acton today because my super wonderful instructor has deserted us tonight, LOL!!!
I want to try to do a lesson on reward placement and give everyone some ideas about how to reward a dog that is not necessarily into toys-away from the handler. Having had a dog that I really needed that with-Chloe-so I could reward her for speed and for leaving me-I know that when I was showing these things I really found it helpful, so I hope everyone tonight will enjoy being able to see how to use these things and to play with them a little.

REMEMBER with using food toys when you reward the dog with the food make sure they are getting the food from the toy to add value. Like if you are using a water bottle with food in it, open the bottle-shake out a few pieces into your hand and make sure the dogs nose is touching the bottle when he gets the treat. Let your dog grab the treats out of the pouch so they associate the pouch with the yummy things they get. Food is great to teach a certain position but toys are GREAT to teach a dog to go ahead or to teach them to go to a certain position and to build speed, so using toys with the food can get a food motivated dog excited about some toys.

So I got some apple juice bottles-they are small, have wide mouths, are clear-so I filled them up with some great treats and am going to let everyone take one of these home to play with and use in tonight's lesson. Using water bottles or plastic bottles is GREAT-if you are ever where you need one and forgot to bring yours-you can always find a water bottle to empty and use if you have trained your dog to know how to play with that.

There are the little screw/tool holder things that I get at Home Depot, about $2, you put your treats inside and then when the dog goes to the tube you can run to it and squeeze the top and there is a slit that opens up. I have seen some big dogs that really chew on them make the plastic loosen up so that the top flies off when you throw it, put a little duct tape under where the cap goes and that solves that problem.

I have some tubes that look like toothpaste tubes-you can fill them with canned dog food, meat baby food, liverworst that is put in the blender or chopper and you can mix just a tad bit of the liverworst with canned dog food or what can use some fish that you blend up, be creative. The trick to this is make sure your mixture is all the same consistency so you don't get lumps squirting out. You can buy these tubes in camping supply stores for about $3/a piece.

For dogs with soft mouths I put one of those little stuffed toys that have replaceable squeakers, here I put a frog. Take the squeaker out and you can put in some soft food, chicken, turkey, ham, cut up roll over, what ever. Let the dog go to the toy, then open it with big fan fare and let them stick their little nose in and then pull it away from them when they have had just a piece or two-LEAVE THEM WANTING MORE AND CHASING AFTER IT!!!

I found some little travel size, tiny plastic containers, 2/99c, put in peanut butter or meat baby foot, or try some veggie baby food-anyway, run to the container with your dog open the lid and let them get a lick or two. You can just use a baby food jar BUT then you can not throw it, so I like the little container or even a tupperware container much better.

a TENNIS BALL-yep, you read right. Take a tennis ball and make a big slit in the top, like an X and then when the dog goes to the ball you squeeze it and you can have treats fall out of the ball-the dog is rewarded by the tennis ball.
There are a lot of treat bags-some that cinch up can be closed and you can use the top part as like a target tray, or you can just throw the bag. The dog can get it and bring it back or better to the bag and open it up and let the dog get a little bite.

There are a lot of tuggie treat and tug bags. Fill them with treats-when you let the dog get them sort of keep your hands on the bottom and let them dive in to build drive instead of taking something out or shoving it at them. hold on tight and just let them get a bite and then pull it away leaving the dog want to chase it.
The TUG TRAINER is sold at Clean Run and some other places, I posted a video earlier of how well that worked with my non tugger. Start using it with a really soft treat that is mushy-store the tugger in a poop bag between uses because it is VERY MESSY-but it works great. The tug and treats come in some sorter things, some fur covered ones, ones with braided fleece handles, just think about what your dog likes and choose one that has something he may really like.

Toys!!! I put a toy that usually uses plastic bottles, instead of plastic bottles put in food. I have a tugger with an elastic handle and fur on the pouch that is a favorite.

I also couldn't find my Frisbee that has a pouch you can fill with treats for those dogs that like Frisbees.

When in doubt-use your bait bag, close it up and throw it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Which comes first?

So we had another big day today. Liz went to her first class. She has done some small sequences in our Acton class, but that is a place she is VERY familiar with, she runs for a half hour before her private in the yard, she does her private and then she has done class. She is familiar with that yard and those dogs, so I am always happy when she can focus there but this was a yard where she worked yesterday but four dogs she did not know, and there was no time to let her run around the yard before the class. It was windy, which always makes the dogs a bit spacey. So her first classmates were a little Papillion, a Cavalier, a Border Collie, and an Aussie. She did fantastic even though I was having trouble with my timing and had to retry things a few times, but she only ran off once, and that was to the water, and when I called she spun around and came right back. You would never know she had a problem. We were able to stay for the WHOLE class, and those classes are long-I was totally going to leave the minute we were losing her, but I didn't feel like we were anywhere near to losing her until the last few minutes.

Weird thing is that I feel totally comfortable running her in class. I wasn't at all worried about her running off and I have a three year history of her taking off, but it is like that never happened. I know my confidence has a lot to do with her staying with me, but has she changed and because I can feel that change it lets me relax with her? Have I changed and that leaves her free to do her job without the stress I put on her? Maybe a combo of both of us hitting a really good place with each other at the same time. I know in the past I always get comments from my instructors about how tense I get when I am working with her. I just never would have believed I could let go of all the worries so easily. I never envisioned a day where I could walk out in a new situation and just be comfortable and totally trust her, but gosh it is not hard to trust her right now at all. I just feel so in sync with her right now and like we have such a good partnership and it is so wonderful!!! I never knew if we would get there but almost 3 years of work where I did not know if it would ever really come together is just all paying off. How SWEET it is.

So one of my HUGE goals for Liz was just what we were able to do today. Now I guess we take it on the road and try her in some other yards, on other equipment, maybe some more classes, maybe her CGC, then maybe some fun matches, who knows, the sky might be the limit, ;-). I keep trying to keep in mind that I am sure we will have some back slides and progress does not go in a straight line, but I am going to enjoy our victory today, and I will worry about back sliding tomorrow!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another first for Liz

Unless you knew Lizzie and saw her in person, I am sure no one would understand why I keep making such a big deal of her good behavior lately, but we had another first today. On the way home from the vet I stopped at Petsmart to give Lizzie an outing and to work with her in public. A new Petsmart, one I had never been to. We had to walk past the CATS on the way in, which is usually a pass for the border collie brain to leave. My dog who had been in the car for a couple of hours with all that border collie energy just building up looking for a place to go. A recipe for disaster you say? Well, just after we got in an older gentlemen was watching Lizzie and came up to me and said it is remarkable how well that dog behaves and how amazing she performs. WHAT???? I can truly say that is a first for anyone to say anything along those lines when they see me with Liz out in public. We have always got a lot of comments, just not THOSE kind, LOL!

I feel like a kid at Christmas who got the gift they had been asking for for years. Three years of working with Lizzie, more classes, more homework, more training then all of my other dogs to date COMBINED, and over night she is turning into a real doggie. I am sure we will have a lot of back sliding, but gosh, just such a rush to see all that we have worked on finally paying off.

Good news for Breeze too. Seems she has hurt her back. Breeze has always compensated for her hips by transferring her weight to her back and she gets big kinks and trouble in her back. So the Dr. felt her knee is sound, her hips are a little out of alignment, but they always are-they are not very out of alignment though, and everything else looks OK. So the prescription is more core exercises to strengthen the muscles on her sides by where the tuck is to help protect the back, and just cut back her activity 30% from where I had her when she got hurt and then go slower building her back up. The Dr. feels that the agility is still good for her and that she just did too much a little too fast.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Just hanging out on a Saturday morning

I spent the morning going to a trial to work on some attention with Lizzie. I brought Lizzie and Breeze. Lizzie was an angel, after a few minutes she settled down and was great, listening, not over the top and before we left I put her on a long line and she did some terrific recall work. She has been such a good dog the last week! The couple of years of Really Reliable Recall work, and repeating all the sessions of the recall class and all the practice FINALLY seems to be paying off-YIPPIE!!!!

Breeze was a NUT! She was snarky with all the other dogs there, and apparently children are really upsetting her, as are men, and I guess life in general, she was even doing some shaking in the car on the way down there. I wonder if it could be possible that she is not feeling well? She did a lot of alarm barking, so I went through a huge amount of treats doing some control unleashed work, more specifically the "look at that" game. When will she turn three???? LOL, unfortunately if that is the magic cure it wont be happening until September. I thought Liz would be the challenge today but I was wrong.

The weather was gorgeous and I haven't been to a trial in awhile so it was great to see Eric and his lab Molly(who was looking very fit and happy running), my favorite male border collie Dillon with Kara(Dillon is looking very good, he has some really pretty weaves and was just all about doing his job), and we had a really great time visiting with my friend from agility class Denise with her Collie Kodi.

Friday, February 20, 2009

OOOOH Breeze!

The thing with a dog like Breeze is that it is always an up and down process-one day things are going great and when I start feeling secure and like things are going to be OK, boom, things go downhill again, and after awhile I wonder why I even go through emotional highs and lows with it when I should be prepared for these shifts-but, guess I haven't got there yet.

WELL, I was riding on a high with Breeze and really if all her trouble from the past year has been that ACL injury....then she had not had any trouble that I could really attribute to the hip dysplasia, so she was doing so well, I sort of thought maybe she is going to be lucky and do pretty well. I knew she wouldn't be able to say run five or six runs a day or anything crazy, but she was looking so good. All of that came crashing down and now Breeze is doing quite a bit of compensating and it really looks like the hips. When she is a little tired then she will sort of run and not bend the one leg, and whenever she is jumping she does not shift her weight to the back end and is doing all sorts of weird jumping. This morning was the first day in her life that I noticed Breeze looked stiff getting up.

I just feel so sick. I wonder if I am even meant to be able to do agility. It looks like even if Breeze is able to do agility she needs to do very short sessions, not a lot of repetitions and if she had a decent handler....maybe she could do it. The problem is that she is an inexperienced dog and I need to practice and get my timing I just do not know how this is going to work.

To make it really bad someone came down on me for even thinking of trying to do a whole lesson or class with her-that really made me feel like whale poop and so I am feeling like maybe I am just a selfish boob for even wanting to do any type of agility with her. You know how it really hits hard when someone comes down on you for what you are already coming down on yourself for? Honest to gosh she had just been doing so well and looking so good and she loves it so much and it does keep her in good shape which is also important for her, and I knew it would be a balancing act but I would never hurt her. If she can not do agility she will be so upset whenever the others get to go out and play, so hopefully she will always at least be able to feel like she is out there with the others and doing what she can do.

So here I am with my little rag tag gang- could I handle the sheer number of dogs I would have to have if I try one more time for another puppy? Maybe do some rally with Breeze and maybe even Lizzie? Not to mention with all of my dogs I have spent so much time training them to this level, and gosh it would just be so cool if I could finally get past this point with one dog and really start trialing and having fun doing agility on the next level-starting with a puppy would be fun, but I would be back at square one again. I would just like to finally have ONE dog that was just fun and didn't have a lot of problems. I love all my problem children but....just one easy dog, is that too much to ask for? LOL, maybe it is.

So hopefully I am pushing the panic button unnecessarily, I do have an appointment with my holistic vet on Monday morning-so maybe it is just doing more that has done this to Breeze, but honestly I can not imagine that she is not going to have to severely limit the amount she can do agility for sure so that she stays healthy long term.

I just wish dogs like this came with little booklets that would tell us what is the right thing and exactly how much we should do and should not do, the exact formula to keep them happy and healthy mind and body.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lizzie my teacher, my friend, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!


Well, today is the third birthday of my best Pal Lizzie. Everyone who has been with us through this big adventure of Lizzie's life has promised that when she turned three life would be very different, so I find myself celebrating and reflecting as she hits this milestone.

The first time I saw Lizzie it was in a picture in the newspaper-or actually on the net. I saw her picture and just thought I would call and see what the deal was. It was one of those things where for some reason I had to follow my heart, and with in an hour I was on the road and driving to see her. She was at a rural farm with her two sisters and about 11 weeks old. Her dad was a nice dog that just seemed pretty nice and stable, her mom was a cattle herding dog that I never got to meet. I chose her because I felt some sort of connection with her, but also she was the one who just wanted to sit and play with me. She played with everything I had brought, she passed all my little behavior tests and I just knew she was the dog for me. I came up with her name on the way home, I will always remember that ride. A few days after getting her home I went to class with Chloe leaving Liz in a 48 inch high xpen, as I came home I felt a little stab of contentment pulling into the driveway seeing that beautiful red/white face looking out, greeting me......then it hit me....WHAT????? How had she got out and what damage was done while she was unattended for a few hours in the house?? Thus started our little journey together, full of ups and downs!

I have to say I was very intimidated by the horror stories about border collies and was not sure I was up to what I heard they were like, and to tell you the truth Lizzie is everything I was afraid of getting....high energy, too smart for her own good, driven, obsessive.

IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE IT IS GOING TO BE A CAUTIONARY TALE, or a post about how hard Liz can be....well, here on her third birthday I feel like I am the luckiest girl in the world to have this little whirlwind in my life.

Lizzie has been one of the most influential teachers in my life. She has drug me kicking and screaming to some lessons that I am still working on fully embracing and I know I will be a much better person for what I have learned.

I could go on for days about the things I have got from my Liz but to sum up the most important lesson it is to respect and accept who someone is. To recognize and appreciate all the special things they bring and not just concentrate on what I want them to be and what little space I would like to fit them into.

Who knows if Liz will ever fill the little space I originally got her for...but I could never have hoped to find someone that would fill all the spaces she does fill in my life-and I can not imagine my life without her now.

So to my friend, my buddy, my partner, my companion, the girl that has inspired me by how she just grabs life and has fun no matter what she is doing-HAPPY THIRD BIRTHDAY LIZZIE!!!! I hope we have many, many more years together and what ever you bring I am sure it is going to be fun.

As Lizzie's Birthday present to me...we went and worked down at a yard today she had not worked at before. I let her run at home in my agility yard for about an hour, then I let her run in that yard for about 15 min., then we set up some exercises and did a good half hour of work. She was amazing and didn't leave me once. There were lots of distractions and lots going on and she was all about hanging out and doing what ever I wanted. She is really growing up.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


I have got to say that here in the Bordergirls agility world the music for agility this week has been mostly the Pink album, Funhouse. On the recommendation of the Target employee....LOL, who said the album is great, I gave it a shot and I love it. Of course some of my favorite songs are So What, Sober, Funhouse-that song includes the verse --"this used to be a funhouse, but now its full of evil clowns"--that makes me smile every time I hear it. That line just brings up great mental images!

Tuesday is class day. This is the class I just started here close to home. The reason I am taking this class is of course any day doing any agility is a good day, they usually set up some pretty good sequences, it is a group of people that I started agility with and since I was rarely there I have lost touch and not having a training partner it was starting to feel a little lonely doing agility at times feeling like I am working all by sometimes lately and since I am getting ready to start trialing more it would be fun to connect more with people that are trialing so .......It is also the time of year when we miss a lot of classes/lessons in Acton so it is a good time to take another class. It sure doesn't hurt that this class is the best deal in town, I don't think there is anywhere else in the world that classes are so economical.

So last week-I was all discombobulated because we were only supposed to use front crosses. I could see how to run the course so well AFTER Deanna the instructor showed us how to do it, but gosh I sure didn't see it before. In my private in Acton a few days later, Alicia set up a nice sequence where I had no idea there should have been a cross and she had to walk me by the hand to see what looked like it made such sense once she showed me. This week was REAR CROSSES, yippie-right up Chloe's alley. What helped even more was that Alicia had just went over looking at and thinking about the lead the dog is on and what lead we need them to be on, so that was invaluable, and Alicia was really stressing making sure you are always showing the movement by your position and what you are doing for your dog. So we were all ready for this class. ANYWAY, Chloe was a Rockstar! Last week was a mess, but this week...we looked good. We got all the sequences really pretty easily, if I say so myself. A couple of times someone in class was asking, "why does Kathy only have to run this one time?". Deanna said because she got it right! LOVE it the days it all goes so well-not that that happens all that often, so I savor it when it does!

The really funny part is that when I took this class a year or two ago.....this rear cross lesson was a nightmare. Chloe would never drive ahead of me-she has really come so far. Deanna was commenting on how much Chloe has changed and how much more confident she is and this lesson really made that obvious. Now days Chloe is usually telling me to GET OUT OF THE WAY, so we love rear crosses.

So....when I remember the first time I took this class-the class is called Handling 3-I was shocked at that time to find out there are different type of rear crosses but....apparently there are and we worked with four types today.
1. Full Stride Rear Cross: Done when you are running say down a line of jumps and then you are going to turn, done where there is a lot of speed and you want to keep that speed so you don't want to slow the dog down and you don't want the dog to do any collection. If you have a velcro dog you need to reward the dog away from you to encourage them to really drive ahead. With Chloe I had to make sure to cross the second she locked onto the obstacle before the turn, otherwise she figured out where she thought the course goes and I would lose that pretty full stride turn to the next obstacle.
2. Tandem Rear Cross, or a rear cross on the flat. Guess these are sometimes happen when you didn't get where you wanted to go- or they are done in some pretty tight places, you and the dog turn together.
3. Broken Strided Rear Crosses, rear crosses where you need some collection and control so you slow down your stride, maybe use the dogs name.
4. THIS ONE I really didn't even want to practice because I think it sets up bad things-and I am really trying to always show movement to my dogs so they can trust that, but it is the Stationary Front Cross. These definitely usually happen when you planned a front cross, or to move somewhere and you just messed up so you are stuck somewhere and you are stuck sort of standing and need to do a cross but have no where to go, so you send the dog ahead and cross behind, with little or no movement, so you should try to show some sort of movement and I guess I would definitely try not to get in that position that I have to do that is what I am guessing.

So next week in that class we have homework. It is to list in detail EXACTLY what our criteria is for contacts. Goodness Gracious that is a hot keg with Chloe because she thinks she is doing a 2020 and I know what her criteria was for that, but now I just have her run through, she is slow enough and most of the time I can get there and it is so much more comfortable for her. So I really haven't trained the new criteria, we are just sort of feeling the whole thing out for what works because Chloe doesn't want to run through but after a few Aframes she will just sit at the top to avoid the shoulder discomfort.

Anyway, that is always a funny class because someone always gets mad. LOL. We take the criteria we bring from home and have to read it to the class, and then we run the contacts, and everyone sees if you are sticking to your criteria. Hey, I never get mad because I know mine are sort of out there, on the Aframe with Chloe at least, the dog walk and teeter are pretty clear, although we have had some teeter problems, so next week I already know I will look like I need a good talking too about contacts, and really Deanna will just say, hey if that is ok with you as long as you know what you have and don't have, big deal as long as you are happy with it!.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Feb. 6-Feb. 14, 2009 what we were doing......

Well, a little over a week ago I was doing agility in my short sleeve shirt and by last Monday we had SNOW, some monster size hail, and tons of cold and wind. I live in the So CA desert and so we get excited about weather. Most of the time the weather forecasters here could just mail in their predictions months in advance and get it right almost all the time, in the summer-hot and dry, in the fall warm and dry, in the early winter cooler and dry, most of the spring cold and very windy. So when there is any weather the tv channels have their storm watch, we all get on the computer and email each other-"are you getting snow in your area-what is happening there?", the phone lines all over load with everyone calling each other, guess living in the desert makes us all get a little dorky over weather. So this was a picture of the hail that we got on Monday.

So as you would guess we haven't got to do as much agility, due to big puddles around all my equipment, ice and the fact I am a whimp and do not enjoy going out in the cold. I did get to drop in at a class that Paw Prints has, that is the local dog club that I belong to. They have some very nice classes-five minutes from my house and dirt cheap. They still only charge $45 for an 8 week session, and each of the classes runs a couple of hours for the upper level handling classes. Deanna who is the instructor is who really started me out in agility, and who I took lesssons from the first few years. Deanna is someone who has grown into a friend and she is such a pleasant person to take lessons from or to know, when she teaches she is just so stable, you would never know anything happens in her life, she is just all about what we are doing at the moment. You just always feel like she would do ANYTHING to make you successful and she just always seems to care. Now the slant of the lessons is more toward a Gregg Darrett type of handling and I am doing a Linda M. style-or trying to, so I do have to do some thinking and try to make sure I am applying solutions that fit in my handling style.

So first off I almost froze my butt off, it was so cold during class. I got home and was sooooo sore, I dont remember ever being that sore. I think I was trying to run and tensing my muscles because it was cold which made me more sore? I thought my fingers were going to snap off. I bet it is going to be even worse tonight for the Acton classes with Alicia.

So the focus of the handling 3 class is a different skill each week and this week was FRONT CROSSES. Ok, I ONLY used to be able to do front crosses with Chloe. She would NOT drive ahead of me to make front crosses possible. Things are different today. So we had a whole course where I would probably only have used rear crosses......and I am shocked at how few of the places I saw where I could get a front cross. My first time through running the course was a real hoot. So when Deanna showed us all the places we could use lateral distance to get ahead of our dogs I felt like "ooooohhhhhh....." AM I EVER GOING TO SEE ALL THESE THINGS. Like as soon as I saw them I felt so silly for not even thinking about it because it made so much sense. So then the second course I will say in my defense I did see the way to run the course so much better and I was able to get all but one front cross, and I just made the decision to throw that one out because I really didnt want to interrupt the flow of my dog.

Another terrific thing I got in this class was I deceided to work on a lead out with Chloe. Figured she loves the class and she was in a good mood and there was no way to get those first few front crosses if I ran with Chloe. So Chloe actually did really well and I could see a lack of training with her lead out but she was comfortable. I had stopped doing lead outs with her when I was building her confidence and she was so stressed at the start line. I think the lead outs is something I want to try to carefully add back into my tool box with Chloe. Most of the time running with her is just fine and works the best but it would be nice to have some other options if I need them.

1. Chloe and Breeze will go out of their way to go around the first jump if I am doing a lead out, Breeze is getting better but I had no idea until this week Chloe is doing that too, no matter where I put her.
2. Breeze is doing remarkable at her rear crosses, but they are new...this week I experimented around with her doing them without me using my verbal directional which I always mess up because I do not know left from right....ANYWAY she was able to do her rear crosses with only my body movement so yippie!!!!
3. It has become apparent to me watching Breezes runs that I have got into this thing of not doing a whole flow to sequences, so I sort of sit around calling her back to me and trying to get her to come to me, so like when she comes out of a tunnel instead of connecting with her eyes, holding my ground and sending her on I back up and sort of collect her to me and then send her on, hummm, I need to hold my ground and let her run!
4. Cont. the work and get Breeze back on the dog walk. She was injured a year ago on the dog walk and really hasnt been on it since, who is more scared of it, Breeze or me???? that is a toss up.

So all in all there was some great stuff this week, but I saw a lot more to work on, so there are a lot of storms predicted for this weekend.....hopefully I will get some good progress this week. At least I know where I need to go.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Class takes a bad about an Extreme Home Makeover???

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.
Maya Angelou

Well, this was an exciting afternoon. First off we had a storm blowing in and I had to catch my huge 20 foot tunnel as it was going over the wall trying to escape. My huge 6 foot kennels both blew over and the kids and I had to try to keep them from going over the fence, it was a mess. My class that was scheduled for that afternoon is about an hour and a half away so the weather can frequently be a whole lot different then it is here so I was hoping that someone would let me know before I had to leave my house with no one to guard it from the wind and before I had to drive an hour and a half in the bad weather. Well, no such luck, I packed the car-3 crates, water bowls, tons of treats, toys, my video camera, tripod, phones, ipod, cold weather gear( I finally remembered gloves and my fingerless mitts this week, but no chance to use them, figures), 2 kids, 4 dogs, all the training aids I get the picture. I have to drive the kids a half hour in the other direction so I have someone to watch them and then I get to get on the road. I was just about 20 min from class when I got the call that it was cancelled. I couldn't believe it. So almost three hours of driving-by the time I did the full round trip, the gas, all the packing, I was not a very happy camper-especially when I had been trying to keep a handle on what the weather was like all day, but living that far away it isn't like I could look out my window, and I had waited until the last minute I could leave without being late.

I thought of the quote above and thought hummm, what could I do to make this better? I stopped at Charlie Browns and got a shake, they make the best shakes, and yes that did make it somewhat better and decided to call a friend before I got in the car and started heading home. Happens my friend lives just a few houses from where they are doing an Extreme Home Makeover. For anyone who does not live on earth, LOL, Extreme Makeover picks people that they feel are deserving and they send them on vacation and in ten days totally build their houses over again, they are always gorgeous. My friend Carrie suggested I stop on by on my way home so I could go up and have a look. Seems this family had a little mobile home they lived in that was very run down. They also provide a sanctuary for tigers, lions, all sorts of cats I guess, and they even have an alligator. So one week ago the big Extreme Home Makeover machine rolled in and people have been working night and day for one week and have built what looks to be a gorgeous new house and a beautiful visitors center and it even looks like they are making some nice enclosures for the animals.

So these are pictures, one (the blurry one) is the house . The other one is the visitors center and in the middle are of the enclosures for the big cats-who had to be relocated for the building project. Can you imagine someone calling and saying "Hey, can you watch my huge Lion for about 10 days, and by the by do you have a truck to pick it up in?". In behind the visitor center and the cat cages is a place where the alligator, or alligators live. So how awesome to think that one week ago today there was just a run down mobile home. Tomorrow Billy Ray Cyrus will be doing a concert, hope it isn't raining, and then Saturday it will be time for the Move That Bus moment. Now all that is left is for me to figure out why I would be deserving of an Extreme Home Makeover on my home,....can not think of any reason at all I would be deserving, but I am going to keep thinking because that would be a pretty cool thing.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cherry's teeter is coming along

I raised the criteria today and this is the first time Cherry is trying this. This is a really LONG video-so you might not want to watch it, it is the whole session-unedited of Cherry's teeter training today. I put the table legs lower so we are getting close to a real teeter experience. I wanted to post the whole video because I really liked watching how Cherry was figuring the whole thing out. I could see the wheels turning and her figuring out how to handle her body. Now I would NEVER just put a dog on a teeter like this of course, I have seen too many fear issues and I would not want to take a chance on a dog getting hurt, but we did a lot of training before we hit this point. My whole goal with Cherry's teeter is that she can handle her body and understands totally how to control the obstacle. She knows how to jump off/jump on and she has been very comfortable with the movement and the noise--Anyway, the end goal for this obstacle is in sight!!!! I did do a longer then normal session because the wheels were just turning in Cherry's head and I wanted to give her a chance to work it out, and I could see her doing that toward the end!

Breeze practice Feb 4,09

This little course I set up is from Clean Run Feb 09, this is the first exercise. I couldn't get the camera to see all the jumps at the same time, I ran out of room up against the fence. One thing that has changed is that I put some of the jumps to 18 inches and her jumping still looks pretty good to me. This week Alicia was showing me how to sometimes not get so far ahead in some parts of courses so you can continue to show motion. In certain places even if you can get way far ahead of the dog then you have to stop, so this course seems to have one of those examples in it. At first I tried to run by getting way past the tunnel, but that left me sort of standing before the next jump, but by hanging back to just past the entrance of the tunnel it kept me further behind and showing motion going to the jump and then theoretically slowing down to show there was going to be a turn. Well, looking at the tape I need to work on that more. The other thing I was supposed to work on was behind within the plane of the jump stantions when I am doing a rear cross, that is another cue that a rear cross will be happening. Breeze did read that rear cross or the left really well in my opinion. Another thing I am very happy with is that Breeze is starting to read the first obstacle instead of wanting to run around them, always helps to not have an NQ before you even start, LOL. I was just sort of shocked how well we did the first two times we ran this, so I hadn't brought out any more of the courses or thought about how to do them, so we stopped and ended on a good note!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This is a picture of Breeze from the Contact Point agility trial on Sunday. It was taken by her breeder Karen M. Check out the worn out teeth from the tennis balls.

5 week check at the vet for Breeze.....

Well, we began the day with a trip to the vet to measure Breezes legs, poke and prod to see how she is holding up with her increasing activity levels. Her hips were out of adjustment, but not badly so, and her back is staying in alignment nicely-the last few times she was having problems with that but it is looking good today. We got the OK to play around with slowly raising jump heights and seeing how it goes. All in all she seems to be handling the activity and agility well. YIPPIE!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can not tell you how happy that makes me. I had to increase her adequan I give every other week IM to bi weekly, for awhile I was trying to go to every third week, and she is still on the cosequin, and the Sam E. I was told that her skin looks like she needs some foods to increase blood flow and is looking a little off and I should add in some more protein sources and more dark green veggies, so Breeze was happy to hear that the vet feels a little more beef and some tuna would be good for her, I am sure she wanted to stop and start that on the way home.

My dogs eat raw so I can give kibble for treats and they love it and think they are really getting a huge treat. I found a new kibble that looks pretty good and so far seems to be getting the thumbs up. It is called Pure Vita, and so far they seem to really like it ....although.....the last type I tried was Before Grain-Buffalo and Chicken, and a fish formula-they just were wild about that those, so we will see if they like this new one as well.

I am looking forward to some really fun agility stuff the end of this week-meeting with some old friends I love to work with,it should be a whole lot of fun, but there is a lot of rain forecasted so I am holding my breath and really hoping that I will be able to do what I have planned.