Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Well, it is officially summer and way over 100 degrees, I am not a fan of the heat! Having to work three dogs in this heat really is an incentive to plan my sessions, have everything ready and know exactly what I want to work on and keep the sessions short.

In trials Breeze has CONSISTENTLY done a 2020 when she is on my left side going over the dog walk, and done a four on the floor when she is on my right side. All the recent trials have had the dog walk on the left side so I have got a 2020 consistently, a beautiful 2020, but not a four on the floor. I really just thought it was doing the job so if she gave me a four on the floor or a 2020, it would all be good, until I talked to Daneen Fox at the trial last weekend and she gave me her opinion about remaining consistent and making sure criteria was black and white and always the same-I am glad I asked her about it. As soon as she voiced her concerns I knew she was so right, and I do not want to have to remember to keep the contacts on the dog walk different for different sides of the dog walk, it would be so much easier if she is supposed to do one behavior no matter what way we are going! See how picky I can get? I went to practice today at the yard and got some video of her dog walk contacts. Guess I am going to just have to keep training it and hope it all kicks in and if she does the 2020 in the next trial then I will know it is a trial thing, either way I am going to have to find some fun matches and different places to keep working it and see if we can fix this problem. I was suprised to see my four on the floor was back at my house and at the practice yard, the last few days anyway...So I will be anxious to see what contact the next trial will have in about ten days if I keep working and doing frequent reps until that time.


Breeze did NOT get to go to class last night, it was so hot and she had counter surfed and got about 2 1/2 pounds of Natural Balance I had set out to cut up for treats. Of course right after that my husband gave her her dinner and she ate all that too!!! Is Breeze a little food motivated? She likes her vittles! I was scared she was going to get really sick and more then a little annoyed. I did not want her to go out in that heat and run and get bloat or something, so no agility for her!

Liz did get to go to class-she is doing so good but I have got in the habit of using my arms to tell her where to go a lot, and she waits for me to give my late hand cue and gets frustrated and mad. I am working hard on not using my hands and teaching her to trust my feet and body again which will give her much more timely info and help with her frustration, me and Lizzie are always a work in progress!

This is Lizzie this morning at our little practice, just loving life and how I usually see her, she is always so happy and I just love seeing her smile! She really is the best doggie ever! She is a smart doggie with the water because it was over 100 degrees!!! Did I mention it was HOT?

I did get some video of the CRICKSTER doing baby dog agility and I will post those later, she is just soooo cute!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Three Border Collies Dreams Can Come the CA desert!

How cool is this? We were hanging around the house and I took the the dogs out for a walk and found far as the eye can see. We all wanted to herd them, LOL, wouldn't that have been FUN! Of course the most we have ever worked is four or maybe five??? Anyway, a lot less then were running around our little town. There was one person tending the sheep with the most laid back border collie, I went up to find out where they take the sheep to and where they are coming from, but he only spoke Spanish, and I just speak broken medical Spanish, which was not a help in this situation, so it will remain a mystery, LOL. The sheep used to come through a few miles away where there is now a Lowes, and a Home Depot and a Target, so it has been a couple of years since I have seen the sheep come through here and it does not take a lot to get me excited, I love seeing the sheep ;-). So the border collies thought they were very lucky someone was bringing sheep to their house, and they did not have to drive hours to see the sheep....although they were disappointed we did not get to play with the sheep!

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I really had a great time today, I did much better and just decided I was not going to let ring nerves get me too wigged out. We did not melt at our trial today-that was good. Actually it was over cast until an hour or two before our run, but it was really hot when it was finally our turn. Breeze ran better, and looked happier, watching her tail in the videos makes me happy because she was having a good time. She did not keep looking behind for me and seemed more confident, and I will take that with or without a Q-which is a good thing because thanks to my BAD feet, there were no Q's to be found today for Breeze and I! LOL

What can I say, but I am very lucky Breeze puts up with me, LOL.


First the standard run-it was a challenging course, but we did not mess up on the challenging part, LOL. Figures. Here is the course-you can make it bigger by clicking on it if you want to.

I was sooo happy because even with the heat Breeze looked happy today, she did like the parts of this course where she could extend and open up a little bit. Breeze did EXACTLY what I told her, that was the good news and the bad news!

First obstacle was a tunnel, and I was sort of standing there trying to figure out how to handle it and not paying attention to my position when Breeze got out of the tunnel, I just was thinking so much about further down the line that I was not careful, I just took it for granted that it looked like a super easy entrance to the weaves. Well, of course I had not rotated around and in the video I spent a long time with my WHOLE body telling her to go to the dog walk, and good doggie that she is-that is EXACTLY what she did.

Of course when I messed that up, I was all a twitter sending her to the weaves, did some funky front cross and pulled her out of the weaves at the end, something she never does....she was mad and yelling at me, so I gathered myself and the rest of the run was fabulous, LOL. After the table there was a serpentine with a pull through to the tire and I was really worried about that but she did stellar.

She did not read the rear cross I did before the Aframe, so it was funny because it has never happened to us that she ended up laying facing in the opposite direction from where I was, so that looked pretty funny.


OK REALLY WEIRD thing that I have been noticing is that Breeze thinks when she is on my right side on the dog walk, she does a four on the floor contact. When she is on the left side she does a 2020. YEP, only my dog could be doing that. Well, I figure no big deal, but then I was talking to Daneen Fox who runs papillons and is on the world team, and she said well, that is ok if you make sure that is how it is every time, but how do I handle making sure her expected behavior is black and white, what if she gives me the four on the floor after I have been saying that yes the 2020 on that side is what I want, anyway, she gave me a lot to think about... and she warned me about the problems of doing retrains on the contacts, yea, I know about that ;-). So I am still not sure what to do about it. I am going to have to do a lot of thinking about what I want to do so I can be clear with Breeze and know what to reward and what not to reward, I guess we are going down a grey zone if I accept that, it might be really hard for me to remember what I expect on what side, ughghghghg, why do contacts have to be so hard??? I noticed this weirdness a few weeks ago, it started at trials, and I trained the four on the floor a couple of times a day for the last two weeks and thought we had it all squared away but when I walked today I thought, hummm, this is the left side and the 2020 side, wonder what is going to happen? Well, she did the 2020. Ahhhhhh, ADD IT TO THE LIST.


The JWW run, same song different verse. Breeze did fantastic, released slightly before I released her but I did release her while I was walking to my place...I sort of got stuck in the pin wheel walking too much so we both sort of stalled right before a jump and got a refusal, Breeze did a marvelous job with the weaves, we got through the next part and second to last jump I think my feet told her to go to the weaves, and I should have did a cross on the take off side and not the landing side of the jump, but, always easier to see that afterwards... but the run was happy and fast, and she did fantastic at the weaves and caught the entry without me having to have her check her speed, so I am WAY happy with that.

SO NO Q's but a happy dog who I think ran really well, I am pleased. I would not have minded giving better info to my dog and Qing, but we got the really hard parts of the courses we worried about so it could have been a whole lot worse.




My Buddy Denise came to watch today, she filmed my runs and she brought me this great ribbon board that is to hang my ribbons on. No ribbons to add today, but hopefully soon ;-), so I put Breeze's title ribbons on it and can hang it in the hall by the dogs agility pictures. THANKS Denise!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wish my luck on the weather, LOL!

WHAT HAVE I DONE? LOL, I decided that I would sign up for some trials while we were still doing classes (there will be up to a three month break before the next sessions start), and try to just get myself and Breeze more used to trialing before we have to take time off classes and after that we can work on what training holes I am sure we will find as we are trialing. Of course we will add the new found holes in our training to the ones I am pretty well aware of already, LOL. I am sure we will have a hefty training list by the time we finish the trials we signed up for......

So all that sounded like a marvelous plan when I signed up but.....we live in Southern CA, and in my area anyway, in July the temps are usually well over 100. I am a melter....I melt in the heat, so as soon as I sent off the registrations I thought, YIKES!!! I just might die if we get a heat wave in July, and you know that is not that unlikely..... I am a worry wart, so I will stress on the temperature until the trial dates get here, although that won't change anything! If you all read about a trial where they found a competitor in a little melted puddle in Southern CA and they are wondering who that could have been.... you all can let them know it could be me!

SO.... I may be lucking out this first weekend-I am trialing at Woodley Park in Van Nuys, this is the forecast for Saturday as of right now....

Saturday: Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High around 80F. Winds S at 5 to 10 mph.

As far as our training, Cricket did FANTASTIC in our last stretching, and strengthening class. We did some recalls in an open field and we were supposed to have the dogs run between two people. Just so happens that my partner was the girl that taught the recall class I did with Cricket. Well, in the recall class Cindy had tried to lure Cricket away from coming to me by showing her food, and Cricket learned that reward was way more likely if she stayed with me. So not sure if that is why when we did recalls she would not leave me. When we really lured and got her to run towards Cindy ( a really slow run..) when she almost got to her she would WHIP around and run to me at warp speed, as fast as her little legs would go.., she was so happy to come to me. LOL, it sure made me feel good and built up my ego.....MY PUPPY LOVES ME! WHO KNEW?

Breeze is doing SO much better at the weaves, but during class she was supposed to catch the weaves after a long stretch and a she was going so fast and it took several tries for her to figure out how to check her speed. I have been working weave entries a lot and she catches them from all angles, but we have not put in tons of speed yet... so we are working on it. Well, the rest of the night she was supposed to come out that tunnel and do a sharp turn into a serpentine of three jumps. Breeze was sure she was catching those weaves again, she would pop out of the tunnel and race for the weaves, she knew she was right, and because I have done so much weave work lately she has been heavily rewarded for the weaves-she thinks those are pretty cool, so hopefully her next trial will not have a really fast entry into the weaves, or some sort of trap where I have to pull her off where she thinks the weaves belong in the course, we may be in trouble. ;-).

Lizzie, poor Lizzie, she has went back to taking a jump and whirling in front of me-one of us is going to be killed when I trip over her one day. I think I just need to work some baby dog sequences with her where I just encourage her to drive ahead. She does gorgeous treadles, some really difficult sequences, and gets huge lateral distance from the weaves, she can do amazing things, but give her a straight line and it falls apart very quickly. Poor Lizzie, I just love her, but, she is a lot of dog! She is fond of pointing out my holes in my training skills!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Stretching and Strengthening Class

As a person who hates change....I hope the new layout of the blog is going to work well, it seemed to fit and feel a lot like the current summer season.....however, it was too easy to do, so now I am worried that there is some little thing I am missing, LOL. I am wondering if it is going to be hard for some computers to load??? so if anyone has problems, let me know, not that anyone could not live without my blog, I am sure it would not be missed that much, but I do like to make things easy ;-) and I love all my blogger friends, what would I do without you all and your posts when I get up in the morning?


I started attending a fitness, stretching and endurance class. It is 3 weeks and was meant as a fund raiser for a friend who is very ill, and is taught by the lady I took the tricks class with several months ago, and Deanna who is my agility instructor.

A HUGE BENEFIT to this class or doing any of the massage or strengthening work is that I was really sorry when Breeze got hurt that it was harder on her then it had to be because I had thought I had her used to being touched and manipulated, but really it was very hard on her to have the doctors, therapists and myself doing all that we needed to do with her when she was hurt. I hope that I will have everyone more used to these things in the future so if they do get hurt we do not have to add the stress of being handled like they are not used to to the list of stressors they have to go through. I also wanted to learn as much as I can about how each dog usually feels so that when there is something different I can get on it right away, and doing the stretches might help find small injuries before they become big injuries. I did the warm up routines and stretching with Breeze at agility class last week and had an UNEXPECTED HUGE bonus. Breeze was more focused and felt way more connected. I am wondering if adding this into our warm up will help Breeze be more relaxed and excited at agility trials, because I have not been as good as I should about warming her up and just getting her all mentally ready before her runs. It only makes sense that would help us both.

Cricket got to be the lucky participant...even though I wanted it mostly for Breeze, but Cricket has not gone to that many classes and I wanted to see how she could work. I knew this would be a great opportunity to work on our relaxation and focus work.

This turned out to be a super fun class. We taught TONS of tricks that we are now working on. Tricks are fantastic for stretching and strengthening dogs. Play relieves stress and increases focus and strengthens the bond between human and dog-so you can see where this is going, it was a great class. We went over stretching your dog and then we worked on a lot of tricks with clicker training (I LOVE clicker classes), so I thought I would list some of the tricks we are working on. The thing with tricks for stretching or strengthening is you can lure to get the tricks, it still works the muscles we are trying to work, so even if you don't have the tricks perfected you can get their benefit by luring the trick.

So these are some of the things we worked on in the first two classes-

Weave through your legs, figure eight-great for the dogs sides, you can start with your legs wide and then make it more challenging by putting your legs closer together, you can also have the dog weave around cones.

Bow-I have a super cool way to teach that, you get the dog sort of going down and when the elbows just bend then you throw the treat so the dog has to go and get it without finishing the down. Takes a few tries to get the timing but it really works. You want the dogs head to be really low to stretch out that spine and have them hold it for about 15 sec eventually

Dig-another super fun trick, I am using it to teach the dog to scratch their nails on a board I covered with sand paper to do their nails. You can call this wipe your paws which would work really nice for days when your dog has muddy feet. We learned that by letting the dog see us put a treat under a blanket, and then shaped them digging, OR you can capture them digging outside or digging their "nest" before they go to sleep. To shape them to do their nails, once they are digging on the blanket put the blanket on a board covered with sandpaper, and fade out the blanket.

High Five, Wave-you want to make sure to do this on both sides. I realized I have lost one side on Cricket because I always do Paw on her side she does the best with, so now that is the only one she wants to give me. The wave can stretch and make the muscles that take the brunt of the landing after a jump more flexible.

Beg/Sit up and Beg-again great for the core and balance and the back. You want to get where they can sit for 15-30 seconds eventually.

Roll Over-you want to go both ways, a fantastic strength builder.

Back up -rear end awareness and strengthens the spine and back and increases the suppleness of the back

Crunches-those are the dog sitting and you stand right in front so they do not move their legs forward on standing up.

Down to Stand
Sit to Stand-you want both of these to be very slow, controlled, deliberate movements, not just popping up. I did not realize until Breeze was hurt that she could not do that.

Crawl-great for everything

Straight up on back legstand >-this is a great spine and core exercise but ONLY for dogs WITH NO BACK PROBLEMS

Catch a treat or a ball-great for focus, eye mouth coordination, concentration and attention

Tug-great for spine flexing, overall strength, release of stress and tension. Try to keep the dogs spine in a straight line and no jerking or lifting dog off the ground.

Tomorrow is our last class and I will be sad because it has been a lot of fun. Cricket has been a super star. She gets really excited when she walks in the room but then just settles in and has learned all the tricks really fast and been able to work around the other dogs without going over the top.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Crickets Birth Family in Oregon..

This is a picture taken today of Cricket's birth family. Singe is her dad-he is the red dog in the center, her mom Rumor is in the picture and then three of her littermates-Jazz, Jive, and Moe. The picture was taken by Brittney from Hillcrest Border Collies.

I think Crickets face looks like her brother on the left side of the picture and I think her head shape and expression sort of looks like her dads. You can click on the pictures of her family to see their faces better ;- ).

Now Breeze is in no way related to these dogs, but as far as her coloring, she does look like she could have been switched at birth with Cricket, LOL!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What we did when class was cancelled-and working on those weaves!

Well, agility class is cancelled this week for the dog club meeting, so I found myself with an evening with nothing to I did what any self respecting agility addict does...loaded up the car and went to play with the pups at the agility yard. I got some video of Breeze doing weaves, not the best but her weaves are looking way nice, I got some box work footage with Liz, after our disastrous fun match it was good to see her able to play with me, and I got some video at the end of the Crickster. It was funny because everyone was tired and no one wanted to play with her, so she had to work hard to get someone to play. Breeze is not usually a tugger but the toy Liz likes to use for agility really gets everyone excited. It is a pain in the rear because it is hard to tuck into my waist band while I am running and it really looks like an animal. Deanna got freaked out when I had her reward Liz in class, in the dark she all of a sudden yelled, WHAT IS THIS????

I know how important independent weave entries are so we have been working on those. I taught my dogs weaves with Susan Garrett's 2X2 method, using her written materials and DVD and I LOVE that and plan to use it with Crick when she is ready for weaves.

I do think weaves are one of those things that I will speak for myself, but, it is easy to get them good enough,...and then move onto other things and leave huge holes in a dogs skills. So I have been using Joe Canovas program from World Class weaves, a video available from Clean Run. I believe he uses just channels to initially teach the weaves, but it was so long ago that I watched the initial training chapters that I could be wrong. I really like his chapters on the DVD that sort of walk you through the proofing process. He shows how to teach the dog if they are within a 15 foot radius of the jumps and the weaves are able to be seen by the dog, the dog should find the entrance like a heat seeking missile. That is what he uses to describe it and I love the mental picture!

He shows how to work through so your dog understands how to recall through the weaves, how to run with your dog through the weaves-well, guess you are running next to the weaves, LOL, and how to send your dog through the weaves. I think he makes it easy to work through each step so you can train the entrance for different positions, the left, the right side, then adding in more speed and then lateral distance.

In one of Deanna's classes our homework was to list all the ways to train weave entries and exits. Well, I went and did all the research I could and found 278 things to train and quit because I was tired of writing-I did get the class record with that homework assignment so I get the honor of them mentioning my wining list each time that homework assignment is given out. Joe's list looks a lot like mine, but I will say I had my list before his DVD came out, so not saying he copied me, LOL, but I think it is a fairly basic program that everyone says to do, it is just I like how he laid it out in an organized way.

A few hints about weaves I have read/watched/been told recently, if you are working on weave entries you can use 6 poles, or even less....if you are having problems with popping out then use twelve or more. If you have a problem at the entry...go back to the obstacle that was before the weave, but if your dog pops out you can just go to the start. One thing that Joe suggests too is to slightly open the poles except the first two so the dog looks for the weave and needs to learn to bend their body to get into the weaves, but then BLASTS through the rest of the poles to keep them used to going fast.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Crickets first fun match and first swim!!!

I am feeling like one of those obnoxious moms with Cricket, I just think everything she does is so amazing, LOL, and she is just at such a fun age, it is just more fun every day! I think this such a fun stage for puppies.

Today was Crickets first chance to really swim. The pool finally got ready for the summer, and Cricket got the first swim of the season. The water was SOOO cold. If I was not so anxious to let Cricket try water I would not have got in.

Yesterday was a really super exciting day. I took Liz/Breeze/Cricket to a fun match. YIKES, three at the same time is HARD because they all go so nuts if it is not their turn. I guess I am going to have to work that out....but we had a blast.

The course that was set up had three tunnels and I asked if I could do what I wanted, so I put jump bumps on the jumps by the tunnels and back chained first a tunnel, then a jump driving to a tunnel, then two jumps to a tunnel, then did a front cross to a tunnel. We got to go and play on all three tunnels so it was the perfect place to work, one of the tunnels was right by the crating area so I saved it for last. Cricket was a STAR! I SERIOUSLY WISH I HAD GOT VIDEO, figures I get video of all sorts of boring little things but this would have been fun to watch. Anyway, babies first sequences! LOL.

I was sooo pleased that even though Cricket was a little over the top watching the dog next to us playing when it was our turn she got on the course and was all about agility. She even got the ball and did a small circle but just came right back to me. Cricket took food, she played with the ball AND was a tugging fool at the end of our little sequences-so far she is one of the easiest dogs to train because she values so many things, I have never had as much of that and boy, that just makes it so much easier to train what I want. All the things that Cricket values, and the fact that almost nothing throws or scares her, or if it does she just bounces back so quickly, I really think I lucked out on getting my little Crickster as my baby, I could not ask for a better puppy. As soon as we got off the course and walked past the other people at the fun run she was back to her little spacey self, running and jumping and trying to say hello to everyone and acting like they were all her long lost best friends.

Breeze did AMAZING at the course and caught the weaves wonderfully and there was a line of five jumps with a tunnel opening straight in front of the line, I did my handy dandy Linda M deceleration and Breeze never thought of taking the tunnel, did the hard turn to the weaves and caught the entrance, she is exciting to play with now that things are coming together. We are still working on some things but her skills are growing by leaps and bounds lately.

OK so Breeze and Cricket WERE AMAZING, and Liz just AMAZED me and everyone else (but in a different type of amazement, LOL). I have to remember SMALL VICTORIES, LOL. That is what I am looking for right??? LOL, I have to laugh and I am so glad I have one easy dog or I would really think I was the crappiest trainer around. So Liz was just too over the top with excitement at the fun run. I was the bad trainer and should have just tried for getting her to take some little pieces of the course and left out anything hard, but I tried the weaves right off the bat. DUH!! She does weaves really nice and loves them when she can think, but I totally misjudged her level of arousal. So that was a bust, then when I did start a little line of jumps Liz was so over the top she PLOWED right through a triple, she does that occassionally. The jump went flying, I dont know how she hit it but the stantions flew yards away, the bars went straight up in the air, and Lizzie was limping, ughghhgghgh. It was a bad hit. I walked her for a few min. and she looked fine and she looks fine this morning, but when am I going to learn to not push so much with my space cadet?

Tonight is our fitness for Fido class, and I think the Crickster is the lucky dog that gets to go for the socialization opportunities.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My own personal brag ...

Well, I have a small brag...I had to go out and buy a few pairs of shorts yesterday. I guess that would not usually be a reason for a brag but I have lost about 15 lbs in the last 6 weeks. My shorts that had been straining at the seams could now come on or off without unzipping them, so figured they needed to go. LOL. It is amazing how even after the first ten or twelve pounds I was running our first trial and it was so much easier, I did not feel as out of breath and it was just easier. Who knows if it is the weight loss or the fact that I am not eating as many processed foods and have much more stable blood sugars, but what ever is making me feel better, it is nice and I really notice the difference.

I have known I needed to make changes in my life but I just felt like I wanted to pick the right time, so I could be truly committed, and not feel like I was fighting with my body, I knew I needed to feel ready. I was at class on my way home and just started right then, not sure why that was the time... but it has been six weeks and I have stayed totally on program ;-). I am really just trying to not put pressure on myself and take it one day at a time, but I am feeling proud! I have lost two sizes but not at the point anyone seems to have noticed....but I sure do.

A few pictures of Cricket playing-I put some of these on facebook but have not posted any Cricket pictures on here in days, so....

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Breeze is on a good streak!

Sometimes it just feels like things are on a roll! LOVE THAT! It sure seems to be going better then GREAT with Breeze right now.

First off she has finally got to start trialing again and of course did fantastic. Then we have just been having a heck of a time with Breeze and the weaves until the last few weeks, and all of a sudden she was just unstoppable at the weaves. In class last night I could recall her through the first set of weaves,...LIKE RECALL from after the first set of weaves-get that 5th pole exit STRAIGHT into a second pole weave entrance which requires her to hit them straight between one and two poles and then crank her body around that second pole and get in the weaves for the rest of the weaves. She just did it so well, she got all the entries on this whole silly course ;-). I really think it is that her back feels good now...I had suspected some of our weave problems came from pain but now I am really suspecting that more. Breeze's holistic vet says that she feels the best she has ever felt on exam and all of a sudden she is able to do a lot more, whooo hoooo. Maybe it isn't a pain issue but what ever the deal is she is looking HOT now.

As an Update on the RELAXATION PROTOCOL I have been doing, based on the program that Karen Overall uses...
I think.....I have been seeing some FANTASTIC progress. Breeze has always been a bit of a nervous Nelly, just nervous and wound up enough that I notice it, but not enough to make her noticeable to others. She has always been sensitive about handling and grooming her was a nightmare. The only thing that has changed is doing the relaxation protocol and her start lines are so rock solid, and she looks so comfortable and just set until I release her. She was totally comfortable on the table with me way far away from her and those were things that would have wigged her out. Last night at class I could sit and massage and stretch her almost the whole time between runs, with all those weaves I was making sure to keep her warmed up and stretched, so we did a lot of walking and massaging. Breeze almost fell asleep with her head in my lap, and everyone commented on it, the difference was amazing. I think that is all helping her focus more and not be scattered and frantic while she is doing agility. It is so cool.

Thanks for all the suggestions about Breezie trying to take off her nose. I am still thinking on this one, she really liked to crawl in a den, she does get nervous at trials, and tries to crawl in every crate she sees when we walk into a trial, so I definitely think we have to stay with a soft crate. She used to get out of the soft crates if I left and I am not sure she wont if I have another dog with me. She LOVES the crate, it is me leaving that starts her scraping her nose, and think that is a separating thing, she does OK once I am gone, but especially if I leave or am working with another dog,...that is not OK in her book. So think the manners minder is a good idea and I used a Ryobi fan in front of her crate for a little white noise and a little breeze, and I am keeping her crate covered in the front when I think things might get her going. I did not have another dog this last trial, and Breeze did terrific, but think the next test will be if there is another dog. She does do better at home if I put her in a down and she is out when other dogs are working, but I really cant do that at a trial, so thanks for all the suggestions and guess we are still working on implementing a few of them!

In the meantime though wow, it has all been good news with Breeze the last month, I am just in awe of how fantastic she has been and how much more relaxed, or softened around the edges, not sure if that is all relaxation protocol or maybe just feeling better, but she is in top form right now and that is so exciting to see, just gives me goose bumps when I get to run with her!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Check out this happy dog!

After feeling sad about people who can get rid of their best buddies because they are not useful anymore,...and after feeling bad for Sparky, I saw this video and it made me smile ;-), a good lesson in how no one should let anyone keep them down. Riddle was born with No Eyes, he was rescued from drowning as a pup, and put into the care of a rescue, check him out, he looks so normal, happy and active, talk about quality of life, how cool is that?

Dogs are just so cool they do not spend a lot of time thinking about what they can or can't do they just get on with it and LIVE!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Sparky update

I guess I feel like I want to get this off my chest and since I had let everyone in on Sparkys plight I figured I should go ahead and say what had happened even if it was not exactly the rosey ending I had hoped for. I really worked hard and did what I could and I hope that it had a happy ending, but I am not sure if it is all over or if we will ever really find out what happened to Sparky.

Sparky is a dog that just spent a few minutes in my life, but gosh, he will haunt me forever and has really occupied my mind a lot the last few days wondering how something like this happens. I have always thought that it has to be rough to be a dog and totally dependant on what happens with your owners, and what is happening in their life. You could be the best dog in the world and wake up one morning out in the cold, even if you spent your early years as a very well off, pampered, cherished pet.

Sparky is the little matted, poop encrusted Westie that I found at the shelter. He had a tag with a phone number, although the phone number was from out of this area and disconnected. I went home and was not sure the rescue group would take him because he was a mess and not very adoptable in the condition he was in. He had really dry encrusted eyes, and the matting and the smell and he had little cataracts, but the tag thing haunted me and I worried that someone had lost him on vacation, or he had been taken and what if someone was looking for him, when I saw him it was his last day before he could be euthanized.

I went home and did a lot of searches on the Internet. I found a name that matched the address and phone number. There had been enough info on the tag that I knew it all matched up. Then I searched for more current contact info for people with the name I found that I was sure were Sparkys owners.

I asked the head of the rescue to help and she found an article in the LA Times about the people and their house. It was a HUGE, gorgeous house that I found had sold for millions a couple of years ago. These people own a very profitable chain of stores, so I was really hopefully Sparky was going to be reunited and live the rest of his days taken care of like he should.

The head of the rescue called the corporate headquarters and found the people had moved across the country a few years ago, and a few hours later a man called and said Sparky had been given to him...but he just pretty much let him run around and he did not feel he could go and get Sparky out of the shelter. Sparky was in bad shape and it was obvious he had not been taken care of in a long time.

The original owners called and this had been their baby. The lady took him to work and he stayed in the office with her all day, he had surgery to repair his ACL when he had torn that, he had chronic dry eyes and they had got him the care he needed for that, he was their treasured pet. So how did it happen that she felt it necessary to give him to one of their workers, along with money to take care of him- for his food, vet expenses, etc. She felt it would be best for him to re home him here rather then take him with them. And we found out Sparky was about ten years old.

I had told the shelter we would take Sparky before we had made contact with his owners, so I went on Friday morning to get him, and they told me he had been adopted. I can not imagine he was adopted out. He was a mess and he was not even in a place where the public could see him yet. They told me he was off getting neutered and that is why I could not check on him....well, he was neutered years and years ago....I think I had put the hold on him and looking at his condition and his chances of adoption they put him down and just neglected to note that we had said we would take him. I could be wrong, maybe he really was adopted but it sure did not feel right when I was trying to find out what was going on.

I really actually felt sad for his owner, I did not understand it, but I do know hearing from her that she was devastated by the pictures of what Sparky looked like, and how he had obviously been living. I would hate to have to live with that, and she sounds like she really loved him but probably for what ever reason felt it would be easier to go ahead in her life without Sparky and just trusted it would all work out for him-so she gave him to an employee that used to play with Sparky at work. Can you imagine though what type of adopter would take a dog and then not even change the tag for almost two years, he still had the tag from the previous owner which is how we found them. I guess that would be the kind of owner that would not look for the dog or refuse to go and sign him over or get him out of the shelter when he was missing.

I only wish now that I had been able to find and get ahold of the owners a tiny bit faster because she was totally willing to pay to get Sparky out and get him all the medical attention he needed, and I am not sure if she would want him back, but we had found him a nice adoptive home with an older couple that lost their dog and just wanted a dog to hang with them. I hope I am so wrong and Sparky did get adopted and the shelter just can not keep their dogs straight....if Sparky went to a home I hope they will make his last years better then the last few years have been. Like I said I think it has to be really rough to be a dog some days.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Saturdays Trial

We had a great time at the VERY HOT TRIAL. It was an AKC trial in Pasadena, CA, and it was so hot. It was getting close to 100 degrees and since this is our first real heat weave, we were just not used to the heat, and there was not a shade tree to be seen. Final tally for Saturday: 2 courses-one open jumpers, one novice standard, 2 clean runs and 2 first places, and ONE TITLE.

Breeze was a super star and got her Novice standard title, she got a first in the Novice standard run with a clean run. I was so happy because we met all my goals.

I felt really excited about our standard run because Breezes contacts were beautiful, the start line was awesome and I loved that it was a course I could really plan where I needed to go and be-so it was a fun course. I was able to send Breeze to the table when I was about at the broad jump, then I stayed by there to lead out from the table, not because I needed to but I wanted to see how she would do and to give her a little room on the table. She got onto the table and held her stay, then blasted off as soon as she got her release, that was NEAT. The only thing I felt like I got in her way before the weaves by standing on her path but she got them, and she stopped about two feet from the end of the teeter, way into the yellow but not where she is supposed to stop, we have been working on that but she did stop before she should have but stayed until I released her so something to keep training but not a big deal.

The one HUGE suprise was on the dog walk I got a beautiful contact...but it was a 2020. We do a four on the floor, and I sat and debated on the course with myself wondering if I should insist she does the four on the floor, but I figured this 2020 happened before the 4 on the floor would have happened...and it did not seem like she was trying to push it and disregard her I felt like that was ok, especially because she worked to make sure she stopped. It was just funny when I saw her in that perfect 2020 stance, I did not expect that.

I felt a little better-not AS nervous as I felt for the open JWW- I think I wore myself out with my attack of the nerves earlier and I felt I had a good plan. I hope I get better with the nerves over time and with experience because that is not a pleasant feeling, I did breathe during this run so that was a positive step, LOL. I do think/hope it is getting better with each run.

Standard course:(you can click on the imagage to make it bigger)

How we Ran the course!

In our Open Jumpers course we got a first place and our first Open Jumpers Q with a clean run. That one was a pretty flowey course and pretty straight forward, I got my confidence shaken last week with our first disasterous open jumpers course so it was so cool to have a nice flowey course that we could handle well. We had a fantastic start line and the only bobble was when I sort of panicked, I did a rear cross into the weaves, so of course Breeze was ahead of me and I had planned to say her name and get her to check her speed, but she did not need that, I was so nervous I was not thinking and said her name which she was just about to take the weaves but glanced back at me, Super Star Breeze figured out pretty quickly I was being a total doof and turned back and still caught the weaves, that made a tiny bobble, but we still got scored with a clean, fast run. So proud of my Breeze, what a cool dog.

I did not do as good with myself, I think in the jumpers run I remember making myself BREATHE after the tunnel, I was fine until we walked, the nerves started going off and then at the start line I got all freaky feeling and nervous, I was not thinking just reacting and I know for a part of the course I was not breathing, LOL, not a good thing.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Any ideas on Breeze's latest quirk?

Look in any dictionary and right there next to the definition for QUIRKY will be a picture of my Breeze. Breeze is a great dog but she does have her little quirks for sure. So the newest quirky is a twist on an old quirk.

I really could use some ideas on how to handle it so she does not get hurt and so this behavior doesn't become a ingraned habit that will be harder to handle. It is quickly becoming a habit and I did try to tell her to stop it, but she was not listening, LOL.

Breeze has always had a bit of seperating anxiety. She used to have some full blown seperation anxiety as a pup but I worked with it and she does fine when I am gone, but she will panic when I am leaving her say in a crate in the car when I take one of the other dogs out, or when I leave our little camp at a trial and she is in her crate and even the last few days when I walk the course in class. She was always a little panicky but did ok if I sort of covered her and did not make a big deal of comings and goings-the things we origionally did to handle her seperation anxiety as a pup. So that has worked fine until lately and now she is getting in the habit of sitting and rubbing her nose against the bars or side of the crate until it bleeds. It looks horrible and she is really making the cut deeper and deeper. This just started and I do not want it to become a real habit. She is uninterested in chewing on bones or anything like that when this is going on. I had the vet look at it yesterday and she told me what I could put on it, but it sure seems like it is quickly becoming a habit of hers. She has only been doing it a week or two but now she is doing it every time I leave her. Yesterday I had to leave her in the crate while I took Skyler in to get blood drawn and came out to fresh blood all over her now. I have thought of just mostly leaving her out on a mat in a stay for when I can do that but I can not do that all the time. Last weekend at the trial I put her in a soft crate and she still got her nose bloody.

As far as good news for the Breezie girl, ...I took her for her acupuncture and chiro adjustment and keep in mind she has been working more then she ever has...and Dr. Modglin said she feels more in alignment and better balanced then she ever has. YIPPIE, she is holding up really well even with the increased amount of agility. I think the warm weather is really helping.

SPARKY UPDATE-I have worked my little computer to the bone and think I may have found something to help little Sparky from my post yesterday. Please everyone say a little prayer because this could be cool for the little guy...I think I have figured out who his owner is and now just to find how to get ahold of them...and if I am right Sparky came from a very good life, so hopefully we can get him hooked up with is old life-I just have a feeling about poor Sparky so I am praying this all works out.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

CHECK THOSE TAGS....your dogs life could depend on it...

This is Sparky, a purebred Westie. At least I am assuming this is Sparky....Poor guy has almost no chance of living to the end of the week ;-(-unless a little miracle happens, and that makes me sick to my stomach. Sparky STINKS to high heaven, I am sure with all that must have happened with him in the last few days he must have had a little upset stomach and so he had some diarrhea and his little butt is all caked with poo. And he really is not matted, his coat is actually in pretty good condition, he has been fairly recently groomed, and he is a little chunky, someone has been feeding him a little too well. Sparkys eyes are a little cloudy, but his teeth look like he is younger, like I am guessing about four or five???

So this is the part that makes me really feel sick. Sparky had a collar on when he got picked up as a stray. A collar with a READABLE tag, with his name and phone number and address. So WHY is Sparky still sitting at the shelter with little chance of walking out? Well, the tag has a phone number from a city about 1 1/2 hours away and it is disconnected. He was picked up in a Hesperia, CA. I spent all afternoon yesterday googling and I found what I believe is his owners name, but everything lists their address as the address that is on the collar, and I can only find the phone number that is on the tag and it is disconnected. I even talked to a mail man at agility class last night to see if he could help me find any sort of new address or forwarding info for these people. The shelter told me they sent a letter to the address on the tag and have received no response. What I am GUESSING is that these people moved and Sparky got out, but no one has come looking. It might be that they just are not that concerned but what makes me feel so bad is what if they do care? And Sparky is not going to get another home, this shelter is a very high kill shelter and he is stuck in the corner and he is pretty depressed, and he is pretty ugly looking right now.

WHY DO PEOPLE KEEP A TAG IN GOOD CONDITION ON THEIR DOG AND NOT UPDATE THE INFORMATION? Ughghghg. It could mean a dogs life, so I hope everyone will look at their dogs tags and make sure they are READABLE, CURRENT, and I really like to put a couple of phone numbers and even usually put a friends cell in case something happens on vacation or something like that. My favorite tags that I use for all my dogs now is the boomerang tags-I like the collar tags because they do not make noise, the dogs do not get them caught in anything and no chance of teeth getting caught on them when they are playing (I have wild players) and I have some of these tags that have been on my dogs for years and they look like the day I got them. I have never had one come off, and they are super easy to move from one collar to another if I want to change collars, so I got one of two or three sizes for each dog, then when I switch collars I just find the size for that collar stick it on and my dogs are all set with their ID. I can get a lot of info and numbers on these tags which is a huge thing.

Another thing I wish people did is to make some sort of concrete plans for what happens to their dogs if the unthinkable happens and we are hurt or die. This morning I am taking Maynard whose owner died a couple of days ago, they had made arrangements for Maynard-another westie, a 4 yr old male. The son had been instructed to make arrangements for his breed rescue to take him and they left a donation to make sure he would get taken in. Two months ago I had a pair of female westie sisters that the owners loved. The owners were 80 years old when the family got them the two sisters as puppies for a birthday gift, ughghhg. One of the parents was taking care of the other who had altzheimers. The care giver spouses health was going down hill so they made arrangements for the rescue I work with to take the dogs in so the sisters who had always been together would get a good home and would stay together. The caregiven made a sudden down hill slide and had to go to the hospital and so the other spouse was sent to a home and the dogs were left in the house by themselves. The family who were put out having to handle their parents sudden change of circumstances went back to the parents home and just let the dogs out, loose to fend for themselves. I tried to catch the dogs but animal control got ahold of them first, and the sisters did find homes, I was able to get one for the rescue but another lady took the other one so they did end up seperated but at least they ended up safe. Anyway, always good to tell someone what you would like done with your dog so that they are safe even if we can not be there with them. Glad Maynards owners thought about him in advance and he will be going to San Diego today to be groomed then to meet his new adoptive family.

So what will happen to Sparky. I don't know. If this was my shelter that is by my house, I have worked there as a volunteer doing temperment testing and I know them and I know they would let me take little Sparky and get him cleaned up so he had a chance. This particular shelter will not let anyone touch the dogs. I talked to the kennel worker there and offered to pay for grooming, and she said that if the grooming van was able to get there she would try to get him in. Dogs like Sparky don't have a lot of safety nets, lots of people are willing to adopt young, great looking dogs, but poop encrusted middle aged dogs are not so lucky, and then there are dogs like Maynard that are the lucky dogs-that one is a good story I guess ;-).