Saturday, December 31, 2011

HAPPY NEW YEAR and some more on Aframe lesson with Rachel Sanders


I hope 2012 if full of new adventures and great surprises for everyone!

BOY, do I have a list of resolutions. I have been working on some goal setting programs, and there is sure room for improvement for me in that area. One thing I have been having trouble with is posting to my blog.

I promised awhile back to post about my running aframe and what I learned from Rachel Saunders during our private lesson.

Going back to when I was teaching Breeze a four on the floor, when that method first came out....I trained that and actually feel like we did a great job with it. Of course we did it before the second round of articles Ann Croft put out so a bunch of the things she addressed in the second round of articles were training issues that I had messed up with and had to figure out how to fix them.

When I started Crickets contacts I wanted to try a running aframe. I wish I had not wasted so much time going back and forth and had just went for it, but doing a running aframe was a bit scary for me. I am a slow runner, I feel like I have so many skills to learn as far as handling which will make the running aframe a little harder perhaps, and I really had no one around me learning it at the same time. Just like the four on the floor with Breeze, there were a few parts of the running aframe training with Rachel's method that I feel like I did not fully understand. Rachel is releasing a second running aframe DVD very shortly that I think will address some of those things. You know if I understood a few things I would have been done with my aframe and moved on a LONG time ago and it would have caused me a lot less worry, LOL.

So as far as my lesson, I started out telling Rachel the saga of our running aframe and all the steps we had taken. I fully admitted we started with the box, and the grids on the ground, then back chained on the aframe to the box, then slowly raised the aframe. At a certain point Cricket was VERY consistent about putting her left front foot right on top of the "box", two hits but a little bit of a step with her foot above the box, so only three feet in the box.

The criteria for the aframe when the pvc box in place is....
1. four feet in the box--which means four feet in the contact zone
2. two hits on the aframe

Well, I was very afraid to accept how Cricket was CONSISTENTLY doing the aframe because I did not want it to deteriorate and leave me wondering what to do once I broke down my original PVC box training.

Here is where I could have saved myself a lot of heart ache and time if I had just sent a video to Rachel and asked for some help. A few quick questions would have taken care of the problem and clarified things, if it took more then that I could have paid for her time, but I think most people who put out a method of training would really like to help people with quick questions rather then have their method twisted and messed up, LOL. In my case I know now Rachel would have said to take the pvc box off the aframe and to move on a long time ago-because Cricket was so consistent in how she chose to perform the aframe.

So the way I chose to fix the three foot problem was to put a stride regulator in place. I had to admit this to Rachel knowing she REALLY does not want to see a stride regulator used. I do not want to speak for her but my UNDERSTANDING is that even if you want to think of the pvc box as a stride regulator, it is a stride regulator with CRITERIA. The dog has a job and can work to do it. A stride regulator is just something that is trying to mechanically force a dog to do what you want. Hummmm, guess I see why the stride regulator was not a great idea, but truly it was the only way to get the behavior since Cricket was so used to sticking that one foot down BEFORE the PVC box it was a habit. The stride regulator did get the behavior.

After talking to Rachel I should have just taken the box off. The second thing I did not understand until after my lesson was that the criteria we used for the PVC box was for the PVC box, but once that box was off, the criteria for the aframe changed. Now with the box off it is perfectly acceptable to have three feet in the yellow as the criteria. If I need to put the box on then we go back to the four feet in the box as the criteria. I think before this I would have been way too fast to put that box back on, it should not be a crutch.

So as far as a lot of Crickets hits being rather high up in the contact zone Rachel said what I have heard Silvia Trkman say ....namely that as the dog gains confidence and relaxes into their running contact dogs with high hits will usually normally start hitting lower into the contact zone and so she thinks Crickets aframe will be fine. She also said that dogs that hit really far down into the contact zone will settle in and start hitting a little higher up, so you just have to sort of let them settle into how their performance will be as they gain confidence.

Rachel also said to make sure to help Cricket sort of settle and get ready for the aframe before she approaches it and for now to do everything I can to be out even with her or in front because she does not totally understand doing her aframe while I am decelerating behind her, so some good tips for when we do our first few trials. Rachel gave me hints about to look for that could still break down with our aframe, but said to send her a video and ask if any of those things that was really nice of her.

It was sooo funny because when I told Rachel I had used a stride regulator she kept asking WHY would I do that? She was kidding that her next DVD was going to have a big picture of a stride regulator with a line through it for NO STRIDE REGULATORS. A little while later we were watching another dog work, a puppy starting his aframe and I was filming, we were having trouble seeing what his feet were doing so Rachel says hummmm, I need to think for a minute about what we want to do here....I said "Do you think we should stick on a stride regulator" LOL, good thing she has a great sense of humor!!!

Just a few min. of the first couple aframes we tried with the box...then we did some without the box and a few in sequences.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!!!!!

It is Christmas Eve, and of course I had left a lot of shopping until the last minute. Suprisingly the stores were fairly empty, even Costco ;-). I got home and was rushing to wrap the gifts while the kids were out of the house....I did not get to practice agility again today....and I can not find several of the gifts I got....apparently I am a good present hider. LOL. On top of prepairing for the meal tomorrow (black bean and tofu enchiladas with green sauce, ummmmmm!) I was worried about Pixie.

All of a sudden Pixie's litter box revealed some string laden droppings and my youngest daughter who has been a butt searching the house, who I am almost 100% certain has found all her gifts ;-( on the computer and found the Norad Santa Tracker just like we have every year of her life. Emma said she wanted to get Santa his milk and cookies set out,as she noticed Santa was leaving Mexico and headed here, hahahaah ;-) (my daughter is 14 years old). All of a sudden the magic of Christmas was here and things all felt good as any troubles melted away.

The dogs-Cricket, Lizzie, Breeze, Skyler, Chloe, The cats- Pixie, Ashe, Kimmie and I hope you all have a holiday celebration that is safe, happy and filled with joy. I love my internet friends and really hope you have a great holiday, give your furry friends a hug and an extra treat from us!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Pixie this afternoon

So far so good, after two very expensive shots and half the day at the vet -they could not make Pixie throw up, so they sent her home to be watched. The vet said that if she was lethargic, or got diarrhea to rush her to the emergency vet. So far Pixie was looking pretty drugged up and no activity in the litter box, so hopefully it will be a quiet Christmas weekend for Pix. It is a bit worrisome because Pixie is being very sweet and cuddly, she is usually pretty aloof, her sister is the cuddler. We fixed up the kitty Palace/Dungeon so I could keep a better eye on her and know for sure if she is eating and whose poos we find in the litter box. WHY does it always seem things like this happen on holidays or weekends when the vets you know are not going to be around? So far so good though.

Pixie needs some good thoughts!

We need some special healing thoughts or prayers for Pixie today. My daughter came out of her room with Pixie in her arms and a long piece of thread, like sewing thread sticking out of her mouth. I tried to gentle pull the string out but it was STUCK and doing that seemed to really hurt Pixie, the string broke ;-(, so I knew that was not a good thing.

I threw on some clothes and rushed her to the vets. The vet could not see the thread in her throat so now Pixie is in the vets and they are going to try to induce vomiting. If she doesn't vomit, or they don't find the thread the vet says she wants to have her transferred to the emergency vets for the night to watch her, and of course surgery might be necessary.

Pixie is just over a year old-she is a tiny little girl that we got along with her sister last Valentines day weekend from a pet adoption fair. It is the first time we have got siblings like that and these girls love each other and have always been together. Pixie is the more shy of the two and the more scared, Ashe her sister is a very confident girl but Pixie looks to her sister for support a lot so this has to be really hard on her to be in a strange place without her support system.

I feel bad, I guess maybe I should have just rushed her to the vet when I saw the thread, but I was really hoping it was just in the top back of her throat, so I really was not sure what I should have done when I found the thread.

Anyway, will let you know when I hear what is happening and hopefully Pixie will be just fine for Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Lesson with Rachel Saunders for Cricket and I

I had a real red letter day on Sunday and got to enjoy a really cool Christmas gift.....I got two hours of private lessons with none other then Rachel Saunders! How cool is that? ;-). I have to admit I was a little intimidated trying to think of what to say I wanted to concentrate on....there is so much Cricket/I need, so many areas to work on, so hard to narrow it down.

I was really surprised that Cricket had as many skills as she does. Rachel said that she has a LOT of skills and is doing really well. where could the problem be-who needs to get more SKILZ? I bet anyone who has done agility can guess! IT'S ME!

Rachel was talking about how agility is one of the hardest sports to really do correctly with a really high level of skill esp with a fast, highly driven dog. She said you have to have the skills of a football player- like when you need to get someplace but still need to keep your shoulders and eyes turned to the dog while you are moving in another direction. Of course there is that little deal where so many times you really do need to be at just the right place-which can be HARD. She said that most times when people are out of position they are only 18 inches to 3 feet out of place, not that much out of place distance wise, but enough that it looks like something totally different to the dog. Add to the whole picture the fact that you are working with another being with their own mind. The timing of a lot of things has to be pretty precise so not a really easy sport to do well. Amazing we all do as well as we do ;- ). ANYWAY, it made me feel a little better that sometimes things that seem they should be so simple just seem so hard-and made me feel better when a few sequences that looked really easy took me a long time to get correct ;).

It seems like Rachel is really good at working with a student and giving a little road map for how to progress after your lesson. Rachel talked to me about how to structure my practices so even working alone I can continue to make progress in my handling, gave me a rough time line for how long things should take, what she felt I should concentrate on and even a lot of tips about how to handle my running aframe, where I needed to be and how I needed to support the aframe while Cricket is still getting comfortable and settling into that.

All in all private lessons like that are really a luxury for me, esp at this time of the year.... To be very frank, I was not sure that doing a private lesson like that was the best use of my resources, but after I was done I really thought it was well worth it especially because that lesson sort of gave me a frame work for making sure I could keep making progress-and I have been a little stalled out lately, between my foot and just getting to a level where I was not sure where to go from here. I was really glad I did it, and in a few months I will probably go to Rachel's and take another lesson. I do not have any lessons I can take now, so I do save quite a bit of money because I do not have to pay for those, and I feel like by going to someone who has a handling system I really like, and having a lesson tailored to what my dog and I need, and being able to get help from someone with a handling system very similar to what I want to do is not something I can do every day but it might be something to help us keep moving forward.

I have a lot of video, so I will am going to try to get some more posted, and I would like to post about my work on the aframe, so that will be coming in a day or two!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Keep those feet moving! ;-)

I got Silvia Trkmans new DVD a few weeks ago,
Speed and Conditioning
I must say I am a big Silvia Trkman fan, so I like most of her stuff but I LOVED this DVD. I thought there were just some great ideas that are just things you can incorporate into your regular life, a few things to teach and think about, but basic stuff to keep your dog in shape and to encourage a more playful attitude of your dogs and to get dogs feeling like moving faster and having more fun.
This is the link where you can buy the dvd if you are interested.

While you are on the sight check out the blog entry she wrote about being too slow for your dog. It came at a cool time because when I went to the Daisy Peel seminar in September she talked a lot about how if you just keep moving deliberately and don't stop, you can get to a lot of places that would surprise you and keep up much better then you think. Daisy showed us by making some people who could NOT get to where they needed to be for their dogs RUNNING as fast as they could,.....she made them WALK without stopping to the position they needed to be, and without exception the people had no trouble getting to where they needed to be when they were walking deliberately without stopping. It is a trippy concept that I have been trying to wrap my head around since I was at the seminar, so this blog entry was especially interesting to me.

Learning how to keep moving more and keep from planting my feet does not come naturally to me and it is a goal I am working on. It is AMAZING how I could SWEAR that I kept moving with out stopping only to watch the video where it looks like I am a tree with my feet firmly planted into the ground. I can not claim I am making a lot of progress but I am video taping my practice and really trying to become more aware ;-).

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The state of our Contacts...

Some contact practice. This is just the aframe and dog walk.

I am happy because I was getting some higher hits on the aframe but it seems to be doing better again, and I was getting some pretty creepy dog walks and Cricket would stop on the down ramp before her position, so I am pretty happy that she is getting much more confident on that and driving into position better, YIPPIE!

Have I said Lately how much fun it is to work with Cricket? It is starting to meld a little more despite the time we lost with my durn hurt foot.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What is getting added to "The List" after Daisy Peels seminar

So what did I get from the Daisy Peel seminar, well, the first big reminder I got was that with a baby dog I need to make sure to support obstacles way better, just like if I was driving a car I have to keep my blinker out longer and make it more obvious because she is a baby dog so she questions herself... and not expect a new dog to do things like say send to obstacles right off the bat, YIKES, that is a problem because I am slow, so it is hard to be at all the places my Cricket should be supported. I do think I am on the right track with doing smaller sequences so I can be there,and we have done a lot of the cik/cap work from Silvia Trkman so that send work will help her understand ;-).

Another thing to put on my list of things to work on is that when I run I usually am VERY quiet, I have always tried to shut up so my dogs learn to watch me and not rely on verbals. WELL, when I took lessons with Alicia she used to get on me to tell my dogs "over" in some places and I just never really understood why or where that was really necessary, so I had a light bulb moment....when I am not going past the plane of the obstacle I need to say "over" to support it. Duh....such an easy concept but lets see if I can do it!

The other BIG thing I really need to work on is remembering with a young, new dog is that to build up confidence I need to give her a lot more feedback. Daisy pointed out that on course you have roughly twice as many opportunities to praise your dog and give feedback as there are obstacles on course. You have the dogs decision to go to the obstacle you can reward and then performing the obstacles themselves. The reward can just be some praise and feedback that they are on the right track, just a "yes" or "good" as they take the right obstacle or read where you wanted them to go. Hummm, another one of those communication issues, guess I am going to have to get used to talking more on course.

I know there were a lot of other things that we will need to work on, but those were the biggies that I am itching to get out and try, the things that really hit where I am at with Cricket.

The thing she talked about that I really am NOT excited about working on is she gave a lot of tips about how to run more efficiently and how to work on making the most of your abilities in that department. I am soooo out of shape after having the broken foot and not working out, not that I had started out in any type of amazing shape before the broken foot but it is BAD and embarrassing how out of shape I am now, so esp after this weekend I am acknowledging that I got to get off my hiney and do better in that area ;-(, I am TRYING to get excited about that, hahahahaha, but I bet you can tell that I am not doing great at getting excited.

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Weekend-a Daisy Peel Seminar

WELL, we did not blow away yet. The day we were supposed to get the really scary winds, it was pretty windy, but not the killer winds.

I had a great little bonding weekend with Cricket-she was the chosen dog who got to go on an adventure. I was lucky enough to spend the weekend at the Daisy Peel seminar-WHOOT! The first day of the seminar was AWESOME in terms of information but it was soooooo cold. My little toes felt like they were going to snap off. There were a really wild wind so we all spend the day huddled together so we could hear, LOL. LUCKILY it was a really super awesome group of people at the seminar and the cold weather bonded us together as we all complained and shivered all day in the cold ;-)

I was going to drive back and forth during the weekend but decided to stay because we were going to start the seminar really early on Sunday. Cricket was not at all sure about the scary hotel room, LOL, she just always seems so happy and confident, but then she reminds me she is a border collie and some odd thing will really throw her--that is when you see that wild, take on the world attitude crumble and she melts because the hotel had ceramic floor in the bathroom and she knew there could be evil associated with that, LOL. What a nut! It was funny that even when Cricket was worried about the hotel room...I pulled out the toy and it was instantly GAME ON! She has her priorities and you gotta put your worries aside if someone is willing to play a good game of tug. You have to love a dog with that type of attitude.

I really love my little Crickster, she is just so much fun. She has just enough naughtiness to make her really funny, she has just enough oddness to keep her really interesting, just enough weirdness to give us new little things to work on-she has the bounce back to act really wigged out but then like with the hotel fairly quickly she can relax and settle in and get over it. I just fell in love with her all over because she was such a good girl.

At the seminar the area is surrounded by trees and open areas, so I was able to let Cricket run loose, even with other loose dogs running around. I have not had that many dogs that I would just feel totally comfortable with letting them run off leash. Breeze and Chloe are dogs that naturally is off leash trust worthy but as a puppy I never did the foundation and work I have done with Cricket, so they are not as trust worthy off leash but they don't have the same instant recall that Cricket does-there could be weird things happen where I could see them not would have to be something really weird could happen. I was working Cricket during lunch time and Daisy took Juno out and Juno her dog was moving very fast and for a split second I saw Crickets eyes and auto brain took over and she was going to say HI to that fast moving, exciting dog. I was really worried because I could tell the thinking brain had snapped off, but I called and little Cricket did not even think she whirled around and came back-I guess all that recall work paid for itself this weekend.

-hummmm, not sure what to think-LOL!

Cricket did not get to work during the seminar but she did get to work at lunch and Dave who owns the field said I could stay after the seminar on Sunday so Cricket did get to try some of the sequences and work. She was so funny with her dog walk, it was just a little different surface on the dog walk then she is used to and I have worked on getting her to drive to the end. WELL, mission accomplished she is driving to the end and has sort of a sliding dog walk contact, she rocks back into a down and slides into position. With the different surface though the first few times she just slide past the 2020 point into a lovely four on the floor, LOL. I really liked how it looked, I LOVED the speed, she seemed really solid-the stickiness at the end where she stops a few feet away or slows down as she is half way down the down ramp-that is GONE-I am so happy to see that gone.... I know I need to stick to criteria, and we can just work on her working harder to stick in the exact right position but will be interesting to see what we get on a few other dog walks. I think we need to seek out some more equipment ;-).

I wonder if the end of the dog walk is better because I have been doing Jen Penders two teeter work with Cricket trying to get rid of a hesitation and slow down she was getting at the tip point???

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Batoning Down the Hatches!

Well, our Tofurky was fantastic, the girls and my DH loved it, so worth a try for anyone who wants to try a vegetarian feast. It was neat to have a "traditional" holiday feast with all the trimmings.

The forecast is predicting some wicked winds here in the desert. We KNOW how to do wicked winds, and with all the dirt we have it can be a nasty thing. They say we should have sustained winds around 40 mph with gusts up to 70+mph, YIKES! The last time we had these winds come through we lost our roof and our entire wooden fence fell down. It was wild with the big kennel runs we have almost going over the 6 foot fences, everything was flying. Hopefully the forecast will be wrong or at least we will weather the whole thing better this time.

Knowing the winds were coming-it was getting pretty windy this afternoon-I set to work trying to clean everything outside up. I asked the girls to help, and anyone who has teenagers will be able to imagine how that went. Usually the girls are pretty good helping if I ask but boy today I got some rolling eyes and they clearly thought I was a bit nuts when I said the light plastic chairs should be brought up into the garage, after all they put two light weight chairs on top of each other, so what the heck-after all how much force could a wind pack, right?

I am in a no win situation, if there are no winds, then the girls will forever think I am a little short in the logic department, and if the winds do come like they are predicted I will be able to say I told you so, but those type of winds always bring damage to at least some of the people in our area.

One thing that will be safe no matter how strong the winds are is my new table. I posted a picture of it on facebook when I completed it last week, but figured I would show it off in the blog too. This table started its first life as a table my friends husband built for her, then she gave it to me, I resurfaced it, and resurfaced it, changed the legs and had it as a baby pause table to use with the puppies or when I wanted to have one of the dogs drive to something-they could go to that table if I wanted to use two tables. I wanted to do some teeter training with the two table method and so I needed another higher table so I decided to give the table yet another life. I LOVE using the table as a huge target for exercises and we do LOTS of table games, so you can never have too many tables in your back yard.

I think I am basically a pretty inventive builder. YEAH, that's what we will call it. Sometimes with training or building something it is just too easy to do something the tried and true way, so I will set out on a search on the 'net to see if I can find a better way to go about things. LOL, sometimes, well.....USUALLY that can get me into some trouble and this project was no exception.

The reason this table will be very safe even if we have hurricane force winds is that it probably weighs a ton. Hey, me and ten of my heaviest friends could jump on it, it is sturdy as they come but with each new life I just added on another layer of wood onto the top. It doesn't take many layers before a table is pretty heavy-IT ISN'T GOING ANYWHERE!. If worse comes to worse tomorrow with the winds we will all be heading to hide under the table so at least I know we will be safe.

The painting was done with a new method I read about on the net where people were suggesting using raw sugar and rock salt for the traction in the paint instead of using a finish with sand. Sounded like a great idea after all then if I needed to refinish it I could sand it down which does not work if you use a sanded surface. Well, it looked fantastic, until it would not dry for days and days and there was an oily slick surface. Hummmmm, so I sopped up the oily stuff and put another coat on, and added some rice. Well, at that point we could have ate the table, we almost had rice pudding. I am not sure if there was a chemical reaction with the paint and food....or if the paint was reacting to when I watered it down. It was a new type of paint.

I finally scraped everything off and did a traditional finish. After probably spending twice as much on this table and taking way more then twice the time it should have we have a sturdy, wonderful table. SEE,it all turns out in the end, LOL. The table is supposedly adjustable and there are all the heights on it from 8 inches to 24 inches, but in reality, is PVC and PVC doesn't come apart that well once you really pound it together so I have left over pieces I will make a baby table with and I think I will just leave the table at 20 inches.

If anyone needs to make a table, and you use the tried and true methods and don't do a lot of experimenting,.....this table was really easy, and I am really impressed with how stable it is.

Thursday, November 24, 2011



I hope everyone is having a great day. We are being adventurous today--I made a traditional Thanksgiving feast with stuffing, mashed potato's, pumpkin pie, etc....but since I have been a vegetarian for 10+ always takes a little more thought as to what to serve on the holidays--do I go with a non traditional thing like enchiladas, or Lasagna, or do we go out to eat????

This year I am trying a Tofurky. It is shaped like a Turkey breast but of course made without meat. I like the lunch meat slices made out of tofurky, so hopefully the meal will be good. The stuffing is looking marvelous and it has been years since I had that, and mashed potatoes and homemade biscuits are always delicious, so I figure we can not go too wrong....and if all else fails there is pumpkin pie.

Luckily the holiday is more about being Thankful for everything we have, so how ever our dinner turns out I am sure we will have a good time.

Yesterday was my birthday. I was not as traumatized by the day as I have been in some years, hahahahah, mostly because I did not think about it or pay much attention to it.

I did get a cool i-touch and wow, I spent last night playing with Apps, I am always a little late when coming to the technology show, but I think this is going to be FUN!

The puppies have all been good but complaining that everyone has been busy and not paying enough attention to their training lately ;-(.

We did a video for the recallers course, which everyone who did a video about their experiences with recallers gets to take the course for free as a prize, so we are once again going to revisit the Susan Garrett Recallers games, YIPPIE, I am looking forward to it.

ANOTHER RED LETTER event for all of you, is that I think the post at the bottom of the page with Breezes bday video should be off the page now. WHEW! I had to post that video to Vimeo and for some reason I could not figure out how to not have that auto load and start when ever someone came to the page, ughghgghgh, so sorry for how much of a pain that had to be, but it should be off the page now. ;- ).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Buddy Bowls and Swimming Updates...

For the kitties and puppies---

BUDDY BOWLS- how cool are these? I found these at a little store by us and I thought it might be neat for the car, but when I brought it in the house when the car was going to the shop I had the bowl in my room and I LOVE having it in the house because it will not get spilled. I bet Ellie would like one of these.....

A little update on one of my two legged kid:

Emma had another swim meet. It was cold and all the kids were shivering in between races, guess we will need to invest in a swim parka, the swim gear back pack, some blankets to bring, see with each sport comes a list of things ya gotta get.

Emma did really good, she got 3 firsts, 2 seconds and just missed a few times good enough to get an invitation to the invitational meet she is trying to qualify for. She shaved off more then six seconds in two of her races, and a couple of seconds in a few other races. Emma has one more meet to try to shave off half a second to make two times good enough to be invited to the invitational meet she is shooting for.

These are her times for this meet.
50 Free 28,88 100 Free 103.16 100 Breaststroke 123.07 100 Fly 111.66 and 200 IM 243.31

Emma is second from the front with the blue/grey swim suit and the black AV waves swim cap:


Breast stroke

Happy at the end

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I am an Auntie again!!!

Well, unbelievably by Tuesday Nel had not delivered her puppies and she was totally worn out. Karen her owner decided in view of how big Nel was....and the fact she was so totally worn out before labor even started...that she would have Nel have a csection, it turned out to be an excellent decision.

Luckily I was able to attend as a helper, so I got to help revive pups as they were born, to help the babies settle in once Nel left the vets office, helped to weigh the pups and even to help some little ones start to nurse. I always liked Nel before but she is the sweetest girl ever and put up with everything so well, that is one sweeeeeet dog!!!

I of course left the ranch with MAJOR puppy longing, LOL, that is the danger of being around pups, but no none of these puppers will be coming home with me....although the little black female with the small pie shaped spot on the back of her neck is just soooo cute. The puppy with the almost white face and the huge black dot is a tiny thing and another favorite of mine. So I elected myself as their auntie and can not wait to see them as they grow.

I got some video of the babies birth in between my puppy duties!

I just got off the phone with Karen before I posted and Mom and babies are doing great.

The only bad thing is that I am now one more day behind, and I was already so far behind, but how often do you get to go play with puppies?

Monday, October 31, 2011

No puppy breathe for me this halloween!

Well, this weekend I went to my friends house-Breeze's first mom to assist her with the delivery of anywhere between 8-13 pups that her dog Nel is expecting. Nel is such a sweetheart but I have never seen such a big doggie, she is a small border collie but her waist is 33 inches around and just looks so huge. Her temp was down on Saturday so I expected pups would be there soon, but when I left to go home Monday at noon there was no sign of puppies yet ;-), just poor Nel who really did not even want to walk to go outside anymore-who can blame her. I was bummed I missed the delivery....but I had to get home for Halloween with the kids! I was at the delivery of her last litter, that was a litter of 12 also.

When I got home this is what the girls had done while I was gone to get ready for Halloween:
Abby's Pumpkin:

Emmas pumpkin-

While we were hanging around waiting for Nel to pop we got to do some agility with Cricket and Breeze. Breeze was actually able to do the weaves, but all her contacts were broken and she was doing some funny jumping-I am going to have to review the video and see if I can see what was going on.....and Cricket, she was pretty spot on, she did great except for dropping about 25% of the bars,....hummm... We got some pretty awesome trick training in a new environment done--the dogs were so excited after waiting for me in the kennel they really were happy to earn some treats and willing to do just about any tricks to keep me from leaving them to the OUTSIDE KENNEL, ((shudder)).

Only Breeze and Cricket got to go to the ranch because if I bring dogs they have to stay outside in a kennel when I am not playing with them (((gasp!!)) and Lizzie will not put up with it (she barks constantly) so she got to stay home. It was too funny because every time I came out of the house-the kennel is across from the house door and these two tricksters would be in virtually the same spot doing the same thing every time I walked out the door.

So much for getting things done on time, I had planned on making our videos for our on line class this weekend --UNFORTUNATELY we are on the first week, and it is the second time through the class so no good excuses but we are late already, DRATS! We actually have done the training just nothing to post showing our work, so ya know, sometimes that is how it goes! Then there is my blogger friends that I have sorely neglected,sorry everyone, I am trying to do better but I have just been sort of really busy lately, not sure what I have been busy doing because it really does not seem like I have done much but.....

Friday, October 21, 2011

So Maybe I'm not the Fastest Person........ ;-)

I am super excited because I decided to redo the Silvia Trkman Puppy/Tricks October class. I did it last spring but I really enjoyed it, we got so much out of it but some of the tricks just required time for muscle building-and there was a lot of content in that class so we did not finish all the tricks. Since the tricks are all so good for keeping dogs in shape, I really wanted to redo it. I had such a good time the first time. Sooooo fair warning I will be posting videos of our work. We audited last time and this time we are going to be posting videos ;-)

I am redoing the Foundations class Silvia has too because we fell behind. I was trying to think this morning why we fell behind, I thought I was working hard and that class really was not as hard for us to keep up with.....then I remembered I HAD BROKE MY FOOT and couldn't do the class for quite a while, duh!

All of it just seems like things to take your time, get the behaviors really well and have fun with them, so no shame in being a repeater, ;-)

Speaking of the more confusing side of life....On Tuesday I got it into my head that it was Wednesday, not sure how....but I spent all day confused until the end of the day when I figured out it was Tuesday, duh!!

My confusion continued on the next day, my Thursday, everyone elses Wednesday.

When everyone elses Thursday came around-- it was my Friday -that was really bad. I texted an acquaintance that was having surgery on her dog on Friday to ask how things had went when I figured she probably would be getting ready to pick up her dog, well, she was still waiting for the surgery since she was on Thursday.... I had to look pretty dumb, LOL. I had trouble figuring out when to put the trash out,I missed my favorite show because I was confused about what day it was.

To make matters worse I saw another friends picture of her dog in costume, and thought oooh she has to be going to the dog club meeting for the costume contest tonight and called and asked another friend if she was going and what type of costume she would put on her dog. She was confused since the meeting is on Wednesday and for her it was Thursday, so somewhere along the way on Thursday I was thinking it was Wednesday and Friday at the same time.

It is a bad thing when your internal clock gets all messed up,YIKES!

Monday, October 17, 2011

I really hate good byes ;-(

I am feeling sad today. Today is Miss Kinetics's last day here. Today is Spa day and she will get her beauty treatment so she will be all ready for the next stop in her journey tomorrow.

Kinney was not here long this visit, it was actually a pretty short visit-- but it seems like she has been here a long time...In a good way ;-). When Kinetic got here we had a rough day or two to start with... but then we really clicked and started to get each other, since we clicked and began to understand each other I have had a really good time with Kinetic and I am going to miss her. If I had known we were going to click like we have I would have volunteered to take her a little longer.

My whole goal for this visit was teaching Kinetic to come when someone called her, and make sure when she got near I could grab her collar. People grabbing you means all fun stops. Anyway, I was pretty proud I came up with some games where Kinney got to play some games that she seemed to think were fun, and I was able to get her to come to me when I needed her too, the best type of situation in dog training-a win-win situation where we all get our needs met. I was lucky and hit on some games she really liked. How much fun is that???? I used some of the things I have been reading about from BAT which is such a cool training method-Behavior Adjustment Therapy which was developed by Grisha Stewart

I LOVE training my dogs, but got to say I am also really starting to like working with dogs that are not my dogs sometimes. It is a totally different challenge then working with your own dog. With your own dog you have a bigger investment in getting something trained, so I think you might rush things a little more or worry about it more.

I think you can be a bit sloppier in your training with your own dog because your dog really wants to work with you- a dog who does not know you does not have a big reward history associated with you so they might want to work with you and they might not so you really have to earn their trust and use good training principles otherwise the dog can just decide this game is really not worth playing.

I think working with dogs I do not know as well teaches me to watch much closer and evaluate what I am doing a lot more. When I work with Cricket I know what she likes and what she doesn't, I know what will probably work, sometimes she surprises me but I basically know what I can get away with, how fast I need to go, how long to work, what type of treats will work best, so I always try to pay attention to all those things, but sometimes I probably do better ten others...but with a dog you do not know you have to really watch each of those factors and pay attention since you just do not have a big bank of prior knowledge to draw from regarding this dog;-). The other thing is that you do not have as much time to work with a dog you don't know...usually you have to make the most of the time you have and work efficiently, no putting your goals on the list to work on next week. Maybe I should do more pretending my dogs are someone elses dogs, LOL,perhaps I would see even more results in my dogs??

Ok- the cutest trick Kinnetic just started offering(I taught her but now she is coming up and doing it when she wants my attention) is when she comes up to me she does the cutest play bow. The bow seems like a default position that she really likes, so she gives me great duration - it keeps her from jumping on people, and it is super cute. Figures a couple of days and I can teach another dog to be a lot less likely to jump on people, but my baby-Cricket is two years old and is horrible about jumping on people, LOL, might be time to focus on that myself with the Crickster.

ps, Kinetic is waiting to go to Japan in February, so she has been waiting for her forever owner to really start her training, the owner is going to have a blast--this is one smart girlie!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


WOW, I was getting ready to post an entry to my blog and it says I have posted 500 postings, how is that possible???? LOL.

So She is back,... who is she that I am referring to??? Well, it is Kinetic, the BC puppy that will eventually be going to Japan. I agreed to keep her for a few weeks when her temp. mom was going to be going on a trip. Kinetic was here in August for 3 weeks. I have been going through one of those periods of just feeling overwhelmed by things lately so not the best time for a house guest,.. but, hopefully we will all have a good time.

So the fun thing about interacting with a pup that you do not see every day is that it is REALLY apparent how they have changed. With your own pup the changes might be happening really fast but because you see them everyday it is hard to see, or at least it is for me. Kinetic has changed a LOT in the last month. The one thing I noticed right away is a little more of a calmness about her. She is not calm by any means but she is just not as unfocused, she has a more settled inner self or something, LOL, sorry to describe it like that, but she seems a little more mature.

Surprisingly Kinetic seems to be about the same size. I really think when she was here last time she was going through a big growth spurt. At that time she could not get enough food and she was worried about food all the time, she was so hungry I felt bad for her... she would do ANYTHING for food and she had grown quite a bit during the time she was with us last time. Now she likes food but she is not willing to do ANYTHING for food -- she is a little pickier about it....well not picky about food but just a little more particular about what she is willing to do for it ;- ), she just does not seem to think about it as much.

Ears are always fun to watch how they change and all the pictures I saw of Kinetic from her first days she had prick ears. I thought her ears were pretty big to be prick ears but they seemed to be really determined to stay bright and perky. When Kinetic was visiting last time her left ear had started to go out to the side, or bend a lot. Now it seems like both ears seem to be trying all sorts of ear sets. I am betting her ears will end up sort of half up and half down sticking out to the side, sort of like Breezes ears.. but we will see.

As soon as I picked up Kinetic she was really trying to bolt out of the crate, so we did some crate games today. Kinetic may have done crate games in her home, I don't know but within 12 min she had gone from bolting and just trying to get out to rushing out of the crate when released then running back into the crate. She did great and learned really fast. I will have to move the game around to a few other locations and a few other crates in the next few days.

if you CHOOSE to look at this video, it is almost our entire crate games session today. Please do not look too carefully at the big legs, LOL, be kind, and luckily a good portion of the video I did in fast speed so no I can not open and close a crate door that fast, I don't do anything that fast, just ask anyone who has watched me do agility,LOL.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

No she does not have fur, but she does get some time on the dog blog! :-)

I know this is not even a little dog related but....Guess what we did this weekend? It was not an agility trial but surprisingly it had a lot in common with an agility weekend.

My younger daughter competed in her first swim meet. When we arrived at the meet I was surprised to see that there were a lot of people there, lots of easy ups (those looked familiar from agility) a lot visiting and plenty of hurry up and waiting going on (that was also a familiar thing, LOL). ;-)

Unlike agility trials the younger kids generally go in the morning because the inexperienced or younger kids get worn out by the end of the day, I think they should do that sometimes with the novice dogs, but hey that is a topic for another day.

There were some HUGE teams, all gathering around doing their cheers together, but we live in a pretty small town and we only had two kids and their coach here on Saturday. There were a couple of younger kids that had swam in the morning and there was a younger kid or two that stayed to lend support and watch Emma. I think there should be one or two more team mates swimming on Sunday afternoon.

Just like agility trials it would have been a bit stressful just to figure out how to check in, where you sit, where you find your lane and what heat and race you are in, but luckily Emma had a great team mate that took her under his wing and showed her around.

The most surprising thing of the day was how many people were yelling for Emma, she has made a lot of friends and it was fun to see all the people that were supporting her.

I was so proud of how Emma handled the whole experience, she was a champ and seemed to take it all in stride and sure did not let nerves get to her (so unlike her mom).

The only thing that could have changed to make the entire day perfect was if they gave the spectators say ten minutes to jump in the pool and cool off, hahahahaha.

SOOOOO to set the record straight: It is funny, I do have to say that I get a lot of kidding because I do not post or do a lot of videos, or even take a lot of pictures of my kids-and I do a lot of pictures/videos of the dogs... I think a lot of parents of teenagers will understand that the fastest way to have your teens disappear from your view is to take out a camera. If there is no means of escape for them .....well, that is when you can get as many of the precious hand over the face pictures as you can snap.

I do a lot more pictures and videos of the dogs because the dogs are better sports about the camera, LOL. Emma's FIRST ever swim meet gave me an opportunity to get some video because her defenses were down and she was not watching for the camera!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Breeze turns FIVE-how wild is that?

It has been a wild year, physically things seem to be catching up with Breeze and of course that makes me really sad, she can not do a whole set of weaves without looking sore and limping, and she sometimes is having trouble in the mornings with being stiff, and we have to work hard on exercises to keep her in shape.

On the plus side she loves to play and now she is a tugging fool and she was never a dog I did much shaping with but since we have not been doing much agility we have concentrated on doing tricks and she is getting to be an awesome dog at shaping, we are getting better working with each other with each passing day ;-).


Friday, September 16, 2011

Happy Birthday Cricket- Her Story!

GUESS WHO IS TWO YEARS OLD! ;-) can you believe it?

Today is Crickets SECOND birthday. I can not believe how time is flying. I could not have asked for a dog that is more perfect for me. She is so much fun to play with, so exciting to train with, and so comforting to snuggle with. I just plain could not think of anything I would change about her.

In honor of the big day I figured I would share Crickets story...especially since her birthday has me remembering...

I had been looking for a puppy when I found that her litter had been planned. I asked around and friends in the area told me that they really liked the puppies her dad had produced, everyone from the area said all of his puppies that they knew were fun dogs.

I talked to her breeder and got on the list to get a puppy, but I got cold feet and backed out right before the pups were born. The pups were all spoken for when they were born, I was pretty comfortable knowing those pups were not meant for me.

Weirdly enough, as often happens with litters, plans changed and things fell through so a couple of the pups were looking for homes when it was time for them to go to their forever homes. I saw a video posted of "Abby" (Cricket's litter name), playing with her moms co-owner Lori,little Abby was available to the right home. I plain nad simple fell in love with her. I thought she was as cute as a bug, and I loved that she just seemed focused on the people and on playing. I got a really good feeling about her, it just seemed so right to get her.

Once I talked to Crickets breeder things moved fast and Cricket was on her way to Southern California in about two days. I spent the day after I found out that Cricket was mine on a buying spree -making puppy food, setting up xpens, buying toys and assembling everything for her arrival. Cricket arrived her on the Thanksgiving weekend so I was not able to get a ticket to go pick her up so she had to fly here alone ;-(, that was the first time I had ever had to do that and the first time I have had a dog that has flown anywhere.

I got to the airport about an hour before Cricket was to arrive because I was worried about holiday traffic, and Cricket was about an hour late getting to the cargo area, so I sat waiting for a long time, I was sooo nervous.

When I finally got to go and get my puppy I will never forget seeing that little freckled face looking out of her crate at me. She did not look anything like I had expected, she was fluffier and had freckles which I had not seen before and she just had such a cute expression on her face.

I had talked to some other people picking up pups and they clued me in on the best potty places for puppies just coming off of the planes. Poor Cricket had some horrible diarrhea before I got her, when I took her to potty and try to clean her up a bit she only wanted to cuddle with me, for about ten minutes she just cuddled her diarrhea soaked body into my neck, LOL. After she got her fill of cuddles she got down on the grass and immediately started playing and tugging with me. From those very first seconds it just always felt so right.

For the last two years I have not spent more then a few hours here and there away from my Crickster and we have just had the most amazing journey. I have learned so much and of course I think my relationship with Cricket has benefited from all I have learned and all the mistakes I have made with my other dogs. I do not think environment or training explains just how perfectly she fits with me, and how I think we both bring the best out of each other, she is just an amazing dog and I am so lucky I found her. I really think the way it worked out we were really meant to be together.

So anyway, on Crickets SECOND birthday I thought I would share the video I did on her FIRST birthday.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

seminars and DVD's

I am not a natural player with my dogs and in the past I have managed to kill the play instinct of my first few dogs before I learned I am always very interested in learning all I can about playing with my dogs because I really value my dogs play drive and can not believe how much fun it is to train with play. Who knew that someone could do a full 5 1/2 video or a whole seminar day on playing and tugging, but ya know, like so many things I guess there is whole lot more to the subject then you would think.

The last seminar I attended with Marla Friedler-Cooper was about creating desire and passion for play. It was a great seminar. I know Marla had worked with Michael Ellis recently so I was interested in checking out some of his info.

I was able to watch his DVD The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog, from his Building Focus and Drive series I do have some mixed feelings because another DVD in his series is about how to effectively use electric collars for training- I am very against that type of adversives.., but I also do feel like sometimes you need to look at things and take the parts that are useful to you and learn from those even if there are some parts that are definitely not in my belief system. The interesting thing is that Michael Ellis's system does use a lot of familiar things, ...markers...making sure to mark what you want, the premack principle, short sessions and making sure to find things the dog wants and highly reward with that. Michael and Marla both talked about making sure that you make any rewards food/toys that you give your dogs an event. You don't just hand your dog a toy or a piece of food you make it exciting and they both showed us how to do that.

One of the interesting things Michael talked about in this DVD was his view of socializing dogs. Instead of wanting people to take their puppies or dogs to lots of places and encouraging dogs to check out things, going to visit lots of people he feels that how socializing should be handled is that you take your dog/puppy to lots of places...when you get to a new place you take your dog and ask for some attention and you play around the new environment. You have a great play session, or use food in an exciting way and you just have a lot of fun with your dog. Keep it short and leave when you are done. He says that by just interacting with your own dog and just having the new things around, you can make sure your dog does not have bad experiences because if you just encourage your dog to go up to everyone and everything you can not control what other people are going to be doing. He feels that by playing with your dog around new people and places the dog relaxes and has a positive experience and feels safe because they are playing with you.

Your dog also gets used to just going to a new place and it becomes automatic that they expect they will be interacting with you and it will be fun so when you go to distracting places they will automatically look to you to find out what sort of fun will be coming up next. I also was interested because when something scary did happen-like say a loud noise, he would just start a game with the dog, so the dog would associate the loud noise with something fun and not scary. I remember Susan Garrett talking about her dog being jumped on at a start line by a loose dog and so she just called her dog and started a wonderful game of tug.

Another thing that I found interesting was that Michael does not put many rules on play or puppies until they get pretty excited about what he has to offer (play) and until they are into the game. He wants a puppy to be a little wild and pushy. I like hearing that because it does seem like sometimes there can be so many controls put on playing before the puppy is really into the game and ya gotta think that has to have something to do with the puppy not thinking play is as fun as it could be.

As far as tug, Michael goes into the mechanics, which who knew playing might be something I should practice and sharpen up my mechanical skills? By mechanics he shows how you can keep the tug so it is easy for the dog to target to the tug. I know you do not shove the toy at the dog but I did not realize that say when I would move the toy to my side for Cricket to get I was bringing the toy behind me at my side so my hand was right in front of her and the tug was actually positioned so that the place I would like her to bite on the tug was hard to get to. By learning body mechanics and learning how to step away from the tug an rotate my arms so the tug always stays right in front of the dog, the biting surface is oriented right at the dog. The dog can become way more confident in grabbing it and learns to target to the toy better, not your hands. Poor Cricket when Marla was having us try moving the tug to our side I saw that when Cricket goes to grab the tug she would stop and check to make sure I had not move the tug out of her way and my hands into the way- she had to reorient to where things were before she could leap at the toy and bite. I would not have believed I was doing that until I was shown how to do it properly ;-). Michael and Marla both spend a lot of time helping with body mechanics so that you could have your toy be more predictable to your dog which makes it more fun for the dog and safer for you when you play tug.

Once the dog really was into the game and really loved tug, then Michael says you can teach the "out". To teach the out he would just be playing and tugging and stop, he showed how to keep the toy totally still and when the dog should let go, you would mark the behavior and immediately start tugging again. Soon the "out" is a happy thing that just starts the game again. As the dog really understands the "out" you can slowly add in duration.

To teach the retrieve once your dog understands tug you just let go of the tug and back up as your dog is playing, encourage your dog to return the tug to your hand as you back up. Soon you can throw your tug and your dog just wants to get the toy back to you so the game can start again.

I do not think this DVD was necessarily aimed at starting your dog to tug, although he did talk about not having rules on the game for puppies and using different types of soft, floppy toys for babies, and being soft and not expecting a lot of tug drive until puppies are beyond the teething stage. Most of the DVD seemed focused on dogs that were playing,how to keep it safe and fun for all players-the people and the dog, and how to use that play to build your relationship with your dog. I was just surprised there were actual mechanical skills that I did not have-who knew????

Marla presented material based on the training she has done with Michael but of course with her twist on it, she had a few different points, and it was really great to be able to practice some of the mechanics and have someone watch and critique. If you are in the So CA area and get a chance to attend one of her play and motivation seminars it was a lot of fun, I learned a lot and had a great day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Another seminar weekend, one on one time with the Crickster!

I am so happy it sounds like my fellow bloggers weathered the weekend storm safely! Reading every ones descriptions it sure sounds like a scary weekend ;-(.

This is a picture of My fellow seminar participants and Marla C who put on our weekend seminar -this was at lunch with all our doggies. There was one other BC and his mom who were not in the picture but also attended the seminar. Check out Cricket begging for food....I think she figured with the picture taking in progress she might have found an opening to get her lunch!

I was so proud of my girl Cricket this last weekend. While everyone on the East coast was having to deal with the storms and had such a scary weekend we were dealing with a heat wave. I was lucky enough to get to go to a seminar that was on Puppy Motivation and Play the first day and Tight Turns and weaves the second day. I would like to talk more about what I learned and I will in a couple of days!

The seminar was in San Clemente-about 2 hours from me- it is apparently a very dog friendly town The seminar was held just a few blocks from the beach-how cool is that? I got to stay at Marla's house who was the one who put on the seminar- Daisy Peel had slept in the bed I slept in the week before, too bad her awesome agility handling did not seem to rub off onto the sheets and then to me, I was less then amazing,....I was OK-but definitely not amazing, I really did not see any signs of any sort of greatness that had rubbed off on me, what a shame,hahahaha.

In her agility classes Cricket had been awful the first few classes of the series with her barking in the crate, but I had worked with her a lot during that series of classes-clicking and treating for quiet behavior, taking her out and doing tricks, and leaving the door open and playing crate games so she would sit and watch the other dogs quietly. LUCKILY it seems like it helped because Cricket was a good little girl for the seminar and waited pretty nicely in her crate for her turn. There were a few times she was barking but she really did much better then I thought she would.

The other great part is that she was able to play, tug, do agility in a brand new place and she did great in the first seminar she has attended. She was doing her cik/cap turns (tight turns on jumps and understanding when to jump in collection to get ready for a turn), the whole weekend made me feel like we have been making a lot of progress.

The best part of the weekend was when we all went out for lunch together. It was the neatest feeling in the world to have a dog that was able to climb into the back of a Volvo with a HUGE Doberman and a 30 lb terrier-loose in the back of a car with dogs she did not know-the dogs were all perfect. I wish I had got a picture of those three dogs riding in the back of the car.

The restaurants were so neat, we went out a few times during the weekend with all the dogs. All the restaurants with patio tables welcomed dogs and brought out bowls of water for the dogs, it was really fun to have a weekend with just Cricket and I-able to hang out and do a lot of things we do not normally do.

One of the exciting events I have been following is the arrival of these two cuties- they are Crickets Brother Jive's babies-Cricket is an auntie!!! Their mom is Nakita who is an amazing and beautiful girl who is a great agility dog. Aren't they cute? I wish I had a bigger picture but there is a super cute video if you go to Jive's blog. Some of you might remember Jive participating in our weave pole challenge.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Daisy Peel seminar, taking breaks and boots

WELL, it feels like I have been gone forever. After I had got bowled over and hurt my foot I was pretty bummed, esp. when I ended up wearing a boot-well, I guess I am still wearing a boot because of my injury. I was bummed enough to take a little break from life, but I am back! The boot is hard to move around in and it will be a miracle if I am not injured BECAUSE of the boot, LOL.

Last weekend I got to go to a Daisy Peel seminar-boot and all!. It was like a vacation weekend. I did not bring dogs because with the boot I did not want to haul around crates and shade, etc... so I stayed in a hotel by San Diego for the weekend since the seminar was in that area. I swam and went out to dinner and then spent the day immersed in agility, learned some great things, got great things to think about, I could not have planned a better weekend!!!

I went to a Daisy Peel seminar a few months ago, and liked that one, but loved this one even more. If anyone has the chance to go to a Daisy seminar I would highly recommend going. Of course what I say about what I heard at the seminar is my interpretation so...keep that in mind but it did leave me excited and with things to think about so I have to share ;-)!

One of the most interesting things that seemed to be the theme of the weekend was that there are certain points on course that if you support them can actually get further down stream where you need to be later. WHAT????? Go deeper into the pocket????? I just spent months trying to figure out how not to support things and move further away, so go figure. Also you can be moving too fast on the course, SERIOUSLY!!! To prove that point on our first course and the last course Daisy had people WALK, they were not allowed to run and so they moved more efficiently and didn't stop and some people who could not get where they needed to be running could do it walking-so hurrying is not always the best thing, sometimes you need to slow down and handle what needs to be handled. Now if only I can remember that and figure out the places where that is appropriate and the places I just need to haul butt...I figure I will be in good shape.

I got to hear what Daisy said about cik/cap turns (Sylvia Trkmans method of teaching tight turns) that Crick and I have been working on, and my interpretation of what she said is that she feels they are just sends, and your movement should still support the direction, and it is basically what she uses her OVER command for.

Just like in the last seminar that I went to with Daisy she talked about how a handling system is just a great frame work for creating your own handling system that works for you and your dog. You just need to be consistent. That just makes so much sense.

I thought the thing that made me smile the most was when Daisy talked to us about how now days everyone trains things so much that we forget it is sometimes great to know how to handle things ourselves, like to smoosh a dog into the weaves if we know they are not going to get an entry it is still good to know that we can get up there and position ourselves so the dog will get the entry even if it is because of our handling, or there is nothing wrong with sometimes if you know your dog might blow a contact and you get get there and handle it so the dog is not going to miss the contact sometimes that is appropriate, LOL. I do not know why but listening to her talk about that made me smile, like we do not always have to have perfect training, sometimes you just use your old fashioned skills.

There was a GREAT group of handlers/dogs at the seminar and some of my friends from Arizona so it could not have been a better weekend.

Yesterday I could not stand it any more after listening to agility talk all weekend and watching everyone playing with their dogs, so I went out and did a little boot agility, so not the most graceful and not the best movement on my part, but it felt good to be playing!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Can you spot someone new????

Kinetic, Breeze, Cricket, Lizzie
Kinetic and Breeze playing with the egg ball, while Liz and Cricket wrestle behind them

Little Kinetic, or Kenny as we call her

A Mosh Pitt, you might want to wear protection to be in the middle of that game

Cricket and Kinney, Kinetic has MADE Cricket learn how to play bitey-face-she never knew how to play that before, she prefers a good game of chase

Do ya all notice something/someone different? Yep there is a fourth BC running around. Not a permanent addition --she is a dog named Kinetic/ a red/white five month old BC who will eventually be moving to Japan-right now she is hanging at my house for a few weeks. She is a cutie! And she adds a LOT of energy to the house.

Well, it seems like FOREVER since I have posted.....lately it is just hard to blog some days, it seems like I am really busy but not with anything interesting ;-).

Cricket was a nut at class, and who knows why but she tried to run in a tunnel, turned around and ran out the entrance. When she got out of the tunnel the first time she found the toy I had thrown at the exit of the tunnel and I think she thought she was getting a huge reward. That was all she needed to KNOW the way you do tunnels is run in, turn around and run out the entrance. We had to finally have one person hold Cricket on one side of the tunnel while I called from the exit to help her remember how tunnels worked! LOL, what a nut! She loves tunnels and it was the exact same tunnel and set up as the week before, so it was really weird. To make class even more challenging my ankle is still killing me from when Cricket tripped me last week-I might have to break down and go get it checked out ;-(.

For the first time I feel like I am so far behind with Cricket. BEHIND???? Who is making up this time line? LOL, but I have to say I feel discouraged. I keep telling myself that when ever things seem to be falling apart is usually about the time they all magically come together, and when I look back I do think we have made a ton of progress lately, but it is still pretty WILD and Crazy when we do agility ;-). I am feeling pressure to get going-and feeling panicky thinking I just don't know how we are going to get it together-but what is the worst that could happen, we don't get it together and we keep having fun playing around, guess even in the worst case scenario it isn't that bad....Right???.

I think we are getting a new level of excitement and a new level of speed and Cricket has a lot more confidence, all good things but it might take us awhile to sort of learn how to use those new SKILZ.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Two steps step back

We had class last night and I think Cricket and I had a classic conflict of differing opinions about what our goals for the night were. Poor Cricket.

Crickets goal seemed to be to get me to understand to stay out of her way. I think she feels she is running full out and collection is a bit of a pain, so people need to learn to stay out of her way.

My goal was that say coming out of tunnels if I am standing/running right in front to her Cricket should collect a bit and avoid crashing into me like a freight train.


I think we have a little hole in our training.....LOL, I SWEAR I am pretty brave when my dogs really run at me I have never had dogs that do not make sure they do not run into me so I am pretty comfortable with them driving pretty close into me....I don't think anyone has actually run into me....until now and tonight it just kept almost happening.

The first close call of the night was at our first tunnel-it was a curved tunnel and Cricket and I almost collided when I was in running past the tunnel as she came out. I stopped and rewarded her coming to my side a few times.

After our near collision we did a few obstacles then a table to a tunnel, this tunnel was a straight tunnel, and as she came out she kept running really fast right to my side then right under my feet, she totally took me out,OUCH, she took my feet right out from underneath me without slowing her stride.

I am much too fragile to be falling, hahahaha, I really hurt in lots of places now....for a little dog she packs a lot of punch.

Not our best class, Cricket was just so over the top excited and was stuck on extension and going at hyper speed, which is good at some places on course, but at sometimes speed can kill if you do not use a little collection occasionally. I just think that it would be hard to do too much collection work with the Crickster, that extension sure comes naturally!

Our aframe seemed to have fallen apart a bit, If you saw Cricket tonight you would not think she has ever heard of a start line stay.....ahhhhhhhhh....lots of things to put on our to train better list. She was an excited little girl.

LUCKILY it was not all CACA, the parts of the course we have had trouble with in the past, sending to obstacles, reading lines, driving to the table, those were all GORGEOUS. Her weaves were sooooo fast and soooo good, there were some TIGHT turns and great obstacle discrimination that I was not sure she could do. Guess all the tweaking is just part of the process, we worked on some object focus and now I need to pull back and work on a little more handler focus again.

I SWEAR Cricket is just so different then any other dog I have worked with, she is such a trip and so fun, after tonight though I just hope I am up to the challenge. I was beginning to think we had it all under control and we were pretty hot stuff, LOL, but I feel knocked down a few pegs after tonight's class, but at the same time I feel so excited for what is to come, she has soooo much potential and she looks so good when I look at the big picture, but there sure needs to be a lot of little adjustments!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Not your mothers duct tape!

My poor tire needs to be re taped, so I went to the store to get some duct tape. Who knew duct tape comes in camouflage, all colors of the rainbow, zebra print, wild animal print, polka dots on turquoise, AND HELLO KITTIE print, too funny! This is just a picture of Targets selection, there was even more different choices at Walmart! LOL.

What a great time we live in that we have so many more choices then just the grey duct tape of yesterday!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Cricket and the contacts ;-)

We had a great weekend here-really quiet but nice, with some thunderstorms and no agility practice.....

Today we did a few contacts-I would like to speed up our dog walk a little, although sometimes it is pretty fast and they are getting faster I think, but I decided to time them so I will know if we are getting better over time ;-).

I have not done a full teeter in a bit and was playing around with some games I saw in clean run to speed that up, so today was the first time I tried a full teeter again, and not sure the games were helping ;-).

THE cool thing is the aframe is at 5 ft 3, and NO PROPS, look mom no training wheels and I think it still is doing OK.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Some weeks everything goes a little better then the week before-LOVE THAT!

What a busy week, figured I would catch ya all up on what we have been doing this week!

The best news of the week is that even though it was a long week making sure that poor Lizzie got her eye drops every four hours around the clock, making sure she was quiet, and worst of all keeping that big donut on her all seems to have paid off and Lizzies eye is looking pretty durn good. I think she is going to be fine, but she has to stop fighting with shelties, you gotta know they are spunky and will always get the best of anyone!

Pam from San Diego came to visit and play some agility with her dogs Bandit, Twix, and Isabelle:



WHOO HOOOO! I am LOVING Sylvia Trkmans long distance Agility Foundation class. Cricket is doing really well with the cik/cap turns, which are a fancy way to cue collection and a tight turn on a jump, it really is pretty cool. I will try to get some video-I love watching cricket do her cik/cap turns because she powers out of the turns so well and turns so tight around the jump stantions, she seems to really get it and tonight at class she actually did a few cik/cap turns in a course and I could see her add in a short stride and was really able to make some great tight turns.

As far as the aframe I have been able to fade off all the props from the aframe but added on a stride regulator right at the top of the contact zone, just to get her to stretch a fraction of an inch further down and I had lowered the aframe to 5 ft again. Tonight in class Cricket worked on a new aframe (new to her), sequenced before and after the aframe-and we were working in the dark. She did the aframe twice, and it was not perfect but you know it was looking ok and I really think we are almost there. I have worked on this aframe for a long time, and hopfully the next time I need to do an aframe it will go a lot quicker, but hey I am feeling pretty good about the aframe now.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lizzies letter...


This is Lizzie here and there are some things that I believe people need to be made aware of. I am sure many of you have heard of my unfortunate incident after my former "sister" dog (I refuse to still consider her my sister, although I am a very forgiving dog....but....)viciously BIT my eye! Not being one to dwell on the negative-I am a very happy dog and will not let that dog that shall not be named ruin my day-so I just feel I need to make people aware of the current difficulties I am dealing with-it is hard even for a happy girl such as myself to continue to be jolly considering.

I guess the first problem is that I have been shut into my moms room for D A Y S! That is how I was able to get to the computer to write a letter because that is the room the computer and I are stuck in. Mom says it is to protect me and my eye....but I am not so sure. I do have to admit my other sister Cricket does scare me because I have this durn big lifesaver donut on my neck-and Cricket loves to puncture balls-she keeps eyeing the donut on my neck and wanting to jump on me. It is not like I would be upset if this thing sprung a leak but I have heard the loud POP when Cricket bites the balls, so....not sure that is how I want to lose this thing-so....for that reason it does feel a little safer to be stuck in this bedroom. I am upset that I have not been allowed to go swimming, seems like this damn donut would at least be a good life why must I be left out of that activity? I just don't understand.

I think mom is really irritated that I had a fight and is punishing me by putting these HORRIBLE drops in my eye EVERY FOUR HOURS, around the clock. You heard me AROUND THE CLOCK! Everyone knows I need my sleep to retain my basic jolly nature and the last few days I have had to be woken up at midnight, four am and 8am for drops in my eye. Mom says it is to help my eye, but I am pretty sure it is just another fancy punishment.

Luckily I got sprung from this jail to go for something called a "recheck" at the vets office this morning. Anything to leave this room. It is so lucky I went to the vets because there were a lot of people in there that needed some hugs and kisses from me, I was very happy to forget my current troubles and make everyone day by giving lots of hugs and kisses. I do have to say everyone says how friendly I am and I do try to make sure no one ends up without a hug when I am around. Everyone loved my little donut and kept asking where we got it....I was doing my best to tell them they could have mine-I am very generous, but perhaps they did not take me serious because I left the vets office with the donut in place ;-(.

The vet said I am heeling well, and there is still a chance I will need something called "surgery" to take care of some tissue that is rubbing on my eye....but hopefully it is looking like it will not be necessary. I wonder if "surgery" is a toy like a ball or a treat? Hummm, I sort of hope it is a treat ;-), but I am sure it is a good thing, maybe that is another punishment mom is giving me by not letting me have "surgery"?

Many people have been asking what sparked the fight with Chloe. I have to tell you if you guys knew Chloe you would understand. Chloe and I used to be best friends until Chloe started prancing around all the time and showing off her long flowey hair. She teases me about my curly hair and long legs and says my hair is "frizzy". She can be so irritating and she has attacked me enough times that I always feel it is best to attack first now. Chloe and I usually are kept in seperate areas of the house unless supervised.

Now mom is talking about more crate games for both Chloe and I, for "impulse control" and doing fun actities like walks together, and relaxation protocol (which is so boring for me) with both of us together. Mom is determined to make me pay for fighting ;-).

I hope the situation here does not get worse...but for today it is pretty bleak stuck in the room with no agility, or swimming or watching the neighborhood from the front window, the cats have been my only company other then mom, and she is sort of a drag now that she has eye drops, so not sure I will count her as company.

I have been working hard to maintain a good attitude and have even played ball with my donut in place,

and I guess there was a short trip to the park....but I will work to stay happy until conditions improve ;-)

PS Mom asked me to tell you all she says things are looking much better and my eye looks soooo much better ;-)!