Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Not quite Wordless Wednesday....The Voices ;-)

Lizzie is pretty special-Love my girl to death but my friends always make jokes about the "voices" talking to her because she is always up to something funny, so I saw this quote and thought it just fits her so well, LOL.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I almost feel a little gyped that it seems we never got a winter this year. It has been really nice except for a few odd days of cold and it seems wild to think we are comming up on summer again already.

A week and a half ago we had snow, followed by a beautiful weekend in the low 70s, then a couple of days where it was almost 90. Sunday was almost 90 and felt so hot-but 24 hours later it was snowing in the Southern California desert. Talk about wacky weather.

The border collies LOVE the snow, it makes them WILD, but it gets pretty muddy ;-).


I wanted to post a quick review of a dry food -Origen. Some of you may remember Cricket was having trouble handling a different dry food I was using-I posted why that food disappointed me so thought I would post a review of a food that I LOVE. My dogs love eating it-it is the only food my holistic vet carries. The web site says they use free range poltry and free range red meats, so while it may be more expensive then some foods-the quality of the ingredients sure seems to be there.

I used to only be able to get this food when I went to my vets office but have been getting it from Mr. Chewey by mail order now-which sure makes it easier to use it. I use Origen kibble for agility or trick training-that leaves things like steak, fish or meat treats for when I really need something high value and new for really distracting situations. The first time my dogs tasted this food they spit it out, but then after a few tries they are WILD about it. They like it enough that it is the main training treat I use. I am not sure why it took a time or two for them to get used to the taste-maybe because it is not a doggie junk food? I do know the dogs REALLY love the taste now. If you get a sample and try some of the dogs aren't sure about the first taste-- try it again ;-). I like that it is low on the glycemic index and I really like the quality of ingredients. This is where I have ordered my food from:

Here is a review by the Dog Food Advisor

Monday, February 27, 2012

EVERYONE gets to play today!!!

Since the trial last weekend I have traveled to several different fields to work, I worked outside the yard during a local class doing tricks with Cricket helping her use her brain while other dogs were running-I went in and just did the contacts while the students in the class were walking their course, THANKS DEANNA (the instructor) for being so accommodating. We have once again found our contacts which makes me very happy ;-).

Yesterday for the first time in a LONG time I brought all three border collies The Lizard, Breezie and Cricket to a fun run. It is so much easier to throw just Cricket in the car and take off and so much easier to just worry about her. Breezie seems to be feeling good lately and Lizzie has been full of it because she is pretty submissive around the other girls-they sort of end up crowding her out at times, Lizzie needs more opportunities to feel like she is working.

Three border collie girls, all trained by the same person, living in the same house, but boy are they different to train. Yesterday running all of them one after another, wow, it really hit me how different they are from each other.

First up was the Lizard and when you run Lizzie she is a very stressy dog and you have to have a constant feedback loop. I have to keep giving her feedback about how she is doing and then reading her feedback to me, there has to be an intense connection. When I run Liz I have to have what I want to do all worked out and feel very confident. Any sort of confusion on my part and Lizzie is gone and checks out mentally. After she gets into the groove then she will start operating without needing the constant feedback but ya gotta wait until she makes the move and starts operating on her own with agility and not operating on her own by running off, LOL. Ya gotta be in it 100% to run the little Lizard. She gets so happy and proud when she completes a course-that makes it totally worth it.

Breeze is totally into my movement -for the good and the bad. I forgot she just does not send and no matter how committed she looks to a tunnel or a jump, if I do not keep my commitment and I start to move to the next thing, I can totally pull her off the obstacle. It is cool if I need to keep her away from a trap but I had not run her in awhile and boy I had forgot-our first run I kept pulling her off things, whoops!. It would be a fun experiment to do some Silvia Trkman Cik/Cap work with her to see how much that would increase her obstacle focus. After a couple of months off and with the excitement of the other dogs Breeze was a nut and very naughty with her start line and for the first time in her life she was running up to the judge person jumping on her and asking for pets-so unlike little Breezie!!!

Then there was Cricket,..... boy running the other dogs made me realize how much we are starting to gel with each other. I can send her to obstacles which makes it so much easier and she still listens to my movement although she is getting more excited so she is starting to figure she can run on her own if she sees an obstacle she really likes, LOL. The dogs at the fun run were not dogs that were sending my dogs over the top but any dog doing agility gets Cricket excited so with that level of excitement she did good with her contacts yesterday and kept all her bars up at 20inches.

I think I get a gold star because I had to run Lizzie, then there was one other dog running, then Breeze and Cricket back to back. It was about 85 degrees and a bit hot, ACTUALLY REALLY HOT, and I am a pretty slow person so running three dogs one after another was a real workout for me and I am pretty surprised I did not just drop but it felt good, I felt like I deserved a click/treat for running them all and for keeping my head and keeping in my thinking brain and using all my mental management skills to keep calm and work at giving each dog what they needed. Whooo hoooo yea me! hahahahahaha.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Sorry I have disappeared the last week, but I went to a three day trial-that required a few days getting ready because I am a serious over packer and over planner especially if I am going with my dogs...then I was at the trial and then had to recover for a day-...or two ;-).

The trial I went to was a SMALL trial, just a one judge trial and we are in Novice at a one judge trial it was DESERTED by the time we ran and I could only find someone to tape one of our I am just going to post some maps and my thoughts on how we changed over the three days!!!!

***SPOILER ALERT-ABBREVIATED VERSION***Cricket is into the excitement of the game, and we had all sorts of stuff pop up having to do with over the top baby dog syndrome-six runs, all fast but the Q rate stood at zero at the end of the weekend. Some really, really cool moments of brilliance that were cleverly hidden by a wild doggie. We got our second official measurement and Cricket is officially able to kick butt in the 16 in class-but we played with the 20 in kids this weekend.

I got lots of good info this weekend so in the end it was a TOTAL sucess and I feel like we got some great training even if it did not go like I had expected. I really have to tell the truth I had the BEST time, it was such a rush to work with all the excitement and it kept me from focusing on myself, it was really the first time I had a really good time trialing. I walked away knowing the journey really is the fun part of agility.


--I thought on the way to the trial too bad I have to wait for the end of the day to admire my title ribbons since Cricket and I just need one Q in Jumpers to have our novice title and one Q in Standard to have our standard title. PERHAPS this weekend we will one at least one Q in Open too. Yes, that was entirely possible since we would be at the trial for three days.
--I felt totally confident we have our contacts down and I worried just a bit about the weaves. I am so thankful Cricket is just such an easy, good dog, must have a lot to do with all that foundation I did and all the training I made sure to do in lots of places-yep we will have challenges eventually but it is all going remarkably easy! NICE.

*I crated Cricket in a quiet area by the ring but shielded from the ring. I wanted to be close so we could get to our ring early but far enough away Cricket could really relax.
* I worried about not tiring Cricket out, just letting her chill because this was her first day trialing at 20 inches and the footing was going to be a little harder to jump in-I did not want her to tire herself out.
*my only stress upon reaching the trial site was worrying about the second official measurement since Cricket is EXACTLY 18 inches unless she is bouncing which is possible and the measurement was pretty crucial not just a formality.

JWW:-HOLY CRAP Cricket is way faster then she has been, where did this dog come from? I was moving better-Cricket was happy and definitely getting the hang of this game and picking up excitement. Good run but 2 dropped bars, so that is ok.
STANDARD: Still held her start line, hummm, it is a jump/DOUBLE/aframe, Yikes, Cricket hits the aframe sort of unbalanced and a little out of control from excitement and just hitting the aframe unbalanced she sort of falls forward and misses the contact, but great dog walk, great teeter, great weaves, she went out of a chute and missed a jump but baby dog stuff and we already were E'd. We had dropped bars, maybe she can't do 20 inches without knocking bars?? ;-(. Why did I put her in 20 inches? SHE IS FAST and WILD!!! The funnest run of my life, so exciting and so much energy in it. I was proud I was moving better and keeping up-good me!

I worried we were going to have a big bar problem. Usually Cricket repeats a problem over and over, but if I give her some time the next time we come back she has it fixed,so hoping the bars will be that way and be magically fixed by tomorrow.


-I crate WAY BACK into the orange groves, further from the rings-we will just handle getting to the ring from far away and I do more walks with Cricket, not worried about conserving her energy.
-I am first in the class in both runs, we do not have to sit watching the other dogs run, THAT IS GOOD!!!
-I worried when I walked the JWW because NOBODY was walking the path I was walking-I did find a person I respected to look at my plan because I was slightly shaken seeing everyone was walking their path so much different from mine-she Agreed with me ;-), and have to say I like how I ran it best ;-).

At the ring Cricket could not take food, she was a lunging wild monster-BUT SHE HELD HER START AND GOT HER WEAVES ALL WEEKEND.
Standard was up first: the course was a tire/aframe and Cricket just hit it so unbalanced I am not sure there was any real contact of her feet with the aframe on the way up or down. It did not take a rocket scientist to know that was UGLY!!!
My pride and joy- my gorgeous Aframe was BROKEN, and really UGLY!!! The judge later told me it was the scariest Aframe she had seen in a long time. Cricket did a gorgeous teeter but sort of bounced off before I released her so she jumped back on breaking the four paw rule, and to make it consistent so she could be faulted on all contacts...she blew past her dog walk contact-another first and stopped about a mile later like ..hummm did I forget something. At that point I took her off the course, but it was the second to last obstacle, that will teach her to use her brain, LOL.

The scribe yelled across the ring "your dog is so fast" lots of people came up to talk to us, she made an impression. Cricket was so over the top, but still did FANTASTIC weaves, she had a ROCK solid start and this time NO BARS-she did figure out the 20 in bars.

I had so much fun, the judge said she looks like she will be really good and everything else looks so solid that she said the aframe is going to be an easy fix. She said her weaves are gorgeous. Hey one thing stayed consistent.

I knew she was wired, but she had a little energy burned off with the standard run. I knew it was a fast course I yelled "Tunnel" at the start of a line of three jumps-I did say jump or support the last of the jumps enough so Cricket did what I said and DROVE to the tunnel, but went around one jump that was just a little off her path, she was driving so I was not going to correct that jump, way more important to reward her driving ahead and build her confidence, especially because it was such a baby dog thing an she did what I said, so that is one Q I do not mind losing I chose to support our training over the Q. We got a lot of compliments on that run, and NO BARS.

**I was a little more real today
and did not really think our problems were over, I was getting with the program and knowing that the chances of us getting a Q this weekend were pretty slim, I knew it would happen eventually that we would have an increased speed and excitement to deal with but I had thought we were going to sail through novice first....well it was happening now, LOL.


I had been knocked down a few pegs over the weekend. I got overring nerves and my fear of people thinking I had not done good training. I was no longer worried about what anyone else thought and just focused on me and Cricket. I felt good I felt like I kept my focus pretty well no matter what happened over the weekend. I just hoped today we could find our inner contacts and our good aframe-I no longer cared about any titles or Q's, LOL, although I would still take any of those if they came my way....I was really happy with the weaves and the start line even with my over the top dog, hoping they stayed beautiful-no longer just taking that for granted

-we went to the beach an hiked for hours in the deep sand-(I am so sore days later, LOL)
-We got to the trial and went out for about 45 minutes into the orange groves and did lots of tic/tap training (tight turns) around the orange trees. We did a lot of throwing the ball and then having Cricket lay down on her way to the ball-using some impulse control.
-when it was almost our turn we went to the orange groves again and did some more ball chasing, LOL. She does not look tired.
-I crated in the car at the far side of the parking lot, forget worrying about getting to the ring on time, we will work that out.

Once again we were first in the class in all our runs, YIPPIE!! We don't have to watch the other dogs run and try to keep Cricket connected. As soon as we come anywhere by the ring Cricket it at the end of her leash trying to get on the start line, she is READY!

STANDARD- PRAISE THE LORD!!! Someone has decided to be kind and the Aframe is not in the opening sequence it is safely buried in the middle of the course. HOLY COW my prayers have been answered.

On the down side the course is CHUTE--DOUBLE--WEAVES--TUNNEL staring the dog in the face. On a novice course, yikes!!! I could not get too far ahead because the chute was sort of faced toward the fence, not sure Cricket would take the tunnel and not just come to me unless I stayed at the end of the chute, which means.....I could be way far behind for the double and about ten feet + behind for the weaves.

Cricket had to DRIVE AHEAD OF ME without looking back, AND pay attention to getting those weaves without being sucked past the weaves to the ever so enticing tunnel entry. COULD SHE DO IT? I held my breath as she approached-I was pretty far behind yelling WEAVES!!!
My dog still has a brain, how cool is that???
right after that little area we had the aframe, the judge, observers all held their breath---GORGEOUS AFRAME!!!!!!! TOTAL VICTORY!!!! SHE DID IT.

I was so excited I sort of forgot there was more course. LOL. it was aframe table, and Cricket loves her some table, but for the first time she argued with me about staying on the table. She did stay, and I made sure to stay pretty far away so she would stay but would not get upset on the table.

Next was a little circle of jumps then a broad jump to the teeter to another tunnel opening. Cricket ran across the broad jump and I could not figure out why until I tried the course the next day-she ran across the broad jump and my feet to get back to the table.

She went to the table say about 12 times, and I know I was not cuing that, and small fact THERE WERE NOT 12 TABLES in the course-- she just had held it together as long as she could but her fried brain was back. LOL.

GORGEOUS DOG WALK but she sort of fell through the contact, I sort of debated she had tried to stop but in view of the weekend I stopped and took her out of the ring. Cool I was already eliminated and it was second to last obstacle so easy to take the hard line and leave the course, LOL. No bars though, still a great stay at the start and great weaves.

LAST RUN JWW, really nice but a couple of dropped bars, not sure why, but it made for a consistent weekend.

Next day we went back and ran the standard course again and of course it was quiet and no other dogs running.....we aced it, no big suprise. Those doggies really get my doggie excited, LOL, I think our pretrial routinue is going to be pretty key in the future and I think I need to get Cricket more amped in the future during training so she learns to think through all that excitement.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Maybe Not the Prettiest Yet....But How Fun was This?.....

Our second trial, this was our Standard run which was not the prettiest but it is my favorite so far. I am still trying to learn the best way to get to the ring. This time I had to be there a littler earlier and Cricket fixated on the dogs in the ring. SHE WAS OVER THE TOP wild!!! She could not take food, she could not respond to me, everyone around the ring was laughing saying boy she just wants to go. I HAD TO have a start line stay because of the jump/tunnel to make sure if I got too far lateral and ahead that she did not just come to me--I know her. On top of that it was standard and Cricket gets pretty excited doing agility, and she was starting out over the top, I knew this run had the potential to make an agility bloopers video.

SOOOOOO PROUD of my little girl, she held her start line, she was SOLID!!! She has learned the price of agility is staying when you need to ;-) and guess she feels it is a fair price to play. Funny because I tried all new things and never taught it in the traditional sense like I have taught all my other dogs but guess what, she has the strongest stay.

Going to the aframe my plan A was a front cross...plan B was a blind cross, that is what I really wanted to do and figured would happen,....plan C was a rear cross. Not sure with the aframe in competition how a rear cross would work.

When CrickSTAR BLASTED off the start line she was WAY faster then she has been before in a trial so we were at plan C the rear cross. I LOVE THAT AFRAME, met all expectations and I thought at first she did not read the rear cross and that is why she went to the chute, but when I looked at the tape she did check in and see me but then I think I flung out my arm and looked like I might be going to the chute, we do a lot of sending from around the world on tunnels so I think she just was trying to do what I said.

It is funny when Cricket gets a bad signal and I try to fix it it ticks her off, so we had a little discussion and had to get it together before we could go on. Luckily that was just one refussal.

The rest of the run I was sooooo excited how she held her table, how she did the teeter and stopped at the end and waited for a release even though I was not right there, and how the dog walk looked.

IT WAS A FUN, FUN, FUN RUN! It felt so good to see Cricket with a little more confidence and looking so happy, it might take us awhile to gel, but boy she is a cool little girl and that run just showed me what it is going to be like, when we iron out my handling it is going to be fun.

This was our first run of the weekend, a clean run and a Q, we got third, but boy I sort of froze a couple of times and forgot what I was doing,damn those nerves, when I was telling Cricket where to go she did great, but yea I gotta do what ever to try to get moving better myself.... Luckily we were there the next day and I got my ring nerves more under control the second day. I figured I should post it all because I don't like when people starting out get the feeling from watching others that it is always really pretty from the very start. ;-).