Tuesday, March 27, 2012

All Good News Today!

Turns out I do own plenty of cat litter. After our suprise shipment yesterday I called the company this morning and they were as confused as I was, LOL.

A few hours later the nicest lady called back apologizing profusely and asking what I wanted done. Turns out she was hoping I had a cat and wanted some litter because to get someone to come and get it and transport it back would have been pretty expensive but they assured me it was not a problem to do it. I ASSURED them it was one of the coolest things that had happened to me and I would be tickled pink to keep it.

So,...because I believe in Karma and paying it forward, bad juju and all that stuff, I packed up a portion of the litter and brought it to the local shelter-so I even got to do a good deed.

I had said I would like to try a dog food they have and I think they saw the numbers in my house address and thought that each number was the number of bags I wanted of each type of litter. Seems like a really odd mistake but we all had a good laugh, she said that had never happened before and I assured her that no such thing had ever happened to me either.

SO THE FUNNIEST PART OF THIS WHOLE INCIDENT WAS.....a few hours after I got things straightened out and delivered some of the kittie litter to less fortunate kitties, .......guess what happened.......wait for it.....

YEP, the UPS guy pulled up and delivered two MORE boxes of litter and the origional shipment of dog food.

On another good front-since I broke my poor little foot in an unfortunate crash with Cricket while doing agility.....I had just been in sorry shape. At first I had to stay off my feet and I got TERRIBLY out of shape, EMBARRASSINGLY out of shape, it was really sad and embarrassing and I had no idea how out of shape I was until I went to enter our first trial a few months ago. I was so afraid to do that first trial because Cricket is a fast dog and I felt bad about what I let happen to myself.

Since fall my knees and feet have hurt ALL THE TIME and It is so hard to try to get in shape when it hurts to move and I was just getting scared I was on a down hill spiral and might have to get my knees replaced. After having them broken a couple of times and having had surgery on one of them years ago, I have always known eventually I will probably have to have that done, but I want to hold off as long as possible.

SOOOOOOO the happy part is that I found some knee exercises and started doing some easy yoga which is helping the opposing muscles and about a week ago I had the first time I ran agiity with Cricket and I was way far behind her and not able to keep up but it was because I was out of breath and out of shape, but it was NOT because it hurt. I was so excited, out of shape I know what to do about ;-). I am really hoping to be in better shape by the Spring Agility Camp the end of May--GOOOOOOO TEAM CRICKET!!!!

Monday, March 26, 2012


So one of the oddest things ever happened to me today while I was home minding my own business.....

The UPS guy shows up-a rare occassion for us-but he has to back into the driveway to deliver our delivery.

He has to get out the dolly, and is really joking about what did we order??? We were all laughing, what could it be??? Humm, thinking it is surely a suprise because I ordered a dvd but they dont usually need a dolly for delivery.....My hubby promised me a long jump for my bday in November, but a-sure he will wait for a few more holidays before he gets that...and b long jumps dont weigh that much or come in that many boxes.

We all notice the side of the box says KITTIE LITTER, and it does say it is the worlds best, but we all-the UPS guy, the kids and I joke about that because surely that is just a box someone used. One of the boxes is over 70 lbs.

Well, after the UPS guy leaves we rip open a box and guess what is inside......wait for it.....

KITTIE LITTER. More then 50 bags of Kittie litter. WHAT????

Well, I call my husband who has no clue, I call a friend who has a little doggie business and resales things and has had things delivered to me....I call anyone I can think of but no one knows what it is about ;-). I do get a few things to try and review once in awhile but they always give you a small or regular size bag and email first to see if I would like to try and review their product, I can not imagine sending 50+ bags.

I finally notice a phone number on one box, but of course as luck would have it-it is from a different time zone and the office must be closed for the night.

On the plus side the box says it is the WORLDS BEST CAT LITTER, so if I can not find the rightful owner...we will have the best ;-).

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just Enjoying the Sun ;-).

It was a gorgeous day yesterday and after our trial this last weekend I wanted to go and practice on a nice easy course that would help build up our confidence-something easy and fun.

Breeze has not been able to weave because of her back for over the last year, but the vet has said that we could see how she would be just letting her do say like a set or two of weaves, well, she was looking good, but the true test will be if she stays looking good and can do a few sets of weaves a week-and does not get stiff. It was such a rush to see Breeze looking good and having fun

Liz was a super star and I did not get video of her but for the last few weeks I take her to practice and just walk around and C/T for taking obstacles and following me around-Lizzie was able to do a full course-she looked good and no zoomies. Lizzie just puffs up and looks so pleased with herself when she feels she is working.

I am very grateful we were able to enjoy the day since they are predicting a big storm that might give us several days of rain. I am getting addicted to agility once again ;-).

Monday, March 12, 2012

Tales from AKC Novice --

Ok, another trial this weekend and CONSIDERING we have never got to take a class, and I consider myself a decent trainer but still learning and I am really rusty and do not have a lot of actual trial experience..I feel like we are coming along.

The first run I posted was at Contact Point, the only run I could get videos from because it was pretty deserted by the time Novice ran. Cricket dropped the bar on the panel that is before the aframe, and went over the contact on the aframe, and around a jump before the weaves after the chute, it is hard to see.

Second two videos are Saturday March 10, 2012 and are NQs-boy I do not know where my head was. I totally missed the start of JWW and was across the park, so the whole ring was stopped screaming for me-I was running and everyone was so nice telling me to slow down and just take a breath. Well, I went to my lead out position and was really in a poor position and almost killed Cricket and myself-our near death portion of the video, LOL. Then in standard I just spaced and couldnt figure out what to do because I had accidentally rear crossed the teeter and pulled her off-she jumped back on and all I could think is that she broke the four paw rule but I could not figure out what to do. I just broke out laughing and the judge was laughing, what a nut.

Third day was a hard day to go back too. I felt like I let Cricket down the day before, no one I knew was going to be there, and I just felt like I could train Cricket but what was I going to do about me. My hubby was being a boob and by the time it was time to leave I just sat in the car and started to cry. My daughter Emma came running out and said she would go with me-giving up an outting with her sister and dad. I got to the trial and as I was getting ready to run Marla Cooper saw us as she was walking to her car but said she was in a hurry but would watch. What a sweetie as we finished our second run there was Marla shouting across the ring that it was a great run and we looked marvelous. She stayed all that time and just gave me some great feedback. The judge said it really was a great run and I had a really nice dog.

My friend Denise had stayed all day on Saturday to video and offer support and when I had my very sad runs, she was fantastic helping me keep perspective. The last day we had a lot of fun stuff, some baby dog mistakes and no Q but I left feeling like who cares? No one besides me would have cared and more important then a ribbon I knew we have made steady progress, we dont have as much spinning, and things are looking good, Cricket was able to take food on the way to the start and she was able to tug for a second as we finished. More important then a ribbon or a Q I know that I am really lucky to have some of the awesome people that have gone so out of the way to help me on my little journey. I do not know why some of the people who have gone so far out of the way have done so but I am truly blessed with the most awesome people in the world being right where I needed them at the perfect time. My whole agility journey has been blessed by some special angels at every turn I really needed them-how much better is that then just a silly ribbon? Those ribbons will come but I left the trial Sunday loving agility.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Hurrier I Go, the Behinder I Get

Today is the Agility Bloggers Event day and agility bloggers are posting on the subject "If I knew then what I know now...."

Thinking about what I would like to "talk" about really was interesting because gosh I realized how much my doggies, mentors, friends, instructors, students and other bloggers have taught me over the last few years. I could talk about how over the last two years I have learned that the most important skills for agility have nothing to do with any equipment....I could talk about how my view of rewards has changed, I could talk about how my view of success and our goals have changed and how that has affected our first few trials....I could talk about how profoundly my view of what being a good learner means, wow, so much has changed in my training and in how I approach my life because of my last few years of dog training-looking back I am really pretty proud of how far I have come since I was a preteen training my first dog Abby, a West Highland White terrier who was my first heart dog.

What I decided I wanted to share was a HUGE concept that has made such a difference in my life and training. I have fought against this step and fiercely resisted taking the step of BECOMING A PLANNER!!!! HORRORS!!! I always wanted to see myself as a free spirit, but as I got my fifth dog and my third cat in addition to my two kids at home, -- knowing I was not going to have much luck finding more hours in the day.....I have come to the realization of what the saying meant "The hurried I go, the behinder I get" -Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland- IT'S TRUE. I knew I needed to make my hours work better for me. I really wanted to make my training more efficient so I could actually spend my time training, get the training I needed to get done done, and so my dogs and I enjoyed it more. I really do not want to spend all day training, I like to get in there, have a good time, accomplish what we need and stop.

We all know people who work and work, they train and train-they really work hard and seem to put in a lot of time, but gosh it seems they never have that much to show for what they have done, they always look close but their performances are never really solid looking. I really feel like before I had Cricket I was one of these trainers, I had great ideas and I knew where I wanted to go but I always felt like I was spinning my wheels and did not feel focused, I really felt that I should be getting much more accomplished considering the time I was putting in.

"Time flies. It's up to you to be the navigator." -Robert Orben Hummm, at a certain point I decided stop fighting becoming a planner -to try to not just dive in to our training-but to be smart and plan.

What I found out was that by taking out time to sit and think of a plan for my training I got a lot of benefits

1. I found my training more effective because I reviewed materials for what I wanted to train-I go and look up articles I remember reading and wanted to try things from. As I am reviewing the materials I often find out that while I remembered the basics I might have forgot key steps or ideas ;-).

2. I make much better use of my time when I walk out onto the training field or step into the park I have a plan and I know what I want to do. I am much less likely to be tempted by others to sit and talk during my whole training time (something I used to do ALL the time) I train way less and I get much more accomplished without being tempted to skip steps to save time. I have enough time to go through all the steps, I know my plan and I know where we are going.

3. THE BIGGEST PAYOFF--My dogs have a much higher level of motivation-when I am ready to go and confident of what we are doing we can jump right into the game-this makes their mama (me) much more fun and much more in the moment,I do not end up leaving them hanging sitting around finding their own fun while I figure out what I need to do-or while I am talking to other people and just hanging out.

4. I am much less likely to get frustrated or feel lost, I sort of know where I am going and I am much more likely to follow all the steps in training and I just feel more confidence in picking a path....even when it might feel like we are a little stuck, with a plan it is easier to just go ahead and try to work through it rather then just getting stuck and staying there.

5. When I do need help, I am much more aware of what we have addressed and what is going on, my mind is organized which makes it easier to look for an answer in articles, videos, blogs, or to ask people I respect. I can focus in on what it is we need much quicker.

Planning does not have to be really long or involved-I usually keep a training log so I can see what we have worked on and what we have not worked on. I try to sit down for a few minutes and just think about what I want to work on the next day, which gives me the opportunity to go through my materials and review anything that might help-articles, notes, videos, course maps or sequences. It is one of those things that the more I do it the more second nature it becomes. It is also getting so much easier to walk out onto a course someone else has set up and pick out little parts I can make into a sequence that will fit into what we need to train-Love that.

My favorite way of logging training now days is using Google Docs. This is sort of impossible to explain on a blog but play with google docs and you can figure it out. On google docs you can make up a form-you can make it a simple form that you just click off different elements of training that you do. I put all sorts of obstacles and then what elements I train for each one. You send the form to yourself and if you have an iphone when you open it you can choose the option at the bottom of the screen from where there is the square with the arrow shooting out of it, choose the option that says ADD TO HOME SCREEN. This will give you your very own phone app to keep track of your training. When you fill out the form and click submit it will send it to Google Docs where it makes a spread sheet that you can keep track of what you are and are not training. Say you want to make sure you do some quick review on the chute or the dog walk entrance about every month-as you scan your little spread sheet you notice that it has been awhile-on the spread sheet it is easy to note that and add it into your training plan before you see it at a trial and kick yourself for not doing that training in awhile. ;-)
Here is a screen shot of just the first page of mine.

The google docs is a free program and is fun to play with, email if you are playing and have a question or if you come up with a really cool way to use it for your own training.

Check out some other bloggers post for bloggers action day at http://dog-agility-blog-events.posterous.com/pages/2012-march-if-i-knew-then-what-i-know-now

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


Most times it really does not seem like five dogs is a lot of dogs.
There are two times when it does seem like a lot of dogs. One is when someone comes to the door-the noise is deafening, we have worked on it and they settle pretty quickly but it does sound like a kennel when someone knocks on the door.
The second time five dogs seems like way too many dogs is on grooming days!

Some days I wonder why I bother. Saturday I got all five dogs washed and fluffed and pretty, ummm, they smelled GOOD and looked so pretty. It took most of the day but how worth it to have five fresh smelling, pretty doggies.

I had barely finished grooming all the dogs and left to go clean myself up when I heard Cricket outside. Someone had let her out moments after I finished grooming her-I raced to let her in but too late.....Cricket had been rolling and having a great time in the dirt. She is good with her rolling technique, she takes her time and gets the dirt all the way down to her skin. She looks like a little pig pen from the Charlie Brown comics, her color changes to brown and when she walks there is a little cloud of dirt that follows her. THANKS CRICKET! Yep, I was glad I went to the trouble of getting her pretty.

Poor Skyler has a tail that does not work-it was broken some time before I got him so it has no feeling and he can not move it. He can not wag his tail to tell people he is happy an he can not move his tail out of the way when he goes poo- poor guy! Anyway, I got him very pretty but later that day I kept smelling something and thought maybe it was just Skyler developing a little smell associated with him being older, so I put some nice moisturising spray on him. As the day went on the smell got worse so I looked and ughghggh, you guessed it poor Skyler must have had diarrhea and was caked all over with poo everywhere-poor guy he got his second bath of the day.

Lizzie rolled in some type of poo when I went to the agility yard to practice, and Breeze played with her egg ball which she obsesses over and drools so bad that the ball and her legs and face get covered in drool that mixed with the dirt in the back yard makes a nice mud drool to cover her front legs and face with.

Hours worth of work and I did not even get to enjoy it 24 hours ;-). How is that right? Chloe the sheltie is the only dog that still looks pretty and freshly groomed, good girl Chloe. The dogs were very proud of themselves-and anyone who stops by will wonder when I will break down and give the dogs a bath because they sure would not believe I had just done it!.

I have been making my dog shampoo. I like to use a nice shampoo because we have a few dogs with sensitive skin and I like to wash pretty frequently and the dogs cuddle with us all day so I like to know we use something without too many freaky ingredients. I am not a vet ;-), and not a groomer but I did notice pretty much all the recipes I was finding had some pretty similar ingredients so I felt it must be pretty standard and my dogs skin has done very well with the shampoo so use your judgement but this is what I like. You can alter the recipe so it suits what you like.

I got an old big dish soap bottle and cleaned it out to put my shampoo in when I was finished making it.

2 cups of dish soap, I used seventh generation-I wanted something very gentle and without a lot of ingredients, you could use Ivory
2 cups distilled water-the water does not have to be boiled or distilled but several recipes said it would make it more luxurious so what the heck it makes sense without the minerals it would probably lather better?
2 cups apple cider vinegar-this alters the ph so it is correct for the dogs
1/2 cup glycerin-this makes it really nice, you can purchase this on line or I got it at a natural health food store, some pharmacies may carry it.

*You can steep a few chamomile tea bags in the water before adding the water.
*you could add about 1/4 cup of aloe vera
*add a few drops of Lavender essential oils, or some other scent.
*Add a cap full of tea tree oil
*for dogs with allergies or itchy skin you can add one cup of Colloidal oatmeal (you can buy the oatmeal or make it by putting uncooked oats into a grinder or blender and blending so it is the consistency of flour-add a tablespoon of your oats to a cup of warm water and mix if the mixture looks like milky water it is ready, if the oats fall to the bottom you need to grind/blend it a little longer ;-))

If you have a dog with allergies-especially if you added a bunch of ingredients-you might want to do a small test patch and make sure it does not bother your dog and make sure to rinse the shampoo off your dog really well.