Monday, August 30, 2010

The Itchy and Scratchy Show

Somehow last night in the middle of the night I was reminded of The Itchy and Scratchy Show.
You may recall the mice and cat from the Simpsons who killed eachc other multiple times in the most gory of ways?

Our own itchy and scratchy dog spent much of the night unhappy and uncomfortable. Poor Sally, her allergies really are dreadful at this time of year. Benedryl doesn't touch them and while Vanectyl-P helps I do try to keep the doseage minimal as it is a steroid. Ideally I'd have her on 2 pills every 48 hours - the best I've been able to do this season so far is occasionally extend her dose to 36 hours.

Big T once named a pair of foster pups we had Itchy and Scratchy - they were in our isolation suite downstairs with nasty cases of both parvo and mange. They were only about 12 weeks old when they moved in - it took about 5 weeks to clear them for real life. Socializing puppies through isolation was interesting. Luckily they are very sweet girls and were happy to work and play through their sickness and back into health. They were adopted together and renamed laker and Brooke.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

bet you didn't know

retrievers come in a silver brown too?
at least after they've been rolling in a mud flat ...

Brody waded in it too - he was DISGUSTING ~ at least his bottom half was

Sally raced through it in graceful arching leaps so hardly got muddy

but Sampson really took the cake - rolling and wallowing and just having a great time - I wish I'd had the camera on me there ... however he was still quite a sight when we got back the truck (and camera)

Agility drill today consisted of 2 arched tunnels with one short straight tunnel in the middle - practised rear crosses and complicated pulls to proper ends of the tunnel .. also let Sally blast a couple of nascar circuits - which she thought was FABULOUS.. but she kept her head together and shot off to jump and weave and turn as asked ...

Friday, August 27, 2010

relationships ..

Agility is all about relationships. In fact our life with dogs is all about our relationships with them.

That might be a rather evident thought - and I think I have danced around this issue before but I just came in from a rousing game of rolling on the grass with Brody and it struck me. I was working on agility as I grabbed his toes, threw a little stick, let him tug on my sweatshirt sleeve. He had fabulous hairy fits in circles round me but kept coming back for more. I was working on his fitness, I was working on our relationship. I was working on agility.

This is a 10 year old dog who I have always described as sober and aloof. He will do all kinds of things as tricks - as long as payment is apparent but playing crazy names is nowhere on his daily to do list. About once a month or so he'll play a little with Thea, Sally or I but his usual choice when I'm playing with anybody else is to lie in the shade and happily watch.

Was he looking to work on our relationship too? I suspect so - the agility gang got 2 full days off agility (though they got walked, stretched and played with) and 2 very light days of work - a simple jumping circle, a teeter or two. Perhaps Brody knows as well as I do the Mark Twain quote

"Work and play are words used to describe the same thing

under differing conditions”

All I know is we had fun.

Sally worked 12 weaves this morning. she wants to do MORE!! NOW!!

Trying to sort out my fall schedule - making me crazy. I think I will try to do pair days or even singles - mostly anyhow. Finding half days that have two classes I can run in is harder than it should be. I guess organizers try to spread out classes people may want so people end up volunteering. I just don't have enough time to be at trials all day all weekend through the fall.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

my brain is full ...

my mind is going a million miles a minute thinking about the weekend and trying to process all kinds of things

some of what I really really liked about this weekend:

  • Sally's speed - she was consistently the fastest or second fastest dog in her classes
  • no bars all weekend (not that I expected them)
  • Sally's distance work was amazing .. I had every confidence when I sent her out to something it would be done
  • All dogs read front and rear crosses without issue
  • Sally held every start line stay like a pro
  • Thea's dog walks and aframes were PERFECT (so were Brody's ~ I really must give that boy credit too)
  • I got the balance right to warm up each dog properly - take Sally out and let her run after the Frisbee - let Thea stretch and pee and wander around while Sally blasts.. give each of them lots of individual time but together time is fine too ... all of them appreciated a warm up jump or two
  • Sampson coped just fine at home with Nancy coming to give him a break
  • I got to watch people handle a wide variety of dogs in a million different ways

some of what gives me fat to chew as the expression goes:
  • a dog went off at Sally and me on the start line - lunging through the soft sided crate and through the ring gate - scared the pants off us both - in fact I burst into tears (great way to start a run huh?)
  • Sally got a little barky at dogs who dared look at her in her crate a couple of times
  • Thea dropped behind me on course twice - I saw it both times once I managed to get her back on track once I failed
  • Thea worried about the chute
  • Sally behaved like she'd never seen the downside of an aframe in her life
  • Sally barked at me on course
  • Brody was slow off the start line a couple of times
  • Brody bobbled in the weaves - didn't stop or go backwards but definitely struggled

no wonder my mind is full ...

Monday, August 23, 2010

weekend wrap up ...

and what a LONG weekend it was
my second three day trial of my life (first being cpe nationals back in 2008) and I had all three agility dogs with me ... wowser

Friday (AAC)
Starters Gamblers Sally was on ... ran beautifully except for blowing two aframe contacts (NOTE TO SELF: MUST figure out how to train aframe with Sally) min gamble no problem at all .. final gamble jump jump turn tunnel ... bing bang boom done
6 seconds left over and we weren't racing ... 54 points ... all good

Starters Snooker Thea - red 7 point, dropped behind me and did a jump on the way to red - she was happy but quite shocked the course ended :)

Starters Snooker Sally - red, and then a blur - she was great - got to 4 in opening no problem but needed to finish 5 for quite enough points .. ended up with over 30 points - probably my fault for micro managing a bit 9and therefore slowing her down) but I was thrilled with her run

Masters Snooker Brody - red, 7 red, 7 red, 7 and away we went - got through 5 only needed to finish 4 - 39 points in the bank :) that's twice he's qd using a three part sequence to accumulate points - I must go for flow with him ...he speeds enough it's worth it

Starters Jumpers Sally - flew the course 2 Qs in the whole class - she was one of them. YPS 5.38 - you should know I can't run that fast ;)

Advanced Jumpers - Thea - only tried to drop behind me once - flew the course on chihuahua wings .. but tiny legs can only move so fast - YPS 3.4

Masters Jumpers Brody - STUPID HANDLER - turned left not right for jump 4 realized I was looking at a 13 cone .. had to think - then took off - Brody (as usual) ran a foot perfect course - now I'm thinking I many never get that last jumpers q I'd like)

Friday was a good day :)

Saturday (CPE)

Jackpot first class - everybody was in it ... all ran well, none for quite enough points but a nice warm up ..

Standard level 1 Thea - chute was 3 obstacle - it took awhile to convince Thea this chute was safe so we ran out of time but she did a dog walk and a nice jump on the rest of the course

Standard level 3 Brody -Q can't think what the course was but he flew it and aced it aprt from one bobble in weaves (took a large swing out)!

Snookers Sally Q- aframe was 7 and I wasn't chancing it - this was a snookers course for Thea (easy 3 frames) but OF COURSE she wasn't entered ..) so Sally and I were conservative red tunnel for 2 red jump for 3 red tunnel for 2 repeat tunnel and away you go ... 30 points so we must have gotten 20 points on course which means we got through 6 - actually I think we did and I knew we were OK so opted not to even try the aframe

Snookers Brody Q 31 points red 7 red 7 red 5 (weaves) and away we went - time is tight in snookers cpe so we only got 30 points but that was enough :)

Jumpers must have been the last class .. Sally Q - very very fast run fastest clean in whole class - one dog with some bars was faster than her by .2 seconds
Thea - also Q - nice and happy run Brody was not entered

Sunday CPE- let me just say right up front it was 8/8 Q day ... there you can stop reading and think I'm bragging - I'm not though - I'm just really proud of the dogs holding it together for three days of a trial where I was working nearly every minute I wasn't running and with running three dogs none got much chilling time with me ... all were happy, and running well - I don't do Brody justice on a day like yesterday but that can be another post for another time

First class Full house - my least understood class still but Q, Q, Q Thea with 20 points, Sally with 31 and Brody with 30 - nice flowing course made it easy to get the points especially with an aframe dog ;)

then came standard - Thea loved the course perfect fast clean
Brody's course was rocking too - foot perfect even through the bits other people were bitching about (some people love to complain eh?)

Colours was up next ... I didn't want to do the aframe with Sally so didn't choose that course - she was brilliant
Brody started off slow (good thing it wasn't aac masters) but did pick up eventually and was clean and quick enough

Wildcard was last - only Sally was in the class and we had an aframe in it - I nearly considered pulling from the class then thought no - she does know TOUCH and even if she doesn't understand aframe behaviour I should be able to really manage that frame (it was after a tunnel I knew I could send her to from a weird spot to get to right beside the frame. She did it and the rest of the course just fine!! YAY Miss Sally

The wild child managed to save her wildness for a 5 -6 throw of the Frisbee before every class she ran and for some good games in the moments I had time .. she was amazing. Thea and Brody were fabulous too. Thea ran with a q rate of 60 percent .. not bad for a dog who doesn't teeter weave or chute ... or get trained ;)

75% for Brody - simply amazing - he really is a rockstar ...

78% for Sally unbelievable - now the fact I didn't do standard courses with her sure helped that rate ;)

We ran 24 runs over 3 days .. and earned 17 qs with an overall q rate of just over 70 percent. But it wasn't just the q's the dogs ran WELL. In many classes including 2 they didn't q in they were foot perfect. They were attentive and did everything I asked for. They are brilliant dogs. And I want to keep up the training - shame I have to work for a living a little more seriously come September.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

a link ... apologies in advance

just a little proud

7 q's in 5 classes in a whole show - an evening trialbut still with about 30 dogs or so entered - that seems crazy to me
the courses seemed doable; the weather was ok ... judge was great ...

guess it happens sometimes ... Sally was a nut in standard but she and Thea both ran beautiful jumpers courses - the opening was where the "trick" was ... jump jump turn for a pinwheel ... many dogs thought number 7 was number 4 and just zoomed ahead

Thea hasn't done much (if any) pinwheel work but she read it fine

Sally has done lots and has directionals so I hollered left and she turned saw the jump and started the pinwheel ...

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Table This

In the interests of trying to be summer cheerful I will leave my sad post of this morning quickly and give you 2 pictures. My heart is still heavy for the losses.. and adds two more cats at the shelter I was trying to help, I appreciate the thoughtful kind comments too ~ more than words can say. Agility prevails nevertheless ...

Sampson's first time on a table so e got to do it on his own. He was quite relaxed and happy to offer a down. We also jumped two 16 inch jumps and ran through a tunnel then jumped the 2 jumps again. Too cute for words. Later he jumped, a little like Tigger in the Winnie the Poo, over one of Sally's 24 inch jumps.

Tables are interesting to train. I've read a lot of different things and tried a few different things but so far I'm still a fan of shaping as a starting point. Interacting with the table brings great things. Eventually lying on the table brings great things. Upping the stress of the table so it approximates a trial is tricky for me. Lately I've been asking Sally to stick her table while we tug or while I work another dog for a bit. That might be helping. Brody still does an ok table - though we certainly blew a couple of standard runs in advanced because of nothing but a table. Thea will be difficult on a table. May she make a liar of me but it seems it isn't comfortable for her so she leaps up lies down then bounces up again. I don't think I've ever gotten near 5 comfortable seconds with her. (I'll just go with it's good to have goals and leave it at that for now!)
I set up all 12 weaves today for Sally - I often don't as 3 are 2x2 sets. She popped out at pole 6 a couple of times; then pole 10; then started nailing it. She really does not like entering from my right side though. I can be offside and she'll come around me on my left to make a much more difficult entrance for herself. If I insist she is on the right side she blows through the first pole a number of times barking at me before finally doing the job. Character!
also added more blogs to my blog list - I am bad about listing all the blogs I visit as I tend to surf Lucy and Walters blog was my main portal to blog land for ages but I am trying to add the folks who comment or who I comment on the most as a starting point ;)
Do also feel free to note Thea got a link to her aac page - there is one q there at the moment as that is where aac is with updates (and you can be sure once Sally's pnly q is on her page I'll add her link too- but it's a big day none the less!


sad times around here ....

One of the dogs we had in a foster home died out of the blue yesterday ... young BIG hairy fellow had been neutered and the poor foster mom was literally on the phone with a fencing company to discuss changing her fence to accommodate this dog permanently - she had JUST decided to adopt him when she realized he had peed in his sleep. She hung up the phone and went over to him and realized he was DEAD. How shocking, how horrifying. She APOLOGIZED to us. We apologized to her. He'd been with her nearly 3 months so not like it was anything we could have seen or known. So so sad. Heartbreaking even.

Cadbury, one of my friend Shelly's rabbits died out of the blue this week too. He was a brother to my Bebe so only about 2.5 which is a young rabbit. Shocking.

One of my young foster rabbits died that suddenly too. He didn't even have a name (there were three nearly identical black jersey wooly rabbits in the group - the cream sibling is Q-Tip but names hadn't yet come for the rest of the gang). Horrifying.

And Kaylie is dead. She may have had a stroke yesterday. By this morning she couldn't stand.

She wasn't my dog. I didn't even foster her. But I loved her. An elegant, beautiful lady - she reminded me of my grandmother in some ways. I always made a point of greeting her first when I visited and spending some quality time with her. I am glad we could give her some happy last days but still so sad for Nancy. A presence like Kaylie's will be missed a very very long time.

My heart is shattered. All this loss. Again. It really is part of the cycle of life but still so tough to face in this magnitude.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

sundry miscellany

woooo boy Sally is amazing ... itchy, doped up, feeling sorry for herself and still rocking around the routines set up on the lawn ... she is reading me QUICK as WINK now - I have to be careful not to pull her off an obstacle inadvertantly.

Brody is not a fan of the rear cross but is learning to drive away to the next obstacle no matter where I am going - he is a pragmatic fellow - if there is a good treat at the end of it he's happy to work and work hard at a problem.

Thea was a ding a ling today - she's a preppy brat when it suits her - but I just grabbed the clicker and did some table work for awhile she settled and finally agreed to work the figure 8 set up I had instead of blasting around her own race circuit.

We got new tunnels - so now have 10, 15 and 20 foot tunnels to play with (my 15 foot came from these same guys but I won it in a raffle at my second trial EVER!!) They are fabulous and I have to recommend the supplier to anybody who might want their own tunnels .. the huge bags they come in are pretty cool and they were great about answering questions and setting up (FREE) delivery to the not most accessible place in the planet (well province anyhow)!! I have orange, green and teal - my lawn looks like a art deco exhibit! Sally is a tunnel junkie - Brody sometimes misses the entrance - he is a very literal dog who likes being escorted around the course. Thea is of two minds about tunnels - some scare her and others she'll hide in. Weird, delicious little nutbar! So all of us are happy to have more tunnels.

On the non agility front I'm overwhelmed with tomatoes - need the humidity to break so I can start sauce making. Grooming rabbits could be a full time job too - fibre bunnies need a lot of care. Overall I have this sense of summer rolling to a end.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Why did I say the word nose?

Our neighbour dog is a bit reactive and a little aggressive. Not an easy combination to live beside really but we've done the reactive dog thing so we ignore him and all is well generally. I hadn't realized how aggressive he can be til tonight though.

They have planks up along the bottom of their fence to stop him digging and being a jerk. Today a plank was out of place and they didn't realize it. Sally stuck her nose under the fence and he grabbed it. She has a puncture wound on top of her nose and lacerations around her eye. The fence is a double wood fence so he actually reached under the fence to grab her too. I was there and I saw his muzzle reach over and grab her.

She didn't scream but has no interest in even going in the backyard. She has bled a fair bit (which to my old fashioned thinking cleans it at least) and I washed them all well. Off the vets tomorrow for a quick look and antibiotics.

She's swelling up.

Have I mentioned life with Sally is always exciting one way or the other?

It. Is.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

nose out of joint ...

Imagine a life so hard done by that you have to lie in a window sill? Brody is not what I'd call a good sharer. He took one look at his bed and saw Sampson beside it and moved on to his couch. His couch currently has two dogs and two cats on it. He looked at the chairs he will occasionally grace with his presence and decided they wouldn't do. So he moved into the window sill. Carefully made enough room for himself and crashed. He cracks me up.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

the Joy the Job

Loving Sally is a little overwhelming sometimes. She is a HUGE responsibility. Not just because of her death wish tendencies or overwhelming enthusiasm for life, not even because of the care needed with regards to her diet and allergies. The consideration is because she is one of the smartest dogs I've ever met. (Don't forget given my rescue work I've met a LOT of dogs).

She is driven and if I don't "train" her - she trains herself. Her ideas of the skills she needs in life are not always the same as mine though. So playing with her, no WORKING her has to be part of daily life around here. Luckily for her and me the line between work and play is pretty fuzzy with Sally. She wants to play fetch? She grabs a stick, drops it at my feet and barks. I don't want to be bossed around by Sally? I send her out around a tree, or ask her to run her routine of right left down etc then throw the stick. Having to work doesn't deter Sally at ALL mind you. She says work, play, run, it's all the same to her.

Today I decided I better work on some major impulse control. Could I play fetch for a bit then drop the stick on a sequence IN Sally's path and have her complete the sequence? Honestly if I was a betting person I'd have said NO. And I would have lost my bet. Sally crossed RIGHT OVER the stick. She looked at it and collected a little but carried right on over it a number of times. She attacked the stick with a vengeance once invited. What a girl.

People walked by our property TALKING - Sally looked at them (usually she'd race to the fence a bark a little just to make sure we all know she's on the job) and looked at the stick then nicely went out and did a jump table combo. Talk about impulse control. She's better at it than I am. I talked to the people walking by!

It was good for me to push myself and Sally. Amazing it actually didn't seem to be pushing it once push came to shove. Inspires me to work/play a little harder.

Brody and I worked distance a little. It is not his strength. Working on weakness is a goal of mine. He was super and earned his cookies at the end of our session.

Sampson actually hopped over a couple of 8 inch jumps. He is highly distracted though and would much rather be in his comfort zone either running tunnels or sniffing his great scents.

Friday, August 06, 2010

been a rough couple of days...


rough like heaven rough ...lazy holidays hit us
(well except for catering to the oldies who have invaded our place - they do take some extra time and TLC but both a darling dear dogs so it's well worth it)

Yesterday we went to Point Petre with Sally, Sampson and Brody - it was just beautiful. One of the most beautiful places on earth without a doubt. The dogs ran and swam and splashed in the surf riding the wave crests in. Sally attacked the breaking surf (yah - she's nutz). And we had a great time.

Today we went to the Kingston Sheepdog Trials; lunch with dad and Jean then a visit with a friend in K-town. All were great. The Trials were amazing - they had dock dogs, agility, flyball, sheepdogs, birds of prey, a huge craft tent (lots of wool stuff). I could have spent a FORTUNE (well I did for me - got a cool coat for old feel the heat Brody and a shiny cover thing to keep life cool).

Lucky us. August is going to FLY by.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

and some more typical pictures

of life around here ... yes Sally and Thea manage to play quite nicely despite the 34+ pound difference between them!

(The Queen in the earlier phot is Kaylie dog - here for just over a week while her human travels)

a portrait of a queen ...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

old dogs and hot days ...


Kaylie has come for a visit - her human has gone to Spruce meadows to run in the steeplechase classes attached to 2010 Nationals. Kay is 11o and has some elderly lady issues - she is a bit wobbly, a bit fussy about what she eats and just a wonderful old lady. Big T and I have adored her for many years. She is thoroughly enjoying pottering around the school house and snoozing on a huge doggy bed I dragged downstairs for her (I set it up in a lovely breezy, shady spot).

Ibsen is here for a bit too - he is a very very old man and I'm not sure how long he'll be with us but he had a good day yesterday and is doing OK today too. He's blind and quite deaf and very wobbly too. He ate a full breakfast this am and was looking for more.

I'm so impressed with the way the young going concerns respect the old guys. Kizmet floats in his own little brain lesion driven world and doesn't mind much but Sam and Sally are also showing amazing restraint and gentleness.

Brody is MOST disturbed - his nose is COMPLETELY out of joint. Poor dude. I'll have to do lots of work so he knows he's dog one still!

Big T built me a frame for a tire today - it's fabulous and should stand up for many years. My tire right now is a hoola hoop which isn't the easiest thing to see but it they can get the hang of the hoop a normal tire should be a snap. Right?

*** um and yes that does add to way more dogs than I'd choose to live with but it won't last long ...Big T is making sure of that! TT pants is off staying with her aunt J for a bit just to make some room - you can see in the picture I was sent this morning how much she's suffering!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

simple serpentine

set up a straight tunnel to a serpentine to a table

kind of like this - for any visual learners


jump........... jump.................jump


Brody and I had been on the road 8 hours today so he just did the serpentine part fine - no matter how I handled it

Sally and I worked it a couple of different ways - it is MUCh easier to run her on the far side of the serpentine though it is possible to do it from either side .. i can front or rear cross in a variety of ways and she reads them all fine

in short she was great

completely has lost off side weaves again though ... GAH