Friday, December 31, 2010

Spring? Ahead of schedule that's for sure ...

The weather this year has been odd - to say the least ...

We arrived to snow .. and quite a bit of it .. the temperature dropped to below minus 10.

Now it's plus 10 and the snow is gone. The ground is wet and muddy. The grass is green.

So strange.

Sally could care less - as long as there are sticks to be thrown she's a happy girl.

Sampson is finally tolerating the puppy without big over reactions when we are all outside.

Brody likes the cold cold weather - wet snow balls in his feet so he doesn't come on long hikes when it's "warm winter". Thea is happy by the fire from October to March pretty well no matter the air temperature!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

cute Coco pictures and an apology ...

Apology first - I can't seem to comment on blogs (including my own) at the moment. You'll have to trust me I'm reading - thinking awww Misty... I didn't know that about Dunbar.. great picture - I'm glad you are doing dog 2 next year or I'd miss it ... go Marge ...etc etc ... hopefully I'll be able to actually comment instead of just in my head soon ...

On to the puppy ... Coco's brother Freckles has been adopted - being picked up tomorrow .. and Coco continues to thrive .. she is wearing a collar, sits, pees outside, eats dog food and LOVES to play. Kizmet barks whenever she comes near him. Brody growls and leaps up away from her. Thea and Sally play with her and poor darling Sampson continues to be terrified of her.

Imagine this face striking terror into any heart?

Thea would rather not admit she plays with puppies.

(excuse the mess) Sally LOVES playing - she can't get enough!!
A woman I work with named Coco - it isn't my favourite name so I've been kicking around names for the puppy. (Who comes to puppup or puppy not Coco anyhow).
Any great names out there for agility dogs?
I was thinking Destiny ... Dez for short ... yah .. dangerous thinking no doubt ;)
I love the name Kizmet - but we have it in use for our senile brain lesion dude.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

and a merry christmas to all ...

a lovely break so far

and the best news of all - little Coco puppy is finally THRIVING
she's bouncing and bright and her skin tones are pink not ghost white
she's managing to stay hydrated with out me doing sub q fluids
she's eating well

she wears a collar happily
she has a sweet default sit
she is testing puppy teeth on everything
she is all Sally wants for Christmas
she scares Sampson

she meets a potential home tomorrow - cross your fingers for us all :)

Monday, December 20, 2010

We ain't in Kansas anymore Toto

7 days without agility ... HOLEY SMACKERAL ... been a long long time since we've suffered this kind of withdrawal
Tuesday night the weather was lousy and I was overwhelmed with life - the parvo puppies * ended up in isolation in my basement - the most recent batch of orphan kittens was going back to the shelter Wednesday and the thought of fighting snow and lousy drivers across the city and back just exhausted me. So we hung out at home. The right choice for us that night no doubt.
Wednesday was wild. Thursday the Christmas parties started. Friday was lovely I got home around 3:30 for the first time this year. Sally and I did a little directional play work for a tossed Kong .. it's pretty cool to see her spinning in the direction I'm about to throw the Kong just on a quiet "right" or "left". (It's also good practise for me to practise which way Sally needs to go no matter where I am).
Saturday was hubby's family Christmas do - 800 million relatives I swear it!! It was super to play with the younger generation too (ranging from 10-4) and catch up with the middles (now in their 20s). Sunday was packing for the county and driving down. Today was waiting for the Bell repair person and a little Christmas shopping. Sally and I worked a little "touch" work but that's it. Maybe tomorrow :)

* the parvo puppies were with me for 4 long nights - changing every time I did anything with them, washing hands like a mad woman etc - then both left for Friday night, then sick wee Coco came back to us. More on her in a post all it's own, soon, I promise!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

House League Two

Today was the second house league

Rainy, gross day but at least it wasn't snow and ice!

Dogs were superstars - ignored in a crate basically unless they were running .. warm up was one jump done two or three times then running a course - not the way I like to warm up but ok to try for once
Brody started as slowly as he did at the trial last weekend but actually ran some nice runs

First class was a game - Snakes .. the purpose was to twist up and down the course racking up points in 60 seconds ... Brody earned 45 points; Sally 38 (as she added some off course options to her run)
Second class was steeplechase Brody ran a lovely clear round and ended up in 2nd for that class - Sally had a couple of faults (a missed contact and an offcourse) so was 8th overall.
Final class was the standard run ...Brody ran a faultless clear again but wasn't bombing ..Sally was a full 10 seconds faster at 57 seconds but had 5 faults ...
I enjoyed the judging too - neat way to watch dogs (though I did have to do some VERY fast table counts once or twice)
Trying to make people happy is always interesting too :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

foster faces :)

adorable eh?
Coco and Freckles .. recovering from parvo so in a foster home without other dogs but they hung out in my office Friday - what sweeties :)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

$%^& Contacts

still not happy with Sally's contacts - dogwalk was great at trial I really thought she got it ... nope not if last night is anything to judge by ...
Aframe still upsetting me ..

Brody's were fabulous - all weekend and last night- always in fact


enough said? probably eh?
just call me broken record ...

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Learning Never Stops

Bullets of Thought
  • Running hard induces deep sleep it seems
  • Sally's start line is eroding methinks - or is it my faith in it?? hmm

  • What should I do with Brody? Oh Oh I know wait til I get that last jumpers q and figure it out then

  • My bumper got stuck in a tree. Good thing it was a multiday trial - eventually I got it down!

  • Sally ran 4.6 yps and didn't feel fast - how fast can she run?

  • Why was Brody so slow?

  • How can I speed up his tunnels again?

  • The snooker King never waivered - 2 more masters qs!

  • Brody had fun on the gamblers courses - he would also have had fun chasing squirrels in the backyard

  • Sally was amazing at gamblers

  • both dogs ran better on the last day then the first (though both were good all runs)
  • I ran 19 courses and didn't get lost once - 12 of them were masters levels

  • none of the dogs I ran even looked at a decoy or off course

  • I tried hard not to yak on course (not sure how I did)

  • I found a good balance of working, running and playing with the dogs

  • I ran a new dog in team and had a blast! Harley rocks! (and what a compliment to be asked)

  • Sally and Brody both enjoyed massages
  • Brody sped right up when people started hooting and hollering

  • I liked running to music

  • I still love this crazy game

Sunday, December 05, 2010

My dog came back ... the very next day

Brody was back today - thank heavens as I was worried about him a little. He wasn't foot perfect but he was enjoying life and moving much more freely.

Sorry for the lousy quality but this is Brody's snookers course today. As you can see it was twisty through the 3 part number 6 combo!! (Which we did three times in the opening thank you very much!) Brody liked this course - it doesn't look flowy but it was for us we just circled and crossed and circled and crossed and had fun :) Nice little trick up at 4 which blew a couple of dogs minds too!
Next class was team - I hate running team as I always worry about disappointing and today Brody blew the weaves making us a whomping 3 seconds OT :( I may not do team again for awhile if ever!
His last class was standard - and though he blew the weaves he was steady and thoughtful and A OK. I like the concept of the better spaced weave poles but for small dogs who have done closer ones for many years it's tough. I'll have to get me some I guess, and do what I did with the 21 inch ones. B just can't hold a footing pattern yet in them.
It was a good day! I got Brody a message and he really enjoyed it - and I enjoyed chatting to the human too :)

Here is Sally's steeplechase course:

What a lovely way to start a day. We had the second rail down (accelerating for the frame maybe? she rarely knocks things as she collects??) I was THRILLED with her run. The weaves were thought provoking for her - but that's a good thing.
Next up was snookers. You never stop learning. I had a lovely doable opening planned. Sally did a red, the weaves another red and I wanted to do the weaves again. She ran over to look at the teeter - the judge thought she made contact - I didn't think she had. We did the weaves again and got whistled off. When in doubt do the contact. She could easily have done the teeter twice (we had planned to do it next) and made the course without a hitch. DOH!! Serves me right for running such a snooker king usually!
I decided to enter starters standard to do the table and try the contacts in a trial setting. Sally was great. She didn't get the frame contact (BOO) but she got the dogwalk nicely and the teeter nicely did a perfect table and solid weaves too. I can live with a 5 fault run for any of my dogs - for Sally in standard I'm thrilled!!

A good weekend all round ... more later I'm sure

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Two, Four, Eight ... and the beat goes on ...

Two dogs ... Sally and Brody

Four qs ... 2 starters gamblers for Sally, 1 masters snookers for Brody, and 1 advanced jumpers for Sally

Eight seconds between the 4 qs and earning 7 qs (2 runs 2 seconds overtime; one run 4 seconds overtime~all Brody)

and so it goes sometimes :)

Brody's runs have all started slowly - there were tunnels on the first few courses to start - B is not a big tunnel fan which may partly account for the slow start ups .. last run today folks cheered him home and he just BLASTED the last line - was great to see :)
(I must not fiddle with Brody - in the spring it was my hair, this weekend pulling my pants up blew us a weave entry ... DOH)

One of Sally's advanced jumpers wasn't pretty - she pulled rails and barked and was goofy
though I stopped, regrouped and ended the last half well. Snookers was short - 1 point!! HAHA
Two gamblers classes went well ... first one we did the mini (out to a tunnel) easy peesy - and the tunnel was the 4 pointer too :) the gamble went jump jump and tunnel under the aframe
- Sally didn't even think about it - BING BANG BOOM ... I didn't need this gamble - it was the second q under the same judge so I decided to do weaves ... she did them just fine
also did a nice dog walk - YAY Sally ... 11 obstacles before the whistle ... for 64 points ...
The next gamble was also pretty doable ...jump tunnel jump ...another nice dog walk, a teeter (two actually but she missed the up contact on one) the mini twice (jump, tunnel, jump) the 4 point spread twice for an awesome 66 points ...what a good dawg ... her last today was advanced jumpers - lots of LONG running lines but tunnels in the corners to let me get where I needed to be ... she was fabulous - one very wide turn but not a foot wrong ... what a dog!!

Brody's two gamblers classes went well too - but very differently - my goal with him was to get enough opening points and have him do something confidently away from me - he did both both classes .. not exactly what I need to have at his level but just fine for our first dip in the water ..

all in all fun so far - just a couple of classes left tomorrow :)

Thursday, December 02, 2010

have you heard of simple sudz?

I hadn't til I was at the All About Pets show last March.

I was wandering the vendors chatting up Project Jessie (the rescue I work with) and stopped to look at a booth named Simple Sudz. I decided to buy a spray bottle of the stuff. With the amount of cleaning (thanks foster critters and my own gang) I do I'll try anything to make life a little easier and give me more time for the hands on care bits I like to do.

The fellow at the booth was so helpful .. he actually sent me away with a spray bottle and the creamy basis to mix more spray bottle material. (Which can also be used right on heavy stains apparently)

I tried it once in the spring then kind of forgot about it over the summer. However, in this lovely city house we didn't have built there is a cream coloured floor in the kitchen - which is how the dogs access the back yard. The muddy muddy back yard at this time of year.

This is my kitchen floor on muddy days:
I was desperate .. I was giving up on the floor when I saw the simple sudz. I tried it. I love it. I spritz it on then wipe it up and the dirt peels off.
This is my kitchen floor less than 30 seconds later (with Sampson practising downs cause he's a GOOD boy):

It's all natural so I can wipe off the dogs thinking plastic food dispensers and feed them immediately without waiting. The other thing I really like about it is it doesn't smell .. so I'm not sitting in a pool of orange or banana scents (two other cleaners I find quite effective). Low odour and natural ingredients are really important around here because of the birds.
(did you know we have foster and rescue parrots too? we do)
Simple Suds - a life saver around here!
(a simple PSA for your information - Simple Sudz doesn't know how happy I am with the product ;))

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

class report: was fun

Ran Brody in the earlier class which gave me a good chance to work on his teeter - it's good but it's something I think should be paid well for if I expect things like 4 in one class (Snookers) or to be done in a gamblers class. The course was lovely - very flowy and straightforward - just the kind of note I like to have before a trial.
My usual class Sally got to work the whole class - and while she was a little wound up she settled and worked hard. LOVELY tables which blew everybody away but really they were just her normal tables in a non class setting. Aframes were MUCH better - maybe just maybe we can do a standard course before her 10th birthday!! I don't actually want to do a frame in a trial until I can do it from anywhere though - and right now I need to really support the frame. (So I'm hoping for a dog walk in this weekends classes! Steeplechase for the first time with Sally this weekend so I will get one aframe at a trial to see what happens)

not so profound thoughts
I learn so much from these dogs. There was a woman in class who has been told her dog is slow, blah blah blah. She ran the weaves from the left side only and said something like "oh we can't do them the other way" R. laughed and walked her over to introduce her to me. (Brody is very one sided about weaving - too many years of me being one sided). All of her complaints were things I am sure other people have said about the Bman. However having Sally to work with makes me appreciate Brody's attitude even more. Yes, he does agility for me. (and yes he enjoys it too). And yes, when he thinks he slows down. And yes, he is not excited to work away from me. But wow - he pays attention to me. He thinks. He listens. He gives it his all. He is a rockstar. He has taught me consistency, appreciation, timing, the value of building rewards.
So then you think ~ do I hate working Sally? Nope. Her enthusiam, her speed, her brain are all exciting to work with too. Her profound JOY in all life offers is inspiring. Her absolute addiction to agility puts mine to shame. She has taught me patience, timing and to LAUGH.
I am so very very lucky to be able to learn so much ...