Monday, June 30, 2008

Busy, Busy

I am normally a busy person. But the last little while I have taken that to new extremes. The week before last was regionals prep, regionals, and recovery. Last week started off with a bang- and a hurt back (not mine thankfully) so I worked extra hours all the while still teaching, and doing the never ending job of rescue stuff. We had our Adoption Fair/Fundraiser on Sunday- and that was an all day thing- my poor dogs barely seen me at all! And this week starts the "week before the trial." As Go Dog Go we are hosting our second trial next weekend. There is a ton of stuff to do and I try to take as much of the load off Sarah as I can. After that there is a break in the weekend events for a little while. Which will be great as I really need to spend more time at home!

Friday, June 27, 2008

In the heat of the moment

So with all the excitement of qualifying, and then deciding to go to Nationals I completely forgot about "the bite."

Yup. The Bite. Wicca bit me. Hard enough to make this pretty bruise (keep in mind this is 6 days after the actual incident!)

How you ask? Well. After her wonderful second Gamble on Saturday I bent down to tell her how great she is, and she grabbed my arm as if it were a toy. It hurt. Quite a lot actually. But did I give her trouble. Of course not. Not in front of the judge and the spectators who were watching. And really it is my own fault.
This is not the first time she has bit me. I have actually at one time encouraged her to growl and "play" bite. Smart eh? Not really. I have been really careful about making sure to put something in her mouth right away- a tug, a ball, a cookie. Something other than skin. At a trial this is difficult. I can't very well pull a tug out of my pocket and say "sorry judge, I know there are no toys allowed but she bites." I don't think that the judge would appreciate that!
So, I usually keep my arms close, and tell her verbally how good she did. Ask her to sit while we put the leash on (so she doesn't tug in the ring) and then get her tugging as soon as we leave. It works. Usually. Sometimes I forget the system. And then she reminds me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


We are going.

I am excited.

And nervous.

But mostly excited.

Too bad I feel like throwing up.

Kind of takes the fun out of it.

But, we are going to Nationals.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Regionals 2008

6" Specials AB/NWT Regional CHAMPION!!!!!

We arrived early afternoon on Firday- we had only entered one Steeplechase round as a warm up. Wicca was pretty rotten. She landed on two bars, and didn't stick her a-frame contact. twice. I used the time in the ring to fix it- and I figured we were eliminated for the finals. Oh Well. It was a good warm up. I was a bit rattled with how badly she did though!

Saturday - Hot, Hot, Hot. Like, Reallllly Hot.

Gamble 1 - 44 points and got the gamble! I was very happy to have the gamble first after friday, and was even happier when I saw the gamble itself. We got the mini twice, and she listened beautifully. No knocked bars either!

Gamble 2 - 52 points in the opening- but rushed the gamble and she pulled in over the last jump. It was a good gamble though- lots of great dogs struggled with it. I normally am not a gamble rusher but for whatever reason handled it like crap at the end :o) Still I was very pleased,. The mini gambles were lots of fun- and I got them in each twice- although only got points for three as I forgot to step back over the line. It was pretty funny to watch as most everyone had the same plan and it was like some weird dance out there to get back and forth over the line.

Standard 1- Clean. It was the most amazing run I've ever had with my dog. No bars. No flubs. Nothing. She was beautiful, I handled it well. And in the end it won us the Regionals! It was not an easy course and I had worried about forgetting where I was going. I kind of almost did but pulled it together just in time. I watched the video this morning and it gave me goosebumps. My dog sure is fast!


Jumpers 1 - This was our not so stellar run of the weekend. I mishandled the beginning and the run was kind of choppy. We had a bar, and an off course. I was pretty bummed about it as the mistakes were all mine- even the bar. But the rest of the day was so great I didn't let it bug me for long.

Sunday- rain, cold, rain...buckets, and buckets of rain. It was pretty nasty.

Jumpers 2- Great Run. We ran this course in 28 seconds. 1.5 seconds slower than a worlds dog. We had one bar- which was her fault and a half a bar that the judge didn't see go down. I managed to keep my head and get my dog around the course. It was so fast I could hardly remember it when I was finished.

Standard 2- This was a fun course- and again I used a Lead Out Pivot at the start, and a rear cross to the weaves. She responded really well to this even though it was shallow. We had one bar and otherwise it was a great run.

I really wanted to win my class this year. Wicca is a great dog and we have really come a long way as a team. Sarah kept telling me that I had probably won but I just couldn't be sure...

Somehow we had made it to the Steeplechase finals on Sunday afternoon. They were short of dogs to make it even with the vets I think. :o) Wicca and I did great. It was not your typical steeplechase and was definitely on the complicated side. We had one bar, and a flub at the weaves. I thought she had committed but she blew past and I had to resend her. We still managed to place Second in her division though!

The closing ceremonies were awesome. There was lots of clapping and cheering for everyone- even for those who didn't qualify. Agility is nice like that.
Wicca's class was the first to be called. I knew in my gut that we had done it but it wasn't until her name was called that it sunk in. We had done a GREAT thing. I almost cried. Almost. We earned 477 points over the weekend and I couldn't be prouder of us. I worked hard all year- but not nearly as hard as my little dog. She really earned that title this year.

Here are the courses- I think you can click on them to make them bigger...


Sarah is one of my closest friends and is my training buddy. We train together always- pushing, helping, commenting. She really is the person who made me try harder and train better. Her own dogs kicked some serious ass this year as well. Gyppie- who had never been to regionals before placed 3rd out of a ton of dogs. She had AMAZING runs and Sarah did a great job thinking on her feet with her. Kaleb almost melted in the sun on Saturday but came back in full force on Sunday- placing third in a very competitive class and 1st in the Steeplechase finals. And little Jane who is nine years old placed third behind a Worlds dog, and a dog with a pink mohawk. Jane ran her heart out and truly is a phenomenal little dog. You can read about their runs on her own blog but here is a picture with us and our goodies

What a weekend!!!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A lot of heart

I have never really been "into" Schutzhund- I have watched videos and there are a few really great trainers in my area. I admire the work and training put into these dogs and the stamina is amazing. This little dog has since died but wow. He sure has a lot of heart.

That is all we can really ask for isn't it?

Made my day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Last Practice

So it appears that although I keep telling myself I am not stressed about the upcoming Regionals I am. What else could explain how horrible I was last night? Okay, maybe horrible is an exaggeration. But reallly, it wasn't very pretty.

We had set up for some pretty simple practice -

some fun weavepole drills- which Wicca did great on. And I managed to mostly do an okay job of handling her. I got after her for dropping the first bar and she started to get a bit worried. Great. Of all the times to hurt my dogs feeling :o) We made up with a good game of tug, and a fun sequence with no jumps.

Next we did a double pinwheel thingy from Terry Simons/Kathy Keats (to work on front/rear crosses) and after arguing with Sarah about wether or not I could get there for a FC I totally screwed it up. Ugh. Not once, but multiple times. Wicca was doing this weird dart behind me to take the wrong jump- somthing she had never done before. I think she was picking up on my stress and frustration about the exercise. Way to go Amanda- wreck your dog three days before Regionals.

I don't REALLY think I wrecked my dog, I am just being smart for the purpose of the blog really. Wicca is a great dog, and I have become a MUCH better handler than I was when I first started with her. I am feeling pretty good overall about the weekend and really all I expect is to have a good time, for my dog to listen to me, and hopefully I can remember where we are going :o)

We leave early morning on Friday and will be back on Monday. I will post tomorrow I am sure- but you can still wish me luck today :o) Might make me feel better.
Update-Wednesday @ 12:30-
Thanks to all of you who offered encouraging words and support. For those of you who know me know that I do agility for fun. It's not so much about the Q for me as it having fun with my dog. But when you have such a good dog the pressure is just the much higher to do them justice.
I have trained hard, and will trust in my training (thanks Deirdre) All in all I am sure we will have lots of fun. Last year we had a blast, it is just amazing to me how far we have come!
So thanks again!
p.s Wow! There sure are a lot of people who read my blog! How cool is that!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Wicca had a bar knocking kind of night last night. Three times she knocked the first bar- and twice she knocked a bar simply because I was ahead and accelerating. Geesh. Some days I wonder about this dog. Of course each time she was stopped, and put in a down while I fixed the bar. By the end of the session she was doing better but I still get pretty annoyed when she slams herself into the bar.
Sarah and I worked with what equipment was set out- and each time we picked a sequence it seemed to be horrible! Like, quite difficult. Which was good to practice but some of it wasn't that realistic. Funny how that happened all night.
I was pleased with Wicca's weaves- again no missed entries :o)
Boonie got to come out to play- I only worked him once before the class came in- we worked on start lines- and trying to get rid of the whole default into a tunnel thing... :o) He is starting to really get the contacts- although I caught myself twice asking him to touch- which means nose touch my hand- not 2on2off....- I tell my students all the time...Consistency is important.
The pictures are old- from a trial last summer- In July or August. Our Weimeraner friend Lori took them and I recently found them on her Flickr Page

Monday, June 16, 2008

No Rain...

No rain. All weekend. I was so excited.

Training went pretty good Saturday- Wicca and I worked on some Gambles- some jump patterns and some tough weave pole entries. I have been working her a lot on the poles- every angle I can think of- sending, running past, fc, rc, and she is doing great. I am much more confident she is going to get her entries and I think that is what makes the most difference when it comes right down to it!

I took Boone out too and did some small sequences- I am working on teaching him Obstacle Discrimination, he is doing not too badly and is starting to listen more. He will still hightail it for the nearest tunnel at any sign of stress. Yesterday there was still water in the tunnels so it was a double avoidance ;o) Boone LOVES water and will drink, and drink, and drink. It is most amazing.

Yesterday was Paws on the Run 1 year Anniversary- we had a little open house thingy and it was lots of fun- it was neat for the owners to see their dogs "friends." I take for granted when my dogs play as it is a normal occurance, and I work at the daycare so see it all the time. I think for lots of people it was the first time they'd actually seen their dogs play. Everyone had lots of fun!

Didn't do much in the way of training- worked on two poles in my yard with Vito and Boone. Vito thinks the game is fun and if I only had more time I am sure he'd get it much quicker. Boone is doing good- he loves the clicker so is having quite a lot of fun!

Gyppie went home last night. Vito was sad. The kitty, not so much :o)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday morning

Still Rainfree! Woohoo!

It rained a bit overnight but the puddles are small and it is a beautiful day....

going to do some training this afternoon...(of course it will rain as soon as I get out there!)

Friday, June 13, 2008

One Week

With only one more week until Regionals I am finding my training list isn't getting any shorter!!! I didn't get out to the field once last week but we did work on little things at home. But Still. Only one week! On the plus side her weave pole entries are much better lately- and her bar knocking seems to e minimal. She is a much better dog than last year, I am a much better handler, and we are just a better team over all...that should count for something...right?

Gyp and Vito of course are enjoying each others company- when Gyp can leave the cats alone that is!!! She is Obsessed.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Sarah and Pete are going to Saskatoon this weekend for Kaleb's field trial thingy- and much to Vito's delight Gyppie is spending the weekend with us!

I actually fostered Gyppie way back when we first got her- There is something about this dog that made me suggest to Sarah to keep her. She is very sweet, loves to cuddle and is just an all around people pleaser. She has turned out to be an amazing dog and kicks ass at whatever Sarah does with her.

Gyppie does well at my house- and all of my dogs like her. It wouldn't surprise me if Boone and Gyp had some good plays over the weekend. Gyp is forever flirting with him but Boone pretends not to notice :o)

Vito especially loves didn't start out like that as you can see, but now they are best buds and will chase, wrestle and kiss every chance they get. It is quite sweet.

Gyp is very flirty and loves to play- she can even get Wicca going- which is pretty amazing as Wicca is generally far too snotty to play with "outsiders."

The dogs will have a good weekend, hanging out etc. We are going to go to a sanction obedience match on Saturday- I am going to enter Gyp just for kicks, and Wicca of course :o) Maybe I will surprise Sarah with her CGN.... :o)

Mostly Gyp comes to my house to do this....Gyppie loves kitties

*all pictures except the kitty one are from Sarah's flickr site...

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


So I was scrolling through the blog just now to make sure my post looked okay about Vito and his rat tail- and noticed that there is not one picture of Sam in the last little while! It seems that Vito is the star- which really is mostly because he comes to daycare and gets his picture taken every day!

So just to let all of Sam's fans know that he is doing fine here are a few recent pictures!

These were all taken from a recent weekend at Wendy's house!

Chasing ones tail

So Vito lately has been chasing his tail. Weird I know. I have seen other dogs who are quite obsessive about this so am always careful to stop him as soon as I see it. Apparently he does it when I am not watching as I have noticed that his beautiful feathering is slowly dissapearing!
I keep telling him that the girls at the daycare aren't going to think he's so cute anymore with a tail like a rat! It's not enough to convince him to stop though...

Monday, June 09, 2008

the longest weekend...ever

Ever have one of those weekends that just seem to go on, and on, and on? No, really. This weekend for whatever reason seems like it was much longer than two days.

Friday night we had a work staff meeting- which included lots of laughing, talk of bone shaped pools, and dreaded "Lab" Day....(as in labrador retrievers, as in the most obnoxious breed of dog at the daycare) :o)

Despite the rain Go Dog Go held our Regionals Warm up Funmatch on Saturday. The courses were great- thank doG for Jan and Dave's tent! We stayed mostly dry under the tent and thankfully it wasn't too cold and windy. I ran Wicca and was pretty impressed with her. We had a few knocked bars but otherwise she was great. I let her slip off the contact once and she thought she could do it the next contact too- we fixed that of course- funny how quick they test that if they think that can get away with it! Her weaves were great- no missed entries. The gamble was great- it was fairly complicated and all jumps- two of the bars were accidentally set at 16" and when Wicca sliced number 2 she knocked it- but really it was a pretty fabulous run.

The rest of the day was spent trying to stay warm- a hot shower should have done it, but no. I was pretty much chilled all day after that! What keeners we are. It amazes me that we put ourselves through that for something that is "fun." Good thing the dogs had a good time!

Saturday night consisted of a Go Dog Go meeting- where again there was lots of laughing, and talk of our upcoming AAC Trial...things are going well for it- thankfully there is a lot less to do this time around!

Yesterday I got up bright and go to the daycare for "spring cleaning." I had the easy jobs. Clean the storage room (and my shelf...I have a shelf of assorted clothing and stuff that I need to have at work...just in case. Somehow it had exploded into two shelves.....) Clean the grooming room, and organise some baskets etc. It was actually pretty fun.

We had our first "Sunday in the Park" in the afternoon and it was lots of fun- the sun actually came out! We set up our little "ring" and started with some conformation practice (for those who like that sort of thing), played some Rally Obedience, and then did some regular Obedience Run throughs. We hold this at a huge park in the middle of the city- it is a very popular park and even on a semi-rainy day it was busy. It was great for the dogs and now will be held every Sunday until Fall. It is a great way to socialise dogs, and meet other dog people. Everyone is welcome to go...even you Sandy!

Sunday night finished off with a Rescue meeting that I was kind of dreading as of course I had to be the one to have the issues. I somehow managed to keep my calm and not explode. The meeting was good and hopefully I can start implementing some changes right away.

And then, it was Monday. The rain stopped. For now anyway. The sun is out, and hopefully it stays that way for the rest of the week!!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Nothing too terribly exciting on the training front. We are supposed to have our "Regionals Warm Up" Funmatch tomorrow but the weather man is calling for rain so it may be cancelled because of course it won't be just a little rain, but rather buckets of rain....

I took the photos of Boone last night after my class and they turned out really neat.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Yesterday after work I went out with Sarah and our friend Judy to do some bird dog stuff. Kaleb is preparing for some hunt tests and Judy's pup Roxy is just starting water work.
I was the "thrower" shouting "hey, hey, hey" and then chucking the bumper or bird for the dog. It is fun and I got some pretty cool pictures with Sarah's camera.

Kaleb is amazing in the field and I always love to see what instinct can make a dog do. As with everything that dog does he goes 100mph with all heart. He really loves it has lots of fun. Little Roxy turned one year old yesterday and after just a few times doing water retrieves was like a little pro yesterday. She has lots of get up and go that one!

Wicca and Gyp got to play as well and I was very proud of Wicca when she went took a turn and brought back the Dokken Bird! She had lots of fun swimming in the pond- and playing in the field. She retrieved a few bumpers (when she could beat Gyp to the) and of course she even managed to find a gopher hole big enough for her to dissapear into!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Training, Training and more training

This has been a pretty productive weekend! I have gotten lots of training in, household stuff, rescue stuff, and even got to sleep in a bit this morning!

Friday night Wendy and I went out training. I took Vito, Boone and Wicca. I wanted to work on having the tunnels on either end of the dogwalk. Boone still hesitates a bit and I needed to work on his contact behaviour as well. He did great- and seemed to enjoy the "slingshotting" across the walk. I played the same game with Vito and he thought that was pretty fun! I am still not making him stop on the contact...I am having a hard time deciding so in the meantime I am having him run low and off. Not a true running...but for V-man it will do.

I worked on some discrimination with Wicca, and had started in on some handling when the rain started. So we cut it short and went home.

Saturday was pretty busy. I had two adoptions, and we took in three more dogs...We went to a livestock auction and it was one of the most disturbing things I have witnessed. The dogs were tied up on fences in the hot sun- there were three guardian dog pups in a chicken coop...and the birds! Oh my...sick. I can't believe people. Anyway, we came back with a little corgi that I just couldn't leave, and two Border Collie/Shih Tzu pups. I must say it is a pretty cute cross...I am sure they will get adopted quick! You can take a peek at them on the rescue blog..

Later in the day I worked the dogs in the yard, Boone's weaves are improving, and I worked on some obedience with Wicca. Vito is learning a new surprise trick and Sam got to play fetch.

I also groomed the dogs in the morning....Boone got a brush-out and trim down...he looks pretty spiffy. I like him shaggy but it was getting really long and just messy looking. He still looks messy..but in a tidy sort of way :o) And Kate got a bath and blow out...She is shedding like a maniac right now...the hair that came off that dog was amazing....I will never have another shepherd!

Today was a great day...the two pups slept through the night so we all got a good sleep- and I got to sleep late (until 8) A bunch of us went out training this morning and I got a lot done. I took Boone and Wicca. I worked on the number 5 (Clean Run exercise from this month) and it was lots of fun- I need to improve my timing in the threadle cue...still. It seems so weird that it is so difficult...I am going to practice that every day as I am sure we will be seeing them at regionals and nationals! I worked on discrimination a bit with Wicca too as it normally is one of her strong points but it is nice to test that. And of course we did some weave type games. Fun, Fun!

Boone had fun too- we did some weave poles...only 6. I was going to work up to twelve but I ran out of steam. Next time! We also did some restrained recalls over the dogwalk. His contacts are getting so good! He is not hesitating anymore either which is great. I played with him on the 5 exercise- worked on the pinwheel and rear crosses....he is getting more comfortable with them.

I was pretty happy with Boone today- he is such a good boy and he tries SO hard...

oh- and he's fetching the daycare. Yup. That's right. He's not scared of the daycare run anymore!