We had our first actual snowfall the other day- just enough to cover the ground. You can still see the left overs from fall just below the surface.
Pixel loves the snow and had a great time on our walk today. She was goofy as ever and had a great time playing with sticks, and eating snow. It seems the snow brings out the wildness. :o) I caught her serious side here as she watched another dog down the path.
I was really torn for my 52 weeks photo. There were a couple that I liked from the walk. I chose this one in the end because I think it is neat how it shows two seasons- fall, and winter.
Uploaded by manymuddypaws on 28 Nov 09, 1.04PM MST.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
We had our first actual snowfall the other day- just enough to cover the ground. You can still see the left overs from fall just below the surface.
Friday, November 27, 2009
It's snowing...so that's kinda fun. And I have nothing planned really for this weekend so I am hoping to get in some good walks with the dogs, and just hang out at home....
Here is a cute photo from last years first snow...Pixel was still very much a puppy...
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Wicca is gradually getting back to normal agility wise. The seminar was really great for her. I didn't over do it, and although she was tired at the end of each day she wasn't sore. Even the next morning there was no stiffness. Last night I took her to class (don't ask me why since I felt like crap the whole time) and did a few little things with her. I let her do the dogwalk (which she promptly ran off the end and earned some crate time) and I let her weave six poles- twice.
She didn't break. She isn't sore. She is fine.
I will gradually increase the amounts of agility each time. I am confident that her neck is healed, and that she should be able to handle the physical stress of weaving. We are still not doing the A-Frame...not sure when I'll work up enough nerve to do that. :o)
I am still working on the seminar post...it's coming I promise!
Monday, November 23, 2009
First off- I have a cold. not just a run of the mill cold either. this cold hit on Friday and by Sunday I could hardly think. My head felt like it was going to expolde. I think the worst is over (at least I hope so) but we'll see how I feel the rest of the week.
Our local dog show was this weekend- I didn't enter any of my own dogs, but I did handle a Flatcoat in the breed ring. Chatty was about the cutest thing ever, and I could have easily taken her home. I showed her both Saturday and Sunday morning.
The afternoons were spent at an agility seminar. It was really great, and I have some ideas of what I need to do to fix some problems that we have. We worked on a variety of stuff- Rear Cross Threadles, Wraps, Serpentines, Deceleration, Rear Crosses, and Front Crosses. As always Kim gave us some really great challenges. Sunday she set up a 27 obstacle jumpers course. My mind is a little foggy right now due to my cold- so I'll go into more details later this week.
I am pretty tired this morning- slept like crap due to my cold, and have a busy week ahead of me. Hopefully I'll survive. :o)
Friday, November 20, 2009
Pixel is on the mend and doing great. Her spay incision looks awesome and the bruising is almost all gone. She is feeling pretty well normal now- but she is still on restricted exercise. We went for a leash walk yesterday, and she now has free range of the house except the stairs. I'm allowing her to do the three stairs outside, but otherwise I carry her.
Wicca still is showing no signs of stiffness. :)
Like I mentioned in my previous post I have a seminar this weekend with Kim Collins. She is a close follower of Susan Garrett. Her teaching style is what I would call "Up Front and In Your Face." In a good way of course! She tells it how it is, and will push you to do the best you can. I have been doing her "Outreach" program for a few years. She comes to my area three times a year and each seminar is a progression on the last. This is the third and final of a series for this year. Unfortunately next year I am only able to attend one. Her seminars are always really good- challenging, and sometimes frustrating but I always come away having learned something. I give credit to her for lots of my improvement as a handler over the past few years.
Looking at the handouts she's sent through this seminar will be no different. Lots of challenge. :o) But I like challenge.
This weekend also happens to be our local dog show. It really sucks that it is on the same weekend as I really would have liked to enter the dogs in rally, and Wicca in Open. But it just would have been too stressful to do both. (The seminar starts at 11, so I could have entered the morning at the dogshow) Anyway, I am going to watch for a bit Saturday morning- to cheer on my friend and her Collie, and to maybe fill in as a handler for a Flatcoat. :o)
It will mostly be a long and boring weekend for Pixel. She is going to stay home and rest. A dirty barn is not a place she should be hanging out at all weekend. Poor Girl, she's going to be so bored!
Now on to the torture- Yes, it's a hot dog.
Leave it. Really. I mean it. Leave it.
Where's Vito and the hotdog? Well, Vito ate the hotdog whole before I had a chance to even take a photo. Sigh.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
She only played a little- we did the gamble that Sarah posted on her blog- we did it succesfully once (with no bars) and three times with bars, and the other two times were most definitely NOT succesful. :o) I tried to use my "turn" out of the tunnel, and then over the bar...it didn't work. Anyway, the point is that she jumped, and ran, and twisted, and played and is not stiff after the fact.
So- I am feeling fairly optimistic. She hasn't done any contacts yet, and no weaves either. But it's a start. You see my issue was that there is a seminar this weekend that I've already paid for and was looking forward to. If Wicca wasn't able to run I had already talked to the instructor about putting Boone in her place. But really it's Wicca and I that need the most help. So- I am going to bring them both, (I don't think Wicca is quite ready for 10 hours of agility in one weekend!) and alternate them.
I am so glad she is feeling better.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I created a Forum the other day focused on Performance Sports with Corgis (both kinds). Mostly I did it just for fun- but I do think that it will be a great source of information about the ups and downs of training these short dogs with big attitude. :o) Also I thought it would be nice to actually "talk" to other people who are interested in the same stuff.
Discussions range from Rally to Agility, and everything in between. It is super basic, nothing fancy, and is free of course. Check it out, and if you like it- spread the word!
Boone is running in advanced now, and is doing very well. I don't have any of the problems we used to (running off, not paying attention, weaves, contacts...etc.) I was very proud of him for this run- even with the two little bobbles. He had great weaves, picked up on my rear crosses, and had good contacts. He's a very honest dog- so the off course you see was pretty much my fault. :o)
thanks to sarah for the video
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Most of you probably have not even heard of it before. Scenthurdle is a dying sport, well actually it's comatose already. :o) There are less than a dozen teams throughout Canada, and six of them are in Alberta. :o)
Definition of Scenthurdle as per the CKC:
Scent Hurdling is a relay race with 4 dogs on a team. The course consists of a starting line, 4 hurdles spaced 10 feet apart and a box. The first hurdle is 4 feet from the start line and the box is 12 feet from the last hurdle. The first team dog jumps the hurdles and attempts to find their own scented dumbell from among the four that have been placed on the box. When the dog finds the right dumbbell he runs back over the 4 hurdles and crosses the finish line so that the next team dog can be released.
Here is the only video I could find on youtube....
skip to 1:17 for the actual racing...
It is great fun and Wicca loves to play. She earned her Scent Hurdle Dog title- after her first few races, and is pretty serious about it. As with all things Wicca she is fast and intense. When we first started she used to demolish the box, walking all over the other dumbbells and making a mess. The boxloader loved us. :o)
Wicca was on a team called Due South, and raced about 6 times a few years ago. Unfortunately our team fell apart and we haven't been able to play in ages. I am itching to play again. I was asked a few weeks ago to play on a Calgary team- and I am so excited! I do hope to form a Lethbridge team one day, but by the time I get the people interested, and train the dogs, it will be a year before we would be ready to race. So the tentative plan is for Wicca and I to join an out of town team starting in January. It will give us a chance to practice, and get to race.
BUT- if any of you Lethbridge people are interested in forming a team, and learning how to play let me know. :o) It's fun, and not all that hard. Oh- and you don't have to practice very often once your dog knows the game so it's not very time consuming. The only downfall is that you have to be willing to travel to Calgary to race......as Lethbridge only has one race a year. Email me if you are interested!
Monday, November 16, 2009
Saturday, November 14, 2009
She did really well in the test overall- good enough to pass anyway! She did have a few iffy moments- during the walking through a crowd exercise she jumped up to say hello, but got off as soon as I asked. She also was a little nervous about being brushed by a stranger. At the demo we did a few months ago she did this on a table and was better so I think it was a combination of the man bending over her and being a little nervous in a new place. She did recover though and was fine with him but took a few seconds to stand still. The rest of the test she did really well at- even the 3 minutes with me out of sight!
I don't put much stock in the test to be honest-but thought it would be a good opportunity to get her out in a new place, and try new things. I am proud of her for being able to do all the stations succesfully- she is the only one of my dogs to get this (not that I've tried with the others) I don't honestly think that Wicca would pass. :o) She doesn't listen very well sometimes!
The best part of the day came later- Jolene and I drove around and played tourist even though I had lived in the area towns for many years when I was going to school. We had lots of fun taking photos, and goofing around.
Her dog Kort did really well, and aced the part we were concerned about! He didn't pass though, as he thought the distraction dog for the "pass the strange dog" test was pretty good looking. :o) It was a good try though, and Kort has come such a long way. Next time he'll be ready!
I took LOTS of photos...mostly of Kort. Doesn't Kort look like Lassie? Seriously. He is so handsome.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Oh, and he's not a sheltie- he's an Aussie! How Fun! (and OMG cute!)
I have scheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled again, and finally the date is set. I am mostly comfortable, but still nervous for her. I mean, I know in my brain she will be fine. Spays are routine, the vet knows what she is doing. I trust her. But it's Pixel. My dog. I am really good at comforting other people, and assuring them that the dog will be fine. Not so good when it comes to myself.
I am sure she'll be okay. But it wouldn't hurt for all of you to tell me so.
*photo by wendy
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Yesterday was Remembrance Day in Canada. It is a day that we remember those who fought and died in war. The poppy is our symbol for this day. It is also a Holiday.
My dad is a very patriotic fellow, and every year goes to the services for November 11th. He is also a Montreal Canadians fan, and decided to wear his poppy on his hat.
It is just so him.
I took a photo on our walk together yesterday and thought it was worth sharing the story. Not only of Remembrance Day, but of my dad. :o)
Her dogwalk is coming right along and I am happy with what she is offering now in her 2on 2off. I can send, run past, and of course run with her and she will stick it until released. She is doing the whole dogwalk now, and was able to safely find the entrance even with speed from a tunnel.
Her teeter is awesome, I am so happy with it. She is running all the way to the end for a half drop, and then a gradual drop to the floor. The teeter games have totally paid off and she is very confident on the teeter. I predict that in a few weeks she will be doing the whole thing by herself.
Last night was her actual class, and again she did very well. We worked on pinwheels for the first bit. I have done pinwheels before with her so she understands to look for that middle jump. She did go much wider on my right side which is interesting, and kept going around the third jump. I ended up having to stop, turn, and say her name to get her over the bar. To the left was fine every time. Strange.
We also did weaves- a 2 pole station, and 6 poles with gates. The two poles she did awesome on. She is able to find her entry from just about anywhere and really drives ahead looking for them. The 6 poles with gates she has only done a few times so was a bit confused at first- I think that she will be a dog that takes a while to find a rhythm that is comfortable for her. The gates are great for that as it is pretty foolproof for them at this stage.
We ended on positional cues which teaches the dog a few things- one, to look at the jump before being released. two, to take the obstacle in front of them when released. and three, to proof your release. The release is not movement, an arm, a handstand, or anything else. The release is a word.
Pixel did really well at this, although we have done this before without a jump so she had the general idea. It is so neat to see the wheels turning on the dogs who don't understand at first to look ahead. It is hard to explain the set up, and the process so I cut/paste from our notes so you guys could see what I am talking about. Last night the Handler remained in the H1 position, and the dog moved through D1-D3. Next time the handler will also move.
To say I am happy with Pixels progress would be an understatement. I think she is going to be great one day. :o)
P.S- the credit goes to sarah for the design of the positional cue thingy.... :o)
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Monday, November 09, 2009
Anyway, this means that the Training Troop trial a few weeks ago was our last trial of the year. :o( It seems like this year just flew by. I find it amazing it is already the middle of November almost!
It has been a great year trial wise. The dogs and I have really started to work together. I've finally become the handler my dogs need me to be, and because of that they are doing better than ever.
Most noticeable to me is Wicca. I am not afraid to handle my dog. I know how to do stuff, and am mostly confident in my abilities. We've had some really great runs this past year- the clean jumpers round at Regionals, the clean run at Nationals. The gambles, the Snookers...It's been an amazing difference compared to the years before.
Boone has also come a long way- he has moved up from starters so quickly, and is really coming into his own. Each trial he is better and better. All the hard work and training is really paying off, and the results are astounding.
I don't really trial all that often. We have at most one trial a month in the area, and I don't make it to all of them. This year especially I missed more than normal. I went back in my blog and counted trials we went to and realised we only made it to 6.5 trials. (not including regionals/nationals)
January- Training Troop
March- Training Troop
may- Flashing Canines
September- Flashing Canines
Oct- one day Calgary Agility
Oct- Training Troop
(i don't think i forgot any!)
So in 6.5 trials Boone qualified in 16 runs. At the beginning of the year he wasn't even running full trials. It is only in the past few months that I've started that. He earned three titles, and is one Q away from another. He has come so far, and is running so well. It has been a lot of work, but has been well worth it.
Wicca qualified in 19 runs. Only one of those was in jumpers, and six of those were in Steeplechase. She finally earned her MAD (a VERY proud moment for me) aswell as a few games titles. Last year we ended at 20 Q's- but this year we've missed more trials due to sickness, injury, and not getting in :o)I am happy with the progress we've made, and to be honest most of the runs I remember and think of as great ones aren't even the ones we've Q'd in!
I am looking forward to the next year of trialing. Courses are getting harder and harder, which means that our training also has to improve. Each year we get better and better- I am excited for the opportunity to put my training to the test- that is really what trialing is about for me. We have a few months now of just training and each dog (and me!!!) has a list of things to work on between now and then!
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Wicca finished her Rally Advanced title with two perfect scores, and a High In Class. I am so proud of this dog. The course on Saturday was pretty tricky, and she nailed it- food bowls and all! We were beat out in time only for the Sundays High in Class- just one second difference! I am so happy with how she is working - she was upbeat, focused and having a good time. I remembered all the numbers (even those between 10-14) so that made me feel good!
Boone scored a 98 on the first course, and a 97 on the second. He did so well, and kept with me even though he was a little stressed. I have not done much off leash heeling with him, so it wasn't pretty but we still did good. He stayed with me- which was a big deal, and he didn't spook at the judges at all. Oh, and to top it off he even did the food bowl exercise! Anyone who knows Boone knows that he is a complete chow hound so for him to heel around bowls of food on the ground was pretty amazing. He is a great little worker- and made lots of new friends on the weekend.
I entered Wicca in one round of Open on Saturday and she was amazing. I have never felt so confident in the Obedience ring before. She nailed every single exercise. We lost a total of 6 points (out of 150) for a few sloppy sits, and crooked fronts. Wow. I even had an awful throw over the high jump and she made a conscious decision to come back over the jump. It was a great feeling to know she was that ready for the ring. The long sits and downs went better than I'd imagined. She stayed. I left the room and she didn't follow me. That is huge. She did lay down at the two minute mark though- which NQ's us- but still- SHE STAYED! She stayed perfectly for her long down too. I was so proud of her- just for the stays. This is something we've been struggling with for a long time.
I feel confident that with a little more work we'll have a rock solid Open routine. I watched the Utility dogs on Saturday and I don't think that we have much farther to go for that. I got some great ideas for teaching the Go Back so I am pretty amped about getting to work on that.
There was no signs of stiffness, although I made sure to warm her up really well and I gave her a massage each day. I don't have any immediate plans for Obedience- I had thought of going to a trial in December, but I don't want to push it with her neck. The entries close tomorrow, so I've got some thinking to do tonite. There is a trial in February aswell that might work out better...so we'll see what I decide.
Here is the token dog show photo. I always cringe at how expensive they are, but my prize money covered the photo perfectly so it wasn't to bad. I got a photo done with both dogs because the judge really liked Boone and thought he deserved to be in the photo too... :o)
Friday, November 06, 2009
Boone hates him
The Girls like him....mostly.
And Vito prefers not to be in the same room as him. :o)
Davin is an Australian Shepherd that belongs to a friend of mine- he even has his own blog. Davin comes for occasional sleepovers because he is a momma's boy and needs to learn some independence. Not sure if he is learning independence but he's sure having fun!
Aren't I Handsome?
Play With Me!
More Aussie Smiles. :o)
Davin is all about the fun factor and is persistent. He never gives up trying to get the girls to play with him.
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
It was hard to leave Wicca at home, but I want to give her at least another week before I do anything with her. I ended up taking Boone and Pixel instead.
Boone was so excited- he was barking, spinning and shaking he was so excited to be there. I had to spend the first few minutes doing some focus and obedience work to get his brain turned on.
My goals last night were to work on Discrimination, Turn, Weave entries, and Rear Crosses.
He nailed the discrimination- which surprised me as it is a weak point with him. Even when I made it more difficult he was still successful.
"Turn" is coming- he is doing it on the flat pretty reliably now, but is now at the awkward stage of putting it to use on equipment. He doesn't want to leave the frame contact on just "TURN" and still needs my help. I am happy with the progress though, and we'll keep plugging away.
His weaves were great- I even uncovered the bases and made them a little wobbly to see if he'd jump the middle like he has done at trials. No issue. He is a great weaver now and was able to do some pretty difficult entries.
Rear crosses. I suck. And these used to be a really good thing for me. At the trial a few weeks ago we bobbled every rear cross- any sign of pressure from me and he'd push away a mile. Last night he had a hard time, but only with a rear cross to the right. Strange eh? I ended up having to just do one jump rear crosses- the first few times I was in the wrong spot, but even when I was in the right position he still had a heck of a time. I need to work on this big time at home.
Pixel came along as a "filler" - I knew Boone wouldn't last the whole night, and so came up with a plan for Pixel. She wasn't distracted at all by the other dogs and the horse poop. I am pretty happy with how she is progressing.
We did restrained recalls- which she thinks is super fun. And then I did some lead outs with her- I am in the process of proofing right now- she was releasing on my movement so I have been careful to not pair my verbal release with movement.
One jump games- wraps, front crosses, and rear crosses. At home we've been playing around and doing quite a lot of one jump exercises so I was happy to see that this is transferring to a new place.
Teeter Games- she is a surfer queen :o) She can handle a fairly high drop now, and I don't think it will be long until she is doing the full thing. I do need to make sure that I am calling it the right thing- Julia pointed out that I didn't really call it anything.....
Back chaining on the A-frame. I did six reps, starting one step off, and getting half way up the board. She was successful five out of the six times. This is quite a lot better than before, the stuff I am doing at home is totally paying off so I will be sure to continue with that.
And I ended on a small speed circle with a tunnel (okay, it was really a pinwheel) She did great- I made sure to keep my arms pumping- not out like a mad woman, and used my motion to propel her. I randomly rewarded with her toy, and she was having a pretty great time.
It was a really fun night, and it was nice to get back in the teaching mode as well. Our students rock, and everyone did really well last night. Some of them had never been to the arena before but it didn't phase anyone. Tonite is Pixel's "official" class- I am so glad that I have the opportunity to be in a class with her. It is nice to work on your own- but the feedback you get from a class setting can't be beat.
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Susan Garrett blogged this morning about her preference of girl over boy dogs. I am in the same boat. I LOVE a girl dog- the attitude, the problem solving, the pushiness. All of that is what I like to live with, and to train. In my experience Boy dogs are pushovers, hard to focus, slower to learn (although once they get it, they get it), and just more "go with the flow" types. There is nothing wrong with that of course, it's just not what I like.
Why then do I have two boy dogs? By chance really. Vito wasn't planned, and neither was Boone. I like the dogs personality (and looks in the case of Vito) But I do find them a challenge to work and live with compared to the girls. Vito is so sensitive and cuddly, and always at your feet. Seriously, you can't pee in private when you live with a Vito. Boone is super smart, but not much of a "think outside the box" kinda guy. He will just keep throwing behaviors at you hoping that one of them will be right- not really thinking about what it is I want. I mean, I love my boy dogs but it would not be my choice to get another.
The girl dogs were planned. Wicca is a bitch, through and through. That's just part of who she is, and I love that. She has no qualms about telling me I was wrong, or choosing her own path if I've screwed up. She is not dependant on me to make her choices. I like that. Pixel is not a hard edged dog like Wicca but is still a girl in every other sense- she is super sassy, and opinionated. She is very smart, but often over-thinks things. I have to be careful that I am super precise in my training as she often will learn the wrong thing if my timing is off. She will do what I want generally, but isn't afraid to vocalise her displeasure. (Her little grunts and groans are about the cutest thing ever)
I didn't always think this way though. Way back when I wanted a masculine looking German Shepherd for competitive obedience. There was a dog that belonged to a friend that I loved. His name was Denim and man did I love that dog. He made me want a boy dog, and when I got my first purebred dog I wanted the only male in the litter but he was spoken for. I came home with a female and fell in love with that personality.
So what do you prefer and why? Everyone will have an opinion on this so I assume we'll be seeing lots of blog posts about this topic in the next few days! Susan is a trend setter for a reason I suppose. :o)
Monday, November 02, 2009
The first time was three/four (?) years ago- she walked on the broad jump, came painfully slow on the recall, and petered out on the heeling. The second time was last year- she did very well and did everything but the long sit. She shuffled forward and then lay down only a few seconds into it. We had a funmatch over a month ago and she rocked it. So I am feeling pretty confident. If anything it will be the stays that get us. :o)
I only entered her once each time- and this weekend is no different. Once is enough stress for me! :o) So Saturday afternoon she is doing Open, and Saturday morning and Sunday she is doing Rally. She needs two Advanced legs for her Advanced title.
Boone is entered aswell- this is his first time in Advanced Rally. I have been practicing lots with him and he understands all the exercises and we've worked on proofing for the judge etc. Last time he was spooked by the judge following us so we've been working on that.
Pixel is coming along too- although she isn't entered in anything. I still have to get a microchip that the CKC approves to get her CKC #. But it will be a good experience for her- I will have lots of extra time to work her beside the rings etc.
Should be a fun weekend- although I get way more nervous for Obedience than I do for agility.