Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I went for a walk with Sarah this morning. It was perfect. The snow was amazing. The trees were covered with frost. And without even trying Sarah got two of my most favorite photos ever of Pixel. Perfection.
I think I am going to get these printed, and framed for my wall. That is how much I love them.
Photos by Sarah.
I did a post about trial results for the year a month or so ago- right after our last trial of the year. I won't go into the same detail as I did then...but we did have a pretty decent year. Wicca and I have improved so much it is pretty amazing to look back at what a mess we were, and how far we've come. We did 6.5 trials last year, which isn't that many (we missed a few due to injuries)- and we have 19 Q's to show for it...Only one of those Q's was in jumpers. :o) We are only a few Q's from that elusive AtCh now.
Boone had an amazing year (17 Q's) and is just doing so well. He almost caught up to Wicca in less than a year. Serious. This dog has great talent.
I changed Wicca's A-frame from a 2on2off to a running with moderate success. It is not a true running but I am feeling better about it compared to the jarring stop...I actually used to hold my breath.
The seminars I attended were awesome. I learned things at every single one of them. Part of the frustration of living in a small city is that there is no where for Sarah and I to go take classes. We are it. So seminars are a HUGE part of our learning, and we try to get to as many as we can. I owe Terry, and Kim SO much for my successes this past year with my dogs.
Nationals were amazing. I still get goosebumps if I think about it too much. We placed 2nd. At Nationals. Seriously amazing. I don't think anything will ever top that.
Both Wicca and Boone earned their Rally Novice titles, and Wicca earned her Rally Advanced. Both dogs had high scores (a few 100's) and some High in Classes as well. Wicca is SO close to Qualifying in the open ring. I can almost taste it.
The one year anniversary of Sam's death came and went. I cried. But am okay.
Pixels one year anniversary of arrival and it is like she has always been here. She is the sweetest dog on the planet and I just love her to bits. She is soft, and squishy, and just so damn cute. She is SO smart, and willing, and just wants to have fun. I am so lucky to have her.
I am not going to do a list of resolutions...I am way too much of a procrastinator for that..instead I am going to list things that I hope to achieve, or attempt.
2010 is going to be a busy year. I've done up a Calendar on the side of my blog to help me keep things in order and in my memory.
I REALLY want to try tracking with my dogs. Wicca is going to need a retirement job (sooner rather than later) and both her and Pixel have great noses.
Wicca and I have been invited to play Scenthurdle on a Calgary team. I am looking forward to it. Wicca will be SO excited.
Wicca is going to earn her CDX. We are so close. I think she can do it, and have a few trials picked out to attend. I also am going to finish her Rally Excellent title.
I would like to say that Wicca will earn her AtCh but I am not sure at this point that will happen. (that's a whole other post) but I put it down because it is a goal of ours...and well, it makes me happy to see it written here.
Boone is going to earn his Rally Excellent title, and earn his MAD in agility.
I am entering Boone at Regionals. I think he will be ready. He's not the fastest dog around but if I handle him right he will do pretty well. Nationals are almost local, and how cool would it be to run him there. (providing there are no guns, big trucks, or airplanes flying overhead that is)
Pixel is going to earn her CD, and maybe a few Rally Titles. I also would like to travel to the US for a few shows this summer to earn some AKC titles.
Pixel is going to start trialing in Agility in the Spring. She is doing SO well, but I really don't want to push it. I won't be entering her until I know she is ready.
The Canadian Cardigan National Specialty is something I have been looking forward to. I hope to get Pixel's CD there, and finish Wicca's rally title. Also will have both girls running in agility (hopefully.)
Vito may make it into the agility ring yet. He may make an appearance at our local trial this summer. Slowly but surely he is coming along. He's actually quite a speedy little bugger when he wants to be.
On the personal front, well there's not much to improve upon when you're perfect. :o)
Seriously though, I am mostly pretty happy with how things are going and progressing.
In a few months I will have complete independence. Which is exciting to think about.
I have been steadily losing weight (well, until Christmas came around). I am not actively trying to lose weight, although just by eating healthier it seems to be working pretty well. Boone and Pixel make me work MUCH harder than Wicca (who is mostly self propelled) With the weight loss I have been able to run faster and handle better.
And, I think I have been mostly very nice this past year and hope to continue my less bitchy way of life. :o)
And that's that. Mostly I want to continue to enjoy my dogs every day. I am very lucky to have such great dogs.
Oh- and my only Goal for 2009 was to succesfully handle a Threadle on course. And I totally did. Yay for me.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This is my last submission for Pixels 52 Weeks Project. I am kind of sad that it is over- although am excited to think about what to do with the next years dog....
"For Pixels' final 52 week photo I wanted something special. I wanted a full body shot, and something that showed who Pixel is. I think this photo does that. I love that her expression is soft- not the hard edged, excitement look that I tend to get. She is such a beautiful, smart little dog. I love her to pieces and am very lucky to have such a great dog.
Pixel won't be returning next year for 52 Weeks, I will be using one of my other dogs instead. You can still see Pixel in my photostream though, and on my blog. (http://manymuddypaws.blogspot.com)
I have created a blurb book of all of the photos and can't wait for it to arrive. This group has been just amazing, and I have definitely learned a lot about my dog, and my camera. I look forward to next year with one of the others (I haven't officially decided yet)"
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
They had fun though, so that is what is mostly important!
Saturday, December 26, 2009
So far the dogs haven't done anything too exciting. We've been going for lots of walk, but to manage 6 dogs and a camera in an "unofficial" off leash area is a little iffy....so hopefully I'll get some good walk photos tomorrow.
In the meantime here are a few photos of my family dogs- Drew is a Rotti cross and is 7 years old now I think (maybe 8) and Kate is 11. She is steadily going downhill although is in good spirits and still has a decent appetite. She is completely blind in one eye and has limited vision in the other. Years of agility, and well being a German Shepherd, has been hard on her body and she is pretty arthritic. I love this dog so much- it is hard to see her looking old. She is still pretty feisty though and had a good time shredding the toys I brought over. It was great to get to spend a whole day with her.
My sister took this photo of us together on the step.
Christmas always creates the best memories!
Thursday, December 24, 2009
and the best of the bunch....
Do you all like the pissed off look Vito has in all three photos? haha...he HATES to have any sort of clothes, or hats, or collars on...
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
I took all six dogs to the dogrun this afternoon. They had a blast running around and wrestling with each other. I like to go to the top because no one else is ever there. The bad thing is that my dogs can see for miles any incoming dogs....here the three of them had stopped their playing to stare at incoming dogs....
Friday, December 18, 2009
Tripp says that games are hard work...
I am actually thinking that this would be something fun to do on a regular basis...tonite was a trial run and it went mostly well. Except that I lost the stupid game that is... :o)
I am not really a "games" person...but it was fun to just hang out with people and not talk dog for once. Although my own dogs provided some entertainment.
Thanks for coming girls! oh, and thanks Sandy for the pic!
On the plus side- it's friday. Which means two things. 1. It's friday- the weekend is here! and 2. Only three more work days until I have 11 days off! OMG. Sooooo Excited.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Ally and Tripp have settled in and are doing great. They've gotten into the routine, and are having a pretty good time.
Ally is such an easy dog to have around- she is so quiet compared to my dogs. She is never in the way, or being obnoxious. She is a fetching machine and will play as long as the other dogs don't get too rough. She does agility with her mom, but they live in a remote area with not much training available. I said I'd do a little work with her while she is with me. So far we're working on rear crosses on the flat and getting some forward focus...it's hard to run when you're gawking at the handler. :o)
Tripp is a very fun little puppy. He loves to learn and is very eager to make me happy. He likes to cuddle and is super sweet when he's tired. He has grown a lot in just a week! I've noticed he's a little strange when meeting people, or going new places. So we've been working just on socialising. I am going to pack him around to the petstores and vet clinics this weekend just to get him out more.
It's been fun having them- I know Pixel thinks it's awesome to have a little buddy to play with! Even Vito has warmed up to them and tried to get in on the action last night.
Could you not bark?
How about if you looked at me?
How about you look a little less psycho...
How about I wait until you are a little closer....
How about making sure the dog is in focus....
I plan to try again today, although I predict that most of the snow will be melted....Today is Thursday...which means only two days left to get the photo...
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Ally is a perfectly well behaved Sheltie who never does anything wrong, or has a hair out of place. She is very much an outsider with the other dogs and prefers to play with me, or by herself. :o)
And then there is her new little brother Tripp. You may remember him from a few weeks ago. He is a Mini Aussie and is about 14 weeks old now. He is SUPER cute, and has a great little personality. He is all fluff and puppy fun right now. Pixel is really enjoying having him around- they pretty well play non stop.
I am sure you'll be seeing more pictures, and hearing stories about them for a few more weeks so thought I'd introduce them now.
Oh- Wendy took these photos...I have been too cold to even think about taking my camera outside for photos....
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Last year I joined a group on Flickr called "52 Weeks for Dogs." It is a challenge of sorts- you have to post ONE photo a week of the same dog, for the 52 weeks (a year).
I chose Pixel because she was just a pup and I thought it would be a great way to showcase her growth. The 52 weeks challenge has been great- I've become a better photographer, and have really challenged myself to try new things and think outside the box. I currently have 49 pretty great (and some awesome) photos of Pixel to show for this year! I'm planning on making a BLURB book with the photos of Pixels 52 weeks. It will be cool to look back over the year.
Here is a link to my full 52 weeks set (well it's 49 right now)
I am planning on doing it again in 2010. I just need to decide which dog it will be. Having four very photogenic dogs make it a hard decision. Of course Pixel would be fun again, and the 52 weeks group would be happy to get to see her every week again, but I have to be fair- and really it's getting hard to be creative with Pixel 49 weeks later!
So- I had originally said I was going to do Boone in 2010. He is super cute, and goofy, and does lots of silly things that (hopefully) I will be able to capture on film. But- he is hard to photograph and it will definitely be a test of my skill. I predict that I will have more indoor shots, and less posed shots. Boone is not a dog that enjoys posing for the camera.
This week I thought that I would do Wicca next year. She is so beautiful, and would be the easiest of the dogs. She loves the camera and is a great poser. I can get her to do anything, and go anywhere. And did I mention she is beautiful? She would make me look like a great photographer. :o)
And then someone asked about Vito. He doesn't get as much blog time as everyone else because he doesn't "do stuff" so the 52 weeks would be a good opportunity to get him on the blog more. And he is pretty darn cute.
Decisions, decisions. I have three weeks to decide....any thoughts?
Oh- and if you are interested in photography and would like to join the group check out the 52 Weeks for Dog Flickr Group page. The rules are strict and are enforced. One dog per person. One photo per person. Same dog each week. Simple right? The group is accepting new people, no later than the last week in December. It is really fun, and I've enjoyed getting to know other peoples dogs through their photos. There are some pretty amazing photographers in the group- so it is easy to feel overwhelmed, but there are also a fair amount of novices (like me). I'd recommend it to anyone who is serious about it. I won't lie- it is difficult to come up with something each week, but it is worth it.
I know a few of my blog readers take awesome photos so I really am suggesting this for you! ;o)
Friday, December 11, 2009
I've wanted a Manners Minder for a long time. I think it would be super useful in general training, and have some agility/obedience uses also. I ordered it only because we were ordering some other stuff from the company, and it was my chance to get it at a good price. It came yesterday and I am so excited to try it out. Fun!
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
tonite was mostly frustration, but first (to make myself feel better) lets talk about the good stuff.
We did some nice rear crosses (although they weren't technically supposed to be done with the exercise) but I was happy with how tight they were, and how I handled them. (i.e I was in the right spot, driving for the right jump standard, and wasn't pointing)
Sartlines- she didn't move or change positions once.
Contacts- her dogwalk was awesome tonite, no creeping, and only a little curling.
Gambling- we did a fun gamble tonite that required Wicca to ignore the tunnel underneath the dogwalk and instead take the far out jump. She didn't flick to the tunnel which is amazing (wicca's theory is that if the tunnel is under the contact it must be taken)
and here comes the frustration part.....
I hate being rushed. I felt rushed on the stupid double box thing. When I did it with front crosses it felt awful, my timing sucked a$$ therefore my dog had no freakin' idea where she was going. ugh. and I didn't have time to do it right, which just ticks me off. and with three feet of snow outside it's not like I can set it up in my backyard.
weave poles. my dog cannot collect for weave poles. there, I said it. She missed probably 6 entries out of 8 tonite. that is a bad average. she couldn't get it with no motion from me, and she certainly couldn't get it if I was moving. sigh. it is such a struggle with her sometimes. she is in such a hurry she will not sit back and put in the extra stride to get the entry. it drives me crazy. and because I hate weave repetitions it is a really hard thing to fix (because I don't like her to weave) The answer is to go back and do more three poles, which is much better than doing 6 over, and over, and over again. But still it makes me worry to weave her often anymore. but without training it is not going to magically fix itself.
my handling left a lot to be desired. how hard is it to do a freakin' arm change? not hard at all, unless you are me. I could not get my arm change done at the right time so my dog could switch leads and get in the poles. combine that with the fact that she wasn't even really trying to get in the poles left me feeling very frustrated tonite.
hence my rant. I just keep repeating in my head that agility is supposed to be fun. tonite was not particularily fun.
this week we have league on thursday, a fun and fast little jumpers course. I initially was only going to bring Boone, but after tonite I will be bringing Wicca aswell. We obviously need the work.
so i am feeling better this morning, I have a very good dog. Mostly, it is me. :o) If I would have taught her collection when I first started training her we wouldn't have any of these problems. Wicca doesn't understand how to collect properly and when the angle is rough, or if it is an "open" entry she has a hard time getting her body to do what she wants. we will go back and work on three poles for the next while and see what we can do to fix this....
Of course all the dogs feet froze the instant they were outside. Granted, my dogs are kind of wussy. Yesterday it was only -30 or so and Boone had to stop and perch every five minutes while playing in the yard. It is the strangest thing. He actually sits on his butt with his back legs and his front legs in the air...
Hope you all are staying warm. We aren't.