Sunday, January 31, 2010

Training Day

Today I packed up all four of the dogs and went to Cowley again to train in the hall. It is much bigger than the daycare space we are used to and there are always new dogs and distractions. Everyone did great and I am pretty happy with the amount of work I got done with them. It is nice to feel like I accomplished something. The funmatch on Saturday was pretty well a waste of time, but it was nice to get out and visit I suppose. As with all things it seems I enjoy training much more than trialing.

Wicca came to play scenthurdle. Our Calgary team (The Longshots) were supposed to come down and meet us but due to an injury they couldn't come. Wicca didn't care and played anyway. She is rock solid and never makes an error. I don't think new teammates are going to phase her very much but it would have been nice to practice with them once before the actual race.

I didn't do any obedience with Wicca at all. Just the scenthurdle. She needs an obedience break.

Pixel came out and did a few restrained recalls over the scent jumps, and we did some dumbbell work. I haven't started any scent discrimination with her yet, but she sure loves to fetch. We also did some heeling, and worked on fronts and finishes. Last weekend when we went to this hall she spooked in the corners a bit so we did some playing in all the corners and she had no problem.

Boone did heeling, some finishes, and we worked on some tricks. He was VERY excited to be there and had a lot of fun. His heeling is improving and he's able to heel heads up for almost a full heeling pattern. I am happy with his progress.

Vito even came along! We did a few shaping games, and a bit of heeling. He was a bit nervous at first, but was able to settle into work mode pretty quickly. I also used the new place to test out his tricks- he's learned a few new ones the past little while and hasn't had a chance to do them in a new environment.

It was a pretty great way to spend the morning! As an added bonus I was home in time to have an afternoon nap. :o)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

the sparkle in his eye 4/52

I caught this totally by accident and I love it. His expression screams "I'm a Happy Dog."
Which in turn makes me happy. :o)

Uploaded by manymuddypaws on 27 Jan 10, 3.34PM MST.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Six Words

On a few of the cardigan blogs I read people are posting a 6 word story about each of their dogs. I thought it was a fantastic idea. It came from Patricia McConnell's blog. She recently lost her oldest dog and wrote a post about Lassie, and the story of the six words.

This took a bit of time, but really was a great way to think about my dogs in a simplistic manner. I think I captured each of them pretty accurately.

Wicca- Always Intense. Independent, and often bitchy.

Vito- Best snuggler ever. At my feet.

Boone- Funny Guy, all heart. Happy Ending.

Pixel- Sunny. Happy. Tail Wagging and Eager.

So...what's your six word story? Post a comment in the comment section so I know who played.

Running Contact paraphernalia

Fancy no? one of my legs fell off, I need to get some contact cement and put it back on before i take it to the arena...

Pixel is very good on the flat now and goes racing through like a madwoman to get the toy, or the treat from the MM.

Run it. Are the magic words...

Next week I start backchaining on the frame...

oh, and for some friday morning humour here is Boone wondering how to make this thing work...all the dog are pretty obsessed with the MM- but Boone borders on insane.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In case you missed it on facebook...

in case you missed my status this morning I thought I'd share my morning with all here aswell...

warning, it is gross.

seriously...don't say I didn't warn you...

i woke up at 4:30 to the sound of retching.
switched on the light and bolted out of bed just barely missing the huge pile of diarrhea on the floor.
rush all the dogs outside, again somehow managing to miss the other pile of diarrhea on the floor.
leave dogs outside and go back to survey the damage.
diarrhea everywhere
three piles of vomit that looks suspiciously like diarrhea.


so I assume that someone (now I believe it was Boone) had diarrhea
and then someone ate it...(Pixel)
and then that someone vomited it all up...(Pixel)

I cleaned up the mess and brought the dogs back in - barricaded in kitchen so I could watch to see who was doing what.

pixel starts retching immediately.
boone starts retching shortly after, and then has explosive diarrhea...

save Vito and Wicca from the horror of the $hit all over the place and start cleaning up mess. put sick dogs back outside.

bring Boone in for a bath, while I am doing that I hear the telltale sound of a dog jumping off the kitchen table. Wicca comes into the bathroom on three legs whimpering. Sigh.

Pixel has since stopped vomiting and is back to her normal chipper self. Boone has had a half assed bath and is still a little on the ill side...I suspect that he ate some frozen, rotten apples from the yard yesterday...which caused the tummy issues. Pixel has no excuse. She is just yucky.

No one got breakfast, and I hauled everyone to work with me so I can keep an eye on things...nothing worse than coming home to a crate filled with diarrhea and a $hit covered dog...oh wait, yes there is.

hopefully my day gets better.

oh, and wicca seems to be fine after her leap from the kitchen table....

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

flying (like a penguin)

flying (like a penguin), originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

pixel and her trusty penguin are never very far from one another. she frantically runs around the yard with it, and is very distraught if one of the other dogs has it.

here she was doing a victory lap in the yard...


Good Dogs

Wicca says that being a good dog is much more tiring than being a bad dog....

Wicca was super at class last night. She did a really great job of listening, and we were definitely connected. My timing continues to improve and the handling drill we did last night was evidence of that. We had a few iffy moments, but in the end did both exercises successfully and that's what is important to me.

She didn't miss any weave entries out of the four sets of six I did. We even were able to practice some distance- which we haven't been able to do for a while due to her weave issues.

We ended on a gamble- the same one we missed at regionals last year. Of course she got it the first time with no issue. Her distance skills have improved a lot since then! (or should i say my training of her distance skills....)

Oh, and the little brat did have one bad dog moment. I asked for a nose touch to my hand and instead of her forceful but accurate bop she bit me. I have a nice little blood blister in the middle of my hand now.....


I brought Pixel along so we could work on the dogwalk and teeter. She did SO well.

Her teeter is a four on with a stop. She has done one or two full teeters, but mostly we do surfing, and random dropping. Last night she did great and was really driving up it. She thinks it is a pretty fun game.

The dogwalk is a 2on2off. She is really starting to get it. I did three reps of backchaining just off the end, and then we did some full dogwalks. Her nose touches remain strong and she is driving all the way to the end- no creeping. This tells me she understands her job. We did 6 full dogwalks, some from a standstill, and some from a tunnel. I practiced sending her ahead, running past, and running with her and in all three positions she stuck her contact and did her nose touches. I am very impressed with her.

She is such a good girl!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obedience/Rally Funmatch

I took the girls to a funmatch yesterday, it was a pretty great day with lots of dog friends. I think everyone had a great time.

I entered Wicca in Open and was pretty happy with how she did. She fumbled the dumbbell on the retrieve on the flat, but otherwise was perfect. Her long sits and downs were awful however. She was worse than ever and very nervous- stressed out even before they started. I really need to get her to new places and practice this more. But her heeling was great, and she was very up.

I also entered her in Advanced Rally- she did really great, and we got a 98- two crooked sits was all we were docked.

Pixel did a novice run through for the first time and did super! I didn't do the stand for exam (I haven't trained it) and I didn't do any finishes (again, not fully trained) But her heeling- holy cow can this dog heel. She did so well and was attentive the whole time. I was very proud of her. Her recall was nice, although we still need to work on those fronts. But the heeling alone made up for all of that- her halts were perfect, and she was so focused. Her tail was going the whole time. Here are some photos that Sarah took on Maureen's camera (thanks ladies!)

I also entered her in two round of rally- novice, and advanced. Her novice went really well and we lost five points only for my error. I stepped on her toe on a U turn...she was forging and I didn't realise it...poor girl. So we had a bit of a play and then continued on. She was very hesitant with left turns the rest of the day...will have to go back and work on that now. In the advanced run she spooked at the stereo. Not even kidding. Mind you the music was pretty horrific. It was some strange 60's song with thunder and crackling...Pixel was pretty freaked out so we stopped and fed near it. She recovered though and finished the course.

There is a funmatch in a different building next weekend too, so I am going to take them. The more places, the better!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Tracking- SAR style

I took the girls tracking today for the first time and they did pretty great! I went with my friend Michelle who does Search and Rescue. They train tracking through drive, not with footsteps like CKC based tracking. Using the toy and a found person as the motivator. Anyway it was pretty fun- even though it was cold and snowy.

Wicca was much more interested in crittering than tracking, but did better on the short grass. She'd find Michelle easily enough, but then just wander away uninterested. She's such a little snot. :o) She got the idea but in Wicca style wanted to do it as fast as possible.

I was very impressed with Pixel though- she thought that it was pretty cool to find a person with a great toy laying on the ground. By her third little track she was actually scenting with her nose on the ground. She did three run away tracks with Michelle half hidden. And then did three hidden tracks- where Michelle was not visible at all. It was a perfect day for it because of the snow. It made for great photos, and it was nice to see that the dogs were actually staying on the track.

I hope to get out with them on a fairly regular basis. :o) Thanks to Michelle for her advice, and for laying the snow for my dogs!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Remember a few weeks ago when I was trying decide who to choose for my 52 Weeks photo project? In the end I chose Boone even though I knew that he would be a challenge.

I took him (and the others) for a walk around a quiet park this afternoon- in hopes that he'd relax enough to get a nice photo of him and the amazing frost we have right now...

Well, I got some pictures of the frost...and a scared Boone. Neither of these pictures were posed, I was trying to get him to play fetch, or interact with the other dogs...or something. But no. He said he'd rather stand like a statue until the torture is over.

It's strange because we've walked around this lake a lot, and he's always pretty happy. But the moment I stop and ask him to engage with me he isn't able to. I have a lot of work ahead of me this year...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Fade, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Wicca has quite a lot of grey on her muzzle now- it's spread from the bare edges of her lips to all the way around and up on to her muzzle. Her colors have faded quite a lot too in the past year or so. Her tan points used to be a rich tan color and now it is light. I noticed too that her tan and black is blending together on her face.

She is still beautiful, but starting to look like an old dog at only 6 years! I told her it makes her look mature and smart...

Monday, January 18, 2010

A Solid Plan

You all know I've been waffling about those stupid contacts with Pixel. I know I want to do a running on the frame, but how to teach it??!!! I've never taught a true running contact before. It's scary. I had to not only decide on a method, but decide on a method that is practical for me and my dog.

I don't have access to a frame every day. So it is really hard to do Silvia Trkman's method, or anything like that.
I have decided to use a Wicket. Any method of running contacts is going to require repetition, but with the wicket it's not as important to do it every day or as often as possible. I've been researching lots of different methods, and for my small dog I think the wicket will work pretty well.

I will take a picture today and post it- but basically it is an upside down U with feet. (similar to what I used with Wicca on the frame a while ago) Pixel will learn to run through (and duck) until it becomes just how you do it and she doesn't need the wicket anymore. Muscle Memory is essentially what we are relying on when teaching any running contact, and this method is no different.

The Plan:

Step 1- See Wicket Run. :o) On the ground- I used my manners minder, and toys to get her to understand what I wanted with the wicket. I'll continue to work on the ground for another week or so- taking the wicket to new places.

Step 2-lower frame, wicket on end...I am going to backchain at first so that I am sure she understands I don't want her to stop (remember, we've been teaching a 2on2off up until now)

Step 3- lower frame, wicket on end- running full frame.

Step 4- lower frame, wicket on end- adding challenges. Distance, Turns, my changing position etc. All of this will be done with the wicket in place.

Step 4- raise the frame, wicket on end- running full frame.

Step 5- regular frame, wicket on end- adding challenges. All the challenges we did on Step 4 will be done again on a full height frame.

Step 6- take the wicket away, randomly put it back. At this point she should be driving through the end of the board with no problems or hesitation. Her head is low, and she will run all the way off.

So, that's my plan. It may change as I go. Like I said, I've never done this before. Not sure how long each step will take, or what the time frame will be on the whole. It will be interesting! I know of a few people who've taught this way so I've seen it work. I do understand that there will be a chance that my dog might miss a contact here or there. I don't think any method is fool proof. But- this is what I have, and this is what I am comfortable with- I also think it will work.

I am excited to finally have a solid plan in my head, and a picture of what I want my dog to do on the frame. I'll be posting updates as I go.

Outreach Day 2

Day two of outreach was just as good as the first. The main focus was on Contacts and Weaves. I did the whole first part of the day with Boone as he needs most of the help with Contacts.

We started off timing all the contacts, and the weaves...then added challenges and compared the time. This was to see what was the weakest handler position for the dog. Boone is a "stand by me" kinda dog- I already knew that before the seminar. :o)

I worked Wicca in the weave portion and she had a really hard time with entries...some of it is my timing of course, but most of the entries she missed were straight ahead, on side entries. I don't think at this point much is going to change this- although I will shape those entries more at a trial...

On the handling front I had an AH HA! moment regarding commitment changes. Duh. If Wicca is moving fast it is going to be farther from the obstacle than when she is unsure or slower than normal...drawing the imaginary line in the dirt really helped me with my timing on some lead out pivots...

Overall it was a pretty good weekend- there was a lot of really good review, (you can never hear the word consistency too often!) and my dogs had fun. Boone had a bit of a melt down and let me know when he was done (poor guy actually pee'd on the dogwalk in a 2on2off about stage fright!) but I was proud that he did as much as he did! Wicca was good, and I just really need to work on my timing, and my memory...the weave sequence just about killed me...

It was very nice to not feel completely overwhelmed after outreach- that must mean I am getting it finally right?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Outreach day 1

I am typing this on my blackberry, so I apolagise for any spelling errors. It likely has more to do with the itty bitty buttons than my ability to spell.

Anyway, day one of outreach is over and I am tired- but again came away with some great reminders.

Interestingly enough I never even considered bringing Boone to the seminar until Sarah asked me about it. Turns out today was perfect for him! He did very well, and I got some pretty good ideas for him.

We started with a challenge course from a recent trial. It was very tricky and beyond Boones skills, but we did pretty well. He had a hard time weaving- I think it is the bases on the crappy poles...

After that we talked about handling and what we expect from our dogs. We talked about specifics like the differences between motion, physical, positional and verbal cues. It was a great discussion and really helped some of the new people understand more.

The next exercise was focused on decel and basic handling...this was a perfect exercise for boone as he doesn't always pick up on my decel. He did pretty well although had a hard time with really tight rear crosses.

My favorite part of the day was the last two exercises- we did some double box work focusing on positional cues. Boone had had enough and was pretty flaky. I didn't get through all the exercises with him. I brought him back after a break with a higher value reward and worked through it- but I could definitly feel my frustration rising and his focus dissapear.

The very last exercise I brought Wicca out for- she was a little wild and smashed almost every bar the first time...the second time she was better and so was I. Kim pointed out some valuable tips about rear crosses, and we ended with some pretty good success. It had a pretty simple layout but lots of handling choices. It was fun.

It felt like a really long afternoon and the dogs and I are pretty tired. I think we will sleep good tonite!

I wasn't going to blog tonite but am not tired enough to sleep and thought I might aswell get it out while its fresh in my mind!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Smile! It's Friday!

We have an Outreach Seminar with Kim Collins this weekend so I expect that my brain will be ready to explode by Sunday. But other than that it should be a pretty awesome weekend. Wicca is coming to participate, and Pixel is tagging along just because. They boys are going to Wendys, so check over there for awesome photos. (no pressure, right Wendy)

Have a good weekend everyone!

One Happy Dog 2/52

One Happy Dog 2/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

Week 2 of 52 for the Flickr 52 Weeks for Dogs Challenge.

I was quite thrilled with this photo. It is not often that he is this relaxed looking outdoors. We played fetch (just the two of us) for about 20 minutes straight before he had to have a rest. :o)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wicca's Jumpers

How she kept that middle bar up I'll never

thanks again sarah!

Boone AADC

Boone's Advanced Q from the weekend. I was thrilled with his weaves, and his focus!

Thanks to Sarah for the video!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Togetherness, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

i love my dogs. :o)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Training Troop Trial Results

I am so tired. But if I don't type it now I will have forgotten by tomorrow.

The weekend started rough, I didn't have a great sleep and was kind of "off." My weird mood totally affected the dogs and I had a hard time concentrating. As the day went on we all got better, but the first few runs are a bit of a blur. The second day was MUCH better, and I was more with it. Here is what I remember about each run, and the results.

Masters Gamblers
he was very distracted and unfocused. Our opening was poor, but we did almost get the gamble, so I was pretty impressed with him. His distance skills are improving!

Advanced Std 1
again he was very unfocused, and did some "drifting" away...he did however have great weaves, and some really nice rear crosses on my part.

Advanced Std 2
i don't remember this course at all...or what went wrong...perhaps an off course tunnel?

Masters Jumpers- Q!
Smoked it. It was a nice course with lots of flow and he LOVED it. Beautiful. Probably one of his best runs ever.

a really nice run- amazing weave entry, and then I sent him off course. Sigh. I spent so much time pumping him up I forgot to go over the course in my head before our turn...

Advanced Standard 3
another great run- we had a bobble of some sort (a refusal maybe) but he was mostly focused and pretty speedy!

Advanced Standard 4- Q!!!!! This was the Q he needed to get his AADC, and move to Masters!
Amazing run. He was completely focused and did an amazing serpentine. This was not an easy course, and I am very proud of us to have run it clean.

Masters Snooker
I had a good plan and everything. :o) And then he drifted away in the closing and we got tweeted. Stupid Snooker.

Overall I am so impressed with him- he had some brilliant moments. His weaves were great all weekend, he only had one run where he popped out. His contacts were great and we are working really well together. My handling is very good for Boone. I am so excited for him to be in Masters. He is most definitely ready for that. There are a few things I need to work on after this trial- running through obstacles (snooker was painful), his turn cue was a little rusty, tight sequences, and distance. Oh, and I need to add some more distraction and get him more pumped up in training- we really need to get rid of his disconnecting during a run....he only ever does it at a trial so I need to figure out how to get him to do in training so I can fix it...

Masters Gamblers- Q
I was surprised to read that we got the Q for this. The closing was no problem...but our opening was awful. I had a decent path picked out but Wicca had other ideas. She was pretty much taking things at random and not listening...I was annoyed.

Masters Standard 1
She broke her startline when I was trying to lead out..I didn't correct her and let her go...and it spiraled downhill from there...I really should have taken her off, instead it went from bad to worse...I will never learn apparently.

She had a HUGE long break between the standard and jumpers. I didn't enter her in the Challenge class. I think it was a good break for her.

Masters Jumpers- Q!!!! omg. I was SO excited.
We worked hard for this Q, and almost every bar ticked. :o) But we did it- she was paying attention and working hard to keep the bars up. I was focused and trying desperately to remember where I was going. The course was really nice though, and I was thrilled to get through it with a Q. This was one of my goals for this trial so that makes me happy.

Steeplechase- Q
This was a really nice run. My handling was very good, and I was confident. Wicca was very good and had great weaves. I did shape the entries for her though. We had a great time, and one bar. So we still Q'd even with the 5 seconds added to our time. We had one of the fastest times overall.

Masters Standard 2
I need to work more on wicca's teeter contact. I tried to front cross off the teeter (not normally an issue) and well, she went flying the wrong way and then I was all flustered and nearly sent her over the wrong jump....

Masters Standard 3
lots of rear crosses in this course...which would have been fine if wicca wouldn't second guess. I have no idea why but she pulled off a jump not once, but twice on a rear cross...

Masters Snooker
we got to restart two times, (one due to judging error, and one due to a timer error) and STILL managed to get tweeted off in under 20 seconds. She was knocking bars like mad...makes it hard to play snooker when there are no jumps left standing...

Overall it was an okay weekend with Wicca- we are just off as a team...I am so worried about her physically that I am not concentrating on handling the dog, and remembering the courses. My memory sucks at the best of times, and when you are running a dog like Wicca it is pretty important that you know where you are going! But we did have some really great moments- her contacts were good (except the teeter) and I was so thrilled with that Jumpers run...Her startlines SUCKED however, so we will be working on that a lot over the next few months...Also am going to go back and do some more jump grids.

I ran Ally (the sheltie I dogsat for a month) and I was very happy with her rear crosses and obstacle commitment. She had some really great moments, and we got a Gamblers Q together. Ally and Tripp went home with their Mom today. It was SO cute to see them with her after being gone for so long. Tripp remembered her, which was the cutest thing ever and Ally was very excited too.

So, that's that from the weekend. Go Dog Go students all did awesome- there were some really great runs, and some shining moments. We sure have a great group of people. The Pizza party on Saturday was lots of fun, although short lived when we all fizzled out after an hour...Saturday was a very long day.

Sarah videotaped some of my runs- including Boone's last Advanced Standard run- I will post it when I get it.

Oh, and I ran Kaleb in Snooker briefly until he ran out of the ring looking for his was fun while it lasted! Everyone needs to send good thoughts and healing vibes to Sarah- she popped her knee out on the last run of the day with Gyp. Hopefully once the swelling goes down she'll be okay! I am sure she will blog about it later in the week, but in the meantime a few good thoughts wouldn't hurt!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Happy Friday from Vito

have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Boone 1/52

-20 on the Prairies 1/52, originally uploaded by manymuddypaws.

I ended up choosing Boone for my 52 weeks project. I wanted a challenge...and well, he will be one! He is pretty hard to photograph, but I will just have to become a better photographer then won't I?

I am pretty happy with my first shot, but you should all know I've been trying every day this week and it's Thursday... :o)

Anyway, I will post his 52 weeks photo every week for my blog readers to enjoy...I kind of wish I had done that with Pixel's photos more often.

The write up below is my post from Flickr about the photo.

-20 on the Prairies

It is winter in Alberta, which means cold, cold, and more cold. Boone is a fair-weather dog and doesn't appreciate the cold (hence the booties.)

This is my second year in the 52 Weeks group, and Boone's first. Last year I used my young Cardigan Corgi and this year it is Boone's turn.

Boone is a Berger Des Pyrenees or Pyrenean Shepherd. They are a rare breed but are gaining popularity in the agility world. Pyr Sheps are a french herding dog that were bred to work along side the Great Pyrenees.

I got Boone as a rescue two years ago and I can't imagine life without him. He is a dog with great work ethic, and a great sense of humor. He is a fun dog to train and an easy dog to live with. He is however hard to photograph. He doesn't like to pose, and is easily spooked in new places. It will be much more of a challenge for me this year! But, I hope to be able to capture all his little quirks and the essence of Boone.

It will be an interesting year for sure!

Uploaded by manymuddypaws on 7 Jan 10, 4.55PM MST.

First Trial of the Year

This weekend is our first trial of the year. I am looking forward to it, although do feel a bit rusty. I haven't trialed since October- seems like so long ago!

There is a whole Go Dog Go contingency going, so that will be fun. We've planned a Pizza Party on Saturday night at our "stall." I think one of my favorite parts of a trial is the social aspect. It is nice to talk dogs to dog people for a whole weekend.

Vito and Pixel are staying home and will be going to their prospective dogsitters for the weekend. :o)
I usually like for Pixel to tag a long but have Ally and Tripp to take with me this time. Their owner is flying back on Saturday, and has Ally entered at the trial. I'll get to run Ally on Saturday- which will be fun. They'll be going home after the weekend. I'll miss them...especially little Tripp. He is such a good puppy.

On to the trial goals and thoughts....

Boone is entered in a full trial- he needs one more Advanced Standard leg to move to Masters, so I am hoping for that. He was amazing at training this week so I am feeling pretty good about it. His weaves have improved so much and his contacts were solid. I am excited to put some of our training to use on the Masters courses.

Wicca is not entered in a full trial, I think I didn't put her in Challenge, and a standard? I'd really like a Snooker or Jumper Q this weekend, but will be thrilled if she runs well for me. We've been training hard at home, and over Christmas break- much progress has been made in the past few months and I am hoping it all stays together this weekend. I will make a point of correcting startlines though, either by leaving, or resetting her.

Regardless of what happens we will have fun!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

6 years old

Wicca is 6 years old today. I can hardly believe it.

From this cute, bratty little puppy...

To a beautiful dog with more smarts than is good for her.

Each year she gets better and better. This year I've actually started leaving her loose in the house unattended. :o) Seriously. Wicca has not been an easy dog to live with but at 6 years old has finally grown up. She is still happy, goofy, and playful in the house but doesn't wreck things anymore and mostly is well behaved. This past year we've had some pretty amazing moments- clean run at regionals (in jumpers no less), nationals, her Obedience work has been better than ever, and just general real life.

Here is a video from a trial this past year. This was a gamble that I was very proud to have gotten. It was tough, and not only did she get it but we were the only team to get the mini gamble twice.

I love this everything about this dog....

Happy Birthday Woo!

Monday, January 04, 2010


We started a tradition last year- a New Years Day walk. . I think there were 11 dogs and six people. It was really nice and the dogs had a blast. I took Tripp, Wicca, and Pixel. Boone is a complete wuss in the snow, and Vito is a jerk and likes to bark. :o) and I was worried about Ally is such a large group of dogs. So they got to stay home with a bone instead.

Wendy took some great photos of all of our dogs, In no particular order here are some of my favorites.
looking for critters

tripp looking cute as always

a group photo..although there are a few missing...

Wicca looking slightly crazed.

Did someone say critters? Seriously, that's what she does the whole walk.

Pixel, coming at you!

The chase is on!


Tripp hoping for cookies...

and Tripp, looking all cute again.

Happy Monday everyone! This is my first day back at work in almost two weeks...and surprisingly it is going pretty well so far!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Training Pixel

I haven't posted much lately about agility with Pixel so thought I'd post an update.

Pixel is doing really well and is learning so much. She is very smart and is what I would call a thoughtful dog. She wants to get it right the first time. She is quite a lot different than Wicca that's for sure. I make sure to rev her up before each turn, and that is paying off. I would say her speed has been increasing steadily. I use high value toy rewards much more than food and that too helps to keep her "high." She is a very happy dog even in training- her tail wags all the time and there is always a smile on her face. There is nothing very serious about this dog. :o)

We have been doing small sequences for the last 8 weeks or so. She has learned all the basic patterns (pinwheel, 180, 270, and serpentines) She recognizes them right away and does them with no hesitation and quite a lot of speed. She also has learned about lead outs and is able to do a three jump lead out pivot with no problems. We are working still on all of these of course- increasing distance, and speed.

Pixel is a very nice natural jumper. I have done some grid work with her, although I wish I was able to do it more often. She understands what to do with her body to get over the bar, and jumping has a pretty high value for her. We are still working on "finding a line" and taking what's ahead of you. She will still sometimes go wide around a jump or fly blindly ahead where she thinks the toy might be thrown- but it is a work in progress.

I have spent a lot of time working on handling with her- I really do not want to have to go back and "retrain" something because I skipped it. She is very good at understanding what my motion (or lack of) means. She understands exactly what an arm change means and has no issue working close, or far away. At this point everything is broken down of course, but as I am starting to piece things together she has no problem with it.

Weave poles are coming along really well. She can find an entry from just about anywhere, and is starting to find a rhythm. I found that she had a hard time initially figuring out what to do with her body, but just in the past few weeks I think she's got it sorted it out.

Contacts are my issue. Not hers. She is quite willing to do whatever I ask. But the problem is I have been really indecisive about what I want. She has a great nose touch, and drives into position really nicely. We've been doing lots and lots of backchaining. I think in total she has done maybe three full dogwalks, and two full frames. I have decided though that I am not going to ask her to stop on the frame. I think that I will have a little hesitation at first because of the backchaining into 2on2off position, but once she understands that the reward comes for moving I think she'll get it quick. I am bit worried to give up that control, but I think in the long run it will prevent a lot of stress for me (and for her body). I am still going to ask for a 2on2off on the dogwalk- there is no way I will EVER beat her across...the angle is a lot less severe, so I am not worried about her body as much. I have a plan now about how I am going to teach the running frame. There is SO much information out there it is quite amazing. I have decided though that I am going to use Silvia's method mostly, and modify it for my own needs. It means lots, and lots, and lots of repetitions on a really low a-frame to start. I'll try and remember to post each session on the blog.

And that's pretty much it. I am excited for how well my training has paid off so far...I remember being SO stressed out about doing everything "just so." I do know that without the help of Kim, Terry, and of course Sarah I'd probably still be playing crate games... :o)

Oh, one of my other "goals" for 2010 is to be more organised on my blog. I am going to start tagging all my posts so I can look back and find trial results, training posts, and photos...

Friday, January 01, 2010

Other Breeds

I don't know about any of you, but there has always been a "list" of breeds that I admire and would one day like to own. This list has been in my head since I was 12 years old and mostly has remained the same with the odd change.

One of the breeds I have always loved the look of is an Aussie. The first Aussie I ever spent any time with belonged to my old boss at my first "dog job" (a grooming shop.) This dog was amazing- soft and gentle, yet spunky in agility. Cane was beautiful and I instantly wanted one just like him. They have been on my list as a "possible" for more than 10 years, and now they are off. After living with one for a few weeks, and spending more time with them I've come to realise that we just wouldn't be compatible. I still love the look, but the personality is just too "soft" for me. Among other things, I don't like clingy dogs...(michelle calls Davin a creepy boyfriend who never leaves her side.) I still like the breed, I have just come to the realisation that I couldn't actually own one.

When I first started in dogs I LOVED German Shepherds. Like I had cut outs of them taped to my bedroom wall. Two Shepherds later I am done with that. I think I fell in love with the idea of the breed, and when you spend SO much time around them you can't help but love them. This time I realised a little too late that the breed actually it isn't a good match for me...I love Kate to death, but I would never get another.

There are still plenty of dogs that I would like to have, and have actually added dogs to my original list in the past few months. :o)

Kaleb 14 weeks. Photo by Sarah.

Flatcoats...again, I sometimes wonder if I like them only because I spend so much time with them (there is a breeder in my area, and two of my close friends own them aswell). I am a bit of a flatcoat snob, so it would have to be the "right" kind of flatcoat. But they are a breed that I admire for lots of reasons. The cancer scares me to death, and I would have to take some sort of patience inducing drug, but I do think I could own day.

Parson Russell Terrier...Wicca is actually a Terrier in a corgi body, so mostly it makes sense. :o) I love the feisty-ness of the breed, and the attitude is just amazing. They are so smart, and quick. I pretty much love everything about them. Again, it would have to be a certain "type" of Parson...but I will definitely own one (possibly as my next dog.)

this is Boone's full litter brother Harley

Pyrenean Shepherd. Before Boone I looked after a friends Pyr Shep and fell in love. And then when I got Boone I just knew he was for me. I love this breed. They are like no other dog I've ever met. More like a monkey than a dog. They are athletic, smart, a perfect size, and always try to make you laugh. The one thing I don't like about the breed is the spooky temperament. But- the right puppy, from the right breeder, raised right would be an amazing dog. I would love a smooth face pyr, but to get that would more than likely have to import one from Europe somewhere...that my friends is big money...I'd probably have to win the lottery just to buy the dog. It's still a dream though, and I would get one in a heart beat if I had the opportunity.

and at the end of my short list....

I always said I'd never get one. I remember saying not nice things about people who "cross over to the dark side." Well. Times have changed. I know a lot of border collies. I know a lot of nutso ones, and some very, very nice ones. If I were to get one it would have to be a nice one. :o) Seriously though, I think I have a very Border Collie personality and think that it would be a good match for what I am looking for in a dog. Smarts, Athleticism, Good Lookin', and well smart. Up until a year ago I would never have even considered a Border Collie, let alone admit it on my blog. Not that I have anything against the breed, but I am not a "me too" kind of person, and to get a Border Collie at this point is definitely a "me too" thing to do. But they are so smart. Like really smart- and they are built for agility. And they are now CKC Recognised. And they are cute (Hello??? Is this not cute?) So a Border Collie has definitely made it on to my short list.

Now before anyone gets any ideas, I am not looking for another dog. In fact I won't be getting another dog until one of my current dogs is no longer with me (and that, I hope, is a long time away.) But I thought it would be a good discussion on the blog...