Thursday, July 31, 2008


Bug and I went to Handling class last night and it was GREAT!! Yes, it’s true. Kerry (the instructor) is awesome. There were more than 10 dogs there last night and Kerry really kept everyone moving as well as giving everyone individual pointers that were helpful.

Bug was MUCH happier last night than the previous time we attended. Is this because I was less stressed about class? or because there were many other handler/dogs, including some other novice people? Who knows.

Kerry told me that with herding dogs it is mostly about the head and ears so to try and get Bug all big eared and full of expression. Bug was up on the table 3 or 4 times and by the 2nd time Kerry had trained *me* well enough that I was able to set Bug up to succeed. Yay!

Kerry made class fun enough that I will definitely attend again. Blue mentioned a while ago that she is teaching Iris an “ears” cue for photos – this would come in SO handy in the show ring. Holly and Traci – have you ever considered putting lovely pricked ears on cue for your cardis?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hopefully Practice will COMPLIMENT Instinct

I practiced with the Schnauzers and my training liner yesterday. They LOVE it. Well, Ike likes anything that involves, me, training, treats, and no other people. And Carmen - she's a workaholic! I even worked Evil-Joey!! ; D

Carmen and I are heading out to Gardner this weekend for an Earthdog training. Since we have the liner to practice with and I know she is a nutter for small animals - I am tentatively excited. I HOPE she likes it. I HOPE she'll go in the *real* liner (that is "L" shaped and slightly smaller - my next project). Hope, hope, hope!! I am using "go git 'em" as my cue.

Ike now has the Buggie G/I issue. Depending on how the day goes, Carmie might be going to class tonight....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Herding - Take 2

Today Bug and I went out to Two Shadows Farm for a herding lesson. Colleen had us work in the smaller pen, so Bug would hopefully be more comfortable. He definitely still thinks the sheep are a bit strange and doesn't understand that he is controlling their movement. However, he was immediately willing to walk with me up and after the sheep (this is how we finished last lesson).

Colleen decided to go get her 2 yo Terv Talia for Bug to watch herd. We let Bug and Talia play first and they were a good match in personality and playing style. Bug gave Talia his belly a couple of times but he wasn't melting the whole time - he was playing, too.

He was really interested in Talia working the sheep but not willing to give chase with Talia. We did this for a while and then Colleen put Talia up. Bug was definitely "looser" and more confident about the sheep after watching Talia. Still not 100%. Colleen had a couple of suggestions. The next lesson we have scheduled, Monty and Katrin will also be going. Bug can watch Monty work the sheep first. She suggested that I work with one of her dogs so I can start to learn more of the basics, while she holds Bug outside the pen. Hopefully we will make the Bug want to work the sheep with me! : D

She also suggested taking him somewhere that has sheep and c/t him for watching them. He was fascinated by her sheep on the hill - all eyes and big ears, but he didn't want to look at the sheep in the pen with us - they were too close!

So, I need to find some sheep nearby and get Bug closer and closer. We are going to give it two more lessons and then shelve it until next year if there is no real progress. Colleen thinks as our relationship continues to develop and Bug gets more confident it will probably affect his confidence with the sheepies.

There was a lot of stress sniffing (and delectable smell sniffing) going on, but
I definitely saw an improvement from last lesson where I felt like I was dragging him about!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Equipment Day!

Colleen and I got our signals crossed, so Bug and I have our herding lesson tomorrow morning. As a result I found myself with some time on my hands this morning and decided to put it to good use!

I made Carmen her training liner for Earthdog. I used composite wood and dry wall screws since when I went to Home Depot I could not find any real wood that was already cut to a length I could use. Sorry, I refuse to try and use my wee little hand saw on big ol' boards. The liner is slightly bigger than what she will see at an IQ or trial, but I figure it is good for practice. It is still WAY smaller than an agility tunnel!!

I also finished my table - it has been in my mudroom, unfinished for MONTHS!! I still need to add some sort of "foot" to the PVC legs so that I am 100% confident it will not topple over. In general I am pleased with the nearly-finished product. Since I had the paint out I also painted and added sand to my 6' x 12" board. I have a sneaking suspicion I will be practicing with Bug and the board a lot before we ever try any "big-dog" contacts.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ike's Mosaic

Amanda at ManyMuddyPaws posted a mosaic on her blog courtesy of Flickr and Ike and I just had to try it. I let Ike play the Game and answer all the questions.

the questions:

1. What is your first name? Ike

2. What is your favorite food? Goat

3. What high school did you go to? Maplewood

4. What is your favorite color? Orange

5. Who is your celebrity crush? Celebrity crush?

6. Favorite drink? water

7. Dream vacation? Acadia National Park

8. Favorite dessert? Coconut sorbet

9. What you want to be when you grow up? a dog

10. What do you love most in life? relaxing

11. One Word to describe you. contrarian

12. Your flickr name. huh?

1. A Mystic Dawn of the Taisyo-ike, 2. A GOAT-View!, 3. Sunset Maplewood NJ, 4. Prenent un Bany. Taking a Bath., 5. It's Superman!, 6. Board Meeting #4, 7. Sunrise at Cadillac Mountain - Acadia National Park, 8. 7th Course: Tasting of Ice Creams, 9. Perspective Matters (500 unique and cool people count this photo as a favorite), 10. Arriving at the Italian Riviera, 11. The Great Wall of China, 12. ♫ YO Yo yo, there's no place like a green penthouse... so i told the genie i wanted to be well hung. ^o^ ♫ nah... wildlife from singapore♫

5 Directions # 5

I have been feeding the caramelized onion raw while my in-laws are on vacation. After all, she is staying with me and I feed my dogs raw - it wouldn't be very fair to NOT feed her raw, would it? Does that make me a sneaky, evil DIL? I'll tell you, Carmen's beard and teeth have never looked better! My dh even (FINALLY) acknowledged how much better her beard looks! Anyway, Carmen is now going through detox. : (

Poor pumpkin has been having diarrhea for the past two days (we're at about Day 13 of raw). Needless to say I felt it was better she stay home last night than work! So, I brought Ike to the 5 directions class. We worked on "Go!" and had a blast!

Katrin set up the table, three jumps and a curved tunnel. I worked very hard at not going past the jump in either direction so that I was truly sending Ike to both the table and the tunnel. Also, not running into an invisible wall, i.e. consistency in my speed/motion!!

Ike was much more excited about running to the table than the tunnel. It might be because the tunnel was located toward the front of the barn, so he was heading into the other students and dogs. It might also be that he still just doesn’t like tunnels that much! Not sure.

Katrin realized that I have inadvertently trained Ike to Go with a low arm rather than up and extended (or Ike has trained me). Whenever Ike would question whether I REALLY wanted him to take that tunnel, as soon as I moved my arm like I had a bowling ball in my hand Ike flew into it. Hmmm...makes sense. Ike is quite a contrarian so there are many time in life when I do a bowling ball like swing and say, "Let's Go!" hoping the motion and excitement will convince him that YES, he really does want to walk down the street.

Tessa, the younger Viszla sister to Makin, had a GREAT night last night. Neil and Lael have been bringing her to Makin's class to do some counter-conditioning about the barn. For some reason Tessa had gotten completely wigged out about the barn - she would totally stress in it and be unable to learn, focus, or have fun. Neil and Lael have slowly but surely built up her confidence and last night she was happy as can be IN THE BARN. She even ran the course to cap off the evening. Hooray!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday Night Class – It was all about me!

Just kidding, but I am excited….wait for it…..

………. I was more consistent running Ike, right off the bat! I didn't need to be reminded! Hooray!!

After our first run (the course involved a couple of front crosses and a pinwheel), Katrin commented that I was pretty consistent where it usually takes me a few runs to remember to be more consistent. Yes. Perhaps it is FINALLY sinking in!

I remembered between jumps 2 and 3 to pace myself appropriately the boy. Ike says, “Thank the dog gods. She is finally getting it.” After our second run Katrin asked me to work on my front cross without Ike because she felt like it looked like I was going to break my knee or something else terrible. As we dissected the way I do a front cross we realized I add a second step rather than pivoting/stepping in one movement. Katrin likened it to a dressage horse doing a leg yield (stepping sideways).

I broke my leg in three places many years ago and have a titanium rod that runs from my knee to my ankle in my left leg. Katrin suggested that perhaps that is why I add the second step – that I am compensating – trying to make the movement feel better to me. Try as I might I had a VERY difficult time not doing the additional step. I tried stepping wider and Katrin said it did look better. It felt better in terms of my momentum/control, but it did hurt my knee/shin area. Apparently there is something to the rod theory. We tried it with the boy involved, and Katrin felt Ike appeared to like the cross better without my second step. I can understand why since I always feel herky-jerky.

Ike was a very good boy - he was happy to play all night long. A lot of times he will be happy and raring to go in the first half of the class and then be all done. Last night he was totally chill while Katrin and Ike worked on my mechanics. In the past this would have bothered him and I would have found him at the barn door! "Mum, can we leave now?"

Needless to say I will be working on my physical mechanics!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Act-Up is replacing some of their agility equipment and raffled off the older pieces to club members. I received a call yesterday from Michelle - I won the weaves (for $35) and a steel table. The table is going to Katrin, though. I rarely win raffles, so I am pleased!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Final Communications and Competition Heeling

Okay....I may love agility, but Ike loves obedience (even with his kicked out tush). He grins the whole dang class, every single time. It is mind blowing to me. I must get even more excited about obedience so I can pursue this with the boy. I think I might go so far as to say it is his niche. I find it a bit overwhelming - which is I was so excited for the heeling class. I have no background in obedience - aside from an 8 week course about a year ago with Esther Z.

Funny, I have come full circle. I took the Comp. Obedience class with Esther because I thought Ike was not enjoying agility. Then things really started gelling with agility and I focused on it, finished up the C.O. class and didn't return. Well - Ike doesn't like to trial and he doesn't think agility is as great as I do. So....while I have found the past few months of agility classes with him to be awesome, i.e. he seems to be very happy and in FAST Ike mode, it does not compare to the way he is in Competition Heeling class. He gets jazzed up about heeling.

I think I have said on the blog before that I highly doubt we will never be able to do comp. obedience, what with the stand for examination and Ike's fondness for strangers. Rally, however, is a whole new possible frontier for us and now that heeling makes more sense to me, Ike and I might be able to pursue it.

A few thoughts - I think I need to slow my "normal" pace down for Ike. I have been thinking about this over the week and I tried to do it today and I feel like Ike was better about being "with me." I tend to speed walk and I think Ike is a southern gentleman at heart - there is never a good reason to rush. We worked on transitions today and I think mine were choppy but I feel like Ike handled them pretty well.

I need to work on keeping eye contact with the boy, and walking a straight line. I have discovered this is difficult for me! I will have to shoot Katrin an e-mail and ask her for her feedback. I am pretty pleased with the outcome of the past six weeks - I have LOADS to work on, but I feel like both Ike and I gather that THERE is a concept called heeling!

In Bug's final Communications class we worked on the target plate and going over jump bars to the plate. Even though I think it was hotter and more humid this weekend than last weekend, H-B seemed like he wanted to work more for me. Yay! He still thinks the jump bars are weird and will go out of his way to walk around them. This is something we will be working on a lot - I somewhat-jokingly told Katrin I planned on having jump bars scattered throughout my house.

We also worked on playing in public today. Unlike Ike and Carmen, Bug does not have an issue with this. He loves stuffies, squeakies, and tug - and could care less who is about to see him play. Hooray! (Added bonus - he is not a toy-destroyer!)The heat did put somewhat of a damper on the play - sustained play was just not a good idea and Bug wasn't up for it.

Next steps....Ike is getting an official six-week break. Gulp! I think we will attempt to do some drop-in Rally classes and practice at home. Carmen is taking Katrin's Jumps class which focuses on correct jumping form. I am excited about this - especially since I picked up the Clothier Natural Jumping Method about a month ago. Starting in August I have Carmen entered in at least a trial a month. I really need to work on her weaves so we can enter NADAC Regular classes. I have been lax about them, so I think that will be a focus for both Schnauzers in the coming weeks. Bug will be taking Katrin's 5 Directions class. Should be interesting. He picked up on the target very quickly - I can't wait to continue to figure out how he learns and thinks.

That Smells GOOD!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Ike's Playful DOES exist!

Fast Dogs!

The Bug and his Ball

Schnauzer Grappling!

Carmie Makes a Grass Angel!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Playing in the Heat

With a recent post on the ShowCardi list about a woman's dog dying of heat exhaustion, and the current heatwave we are experiencing, I thought this tidbit from today's CPE Yahoo list was worth noting.

In regarding to the question/concern, when is it too hot to play (agility, flyball, ect.)?:

This vet provided this formula for determining hot weather conditions that put your dog at risk; add the humidity percent to the temperature and if the total is 140 it is the high end of safe - the vet does not run her dogs at this figure, if the total is 150 definitely don't run your dog.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Touch and Ike LOVES C.H.

Today was week 5 in Bug's Communications class. We started teaching a nose touch to a target plate and a hand touch. Both of these skills come in handy in teaching a "Go." As in, go and take obstacles directly in your path until I tell you otherwise. This would be unlike my nearly destroyed "Go" that I abuse and use as a filler word and not an actual command.

ANYWAY! Bug picked up on the nose touch quite quickly, but he is a lazy Corgi! He kept laying down and doing nose touches. Katrin suggested moving the plate after each nose touch. Ta-da. Although, if I did not move the plate quick enough he would lay down again!

Katrin put down a couple of jump bars and the goal was for Bug to cross the jump bar and touch his plate and return. First we had to get over his reservations about the jump bar! Luring with the mama holding lots of cheese did not work - he just kept walking around the bars, even when there were three laid out. Katrin started tossing cheese - Ta-da. One Corgi over a jump bar.

Nose touch was very easy for Mister Bug. Why was it so hard for Ike? Weird! I think this was Bug's best Communications class yet. He worked very hard!

What can I say about Competition Heeling other than Ike adores it. Today we worked on our footwork with our dog. Katrin finally had to draw me a path in the dirt to practice on - I kept accidentally doing about-turns. Oye! I picked up another trick to help Ike not kick his little tush out since he sits quite crooked. If you are using food, hold your treat in your hand so the treat and palm of your hand are facing the side of your leg. You'll have to play with it to figure out exactly where it needs to be for your dog but it helped Ike out immensely.

He is doing so well and he is really enjoying himself. Katrin even saw him prancing with a grin on his face. How can you beat that? Li had a really good point - I was commenting on how much Ike likes this class. She said, well, "he's never more than 3' from you." Hmmm....very true. I can't believe it is already week #5. I am definitely going to have to scope out the drop-in Rally classes at Masterpeace.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

No Earthdog, Bogs Instead

Today I planned on taking Carmen to an Earthdog training in Gardner. However, I have been having difficulty sleeping lately and slept in instead.

Katrin called and we took ALL the boys (six in total) to the old bogs in Halifax. The dogs had an AWESOME time running in and out of water and finding delectable things to roll in.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Happy Ike, Chiro, and Carmie does Switch!

Things have been crazy busy at work and I have been crazy busy out of work, so I haven’t posted.

Tuesday night class Ike was phenomenal. The owners of the barn sat in on class and one of the owners is male and tall. While Ike kept giving him the hairy eyeball, in general he was NOT weirded out by another human watching him. Wow!

He was SUPER happy and wanted to play the entire class even though the humidity was VERY high. I cannot explain it. Katrin and I were talking about it. I think that Bug has given Ike something that I cannot because I am human. He has helped Ike in a way that is intangible. I don’t know, but it is awesome.

I JUST saw that Katrin has posted the course from Tuesday on Monty’s Training Diary. I obviously need to practice weaves with Ike because he did have a bit of trouble with them – coming off the jumps the dogs had quite a bit of speed. Fun course – GREAT night.

Last night Bug had a chiropractor appointment. Dr. Anne added cat's claw to his homeopathic regimen. Cat's claw is very helpful in terms of boosting the immune system and viral infections. He has a small wart that has appeared on his lip and it is probably due to his system being somewhat compromised because of the Lyme and the stress of his new home.

Today Carmen had her fourth 5 Directions class and it went awesome. I have practiced "Switch" with her at home maybe twice and she continued (at home) to be incredibly literal about it. Hmmm. Tonight we started working on "Tight." We had the dog go around a cone toward us - feeding from the hand closest. Carmen immediately understood the concept of "Tight!" When we started practicing "Switch" there was no spinning or adamant attempts to do it the opposite direction. Carmie had a light bulb moment about "switch." Very exciting!

After we worked on "Tight" and "Switch" for a bit Katrin set up a couple of gates. So we asked our dog to go "Tight" around a cone, cone out around a gate, "Switch" around another cone and then another "Out." Carmen was very good! I wish I understood how she learns things.

Then we did the mirror image of this exercise. AND, I almost forgot! I am so proud of myself. I was being very consistent about treating Carmen for "Tight" and neglecting to treat her for "Switch" at the end. This is because she was getting "it" and I am greedy and instead of rewarding her "switch" too, I was trying to go immediately to the "out". It was successful, but I REALLY want her to get "Switch" and want to do it again! So I finally caught myself and rewarded her for a "switch" well done. Hooray! Very fun class!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Communications and C.H. #4, and Misc.

Yesterday was hot, again. Here in N.E. we go from wet and chilly to steamy/stifling. Forget any middle ground!

It was Communications Week # 4. We worked on the space game with our dogs while Katrin worked with each of us individually on our moving “wait.”

I am happy to report that Bug is gaining confidence and his backing up is no longer squishing into a sit when not lured. Hooray! He is getting that the Space Game is a game and seems to be enjoying it more.

When we worked on the moving wait, which involves closing the space between handler and dog to induce a modified stay, I was initially too abrupt and blocky. I eased my transition a bit more and that allowed us to be much more successful. First I rewarded Bug for staying one second without me moving. Then I stepped back a step. Apparently I fed Bug too many treats (or maybe it was the air quality) because we were walking along and he puked and then he ate it all up. No warning for either! After that we had some water, a potty break, and took “five.”

C.H. was a great class – for me. Poor Ike, I forgot that this week was no dog and we were going to be working on footwork! D’oh. Ike could have been watching TV with dad in the a/c. Shhhh….don’t tell him.

Katrin had us pair up with another student. One student acted as the handler and the other acted as the dog; then we reversed roles. Katrin then walked us through a course or the movements? Not sure what to refer to it as. It was really interesting. I found as the dog I watched the handler’s feet – which clued me into how important that footwork is. As the handler I had a horrific time with turns – I had absolutely no clue how to do them or what to do with my feet! Eeek. It was a really informative exercise; it reminded me of how much a dog has competing for their attention!

After everyone had completed this exercise we worked on footwork. When turning Right Katrin recommended placing our left foot in the top “T” position and the moving forward with or right leg in the new direction. Turning Left we did the opposite, placing our right foot as the top of the “T” and moving forward on our left leg.

To do an about turn do two right turn “Ts.” VERY confusing stuff. I can see this is something I will be practicing alone and with dog for quite some time!

Both boys had baths when we got home which must have felt good given the heat and Bug got a blow-dry (of course!). My neighbor came outside while I was drying him and thought I was “performing surgery” of some sort! Very funny.

This morning we had a somewhat disappointing walk. Sad to say that thirty minutes of a walk can be awesome and 1 minute can “ruin” the remaining 5 – 10 minutes. I walked the boys downtown this morning, which I haven’t been doing too much of. Needless to say there were lots of people about. Ike was AWESOME until a older woman asked me about Bug and LOOKED at Ike. It is so strange how people don’t realize that staring at a dog can set them off. Ike began barking and she said “Oh, he’s a barker” and started to approach him! Ugh. Not Ike’s fault that it went downhill so quickly. I wish I were quicker; I haven’t mastered dealing with the two dogs when there is a “potential Ike situation.” It is mostly a non-issue because Bug is not reactive. However it’s easy to get all tangled up. In general disappointing or distressing walks are becoming much more rare – so that is a very positive thing.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Nursing Home & Nellie Visit

Today we all went up to visit my nana who is in a nursing home. She will be 100 years old in November! I think it was Bug's first time in a nursing home and he handled it like a pro - he rode the elevator without a care in the world.

Afterward we stopped to see Nellie and my mum.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July

Yesterday I finally bought a kiddie pool for the boys. Bug loves to go in any water he can find and it was REALLY hot yesterday. It took me years to convince Ike that he wouldn't melt if he stepped in water. He now happily hops in and out of the pool - he recognizes that it does cool him off. He's not willing to just hang in it though.

Even though Bug's eyes are closed, so it is technically not a good picture, I LOVE IT!

My brother is coming!

What's up?

Trying to convince the onion she won't melt.

This is as close as we got....

Happy boy!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Breed Handling

Repeat with me, Learning is stressful.

Last night Bug and I went to the drop-in breed handling class at Masterpeace. Kerry Boyd, an all-breed handler, typically runs the class. When Bug first came home with me, Kerry and I exchanged quite a few e-mails and I had plans of immediately starting her class. The doggies had other plans - they have had chiropractor appointments on Wednesday for the last couple of months which equals no handling class. Chiropractor takes precedence. Finally, last night no one had a chiropractor appointment!

Cat started attending this class with Tessie right around the time Bug came home and it sounds like she has enjoyed it to date, which reassured me. Last night there was a substitute instructor as Kerry was getting ready for the shows this weekend in Springfield. There were also only two other dogs and handlers in the class, a GORGEOUS Viszla bitch and a male Keeshond.

Unfortunately for me, there wasn't a ton of actual instructing. The woman was very nice, but her experience is in handling Great Danes and she didn't really seem to know how to deal with a COMPLETE and UTTER novice. The other two people attending class had a little bit of experience and quite a bit of experience. She had us stack the dog (which I do not know how to do), stand for the judge's inspection, gait the dog in a triangle, do some freestacking, and more gaiting.

SO, not a rousing success. I actually thought I was going to throw up for a while I was so nervous and the lack of newbie instruction was torturous for me. We did do a little bit of play time because there were only three dogs and it was an hour class - and the dogs were getting brain fried. Bug was super! He didn't do any "I wanna play, oh maybe I don't." He was confident, happy, and adored the Viszla.

So, my goals are to work Sue Ailsby's Conformation Stacking and put "Stand" on cue. Also, turn Bug's show lead into a cue.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tuesday Nite

Woo-eee, Ike is being fun. Now that we have come to an agreement about not trialing and I try to listen to him more, we are really making progress. Go figure (loads of sarcasm)!

Last night Katrin set up a fast course after a couple of weeks of hardcore focusing on "switch" and being all twisty, curvy, and potentially demotivating to certain dogs. I tried to recreate the course below- it is not exactly right, but it's easier to give you an idea of what I was doing where and when I was having "issues."

Our first run Ike kind of lost his motivation between jumps 2 and 3 and came off jump 3 SUPER wide. Totally my fault. Originally I thought it was where I crossed, but it was more that I continued to move and wasn't leading with my body directly to the tunnel, so he redirected to me and not the next obstacle.

At jump 7 I was trying to add a bit of distance and Ike thought he was coming with me, so I stopped and waited and Ike said, "Oh, you want me to take THAT jump? Sure." Good boy! I front-crossed between 9 and 10 which was a disaster because I was WAY too far ahead of Ike. Eeek. From that point on I crossed between 8 and 9.

Our next run we worked on using the monkey as a motivating toy. A few things I did successfully and not so successfully...... First, I did not throw the toy too far (or hit anyone)! Success!! Two, I repeatedly threw it the first time, and Ike said, "huh?" Not-so-successful. Lesson - one throw is enough! Three, I have a tendency to toss the toy and watch. Not-so-successful. Especially with Ike a dog who would much prefer to have a party with me versus alone. Lesson - NEVER just throw the toy - always go with (making sure not to crowd Ike, of course).

Nancy (with AS Remy) and I were talking between runs and she commented on how Ike slows down when I slow down and she reminded me of a very key lesson I learned this winter and wasn't implementing.

Consistency in speed and handling. This is so important with ALL dogs, but particularly Ike - a dog who cringes at the thought of being wrong.

Our final run Katrin asked us all to think of one thing we wanted to try and push - after all you don't move forward by being static. For me, since I had obviously forgotten my winter-lesson, I wanted to try and have Ike take the first turn off jump 3 tighter and work on being more consistent in my movement thereby reinforcing his movement.

The difference in the way Ike runs when I am being conscientious about my body movement is tremendous. It makes the entire run SO much more fun - for both of us, I think.

Everyone had a great class last night (in my opinion) and I realized what I am really enjoying about this session is how different the handlers and dogs are and what they are striving for; the fact that they are STRIVING to attain a better working relationship with their dogs.

Callie, Matt, and Julie are a young team but they are learning at such a breath taking speed. Callie (AA) was born to run NADAC courses - she has such distance and speed. Nancy and Remy are a really solid team, but instead of being static Nancy is really pushing both herself and Remy to be better. She's trying things in class, using the time to really learn. I have known Shaya and Tom (AA) for many years (via the shelter) and this is by far the most connected I have ever seen them. Kim and Opal (GH) are very new to agility and Opal has a very different learning style than the family’s other dog (Tom), which is challenging. Jenn and Steeler (Dal) are new to our class. Last night was their third class at the indoor and we had an opportunity to see how well they can work together.

I almost forgot the evening’s true break through – it was a NO-Bark-at-Nancy night!! Since we started taking classes with Katrin, Ike has barked at Nancy. It doesn’t matter how often we see her – he barks at her. Last night, not only did he not bark at her, he stood up on the bench and offered her various begging behaviors! This follows last week were he actually stood up on Katrin’s leg and displayed true Ike-affection to her!

Katrin said last night, he is getting braver by the second, and I think it is true. And I swear it is Bug who is responsible!! So, good class in terms of agility, the mechanics of running a course together, and challenging ourselves and GREAT class in terms of Ike’s issues with people.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Car Safety Continues

I am obsessed – I admit it. Or obsessive?

Yesterday as I was leaving work (my office space is above a Trader Joe’s) I noticed that the woman who parked in my parking space left her dog in her black BMW with the windows cracked maybe 3 inches. The air quality was terrible yesterday – it was hot and humid – easily in the 80s with a humidity percentage of 78. My car felt like an oven. I felt compelled to park and find her in the store and tell her that she was putting her dog’s health in jeopardy. Let me assure you I was not warmly received.

For you caring and dog savvy folk out there I KNOW car safety is a no-brainer, but for a lot of the “mainstream” dog owning public it apparently is not.

So, please forward this to friends and family who might not be aware they need to be educated.

From the Humane Society of the United States website:

“On a warm, sunny day windows collect light, trapping heat inside the vehicle, and pushing the temperature inside to dangerous levels. On an 85-degree Fahrenheit day, for example, the temperature inside a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes. After 30 minutes, the temperature will reach 120 degrees. At 110 degrees, pets are in danger of heatstroke. On hot and humid days, the temperature in a car parked in direct sunlight can rise more than 30 degrees per minute, and quickly become lethal.”

A relatively recent (2005) Stanford University Medical Center study titled, PARKED CARS GET DANGEROUSLY HOT, EVEN ON COOL DAYS…., found that on days with a high of 72, the temperature in a car can spike to 96 degrees.

“Their results, published in the July issue of the journal Pediatrics, showed that a car’s interior can heat up by an average of 40 degrees F within an hour, regardless of ambient temperature. Eighty percent of the temperature rise occurred within the first half-hour.”

Even scarier, this study found that leaving the a/c on in your car only delays the temperature spike by 5 minutes!

From the San Francisco State University Department of Geosciences Study (2007) HYPERTHERMIA DEATHS OF CHILDREN IN VEHICLES:

Average elapsed time and temperature rise
10 minutes ~ 19 deg F
20 minutes ~ 29 deg F
30 minutes ~ 34 deg F
60 minutes ~ 43 deg F
1 to 2 hours ~ 45-50 deg F
“Cracking” the windows had little effect
Vehicle interior color probably biggest factor

From the Animal Protection Institute Study HOW HOT DO CARS GET:

Dogs do not have the best cooling system – this is a fact. “Panting and drinking water helps cool them, but if they only have overheated air to breathe, dogs can suffer brain and organ damage after just 15 minutes.” [HSUS]

Please be smart – do not leave your dog in the car unattended with the windows cracked on a hot day. You wouldn’t consider leaving a child, would you?

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Thanks for listening!