Saturday, May 30, 2009

Addicted to Agility - Saturday

Today started out rainy and ended up being gorgeous! Carmen was entered in Chances, Jumpers, and Tunnelers. Bug was entered in Tunnelers.

Chances was the first run and Carmie was a bit slow and not willing to work away from me at all. Not a single dog in the Open or Novice classes got the distance challenge! I made a copy of the map and will post it tomorrow - I left it at the site tonight. I would consider that there were three distance challenges, really - Carmie got one that actually involved an out past a tunnel entrance, so I am happy about that.

Carmie was moving faster than I expected in Jumpers given the sun and I had to change plans and rear cross into the tunnel. Coming out of the tunnel we had a moment of disorientation/disconnect at the next obstacle - a jump. I acted rather quickly, for me, and went around the jump on the opposite side and got Carmie going again. It wasn't pretty but I am happy I was able to get her to re-engage so quickly. Q/1.

Tunnelers was a short and sweet course; perfect for Carmie given this trial moved faster than any other this year and it was still quite bright. I was a wreck that Carmie was going to go from tunnel to sun and not be able to see and was therefore SUPER vocal with her. Much more cheering and yelling than usual. Guess what? Fastest run we have had in a while. So....perhaps I need to cheer more - not just give more direction, but encourage her more verbally? I try to throw in a lot of good girls and yes's, but in this run I used lots of clapping (which I tend to do more of in Tunnelers as it moves so quick and I want her to be sure and know where I am and where I am going), go-go-gos, and verbal praise. Hmmmm.... Q/3 in a big class. Yay, Carmie!! She was 7 seconds under time!

This was Bug's first Tunneler run and I swear it was easier than last night's Fun Run, which is not a bad thing! He nailed it. We were very connected and he moving so well and was so responsive. I truly couldn't be happier with his performance. He's a great boy (can you see me smiling?). Q/3 (and .23 seconds faster than Carmie).

Tomorrow Carmie is entered in Touch n Go, Jumpers, and Chances. I might scratch Chances as it is later in the day and TnG and Jumpers are first thing in the morning - I haven't decided yet. Two great days in a row. How lucky am I?

Friday, May 29, 2009


Carmie finished her Novice Hoopers title tonight with 2 Qs. First run went very smoothly and she had no problems seeing (Q/2) - it was about 6:15 p.m. and I was concerned because it was very overcast and the sun was setting.

Second run, it was definitely dusky and I asked if Carmie could move to the top of the novice dogs (they were running big to small). The club (Addicted to Agility) knows about her eye issue and let her run first - before the Elite dogs (classes were running Elite to Novice). I am so thankful. She had one moment of disorientation and then another where she woo-woo'd at me while running! I replied, "I know - it's hard!" She's such a great girl. just squeaked under course time by 1.61 (Q/3)! Hoopers Novice small dogs must run under 40.8 seconds - Carmie's time on her second run was 39.19 - 14 seconds slower than her first run.

They have changed the rules slightly for Hoopers from the last time we ran it. Now Novice dogs must do 3 non-test hoops, a series of test hoops, 2 non-test hoops, and then a series of test hoops. In the past it was 3 non-test, series of test hoops, 3 non-test, series of test hoops.

While I was nervous about the dusky lighting, I am very glad I entered the classes. Carmie and I had a lot of fun!

Not to be left out, Bug ran in a Tunnelers Fun Run and did a great job sticking with me. He thinks tunnels are great fun! We saw Steeler and Jenn do a few fun runs, too.

We also had the opportunity to meet our blog friends Nancy and Stewie in person. Very cool!

Tomorrow Carmie is entered in Jumpers, Chances and Tunnelers - light permitting. Bug is entered in Tunnelers. Hopefully we will have nice weather!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Great News!

Bug saw Cheryl yesterday and he held all his adjustments, AND..... he displayed the least amount of tightness since his injury!!


Sunday after herding I was very nervous and stretched, massaged, AND iced him. He seemed fine Monday. Tuesday after our hike I stretched and massaged him and it appears to be working. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy!! My corgi who holds his adjustments is back.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Today I did not go to agility class. Things have been stressful with the broken dh and even after a 3-day weekend I needed a mental health day. So, the boys and I went for a hike at Borderland State Park about 10 minutes from my house.

I figured the hike would help me decompress and start to get Bug back in shape. Due to his injury a lot of the muscle he had formed got soft. We did 5 minutes of flat walking, 25 minutes of hill/rocky hiking, 15 minutes of flat walking. Then I stretched the Bug in the parking lot. More massage to come tonight.

Due to the uneven ground surface, hiking is a great way to build core muscles up. We are scheduled to see the chiropractor tomorrow night and it will be interesting to see how she thinks Bug feels after herding and hiking.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Carmie's Sunglasses

Here is Carmie with her new sunglasses on.

Today I set up a set of six weaves, jump, curved tunnel, and a jump. I practiced sending her over the jump and into the tunnel from about 10' away.

Once the sun seemed to start bothering her I put the sunglasses on. She seems to be willing to do two obstacles before trying to shake them off. She did weaves, jump, shake her head. Jump, tunnel, shake her head. Hmmm.

The big problem with the head shaking is that the sunglasses do move - I will try to tighten them more. At one point she also pawed at them, so.....not sure this will work. I'll try again and see. The fact that she was capable/willing to weave with them on is pretty darn cool.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Bug's herding lesson today was awesome. I had a different dog than last time we had a lesson (late December). We worked sheep and Bug was totally into the sheep! And I remembered to watch my stock and not my dog! Breakthroughs for both of us. We worked, took a break (Bug is still heavy and it was hot), worked, took a break. On one of the breaks I was saying how hard I find herding. Diane and her friend guessed it probably takes about 5 years for the handler to become comfortable. Oh dear! At least I have one year under my belt (altho does it really count given the breaks? hmmm...).

A couple with two Pems and two Cardis were there to meet Diane and watch our lesson and Diane's friend work her dogs. They opted to have their new Cardi herding instinct tested. It was interesting to watch (I had never seen a herding instinct test before). He was VERY into the sheep and wanted to hold them in one space. He had very strong eye, Diane said.

Then Diane's friend worked ducks with her two Aussies. The ducks were not being that cooperative! They kept escaping. Unfortunately all of Diane's ducks were killed by a fox in the early spring, so these are new ducks and like I said, not that cooperative. The new ducks are Crested Indian Runners - they have little powder puffs on top of their heads and don't stand quite as upright as the Indian Runners. Diane said she has 40 Indian Runner eggs incubating and once they are hatched it is about 7 weeks before they are fully feathered and can be worked lightly. At about three months they can be worked regularly.

One of the best parts about herding is I have a very tired, happy (and dirty) corgi afterward!

Poor Butchered Boy

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Ike's furnishings/feathers, that is. Today I groomed the Schnauzers and tried one of the comb attachments for my clippers. So many people who groom have told me how much they like them. I typically scissor my Schnauzers' furnishings. Boy, does Ike wish I kept doing that!! He is butchered. He was my guinea pig - and he looks AWFUL! Yuck. Thankfully his cuteness makes up for the terribleness of the snap-on comb clipping. Needless to say, I scissored Carmie. Fortunately their fur grows VERY fast!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Dental Care

I mentioned to Cheryl that I was very concerned that Carmie might need a dental sometime soon. She recommended a homeopathic remedy called Fragaria Vesca (woodland strawberry).

Acts on digestion and mesenteric glands. Prevents formation of calculi, removes tartar from teeth and prevents attacks of gout.

Apparently Fragaria is excellent for softening plaque. You can give it weekly as a preventative or daily for one month for more intense cases. It softens the plaque to a point that it comes off easily with brushing. For dogs the recommended dose is 3C. I ordered mine at Washington Homeopathic Products (they didn't have it at Whole Foods).


Yesterday both boys saw our chiropractor Cheryl. Bug saw Cheryl because he has a herding lesson this weekend and I wanted to be sure he is in good enough shape to keep it. Ike saw the chiro because he had a GI bout; poor Ike. It is not uncommon for dogs who experience severe diarrhea and vomiting to lose their pelvis or points in their lower back (both are related to the GI).

I am now fairly confident that a lot of Ike’s extreme GI issues are stress related. ::NEWSFLASH:: Ike is sensitive! John had knee surgery on Monday. The surgery was more intensive then we had been led to believe it would be. Tuesday a technician came to the house with a Continuous Passive Motion machine (CPM) to teach John how to use it.

Tuesday night Ike became ill with explosive diarrhea and vomiting ending around 3 a.m. with colitis. Nice. I used his homeopathic remedy to great success. The entire incident started at 4:30 p.m. (Tues) with a very small bit and ended at 3 a.m. (Wed) – less than 12 hours. We did have a small accident in the house yesterday during the day, but no more blood.

Last night he received a tablespoon of steel cut oats and boiled hamburger and off we went to see Cheryl. I am glad I brought him. His lower back was hard as a rock. He did hold his pelvis which speaks to his overall improved health.

Bug continues to improve. His pelvis held and Cheryl did a nice “tune-up” on him. She did some more muscle trigger point therapy with him as he is still a bit tight – although nothing compared to what he was. She noted that his dysplastic side was tighter, which makes sense. She also adjusted the bottom of his hind feet which she felt might help his jumping form. She said it helps with proprioception.

Proprioception, also often referred to as the sixth sense, was developed by the nervous system as a means to keep track of and control the different parts of the body.

She showed me a DIY method so I can do it at class, too.

Other than recommending I give him Traumeel before his herding lesson, she thinks he is good to go! Yay! Now, I will state I obviously wasn’t thinking when I made a herding lesson at a location that involves driving on the Mass Pike during a holiday weekend!! Ah well!

FYI - "Followers" Widget

I removed the Blogger "Followers" widget. It was causing the page to abort in Internet Explorer.

Thanks, Cat for the heads up and Blogger Help Group for the answer. If Blogger successfully fixes the problem I will add the widget back. Apparently the issue is ONLY in Internet Explorer. Firefox, Mozilla, etc are fine.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Return to Tues. Nite Classes

Classes were excellent last night. We worked on short sequences involving jumps, tunnels, the a-frame, distance, and discrimination. I was VERY pleased with both my dogs.

First the Bug….

After the Baxter-Bug snafu a few months ago I brought a crate to class and worked on sending Bug to his crate and having him chill in his crate between runs. Then Bug got put on the DL (disabled list) and upon his return to the normal rotation, having a solid stretch and massage routine trumped everything. Since Bug’s injury I have been bringing a mat into class to kneel on while I stretch him and massage him. This mat turns out to have a dual purpose.

We can stretch and massage on something other than sand and then work on chilling on the mat while other dogs work; an unstructured Control Unleashed “Go to Place.” Cool. I am incorporating a lot of Katrin’s Communications into it, i.e. Bug has to seek out my eyes. Just staring at me doesn’t cut it. Knock on wood, it is working REALLY well.

For a while Bug was very over stimulated in class. He was barking at poor Neil (classmate); barking at Baxter if he barked; being a nudge in general. The main thing that came to mind as a probable cause was/is that my landlord is having work done on her portion of the house – so there is construction noise during the day.

Prior to the Bug-Baxter snafu I did not crate the dogs during the day. However, Katrin and I hypothesized that Bug’s cortisol levels were elevated due to the stress and noise of the construction workers – combined with the fact that he had free range to run around and get himself even more wired.

I bought a DAP diffuser and started locking the dogs in the bedroom –which is on the opposite side of the house from the construction. Once the weather changed I left the door open, but gated the room. I truly believe the DAP diffuser combined with having a smaller space and the work I have been doing to engage Bug and keep him connected to me have been key. Phew! What a relief!

Back to last night – Bug was excellent on his mat and he continues to get better about tolerating the stretching and massage.

During his run he was very responsive to being “sent” to the distance challenges; mini, though they were. He also had absolutely no hesitation about the A-frame! Talking about it with Katrin….if the A-frame length is 9’ then the apex height in CPE would be 5’ 3” – higher than what he sees in class. Could it be the height difference? The other factor remains the rubber. Hitting a slatted metal or wood A-frame doesn’t “feel” the same as hitting rubber. The rubber absorbs much more of the shock. Either way, we are planning on seeking out different contact equipment to practice on.

The other thing Katrin noticed is that he wasn’t collecting when he jumping. Not sure why. It could be that when he finally starting enjoying jumping he was recovering from an injury and so wasn’t fully utilizing his rear. It could be the mild HD in his right hip. Either way, Katrin recommended working some jump grids with him (รก la the Clothier method) to ensure he knows how to use his hind end correctly and prevent future injuries due to poor jumping form. I asked her about scheduling some half-hour privates as I think that would be a better (more constructive) way for us to work toward sound jumping form.

All in all I was super pleased with the Bug last night.

On to Carmie....

Carmie was in great form last night! She was in high gear and SUPER happy. She was MUCH better about the discrimination issues than usual (or perhaps [and more likely] I am becoming more consistent with how I handle them). We still had a few moments where I was doing everything right and she definitely made her own decision about which obstacle to take, but not many. I was also able to add a fair amount of distance which is exciting and long term goal of mine.

The biggest issue regarding the discrimination issues is that I NEED to remember to halt my forward motion if I feel like she isn’t committed to the obstacle of my choice. Also, she has a SUPER “here” command and I need to remember to use it. I also need to remember to use my “out” command. I really need to practice “out” - I am not nearly as confident about it as I am “here” and Carmie can feel/hear it.

I don’t feel like I was as consistent as I could have been about when I cued Carmie to jump. I am aiming for a length and a half before the jump. Hopefully consistency will come with practice.

It was GREAT class for Carmie.

In other Carmie news, multiple people have suggested Doggles for her. I e-mailed CPE and NADAC about whether there was any possibility of her running Doggles on. I strongly suspected the answer would be no. CPE said, no – safety issue. NADAC said if I could take video proving she can run safely with them on, than yes – she could run with them.

I immediately went to the Doggles web site to order a pair and discovered they have something called K9 Optix sunglasses which do not appear to impede the peripheral vision as much. While the protection of the eye isn’t as complete as it is with the Doggles, I suspect the lack of peripheral vision would impede her desire to play agility with them on.

I did not order pink! Although if they had NADAC purple I might have considered them!

They arrived yesterday. It is suggested that you put them on outside on a sunny day so the dog immediately notices the difference. With shipping it was a $20 investment. If it is a possibility and effective then it is a priceless investment. We will see.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Bug Debut Pics


I am re-reading Control Unleashed with the intent of working the exercises with Bug. It has been well over a year since I read it originally.

Bug waits at at thresholds, but once he is released he is off in his own head and I often cease to exist. A very easy exercise to add to our waiting game is for me to stop and wait for him to re-orient to me ( pg. 72). C/T. At the moment it is taking between 20 - 30 seconds for the little Bugger to re-orient. Of course, Mr. Smarty-Pants-Schnauzer figured this out in about 3 seconds. However Ike also thinks I am a goddess, training rocks, and food trumps just about any other stimuli.

It will be interesting to see how the Bug progresses. I think that this exercise will benefit us a lot. Bug is bright, so if I can break through the attraction of the great outdoors and he makes the connection that re-orienting allows him to smell the flowers (as they say).... we'll be set.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Vari-Kennel, Take 3

It didn't take Bug half as long to warm up to the Vari-Kennel today and I got some solid repetitions of him turning in the crate bottom and sitting. Prior to that he was moving into the crate bottom much more quickly and confidently. All positives. I interspersed tugging to keep it light and happy.

Meanwhile Ike is having the best time. I attempted to tug with him to mix up his session too. He initially eagerly gave chase to the sheepskin tug, but then detoured back to the crate bottom to offer a sit. Goober. He finds the fleece/rabbit tug much more exciting. I will be sure to have that downstairs next time.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ike, my Dear Goober

At 6.5 years old, Ike is finally beginning to be comfortable in his own skin. I mentioned in passing how silly he was last night when I was shaping the Vari-Kennel bottom.

The first time I ever tried to do any shaping with Ike he sat and stared at me – totally stressed. The only thing he would offer was a sit. And he wasn’t really offering it – it was a default behavior. Now he thinks that offering behaviors is the BEST-EST fun ever. Hooray!! It makes me so happy to see his eyes shining, his brain whirling, and no worry at all about possibly being “wrong.”

This morning on our walk he was very interested in a half-barrel planter. The planter was full of dirt, but no flowers.

Ike was walking around it sniffing the dirt in it.

Twice he put his paws up on the rim and before I knew it he had hopped up and was standing on top of the barrel sniffing. It was very funny.

It would have been even funnier if he opted to go the bathroom there!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Vari-Kennel, Take 2

Today I watched the trouble-shooting portion of Crate Games and took the cap off my Vari-Kennel. I played with Ike first. I wish I videotaped it; he is hysterical. He offered so many behaviors. We did finally get go in the crate bottom and sit. Such a good boy.

Then on to Bug. Holly thinks he might be using his cardi wiles and playing me as he ate his dinner in a Vari-Kennel when he lived with her. Either way, I am shaping this behavior and not rewarding anything else.

We started by looking at it. Sniffing it. Then one paw in. Then two paws. I took a break every 5 - 7 clicks and played tug with his rabbit/fleece tug. Then back to work. Then all four paws in and FINALLY, all four paws in and turning around. For a while he was scooting out backwards which, while it speaks to his hind end awareness also seems like a scaredy dog behavior to me. Since ultimately I want him sitting in the back of the crate, the turning in the crate bottom was highly desired. We did that three times and stopped for a rousing game of tug and called it a night.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vari-Kennel Fear/Dislike

I have been incorporating the Crate Game premise into the boys interactions with their car crates (wire) and soft crates. A couple of months ago I had purchased a Vari-Kennel on Craiglist and tonight I had some free time. I thought I would take our Crate Game playing to the next level - play it for REAL - work past the Are You a Gambler Stage (Stage 2).

I have a large mud room that was probably a porch at one point. It is where I work on a lot of agility and obedience related things during the winter. The Vari-Kennel is in this room. I decided I would work with Bug first since he was acting like a wild man. I had bought some maple cured turkey as a high value treat.

Bug didn't even want to LOOK at the Vari-Kennel. I am not joking. He thought it was creepy. So, I waited and waited and waited. And Bug offered me downs galore...closer and closer to the crate, but still he would not get in. Finally I put some turkey at the very back of the crate. Bug looked at it, downed, barked at me, looked away. Nope, no dice.

I put more turkey in the back of the crate. Minutes pass, Bug downs, barks, looks away, stands up, downs. Finally, he GINGERLY puts a paw into the crate. Only to turn around and run away. Okay. He comes back....two paws in the crate, then bolts. This went on for some time. Finally he was confident enough to reach the turkey at the back of the crate and eat it.

I repeated the turkey at the back of the crate and then quit for the night. We'll have to get over the Vari-Kennel fear before we play any Crate Games in it. :-) It is odd because he loves his soft crate and doesn't mind his wire crate. Ah well....Bug is Bug.

Ike thought Crate Games in the Vari-Kennel was a blast. We also worked on some downs with duration and he was MUCH better than last time we practiced. I think the time off (a few weeks of not much practice of anything) was good for him.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

What a Difference

This weekend I realized that less than a year ago Bug was afraid of jump bars that were laying on the ground .... alone, no stanchions, nada .... just jump bars. This year, while it might have been a bit early, he was entered in his first trial! Wow. What a difference. To see pictures visit the photographer's web site, click on the Act-Up Trial link and check out pages 19 and 25. He looks so handsome!

Bug is feeling a million times better. I can tell because he has been sitting pretty, jumping up on me, hopping in the bed, playing like mad, and being a wee little pest. Hooray! What a difference from a few weeks ago when his abdominal muscles spasmed when you touched them.

Time, patience, and a little elbow grease can do a world of good.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Act-Up CPE Trial – Part II: Carmie

Where to start…..let’s see…. Saturday was a TOUGH day. It was cold, wet, and when the rain finally stopped there was a lot of GLARE. It was not a day made for running Carmen.

The first run of the day was Fullhouse and we had a super run. It did not go according to plan, but there was flow and we had a very nice run. Q/1

The next three runs Regular, Wildcard, and Snooker were all complete busts. In each one it was obvious Carmen was having a really difficult time seeing. There were multiple moments of disorientation where she stopped dead and air sniffed. It wasn’t easy to get her going again. I admit I was initially befuddled – it was somewhat overcast. Then I looked upwards and the glare was so brutal it hurt my eyes. Ah…

Regular Level 2 contains the weave poles. This trial was the first time I have intentionally entered Carmie in classes with weaves. We are in Level 3 Wildcard, Fullhouse, and Snooker – so we would see weaves there, too (but you can plan around them in Fullhouse).

The Regular run was “just okay” until right before we got to the weaves. The jump before the weaves Carmie had a moment of disorientation – I was finally able to convince her to jump. Then the weaves – Carmie blew by the entry and started weaving. We attempted to re-start and had the same problem. Let me be clear, Carmie’s weaves are a work in progress, there was glare, we were coming off the moment of disorientation, and the photographer was directly ahead of the weaves taking photos! No…there were too many factors and none of them were good. So, I said screw it and continued on. There was perching on the a-frame, which only happens when she can’t see. It sucked. We went way over time (unusual with carmie!).

Wildcard, I honestly cannot remember what happened. There was a set of six weaves that were unavoidable. We must have attempted them. I honestly don’t recall.

Snooker went okay, it would have been salvageable – we could have Q’d without completing the closing. However we had FOUR moments of disorientation and only made it to #5 in the closing before the whistle blew. Just as well, I am sure our weaves would have been pitiful.

IT SUCKED. I think I should have scratched her, but I have such trouble telling when she can see and can’t.

The next class was Colors and she ROCKED it. The sun was behind trees and nearly set – she ran at the top of the 8” dogs so we would still have enough light. She almost had an off-course but I was able to call her off it. I couldn’t believe she called off the jump. She was inches from taking it, but she did and she didn’t waste any time getting back to work. Q/1 and that completes her CL2-H mini-title.

The fact that the first class of the day and the last class of the day she had no-zero-zip issues during confirms to me it is vision/glare related.

Sunday was a clear, sunny day. I opted to run Carmie because it didn’t seem like a very squinty day. That is the common denominator I am finding. If I am squinting Carmie can’t see.

We were entered in L2 Jackpot (similar to Gamblers or Chances), L2 Regular, and L2 Colors. Carmie Q’d/1 in all three classes (51 points in jackpot!). No perching. No moments of disorientation. She did her weaves, she got the baby distance challenge. She did it, she did it.

Technically I should have moved her up to level 3 Colors, but after Saturday I needed less stress, not more. I am glad I stayed in Level 2. Next CPE trial we’ll have had more weave practice and hopefully we will be inside so the lighting will be more consistent.

I need to figure out a way to re-frame Carmie’s loss of sight for myself. It makes me so sad and discouraged when she cannot see and there is nothing I can do. I still haven’t figured out exactly which types of light she has trouble with. Dim light can be a problem, but glare seems to be the worst. Sometimes bright days are fine, depending on the “type” of sun. It’s quite anxiety inducing, and as I said discouraging. When Carmie can see she has SO much fun. When she can’t see my stomach drops to the floor I feel so bad for her.

So, I am thinking during the summer Carmie might be limited to indoor CPE trials where the lighting is consistent. I wish there were more indoor NADAC trials. We are already entered in the NADAC trial at the end of the month. I will probably scratch her from the middle of the day classes. I will think about outdoor trials again at the end of the season when the sun is different. I believe there is a NADAC trial in South Hadley at the end of the season that is in a barn. That would probably be doable. Other than me working on mentally re-framing the issue we really need to work on WEAVE POLES!!!

Act-Up CPE Trial – Part I: Bug

Bug was entered in two runs on Saturday (Regular and Wildcard) and Sunday (Regular and Colors). Saturday morning Cheryl, our chiropractor, gave him the okay to run. He is holding his adjustments well and is not nearly as tight. She did some trigger points, stretching, and an adjustment prior to his regular run.

Bug got to see his brother Ransom and niece Bette in the morning.

Left to their own devices Ransom and Bug would never stop playing. They totally dig each other. Since Bug had just been adjusted we did limit their playing. Bug also got on really well with Bette – apparently in the past she “terrorized” him. Bug is a marshmallow and Bette is a high-drive female – it makes sense.

Regular Level 1, Bug immediately went whirly-gigging about – big wide arcs of running, BUT he came back and worked with me. HOORAY. Bug was just about to go over the double and a tractor trailer released its brakes; did whatever they do that makes a VERY loud noise. Bug nearly hopped into the double stanchion. He was freaked, but he KEPT WORKING WITH ME and went over the double.

The bad news….he didn’t want to take the A-frame (we have only worked on contacts without rubber a couple of times – maybe that is why?). I asked him to take it again and didn’t give him enough room to build momentum (BAD, BAD handler). Gods bless his little doggie heart he climbed the damn thing and I felt/feel TERRIBLE for setting him up so poorly. Gah. Then he would not take the dog walk and I didn’t push it. I am not clear why. It could be something as simple as it looks very different and feels very different than the contact he is used to (typically black rubber with no slats versus painted with slats). Regardless, this will come with time and practice on different equipment.

Cheryl checked him out afterward we were concerned he might have strained something on the A–frame but he was in great shape and not even tight. PHEW!!

Wildcard was a great little run. Bug had his brain and was the dog I play with in class. I think he got all the whirly-gigging out in Regular. :-) He was happy and in good form while jumping and running. We Q’d and placed 1st. Yay, Bug!!! Wildcard involves making three choices while running the course. In Level one you must make two easy choices and one hard. As a result we were able to avoid all contacts. Our “hard” option was a double jump. Bug said, “no problem!”

Stretch, massage, and a brisk walk and off to the crate with him.

Sunday, Cheryl looked at Bug and we were SO happy – he wasn’t tight. His pelvis held! Yes! Cheryl suggested if he refused the contact, to try once more and move on. I agreed whole-heartedly. I think the contacts are a training issue, but I don’t think it is a ring training issue. I think it is a foundation training issue. I think this trial might have been early for Bug, but I am glad I did it. I now have a better idea of what it is like to try and run an intact male dog and what we need to work on.

Sunday, Regular 1 – we didn’t even make it over the first jump – Bug took off to smell a mucky portion of the field right beside us. I got Bug back we got over the first jump, two paws on the dog walk and off to smell the mucky portion of the field. I could not get him to lift his nose and he was acting like I did not exist and he might mark. So, I grabbed the boy and off we exited. Come to find out a dog had gone to the bathroom there a couple of runs earlier. I am sure that had a small bit to do with it and the rest was Bug being Bug.

Second run was Colors – two short courses on the field. Choose one. While we were on the line a Papillion was on the field avoiding capture by her handler. She exited the opposite side of the ring and Bug could see her walking along the fence. He only had eyes for her. When I had his attention I released him from his start-line and off he went to see if he could play. D’oh. I was able to get him back and we did the jump, tire, then he went to see if there really wasn’t any way they could play. I got him back but he refused the a-frame and I did not push it. The rest of the run was beautiful.

All in all it was a good first trial for Bug - 1 Q, 2 PQs, and 1 tosser. As I said earlier in the post, I thought it might be a bit early for Bug to trial and I have been fretting about it. However, this trial was hosted by my club and local. It was CPE. It was a great opportunity to see what’s what. Now I know very firmly what I need to work on.

We need to do fun runs and run-thrus and get used to different equipment. We need to work on some more Control Unleashed and have better focus. I need to be more confident about my start-line. I asked Bug for a sit-wait, but I didn’t move out at all. I realize this in hindsight.

I think I will enter him in a tunneler run the next NADAC trial and continue to work on foundation “stuff,” then we will see where we stand.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Bug's CPE Debut

Tomorrow is Act-Up's 2nd Annual CPE Trial. The premium opened in March. At the time I entered Bug in two Level 1 classes on both Saturday and Sunday. A total of four classes. Two Regular, 1 Wildcard, and 1 Colors.

In Level 1 in CPE there are no teeter or weaves. The course times are generous. CPE Level 1 is an awesome way to get a novice dog (and handler for that matter) acclimated to the ring.

Bug was super at the Tunneler Fun Run a few weeks ago. Since he has had permission to play in class again he has been doing GREAT!!

I am not sure if I will actually run him in both classes on both days. It depends on how he seems. I am lucky that my chiropractor will be on-site and I can ask her to look at him and make sure he isn't too tight, is holding his alignments, etc. I plan on massaging and stretching before and after.

I am both nervous and excited. It will be interesting to see if Bug keeps it together or loses his mind. Anything is possible! I can only imagine how pissed Carmie is going to be that Buggie gets to play too. That's it's not just about her!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Peas in a Pod

These two gentlemen might be
the top couch sitters on the east coast.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Mixed Bag

Last night Bug and Carmie had agility classes. I felt confident running Bug given how well Cheryl feels he is doing. And I have my Traumeel, stretch, and massage routine in place.

Class set-up was a Gamblers/Jackpot course opening (i.e. no gamble to complete – just accumulate opening points). The dogwalk, teeter, chute, and tire were all out. NADAC doesn’t use the tire or chute so we don’t tend to use them a lot in class (NADAC doesn’t use the teeter either, but we do use that frequently). Our local club is hosting a CPE trial this weekend and some of the students are entered – so Katrin made sure the tire and chute were out. I have only seen the chute at one CPE trial – it is used infrequently, but on occasion.

My goal for Bug was to try and keep him engaged, run him through the chute, and hopefully be happy on the teeter. He had a bad fly-off on the teeter in the fall and I want to take every opportunity to reinforce its wonderful-ness.

Bug was stellar. He really was. He is so happy, working so well with me, AND MOVING WELL. A couple of things:

First, there was no hesitation about the teeter. YES!!! I am so relieved. Now I just need to keep working on it, make sure Bug understands his job and stays happy about it.

Second, he gave me Eeyore ears on the dogwalk which leads me to believe I need to make the dogwalk a happier and more exciting place. HANDFULS of cookies upon completing? It is hard to treat a running dog walk….thoughts? It might just be that he hasn’t seen it in a while. He did seem to get more confident as the night went on and he never-ever balked (we did it a few times as it was a 5 pt obstacle) – I just noticed his stress-y ears. Thank god for those expressive ears – they tell a very complete story.

No problem with the chute. He did try to avoid the tire - he did the slinky Eeyore ear bit. Once he took the obstacle he did receive a handful of treats.

All in all I couldn’t be happier with how he ran in terms of structure and working with me. He’s really starting to come along and it is very exciting to witness. We stretched and massaged prior to our runs and after. He does not appear to be tight this morning and will be seeing Cheryl this weekend.

Carmie’s class was a different story. She and I were completely out of sync. She cut behind me a couple of time and kept listing toward me and missing obstacles. It was really, really weird.

With Carmie I tried to use the course as an opportunity to work on some obstacles she has issues with (the chute, and weaves primarily). Our weave poles were awful. Why?! She has been doing so well. I guess this is the learning curve. She had a truly difficult time with them. Ugh. Who knows why – bad night, lighting, etc. They sucked and we sucked at them. YUCK. The first time I ended up switching sides to attempt to assist her and she did end up getting them, but it wasn’t so pretty and they went downhill from there.

She did get through the chute. Gods bless her – she really hates it and CRAWLS through at such a pace. But I asked, and she did it for me – a couple of times.

We missed many jumps because she was listing or cutting behind me. She’s never done that before. I asked Katrin if she thought she should see Cheryl and she said she did not think it was structural – her jumping form looked okay. SO….I guess we will chalk it up to a very off night. I hope I don’t see that version of Carmen often. It is no fun to be so totally out of sync with your dog. Yuck! Hopefully we will be communicating better this weekend!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

One Year with Bug

Yesterday the radio mentioned the Kentucky Derby was today. Which made me realize, Bug has been with us for one year. Last year on a very grey Derby Day we drove out to NY and picked Bug up.

To celebrate a wonderful dog and the joy he brings our family, here is a picture from each month he has been with us (well, two from July). We love the Bug.

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

Today - May 2, 2009
By my side while I type this.