Monday, August 31, 2009


The Pollen Bomb is working. No more weepies eyes for Bug. I am so pleased! If you are interested in trying it with your dog e-mail Lita of Pets 4 Homeopathy (e-mail is on the web site). The Pollen Bomb is not currently listed on her website, but if you e-mail her she can send it off. Cost is $15.00 + $5.95 S+H.

Out of curiosity I decided to try and figure out what is currently in bloom and likely triggered Bug's weepies. I discovered this great web site called: Plug in your zip code and it will tell you the predominant pollens and rate the day on a scale of 1 - 10.

Today, in my zipcode is a 10 - which makes perfect sense given the crushing headache I have. Predominant pollens are: Ragweed, Sagebrush, Sage, and Nettle.

I thought those of you who's dogs appear to have environmental allergies might find this interesting.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Carmie in Class

Today I had a free Sunday and was able to take Carmie to Katrin's class. Unfortunately we got our signals crossed and I thought class was at 2:30. It is at 3:30. So Carmie joined the Foundation class and Katrin gave us exercises to work in that.

First we worked distance on the teeter. Carmen does NOT have a wait on the teeter. I also noticed if I ask her to wait on the teeter and then release her she goes off crooked. Basically jumping off the side. Hmmm...

Katrin had me go in and treat her when I asked her for a wait. She noticed that I was treating the creep! I was not bringing the treat directly to Carmie and she was having to creep for it. Talk about reinforcing behaviors you don't want.

So, there is definitely some work I can do at home with Carmie and the teeter. I might practice having her run the plank - which I'll be doing with Bug - to see if that helps the crooked business. It isn't a big deal because most instances where we see the teeter I can support her. However, I'd like to work on the skill.

Next we worked on distance on the dog walk. There was a series of 4 jumps and then I was able to get at least 10' away from the dog walk, if not more, and have Carmie correctly complete it. When she is in alignment, BOY does she like her contacts.

After the dogwalk sequence, Katrin tried to have me put some distance on the jumps leading up to the dog walk. Ugh. In a little more than a month we have surely lost our edge!! I haven't been doing a lot at home and it shows. I REALLY had to support Carmie. She sat down in front of me! Eventually we did the first two jumps and tossed the treat toward the third. Unfortunately it was a beef treat which blended nicely with the floor. Ah well.

To end we did three jumps leading into two sets of six weave poles. First time through Carmie had nice weaves although I swear I held my breathe! Coming back she had some difficulty with a pole that was white in the second set of six - she kept missing it. She did finally get it though.

So, it was a good class. It is amazing how much you lose by not having a place to practice at home and not having a group class to attend on a regular basis.

Carmie got to meet Sandy's Aussie Tedy and, oh boy, did she like him. She was spinning and about to do the Schnauzer grapple with him! Sandy hypothesised that maybe she likes Tedy because he is intact. Definitely a possibility. I was thinking about it now, though, and she spends a LOT of time with Bug (who is intact) and in more than a year has only tried to play with him once. I think she plain ol' had a crush on Tedy!!


This Friday and Saturday Bug was shown in Cumberland, Maine. Friday he showed about as nicely as I have ever seen him show. He looked GREAT. He won his class and then took RWD to a nice dog.

Typically Bug shows better on day 2, so I was really excited for Saturday. I had a board meeting I had to attend, so John drove him up in the rain courtesy of Hurricane Danny. Unfortunately, Bug did nothing. Who knows if he didn't show well, if it was just the judge's opinion yesterday, or if it was the weather.

Next weekend Bug is being shown in North Conway, NH. Hopefully it will be a success!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


All the dogs saw the chiropractor last night.

Carmen had lost her pelvis. This is not surprising considering her reaction to contacts lately and the GI issues she has been having. The funniest thing was when Cheryl was adjusting some digestive points in her lower back....Carmie burped!! Cheryl said that was a first. It makes sense though.

Ike lost his pelvis again (from LAST week). :-(

I suspect this is all my fault. He is taking a constitutional remedy and I have been SLACKING in administering it because he's been doing so well. I will schedule a call with the homeopathic vet and see what he thinks (and I have started administering his remedy regularly again).

Bug held all his adjustments!!! He doesn't need to see his girlfriend Cheryl for quite some time. Yippee!! Yahoo!!

And.....tomorrow Bug is being shown in Cumberland, Maine. Gulp!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Last night I snuck in a quick agility practice before the sun set.

With Carmen I worked weave poles. They were okay. I think the lighting was already changing for Carmie.

Ike played with the weaves and teeter. Good gods does he love to play the backyard!

Bug worked on the teeter. Amanda is correct that Bug does not find the teeter as scary if I have the ascending side up on the table, not the descending side. He hops up on the table and (at this point) walks the teeter down. Interesting!!

I have to make my table more stable. It is homemade and was made for a 17# dog, not a 34# dog! I am afraid it will collapse and freak Bug out about the teeter more!!

In general I plan on waiting to do anything with Bug until after the outdoor breed shows are done. Last night I got a little bit antsy. I wanted to train! I HATE being out of group classes. It is a major bummer.

Cumberland is this Friday, Saturday. Gulp!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

B-O-R-I-N-G, Allergies, and Chiro

N-O-T-H-I-N-G has been all.

Primary focus at the moment is on showing Bug in breed.

We have been working on basic skills at home and I will probably do some teeter work today, but other than that....not much going on.

Bug is displaying signs of seasonal allergies - weepy eyes and itching his paws. I bathed him yesterday and started him on a homeopathic combination remedy called Pollen Bomb from Pets4Homeopathy. I hope it is effective.

We saw Cheryl, our chiropractor on Wednesday. Bug's pelvis and all of his back was in alignment. This is no small feat for a corgi. He is getting back to his tough little self. Yay, Buggie!

I did gait him for Cheryl because I felt like his hasn't been jumping up on the bed (the biggest jump he needs to make) quite as easily and when Cheryl saw him at the ASCA trial she felt his right foreleg was a bit sore. We opted to do a moving gait adjustment (which is a series of at least two adjustments) and I feel like he is moving better.

I brought Ike because I suspected he wasn't in alignment. His pelvis was out! I don't think Ike has lost his pelvis since he started seeing the homeopathic vet! And he hasn't been sick. I think it might be because I have been slacking on his homeopathic remedy because he has been doing so well.

Next week I will be bringing all three dogs. I am fairly certain Carmen's pelvis is out. She was being a little funny about contacts last time she was on them and she has had two bouts of v/d.

Today I have grooming the Schnauzer and Yorkie on my plate (joy!) and teeter work. Like i said, B-O-R-I-N-G!

Monday, August 17, 2009

More Herding

Yesterday Bug and I had a herding lesson. It was SOOOO hot and yet my boy kept working.

We worked on flanking, driving, and the doggie two-step. I am definitely becoming more comfortable with the rake and my timing is improving. It is a testament to how much Bug likes the sheep that he puts up with my bad timing and novice handling!

We are also starting to put words to things.

I think I have figured out why his "down" in the pen was suffering. On occasion, when Bug is being a nincompoop and cannot get himself in check I will ask him for a down as a sort of time out. I wonder if I have accidentally made down into a punishment?

Needless to say we will be working on lots of downs with high value rewards (toy/tugging or something he doesn't get often as a treat).

After our lesson Diane told me where there is a lake less than 2 miles from her house. I took Bug for a swim and he actually SWAM. He didn't just wade! I was very excited to see him paddling away. I think he was a bit weirded out by it, to be honest. I need to get him swimming more often.

It was the perfect end to his herding lesson. He stayed cool for the rest of the afternoon.

Act-Up ASCA Trial

Saturday Bug competed in his first ASCA trial. My club co-hosts one ASCA trial a year and since I planned on volunteering to work for the day, I thought I would enter Bug. Our judge was a wonderful fellow from Alberta!

One of the REALLY nice things about ASCA is that they have a Pre-Novice class. This is a training class that can be used to get novice agility dogs used to running at a trial. There are no weaves or teeter in the Pre-Novice class and it is not a qualifying run for anything (although they do give placements). Our club offered two Pre-Novice classes each day. I am not sure if that is the norm for an ASCA trial or not.

I entered Bug in Jumpers and both Pre-Novice classes on Saturday.

Jumpers was first thing in the morning and given it got up to about 90 degrees - that is a great thing. I have noticed that Bug and I tend to be disconnected at agility trials. I feel like I can't be guaranteed I am cool enough to keep his attention and have him want to work with me. To remedy this issue we have been going back to basics at home to try and reinforce our relationship.

Saturday the Open and Novice classes were very small. During the Open class I walked Bug around the grounds. We worked on Sit, Down, Touch, and played with the practice jump and his rabbit tug. I also c/t for any eye contact.

I then crated him, walked the novice course, and ran to get him as we were the first dog on the line.

I felt better about our possibilities right from the start line. I felt connected with my dog. The course was very simple and though I walked it with two front crosses I ended up doing one rear cross (smoothly no less) and one front cross. I verbally rewarded Bug much more frequently than is normal for me (I think). This probably could have gone either way - he could have tuned me out or it could work to keep him focused and engaged with me. It kept him focused and engaged. Q/1 and our YPS was the fastest of the 16" and under dogs. We didn't come anywhere near most of the 20" dogs YPS!

Bug had an adjustment after his Jumpers run. The great news is that Bug's pelvis and adjustments held from the last time he saw Cheryl - about 2 and a half weeks ago. This is HUGE. We (the chiropractor and I) decided not to run him in the Pre-Novice classes. Cheryl felt his right foreleg was a little sore. Putting him on contacts with a sore leg when he isn't 100% about contacts to begin with.....Sounds like a stupid idea, doesn't it? So I didn't! Given Bug is going to be showing in breed a lot in the next month I want to make sure he stays sound. Once he is finished and the breed ring weight is off we will become more serious about agility.

I am so glad that Bug's one and only run was first thing in the morning. It was a brutally hot day and most of the people and dogs had run out of steam by the time Regular was being run (mid-afternoon).

I had a good time and will probably get a permanent registration number for Bug so that we can accrue legs toward titles. (Another nice thing about ASCA is they accept mixed breeds and you can enter a trial without having a registration number. The legs earned without a permanent number just don't count for anything.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Herding, Training, and Frights

I am on a mini vacation this week - I go back to work tomorrow.

Monday I took Bug for a herding lesson. All I have to say is WOW. I repeatedly left the pen with my jaw on the ground. Who is this dog? I love him!

Seriously though, every lesson we have proves to me how much Bug LOVES herding (and he loves it more at each lesson). It is ridiculous.

Monday was sweltering and Diane had set our lesson up so that there was another student there. Bug would work for a bit and then the other student and her dog would work. The other dog was a PWC who doesn't have a lot of drive. I watched Diane have the dog's handler do a lot of the things she had me do with Bug to get her corgi excited. For example, she had her move the sheep from pen to pen - stop the dog before she moved into the second pen and throw a party.

With Bug we worked on flanking and the doggie two-step first. I flailed a lot less with my rake. I *almost* felt comfortable!

Then we spent a lot of time working on fetching. Bug suddenly has a down in the pen. He seemed to get (by osmosis I assume) that he needed to walk the sheep to me versus running at them and when I asked for a down I got it about 85 - 90% of the time. The times I didn't get it I put too much pressure on Bug. Diane said she felt like I was trying to intimidate him into it - so I need to work on that.

I am so happy I have found something that Bug enjoys so much!! I hope he will eventually find the same enthusiasm for agility he has for herding.

Yesterday we did some one-on-one basic training - the stuff I feel like (know) I neglect. We worked on nose-to-hand touch and down. Bug doesn't really know "touch" - how shameful is that! It was part of the curriculum in our Communications class, but we never really worked at it. Last night within less than 5 minutes I was getting a very solid nose-poke. So I will keep working on that. I am hoping I can use that on the start-line since right now I often feel like Bug and I aren't that connected there.

My other goal is to have a snappier down. We worked on it last night with food rewards and then today using a tossed toy as a reward. I am sure you can guess that the down was WAY faster for the toy!

Ike also had a training session last night. I need to do more with Ike. He was frantically offering behaviors he was so excited to play. I will have to look into getting him back into his Rally-O class. He really liked that.

As I was heading to bed last night I remembered I needed to do my entry for the Cumberland, Maine shows (8/28 & 8/29). The cut-off is today (Wed.) at noon. I went to InfoDog and was happily plugging in my info UNTIL it suddenly told me:

We are sorry, but we cannot accept this entry. This is a Non-MB-F show. In order for us to forward your entries to the proper Superintendent or Show Secretary in time, we cannot take entries after 08/11/09 12:00 PM eastern time.

Oh no!! I just about had a heart attack. Fortunately I was able to submit the entry through the Show Superintendent's web site. I guess I shouldn't wait until the last minute to do these - especially if I know I am doing the show!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dr. Coates on Scout's House

Dr. Joan Coates from the University of Missouri, who’s doing groundbreaking research into Degenerative Myelopathy (DM) was interviewed on Scout's House yesterday. Scout's House is a physical therapy rehabilitation center that treats special needs pets in Menlo Park, CA.

You can listen for free on Scout's House or you can download via iTunes and listen on your iPod.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Private Lesson and Doxy

Monday night Carmen and Bug had a private lesson with Amanda. It went well.

With Carmen, Amanda noticed that she slows down during tight turns. She wants me to work on making tight turns more fun for her. Once suggestion she had was make large-ish cheese balls (i.e. that Carmie will be able to see) and practicing 180s tossing the cheese ball over the second jump. (She also suggested I practice my throwing using targets. As anyone that knows me knows - my throwing skills leave MUCH to be desired.)

She would also like me to see if I can't teach her to play with me in public. She said there was no need to try and get her to tug, just try to get her to respond to being goosed/pushed/revved up and to use food. Since Carmen can get REALLY riled up at home I will work on this. Given I was able to teach Ike to play in public, surely I can teach Carmie to!

We practiced flipping out of a tunnel onto the dog walk. Interestingly Carmie handled the flip very well irregardless of where I placed my FX (close or giving her more space). However, she had MUCH more overall speed when I did my front cross a bit further away from the dog walk. She went wider but was RUNNING much faster.

We REALLY need to work on the blind cross exercise. Carmie loves to come to my heels if I get ahead of her.

Bug's lesson was not as much of a success. He was revved up and more attentive than the previous week - even with the heat. We worked on 180s and he was MUCH better than last week. When we moved on to the A-frame, I discovered he is REALLY resistant to contacts without rubber. I mean, hard-core. I know this, but I can't believe how poorly he generalizes contacts.

So we will be doing ring rentals where there is no rubber and calling on friends who have contacts without rubber. The fact that he was so resistant does make me wonder if he is in alignment. We'll see when our chiropractor gets back from her working vacation.

I decided that Bug and I are going back to basics. We have all the time in the world. Our relationship needs to be stronger and we need to go back to working on the plank and making the see saw a HAPPY-HAPPY-JOY-JOY sort of place.

In other news, Bug finished his doxy yesterday. Today he received his first dose of ABC Lyme Support. I am going to post on Tick-L and see if there is anything else I could be doing now that he is done with the doxy. Tick-L seems to be heavy on the allopathic medicine and not so much on the holistic/homeopathic, but it is worth asking about.

It looks like it will be a quiet week training-wise. John and I are headed to Block Island on Friday for a wedding. Ike and the birds will be staying with the in-laws, Bug will be staying with Katrin, and the g-pigs will be staying at Coolens. Hopefully we all have nice weather and a good time!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Keene, NH

Bug showed 200% better today for Kerry than he did yesterday!

Alas, no point for us today. We are pretty sure the judge dumped him for his front. Hopefully we will find more judges that like Bug's head and expression!

After the show we stopped in at my mum's and Bug got to play with his favorite girlfriend Nellie!

And finally, here are some gratuitous pictures of my mum's flowers. Her hydrangea is LOVING this wet weather.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Point!!

One should probably NOT be so excited about a point. However, Bug needs three single points and I have failed miserably at getting them to date.

Change of plans.

This weekend I hired my handling class instructor to handle Bug at the Pioneer Valley Kennel Club show in Greenfield, MA (and the Cheshire Kennel Club show in Keene, NH tomorrow).

I don't know how tomorrow will go, but today was a success!

Although I must say, my nerves were just as bad with Kerry showing Bug as they are when I show him! Kerry said, "Just don't faint."

Bug was a bit weird on the table for Kerry. I think she tried to move his right foreleg a bit too quickly and he actually laid down on the table. She got him up quickly and stacked him. I thought his front looked GREAT - at least from my angle. Sometimes I guess things work out.

Bug looked VERY nice moving for her although his ears did go down when they first entered the ring together. I think this is due to the stress I have exhibited going into the ring. Hopefully this will change as he shows with people who enjoy it and aren't stressed about it.

At the moment I have a corgi who is SOUND asleep. Apparently showing is exhausting!

2 more points to go. Cross your paws for us. Tomorrow might be a wash if the other dog doesn't show.