Monday, May 31, 2010


Sportsmen respect the history, traditions and integrity of the sport of purebred dogs.

Sportsmen commit themselves to the values of fair play, honesty, courtesy, and vigorous competition, as well as winning and losing with grace.

Sportsmen find that vigorous competition and civility are not inconsistent and are able to appreciate the merit of their competition and the effort of competitors.

Sportsmen refuse to embarrass the sport, the American Kennel Club, or themselves while taking part in the sport.

Source: AKC Code of Sportsmanship

Friday, May 28, 2010


Bug had physical therapy last night. We did massage and stretching, under water treadmill, and of course Bug’s favorite, swimming!

Cathy thought Bug’s back and hips felt great. Hooray! She also commented that he is moving much looser when he gaits. Yes! I know that Kerry, the handler, has noticed this, too. Hopefully the judges next week will like what they see.

We have increased the length of time Bug is on/in the UWTM and the number of laps he is doing. While Bug hates swimming, the itern commented that he is one of the strongest swimmers she has seen at Sterling. He is much less stressed while doing it (and I have some video from last night to prove it). I will post it later.

Bug’s coat is coming in and is feeling quite plush. Both Cathy and the intern commented on it, so outside sources have confirmed he has more coat. Yay!! The only thing I am left hoping is that I can get away with not doing his nails again before this show. Paws are crossed. Cathy is helping me work on Bug’s foot aversion, touching his feet while the dremel is in the room (gasp). I have been working on touching his feet at home, but I don’t feel like we are really getting anywhere. Time will tell.

Tues. Nite Class

Tuesday night Ike and I had class. We missed the last two weeks due to the show in Maine and a sick dog. I was nervous because we were in the midst of a heat wave and my little black dog does not like the heat. The daytime temperature was 87 degrees, but class is at 7pm and it was definitely a little cooler. Class has moved outside for the season and the course had lots of fun elements.

Regardless of the heat, Ike was a rockstar! I neglected to write down the course map or bring my Flip (drat!). Kathleen did shoot a video of Ike on her Blackberry because she wanted to show me just how fast we were both moving. She said she didn’t think she had ever seen me moving so fast with Carmie or Bug and Ike was running in full extension. I definitely think it is the new way I am thinking about running courses and the things we have been working on the past few months with Ike.

Ike had a stunning running dogwalk almost all night. He really maintained great drive and speed for the majority of the class, even in the heat. I brought a rabbit lined pouch to toss and feed him treats from. It worked okay, but his beard got stuck in the Velcro and he acted a little leery of it once or twice. Kathleen recommended getting a small Tupperware container filled with treats to toss and allow him to eat from. A classmate happened to have one on hand she was willing to let me try. It worked really well so I will need to pick one up this weekend. I was also thinking I could buy some small jars of baby food and toss those – as long as I don’t hit my dog!

I did catch myself saying “Ooops” once and it was totally at me, not my dog. But how is he supposed to know that? (Demotivator!) I also caught myself saying “go, go, go” to Ike on the dog walk later in the night when he was slowing down. Kathleen commented that not only am I diluting the power of “go,” but I am basically just saying “c’mon.” I know, I know. Bad habits are so hard to break, it helps that I hear myself say it, notice it, and Kathleen reminds me NOT to do it.

During the last run of the night the next class had arrived and some people were walking around the field. Ike had just started doing a set of twelve weaves when he noticed a guy walking a big Doberman and stopped to look at them. Kathleen said she could see why trialing was tough for him – he gets very worried about other dogs. Ike space bubble is really quite large if he doesn’t know you.

It was a super class. Ike was so happy and engaged. I went into class thinking perhaps I should talk to Kathleen about taking the summer off after our class two weeks ago (Ike was hot, tired, and slow). Instead I have decided Ike either had an off night (we all have them) or was still tired from Gettysburg. He is enjoying class too much to stop, even if it is hot! ;-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Wrentham Entries

6/5:  5-5(0-0)0
6/6:  3-3(0-0)0

Monday, May 24, 2010


Bug went RWD again on Friday. Fortunately I entered him in the June Wrentham shows (15 minutes from my house); hopefully there will be a point available on one of the two days. Historically there has been. A friend of mine said perhaps the dog gods want me to see him finish in person. I hope so!

Bug was so happy when I picked him up in Maine he was pogo-sticking in the x-pen. Once Kerry got the leash on him and took him out he nearly bowled me over in his excitement. Silly boy.

We stayed at my mum's in Reading since I had already done so much driving. Bug was happy to spend the evening tearing around with one of his favorite girlfriends, Nellie. Then he had me up at 5:15 Saturday morning. YUCK! Crazy dog does not appreciate sleeping in.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bug Likes Dobies

RWD today. Bummer. There is always tomorrow.

Kerry said Bug showed really well and that is all you can ask for.

This show is at a campground that has a lake. Bug has been hanging out lakeside in stunning weather. I wish I could join him - without the stress of the dog show of course. Bug is not stressed out at all - he knows his job and he has a new lady-love to distract him.

Corgi surrounded by Dobies

Kerry shows Dobermans and there is a fawn bitch that Buggie is in L-O-V-E with ... that wants NOTHING to do with him. Ha! Unrequited love is tough but at least it is entertaining for the humans.

Meanwhile back in Massachusetts I have a new black shadow named Ike. My little Schnauzer who typically does his own thing and likes his own space was hot on my heels last night. It is sweet to know he loves and misses his bro so much. John is convinced he is worried about the Bug, wondering where he went.

To occupy the Schnauzer's mind I worked on shaping him to scratch a board covered with sand-paper. It was very successful. Ike looked very cat-like; I will have to video tape it. I started working on this at the suggestion of my agility trainer as a different way to do Bug's nails that would also be a fun shaping exercise. When Bug comes home from Maine we will work on it some more.

Tomorrow is a new day with a new judge. Paws are crossed for Bug.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Positive Energy

If you have it to spare, please send positive energy and purple thoughts to the Bug. He is showing Thursday and Friday. I am a nervous wreck. I would be worse if I was there, so I guess it is a good thing I won't be.

1 point, that's all we need....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

agility, acupuncture, handling, and pt!

This has been a very busy week - both in work and outside of work. As a result I don't feel like I have had a moment to breathe. Therefor I have also not had a moment to blog!

Tuesday night Ike had agility class. I was so frazzled I forgot my bait bag and my clicker. I guess I am lucky I remembered my dog!  It was humid and stuffy in the building due to the weather outside and while Ike was happy, he was slow. I think he was mostly hot, but it is possible he was still tired from our trip.

A fellow joined our class (I don't know if he has joined it permanently) who has been working on lots of distraction issues with his young Aussie. He is young-ish (early 20s I guess?) and obviously male. Two strikes as far as Ike is concerned. I was so proud of how well behaved Ike was! I kept him engaged while we were waiting for our runs working on rally moves, which Ike loves (as long as he doesn't have to trial!). While walking courses I tied Ike in his usual spot and surprisingly he did not bark excessively at Dan. Hooray. I am really proud of him.

Class itself was a bit off for the two of us, although there really were no major handling gaffes. For the most part we handled both courses well. Ike was hot and I was exhausted - we were quite the pair.

Wednesday night Bug had acupuncture. He was a bit guarded about his rear, but Anne (acupuncturist) truly felt as though his actual muscles felt good - soft and pliable. I wonder if he was acting nervous because I was a bit stressed out about my work situation. Bug is a really empathetic dog and definitely picks up on any stress I am feeling. I spoke to Cathy (PT) about it today and she said that she thinks muscle memory in dogs and humans is very long-lived and he might just have been acting nervous about it because it did hurt so much at one time.

After acupuncture Bug and I went to handling class. Since Bug blew all his coat before the National I started him on a coat supplement to try and get some coat back in time for showing in May. Kerry commented on the change in his coat in one week. Hopefully by the time we go to show in a couple of weeks he will look even better.

We had a really good handling class. Bug was moving nicely and we had lots and lots of ears!

Tonight Bug had physical therapy and guess what he did? He swam without the life vest!! And he did awesome. He is such a trooper. He really hates it, but he is getting used to it.

Cathy thought he felt great. His iliopsoas was soft and pliable and he allowed her to do both adduction and abduction exercises with his hips. He was the most relaxed she has ever seen him. He was being silly, rolling on his back and giving lots of kisses. I am so happy he feels so positively about visiting Sterling!  He did have a little fasciculation (trembling of the muscle when pressure was applied) in his primal quad (upper part of his thigh), so Cathy would like the chiro to check that out. She  thinks there is a trigger point in that region that Cheryl will be able to release.

There is a herding seminar coming up on Memorial Day weekend I would really like to attend and a spot has opened up. I made the decision to ask Cathy if she thought Bug was ready. I told her that my gut says no. She agreed. She did say she thinks he is REALLY close to being ready to go back to work. She said right now is a really important time in his physical therapy - we are doing conditioning. If we rush it and he were to experience another injury at this point it would be such a huge set-back. I agree.

While I am very disappointed to not be able to attend the seminar I am really excited that Bug's physical therapist thinks we are close! I asked if Bug can start doing Get on the Ball at home and got the okay. Bug can do 2 - 3 minutes every other day of weight shifting and sits-to-stands.

And of course, the first time without a life vest and I forgot the Flip! Drat! Next time.... (we are scheduled through the month of May).

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I cannot believe I nearly forgot to post about this. Yesterday I audited a Jan Wesen seminar. As always I learned a lot and it was helpful to see other people working through similar issues. I definitely learn more about herding actually working a herding seminar than auditing - which is a bit different than I find agility seminars. With agility seminars I feel like I can learn almost as much just auditing. Perhaps it is because herding is still so new to me (2 years - Bug's first lesson was less than a month after he came home to me!) and I am still learning the physical mechanics let alone everything else I don't know.

Anyway, there was an older collie there who was quite stiff. Jan suggested the owner consider ducks given his age and injuries; that he would be able to herd for a lot longer on ducks than sheep.

~Light Bulb Moment~

I have been worrying myself sick that Bug won't be able to herd once we are finished with physical therapy. The rehab vet is 100% positive he will be able to, but I am more skeptical (or maybe I am just being a pessimist). I really like herding. I find it incredibly challenging and I love how Bug lights up about it. He not only adores it, but he is good at it. If I don't screw him up too badly he could probably be really successful (Diane, my trainer, swears she won't allow me to screw him up!).

This seminar opened another door for me. If Bug does end up having difficulty working sheep due to the iliopsoas injury then we can try ducks!

Bug has worked ducks a couple of times during the winter of 2008. Once he really turned onto sheep we dropped ducks. However I spoke to Diane about it yesterday. She sides with the rehab vet - she feels once Bug has completely recovered he should be able to herd again without difficulty. If he does seem stiff we will switch to ducks.

I am so happy to realize there are options...

Bug and I have everything crossed that he will be healthy enough to attend Jan's seminar in the fall.

Derby Day (yesterday of course)

Growing up, like many dog people, I was obsessed with horses. Prior to moving to Texas and owning two horses (my mum's condition for the move) I clearly remember that every wish I ever made was for a horse. Shooting star, birthday wish, as I fell asleep, the wish was always for a horse.

It stands to reason then that I would then be obsessed with the Kentucky Derby. The series of races that constitute the Triple Crown is just about the only time horses get any play in the media. Recently my mother made me take some items home from her house or she would toss them.

One of those items is a cigar box that I carefully covered with construction paper and wrote "Horses" on. Inside are clipping from the Kentucky Derbies that happened when I was in grade school along with CB's (we bred our Quarter Horse and CB, or Fantastic Cinnabar, was the foal born to our mare Taffy, Chucks Taffy Bar) first hoof clipping. It is so tiny.

Now Derby Day is even more important to me because it is the day we picked up Bug in NY to see if he would fit in. Hah! We knew by the time we were halfway home he was staying with us forever. I could easily forget Bug's birthday, but Derby Day will always be the day Bug came to be with us. As always, thank you Holly for allowing this great boy to join our family.