Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights and a look toward 14

Well another year is almost over, and it is time to look at this years highlights,  and maybe set some goals for tomorrow.  It is always interesting to review what the dreams were, and what progress we made.  So lets start with a look back.

For Magic, I had hoped to get his CDX and to continue working toward another agility championship.  Well, we definately made progress toward agility, but not toward his CDX.  In fact, we met a couple of minor agility goals, he earned high novice in ASCA, and he earned high in trial preferred at the Cardigan National.  We did lots of training for obedience,  and did earn AKC BN, CDSP CD, and also his WCRL ARCHEX.

For Siren, I kind of forgot that I was going to work obedience with her, and started training agility instead. Her 2 accomplishments for the year were getting her CGC and her CA.

With Peace I had hoped to work on her UKC grand championship, well we did have a couple of shoes with competition, but sadly made no progress.

Washburns plan was to work on his championship, and one of my dreams for the year was to earn his BN.  Well he surpassed that, earning his championship, with 3 majors, and earning his CGC, as well as his BN.

For Ms. Bentley, my plan had been to work on her UKC grand, with a win at the WGSDCI National as a dream.  We didn't manage any UKC wins, but she did win WB, BOW, BOS  at the National.  She looked so pretty. Then later in the year, she earned her CGC.

So for the new year...hmm, lets see, I am dreaming here, but I am hoping for that CDX,  a breed win, a CATCH, an RN or 2, and a CGC. I am hoping to play lots of agility,  practice some nose games, and play with all of the dogs. But mostly I am just hoping for a happy, healthy family, good jobs, faith, love and happy dogs.

Happy New Year Everyone.

Monday, September 30, 2013

CH Wash (AKC Pending)

My silly little guy did good!
Finished his Championship 9.28.13 by going winners dog and best of winners at the Rockford Freeport supported entry.  He finished with somewhat limited showing and 3 majors.

Monday, August 26, 2013


Las Last weekend Magic and I, along with several of our dog friends attended and participated in a dog agility trial. While I had a great time and I love the crew I hang out with there were several things that I observed this weekend that I found to be disturbing.

I want to start by stating that the group I hang out with is fabulous. We help, we laugh, we encourage, we support each other and the other competitors. But more importantly we help, we encourage and we support our DOGS. While we all try to be successful, we do so in a manner that is encouraging, that is safe, that works to our dogs strengths. This group will pull an entry if the course is not safe for the dog at this time, or modify a course to make it fun and successful for the dog. This group will try new things, we will push our comfort levels, but NOT intentionally at the dogs expense. Q be damned, it’s a team sport, and this group supports not only each other, but each other’s dogs. And more importantly our own dogs, you know the dogs we brought and we chose to play with.
Why am I ranting, because this weekend I saw things that made me so very sad, and at times so very angry. I saw handlers with dogs who so clearly were showing that they were uncomfortable, possibly they were stressed, appeared that they were hurting. Handlers who screamed at the dogs on course, never giving the dog any praise or good feedback, or worse gave them the same feedback for both good behavior and bad performances. There was a handler who when the dog missed a contact loudly told the dog I HATE YOU. Really??

I understand sometimes we think a dog is ready and we find out at a trial they are not. Sometimes we find out at a trial a dog is hurting or sore or stressed. I am not talking about the occasional odd run where it appears the dog is blowing off its handler, and I am not talking about training in the ring. Sometimes those things become apparent when you watch people and watch the interactions. I’m not talking about the people who are gently working with a stressed or learning dog to keep moving forward. I am talking about the handlers who week after week berate the dogs, blame the dogs

Our dogs do not choose when to go to a trial, they do not choose how we train them. Why then would we choose to make our dog miserable? I don’t understand the thought processes in this. And I really don’t want to understand it. What I want to do is rip that poor dog away from its handler, and show the dog some kindness.

I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, sometimes I get sad or mad, but dammit if I EVER act this way, if I ever blame my dog for my failures as a trainer, call me on it. Kick me, yell at me, do whatever it takes because a Q, a win or whatever is NOT WORTH IT! I want my dog looking at me just like this ALWAYS.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Agility Update

It's been a while since I have updated the blog!  We have been busy. I had a couple of agility goals this year with Magic. First I has hoping to get into the MX classes in AKC agility.  Well we are half way there, having earned his excellent jumpers title.

Our second goal for the year was to try to qualify for the CPE Nationals next year.  They are going to be held here in MN again, so I thought wouldn't it be fun if we could try to qualify.  To qualify you need to be through level 3 and earn 30 qualifying scores during the year,  We started the year in level one in most classes, so we had a bit of a job to do, but last weekend we finally earned our last needed level 3 Q and we have over the needed 30!

So now the goals are changing just a bit, as we will keep working toward earning a CPE championship, or CATCH.Which will be another 50 or so qualifiers, but hey, its fun trying!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spring into Summer

Here in Minnesota, its been a rainy, wet, gray spring. And as always spring is very busy. Last weekend was no exception to that.  On Friday Wash and I went up to Fargo for the supported entry.  Wash had a really good time, and althought the class jusge didnt find him for the points, he did win Sweeps, and brought home a pretty ribbon, a couple of checks and a lovely purple embroidered towel.  Then on Saturday and Sunday, Magic and I went down to Rochester to play CPE.  I really am hoping to get Magic qualified for the CPE National which is happening here in MN next year. To do that though, we need to get through level 3. This weekend we were able to make a bit of progress in that regard. Magic and I qualified in all 10 runs, earning first places in all but the one class.  The one where he got second was snooker.  This is a point earning game, on this course we decided to go for it all and try to earn the maximum 51 points, but sadly we didnt quite make that last 7. Had I gone for the easier 46 points we may have gotten that blue too, but hey its always fun to try for the max.

 I am trying really hard to play as much agility with the boy as we can this year. I have several more CPE weekends in the plan. This may mean that Wash's career is a bit delayed, but he is a youngster and has planty of time, hopefully.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Grand Victrix Bentley

Last weekend Bentley, Wash, Peace and I went down to Purina Farms in Missouri to a bunch of shows.  There were 2 WGSDCI Chapter shows and a UKC show on Friday, 2 UKC shows on Saturday and the WGSDCI National Specialty on Sunday.  What a weekend. First off early in the week prior the weather forecast was for some rain on Friday but then clearing.  Well let me just say that was almost a total failure of a forecast.  It rained all day Friday and all day Saturday.  This was an outdoors show, so cold, damp, windy, wet, more wet, muddy and more wet.   I had packed what I thought would be warm enough clothes for Friday, but I seriously underestimated the wind and I think I froze most of the weekend.  Stewarding in gloves was interesting as I couldn't grab the ribbons at all, but it was fun anyways.

Friday the day started with the Texas Chapter WDSGCI show followed by the MN Chapter show, then the UKC show.  In some ways I was a bit dissapointed as these were not very big shows. I had hoped that there would be a bunch of white shepherds to play with.  However we were there so we decided to just have fun and do our best.  Bentley was WB, BOW and BOS.  In the second show we were reserve.

I did not enter the Friday UKC show since Donna was the judge, with any of the dogs.  I know that she would have judged the dogs in the ring, but I did not want anyone to get the wrong idea.  So instead we helped out and did paperwork, as well as cheered for the other dogs entered.  I know it doesnt look like there was a lot of rain, you have to trust me it was wet. 

Saturday brought more rain, and the 2 UKC shows.  This was fun too, it was the first time I really got ot be a UKC conformation steward.  I sure hope I did it all OK!   I also showed the dogs, but the wins went elsewhere.  Laura's Sassy was the cardi winner, and it was well deserved.  Tracie showed Wash for me and I took Peace in. Peace was sure the game was leaping over the puddles and Wash thought we were tracking, so neither really showed thier best. Sassy did and rightfully won.  In GSD's Bentley was a goober. She would not settle into a trot and gait. I think she thought she was a gazelle leaping over the puddles. Oh well, I cannot complain about the judges selections at all, as all the dogs were deserving. However though, all teh wet slippery grass was causing my back to have fits. Every slight slip and I was in pain, radiating up my spine and down my right leg. UGH.

Sunday was the National event. Now remember its been raining, for days. The mud, red clay slippery mud, was oozing over the grass all over the ring, all over the people, all over the dogs.  The first thing Donna says when we get there Sunday morning was OK lets make this ring the right size.  Remember this is a GSD show, the ring size was doubled.  I looked a thte size of the ring, thought about how much trouble I had running yesterday and I knew I was not going to be able to properly show Bentley.  So even though it was hard for me, I asked Donna to please show her in the bitch class.  And boy am I glad I did, as our judge gaited those dogs, up down and around, repeatedly.  Donna did an amazing job with Bentley though and the judge was patient enough with the dogs to allow them time to get inot stride so she could really see then dogs at thier best.  Thanks to Donna's skill, Bents was awarded Winners Bitch.  But that meant I had to take her back in for Breed. I did, it wasnt pretty and it hurt, but in the end Bentley was awarded BOS and Select 1, which earned her the title of Grand Victrix. Isnt that kinda awesome? 

Multiple ribbons, 2 trophies and a crystal bowl, and from Purina, 2 tote bags, a big towel and a blanket. WOW.  And an experience to remember forever. Thank you so much to our weekends judges, but mostly to Tracie and Donna for thinking that Bentley and I would be a good team, and for helping us get there.

Monday, April 15, 2013

WCRL (formerly APDT) Rally

Last weekend we attended a WCRL rally trial.  Last year APDT sold the rally program to USDAA where it became World Cynosport Rally. So far the rules have stayed the same, and all titles in progress are honored. Which is good because Magic and I were working on the 10 required QQ's for his ARCHEX.  This weekend Magic ran in 4 of the 5 trials and got the needed double q's in all 4, so he needs 2 more.  We will try for those in July at the next trial.

Bentley and I also competed. It was our first time together in a perfomrance event.  I knew that we were a long way from perfectly ready, but I wanted to get a feel for her behavior and confidence levels at a trial.  She actually did much better than I anticipated, qualifying 2 out of the 3 runs, and improving each time.  I knew we would have some issues with distractions, but overall I was very pleased with her.

Washburn also played in all 3 trials on Saturday, where he ran in the puppy class.  The puppy class is for dogs under a year, and its a shorter 10 station course.  Wash did very well and earned 3 qualifying scores, also with improvements each time.  I am thinking as he gets older and more mature I may have another very nice working boy. At least I hope we can keep that up!