Saturday, December 31, 2011

The year in review and a look forward

Last year I heard through the rumour mill that it was being spread around that I "really didnt do all I said with Magic".  The premise was that I never showed certificates and rarely ribbons or win pictures.  So this year I decided to collect all my dogs ribbons and see just how many we accrued in a year. Quite a bit it seems, considering how few shows and trials I attended this year. There were several months where we never went to any trials.  Not all Magic's, but this year all 4 dogs did something.  One of my favorites has to be the trophy on the mantle. No, not the high in trial one, see the blue croaker toy? That was Grace's Squeaker Award, the little stinker that she is!

This year Magic managed to earn a few titles, In APDT he earned his ARCHX and RL2X. In UKC he earned his UROC, including a high in trial in almost 100 degree weather outside, and his UCDX.  He picked up his TNN-S for NADAC. Magic really did not trial much this year, and only locally. Even with our few local UKC trials he managed so far to earn a spot in the Rally all stars. He is near the bottom of the list, so once the last few weeks of the year are tabulated he may fall off, but I am pretty pleased with how well he did, with several perfect scores this year.   We also picked up 2 legs toward his AKC coursing title at the only local test.

My plan for 2011 really was for Grace.  I had hoped to continue agility training with her and hoped to begin trialing. I had hoped to work on her obedience as well.  We were never great really, but she had a pretty darn good year too.  We went to the UKC Premier where she tried UKC agility for the first time, qualifying 5 out of 5 times to earn her AG1 including a couple of perfect runs, she also at premier earned a Total Dog. Later in the year we managed to squeeze out her UCD and URO2 also. This allowed her to qualify as a UKC Super Dog having earned titles in all the 4 performance events and being a breed champion. 

Peace also went to Premier where she won breed in the Top Ten competition. She also took breed the following 2 days as well, qualified in the weight pull and also earned a Total Dog award. I was so proud of Grace and Peace for both earning a Total Dog award, mother and daughter.  Her 9 breed points earned at Premier have her in second place for this years top ten. A bit later in the year Peace earned her AKC Grand Championship   Peace took the rest of the year off, except for one day where we went to a local UKC show for fun where she took a group 2. Not bad since we just went that day to get out of the house for a while.

Siren and David did a bit of training together this year. For the early part of the year they did some nosework classes and Rinnie did great. She still thinks this is the best game ever.  They worked hard together at a couple of weight pulls where Siren earned her UWP, but also really started to pull well with her new personal best of 768 pounds! Now they are working on learning obedience together and hope to continue in the new year.

This year was a tough one with Darryl not working very much so we did not show as much as I would have liked.  Then recently Grace became ill, we are still learning about her limitations, but hope that perhaps we can still play on a limited basis. Time will tell on that one. I really don't have any hard and fast goals for 2012, but I do know the year will involve the dogs however it can. minor goals would be CDX and CA for Magic, and hopefully getting to go to premier to compete in the all stars competition. For Grace we will just have to see how she handles living with mega e and whether we can continue to play without endangering her.  Siren will continue to learn. I would like to try for Peace's UKC grand, she needs 2 more legs.

I would like to perhaps think about another puppy, so I have something to play in the show ring with, but I can not decide that until I see how Grace does. I am starting a new job in a couple of days and so is Darryl, so I am hoping for a much brighter 2012.  I wish you and yours one as well.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The best of the Bad, or I need a new camera!

We tried to take a group photo, but the speed of my old digital is just not up to 4 wiggly dogs. Oh well
Happy Holidays Everyone!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mega Esophagus

I haven't been posting much lately. Things around here have been a bit difficult.  But I think I am ready to talk a bit about it.

Tuesday Grace was diagnosed with Mega Esophagus.  This is a condition where the muscles in the esophagus essentially stop working and it gets all stretched out.  Basically she has very little ability to swallow. In adult onset, its often due to another condition called Myasthenia Gravis. We are still waiting on the lab test for this, but her symptoms are very likely.

What this means for us and Grace is that we now have to be much more involved in her eating process. Since she can't swallow, all her food has to sort of flow down her throat. We now have to feed her in a totally vertical position and then continue to hold her up for about a half hour for the food to get all the way down. Otherwise she coughs it back up which can lead to aspiration pneumonia, which the radiologist thinks she was already developing. And she needs 4-5 small meals a day.  She can't drink any water herself either, and must get her fluids from her foods. 

Its been a tough week absorbing all this and starting to change the way we do things here.   We are going to build her a baily chair which is used for feeding, but we havent been able to do that yet. None of us are woodworkers, nor do we have the proper tools, but I am hoping we can figure this out.  I think it will make her life and ours a little easier.

I am going to try to not let this condition take over the blog, but this is a huge part of our lives now, so I will apologise in advance. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lure Coursing

 





IT'S COMING!

Let me GO!

I'm Ready!

OH YEAH!

It 's MINE I will get it!


MINE!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

UCD & URO2 Gracie

Gracie and I managed to eek out her UCD last weekend at teh MMBC trial.  It wasn't pretty, but its done! Much prettier was her URO2 run, where she beat Magic and earned a 97 to his 96,  Earning her UCD did qualify her for the unofficial Super Dog designation that UKC has. This is for earning your championship and titles in agility, rally weight pull and obedience.  Now I need to find a nice picture of the princess to send in.

I am rather proud of the red dogs, Magic earned the Ultra Dog and Grace the Super Dog. Go corgis!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Magic went for a visit

Go see him at http://chroniclesofcardigan.blogspot.com/

And make a donation to Corgi Aid while your thinking about it. I just did.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

2 Q's toward Magics AKC coursing title - UPDATED

Magic loves lure coursing. SO much he practically wears himself out while waiting his turn. Lunging whining pulling such a naughty dog.But I can't fault him during his runs. He runs lovely. Now we just have to wait for spring for another trial.

Edit!  Some additional information since I just got the report of his times for the runs this weekend.  Magic is just a bit over 12 inches per his AKC agility measurements. Dogs over 12 inches run the full 600 yard course, and they have 2 minutes to do it in. Dogs under 12 run a 300 yard course and have 1.30 minutes if I remember right..  Magic ran the first run on 1.0032 and the second one a little bit slower at  1.0375

Quicker than I thought!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Happiness

I had a quick email conversation with another dog breeder this week and we both commented about how we are so broke we would love to do or get something but can't. Why am I mentioning this, well because although we both have an area in our lives where something is lacking, that was just a quick comment. It was quickly followed with the thought that that was OK that we couldn't do whatever, we both have what we need.  We have our homes and our families, we are able to feed them, even if sometimes its ramen noodles, we have our dogs and we are happy. And she has beautiful puppies to make her smile.

And I am happy. Although there have been periods in my life where I hade more, more money, fancy clothes, a nice car I don't remember being happier in those times.  Although life is never perfect, you can be happy with less. I think that noticing and thinking about the things that are good can help cement the good feelings inside.

3 things that made me happy are 1. Graces happy prancing heeling.  2. Making 2 socks at once on a circular needle  3. Getting snuggles from a 28 gram bird.

What 3 things made you happy this week?  Please share your joy!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bridget Carlsen Seminar

This weekend I attended a Bridget Carlsen dog training seminar put on by a local dog club. I had signed up for this seminar quite a while ago, and I remember how excited I had been at the time to get one of the limited working spots. But then during the long wait I attended the Denise Fenzi seminar which was just so good, I was seriously thinking of letting my working spot go to someone else. But I didn’t and I attended the seminar with Grace as my working dog. Ultimately, I am really glad that I attended.

I am really bad about taking notes at Seminars. I wish I were better. I find I spend all my time listening and watching for those small things I can take with me to use. I know that her style of training is not something that everyone would be comfortable with, but I found that there were so many points and aspects in her training that were brilliant. Her end result working style with her dogs is a bit more extreme than I care for. It's extremely flashy and showy though, and quite inspiring to see. Her dogs do appear to love working with her, in fact the only issue I saw the dogs have with her was having to leave her to go into a kennel, where none of them preferred to be.

I loved her version of jackpotting, which is a form of working for your meals, but the way she is doing it, it truly is a cue you can carry over to the show ring. The corgis and I are starting this tonight. I liked her sit, back sit, or down, back down, we are going to incorporate this too. I found a ton of merit in how she trains her young dogs at slow speed. I can see how it would help the dogs put the whole picture together. I AM going to teach gloves the demonstrated them last night, that just made so much sense to me. I think I may wind up switching to her method for Magic's scent articles, as it utilizes tied down articles and I am hoping it can help cure him of his need to bring back every dumbbell he sees regardless of the scent on them. (ever seen a corgi try to get a 4th metal article in his mouth). There is quite a bit more I am sure once I go through the notes I did take.

Bridget is not a purely positive trainer. Her dogs do get corrections. They are told when they are wrong, they have consequences. They are given a poke or a squeeze, or physically placed into a position. Yet they were very happy, very stable, adoring dogs just dying to get out and work with her.  I feel I am primarily a positive trainer, but I do find that I am not totally averse to using some corrections, and or body positioning-in some situations.  Many of you know that Grace tends to be very barky.  This weekend  I tried Bridget's correction, a verbal no and a muzzle grab, followed by praise when quiet which worked pretty well.  Now I am not talking about a painful grab or squeeze, just a hold, which seemed to help her understand the part I didn't like was the mouth, not the rest of what she was doing. 2 corrections like this while ringside and the barking stopped, and she waited patiently for quite a while. 
 
On the other hand, there were some times when I felt the correction was excessive and beyond my comfort level. I don't use a prong myself, I train in a wider flat buckle. I did feel uncomfortable with some of the usage, but that was student dogs. And in all honesty, these dogs did take very tough corrections and keep right on with no noticable changes to the attitude. I do know some people who do use prongs and I totally respect them. I will physically place my dogs into position if needed and I don't find it offensive. Maybe that comes from hand stacking a dog on the conformation table, but my dogs have never been bothered by that, or by me replacing a foot where I want it. I think like many things, how a person trains can vary widely and still be fine.   I want my dogs to want to work with me and be my partner.  I think they do. They all ask for work time. Trimming toenails, that would be another story, none of them ask for that.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Pull results

The pull last weekend went very well.  It's the first one I have chaired, thankfully with Denises help, it went pretty darn well.  Both days we only had a couple of dogs who didn't qualify. We had several dogs reach new personal bests which is pretty fun to see.

Grace pulled both Saturday and Sunday, Saturday she pulled 570, Sunday 516, both 10 point pulls.  Peace only pulled on Sunday, but pulled better than she has in quite a while pulling 624.  Siren was the family winner with a pull on Saturday of 678 and Sunday 786-both pulls earning her and David 15 points toward her UWPCH. Sundays pull was just over 30 times her body weight. If we can get the videos loaded I will post it. She is so happy working with David.

According to Darryl, Magic was not happy being left home alone Sunday.  Apparently about 15 minutes after we left Darryl woke to the sound of Magic and his unique version of a howl.  He got up and found Magic laying on the arm of the couch howling his soft quiet version of a howl. Its quite funny, its the quietest howl I have ever heard, but it come complete with the nose pointed to the sky and the classic aroooo just very very quiet-almost whisper quiet!  Darryl invited him to join him in the bed instead.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Weight Pull this weekend!

Come on down to Zumbro Falls and have fun with us all at the Mn Mixed Breed Clubs first October pull.  We will be having a pot luck, and have some fun awards.  Grace will be showing off her usually fairly creative pull techniques, which while not very succesful is quite funny.  Hope you can come and have fun with us.

Day of Show entries too...  click the  Premium  for a copy

Sunday, September 25, 2011

28th Anniversary and Group 2

Yesterday was our 28th Anniversary, Earlier in the week it was the 30th anniversary of the day we met.  Hard to believe.  I certainly don't feel 30 years older, 15 maybe but not 30!  Although we both had to work, we had a nice dinner at home after Darryl got home, including some cake.

Today I took the girls to the local UKC show. There was a judge here who I had been reading on line, and I really wanted to see how he worked his rings.  So even though they are both pretty nekkid, I entered them in just one show so we could go out and have some fun. And we did!  I honestly have to say I agreed with everything he said, both good and bad about my girls.  He loved Peaces movement, told me she looks like she could herd cattle all day.  And he gave her a Group 2. Now it wasnt a big show, but there were more placements than that so I was very pleased.  Then I helped show a klee kai and a toy fox terrier.  Had a  really nice day, enjoyed spending time with many people. I took a chair along but the only one who sat in it was Peaceful.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Busy Weekend

Wow, that week and weekend just flew by!  Last week I was doing a lot of overtime (unpaid but required, grrr), but that did make the week fly by.  Saturday I started my day with a trip to the farmers market where I picked up a big box of tomatoes. Since my garden did not do very well this year, I had to resort to buying some, but that's OK they will still taste just as good. Peaces Grand Championship certificate came in the mail too.  She got free cookies for that. I am sure she had no idea what they were for or why I was smiling so much, but hey cookies are always good, right?

In the afternoon, I drove to Spring Valley WI to play at an agility fun match with Christi and Carol, put on by Overdale Kennel where they train.  What a blast! The courses were based on USDAA courses which I have never done.  I had a great time, but Grace had the best time of all I think. She was a totally naughty dog. She got the zoomies on every course and went so far as to leave the ring in her last run.  I have heard people say that when dogs get zoomies it is stress, but really, she looked so darn happy to be playing you can't catch me I find it hard to think it was stress.  I really think its just Grace having fun and being Grace.  Not sure how we are going to deal with that, though. I don't plan on doing a lot of outside agility with her, but I really don't want to have to chase her around the park though!  She did get a 2nd and a 3rd but we could have done so much better had I not had to rein her in.

Magic ran 4 times and earned a 1st in both snooker and pairs, a second in gamblers and a third in starters. I had never run gamblers or pairs and really had fun doing these.  Even though we won the snooker round, we could have really had much better points if he hadn't jumped both the A frame contact and the first dogwalk contact. I may have to retrain his running (actually jumping) contact to a 2o2o.  It cannot be harder on his frame than the four footed landings he does coming off.

I was too tired Saturday night to do more than think about doing anything with the tomatoes, but I did make a plan for the next day. Sunday was rainy and yucky, but we started the day back at the market since I had decided I needed peppers and onions too.  Got back home and made a day in the kitchen. Threw on an audio book and made 2 pans of stuffed peppers and a pan of cabbage rolls. We had peppers for dinner last night, have some for lunches this week and will have the cabbage rolls tonight.  I froze 2 meals worth of peppers so later in the winter we will have an easy meal night.

Since I thought the first batch of onion jam I made last week had too much rosemary I made a second batch and combined it with the first.  Still a bit too much but better. End result 3 1/2 pints and 3 1/4 pints. Made another recipe of tomato jam, this time cutting out a full cup of sugar and peeling and seeding the tomatoes first.  I like it better. Came out with 2 1/2 pints and 3 1/4 pints. Then I did some salsa, well, David helped a bit since he was home by then.  I got smarter through and wore gloves cutting up the hot peppers this time. No repeat of the painful hands thank goodness.

The dogs took Sunday off. Everyone needs a day of rest right?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Basil Cubes

Dandy's Mom, Krystal asked a question about basil cubes, so I thought maybe a short explanation post.  If your not interested in herbs, feel free to skip. 

I like to save herbs in several ways for my winter cooking. My house does not get enough light to continue to grow herbs indoors, so I grow them outdoors in the summer and save them multiple ways. Air drying, dehydrated, and freezing.  In my earlier post today I commented that I was going to make basil cubes.  This is the freezing method.  There are multiple ways you can freeze herbs. My preferred ways of freezing them are by making ice cubes of each herb or herb mix with various liquids.  For example. When I process the basil tonight I will make some cubes of basil in olive oil, some in white wine and some in red.  I will freeze a few more cubes of basil that has been made into a paste with olive oil.  I will freeze a few in some softened butter.  I love this method as by doing them in the various liquids I can just toss a frozen cube into whatever i am cooking and the oil or liquid just adds more flavor to the pot.

Some herbs I will also wash and lay out on a paper towel very loosely, Then I roll this all up tightly, when I need some of that herb, I just unroll a section of towel and take some frozen herbs to throw in. This give you the herb flavor without the extra liquid, but I find that the herbs don't seem to retain as much flavor as long this way.

Enjoy!

PS Krystal How is my favorite sable boy? 

Fall Already?

Sure seems like fall is here in Minnesota.  Last night the temps dropped down into the mid 30's.  I don't like the heat and humidity of the summer, but it beats the cold snow and darkness of winter, but since I can't change that I have been preparing.  Canning of course!

Tried several new recipes this year, onion jam and tomato jam for some savory, making more watermelon jam this weekend for some more sweet. Lots of tomatoes for winter, canned and frozen, and also some peppers dehydrated.  Will be roasting and freezing some of those too, probably this weekend.  Have gotten some of the herbs done, but definitely need to do some more.  I am out of red wine for freezing basil cubes, but a quick run to the store tonight should solve that issue.

Honestly I have not been doing much of anything with the dogs.  I must need another seminar to get me re-motivated.  Good thing I have one coming soon!

I started working on a new quilt this weekend.  This one is denim and is using up all the old jeans the family has collected.  It should be cute when it's done, its like a denim version of an cathedral window, although not as complex with the folding and such.  Although all the cutting is by hand, all the sewing is machine done and there is no binding so once all the parts are prepped, sewing will go quick. Well, that is assuming it retains my interest and I don't start training the dogs again.

What are your fall plans?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Videos from Laura

Laura Waudby the wonderful person that she is took some video of the kids last night.  Thanks Laura!

First up Magics Weavers run.  I messed us up at obstacle 5, but you can see he did not hold his start line at all.  We will work on that.

Magics Weavers run - bad handling Dawn 

Here is Magics Hoopers run, It was really good until we failed!  Oh well, NQ to run again right?
Magics Hoopers Run - Nice until we lost it  

And here is Grace who is VERY happy, she was too happy for me not to smile at her. Love how she bounced right over though when I called her.

Grace Hoopers Run - with the Zoomies  

Friday, September 2, 2011

NADAC Agility

Tonight Magic Grace and I went and ran a little agility.  The MN Mixed Breed Club holds a Friday night games trial, just Hoopers, Weavers and Tunnelers.  Other than classes the corgis and I haven't been doing much agility, so I thought this might be fun.  And it was.

We started out with Hoopers. Grace was up first. She was so excited she got the zoomies. She has never done that before at any type of trial - I know I shouldn't say it but it did make me laugh. It wasn't too long, and I got her back and we tried the class.  We had a few issues, and we didn't qualify, but we finished the course, I created a plan and we tried it. Then it was Magic's turn.  I had a different course planned for Magic, but I decided to try him on the one I did with Grace, and he nailed it pretty well, right up until the end when he took the start line hoop and earned an E. It was my fault, I should have run the course I had planned for him, a or I should have realized that he would see that hoop as in line. Oh well.

Next up was Weavers, where Magic and I just were not connected.  I sent him off course on obstacle 5 and then we lost it in the 2nd set of weaves.  These were the off side weaves and well he is not as strong on the right. We need to work that.  We finished the course and his last set of weaves were very nice, so I was happy with that. No weavers for Grace because she doesnt weave.YET

Last was tunnelers. Grace was up first and although she broker her start line, the rest went pretty darn good. It started with 2 straight tunnels to a curved tunnel, and not only did Grace run those tunnels, she RAN them. Lots of speed-more than I get in class.  She handled the turns really well, had no issue with my doing a blind cross, and when I asked her to turn away from me and go she did, really cleanly.  That turn led to the final 2 tunnels heading out and she booked, she ran ahead of me and kept going!  It really felt like a nice run and I was smiling and so was she . 
Last up was Magic's tunnelers run, and it too was very nice, faster than Graces, but not by a huge amount. Both qualified and Magic took first and Grace second.  Made my night. I have always loved playing with Magic, but overall I havent felt as connected to him as I did with Grace in her run. It just felt really good.




Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Memories

I was canning tomatoes the other night and my thoughts were wandering. I was thinking back to when I first learned how to can.  When I was young, my parents moved to a small hobby farm, just enough acreage for me to have horses. Our neighbor had horses too, and one day somehow the fence got knocked down and the horses went visiting, so I walked over to collect mine.  And I met the old farm couple.

Come the first summer I discovered some bushes covered with berries and not knowing what they were or if they were horse safe, Mom sent me over to ask.  Mrs was so surprised that I didn't know that these were chokecherries, and that they were for "jellying" that she offered to teach me how.  So the next day I picked a bunch of berries and she taught me how to make jelly.  I was hooked.  To this day chokecherry jelly is my favorite.  I wish I could get my hands on some berries.

Then she taught me how to can tomatoes. Being an older lady she was very frugal and she taught me the right way-next to nothing wasted. I learned how to can whole tomatoes and stewed tomatoes, but I also learned how to can "fancy" tomatoes. Fancy tomatoes were seeded. Its funny, all these years later and I still can almost all my tomatoes as fancy.  It's more work to seed them all, but its so nice.  But remember when I said frugal.  Well, when the tomatoes are peeled, all the peels are saved along with all the seeds.  These all go in the pot with the not so perfect tomatoes to make sauce. And I still do that too.

I also learned how to pickle, how to make bread and how to milk and collect eggs. I dont know if I could still milk, but I know I can still do the rest. I was 12 and even then I knew I wanted to be a farm wife.  I still do but life didnt take me in that direction.  But even in the city I can have a small garden and enough tomatoes to can.  Well almost enough.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Peace-now a Grand!

Today Peace earned her AKC Grand Champion title!  I am so proud of my little girl. 

So many firsts with her-my first time in bred by, my first bred by champion and now grand champion. She won her first BOB from the classes, and although she hasn't many of them she has some.  This year although we haven't shown many times, she was in the ribbons every time.

In UKC she gave me many group placings and a Best in Show. She was the number 3 dog in the UKC top ten last year, and this year at the UKC Premier top ten invitational she won best of breed. She has also earned several UKC total dog awards including one at Premier. The total dog award is given to dogs who win their conformation class and earn a qualifying score in a performance event at the same show. She has earned all her total dog awards for qualifying in weight pull, which is her first performance title.

Although neither of us are perfect, I couldnt be happier with my little noodle. Now we will start to work on some more titles for the end of her name, although even if she never does anything else, she is the best snuggler I have. Love my noodle girl.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ah much better

Sometimes in life you just need a little break.  I spent the last couple of weeks pretty much as normal, although a little laid back. Did a little less dog stuff, only ran 6 times at the APDT trial, instead of the normal 10 or more weekend. Spent some time playing with the birds,(Dilly is sitting on my shoulder now kissing my cheek and saying kissy kissy) and did a little training with the dogs.  I did spend a lot of time canning and preserving, which I really do enjoy.

Stayed home this weekend and really was a homebody.  Had a doggy visitor which is always fun.  Listened to the rest of the audiobook A Discovery of Witches and loved it. Normally I only listen to them at work, but I was so into this one I had to bring it home on Friday to finish it.  Now I want to get a copy to read, since when I listen at work or when I am working around the house I think I miss stuff.

We have been training a dumbell retrieve, with all 3 girls, but I am not good with a clicker, not coordinated enough or something and I am not making progress. Also trying to teach Magic scent discrimination but not sureif we are progressing or not.  Sometimes I think I expect too much too soon.  But thats OK no real hurry!  He needs to get his CDX first. Oh wait he has his UCDX so maybe there is some pressure there. Grace and I are practicing weaves every day, and with gates, she has it, but with them even slightly pulled away from the poles, she skips. On the plus side, at least she is working with me at home, that took some time. In the past she was just too focused on keeping birds out of the yard, or scanning for cats or anything other than working. So I guess its progress.

Yesterday I did play around a bit with some yarn doing a kool aid dye on it.  I think this skein will eventually be agility socks.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Taking a bit of a break

We are taking a break. Lately between my medical issues, the heat, work, or not working, I just haven't had much energy to go out and do much.  So I really haven't been doing anything to talk or write about.  But I have been thinking.

I have been thinking about training. I have been thinking about sewing or knitting, or even canning.  I have some cucumbers just asking to be pickled, but I havent the energy to deal with it.  I am hoping that a short break will revive me.

What do you do to revive?

Monday, July 18, 2011

UROC Magic

Horrible heat and humidity here in Minnesota.  Last night on the news they were saying its more humid here than at the amazon. YUCK.

In spite of it all Magic and I had a very good run in rally at the show this weekend-outdoors in the horrible heat even.  We did NQ twice. I blame both of those on the heat and my lack of ability to think.  We were entered in 8 classes, earned 3 perfect scores, 2 99s and a 98 which gave us 4 firsts and 2 second places and Magic earned his UROC which is the UKC Rally Champion title. We also earned a high in trial too.

Christy was kind enough to take a picture but blogspot wont let me post it. Let me just say though, that it was the end of the day we all were covered in sweat and Magic was done, so maybe thats for the best really!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gracie can PLAY!

I chose to take Grace to the seminar because motivation has always been our issue. Grace is not driven by her various drives. Although food is a motivator for her, it’s not always a reliable one. Grace really is a dog who simply eats when she is hungry and doesn’t when she is not. We have had periods in her life where food just isn’t her priority. As in she would eat 6 kibbles if I hand fed her otherwise, no thanks, not now.

I have tried to play with Grace since she was a puppy. As a baby dog, Grace would play with Magic, but not with me. She has never been one to join Magic when we play ball, or want to get in on the wrestle sessions that Magic and I have. I tried to offer her the tug, she saw Magic tug many times, but it had no interest for her. Grace is also a pretty independent dog. She is not one who feels the need to be at my feet, or on me. Across the room where she can supervise, oh yeah, that is her preferred position. She wants her daily face scrubbing, but that was the closest thing I had found to play that she enjoyed. So my goal with this seminar was to find ways to get her excited. I want her to light up for something (other than sheep, I haven’t yet found a way to get one of those in my pocket to surprise her.)

Denise talked a lot about drives in dogs in the seminar In thinking about Gracie, I realized that her favorite game really is to chase. When playing with the other dogs, she wants to chase them, she wants to chase the sheep. Even in agility, her preferred place to run is slightly behind me, not really chasing in this instance, but it’s a behavior closer to chasing than to being chased. Prey Drive. Not kill or fight, but chase. OK we can work with this.

So to teach Grace to play and maybe tug, I needed the right toy. Denise had several different types and styles of toys, from a hard stuffed fire hose toy to linen, cow skin, sheepskin, hard and soft styles. For Grace the toy that caught her interest is a bit of rabbit fur on the end of a four foot handle. According to Denise, the toy needs to simulate a rabbit and not a suicidal one. In other words the toy needs to be on the ground, zipping around front, back and sideways. Rabbits don’t run up in the air and they don’t stop to get caught. And when they are caught they do fight to get away.

So I started with Grace on the floor with the toy close to my hand, I tried making it wiggle, jump and slide along and although she looked at it, it wasn’t quite right. But when I got up and the rabbit made big runs across the floor, zipping this way and that , she was interested. Very quickly she was chasing that rabbit and occasionally even catching it. I learned quickly that if she does catch it I can’t stop moving it. Once it dies, she drops it. So Graces rabbit needs to be a wiggler, always in motion. Grace does play WOOHOO!

Denise also asked us to play with our dogs without the toy. Taking what I learned with the toy, I realized that if I gently tag her and run away she will chase me, She has always loved having her face scrubbed, where I vigorously rub her cheeks and ears, so I incorporated that rubbing her face, pushing her away and dashing off. She loved that. I can now sort of tap the sides of her muzzle and push away and she comes back for more. And I can use that while heeling to get her fired up. I love it, she seems to love it.

By Sunday night, Grace visibly brightens when she sees her rabbit tug. David was eating dinner and Grace was begging-laying next to him on the couch with her head in his lap. I pulled out her tug and she actual left him for a moment for it. He's a soft touch though, so she did go back, but it does show some attention to the toy. Last night at agility class I decided to try to reward her agility practice with the tug. She seemed to enjoy it. She does not yet have a big hold and tug reaction, but if she is happy and excited by the catching and chasing aspect, then chase she will get.

My girlie can PLAY!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Denise Fenzi Seminar

Over the weekend I attended a 3 day seminar given by Denise Fenzi. There is so much about this seminar that I am still trying to process that I am having a tough time putting it into words. Other than AMAZING!

The seminar Saturday and Sunday was about building drive and motivation for obedience and Monday was for problem solving for obedience. I was lucky enough to snag a working spot in both seminars.

Grace and I worked together on Saturday and Sunday. I was hoping to be able to find ways to communicate better with her and also to build in some play with her. Although we have tried novice a few times usually it has been just an effort to see where we are in our training. I know that we have heeling issues and I was hoping to maybe work a bit on that. First the play- I was successfully able to get Grace to play with me both Saturday with a toy and Sunday without. It’s not the vigorous play of many dogs, but she was responding. For the first time ever she showed some interest in a tug type toy, chasing it and even tugging mildly. She also responded really well to some gentle pushing and physical play during a heeling session.

During our one on one sessions with Denise, not surprisingly she saw the same bad behavior on my part in watching my dog and not looking forward. But she also noticed that even though I still do that, I also do catch myself and am trying to change the pattern. She liked the way Grace performs when she is paying attention, but she noticed that her periods of attention are short, so we need to work on building those. Oh and her sits were gone again, so we will be paying with those too. They come, they go…..

Monday I worked with Magic. Each team had the opportunity to work with Denise twice while the other teams looked on. In our first session we spent most of the time talking about teaching a go out as I need to do that. We didn’t do it, but I got fabulous directions on how she does it and I feel confident enough that we can start on our own. I did ask for some assistance with our retrieves. Since Magic loves to retrieve, in general our retrieve is nice. But his enthusiasm is also occasionally an issue as he does a few things that are not the best. Magic will munch on the dumbbell, or occasionally he will pick it up by the bell. So I got a few suggestions for both of those issues and we will work on it.

In our second session we worked on our heeling. Honestly Magic’s heeling was really nice for the first few minutes, then suddenly, he realized that there was a quiet room, everyone was watching and the normal lagging began. Denise was able to point out where that happened. She worked me through a few exercises with him and within just a few minutes he was back up and heeling much better. And I did much better too in not looking back at him which also helps! We will never be competing for high in trial, but I am hoping by incorporating some of this we will at least be successful. For the first time I realized that yes I DO want a UD on this dog and I AM going to make the effort and try.

One of the things Denise did convey well that hit home with me is that many dogs equate silence with being wrong and that we need to change that perspective. And I find that to be very true with my dogs. So I am trying to change how I do reward the dogs and what I say as well as when I say it. The other thing I need to incorporate more in my training is verbal rewards for effort on the dogs part, when the dog has tried but failed. The actual reward, whether food or play comes with success, but a good try, let’s do it again instead of a true no reward marker such as oops or wrong.

There is more, much more and I hope to be able to talk about it as I use it in the future. It was incredible seeing her work with each team and so many different issues. She was quick to point out why similar issues from dog to dog, need to be handled differently due to the dogs motivation and style. If it is at all possible I would love to do another seminar in the future with her as she was honestly the best presenter I have seen. If you have the chance to see her go for it! I know I will.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I am beat!

Today was day 3 of the NSHGC summer agility trial.  Again this year I was the worker coordinator.  I don't know that I did a great job, but all 3 days went pretty well so I am hoping everyone was happy.  I do know I worked myself exhausted!

I ran Magic for the first time in Open JWW.  We were not successful as far as Q's go, but we ran pretty well.  In Novice Standard, Magic did qualify yesterday.  He was so happy and excited to be out running. Makes me realize that I should just get him out and do more trials.  I would like to take him back to some classes, but I dont know if I can.  He runs so differently than Grace, I have to learn to be a better partner for both. But the boy was a happy guy, so it was all fun.

Now next weekend is the Denise Fenzi seminar.  I am hoping I can learn to be as muc fun doing obedience. I still haven't decided which dog to take....

Friday, July 1, 2011

Whew, hot and Humid in MN

Yesterday it sucked in MN. The actual temp was in anywhere from 93 to 98 depending on the thermometer you read. The humidity was something like 73% so it was sauna like causing an official heat index of something like 104. And of course it was a busy day for us.

First off Magic had a photo shoot. Now I can’t talk much about it, but I can say that I felt bad for the boy and I don’t think he gave his best performance. First off our car does not have air. So he was hot when he got there. The building was air conditioned of course, but he was still hot and panting when it was time to shoot, and he had to wear a sweater under those lights. Poor boy. To make things worse we asked him to hold something and you know you can’t hold something and pant at the same time. He was a really good boy and he tried, but it won’t surprise me if they don’t use these shots at all.

Then we hopped back into the car to go up to Hugo, MN for our obedience lesson. Magic mostly gets to sit out the obedience lessons as really Nancy is teaching me, so I can more effectively work with Magic. We are so lucky in Minneapolis since we have so many incredible people to take lessons from. Lets just hope I can learn and actually put some of these skills to work. After the lesson, we ran to the meat market and gas station and ran home. Did I mention this was rush hour traffic? And its hot, with no air? I think I did.

So we got home in time for me to change to my tennis shoes and grab Grace to run off to agility class. It was cooler in the building, but once you started running, well let’s just say I was a bit damp. Grace was a stinker too. I am sure she had everyone doubting me when I said how well we did in MI as you sure couldn’t see it last night! Oh well gracie is Gracie and I although she can be a stinker, she is a fun girlie.

Then we ran home I swapped Grace for Dave and Rin and we went back for Rinnie’s nosework class. Siren did pretty well with her searches. We were inside for the first time in a while and although it was cool in the building, there were several big fans going and the air was moving making searches a bit more challenging. It was good a good practice though and even though some of the dogs were having some difficulty finding the scent it was wonderful to see that they were not giving up. They continued to search until they were successful. Which really is what you want.

By the time we were done it was 9, and still hotter than hades. So even thought I had the brats I picked up at the meat market, I had no energy to cook them. Instead I picked up dinner at Popeye’s on the way home. All in all a very good day, if you don’t mind sweat that is.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Our Premier Pictures

Peace's Overall and Total Dog

Peace's Best of Breed Top Ten Invitational

Grace's Overall and Total Dog

These photos will appear in the Bloodlines magazine in future issues.  I wish they had told me my hair was sticking up, but oh well.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Busy week ahead

Next weekend is the herding group clubs agility trial.  I am the worker coordinator, so I will be working, but I also entered Magic. I figured I am going to be there, I might as well play, right?  It will be our first attempt at open JWWp.  We still have no Standard Novice preferred Q's so we will try there too. I am not expecting anything though, its just for fun.

Before that on Thursday, Magic and I have an obedinece lesson and Magic has a job.  I hope it goes well. So tonight or tomorrow Magic needs a bath! 

I have a desire to make jam again, so tonight I might whip up a small batch of strawberry rhubarb. Yum!  We will see.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

UKC Premier

I had a wonderful time this last week.  I could write a novel about it all but I doubt you want to read all that, so I will just give the basics.

Grace and I ran UKC agility together for the first time.  She did wonderfully.  For thiose unfamiliar, UKC agility is scored similarly to obedience where you start with a 200 and are marked points off for any issues that may occur such as off courses, or not entering or exiting an obstacle straight.  Grace and I ran 5 times over the 4 days, earning qualifying runs all 5 times. We earned the following scores 200,195,184,200,193.  A couple of issues we had that got points taken off were overshooting the table and falling off, then re-entering on the wrong side, bouncing off the side of the teeter instead of exiting straight off,  and once she got caught in the chute so she backed out then barrelled through it.  It was quite funny because you could tell she was mad that she got stuck, and in typical Grace fashion after she was out of the chute she turned back to bark at it for slowing her down.
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On Friday Grace also ran one run of Level 1 rally where she also qualified.  I had entered this because I was really hoping that Grace could maybe earn a total dog award, and when I sent my entries, I was not confident in our ability to run in agility.  To do that a dog has to qualify in a performance event and do well in the conformation ring. Since I couldn't handle both Grace and Peace, Grace got to play with a new friend Mike who she showed her beautifully.  So Grace got to be in the total dog parade of qualifiers and compete for the best total dog award.

Peace also did wonderfully this weekend.  She placed 2nd in weight pull on Friday for her performance event so also was able to do the total dog parade and conformation contest. She did not ultimately place, but she did make the cut in the herding group for that.  The steward told me afterward that the judge commented that he really had liked her. Peace also won BOB at the Top Ten invitational Thursday (I cried) as well as earning 2 wins towards a grand and BOB on both Friday and Saturday.  Sunday she did not win, but that did not dim our excitement at all.  3 BOB's over a 4 day weekend was incredible.

There were so many people there from MN, WI and IA that it seemed like I was constantly running into people. Everyone seemed to have a great time. I met some new people, made some new dog friends and want to do it again. Soon. I know Grace does, she wants to play with Ryan Newman (Dwysans Hot Wheels) again. I have never seen her flirt with another cardi in quite the same way. She was smitten!  Anyone else already thinking about Gateway?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Magic the ambassador

Saturday Magic and I went to a dog show, but not to compete.  This was an AKC show, but one where they really wanted people to see dogs doing all the things that dogs can do. So there was a someone doing carting, there was a meet the breed booth, and we went to be part of a weight pull demo.  To show people how much the dogs like to pull,  as well as how any breed can pull.   We wondered around in our harness and invited others over to give it a try.  I was surprised at how many people did try it.
Magic met many people and I thought was a great ambassador for the cardigan breed too. He loved on the people, he let the babies poke and squeal, he shed on them and showed what a wonderful dog Cardi's can be.  I can't tell you how many people who met Magic who were so amazed at how calm and stable and loving he was. I did explain that Cardis are supposed to be reserved, but that many cardigans are as social and loving as he is.   I had several comment that they were so surprised he was not skittish.  Apparently somehow up here the breed is getting a reputation for being spooky, which makes me sad. 

When we were all done being the social butterfly, we took some time for Magic to be able to do what he really wanted to do-Lure Coursing!  I hadnt really remembered that there was going to be coursing, but Magic clearly recognised what it was from quite a distance away.  Magic ran the course twice (with an hour plus rest time between) and had a great time.  the club that was running the demo/fun runs is having a CAT test in October. Magic and I plan on being there!

The only bad part, silly me, I forgot my sunscreen and now have a pretty sunburn. Fortunately, I was able to borrow a little baby sunscreen for Magic's scar so it did not get more than slightly pink. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Trip Planning

While I love going away and doing things witht he dogs, I hate the planning. I always forget something, and I never am quite sure what to take. I am looking forward to going to Premier with the girls though. I just dont know if I am ready!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Not so Obedient, Gracie

Well Grace and I tried obedience last weekend.  We failed.  I am having a really hard time keeping Grace's focus with me-in the ring.   She is so interested in checking out every little noise and movement outside the ring, she loses her focus on what we are doing.  Our off leash heeling was almost non existant. Anytime someone moved outside the ring she had to stop to see what they are doing. Oh well. There were good points too, thoguh.  Her stand for exam was perfect.  She only barked once, and that was during the sit stay, when the wind rattled the building awning rather loudly. Her down stay was good too.  So we will continue to work on focus, and heeling, and hopefully someday it will come together. In the meantime, she is certainly doing her part in trying to keep the wonderfulness of the corgis a secret. I do have to say, no matter the end result, I love the little pooper.

On the other hand, she showed in conformation and had a blast earning another Select point.  I really dont have a plan to try to earn her Grand Championship, but occasionally just for fun becasue she loves it, why not.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Great Dane Photos in the rain

Amy at Great Dane Photos takes the very best photos-even in the rain.       Grace    Magic

Monday, May 23, 2011

Agility in the pouring rain

The other week I decided that I needed to enter Grace in an agility trial before we get to Michigan next month.  I thought she might need some experience at an actual trial. So I entered Grace in one round of tunnelers at a local NADAC trial. But gosh, if I am going, it seems so silly to just go for one run doesnt it, so I also entered Magic in all 3 of the available runs on Friday night. Hoopers, Tunnelers and Weavers. The closer we got to the actual trial the more nervous I became. I worried about Grace running off, I worried about Magic not remembering what to do, I worried about whether I could actually run a whole course. I worried.

Friday the day of the trial it was rainy. Really rainy too, not just a nice light sprinkle. But thankfully it was a warm rain, so although I chill so easily, I thought I would be able to handle getting a little wet.  Well, a little wet certainly was not going to happen, as it was pouring at the trial site. Not the whole time, but often enough.   Since we were only entered for the one day, I could not see bringing the easy up, so we just set the dog crates up and covered them with a tarp. For the most part they were dry, unless they were out running.

Magic was up first with a hoopers run.  Hoopers is not offered at every trial and our last hoopers Q was 3-15-2008, and we really hadnt run any NADAC since 2009, and had only run one CPE trial in 2010.  So I was pretty sure that we were just going to go out and have fun and not worry about how we did, or how badly we looked. We were just going to do our best, play and have a great time together.    Hoopers, for those of you who don't do agility is a course where you sort of make up your own plan.  There are 5 tests on the course set by the judge and a line of hoops in the middle that are non test hoops.  For novice you have to do 3 non test hoops, successfully complete a test, do 2 non test hoops and then complete another test, then get the heck out of there. 

I had watched most of the others run the course and very few of the people chose the tests that I thought we were going to try.  I started to worry thinking that those very experienced folks were so much smarter than I was maybe I should change my plan.  But in the end I decided to do the course that I planned anyways.  Magic was super excited as we stepped up to wait our turn.  He made it perfectly clear that he loves to play these games with me.  I did not ask him for a huge lead out, as it wasnt necessary for the course, but he did wait for his release.  He shot off the line and raced down the line of non test hoops, taking the first 4.  He was headed for a test at the end of the line, but I called him to me and sent him through the first hoop and out to 2nd in the test.  This was the harder hoop to get, because there were 2 side by side and the dog needed to take the further one from the handler, I pushed him out, he adjusted and took the right hoop, headed back to me took the last hoop of the test and I sent him on to the next 2 non test hoops. So far great!  The second non test hoop was a bit beyond the next test I wanted to try, so I called him back and sent him through the first hoop of the test.  This test was a 4 hoop test, one hoop centered in front and 2 behind it sided by side so the test was to take the front hoop, take either of the back hoops, wrap and come right back through the hoop next door and take the first hoop again.   Magic did really well, his wrap/turn from the 2nd hoop to the 3rd one could have been tighter, but he did it very well in my opinion. Back to the last hoop of the test and out to the finish.  WOOHOO success!  I had no idea is we made time or if we really had done it right, but it felt so good. It felt like teamwork, it felt like it was just the 2 of us and the rest of the world didn't even exist.  It makes me smile thinking about it. 

I wont go into the blow by blow of the other 2 runs, but they were pretty awesome too.  We did mess up in weavers when someone forget his start line stay and then missed a hoop. But the rest of the weavers run was really good. It felt good, he remembered how to weave and did all 3 sets on the first try.  Tunnelers also went well, the course was great, and I loved it.  I love that Magic is such a good partner. Now I have the bug again and really want to do more agility.

Grace had a hard time being patient and waiting for tunnelers.  Whenever I had Magic out, she screamed her fool head off, so that means I have some work to do with her. But, she was eager and when it was her turn she was excited, she was happy and she was fun.  OK, she didnt do the course and she kind of made her own, but for a dog that has not been a tunnel sucker she did take every tunnel she saw and she did so with speed and a wagging tail.    I was worried about her taking off on me and I guess that is not going to be an issue-at least not in the sense that she would leave the agility field.  She was so eager to run, she took every tunnel opening she was, but 2 times I was able to redirect her and I was able to call her off in the middle of the course and end our run.  She seemed to have a great time!  I am now less worried about the running off than I am about her creating her own path.  I know we are not quite ready yet, and she will never be the same as Magic, but I had fun with her just the same.

We were wet, wet to the skin and beyond, but I went home smiling. Magic Q'd in 2 of the 3 runs taking first place in all. Grace stayed on the agility field, she worked with me somewhat and she was happy.  I was too.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Herding, a perspective from a person with 4 left feet

Last night the dogs, Grace and Magic and I had a herding lesson.

Grace. Anyone who knows Grace, knows that she is a pretty confident self assured dog. She is pushy and can be hard headed. But I think she has met her match in Kim. Kim, while soft spoken and easy going is the one in charge. And that has Grace a bit concerned. Grace is very interested in the sheep, and quite willing to chase after them, but not so sure about what exactly Kim is asking of her. She is not comfortable with Kim not letting her do just as she wants, and does show signs of stress. She often gives up instead of giving in, by wondering off. I am grateful that Kim is working her at this point as I do not know enough about what to do to be effective with her and most likely would allow her to get away with naughty behaviors. Because yes, she has me wrapped around her little paw. However, last night I could see where she was starting to understand where Kim wanted her to give, and she did grudgingly give her a few stops.


Grace worked hard in her lesson last night, but more than the physical work, she was mentally fatigued. Quite significantly in fact. Unlike last week where she barked her fool head off during Magic’s lesson, last night she was quiet in her crate in the car. She rested on the way home, but when we got home, she climbed into my lap and cuddled. Not that she never cuddles, she does, but not in the same way. It almost seemed like she wanted reassurance. So I gave her some, and told her how wonderful she really is.

It will be interesting to see how she acts tonight and see what the level of delayed stress is for her.

Then we had Magic’s lesson. Magic is not nearly as sure of himself overall as Grace is, and last week he was reluctant to work with Kim, constantly coming over to me at ringside for assurance. So Kim felt that he would be more comfortable working with me. So, Magic and I are going to learn to herd together. I took him out and we muddled through together. He has a tendency to go through his flock, so I have to be better at reading what he is going to do to try to be out there to stop him. Of course, since I am learning it wasn’t pretty last night, but we did OK I thought for our first time. I was able to send him successfully a couple of times, where he didn’t break the flock. I was able to down him and pull him off the sheep fairly easily, although a couple of times he did break away and go on his own. He seemed much less stressed and didn't wonder off except once to poop.  And he was really happy seeming, no stressed body language, and he was very willing to re-engage unlike last week.

The hardest thing for me is simultaneously listening and understanding the directions from Kim, watching what the dog is doing and where the sheep are, all while holding a stick and moving myself. Way too much for this uncoordinated old lady! At times I felt like I had 1 leg and four arms and 3 feet and none of it knew how to work together, and here comes 4 800 pound sheep running full speed at me! It didn’t help that one of the sheep kept bopping me in the butt to tell me to move along.  No video this time as we forgot the camera. Probably a good thing.

But honestly I had a GREAT time and I can’t wait to do it again.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Very busy

Haven't been blogging much as I have been so busy.  The garden is planted at our community garden site, tomatos, peas, spinach, chard, carrots, radishes, cabbage, kale, herbs and zuchinni.  Our backyard fence border garden though is still a mess, the green beans are going there this year, so I better get them in.   Tonight we have herding, which takes up most of the night since it takes 1.5 hours just to ge there. But its fun and well worth the drive.  Tomorrow night I am afraid I may have to work late again. I wish it were not Thursdays, but what can I do?  The powers that be want Thursday nights. Oh well.

Yesterday Magic had his first job as a model! LOL.  He did very well as he knows how to sit and pant. He is such a good dog and pretty much does whatever I ask, even when he would rather not.  Love that boy. 

I am both looking forward to Friday as well as fearing it.  I am going to try Grace in tunnelers. I think. I might chicken out!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Herding

I learned something new about Grace last night.  She is not really the Princess she pretends. You know, the princess dog, who cant go out an pee in the wet grass or walk through a puddle.  Last night she was going through mud and water up to her belly quite joyfully.

Grace and I started herding lessons 2 weeks ago. Last night was lesson 2.  She made major improvement in the going up to the pen with out screaming her head off. Much better than last week.  She showed more of an understanding of being a bit further off the sheep than last week. She barked, but only when she was frustrated since Kim wasnt letting her back on the sheep.  She doesnt have a stop yet, but she seems to be starting to get that. I do not think she will be a superstar anytime soon though-but I think she prefers this to obedience for sure. 

Magic got to herd last night too, and wow did his lack of confidence ever come out.  He spent most of his lesson trying to avoid Kim and I .    He was willing to go collect the sheep, but when it comes to holding them,  he did multiple avoidance exercises. He ran to check out the horse, the other sheep, to lay in the puddle, to eat grass.  All sorts of things other than deal with the sheep up close.  However, when they were away from us and he was able to go collect them he is fine.  I think its that he doesnt understand what is expected, so rather than try things, he backs off.  Early on in the lesson he got right up on the sheep so got forced back and I think that is what caused him to shut off a bit.  It will be very interesting to work 2 dogs with such different styles.

So 10 PM and I am throwing two mud puppies in the tub. I am sure they both were made I took away the good semlls they worked so hard to obtain.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Dream Puppies

3 years old already. Amazing. Love you all puppers.

Monday, May 9, 2011

New Directions

I am thinking that although Magic finds flyball to be one fabulous time, perhaps its not the best occupation for his body.  He is not holding his adjustments and quite honestly I am not willing to risk permanent injury, just because he loves it. Honestly though I can't say for sure its the flyball,. I don't know about anyone else's cardi's, but mine play very rough, and I often cringe when I see how hard they go after each other.  And the boy can't be confined all the time, that is no life.  I have already started refusing to tug with him which he finds very frustrating. He is constantly offering to play. I worry, I don't want to risk injury, but I also want him happy.

 We haven't been doing any agility either because with Darryl not working, I couldn't afford to train or compete in any more events.  I don't know if his body can handle agility either?  Herding? Maybe I will have to see how it goes.   I am planning on entering agility next Friday night, just to see how he holds up- there is only tunnelers, weavers and jumpers that day, so physically those are a little less hard on the body.  He has another chiro appointment the following Monday so it might be an indication of how he is holding.

So in the end, Magic may become an obedience dog after all. Sadly that is not his preference and I haven't figured out how to help him find the joy in that, but we will work toward it. And maybe we will pick up on tracking or herding.  He is only 6.5 so should have a long career ahead in something. Or maybe he can just be my best buddy, but trials wont be the same without him. 

I guess I am just rambling on about the thoughts that have been in my head lately.  Not sure really what the future will hiold, I just know I want to have Magic in my life as long as possible.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dogpark Experiences

On Friday in Minneapolis we had a little bit of sunshine.  About noon the sun was shining and the sky was blue and my heart soared
for a moment.  Of course I was at work, but I called Darryl and asked him to pick me up at 4 with a couple of dogs and we would go out to our favorite dog park and enjoy the sun. So at 4 he was at work to get me with Magic and Peace happily riding along.  Sadly the sun did not cooperate and started to go back into hiding right about then. But we drove out to the dog park anyways.

Just a note, our favorite park is about 20 minutes out of town.  By the time we got out to the park, the sun was behind the clouds, the sky was grey and the wind was  picking up, but it was still dry and tolerable.  As we arrived we ran into our favorite Caribou barista so we spent a while chatting in the parking lot.  Her dogs were well behaved, having already been to the park.  Mine, not so much. Magic was excited and he forgot how to walk nicely to the gate.  Peace was beyond herself whining and screaming to go. 

We arrived at the gate to go into the park, took off leashes and released the dogs.  Magic was gone like a shot-flying down the path to the field with Peace right behind him.  Down to the first dogs a quick sniff and a race back to us, to be quickly followed by a return with check in and high speed run right back again.  Magic is confident in himself and will go all the way across the park either with another dog running, or out to play with the others, but he always comes back to check in or if I call.  Peace will run with Magic, but if other dogs are playing vigorously, she is more likely to return to hang out with us. 

As we walked along a group of about 5 other dogs approached.  I rarely worry about other dogs, but this group had me nervous since one was a husky and I wasn't sure how Peace would react.  All northern looking breeds have caused her to worry when at dog shows.  But she did really well. She did immediately drop to a crouch, but when the husky only sniffed her you could see her visibly relax.  She remained submissive to the husky, but she did not run away, she allowed the husky to approach her several times, and better yet, she approached the husky, and would run a few feet with the husky before breaking away and  returning to Darryl and I.  She was stressed, she was cautious, but she was not shut down, she showed more comfort each time the husky was near.  I was really pleased with how well she handled it.

Because the majority of the dogs at the park are larger, longer legged breeds, the corgis really do have to run hard to keep up.  Magic loves this, but he does get warm. So he found the nearest mud puddles to go cool off in.  then we have a short wet dog running in the sandy paths, so we did bring home quite a bit the park.  And although when we left the park you could not tell that either dog had white legs, being corgis, by the time we got home, the muck was starting to fall off.  Two tired dogs and I was very relaxed. Just wish the park were closer to home.

PS It poured rain ont he drive home, but by then I did not care at all!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

UKC Rally weekend

This weekend there was a UKC rally trial, held  with the American Eskimo confomration trial.  Magic earned 2 more double Qs and Grace earned one Q toward her level 2 title. Not much great to say about Magics runs, he clearly did not want to do rally this weekend.  He managed to earn placements, but he was lackluster.  Grace was over entheusiastic. Yesterday she did qualify but she was barky.  Today she was quiet for the most part which is good, but she was also much less focused.  She NQd on a pivot as she just squatted and didnt actually sit, and I didnt notice that she was not all the way sitting. My fault as I should have realized it, but, oh well, we know what we need to work on and we have a few months not to get better. There is a UKC trial in July, but its outside and I just dont thinkI can keep her attention outside.  We will see how its going closer to time.

On the flyball front, Magic was very interesting at practice today. We have to work on ignoring other balls as he cant focus on the box. But on the positive side, he did his first full runs down to get the ball and back. He clearly showed us all that he will run much harder when he has competition-he saw the other dog in the other lane and realized it was a race. Or at least is seemed he did because he sure sped up!   He also one time thought he needed to go over to her lane, but just once. 

Also got to watch some frineds dogs in conformation which was fun. Made me sad I hadn't entered Peaceful.I do love showing. Oh well, Premier is not that far away.

Monday, April 18, 2011

videos courtesy of Laura W

Laura and her wonderful husband took video of just about everyone this weekend.  Here is a link to one of Magic's and one of Grace.  Love how happy Gracie is, she really is such a funny girl.

Thank you Laura for sharing these.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Grace and APDT

Wow. I have to eat humble pie tonight.  Grace really surprised me today.  She did terrific, I was really so happy with my little monster princess.  First a couple of things about Grace.  Really she has been given the short shift having me as her partner.  Grace had some obedience, some beginner classes, but other than that really she has been stuck with what I have taught her. And I have not been good about working with her, but we have played around some. I have been saying forever, I "should" get her to some classes and I havent.  BAD Partner!

Grace is quite opinionated and we have been working on trying to not express ourselves in the ring. And I think we are making progress. Today in her level 1 run she earned a 205. She lost 4 points for barking, but that is much much better than at the last UKC trial. WOO HOO.   That also means the rest of the run was really pretty good. 

Then in her Level 2 run, I figured I would lose her during the heeling parts at least once, but nope she was pretty good, with just a few small bobbles. I thought for sure she would NQ on the moving down. I have never taught her that, but she fooled me on that and althought it wasnt perfect, she tried and she downed.  Good girl.  I  knew the bonus exercise was not going to be good. It was a leave your dog turn and down them. Grace has a hard time with the leaving part, but that was OK.  She had no clue on the down, and althought sh ethought she had to come to me to down, she did down.  Good girl! What surprised me the most though was I thought she wouldnt have any issue witht he jump, after all we have been doing agility lately and I thought she would take that easily, but nope, she heeled right past without even a glance.  Silly me, I never even thought that would happen.  Bad handler. So no Q, but many really good moments and best of all, althought there were a few woofs, and a bit of quiet grumbling, she was a lot quieter than I expected.  LOVED that. 

She got a cheeseburger today.

ARCHX and RL2X

Magic was wonderful today as he always is.  Today we ran 5 times, Qd 5 times and again all scores over 200.  Today with his double Q in trial 3 Magic earned both his ARCHX and his RL2X.  We then went on and had a triple Q in trial 4. Such a good boy!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

APDT Rally today

Today was the CDSP obedience trial and APDT rally trial.  I havent registered the dogs for CDSP, but I am gonna have too.  I stewarded for the CDSP and got to watch some very nicely working dogs, and got to hand out several new title ribbons too.

Magic and I played in APDT today. 4 runs, 4 Q's, placements in all and scores ranging from 210 to 201.  I would like to see a litte more consistency in our teamwork.  Overall a little better heeling, but a few too many other mistakes.  I need to get more focused in my training, so next time we do even better. But honestly, it was not bad at all.

However, I think I need a little more humility, so tomorrow Grace plays too. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Photos

Magic had some more pictures taken. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

First team practice

Magic and I had our first team practice today.   Magic was a very good boy and seemed to be very comfortable working with all those new dogs and people too.  He seemed very confident doing recalls down past the whole line of dogs waiting. He was a little slower doing box work today. Less excited about that.  The only thing we have to try to train out so far is the need to chase balls that the others dogs drop.  He thinks he should go collect those.

I really am enjoying flyball much more than I thought I would.  Actually I am quite surprised at just how much I do like it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Agility and Grace

Grace has really change in so many ways since we started agility.  She has always been an interesting girl, but since starting agility I have seen several changes.  Fisrt off, she is much more interested in working with me than she used to be. Yet, at the same time she has gotten more vocal about doing things her way than she used to be.  Vocal to the point that she is constantly barking instructions to me-and its carrying over to the obedience ring. I need to find a way to stop it.  I may start pulling her off course when she barks, but I don't know if that is a good way of dealing with it.

  I need suggestions if anyone has any.

When we started agility, she was moving, but more slowly, now, she is showing speed.  Now I need to speed up, but that is a whole 'nuther issue!   Grace has never been interested in toys, and although she will not tug yet, she is starting to at least chase the tug for a minute or so.  Her stays in obeience and home situations have improved significantly, but her start line stays in agility are horrible. She will stay in a down so far, but not in a sit, so I have given in and am using a down.  And although overall she is just as independent as she has always been, she is also more cooperative. I know it sounds like those two things wouldn't happen at the same time, but she makes it work. Thngs like she hasn't really played the you can't catch me game in quite a while. Of course now that I mention it, it will probably happen.

The most interesting change, though, I can't quite figure out if its related to agility or not is her relationship with David.  She has always been very independent.  If she looked to anyone for anything, going out, tummy rubs or begging, it was always me.  Lately, since David started riding along to agility class (his class with Siren is after our class, so we go together) she has suddenly started looking to David for thngs. She now will ask him to take her outside, or go to him for tunny rubs.  Last night I asked her where's David and she ran right to him.  She is 5 and has lived with David for her whole life so I really find this interesting,  I am glad though, because it means if I am busy she will ask someone else to go outside.

I am really enjoying doing agility with Grace, and I am really looking forward to starting our herding lessons too.  Which is something I never expected to think 5 years ago when this really tough puppy had me in tears more often than not.  She is my girl.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Frustration/Concerns

Entries opened for the UKC Premier on Monday.  Since performance events are limited in number I entered pretty early in the day.  The website for entries states that confirmations will be sent within 5 days.  OK I can wait. But then today I read that some people got the confirmation the same day. So now I worry- did they get it and its being processed, did it not go through- what if there are errors.  WIth all I am reading about entry confusions for the CWCCA National I am just anxious about my entry. My plan was to enter Peace in Conformation the 4 days and weight pull on Friday. WP opened a while ago and I mailed that one. No conformation there either.  I entered Grace in agility all 3 days, rally 1 on Friday and conformation on Saturday.
I just hate the not knowing.

On the plus side, Graces heeling tonight was pretty good.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Flyball Level 3

I know I have said it before, but this dog is just so wonderful.  Tonight was our first class of flyball 3 - a big step in training. A new group of dogs, no more barrier between the lanes and practice involving more than one dog at a time.  Tonight for the first time, we did recalls over the jumps going toward the box- simultaneously in both lanes. We did box turn work, incorporating a jump on the way to the box (new) we worked up to the ball being in the hole, and with the box triggered so it would make the noise also new. We did a passing drill where the dogs were not in the same lane but the jumps were side by side and the release was staggered so the dog going the finishing direction was crossing the line as the one leaving was starting. So although not actually in the same lane they were very close.  No hesitation or concern from Magic at all.

Tonight he made his first bobble with the ball actually dropping it before he reached the jump, but he picked it back up and continued on.  The other thing that I thought was pretty good was on one of his first times going over a jump to get the ball another dog was running in the other lane, he swerved away  like he was going to run over there, but then he remembered what he was doing and came back and self corrected and went over the jump.  I am so tickled with how well he is doing.  Such a good little guy.

Sadly though, an hour of flyball is apparently not enough. All night tonight he has been bringing me the ball begging me to throw it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Training Plan, adding in Flyball

This weekend I sat down and created a training plan.  I have a hard time going beyond generalities, so this is a stretch for me.  I am not sure how this will work as I tend to blow off schedules, but I am going to give it a try.
One change to the plan will be the addition of flyball practices on Sundays.  I met with the team today and I felt really comfortable with them.  They are a friendly group and it seems like their style will mesh well with mine.  I loved the fact that they are very diverse, all sorts of dogs playing and having fun.   Sort of the play with what you have mentality which I appreciate. There is quite the variety of dogs, some all americans, labs, a sheltie,  IG's and a pekenese. There are more who were not there today, but it seemed like a really fun bunch. They have dogs in all levels of training which is wonderful  So next weekend Magic and I will go to practice and see how that goes. Can't wait.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flyball update

Magic seems to love flyball.  How can I tell?  He is so excited just going in to TCOTC now, he leaves sweaty doggy prints. He waits patiently now though, no screaming and just a little whining and  lunging, but those feet do sweat. 

Last night in class we worked on both retrieves around the cone, with the ball resting on the flyball box, and retrieves around the cone, over the board so that Magic is bouncing off the box, while picking up the ball that is resting on the box.  He is doing pretty well with the box, but its funny to see him think about what he is doing. A couple of times he would look at it and look back at me like he was asking if I was sure that he should do this. But when I sent him, he would go, a bit slow, but the next turn would be faster. Soon it will be automatic I am sure.

Then later in the evening when we got to practicing the jumps, Magic got away from the holder before I was all the way to the end of the line.  He shot down the whole line of jumps right past me with no hesitation. He knows that part of his job, and shows the most speed doing it.  I hope that when we start doing jumps toward the box, he has as much speed. Currently even though he runs to the box, its more of a lope than a run. Again, time and confidence may change that.

 I cant be happier with my boy.  And he is doing so well that we were told we should skip level 2 and move right to level 3.  We were also invited to a teams practice to see if we might like to join them. I will be meeting with them this weekend to ask my questions and to see if this is something we want to do. So no committments made as of yet.  I am making a list of questions for them and I am sure they all want to meet me to see if we can work together.  The thing I am most worried about is that I don't want to give up our other performance events so what if I can't make all practices?  But we will see.  

As David said, "Cool, Magic has been scouted!"

I am so lucky

to have such a wonderful dog as Magic!  He is my first A dog in every sport we have tried, and so far, other than dock diving, we have done pretty well in them all.

to have a healthy happy family.

to have a job, and a house to live in.

to have the corgi girls, they challenge me and help me become a better trainer.

to wake up to the goofy cockatiel yelling whats a rooster...RR RR  ERRR ER ROOOOO

to have all of my blogger friends, and those of you who have become more than blogger friends.

to have become friends with so many of my puppy owners.  I love you all. 

Thank you!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Siren at the weight pull

I was really proud of David and Siren last weekend at the weight pull.  Siren is David's first dog.  Although we have had dogs for David's entire life, he really wasn't interested in them at all.  Cats he liked, but dogs, meh, not so much.  He didn't hate them he just didnt have any interest.  But that changed when Grace had the puppies.

I never intended to keep 2 puppies.  But then something happened, David fell in love with Siren. And we made a deal.  He could keep her, but he had to do something with her.  And he is. Rinnie earned her weight pull title last weekend.  She is not a natural puller, but Dave trained with her worked through her issues.  And David worked smart with her.  Knowing that she is a little unsure about all the people, dogs and commotion, he asked her for one pull on Saturday. Empty cart is 300 pounds which is enough for Rin at 28 pounds to qualify.   She pulled it quite quickly and relatively easily (6.5 seconds), and most importantly happily. Then he let her stop for the day.

On Sunday Rin pulled the empty cart again happily 8.12 seconds.  Seeing that she was still happy, seemed confident he asked her for more.  She pulled 376 in less time, 7.84 seconds and then 452 in 12.62 seconds, still happily working.  When they got to 528 pounds, he set her up and she surprisingly started pulling without being asked and bumped Dave.  David did the right thing and called the foul. They got started again, and wouldnt you know, she ran into him again which was the second foul and the last.  But Dave and Siren pulled that weight anyways and again she did it happily. She placed 4th Sunday.

David is pretty proud of his girl, and of her awards. I am pretty proud of both of them.

Been a bit lax lately

Winter is just dragging on and on which I think has an effect on my posting.  Been waiting to get some good training time in, but need the sidewalks at least relatively ice free and a temperature in a decent range would also be nice.

Magics flyball class has one more week. He loves it and seems to be doing well.  We need to decide if we are going on. I would like ot but finances are crimped, so we will have to see.  Graces agility is coming along well, I am pretty pleased with her, but I need to get her to understand weaves, and I need a snow free yard to do that.

Siren did some nice work in nosework class last night- a couple of blind (for the handler) finds and she gave a stronger indication than normal which makes me think she is getting more confient with the game. When class was over the instructor wanted to do a little matwork with her pup with some other dog distraction, which was great for Rin. She was really good at not worrying about the other dog, not reacting much at all.  When the stationary location was not an issue for either dog, we did a little heeling work.  The only small reaction she gave was when the pup leaped off the mat to get a treat in her direction, she flinched a little, but recovered well. Which is really great I think and I was almost happy she did get a slight startle as it shows that her confidence is improving.  A year ago that may have provoked a much greater reaction, growling and lunging.  To just startle and then go back to working is a huge improvement. I think its time to start an obedience class with her now.  By the way, her heeling, unlike Magics was so pretty. I just love this dog and really hope i can work her through the fears because she could be my OTCH dog-if David will let me work her that is.

Peace is happily holding down the couch.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Magics been busy

Yesterday Magic went to his first audition. It was a photo shoot with costumes. He did great, gave me expression and ears, but we will need to see if he works for the client. (Honestly, while he was cute in the costumes, I probably wouldnt hire him for it, he is too big for the medium size and putting a corgi on the large size would probably be confusing for the consumer) .  Then he had a few photos taken with a ball, some just holding it, others catching and jumping.  I was only able to see a few of those, but gosh they were cute. I am thinking that the photographer will probably post at least one, so when she does I will share it.

Today was his flyball class. He is doing so well in that class and he just loves it.  Well he loves it when he gets to work, the rest of the time he waits impatiently. It's really interesting to me how we are really chaining so much of this training.  We are working on retrieving the ball while going around the cone as one part of the training. Then we are working on banking off the board. Eventually they will get put together. In fact tonight Magic got to retrieve the ball off of a lower part of the box off of a bit of velcro.  That too will eventually mutate to the actual ball slot.  Tonights class we also practices a  recall with other dogs moving. Magic has no problem with that. I think they get enough of that type of thing in agility when they are waiting. Such a good boy.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Training, training and more training

Spent the weekend working the dogs in thier various activities.  Friday night Magic and Grace and I went to the run and done.  Magic and I did lots of two step heeling and partying.  I am trying so hard to help him have fun with heeling but so far he still seems to hate it. Grace and I did some rally and ran a novice course.  Grace is so funny. When she remembers she is working she is so cute and happy, but we need to work on duration. So that is what we are trying to do- heel for longer periods without chatter. So far so good. I see some improvement.

Saturday morning the girls, Rinnie and Peace went and were CERFed, both good. Now I need to get the rest of Peaces testing done.  I want to make sure she passes her health clearances before I spay Grace and since Grace is getting older, I figure I better get them done. 

Today Grace and Rinnie went to weight pull practice.  Grace was a silly girl not really wanting to work. Rinnie did OK, but its not her favortie thing to do.  I also did some nosework with Rin in the warehouse.  She liked that much more.

All four dogs got nails and foot hair trimmed.  Magic got a brushing, he is going to an audition tomorrow, so I wanted him to look presentable.  I am a little nervous for that, but he seems OK with the idea.  He also did a little flyball practicing tonight as well.  Gosh he loves balls and retrieving.

A calm steady nice weekend.  I like those.