Saturday, March 28, 2009

home with Daddy

I'm out of town for a few days, visiting my sister and nephews. Oreo and Misty are home spending "quality time" with their Daddy. Apparently Misty spent yesterday evening standing by the door whimpering, waiting for me. Poor thing.

She was fine by morning though, once she realized I wasn't coming home as usual. I'm sure I'll come home to two dogs who have gained a pound or two. They always eat well when Daddy's in charge.

Looks like they are managing just fine without me:
The standoff
you can't catch me!
bow to your partner
When are you coming back Mommy? We didn't mean to have fun without you!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

feeling better

Oreo is feeling just fine today. I had tried switching the dogs from a Merrick canned variety to Prairie chicken (both recommended by the Whole Dog Journal), because it had a higher fiber content. Misty needs a bit more fiber in her diet, due to some anal gland issues.

I only gave them a small amount, but perhaps Oreo is allergic to one of the ingredients. Eventually, he may have gotten used to the new food, but I didn't want to take any chances, or have to do anymore clean up! Luckily, my local pet store exchanged the cans for my usual food with no problem.

This morning, I had my bouncing, happy go lucky dog back.
"Were you trying to poison me with that food Mommy?"
"Maybe their chickens are different than the ones I'm used to eating."
"Now that I'm better, let's get back to business!"

"Where's the ball?"
To answer Dee's question, here in the states, agility is done in inches, not small, medium, etc. I haven't had Oreo measured by a judge yet. When I measured him, he came in around 15-16 inches at the whithers. That means in some venues he will jump 12 inches, and in others he will jump 16 inches. That sounds about medium to me. The little dogs do 4 and 8 inches.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

half shade/half sun

I wanted to recreate the sequence we had not been able to complete at our seminar on Sunday, due to Oreo's exhaustion. However, I was short one jump and a tunnel. So, I did my best to recreate it with the equipment we have. Maybe I can get Jeff to make me another jump this weekend.

Here is what we worked on today, sorry that half the video is in the shade and half is in the sun, but that is what happens at 4:30PM in my backyard:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KqPHojY8dv0

Oreo was throwing up all morning, and I came home from work to several more piles on the floor. I gave the dogs a new food yesterday, so I am hoping that was the cause. Clearly, he seems fine in the video! Why do dogs always puke on carpet, not on vinyl floors? I'm hoping he keeps his dinner down.

Monday, March 23, 2009

new dance and start line

OK, we don't waste any time around here. Oreo and I got to work this morning on our new "line up". Being the brilliant dog that he is, Oreo already knows how to "line up".

We are still working on the "set" part. It is a bit confusing, because for my ready, I say "line up", my set, I say "ready", and then I say go.

In the video, it is hard to see Oreo's set, once because Misty is in the way, but watch for the ear bob. Other times, it is really just a slight movement of the legs. I guess it is a matter of just knowing your dog. I wasn't training the "go" in this video, even though I was saying "go". Therefore, I probably shouldn't have been saying go. I may be changing my "go" to "start" anyway. Argh!!! I'm so confused. How did I ever graduate from college? I am a complete idiot. Thank goodness Oreo is smarter than me, and he figures everything out on his own anyway.

That said, here is a video of Oreo's new trick, inspired by the magnificent Ludo, figure 8, along with our new start line routine.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e2hnMzmNBO4

Sunday, March 22, 2009

seminar 2


OK, doing an all day seminar, after a half day afternoon seminar was tough on Oreo. He was really wiped out by the afternoon. But, we both still learned a lot. We worked on front crosses, some more start lines work, table work, and rear crosses. Doesn't sound like much, but it was.

Oreo did really well on all his front cross exercises. I was so happy. He didn't seem nervous at all, even though there were lots of people, dogs, and new sounds.

Unfortunately, by the time we got to the rear cross part, Oreo could barely move. I had to pull him out of his crate when it was his turn. It is hard to do a rear cross when your dog is unable to get ahead of you, because he is so tired! Oreo just wasn't responding like normal. One of our regular classmates said, "Finally, Oreo isn't doing something perfectly!"

That's when the instructor told me not to work him anymore. I think that was a good idea, Oreo clearly had had enough.

My teacher was at the seminar, and she told me we could work the exercise in our next class though, when Oreo has energy.

Things we need to work on:
-an immediate down on the table, we may have to call it something other than "table" now
-start line "ready, set, go"
-back crosses

Things we were told we are good at:
-start line routine~spin right, left, figure 8, beg~gets him focused on me, and having the same routine is always good, plus he associates those things with playtime
-good relationship based on play
-front crosses

I know Ricky's mom has been looking to get the "explosion" from Ricky on the start line. The instructor gave a couple ideas for that. At home, have someone hold your dog back, while you face your dog (a few feet away) holding a treat. Once the dog offers some sign of struggle to get to the treat, say "go" and the dog is released. That way, you are training the "set" and "go". The "set" is the struggle.

Another way works if your dog likes to tug. While your dog is tugging, get him to release the tug. Stop the play, and then offer the toy and say "go" as he is about to lunge for the toy. This is all done very fast. Play only needs to stop for a couple seconds. It is kind of hard for me to explain.

I've been working on it with Oreo's ball.

She also suggested "go" is not the best word to use, since you use the word a lot. "Start" is actually a better word, or another word you don't use very often.

Misty got to spend the day with her Daddy. They took a drive to Coxsackie together to pick up a motorcycle. Yes, Jeff sold his other one on EBay. The bike was at a farm. Misty met the resident dog, sniffed him, and promptly peed on their lawn. Good girl.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Seminar One

Just got home from our start line seminar. How was it?

Overwhelming. I think I need a few days to digest it all.

Here's a general idea of what I learned. Dogs need a "Ready, Set, Go", like they do in human races. The ready is to get them in position. The set is to get them to anticipate. The go, well, is to go.

The best piece of advice I got was getting a "ready position". Oreo's is going to be like a peekaboo between my legs. He will go between my legs and sit. This way he will be aligned where I want him to be. Since I have been working him on weaving thru my legs lately, he seemed to get this with no problem.

She gave us a lot of games we can play with our dogs to incorporate into our training. A lot of stuff I already play with Oreo, but have never really seen the correlation to a start line.

Again, I have a lot of digesting to do. Tomorrow, I have my all day handling seminar, so I'll have even more new info to process.

Don't know who will be more exhausted - me or Oreo!

"Ready, Set, Go!"

Friday, March 20, 2009

HAPPY SPRING!

Our king announces the official arrival of Spring!
You may all rejoice now!

Misty says, "Everybody do a tunnel, and get a treat. It's Springfest! Finally!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

King & Queen

I took these photos yesterday. Today it is quite gloomy. I was trying to pose the dogs, but the sun was just not in a good spot. I kept sliding the chairs around the deck in an attempt to get the best light. The sun was either washing the dogs out, creating shadows, or making the dogs squint.

When I finally downloaded the photos I laughed. I thought Misty and Oreo looked like a snobby King and Queen sitting on their thrones!



We are just too awesome for words. Look at us!
Shelties rule the world. We rule this street.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

not a wimp no more

We are having fantastic weather this week. The yard is still really muddy, but I've been bringing the dogs out and just dealing with the inevitable clean up. You have to take advantage of this weather while you can!

Oreo heard that Ricky basically called him a wimp over the "scary ball" incident. So, Oreo has been working on conquering his fear. Sometimes it takes a good friend's encouragement to help you get over these issues. Oreo isn't playing with the ball yet, but at least he's not scared! What do you think Ricky?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_aqJGmMjpY

Oreo's bark in this video has definitely changed. In the last video, it was his "I'm scared to death, save me!" bark. Today, it was his "mom, you aren't doing what I want you to do!" bark. I'll keep trying, but he really loves his little planet dog orbee balls the best.

Note to my editor in chief: I know my title has a double negative, but I went with it anyway. You can correct me on my "its" in my video. I'm pretty sure its wrong! I'll never learn.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

scary ball


One of our neighbor's balls blew into our creek bed over the winter. Jeff pulled it out today and threw it in the backyard. I decided to see if the dogs would show any interest in playing with it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BF9X32NEcqY

Now, don't think I'm a horrible dog mom. The first few times, I kicked the ball away from Oreo, and he was almost chasing it. When I shot the video, I wanted to see what would happen if the ball was coming toward him. Mistake! Now it is a scary monster ball, and I had to hide it behind the shed. Guess I have to hike up the hill and give it back to the neighbors.

Misty, of course, was much more interested in barking at who had pulled in the driveway. That is her job.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

graduation day

I'm sitting on my deck typing this post! Yes! It is fifty and sunny. Misty is finding various places to bask in the sun. While Oreo is walking around, wanting me to play with him. Apparently a long walk, half hour of ball throwing, and agility class isn't even enough to wear this guy out!



Today was graduation day for Oreo and Misty at agility school.

Oreo's graduation entailed doing a couple "jumpers" courses. This was new for us. It was all jumps and a couple tunnels. Oreo did really well, and was able to follow some tricky handling. I had to redirect him a couple times, but I'm sure that was due to my poor handling, not him!

My teacher told me that I looked really good, and that I was "a natural". I think it is Oreo who is the natural, but I'll take the compliment.

At the end of Oreo's class, our teacher gave us all stopwatches with our school's name on them. Wasn't that sweet? Now we can time ourselves when practicing sequences, and it will also help us when we walk courses for gamblers.

Speaking of gamblers, I entered Oreo and me in our first trial today. It is a DOCNA trial, that will be held at our school, but outdoors, the first weekend in May. My teacher suggested we do a strategic time gamblers, along with the standard. We signed up for one standard on Saturday, and then a standard and gamblers on Sunday. We'll see how it goes. I know Oreo can do the courses. What I don't know is how he'll react to the people, judges and other dogs. That's why I thought if our first trial was in a familiar location, at least we wouldn't be throwing, "new place" into the scary equation. DOCNA has a division that allows "training" in the ring, that is the one we will be doing.

Misty's class was small today. Several people couldn't make it. We practiced the dogwalk and A-Frame at full height for the first time. Misty did the dogwalk with no problem. The A-Frame, not so good. I didn't have her get up enough speed her first try, and she couldn't make it up. The second time, I lured her with treats and she did it. The third time, she refused to go up it.

So, my teacher lowered it back down to 4 feet for us, and the other sheltie. That did the trick.

At the end of class, we did our graduation sequence. Nothing really hard, but I thought Misty did great. It was the longest sequence she has ever done, and I do think she had fun. When I walked back to the start line to get her leash, she followed me, and did all the jumps on her way without me even knowing about it.

Misty's class all got squeaky toys as a graduation gift. Humans got cupcakes.

My teacher video taped both Oreo and Misty's graduation sequences and as soon as she gives me the DVD, I will post them. However, our classes don't start back up until April.

Oreo and I will be doing our seminars next weekend.

Here is the video I shot in my back yard the other day.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45ylXMMPc1I

Although I brought the deck chairs outside, I still have not put the deck snow shovel away. I know better.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dance & Spin

Today was below freezing, so we were able to play in a mud free yard! Yea!



Prior to today, after taking a walk, we were stuck inside doing tricks. I was inspired by Dee and Ludo's figure 8 trick, so I consulted my "Dog Trick Bible" for teaching instructions. The prerequisite is to teach the dog to "weave" between my legs first. So, Oreo and I have been working on that for a few weeks. Obviously I can't call it "weave", so we call it "dance".

Here is a video of our progress, along with Misty doing her "spin. This has been very hard for Misty. She is not a typical, circling sheltie, and spinning is not something she does naturally. So, I am very proud of her progress. Wish I had video of when she was first learning, so you could see hard it was for her to just turn her neck to the side. Now, I am teaching her to "turn", which will be spinning the opposite direction. I thought it would be easier, second time around. Nope. It is like teaching a whole new trick. Weird.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYIG26_Vg6E

I did do some agility outside with the dogs today. I'll try and post some video of those antics tomorrow. Misty has now become obsessed with teetering. Must be something in our water.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

is he a genius?

I took Oreo and Misty out for another practice drive with the seat belt. I wanted to take a few short drives, before going to agility on Saturday.

I locked Oreo in his seat belt. He barked a few times, whimpered, cried. Then settled. We came to a stop light, and I glanced in my rear view mirror. I saw the woman in the car behind me laughing.

Weird I thought, she can't see the dogs. Can she?

I turned and looked. Oreo had his paws up on the back of the seat peering out the back window. Ha, ha.

I didn't think the seat belt would allow him that much range of motion.

Oh well. I kept driving.

A few moments later, I heard a lot of movement, then saw a black and white flash.

Oreo flew over the front arm rests, which were in the up right position, and was sitting shotgun beside me. Oreo looked at me, as though he had narrowly escaped being eaten by a pack of ferocious lions.

"Look what I did Mommy! I'm a Houdini! Can I drive the car now?"

OK, I know this dog is smart. But smarter than a seat belt? He has no thumbs.

I pulled into a parking lot. I checked out his harness, and it was in perfect condition.

So I thought he must have stepped on the seat belt release button, and pulled up on the seat belt at the same time. Right?

I put him in the back seat, much to his dismay ("No Mommy, the lions might get me!"), and tried to buckle him back in. I tried again and again to get the seat belt latch to lock. It wouldn't. Great, my new car already has a broken seat belt. Super.

I do a bit more looking around. Then I realize, no, I was using the wrong seat belt. I had been trying to buckle the center belt into the window passenger's buckle. It wasn't a match. Duh.

So, my dog isn't a genius. Clearly, neither am I!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

easy rider

One industry that is apparently recession proof is the pet industry. Thanks mostly to me!

I thought my new car's front seat armrests would prevent Oreo from hopping between the front and back seats. The day I went to check out the baby sheep, I left Oreo and Misty in the car, in the back seat seat. When I came out, Oreo was sitting shotgun, with a big smile on his face.

Oreo couldn't possibly squeeze between the bucket seats. However, since I taught him agility, Oreo believes he can leap over tall buildings. Oreo has jumped from our living room floor over the back of our couch. That should have given me a clue Oreo could jump over the raised arm rests, and make it from the back to the front seats. A few days later, I witnessed this backseat/frontseat leap. It was horrifying, and dangerous.

Therefore, I finally broke down and got him a seat belt.

Here he is wearing it around the house. I think it is very "Harley" like. It is called the "easy rider". Doesn't he look like a tough guy? Usually I buy the dogs much cuter "gear".
I took Oreo for a short ride in the car to try it out. He cried and whimpered at first, but eventually shut up.

Hopefully, he gets used to it. He doesn't have a choice.

hard times

Yesterday, I stopped by my library to drop off some DVDs. There was a father and daughter at the counter. The young girl was so excited, because she had just found the latest "Air Buddies" DVD on the shelf. I think it was actually "Space Buddies". Her father gave me a brief lesson in the proper way to clean DVDs. Wipe them straight across - not in a circular motion - it will keep them from scratching.

I never clean DVDs. I only watch them once, why would I clean them? I don't know why he was telling me this.

I was having a hard time looking at this man. He had a stubbed out cigarette in his mouth. Clearly, he was saving it for later. Was it his last one? Did he not have any money to buy another pack?

He asked me, "How far is McDonald's from here?"

I said, "Not far. About a mile up the road."

I'm not good with distance. I knew it was close, so I gave what I thought was a short distance.

"A mile!" he gasped. "We already walked a mile just to get here!"

I quickly said, "Oh, not a whole mile, just a couple blocks," realizing they didn't have a car.

After checking out a book, I went to the lobby, and found them sitting on a bench. It was pouring rain outside. He still had the half smoked cigarette in his mouth. They didn't have umbrellas or raincoats.

I really wanted to give them a ride to McDonald's, but wasn't sure how he would feel if I offered. It is a touchy situation. You don't want to hurt some one's pride, especially in front of their child.

I thought, hard times have come to America, to my small, suburban town.

Today, I learned that my school district is asking all staff to take a pay freeze for the upcoming school year, in order to save 100's of jobs.

I was angered when I heard people say, "I'm not taking a pay freeze."

How could you not freeze your pay to save a fellow teacher's job? Perhaps other options need to be explored first, but in the end, shouldn't we be willing to sacrifice for the good of others? Wouldn't the kids suffer in larger classes? Wouldn't your job be more difficult?

It'll be interesting to see how this pans out.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

stay/come

The backyard is still a mud pit. I've been playing/training with the dogs inside. Here are some photos of the dogs practicing their sit/stay/come. You can tell from these photos which dog takes this game seriously, and which one does not:

Stay

Oreo says, "Mom, look she's not sitting anymore. That's not a proper stay. You told us to sit. Why do you let Misty play this game with us? She doesn't know what she's doing. Plus, she's laughing at us."

Come!


Even when they get to me, Oreo is still taking his job very seriously. While Misty seems to say, "Do I really get a treat for walking down the hallway? This is so silly! I love this game!"

scary yellow monster

Yesterday's agility class was fun. Oreo got off to a rocky start. We began with a really easy sequence - no front crosses or anything new. Oreo popped out of the weave poles after doing just three, then completely left the course and headed to the door!

What was wrong?

There was a scary, yellow monster lurking by the dog walk.

Funny, the monster looked strangely like a tunnel which had been stored in an upright, vertical position.

Oreo was not going anywhere near it, or doing any agility until it was unscrunched and placed into a friendly, upside down "u" position.

Freak boy.

After that embarrassing episode, we were back on track. We practiced some more obstacle discrimination. This time, we had 3 obstacles to choose from ~ teeter, A-Frame, and a tunnel directly under the A-Frame. Boy, was that a challenge.

Oreo headed right toward the teeter every time.

My teacher told me to make sure my feet were headed in the right direction, toward the tunnel.

I did.

Oreo still went to the teeter.

She said, "He wasn't looking at you at all, he just wanted to teeter."

OK. Plan B.

She had me feed him cheese after the jump, just before the 3 obstacles, to get his attention. Even then, you could see Oreo longing for the teeter, he put one paw on the A-frame (his 2nd choice), and then begrudgingly went in the tunnel.

Poor thing. I'm such a mean mommy.

It was amazing though. I felt like I could see his tiny brain actually thinking things through. He was clearly making a decision.

Next go round, my teacher said, "Oh, just let him do the teeter." She likes us to end our turn on a happy note.

Finally, we played a game they use at CPE trials, called "full house". Like a card game you do 3 jumps, 2 circles (tire/tunnels), and a joker (a-frame, dog walk, teeter), and get points as you go. There is no specific order, which makes it easy, because if the dog makes a mistake it's no big deal. You have a time limit of 45 seconds, and must end on the table.

I'm not good at card games, so I was a bit confused (what else is new). While we were running around doing obstacles, my teacher was yelling out points. After awhile, I said, "What do I need to do now?"

She said, "You can just go to the table early if you want."

I did. She tallied up our points, and said, "Well, if you had been at a trial, you would have scored at an expert level."

Ha! That was hysterical to me.

Oreo was so tired after class, as soon as Misty came out of the crate, he crawled right in and laid down. I didn't hear a peep from him during Misty's class. In fact, he didn't even want to get out of the crate when it was time to go home.

Misty's class was good too. Misty did the full A-frame for the first time! I was so proud of her. She walked up and over like she had done it a million times. My teacher was on the other side with some warm meatballs, and Misty loved that part.

I told Jeff about the meatballs, and he said, "You guys are out of control. I know where I need to go if I'm ever hungry, agility class - cheese sticks, chicken, meatballs...."

Misty also did the full chute, completely closed, and a tunnel shaped like an "S". That was new for her. Our teacher had us do a rear cross after we sent them in the tunnel. It was funny, because Misty was looking for me on the wrong side when she came out. Poor girl got tricked. Hopefully not traumatized! More cheese, she's fine.

One more class for Misty, and then we'll see what happens. I'd like to see how she does at an outdoor class. Will it be warm enough to have classes outside in April?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

pay at the pump

The big news in our house this week was that our local convenience store finally has "pay at the pump"!

This means two things:

1) If this is big news, we clearly lead very boring lives.
2) We hate to wait in line.

For years, I have avoided buying gas at this store, because when you go inside to pay for your gas, you risk getting stuck in line behind someone buying lottery tickets. Has that ever happened to you?

I don't buy lottery tickets myself, but from what I can tell, it is a very complicated procedure. In my experience, it can take upwards of 15 minutes to buy just a few tickets, especially if the cashier makes a mistake inputting the numbers into the machine! Then, once the person is done buying their regular lottery tickets, typically they start their order for scratch offs. Here in NY, there must be at least 20 different varieties of scratch offs. So, the poor cashier has to stand in front of the display, looking all over, as the patron says, "No, not that one, the one over there, that one...." I mean, does it really matter? Your odds are pretty much the same. Slim to none.

So, when I drove by the store on my way home from work last night and saw the sign, "Pay at the Pump is here," I was so excited! I have been driving a good 4-5 miles out of my way, and paying 7-10 cents more a gallon, just to avoid the "lottery line".

I told Jeff the news, and he was just as excited. What boring lives we lead. We get excited over a credit card slot at a gas pump.

This week at work, I got 2 "chain letters" in my mailbox. I hate chain letters!!!!!! Do you know what was in them?

Scratch off lottery tickets! I was instructed to buy 6 scratch offs, send them in the mail, and then I should get 36 scratch offs in return.

I broke the chain.

Friday, March 6, 2009

can we have some more white stuff?

Spring has sprung.....
the ice rink is finally melting....
YUK! Mud season has begun!
Can we bring back some of that white stuff?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

a good day to garden?

OK, now my parents are probably going to gasp when I say this, considering they just returned from their two month excursion to Florida yesterday, but I actually did some gardening today.

The yard may look covered in snow and ice but,


..... my garden is completely exposed! It was 40 degrees, it's March, and I just had to get my gardening supplies out of the shed and put them to use. So, I spent a good half hour, just cleaning some debris out of my gardens. It was great!

The dogs putzed around the yard, sniffing stuff. I think they were quite happy to be outside, without having any other planned activity. Can't remember the last time they got to hang out, without me engaging them in some sort of game or lesson. Poor dogs.
Here's Misty keeping an eye on her Daddy. Jeff took the "warm weather opportunity" to pull a couple motorcycles out of the garage, and do whatever it is he does with them. The other night, when it was still snowing, I went to pick up Jeff from work. I had my "all wheel drive "on, and we saw a guy actually riding a motorcycle in the snowstorm. I guess he figured, "It's March, I'm riding." Luckily, Jeff just pulled his bikes out of the garage. He'll wait until a good rainstorm removes all the rock salt and sand off the road before he dares to venture out on one.
However, I believe Jeff was outside taking photos of his new bike. Photos of the bike he spoke of as being, "The last bike I'll ever need. You watch, I'll have this one for years." Well, taking photos can mean only one thing....it is heading for Ebay. If you know Jeff, this is no surprise. I should have put money on it.
My Dad always jokes, "I'm surprised Jeff hasn't traded you in for a new model yet."

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

playing around

I've been lazy lately, and resorted to taking photos with my point and shoot camera. Its lighter, pocket friendly, and I don't worry about it getting covered in snow. However, every time I go to Helen's blog and see her amazing photos, I get inspired to pull out my better camera, start playing around with the settings, and see what kind of results I can get. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't.

It was too cold out today to go "gloveless" with the camera. So, I did a photo shoot with the dogs inside. Here were a few of my favorites:

This is how I see Oreo 80% of his waking hours.


Misty's sweet, always slightly worried expression.
She usually turns away from the camera, as if it is an evil monster.

I still have a lot to learn about my camera and photography, but I think playing around is the best way for me to learn.

Here's a video of Oreo's latest tricks:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVVHvgYP74w

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

my old car

Jeff brought my old car, my good, sweet, reliable, fabulous, 10 year old, trouble free car to a friend of his yesterday, to see if he was interested in selling it on his car lot.

Well, he took one look at the interior and said, "Are you trying to sell me a car, or a dog kennel?"

Apparently, he was a bit turned off by the vast amount of fur and piles of dirt on the seats and floor.

Of course, Jeff's friend knew a good deal when he saw one, and is taking the car. He will have it professionally cleaned, and all that precious fur will be sucked up by a vacuum. The doggie smells will be gone. The dents, dings, and peeling paint will also be repaired, along with the broken antenna.

Overall, it will look like a brand new car. Sad. It will lose all its character.

I wish I had taken some photos of all that fur and dirt, there was literally an inch of dirt (thanks to our indoor agility school) between the two back seats.

Good news, my brand new car is already christened with dog slobber and fur. Yes, it is starting to have character, life. My life.

Monday, March 2, 2009

cold snow

We got a few inches of snow, but it's really cold. This translates to fluffy snow that would be impossible to make a snowman out of. Therefore, it has provided no traction for the dogs. Boo hoo.

"At least it is tasty," Misty says.
"But I wanna play with my ball!!!!"
"Life is so unfair."
"OK, its really cold out here mom, I think we need to go back inside. Can our photo shoot be over?"

By the way, my new car made it up my steep, snowy driveway this afternoon with no problem! Can't believe I've lived in this house for 14 winters without four wheel drive! It was so cool.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

targets, weaving, and more snow

I was so excited about seeing the sheep I forgot to write about our classes yesterday!

Oreo's class was good. We did a lot of jumping practice, with some more front cross work. Then, we did some weave pole and teeter practice. Oreo does all that with no problem. The other dogs, are still learning weaving, and a couple are getting over teeter fears/issues. Oreo has no fear of equipment - just of other people and dogs!

Then, we ended class doing a bit of sequencing. Just as Oreo started up the A-frame, a whole bunch of people walked into the building. Oreo went back down the A-frame, on the wrong side, and I had to refocus him. Oreo did get back on track, but was not truly confident. I was impressed when he held a "down" on the table, which was very close to all the people. The only thing he wouldn't do was the last jump, which would have had him jumping right toward the crowd.

My teacher said that even with all the distractions, he was still tuned into me. So, I guess that was good. I am going to keep working on ways to keep him focused on me when there are major distractions like that.

Misty's class was fun. We started with the tunnel/chute and some elevated dog walk practice. At first, Misty refused to do the chute at all. I was confused by her behavior, because it isn't like her to refuse to do something. After her third refusal, I decided to take her leash off. Lo and behold, she went right on through the chute.

My teacher's assistant was helping us on the dogwalk, while my teacher was working with us on the chute. She wanted us to stop baiting the targets, and treat the dog after they hit the target. Misty did not really hit the target the first few times. The teacher said to me, "You really need to be practicing targets at home." I told her, "We do everyday!" The next time around, I moved the target closer to the end of the dogwalk, and told Misty "target". Misty looked around to see if anyone was watching, and then gently put her paw on the plastic lid. Duh, I thought. The target had been placed farther out for dogs doing a nose touch. Misty couldn't reach it with her paw.

The instructor saw what I had done, and she moved the target closer for me each time, and Misty did her targets consistently. Everyone, including my teacher, said, "awwwww" each time Misty put her paw on the target. Misty really is cute when she does it. Too bad you don't get points in agility for cuteness.

Then, we did some short sequences of two jumps and a table. Misty had no problems doing that. The other sheltie was so funny. He just did not want to get on the table. Then, I thought back to what I had to do, a few months ago, to get Misty on the table. Boy was I glad I taught Misty ahead of time! We would have taken up the whole class' time. Misty had been terrified of the table.

We did a small amount of channel weaves, and then a couple targets on the bottom of the A-Frame. By then, the dogs were wiped out.

Oreo was not very quiet in his crate during Misty's class. There were more dogs in Oreo's class this week, 4 including Oreo. So, I think he didn't get his fill of agility. Oreo was clearly annoyed that Misty was out on the equipment and he wasn't, and he made sure everyone knew how he felt. Oh well.

Here's a little video of Misty practicing her targets inside. Our backyard is an ice rink again, although a lot has melted.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4Rw35fnehY


Here's a video of Misty doing some weave poles in the hallway:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tB5ZYysvKVg


We're supposed to get 6 inches of snow tomorrow, so at least the dogs will be able to play outside again for a few days. I can't wait to try out my new car's 4 wheel drive in the snow!

However, there are buds on my lilac bushes, I can see the green tips of my daffodil bulbs, and I heard a flock of Canadian geese this morning, flying north. The snow won't be around long. Spring is on the way. Soon, I'll be complaining about the heat! We really don't get much of a spring here, it can snow right through May. Typically, we go from winter straight to summer around May 20th or so!