Tuesday, September 28, 2010

tricky t-day ~more school stuff

No time to do much this weekend - we were busy! So, no fancy tricks/video this Tuesday.

Here is a quick update on our school tricks. Oreo is in love with the pencil now. If I put it in front of him, he can't control himself. He HAS to pick it up. Even if there is a treat next to it. He is a weird dog.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

few words

I have few words to describe today.

Watch where the judge was standing in our standard run, I was terrified Oreo would jump off the dogwalk! I kept telling him, "I got your back, I got your back." Oreo almost popped out of the weaves, but he was able to save it. The leash runner forget to run my leash, because she couldn't stop watching us.

In Jumpers, there was a double pinwheel - my nemesis. I almost got lost, but was able to save that too.

For the final award, they add up your scores from all three rounds(time + faults). We were a few seconds behind going into standard. For jumpers we were about 10 seconds ahead of a border collie.

Watch the video to see the results. On our way home, guess what song came on the radio?

Who'd thought that my scaredy dog could do this? I am beaming with pride.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

round 2

Who knew we would do this well?

Our standard run wasn't perfect. I started on the opposite side from where I wanted to be, because I was ripping his harness off from his left, and just wanted to get moving right away. I was disappointed, because I was unable to put myself between Oreo & the judge. Oreo saw the judge, and ducked into the tunnel, rather than serpentining. Then, I got lost. Oreo popped out of the weaves. Then, again, I was on the wrong side at the jump prior to the dogwalk, and we kind of crashed. However, our run was faster than yesterday, and even with our 20 faults, we pulled out a third place! No Q's in nationals, so our off courses didn't matter.

I guess people were talking really loud right behind us when Oreo got on the teeter. I didn't notice, but Oreo did stop and look. My friends told me that they had been asking them over and over to be quiet while I was running. I think in the end, you can actually hear them being "shushed". Isn't it nice when people have your back?

After our run, I got a compliment that meant more to me than the ribbon. Someone, whose opinion I greatly respect, told me that she thought Oreo was running with much more confidence than in past trials. She also told me that I did exactly the right thing when he popped out of the poles...kept going, and didn't make an issue of it.

Jumpers went even better. Oreo was more relaxed while waiting his turn. We ran our butts off, with Oreo exhibiting zero signs of stress. Everyone else had really good runs too. I had no idea what place we would be in.

Well, it was first place. Plus, we ran faster than yesterday.

After the ribbon ceremony, they read the names of the people who would move onto round 3, the finals. They combine your round 1 &2 scores, and only the top 25% in your height class get to move on.

Well, we made it into both the standard and jumpers final round.

I am amazed, thrilled, and so, so, so proud of my dog.

This has been one of the best trials I have ever been too. DOCNA is always a super friendly, laid back venue. This time though, everyone is really cheering each other on and supportive of each other. It is agility the way it was meant to be.

We did it!

We're in the finals for both runs.


Oreo came in 3rd in standard.  I was shocked.  I didn't think we'd place. 

He ran great in jumpers, but so did everyone else...waiting to hear the results.

Friday, September 24, 2010

DOCNA Nationals Day One

Wow. I couldn't be any prouder of my boy, Oreo. We came in second place in jumpers, which I thought was our better run. Then, we came in first place in standard!

They had official ribbon ceremonies. So, you didn't know how you did until it was announced to everyone. I swear, I felt like I had won an Emmy when I got called for that first place. I could have given a speech through the tears I was holding back.

Our jumpers run was perfect. I couldn't have asked for a better run from my dog.


Oreo's standard run wasn't super speedy, but he made no mistakes, and kept a steady pace the whole time. No major freaky moments. No opting out of obstacles. Given the hot temps and the long day, I couldn't have been prouder when we left the ring.

Thanks to Kevin, a junior handler, who runs another Oreo, for videoing my run.


Who knows what will happen tomorrow? I really don't care. I'll keep doing what I'm doing, and hope Oreo has the stamina to last the weekend. We have fancy ribbons. If we don't get anymore, I'm fine with that. Share the wealth, right?
Oh yea, and did I mention the goodie bag?


We came in first place in standard!


Oreo rocked his jumpers run. Standard up next. 

It's hot out.

It starts today!

I'll be at the DOCNA East Nationals today! Yikes.

Whatever happens, happens. My goals? Keep Oreo's stress level down. Enjoy the day. Like my dad told me, I'm going to "take whatever Oreo gives me" and "make it fun for him." Jeff told me to "talk to Oreo the whole time, and encourage him." Good, foolproof advice, that I plan on using.

Our last two agility classes went great. I purposely set up our ex-pen right where we would normally hang out before entering the standard ring at a trial. I used our velcro harness, exactly as I plan on doing today. I click/treated excessively for entering/exiting the ring, walking past people, inside tunnels, etc. Overall, Oreo was a happy, relaxed dog. I hope those positive experiences during class pay off this weekend.

Oreo had his chiro/acupuncture tune up on Tuesday! So, he is in tip top shape. Here is Oreo on "his bench", waiting for his favorite doctor. You'd think he owned the place.
I'll try and post some updates throughout the day, either here or on twitter. We'll be doing standard and jumpers on both Friday and Saturday. Sunday is the finals....if we qualify.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

tricky t-day ~ acorn game

My dogs have been obsessing over the acorn caps they've been finding in the yard.
On a whim, I decided to play a game with them.

I took three acorn caps, hid a treat under one, swooshed them around like the classic shell game, and well, watch and see...

I learned I've wasted a lot of money on those interactive dog puzzles. This was pretty much the same idea, with zero cost.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

training challenge ~ the vacuum!!!!

I've been dealing with Oreo's nasty habits involving the vacuum cleaner for years.

Well, since starting RP, I must admit, we have made a huge dent in this problem.

Previously, Oreo would bite, nip, bark, and lunge at the vacuum. It was very irritating. I tried pretty much everything.

When I shot this video, I thought for sure, I would get at least one shot of Oreo attacking the vacuum, but he didn't! So, now I can't prove how far we've come! Bummer. You'll just have to trust me, he was Kujo.

Not that Oreo was perfect in this video.

However, if Oreo can remain quiet, and not touch the vacuum hose with his teeth, I am thrilled. In the end, I don't care if he sits, lays down, stands, or walks around, I just want to clean and be done with it!

Anyway, watch what happens the minute I put down our magic mat!

I muted the vacuum sound, in case your dog has their own vacuum challenges. I say very little to Oreo during this video. Almost all of our communication is done through body language.

I think our next RP training may be 15 days of vacuum stuff. Maybe we can then rid Oreo's bad habits for good.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Misty~girl update

I think (hope) Misty has finally taken a turn for the better. Her symptoms are slowly disappearing, and she is returning to her normal habits. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we don't have any more setbacks. Hope I'm not jinxing myself by posting this!

Since this was such a resistant bug, my vet is keeping Misty on the antibiotics for at least another two weeks. Plus, she has one more drug up her sleeve, if this one doesn't do the trick.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

tricky t-day ~ back to school

This is more of a blooper reel than a trick. I didn't have much time this week for trick training. So, here is something we threw together quick, and it shows!

My goal was to get Oreo's two front paws on the desk, and for him to pick up and hold the pencil in his mouth.

The results were not all that different from what happens during my day at work.

Monday, September 13, 2010

moody monday

(sorry for fuzziness - cell phone photo taken in very low light, couldn't risk missing the moment while running to get the real camera)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

training challenges by default

Our training challenge for the week was by default. I didn't go out and plan anything. It simply happened as a result of life. Well, isn't life full of challenges?

On Monday, we did some RP exercises while the neighbors' kids were outside playing (loudly). I was amazed that Oreo was able to relax at all. Usually, he is running circles frantically. Don't get me wrong, if I put the food away, he would have been back to circling, but doesn't he look pretty relaxed?
(OK, maybe he looks a little bit angry!)
I kept us at a substantial distance from the neighbor's property, and kept the backdoor open, in case Oreo felt the need to escape inside. He did get up a few times to run inside, but then came back out on the deck right away.

Yesterday, there was a police check point on our way home from agility. I guess they were checking seatbelts/inspections/registrations/midday drunkenness and such. I think they wanted to have an excuse to hang out on the road over looking the sparkling lake.

I stopped, talked to the officer, proved I wasn't drunk, and Oreo practically slept through the entire thing! Who knows what would have happened if the traffic stop had been on the way TO agility, but I was very impressed with Oreo's nonchalance, and am crediting all our car RP work.

The trooper was very impressed that my "little lassie dogs" had their seatbelts on too.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


....all those lost, and their loved ones.

Let's honor them by spreading messages of love, kindness and acceptance of one another, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, nationality, or gender.

“In separateness lies the world's great misery, in compassion lies the
world's true strength.” ~Buddha

September 11th is always an emotional day for me. I tend to stay away from the TV.

Instead, today, I'd like to take a moment to thank all of you for reading my blog, leaving comments, sharing your lives, and becoming my cyber friends. It is an honor to have friends from different states, countries, generations and all walks of life! What an amazing experience blogging provides to learn, grow, and connect with the world. I wish love and peace to all of you and your families.

Friday, September 10, 2010

misty~girl update


My mom was asking about Misty's health yesterday, and I thought I'd update everyone.

Misty is still fighting off the UTI. We are going into week 3. We had her on baytril for a week, and saw some improvement, but not enough for me (I wanted her better immediately!). So, we switched her to clavamox. Again, we saw some improvement, then a drastic decline.

As of Wednesday, Misty is back on the Baytril, but at double the dosage. My vet also put her on tramadol to help alleviate any pain associated with the straining.

I'm hoping after a few days at this higher dose we will start to see signs of improvement.

Poor girl.

She did do some play bowing with Oreo today, so maybe that is a good sign. Of course, her spunky side always comes out with the cooler weather.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

made me cry

OK, maybe I'm a big baby, or it's my special ed background, but this video made me cry.

I've seen dogs with disabilities do agility, and people with disabilities do agility. This tops them all. A blind man doing agility with his dog. Make sure you turn your sound on. The dog wears bells, obviously so the blind man can tell where his dog is.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

tricky t-day ~ back weave

OK, we've been working on this for weeks! It is still a work in progress, but if I wait until it is perfect to show you, it may be June!

It took me about a week to figure out which side Oreo should be on, and how my legs needed to move. Duh! Once I figured that part out, we made more progress. Oreo still needs a lot of luring, and I'm hoping for more speed and precision. That's what I'm going to start clicking for over the next few weeks.

Anyway, here is our attempt at backward weave through my legs.

Monday, September 6, 2010

lots of threes

After months and months trying, we finally pulled off a standard run Q yesterday. Given the fact that a jubillion people were walking in the adjacent games ring during our run, it was nothing short of miraculous.

Granted, we had to drop to level one, lower the bar to 8 inches, and mother nature gave us beautiful, chilly weather, but we did it!

In fact, we had a perfect day. Three runs, three q's and three runs over 3 YPS. Maybe we should play the pick 3 today!

We didn't break any of our personal records, but I felt Oreo ran consistently all day. He did some looking around, but given the size of the trial (BIG!), I thought he handled it beautifully.

I admit, I repositioned a couple ring crew chairs during the walk thrus, and I think it paid off. Some were really close to the start line and certain jumps, and simply had to be moved! Funny how people will sit wherever there is a chair.

Not one obstacle, not one, did Oreo opt out of. No off courses. Zero faults. Wow. If that isn't rock star material, I don't know what is.

Here are our three runs. I did my best videoing with my tripod & new wide angle lens. I have all the obstacles in view, but sometimes, people were simply standing in the way! You'll get the idea though. For all 3 runs, we start in the upper right hand corner. Which is Oreo's best starting place, since that is the gate we usually go in during class.

Oh yea, we got a title too! Our level one handler title. Yea Oreo! We'll add it to our level two handler title. Big thanks to the super nice judges this weekend.

Oh yeah, and there were 3 sheltie puppies at the trial! They moved too quick for me to get a good photo, but they were sooooooo cute!

Up next? DOCNA national championships!

And here is Oreo being a dog after the trial (and me doing poop duty!). Proving we're not letting our success go to our heads.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

training challenge #5 ~ u-turns

This is most likely our last training challenge for a little while. School starts Tuesday. That is going to be my challenge!

Oreo and I have been working on "u-turns". An easy thing to teach. Basically, while walking, I say "u-turn" and we walk in the opposite direction.

We started in the backyard, and then this week we have been doing spontaneous u-turns on our morning walks.

My goal is to keep it fun, light hearted and very rewarding.

Ultimately, I would like to use u-turns when Oreo is in situations he finds highly stressful, particularly where desensitization/counter conditioning methods have failed. I feel like, at times, I have been feeding his fears. With the u-turn, I can reward him for following my cue, plus Oreo will have the added reward of moving away from what is scaring him. Then maybe we'll be able to move gradually closer, using u-turns as needed.

That's my thinking anyway! We'll see how it works in real life later. For now, I want u-turn to become an automated response. We are pretty close to reaching that goal. Here is a snippet of our training:


Next, we'll practice it at our agility class, where he feels relatively comfortable, with a manageable amount of stress.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

oreo cam

Thanks to our fabulous friend, Priscilla, I was able to figure out how to operate our new mini camcorder. Priscilla was kind enough to translate the Chinese instructions into English for me! Isn't that amazing?

Now I know how to work the camera, however I need to figure out how to make it look better than this. Maybe I should use Misty, who will move much slower.....

I had Oreo going over three jumps, then thru the chute. If you suffer from vertigo, don't watch this video!

I'm sure Jeff will be able to rig something up to stabilize the camera a bit. Jeff thinks we need to get the video going up over his head somehow, by attaching some contraption to his harness. Poor Oreo is going to end up looking like some sort of weird science experiment in the agility ring.

Friday, September 3, 2010

I need a translation!

Jeff just bought a mini DV video camera. It is about the size of an ipod shuffle. I have high hopes of clipping it to Oreo's collar, and getting a dog's eye view of an agility course. Wouldn't that be neat? Whenever Jeff buys an electronic item, it quickly becomes mine!

Of course, getting a dog's view of an agility course is dependent on figuring out the instructions. One side was written in Chinese, the other "translated" in English. There are only two buttons, so you'd think it would be easy to use!

Here are the instructions as printed:

1. In closes down and under readiness for action, presses the button short, according to the pattern switch, enters the corresponding condition (What? Condition? Is this going to require a trip to the ER?).

2. In recorded under the pattern, the blue lamp bright, presses the button short, stops the video recording, preserves the video recording, preserves the video recording content, the machine enters the readiness for action, the blue lamp extinguishes, the yellow light is bright; Long presses the button (who is Long? I don't know him! Is it OK if I press the button instead of this Long guy?) , preserves the video recording content then close-down. This time allocates move set clock for the pattern selection switch the photograph pattern, stops the video recording content, the machine enters the photograph pattern.

Can anyone translate this for me?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

birthday wishes for DAD....

Today is DAD's, at Dad's Tomato Gardening, 97th birthday! DAD has been posting a link to my blog for over a year now. He has become friends with not only me, but my mom and my aunt as well. He even sent my mom a HUGE box of tomatoes grown in his garden this summer.

Yesterday was his 2065th post. 2065 posts & 97 years of spreading smiles, kindness, and advice on growing tomatoes. Looks like that may be the secret to a good, long life people.

Misty is ready to dig into some birthday cake!

Well, how about some tomatoes instead? Yesterday, Oreo finally agreed (after a bit of force feeding) to try a fresh tomato from my garden. Guess what, he liked it! Only took 3 years to get him to not turn his nose up. Misty, my good child, will eat anything.

Here they are enjoying some freshly picked tomatoes: