Monday, August 31, 2009

head shots

I took these photos yesterday. You can tell Oreo was still pretty tired from his trial on Saturday. I decided not to trial on Sunday, since in the morning Oreo kept going from one bed to another. He didn't even ask to play ball until after dinner. Usually, the ball is in his mouth right after our morning walk.

I just love Oreo's expression in these photos. You can tell he is constantly thinking.

And Misty, well, she is just being Misty, not so sure if she thinks much at all. She's slightly worried to have the camera in her face, but hoping, really hoping, for a treat out of the bag on my lap. Misty has really come out of her shell this summer, with all the excursions to trials and classes. Once a very shy dog, at the trial Saturday, she was nosing her way up to strangers, looking at them longingly, hoping for a treat. Misty is just the sweetest dog ever. I still can't believe someone gave her away, but am so glad I was the one who got her!

I just love Oreo's perfect, symmetrical white strip of fur on top of his head.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

hit the jackpot!

Jeff said, "You got all those today! We're going to need a bigger house."

cutest ribbon ever

Well, we didn't come home with any solid blue ribbons, but we got the gingham one!

I checked the doppler this morning, and it looked like the rain was moving east, so I left early to do our Fullhouse run. We got our first fullhouse Q! There were about 7-8 dogs running in our class today. We came in 3rd place. I'm not sure if the placing is based more on points accumulated or time closest to buzzer....have to look that up. If it was points alone I thought we should have been second.

Then, we got a Q on our standard run and got our fancy title ribbon. Our first title in CPE! We came in second. Another sheltie beat us by a second!

Onto colors. I chose the circles course, so we could avoid Oreo slow poking it on the dogwalk. Good move, we Q'ed and came in 2nd. Again, beat by a second by the other sheltie. However, we tied our fastest yards per second record...3.90. If only we could get over that 4.oo hurdle!
Our last run was jackpot (gamblers). This was the run I didn't want to do. It requires working at a distance. You accumulate points for 35 seconds, a buzzer sounds, and then you have 16 seconds to do the tunnel, and 3 jumps behind the dotted line. The problem, I'm not allowed to cross the dotted line.

I remembered what Abbie Tamber told us in a part of the gamble in your opening, especially the obstacle you think the dog will have trouble doing.

So, that was my strategy, get 16 points, and include the number 2 tunnel in my opening.

It worked! I have never been happier at the end of a run. That tunnel seemed so far away (it was 8 feet from the line). People were on the other side of the jumps, and Oreo just kept plugging along. I think it was our biggest accomplishment yet.

We came in 3rd, I didn't look too close, but I think it was because the other dogs had accumulated more points. Most did the dogwalk, which was worth 7 points, but I stuck to jumps to keep Oreo happy.

Here is the video of our standard, colors and jackpot runs.

Before our jackpot run, I thought to myself, "If Oreo Q's this, we may just not even trial tomorrow." He really did a lot today.

I'll see how he is acting in the morning. We left on such a good note....I don't want to overstress him.

Friday, August 28, 2009

another soggy trial

I have a CPE trial this weekend. Tropical Storm Danny is coming into play tonight and tomorrow morning, and they are forecasting heavy rain into mid morning.

I'm debating whether to bother trying to get there in time for my first run or not. I'm not scheduled to work until after my second run (standard), so if I scratch my first run, which is fullhouse, maybe I can miss the worst of the rain.

I really want to Q a Standard run this weekend, for the sole purpose of getting a title ribbon, which I hear is very cute gingham! If we Q our Colors and Wildcard runs, we could also get a title for level 2 handlers. We'll see how Oreo is feeling.

Luckily, the forecast for Sunday looks much better.

I decided to go to school today to unpack my desk, and hang up some stuff on the walls. I sweet talked the maintenance guys into moving the furniture around. They love it when you listen to them complain! I even got offered cake, after they moved all my filing cabinets around. Great people, disgruntled, but great.

Our school is having serious budget problems, but had some money left over from a building project a couple years ago. They used the money to update some electrical stuff, and installed new clocks in all the classrooms! I can't tell you how exciting it is going to be to have a working clock in all the classrooms.

That was the highlight of my day! Seeing the dorky freshmen getting their books....oh boy, better get my rest while I can! Although, it looks like I only have 1 freshman class this year, compared to 4 last year. Hope nothing changes over the next two weeks, when the kids show up!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

gone fishing

Took the dogs fishing this morning. Jeff caught two fish, a perch and a sunny, while I did a fiendish sudoku, and read Karen Pryor's latest clicker training book. Then, we had a picnic lunch.

The dogs enjoyed exploring the shoreline, and scaring away the other fishermen with their barking!

You're not supposed to go in this water, as it is our local drinking supply, but the dogs stepped in when they needed a fresh drink.

Kissing on the shoreline.

Oreo does some exploring.

Last year, Oreo needed to be coaxed into the reservoir. This year, he went in all on his own.
It is funny, we couldn't wait for the sun to come over the trees to warm us up today. Last week, we could barely go outside it was so hot! Strange how the weather can change so drastically in one week.

If you have the time, pop on over to Fizz's blog and see if you can recognize what he is playing with!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

photos from trial

Here are the links to photos from our trial runs on Sunday:
nationals qualifier
strategic time gamble

After reviewing our videos and stats from Sunday's trial, I realized these weren't our best runs ever, nor were they our worst. I was running slower, because I had seen so many people slip and fall on the wet grass (just ordered myself some cleats). I know if I go slow, Oreo goes even slower! Still, I think it was the most fun I've ever had at a trial.

Everyone was in a good mood that day. Maybe it was the rain. Maybe it was due to the small size, and homey atmosphere. The whole group sat down at the picnic tables, and had a pizza lunch together! Have you ever done that at a trial?

We all held our breath as Disney Q'ed his jumpers run in 15 seconds, then erupted in a group cheer! His previous standard run had consisted of carrying the "number one cone" around the course randomly (those photos are priceless). The number one ended up in his belly. Now, it is just a plain, blue cone.

However, there was a somberness to the day. Buddy, the 3 legged dog who had heroically qualified for nationals in July, was not there. He passed away a few days ago. Buddy's mom had really been looking forward to making the trip to Pennsylvania for the nationals in October. My heart goes out to her. I'll miss Buddy. He was a real sweetheart and an inspiration.

So, we all hugged our dogs a little tighter, gave them an extra tasty snack (left over donuts off the breakfast table), and cherished the day. Q's or NQ's, out of control speed or slo-mo speed, accuracy or flaws, joyful cone eating, green dogs pooping on the course, breaking startline stays, being distracted, visiting the ring crew, a dog's first run in a trial, walking the course with umbrellas in the pouring rain, ....all of it was celebrated that day. Other people might think we were a bit crazy (we are a strange subculture), but if you look at the photos, you see smiles everywhere. Everyone encouraged, supported, and cheered for each other. There was no polite golf clapping going on. It was real.

I can't wait until next summer's DOCNA trials. They are simply the best.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tricky T-day ~ helping out

I have been missing one sock, out of a pair, for three weeks now. It was a new pair, that I had only worn once. I refused to throw the lone sock out, because I figured the other sock would turn up eventually.

I was convinced the sock was clinging to another article of clothing or something. I had emptied several drawers, shaking out and refolding clothes, but still had be unable to find it.

On Saturday, I was folding laundry and had my closet door opened. I noticed Oreo rummaging around in the closet. He creeped out, and I saw something in his missing sock!

"Good Boy!" I shouted. Oreo was shocked to be getting praised for such behavior. I even gave him treats, because I happened to have some in my pocket! I was so happy to have my missing sock caper solved.

When I read that Ludo wanted us to post some tricks that were "helpful tricks", I decided to see if I could do a reenactment of Oreo's great feat (no pun intended).

I'm still not sure where the sock was in the closet. Oreo wouldn't tell.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Trial in the pouring rain!

We went to our DOCNA trial today, even with the threat of rain.

Our first run was the qualifier for nationals. Just as the specialists were starting to run, the downpours started. I told myself I wouldn't run if it was still raining.

However, as I watched the dogs, I saw how great they were all doing in the rain. Most of these dogs had gotten an NQ in July. Hmmmm, maybe running in the rain keeps them cool?

When the interns were up, I walked the course, and decided, oh what the heck. The trial was really small, very few distractions, since everyone was huddled under the tent, even most of the bar setters. I thought, if we were going to qualify, this was the trial it was going to happen. This round is tough for us, because it is at the beginning of the day, and Oreo's first run of the day is usually his worst, as he adjusts to his surroundings.

Jeff said, "Oreo just spent the week with his face stuck in the water." So, I got the OK from him.

I made the right decision! We got 1st place, and qualified for the 2010 DOCNA Nationals at the intern level! Turns out, third times a charm.

Oreo was a bit distracted, but really focused at times too. The second time over the A-Frame, I changed my plan and ran on the opposite side, to put myself between him and the judge. I knew the course was straight after the A-Frame. It worked really well, and helped us keep our speed up.

The rest of the day was dry and overcast~perfect weather for me! Oreo NQ'd his standard run, due to an off course. He took a jump all on his own! I was kind of impressed with his initiative, but it was really my fault, of course.

We 1st & Q'd our strategic time gamble run, and that really surprised me. You have to design your own course, gather points, and then race to the finish in a certain amount of time. We just made it! Whew.

Our last run was jumpers. Again, Oreo 1st & Q'ed, and we got our beginners jumpers title! So, now we move up to intern in jumpers runs. Yea...a challenge!

So, overall a good day.

Here is the video of our North American Challenge run and Standard run. What the heck are the people talking about in the background during my north american challenge run?
Turns out dogs don't forget how to do agility after a week and a half off!

"See the ribbons with the black stuff? Those are my special ribbons for qualifying for nationals! And the rosette is for my new jumpers title! Yea, I'm a superstar!"

"Here, I'm showing humility"

Saturday, August 22, 2009

goats, bobbing, and home

We went to a gift shop that had a few animals. This goat stuck his head thru the fence to greet me. I'm sure he was hoping for a snack. The sign next to his head read, "goats are too fat, please do not feed." So, all he got was a pet on the head.

He headed into the barn, where he climbed a flight of stairs, and made his way to his very own Juliet balcony. Who knew that goats liked to have rooms with a view? See him up there? He could see the lake, vineyards, and the entire farm from up there.

Oreo got to go bobbing for his orbee ball on our last day at the lake. Here are a couple photos of his wet head, and a video of his efforts.
We are back home now. Oreo has a trial tomorrow, but the weather is not looking too good.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

more "swimming"

After our gorge hike. We got the dogs back in the lake. With some luring, we got Oreo to paddle a bit on his own. Oreo had no problem going into the water, he just didn't want to go too far.

Oreo's orbee ball had fallen over the cliff from the yard, and I didn't think we'd ever see it again. My dad found it down by the beach, so I started throwing it for Oreo down by the water. Of course, the ball ended up bouncing in the water a couple times. We were stunned when Oreo went right into the water and bobbed for his precious orbee. His whole face was stuck in the water.

Unfortunately, my memory card on my camera was full by then, so I got none of that on video! My card has never been full. It was just a kodak (canon) moment filled day!

I did get some video of them just wading in for treats. I'll see if I can get him bobbing for the ball before we leave for home.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Watkin's Glen-gorge trail

We hiked up 800 steps today on Watkin's Glen Gorge trail. Boy, was it worth every step up! There are 19 waterfalls along the trail, 3 that you have to walk behind which is really cool.
The only downfall was no dogs are allowed on the trail. However, I'm not sure Misty could have handled all those stairs.
Here are a few photos. Between our two cameras, we took well over 100. I tried to upload a slide show of all of them, but it would take hours here. Maybe when I get home.
If you are ever in the NY Finger Lakes area, you MUST go to this state park and walk this trail. You can walk the trail in reverse and go down the 800 stairs, but we walked UP hill, 600 feet in elevation, and took the shuttle back to our car. Guess we earned our lunch and ice cream.

All of these photos can be enlarged if you click on them.

a walk, failed boat attempt & a puppy

We started our day with a walk in the vineyard. I tried a grape, but it sure didn't taste like the ones you get in the grocery store.
Seneca Lake is the deepest lake in New York State. The lake helps to moderate the temperature and the land is steeply sloped, so that is the reason why the area is perfect for growing grapes and making wine. There are dozens of wineries around the lake.
Our house rental is on a cliff. We had to walk up another steep hill to get up to the vineyard. We have to walk down 86 steps to get to the beach, or take a windy road.

In the vineyard

After our walk in the vineyard, we headed down to the beach to take the dogs for a ride in the canoe. That lasted about 5 minutes! The water was wavy, the canoe tippy, especially whenever the dogs would move, and the paddlers became nervous the canoe would tip.

We headed back to shore, and decided to stay on dry ground the rest of the day. Maybe we'll try a rowboat next time. Something more stable.

At least Oreo got to wear his snazzy life vest!

We drove to an Amish store in PennYan. A mama and her 8 week pup were at the door to greet us! Oh, I wanted to take the puppy home. When I picked up the puppy, and you could tell his mama was very concerned about him. He was the runt of the litter, his five siblings already spoken for. The Amish lady at the store said she'd have to find a new home herself if she gave the puppy away. Guess the runt is staying on the farm. I'm sure he'll have a good life.

The store was full of all sorts of goodies, at really low prices. Chocolate candy bars for 33 cents! Here are some of the beautiful, handcrafted quilts.

There was a sign in the store that read,"Theft detection device in use-it has never failed us yet. It is called TRUST". I thought that was great. I mean, if you steal from the Amish that's pretty sad.