Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pupdate

I’m having a blast with Rampage. We just came back from a 4 day AKC trial where the 5 of us stayed in my tiny RV. That was a learning experience! I know for a fact that unless I upgrade my RV to a bigger rig, I’m never ever ever going to want FIVE dogs! Of course I’m sure that some of it is due to the fact that he is a puppy and my dogs don’t quite know what to make of him just yet

He has been consistently waking up at 4am to potty now, but not wanting to go back to sleep. Because I’ve been in an RV with VERY close neighbors his beautiful 4am singing (read: screaming) has resulted in me bringing him into the bed with me and the rest of the dogs after about 10 minutes, where he sleeps quite contentedly. I asked all my neighbors if they heard him and they said no, so last night I decided to let him scream. And scream he did from 4:50 until I got up at 7:20. He’s one persistent dude. And this morning, my neighbors said they DID hear him. Oops! Sorry!

However, when he was in the arena at the trial (being held only – I didn’t let him on the ground since I was leery of the livestock bugs) he was EXCEEDINGLY cute and either attentively yet calmly watched what was going on around him, or fell asleep. I had some friends over to the rv for dinner last night and while we played with him before dinner, he slept quite contentedly while we all ate!

I’m not used to seeing 7.5 week old puppies get the zoomies. Icon was too serious for zoomies and Apollo too uncoordinated. Well puppy zoomies in a 24’ rv is like watching a game of Pinball. He bounced off dinettes, fake wood paneling and dogs in quick succession. It took all of my pinball skills to make sure he didn't take a tumble into the stairwell. Now that we’re home and he has more room for the zoomies, he’s way cuter. He reminds me of a jackrabbit trying to escape a dog chasing him. He’ll be standing utterly still with his ears twitching (ok, I’m probably imagining the ears twitching – but seriously, they look like they will prick on their own!) and then suddenly take off. Just as you think he’s heading for the patio furniture he starts zigzagging all over the yard. Me and the other dogs stand there with our mouths hanging open. Next thing we know he’s yapping at Apollo and Apollo has no clue what to do! You can see Apollo's thought forming, "wasn't he by the patio furniture a second ago?". I need to get this on video. Puppy zoomies are so cute!

I feed raw and Rampage is taking to it better than any of my other dogs ever did. They at least had some runny poops after their first raw meal, but Rampage has shown none of that and I’ve given him such variety for just starting! So far he’s had chicken wings, pork necks (that was more recreational for him – his teeth are too small to really eat it), ground beef, eggs, ground turkey, trout, and chicken liver. He loves it all!

Icon has corrected Rampage twice now (both very appropriately, IMHO). Rampage is a PEST to the other dogs. If he was like this to his littermates, I think he owes Riff, Ex and Etch an apology. Neither of Icon’s corrections phased him at all. He just continued right on being a pest. This is quite new for me because when Icon was a puppy, he didn’t care about my other dogs and just wanted to interact with me. With Rampage, I have to find a way to make myself more interesting that the other dogs so he’ll interact with me instead of them (or put them away, which makes me feel bad for them since they didn’t do anything wrong!).

Rampage is really fun to play with and train. He didn’t show much interest in tugging the first few days I had him, but he’s starting to get into it now. I like to get rough with my dogs during tugging, but I quickly learned that Rampage isn’t ready for that quite yet! A tiny tap on his side while we were tugging made him give up the game.

I also introduced the clicker and was surprised that he automatically gives a sit. Maybe someone worked with them on that before we brought puppies home? Another thing I noticed him offering was a head bob, which I didn’t reward. I started him hand targeting and he picked that up really quick. The last thing I worked with him on, was walking over a small box (I actually used the levelers for my RV. He walked over it, but I’m not sure he associated the c+t with walking on the box. Well, he’s young yet.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

And what did Santa get for you this year, Channan?

Why, he got me a PUPPY!

Isn't he cute? (I need to learn not to speak when the camera is on, I sound like a moron... Oh well)


Rampage and brothers from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The story of my first day back at work

I was on a 6 week sabbatical from Oct 17th until December 2nd. It was fun, but it went by soooo fast.

During my sabbatical, my department moved to a different building, so I was in a totally new office. We're now on the 11th floor so I have a pretty nice view of San Bruno mountain and Fwy 101 but it is a huge pain taking the elevator, especially during 'rush hour'. I guess it's an improvement though, since in my last office all I saw was the building next door (which is the building I'm in now).

Many of my coworkers are very creative, so I KNEW I would have something waiting for me in my new office when I returned to work. For one guy, they wrapped everything in his office in newspaper. For another guy, the decked out his office to make it look like it had been taken over by a homeless person (pretty funny, actually).

But for me, apparently nothing quite so benign would do.

My office was decked out all in pink! With teddy bears and doilies and ballons (oh my). They even had some princess dresses hanging off the wall. I have to admit, they got me pretty good on that one.













I didn't last long in the Princess Wonderland. The day after I got back from sabbatical, I took a box and dumped all of the teddy bears in it. To my coworkers I sent the following email, and within seconds all of my coworkers came to my office to pick up their pink things.

**NEWSFLASH** Mass grave found in building 83

(12-3) 11:51PM PDT South San Francisco. Genentech Security has announced that a mass grave was found in room 83111 of building 83 on the Genentech Gateway Campus. It is unknown how many corpses are located within the grave. Initial estimates put the number at around 30. Only a few bodies have been identified, including Mini Mouse, Kermit The Frog and Hello Kitty. Next of kin have not yet been notified.

Adrian Griggs, who occupies the room 2 doors from the site of slaughter was at a loss to explain what happened not 20 feet from where he was sitting.

'It's been so quiet in that office since we moved to building 83! I always though Channan was a nice girl. She seems pretty reserved, but I had no clue she was capable of this!"

Channan Fosty, 25, was found wandering the halls of building 83 wearing a child's pink dress. She refused to comment on the tragedy, however Genentech Security are holding her for questioning and psychological evaluation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Polly is nothing if not consistent

Somehow Apollo managed to place 11th in each of the 3 rounds he qualified in.

I will admit that I had hoped that he would do better than 11th, 5th or 6th place at least! But there were some really nice and fast 24" dogs there.

I was really happy with how Apollo performed. Our mistakes on the first run were both my fault and totally avoidable. Aside from the bar in the first round, he didn't drop any more. He was running really nicely on the matting and he seemed to have a lot of fun!


Apollo Rd1 - AKC Invitatioanls 2008 from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.


Apollo Rd 2 - AKC Invitationals from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.


Apollo Rd3 - AKC Invitationals from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.


Apollo Rd4 - AKC Invitationals from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Murder on Ruschin Dr. (aka the death of Grumpy the dwarf)

I drove home from work on a relatively average day. It was a long weekend for me so I was a bit on the chipper side, despite the multiple accidents on the freeway that nearly doubled my commute.

As usual an after a binging incident, I was a bit hesitant to enter the house. On the previous day, Apollo and Icon had nabbed a half full bag of Costco-sized Pita Chips off of the counter and eaten them while I was at work. Logically I knew that today I had left nothing for them to get into (I always remember to put everything out of their reach the day after they binge due to my forgetfulness) but I was emotionally scarred from the day before. A deep, penetrating scar that would take at least a day or two to heal. And so I grabbed the door knob confidently, but hesitated before turning it.

I eased the door open and walked in to be greeted by my spotless black granite counter tops. My stainless steel coffee pot winked at me, knowing that although I can walk past him without a glance now, in the morning I will come crawling on my knees and beg him to start producing his sweet, dark nectar.

My dogs rushed up to say, 'Hi mom! We missed you! We love you! Why were you gone so long??? Play with us! Pleaaaase?'

Boy, I love my dogs. All was right in my world.

It was not until I steped a bit further into my kitchen that the doorway to my computer room started to display the carnage within.

As I steped in, my mind swirled in confusion. I felt a bit faint. Snow?? In my computer room?? In December? Inconceviable! (I just saw the movie The Princess Bride the other night, so the word 'Inconcevable' sliped into my thoughts unbidden).

Mounds of fluffy whiteness were spread over the exapanse of my computer room floor. Icon bounded across the snow and barked cheerfully. I gasped in horror as my eyes started to focus on a hat buried within the snow. A hat I knew well!

The words "Grumpy" were written across the brim. I looked a bit to my right to see large white eyes and a bulbous nose, which just barely avoided being totally embraced by the snow. A glance a bit to my left showed a foot that appeared to be struck with elephantiasis.

I grasped the hat to my chest and howled my agony! The dogs howled with me. Who could have done such a thing???? Who? Who??? WHO????

Pook peered around the doorway to see what woke him from his sleep. Unimpressed, he flicked his tail at us and returned to his spot on the couch in the livingroom.

-------------

Join me now as we use amazing new technology peruse the murder scene and re-enact the actual murder of Grumpy!

THE LINEUP



The suspects are as shown, left to right.

APOLLO (aka POLLY - Food stealer and emotional manipulator extraordinaire)
ICON (aka - well, he would be embarassed if I told you - mastermind of the 'indignant innocence' expression and Polly manipulator extraordinaire)
FOSTER (aka THE BOSS - He suggests it, Polly and Icon do it)
POOK (aka DUKE - 'Leave me the 'f@#$' alone!')

Some individuals look more guilty than others. You might see what I mean if you look closely at Foster.

Let us use our wonderful technology to look deper into the situation.

THE MURDER SCENE





Here we see the carnage I had to witness.

The large white eyes and bulbous nose are quite visible (and handily labeled). As is the foot, which appears to be inflicted with elephantiasis (and it should be labeled foot, not food in the picture. Polly must have used his culinary mind powers on me and caused me to misspell that!). Was Grumpy recently in Africa? Maybe that's a clue!

Hmmmm...........

Oh. What's that?

Sorry. I was distracted by Polly's muscular boxer booty, but I'm back with you now. And I think I have solved the mystery.

So.

Now lets see if we can re-enact the situation from what we have learned.

The dogs were enjoying a relaxing day at home while I was at work. Pook was outside, so he is exonerated from the crime FOR NOW (who knows, perhaps it will turn out that he was the mastermind of the whole thing?).

But without warning or even a flash of intelligence in his eye, Foster remembered that Grumpy had been in this house for TWO WHOLE YEARS! And that Grumpy had been a gift from his EVIL* human father, Jay, to his ANGELIC** human mother, Channan, to signify that she was a grumpy person.

Of course Foster couldn't stand for such slander! And since Jay wouldn't be around until he's dog-sitting next weekend, Foster decided to take his frustration out on Grumpy!


It started pretty sedately. A rip up Grumpy's inseam. I'm sure Grumpy felt it, but it didn't dirty my room so why did I care?

I know what you're thinking, though. How could Foster, on his own, give Grumpy an inseam tear? Well he can't without an accomplice.

But who could it be??

We know it's not Pook. He was outside for the day, and besides, his teeth aren't strong enough to possibly cause a fatal inseam tear.

So that leaves two suspects. Polly and Icon. Well I can tell you that since Polly has his chin on my lap right now and is looking EXCEEDINGLY cute, the accomplice must have been ICON!!!

I know, I know. Everyone tells me this, "Icon is wonderful! Icon is perfect! Icon never does anything bad!" Well maybe Icon LOOKS innocent. Maybe he puts his ears back, maybe he makes his eyes wide and liquid. Maybe his expression makes your heart quiver!

Maybe he says, 'I'm so pretty in the snow! It wasn't me!'



But don't be fooled! I have special Border Collie Cam! It shows EXACTLY what Icon is thinking.

BORDER COLLIE CAM - THE LINEUP


BORDER COLLIE CAM - THE MURDER SCENE


And so the mystery is solved. Foster and Icon will be sentenced to a weekend without ANGEGIC** human mom, where they will have to spend time with EVIL* human dad. Since Polly is Perpetually Perfect in every way, he will be going to Longbeach with ANGELIC** mom for AKC Invitationals.

Thank you for helping us solve this mystery. Tune in next week for AKC Invitational results. Hopefully I'll have videos of all our favorite california friends!

*disclaimer: Jay, who is my ex, is actually a really nice guy and the dogs all love him. he's not evil at all but I had to say it or my story wouldn't be so interesting, now would it?

**disclaimer: Ok, so I'm not really that angelic. But a girl can dream.

Cammi-cakes

I found my Cammi photos.

Here is Cammi coming out of a chute. I took this one at a trial in Palo Alto. All four feet off the ground!! :)


And one of my favorite photos of Cammi and Polly looking "pitiful" together. No one can look as pitiful as a boxer. This photo was taken at a 3 day trial in las vegas a bunch of went to. It was a really fun trial.

Monday, December 8, 2008

AKC Nationals entry complete

Boy, they sure make it easy to enter AKC Nationals. You just click a few buttons, enter your credit card info, and voila! You're done! Cool. Now I just have to figure out how I'm getting there.

I can't wait until all entries are done online. There are some online options now, but they charge an arm and a leg to use them. I was going to enter Rose City online, but they charge a 10% service fee. It would have cost me an extra $40 for the 'convenience'. I ended up spending $0.42 on a stamp instead.

Being back at work is as fun as I expected it to be. Somehow nothing got done while I was on sabbatical. So my first day back I had to work late and miss agility class, and then I had to work late Friday night as well. It's good to be back! (not). At least my boss is happy. Things get done when I'm around. I think because I scare people.

On Thursday morning I'm packing up Apollo and heading to Long Beach for Invitationals. I'm trying to look forward to the trip, but I'm having a very hard time with it. I was supposed to travel down and share a room with Kay and Cammi, but Cammi was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma and the disease quickly took over. On Friday I found out that Cammi was no longer with us :(. It was about 3 weeks from her diagnosis. It's hard to be excited when you're so sad.

I have some photos of Cammi that I will post, but they're on my home computer so it will have to be later.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

So long!

It has been so long since I last wrote to my blog. I've been really lazy :)

My trip out east was really fun. I arrived in Boston on Friday Nov 14th around 11pm after my takeoff was delayed due to low visibility in Boston. Then as we were backing out of the gate, the auxiliary power went out and we had to pull back in. Yay!

When I arrived in Boston I realized why I could get a car for only $17/day. The car rental agency was a 30 minute shuttle ride away from the airport! But on the bright side, having a huge bag of luggage and a dog in a crate granted me a free upgrade to a Jeep somethingorother 4x4. And I was grateful because... well you'll see later in my tale.

The weather was pretty nice when I arrived in Boston, considering it was almost midnight. About 40 degrees. I had to get to Brantford, Ontario by 1pm on Saturday so I decided to try to get to Albany, New York before crashing. With hunger gnawing at my stomach, I stopped at a McDonald's on the way. They were sold out of EVERYTHING except quarter pounders! I was outraged! How can a McDonald's be sold out of anything? It's not like they're Wendy's, who always serves fresh - not frozen- beef. Icon and I had some not-so-nice words with their cashier.

We had quarter pounders for dinner. There may have been spit on them.

It took me almost 3 hours to get to Albany (with an uncountable number of stop at toll roads. What an inefficient way of travel!). It was around 2:30 when I arrived. Luckily (this is sarcasm) the hotel had computer problems JUST as I was checking in. It took the night hotel clerk about 30 minutes to get me my room key. To make up for making me waver in half wakefulness in the reception area, the clerk offered to have coffee with me at 7am when he got off work. Thanks buddy, but NO.

At 7am I was on the road (without coffee) and had a fairly uneventful drive to Canada. At he border I was a bit worried that I'd have some trouble since my Canadian passport had been expired for a year an a half. But no worries! The only thing he asked about was why "Rent" was written on the rear window of my rental. I told him, "I don't know! It's a rental! Maybe they wanted to rent it?".

And not much later I was in Brantford!

And it snowed.

And snowed.

And snowed some more.

And I was happy for my 4x4 jeep.

But to make a long story short, it was really fun visiting my family and friends. And I got my passport renewed!

On Thursday I drove back to Boston for the Springfield cluster. It's the largest AKC trail of the year and is help indoors on dirt. It's a really well run trial and pretty nice place, although it gets really dusty after the first day. Icon didn't have the best trial of his life, going only 3/8 for the regular runs, but the majority of the mistakes were mine, not his. Ok, they were all mine :) But we did somehow manage to win both ISC Std and ISC JWW for the ISC Combined win, which was fun :).

And I got to run Soleil the Beauceron in her JWW runs. We didn't qualify in any of them, but we got really close and I had lots of fun with her!

Nancy had her RV there and I'm so glad because it was really cold some of the days. I left Icon in the car the first day, but after that I moved him to the RV. It was too loud and dusty in the building for him. It was so cute, Icon and Pinot played a couple of times. We tried to get it on video, but as soon as we turned on the video camera, they stopped playing. Border collies are so weird.

And that was my trip out east!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Boxers and cancer

Polly has a histiocytoma, which aside from being a pimple, is the best case scenario. A histiocytoma in the dog is a benign tumor. It is an abnormal growth in the skin of histiocytes (histiocytosis), a cell that is part of the immune system (thank you Wikipedia).

It should go away on its own eventually, but Kelly said that if it starts to get bigger we should remove it. So we'll wait and see.

On an unhappy note, Cammi has been lethargic lately so Kay took her to get bloodwork done. The bloodwork showed wonky liver values so Cammi is having a liver biopsy done today. I'm as worried for her as if she were my own dog! Please let it be nothing serious!! Of course with boxers, your thoughts always go to "The Big C".

Also Raven, a boxer from Flordia, has been recently diagnosed with lymphoma. She is only a few months younger than Apollo. Raven is a great agility dog, she has her MACH3 (and I think she was the first MACH2 and 3 boxer - although maybe she was the second to Kala) and was our main competition for the #1 boxer spot for invitationals and for 2008 and even though I have never met her, I am really going to miss 'competing' against such a great dog.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Polly's Pimple

At the end of USDAA nationals, Apollo had what appeared to be a pimple starting to grow on his nose. And it grew and grew and grew (he didn't even tell any lies!) I sent the photo to Charlie the goldens mom, who happens to be an AWESOME veterinary oncologist and she said she we should aspirate it :(. So tomorrow morning I'm dropping Polly off at her practice to get that done. He won't be very happy to be left there, but he likes Kelly, so hopefully he'll be ok!

And here's to hoping that his pimple is just that!

Here's the pimple (I think it might have gotten a bit smaller).

Polly's Private

Today we went to Sandy's Brisbane facility to share a private with Terry and Heath to prepare for invitationals. The surface there is very close to the surface in long beach. It's been a while since I actually did lessons with Apollo. I pulled him from class a while ago because we really weren't 'getting' anything from them. But I sure had fun with Polly today! Sandy set up some hard sequences for us and Polly ran them very well, he's such an honest dog. He did drop one bar, but Sandy said I didn't support him on it. There was a general theme that Apollo wants me to wait for him, so no lateral motion or I'll pull him off a jump. If I call him too soon or do an early shoulder pull, he'll come with me instead of taking the jump. His point of commitment is so much later than Icon's! It's funny how I have forgotten the fine points of running the most awesome boxer in the world so quickly.

So my goal at invitationals will be to stay right with Apollo and support every obstacle, ESPECIALLY if it's an obstacle where I would take off and leave Icon :)

Terry and I are going to try to share one more private with Sandy the week before invitationals. I'm getting pretty excited :) I think Polly will love not having to share me with that silly black and white dog (he might miss Foster though, but Cammi will keep him company :).

Polly was so tired by the end of the hour that he just laid down with his head on the ground while we chatted a bit. That was a lot of work for an old man boxer!

Polly's Progress

I've been continuing to work on Apollo's contacts, mostly the dogwalk since I think it is easiest on his body and can translate to the other contacts somewhat. I will probably get the a-frame out within the next couple of days as well though.

When we were in Pahrump, I was lamenting to Moe about what on earth I need to do with Polly's contacts because after the last standard run on Sunday, they were looking pretty pathetic. I think in retrospect he might have been a bit freaked out at Scott Chamberlain running so close to him because he sped up after the a-frame and that was really the only run where his contacts were BAD.

When I was whining to Moe, it was really just that. Me whining and not expecting anything. But I had forgotten that Moe is the Queen of All Contacts! She gave me some great ideas to work on with Polly. A couple things i was already doing (or trying to do), like making contacts the most fun thing in the world for him, only doing a few repetitions, and rewarding immediately after getting into position. But some other things she suggested were using the BEST food in the world for him, not just good food, but the BEST. I had been previously using cheese and hotdogs, which works great for Icon, but while Polly is kinda into it... he's not totally into it. When she asked me what his favorite food was, that was a no-brainer. Steak! She also suggested throwing the food on the ground and releasing him to it. Well a problem with that is Polly can't pick food up from the ground! (he's a weird-o boxer :). When I mentioned that to her, though, she asked, "How about a BIG piece?".

Why, yes, he can pick up a big piece. And by golly, I bet a bug hunk of steak thrown on the ground after doing his contacts would really get him excited!

So after a trip to Safeway and a Club Pack of New York Strip Steaks (they were on sale for $4.99/lb!) I was set to get back to training with him! (I did have to cook it first - Polly likes his steak rare, but it needs to be seared on the outside).

So I have to admit that I am happy with the results I am seeing so far! He's looking pretty good :)


Polly's work on the dogwalk from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

I am so awesome

I removed the last two stumps! Luckily they were really easy to remove (the roots were mostly decayed). I cut down the two apple trees because they were pretty much dead and now I know why... The loquat tree I just cut down for more yard space. I'm not a loquat fan.

OK!

Finally this morning, almost a week after USDAA nationals finished, I actually feel like doing something aside from being a vegetable! It was really nice to not have to work last week, but I do wish I could have been a bit more productive at home. I didn't even empty my RV fridge until Friday!

I was supposed to install my kitchen backsplash last week, but it arrived while I was away and there were 3 boxes of tiles that were damaged and my cleaning lady sent them back. I haven't been able to contact the store so I have no clue when I'm getting the undamaged tile and I can't start until I get it! I'm really excited to put it up because I love the colors. And by the way, the Tile Shop customer service center sucks. I left 3 messages with them last week and they haven't returned my calls. I'll try once more tomorrow and if I don't get in touch with them, I'll have to get nasty.

But it's not like I did NOTHING all last week. I mowed my lawn out back, which was like a forest because I didn't have a chance to mow it before I left. I also got most of my videos from my trip online. I'm finishing them up today, but it's mostly the team runs left. And the biggest thing is that I did a a huge job of removing a big loquat tree stump from the ground. I took the tree down... Oh... about 6 months ago and added that "stump decay accelerator" to the left over stump. It was a huge job to remove the stump and took me 2 days (and I almost died when the head of the axe I had just bought came off and almost hit me in the head!), but I do think the accerlator stuff helped out a bit. Now a have a huge hole in my grass :(. But by next summer it will be pretty again. I still have 2 stumps to remove though (apple tree stumps this time)! And I have zero urge to do it. I haven't even added "stump decay accelerator" to one of them yet. Guess I should do that.

But I really haven't felt like doing agility all week. I finally got my dogwalk out the other day to get back to remedial contacts with Polly but I skipped Icon's class last Tuesday and I was supposed to have a private with nancy on Wednesday that I moved to Friday and then subsequently cancelled. But I think he needs a break. I was really happy with how Icon did at nationls, he did everything I could have asked of him. But he was really slowing down by the end, I think he was tired. It was probably a combination of a lot of things, like the heat, the slippery grass and the long trip but I think my biggest mistake was taking him to the 3 day Pahrump trial before. Well, now I know! I probably should have done the 4 day one after natioanls if I wanted to make an extended trip. Oh well :). He has the next 2 weekends off to recuperate!

I do have a semi-private planned for Apollo on Monday with Sandy. Terry will be bringing Heath and we're going to ramp up for invitationals! Tuesday I'm going to class with Icon, but I'm guessing Jim is teaching since Nancy has seminars next week. And then next Thursday Icon and I head to Toronto to visit my family!

Oh, and my puppy was born :) I'm guessing he'll be either Spot or PB, but I think Whitey and Roadetta are cute too :)

His name will be Rampage!

http://www.jandemellobordercollie.com/KindleBezelpupsNov08.htm

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I am SO PROUD to be

a Canadian living in a America.

Or something like that.

But seriously, I'm so happy that Obama won. I have a good feeling about the future of this country I chose to live in :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Resting up and the secret to Polly's success

I'm sitting in my rv resting up for the steeplechase finals tonight. A lot of people are confused as to when everything is starting, although I know shirts will be available at 5pm and I need to get there pretty much on time in order to get the size I want. Aside from that I guess I'll just wait for PA announcments. I'm also having dinner because I think it will be pretty late before I have a chance to eat. The event is supposed to begin at 6:30 pm, but it often runs late and 26" dogs are last and Icon the 2nd to last of those. So it'll probably be after 9.

I'm sure all of america was sitting at home pondering, as I was, how a boxer could finish in 3rd place in the PNS finals. Well I remembered just as I was falling asleep that Apollo had eaten half a loaf of bread while I was walking the PNS finals course. Normally this is something that I would remember and blog about immediately. After all, the blog is called Feed Polly for a reason. It was originally created to follow the exploits of how Apollo managed to get into food (usually because I forget I have a bottomless stomach for a dog and leave it within reach).

The SC finals course is online and all I'll say about it right now is ICK.

Friday, October 31, 2008

USDAA nationals - Day 2 and 3

Day 2 is a bit of a haze to me at this point. It's been a long and hot 3 days. On Thursday we had Team Jumpers and Team Snooker and Icon was awesome in both of them. Team jumpers had a tricky broadjump/tunnel spot that really worried me, but we managed to muddle through it. Apollo was really good on that course too.

I tried for 3 7's in snooker for both dogs. It was a really tricky course for that. Apollo dropped the 2nd red and I had to figure out how to save that. I managed to get to the correct 3rd red but only got through 6 in the close. Icon got through the close, but it wasn't pretty!

Day 3 started out with a bang, or more like a spray, when I was sitting at the dinette in my RV and suddenly heard a "hissssss" sound. I opened up the access to my water heater and my pvc pipe had sprung a leak. So I rushed outside and turned off the water. I tried turning on the pump for the water tank and the spray started again too. So I was totally without water and didn't get my shower :( Thankfully I ran in to Ken Nevarre and asked him to take a look. He told me that to fix it I should get some copper tubing and hose clamps and it would be as good as new. It was first thing in the morning and I had my walkthroughs and runs and so many other things to think about, so I decided to wait until I was done for the day to fix it.

So I went on with my day. I had Apollo's PSJ first in the main ring and got lost and sent him off course :( It was such a shame because he was moving so well. But it's tough getting into the finals so he probalby wouldn't have made it anyway. Next was Icon's Steeplechase run, which was the "same" course in a different ring. The courses were actually totally different, which is why I messed up Apollo's run (haha, I can tell that to myself...). But Icon was really good and we finished that run in 2nd place. I think we hung onto that spot all day (maybe we dropped to 3rd). Yay!

Both dogs were good in team standard but Apollo dropped the first bar. I got lots of compliments on Icon's standard run, but we ended up in 8th place or something like that. Not so good! My story is that I held his contacts, and I'm sticking too it ;)

Polly ended the day with his pGP semi run. He ran clean, but not so fast. It was hot out! I couldn't figure out if we made it to the finals or not, so I figured I would just check when they put up the running order.

I decided then it was time to make the trip to the hardware store to see if I could fix my rv and get some water. I had tons of dishes to wash and needed a shower. BAD. A friend offered to drive me and I took her up on the offer happily. I returned back with some coppper tubing and clamps. On my way back to the rv I passed by the main rain to see the running order and noticed that Polly's name wasn't there. Oh well. I continued to my rv and single handedly FIXED the plumbing in my RV!! I now have water! And can shower!

I was sure this was the highlight of my day, but as I was preparing to have some dinner and go down to watch the finals, I hear them announce on the PA, "Channan and Apollo please come to the main ring" (they also called for Dave and Tahoe, but this is a story about me!). Apparently there was a miscalculation in the original running numbers and Apollo (and Tahoe) were in the finals after all!

Ok, I'm tired of writing. But the moral of this story Polly came 3rd in PNS finals! Woot! Maybe I'll write about the experience later, but I'll probably just post the video. Pictures speak way louder than words (especially mine).

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

USDAA nationals - Day 1

The first day of nationals went well for me, although I was only running Icon. It was european standard (which doesn't count for anything!) and we ran clean, with a pretty nice run. I got a bit lost in the 16-17 270, but we managed to keep it together with just a wide turn. I have no clue how we finished, but I'm thinking top 10 at least, hopefully top 5 :) Lots of dogs had faults on this course.

Here is the course map:


Even without the run it was a good day. I woke up at dawn to let the dogs run before it got too hot and there were too many dogs around. At 8am Apollo had an appointment with Cindy DiFranco for a massage. She said he felt really good, just his rear right inner toe was really sore and his front left ring finger. I am supposed to massage/compress/riticulate it at any opportunity. I also got him an appointment at 11:30 on Friday which I hope we can make. I also offered it to Milou if she needs it. While Polly was being massaged I could smell Debbie making fried rice. I got to eat some (well, ok... a lot) after Polly was finished and it was delicious! After that it was a shower and then down for registration. Registration was like a California reunion. Everyone was there! And then I saw Nancy and Spotty!

Walkthroughs started at noon and finished at one. Then for some odd reason we had an hour before the rings started. It was fun watching everyone run the european course. But it was even more fun running it :)

Tomorrow we have Team Jumpers and Team Snooker. Icon is first dog of the day in Team Jumpers, I'm not really looking forward to it. But hopefully we'll run clean for our team!They also have SC Quarterfinals (thankfully I don't have to run that) and PNS Quarterfinals (again, don't have to run, thanfully!).

We went to dinner with a bunch of people and on the way back we drove to "T" lot, which is where Debbie and I would be staying if we hadn't won the lottery. OMG, it's SO FAR AWAY! We clocked almost .9 miles from the lot back to the rings. That would have been horrible! And we have heard reports of SCORPIONS over in "T" lot. All I can say is THANK YOU AGILITY GODS for letting us win the lottery!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Hot Hot Hot

We arrived in Scottsdale at around 1pm today. Foster didn't have a good trip, he was restless and whiny the whole 3 hours from Kingman. I still don't know what was bothering him. As soon as I arrived I took him out to pee, but he didn't need to.

The temperature here was about 500 degrees, although the weather channels are trying to make everyone believe it was only in the 90's. It's supposed to be the same all week. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

The location for the special lottery RVs is, in a word, AWESOME. I really can't say enough about it and I'm so spoiled that if nationals is here next year it will hurt to come and not be in this awesome spot. I have taken some photos and will try to post them. We are about 100 yards from the ring. It's awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.

Tomorrow we only have one run, European Standard. This is our chance to warm up and see what kind of courses the guest eurpoean judges usually create. Only Icon is entered for this one, I didn't see a point in entering Apollo. Walkthrus start at noon so it'll be an easy morning. Apollo has a massage scheduled with Cindy DiFranco at 8am tomorrow (or maybe 8:30) so I will have to get up relatively early and warm him up for that. I will also hopefully take Foster dockdiving before the walkthrus start.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Yesterday we wrapped up the trial in Pahrump, NV. It ended up being a good trial for Icon, he got another double Q yesterday on some tricky courses so he ended up 7/8 for that trial (two runs were FAST so I'm couting them, but they don't REALLY count). I really liked Icon's JWW run, we got some nice turns in that one. There was one turn that we could have tightened up a bit, but he had nice acceleration out of the turn so I don't think we lost too much time. The only really tricky part on the standard course was a sharp turn to the dogwalk that I was worried Icon might fall off. I really tried to shape it with a rear cross, but he still scrambled a bit. We won every class, but we were the only 26" dog ;).

Polly was really good yesterday too, we didn't get JWW because he didn't hold his start line and ran past the first jump, but he did the rest of it beautifully. We got Standard, but he was pretty slow at the start. I think Scott Chamberlain worried him a bit. Speaking of which, on yesterday's Std run, Scott really freaked out Icon. You can totally see it on the video when he's on the dogwalk. Apollo also won every class he Q'd in! And there were at least 5 dogs he was competing against ;)

Shadow had two nice runs but dropped a bar in each of them.

After the trial, we headed out of Pahrump to Kingman, NV. The trip was uneventful aside from when we went through the hoover dam. First we crawled along the highway for about 30 minutes and 2 miles before we had to go through the security checkpoint where Nalu barked at the security guys and scared the crap out of them. So we both had to get all of our dogs out of our rvs and let them search them. I don't know if it's normal for them to search every rv or if we just got lucky! But I got the dogs out and while one guy did a quick search, the other guy played with Apollo. Apollo thought that was pretty cool. I think Debbie's RV got a bit more thorough of a search because they actually asked to look in one of her compartments.

After security I thought we would start moving better, but we actually moved even slower after that. We inched along until we were just before the dam when sirens started sounding behind us and 3 police cars passed us. We continued over the dam before traffic came to a complete stop. Up ahead we could see that the police had halted all traffic in both directions. We sat around for about 15 minutes (I took some photos and played with the dogs) before we started moving again. At the top of the hill after the dam, the police had a minivan pulled over and were talking to a guy. We're not sure what happened there and probably will never know.

We continued on to Kingman after that and arrived around 5:30 pm. It's a pretty nice spot, not much grass though. The RVs are on pea gravel and the dog runs are dirt, but I guess beggers can't be choosers, especially in the middle of the desert! It's nice to have full hookups and not have to run the generator to get electricity. They even have cable here! But of course I don't have a cable cord to hook up. Oh well! They also have wifi, but the signal isn't great. I can't even seem to check my email this morning.

Today we're going to hang out at the rv park. I plan on doing some laundry, cleaning the rv a bit and taking the dogs for a walk. I also need to give Icon a bath (I gave Foster and Polly a bath in Pahrump) and do their nails. This rv park advertises amazing showers, so I'm also going to check those out!

Tomorrow we head on to Scottsdale!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Flies, agility and more flies

Debbie and I arrived in Pahrump at about 5:30 on Thursday. We caravaned most of the way from the bay area. We got a nice spot for the RVs right by the ring. It wasn't hard though, there are hardly any people at this trial!

The ground here is really awful, especially in the JWW ring. Apollo dropped THREE bars in his JWW run on Friday. Now, I know he's a bar knocker, but THREE bars? Come on! Luckily Shadow and Icon both Q'd though. It was a really nice course. The Standard course was really nice too. Apollo Q'd in it (yay, no bars!), Shadow dropped one bar and Icon was NAUGHTY. We got about 6 obstacles in when he decided to ignore me and go to the weaves instead of doing a 180 and heading to the dogwalk. I just downed him and carried him off.

Luckily Icon redeemed himself on the FAST run, although we only got 77 points. 79 actual points and we lost 2 for being over time. He was a good boy on that run though.

The trial was over at about 1pm so Debbie and I took a walk to get some ice from a corner store so we could have margaritas. Our freezers were so packed that we couldn't bring any ice. So after that I don't remember much aside from some tasty margaritas and korean bbq and I got to play with Icon's 10 week old niece. She's really cute, her name is GiGi.

This morning my rv was totally filled with flies. I left the door to the rv open for a few minutes last night, no more than 20, and THOUSANDS had gotten in. It was so disgusting. Thankfully, during the course of the day I was able to herd them out of the RV, through the door and the sunroof. But the flies outside were awful too. I went to home depot (just across the street) with Diana to get some fly killer type things and there were a lot of people there for the same reason. Apparently 'fly season' is synonomous with 'fall' in pahrump. For some reason the flies seem the worst around our RVs though. I don't know what it is! But we are here for only one more day so it should be over soon. I hope I don't take any fly hitchikers with me on the next leg of the trip though.

As far as agility goes, today was a good day for everyone. Icon got a QQ and 80 points in FAST, Apollo got JWW, but dropped the panel in Std :(. And Shadow got a QQ!

We were going to go to the Pahrump winery with Moe and Diana, but Debbie was worried about Shadow because she looked like she might have been limping a bit and I was worried about Icon because he was acting 'weird' and when I laid down with him for a bit he was shivering a lot. So we decided to just hang out at the RVs and had steak for dinner. I let the dogs stay in the RV to rest. I think they all were just really really REALLY tired. They slept for 2 hours while we had dinner and then I fed them and took them out to potty after and Icon seemed much better. They're all sleeping now and I suspect they'll sleep through the night!

Tomorrow is our last day of the AKC trial and we'll see what it brings. Then we head to an RV park which is about half way to Scottsdale. We'll stay there for 2 nights and head to Scottsdale on Tuesday. I'm just hoping that there aren't any flies there!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

So much to do!

I have so much to do before leaving for Pahrump on Thursday morning! Most of today is going to be taken up by the raw meat co-op I'm in. I have to drive to Martinez (or somewhere in that area) to organize and pick up meat. Then I have to package and store my meat when I get it home. Of course I have to clean out my freezer first because I decided that this was the perfect time to defrost and clean it. And then tonight I have Icon's agility class. I would also like to go shopping today. I have to go to OSH, Safeway, Target, Pet Club, Costco and Camping World. I don't think I have time! Hopefully I'll be able to dedicate wednesday to packing up the RV (and I would really like to give it a good cleaning before this trip too) but I also have a private scheudled for Icon as well.

I also need to mow my lawns and tidy the house for the cleaning lady to come next week. I have about 5 loads of laundry to do and I haven't even started packing my rv, although yesterday I did unpack a lot of it it so I could remove the things I don't need to take. Oh, and I put my folding bike in. I was able to fit it in the storage area under my bed. But that reminds me, I need to get a lock for my bike to use in Scottsdale. I don't need this bike stolen too!

I am starting to look forward to the trip though! We just finished a four day trial that was really fun. The courses were really nice from both judges, Mark Upshaw and Dan Butcher. Icon went 5/8 for two qq's (two bars and one stupid me move)and Apollo went 4/8 for one qq (bar, bar, bar, *#&$*ing bar). I think for MACH2 Icon is now at 4 and Polly is at 11, but I'm pretty sure Icon will beat Polly to it. My main goal for Polly is to keep him in the #1 boxer spot through the end of the year. I would really like him to end up #1, but we'll see... We haven't been so consistent lately! He got a good number of points this weekend though! The judges wheeled nicely. Apollo got 19 points on one standard run and 17 on another!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ooooh

USDAA has changed their long jump specifications "to create a more dynamic jump by conforming the long jump to specifications used historically in the sport and in current use overseas."

Now it matches the international style broad-jump more, which is cool. I never really liked the USDAA broadjump because it is so low.

They seem easy to make! I think I might try to make one on my sabbatical. :)

http://www.usdaa.com/binary/files/Equipment%20Rules%20Amendments%202008.pdf
http://www.usdaa.com/binary/files/Equipment%20Rules%20Amendments%202008.pdf

Shuttle failure

The problem with exercising your dogs on a regular basis, is that they start to INSIST on that exercize.

I was taking the shuttle to work for about 2 months and during that time my dogs didn't get their normal amount of exercise. When taking the shuttle, I leave at 6:40 so didn't have time to take them to the park before going to work. I come home at 5:30-ish and am too freaking tired to take them anywhere so they just got to play/train in the back yard.

I felt guilty all the time so I left the back door open. I could tell they were running in and out of the house because the carpet got dirty (well dirtier - time to get it cleaned again) and my yard started to become a disaster area. And most importantly, my dogs just didn't seem as happy. Yeah, it's probably my imagination I couldn't help it.

So I no longer take the shuttle. Maybe I'll take it once in a while, but not on a regular basis. I can take my dogs to the park in the morning again and by golly, they are way happier! And Polly looks like he's in better shape, which probably means all of my dogs are - I just can't see it on them because of the fur. Or maybe I'm just way happier (I'm not in better shape though). Either way I'm not saving $400/month like I was taking the shuttle but being happy is way more important than saving a few bucks!

I've been back taking them to the park in the morning for about a week and a half and they are back INSITING on it. Speaking of which, I have a boxer on my lap right now, so I had better take them out.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Look at Polly do a rear cross!

This is Kay and Polly from the AKC trial at the beginning of September when I was in texas. I don't usually do rear crosses with Polly, but he read it well and even kept the bar up! Although, Kay, next time try running Apollo with your eyes OPEN ;)

pixf.com/ Photo Gallery - dm_104197

(yeah, I stole the photo-I'm too cheap to buy a photo of my dog being run by someone else!)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Boot Camp Status

Polly's boot camp is progressing, although tonight is the first night I've continued since the last post. I had great intentions to take the contact board to the trial last weekend and continue with our little sessions. I DID take the contact board to the trial, however while I took it out of the rv (again, with the good intentions) I never did end up using it. AND, to make matters worse, I forgot it there!!

Luckily our friendly neighborhood Terry LeClair picked it up for me and will bring it to the trial next weekend. Thanks Terry!

But that did present a snag. Forget that we're in the same Tuesday class and I could have requested that he bring it. And never mind that he stores his RV not 10 minutes away from me, so it probably isn't out the question that I could go get it. I had no contact board to continue my contact training for this week!

Well, I'm not an number 5 - with a strong 8 wing - for nothing (see http://www.9types.com/ - my VP is HUGE into enneagrams at work). Using my amazing powers of analytical thinking I was able to deduce that I can use my dogwalk DOWNRAMP as a contact trainer! (for the number 4's out there, I could have used the upramp as well)

So tonight we continued. And it went well. No video, sorry! The jouney of the contact trainer was more interesting than the destination.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Polly's contact boot camp

On Polly's first time back doing contacts I just started on the dogwalk to see where he was. He trotted nicely over and stopped but he sure took his sweet time. A trip over the dogwalk with the target didn't improve things. Well, it's been a long while since he's seen a target, so that's understandable.

So we spent a few minutes on just targetting. Polly is actually really smart (he just plays the dumb blond sometimes) and remembered very quickly what the point of the target is.

Next I got out the contact board and started him driving to the contact on that. We started with his feet just one step from the contact and quickly moved back further and further as he remembered his job. He didn't drive well at first, probably becuase he didn't have the momentum going. But as I moved further back he improved. I had forgotton how much I need to rev him up for it though, which is dumb of me because I always rev him up before a run at an agility trial.

I was happy with day two of remedial conatcts. I thought he looked great! We only did 4 repetitions becuase Polly hates to repeat things over and over. I do bait the target with treats randomly, which is generally a big 'no-no', but it works very well for me. I will probably work with the contact board a few more days and then move to the downramp on the dogwalk. Although I need the table for that and I loaned it to someone. I guess I have to ask for it back and just use the contact board until then!


Polly's remedial contatcs from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Icon hates to be out-agilitied by a boxer so he had to have his turn too. I really like how Icon's front feet stay in correct alignment off of the dogwalk, even when I'm behind him; he doesn't curl in to me (much). His first time is the best. The 2 and 3rd time he curls in a bit. This is the result of his initial training where we spent lots and lots and lots (ugh, and LOTS) of time on the contact board in that position. It's nice to see that that training stuck, for the most part!


Icon remedial contacts from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Remedial boxer contacts

I took Apollo out of agility class about two months ago. There were a couple of reasons for it, mainly that he just didn't seem to be enjoying it anymore and overall we weren't getting anything out of it. We'd pretty much run every sequence a-ok in class and then go sit down and wait for our next turn to run a sequence a-ok. So now he comes with me to Icon's class each week and I'll do some stuff with him after class or during other people's runs if there is room on the field. And this way he still gets to see his fans.

Now, I don't know if his newfound lack of interest is because he's just getting older (he's 6, which is old for a boxer!). At home he's quite content to do nothing but curl up on the couch in whatever room I'm in. When we're all out in the backyard Foster and Icon still pester me incessantly to play with them, but Polly is generally happy to go lay down in the sun and watch me do whatever yardwork I'm doing. And then when I'm not paying attention, he'll go and eat the cat food. But that is another story.

I'm also not sure if the newfound lack of interest is even that. Is it possible that now I'm comparing his enthusiasm to Icon's and it just SEEMS like he's less enthusiastic? Quite probable, I think! The same thing happened when I started doing agility with both Foster and Apollo. Of course Foster REALLY didn't like agility. But I can't blame him. Throwing 75lbs over 24" jumps doesn't sound like fun to me either.

But anyway, Apollo is in the twilight of his agility carreer and invitationals is our last ditch effort to be an agility star! So I've decided to get back to some serious training with Polly! Our strengths are that he rarely goes off-course or misses weave entries (which is fairly new, as of December last year I was trying to sell him for $10 because he couldn't make a weave entry to save his life). Our weaknesses are bars (We'd be at MACH gazillion if it wasn't for one bar on SOOOOO many runs) and, it's becomine more obvious recently, speed on contacts. I need to think if I want to try do to something about the bars, but I expect my decision will be no. However, contact speed I can do something about! So look out, Polly. You're about to go through remedial contact boot-camp!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Travels in a world of zombie cats and mutant dogs

On our walk this morning we came to the intersection of Weird and Scary. On a quiet, shady, tree-lined street there is a rundown, decrepit house with a carpet of brown grass in the yard and bent curtain rods in the window that we pass on most of our morning walks. Usually a dog screams at us from the back yard as we pass and a suspicious old lady pulls back a curtain to peer at us, presumably to ensure my dogs don't pee on her already dead lawn.

This morning as we approached the house a black cat was standing in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking our path. He was skin and bones, his fur was missing in places and his eyes were glazed. He just stood there as we approached, staring at us. Apollo and Icon were fooled, they thought he was just a normal cat! They didn't feel the evil emanating from him that Foster and I felt. After a significant amount of pulling and butt smacking, Foster and I finally convinced Apollo and Icon that chasing this cat was NOT a good idea. We started to back up slowly. I didn't think the cat would be able to walk, let alone chase us in his dazed and ragged state, but zombie cats might have special teleportation powers so I didn't want to take my eyes off of him. After backing away for only a few steps a black streak rushed towards us followed by high pitched barking. The streak stopped for just long enough for me to see it was a long legged chihuahua with teeth as big and white as a shark. While zombie cats just MIGHT have teleportation powers it quickly became clear to me that mutant chihuahuas DO. He rushed us from the front, the side and from behind in quick succession, coming close to us, but always out of reach. We scrambled back up the driveway of the house, towards the fence. Suddenly a bass bark accompanied the soprano of the chihuahua and the head of a big, hairy beast - that was obviously part lion - crashed between two boards of the fence. His teeth snapped shut inches from Icon's tail. Once again, we backed away, this time not slowly! Behind us the chihuahua lunged and yipped just out of reach, but trying to keep us in range of the lion's jaws. When we reached the sidewalk again the lion-dog pushed himself between the two fence boards and leaped towards us. Luckily his attack was abruptly halted by a chain around his neck. He rebounded back and hit the fence. Not daunted in the least, he started rushing and leaping at us again. Totally forgetting about the zombie cat in our way, we ran down the sidewalk. The cat wasn't there. My theory about zombie cat teleportation powers proved true as he was now staring at us from the middle of the street, waiting for the next car to come by so he can run them off the road and drink their blood.

Hearts beating rapidly, we quickly turned the corner to leave the intersection of Weird and Scary behind us. We passed a house where a couple was on the front lawn with their cute little 12 week old yellow lab puppy. The puppy ran up to Apollo and gave him a kiss. Everything was suddenly right in my world.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I am also a crappy driver

I received a letter from the DMV telling me that my driving sucks and if I don't change my driving habits I'll be in trouble! This is all due to a "following to close" infraction on the Richmond/San Rafael bridge coming back from an agility trial in January and a "speeding" infraction on the Dumbarton bridge coming back from an agility trial in July. Hmm, agility and bridges seem to be the common link here... Well, and my driving.

Apparently I should have gone to traffic school instead of just paying the fines. But this all just leads back to my 'laziness' issue because there's no way I'm going to waste my time going to traffic school!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

I'm a lazy handler

I've been told this twice now by Sandy. It must be true. Most of our mistakes are not caused by an untrained dog or handling errors, they're caused by complete and utter laziness. Case in point, Bay Team GP Rd 2. Could you have not just taken ONE more step towards the tunnel, you lazy thing? Apparently not!

But now that I think about it, I'm really a lazy person in general (although I prefer the term "efficient"). I was never very good at taking tests, especially ones with essay questions. It's not that I didn't know the stuff, it was that I KNOW it, and it's such a waste of time to write it down. I'm all about the multiple choice! Too bad they don't have that in agility.

Monday, September 8, 2008

There are a lot of bugs in Texas

and I think they were out to get me. When I got to DFW and stepped out of the airport the first thing I saw was this huge cricket jumping straight at me. Ack! When I got to the hotel and was waiting for the front desk people to get out of bed and check us in, there was a huge beetle that started lumbering towards me from the bushes. I started to back away until I saw an earthworm just behind me inching along the cement. He was crawling away from me, towards the stairs. I have to admit that I was curious to see what would happen when he reached them. Would he fall down a level or do Texas earthworms have special stair-climbing powers? Before I could see, he abruptly changed course and started inching towards me! Now I was caught between a huge beetle and a bizarrely talented earthworm. Luckily, at that point the hotel receptionist opened the door and I was able to escape.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

USDAA Bay Team Regionals

What a weekend! Firstly I have to say I love my RV. I can't believe I ever lived without it. It's so nice to have a place to go to and relax at a trial. Although, come to think of it, I never did that. But it's nice to have the OPTION to go there and relax. What's even nicer is to not have to worry about getting up and driving first thing in the morning on a trial day. I can wake up and leisurely get ready for the trial (and somehow I still manage to run late!). But it's definitely more relaxing. RV, I love you!

Overall the trial was very good to us, although I choked on the big kahuna, GP Round 2. It was an easy course that we could have aced. I'm not sure we could have beaten Rob and Cap for the win (although it's possible...) but we definitely could have run that one clean. But NOOOOOoooOOOoo. I had to go and not support a tunnel entrance enough so Icon didn't take it. Before I knew it, he flew over a jump for an E. Doh! Maybe we are destined to start in the quarter finals this year at nationals. We do have one more chance this weekend in Texas, though. Other than that one boo-boo, Icon was awesome (ok, Icon was awesome all weekend, the boo-boo was mine). We qualified in everything else, with our only mistakes being a missed weave entry in SC rd 1 (but luckily we still made it to rd 2!), and a dropped bar in Snooker, which cost us 6 points and probably 1st place, but we still q'd. It wasn't a pretty run at all and I'm sure I caused him to drop the bar. We also had a bit of a weave issue in the opening of gamblers on sunday, but we did get the gamble for a q. I think I need to practice weave entries more. The problem is that his issues arise when he's approaching them full speed and it's not easy to get that in my back yard.

Icon had many brilliant moments on the weekend. On Saturday we won Team Jumpers, Standard and Gamblers and came 2nd in Team Snooker by one point. Pretty freaking awesome to do so well at a regional with 48 dogs in our jump height! Our other notables were an apparently spectacular Jumpers run on Monday where I had people approaching me all day saying how amazing the run was. It was very very embarrassing to say the least, but nice to hear :) And to wrap up the weekend Icon won 26" Steeplechase! That was a nice feeling after totally screwing up his GP Rd 2 run.

Apollo was such a good boy all weekend. He didn't have a voucher for GP Rd 2 so we had to get there the hard way, and he did it in style, but the judge called his up contact on the dogwalk so he got there with 5 faults. What a stupid rule. His approach was totally safe for it, but just because he naturally strided over the contact he gets called. That's ok this year, but next year they are not allowing faults in GP so that would have been considered a non-qualifying run (btw, Icon also got called on his up contact, and thereby lost his 2nd place in GP Rd 1. Apollo clearly missed it, but I think Icon's was a bad call - boo!). In his Std run on Sunday, Apollo fell off the dogwalk :( While massaging him later I noticed that he had a scrape on his arm from it. Poor guy. He didn't run as well the rest of the weekend, although he did run clean (according to me) in GP Rd 2 (the judge though his missed his dogwalk up contact) and got a bye into the semi's at nationals (Yay Polly!!) and came 2nd in PSJ Rd 2 (and won $48!!) He definitely wasn't moving with his Polly Pep after the dogwalk fall, though :(

Foster also had a fun weekend with a bunch of dock diving! A friend took him on Saturday because I was too busy with the trial, he didn't get to do any on Sunday, which was my fault because I had him up at the agility site instead of down by the RV where Chia could grab him and take him in the pool. But on Monday he got to go back again and he was doing some great jumps for a 75lb dog! He made 15 feet! I'm thinking about entering him in another competition because I think he could do well :) Due to the trial, I didn't let Icon do any dock diving until end of the day Sunday and end of the day Monday, but he loves it so much. He also had some really nice jumps going over 16 feet. He has great speed on the dock and if he would get a bit more height he could be a contender! But it's not something I'm going to train for ;)

So I had such a great time at the Bay Team regional. On Saturday night we had an ADCH bbq for Debbie and Shadow, where we had WAY too much food (but it was yummy) and it was freeing cold. On Sunday I had fun hanging out with Debbie and bbqing even MORE way too much food white it was still freezing out. This was the first time we both had our RVs at a show and it was fun!

Ok, here are some videos from the weekend:

Icon Team Standard

Bay Team Saturday Icon Team Standard from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Icon GP Round 2 :(

Bay Team Sunday Icon GP Rd 2 from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Icon Masters Jumpers

Bay Team Monday Icon Jumpers from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Icon SC Rd 2

Bay Team Monday Icon SC Rd 2 from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Polly GP Rd 1

Bay Team Saturday Polly GP Round 1 from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Weather for the upcoming regionals

Why do I keep hearing people complain about a heat wave for the SW regionals this weekend??? I've been checking accuweather on a daily basis for over a week now and the projected temperature for Salinas hasn't gone above 74 for the weekend! Indeed, it has been DECREASING the last few days! Maybe they think it's in celsius? I think 74 celsius would be considered a heat wave...Maybe Prunedale, a mere mile away from the Salinas weather station, will have 30 degree higher temperatures than Salinas iteself?

Safari

Alternately, the weather for the Texas regional the next week is...well actually... not bad! Especially considering it's in a climate controlled arena. This will be a first for me. I never even knew such places existed!

I could do without the rain.

AccuWeather.com - Fort Worth, TX - 15 Day Weather Forecast - Local Weather Forecasts

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The secret to getting a confirmation for AKC Invitationals entries

You just need to pay with a credit card and leave your expiration date blank.  Then they have to call you to find out what it is!  Brilliant!  

I wish I could say I forgot to add my expiration date JUST so they would call me, but that would be a lie.  I just forgot to add it.  But at least now that Polly's entry has been received!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The big box

For the last while I've been either working or sleeping so the dogs have been pretty neglected and I haven't had anything to blog about.    But last night I decided to watch some of the olympics and let the dogs play with a big box that I have yet to throw out (when I work a lot, the house gets neglected too).  Icon liked it.  Foster and Apollo weren't quite as interested.  




I did manage to get to the AKC trial last Saturday, but didn't do so well. Icon dropped two bars in JWW, but got Std. Polly got JWW (with a pretty ugly run) and I messed up his weave entry in Std. No bars down for Polly though!

Here is Icon's Std course, which was pretty nice.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Death to the wicked

I just killed 2 big bugs having sex on my wall. I think they were 'mosquito eaters'. I guess if you're going to be killed, you might as well go out having sex.

I broke my broom while murdering them, damnit.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Oh yeah

and I got a new toy! Isn't it twisted? Well, it does straighten out on request.

I got this thing for a couple of reasons. I was riding my old bike to the shuttle for work and it was stolen, so I needed a new bike anyway. I figured a folding bike will mean that it will never get stolen (I'm sure I'll forget it on the bus sometime though - most likely the first time I take it). Having a bike at work with me means that I will also be able to tootle around SSF and maybe take it to the company gym down the street (haha, like I would even do that - I barely leave my office to pee once I get in there). It's also small enough to fit in the rv nicely so I don't have to worry about a bike carrier. This way if I'm camped somewhere with a store nearby I can ride it over to get my staples (like steak and wine). It'll also be very handy at large trials such as USDAA natioanls, although I have to see if the dogs are willing to cooperate with that one...

The maiden voyage

We had our maiden voyage with Viewbert on the weekend, and it was everything I could have dreamed! *sigh*. Well, seriously, it was lots of fun. I left home at about 4:45 on Saturday morning and arrived at the trial site around 6. I thought I made good time even though I didn't go over 63 mph. I forgot to put my fasttrack in the rv and when I got the the Richmond bridge I realized that my wallet was at the back of the rv. So while sitting at the tollbooth I had to stick it in park and run back to get it.

The dogs were very good up until that point. Apollo laid by me (although he was more than a bit freaked out, panting and shaking) and Foster and Icon were in the back somewhere. But after the tollbooth, EVERYONE decided they wanted to be up front, and the gear shift got knocked into 3rd gear a few times before I relegated Foster and Icon back to the bowels of the RV.

When I arrived all of the spots along the main RV drag were taken. Ron suggested a spot for me, but it woudl be blocking in some other people and I didn't want to annoy people my first time out! So I ended up behind the vendor area, which ended up being a really good spot to display my new rig :). And Icon and Apollo got a good view of the rings from the bedroom window.

So I got to set up my yard (Apollo escaped 3x before I managed to make it Polly-Proof) and it ended up being pretty perfect. The bed was surprisingly comfortable and I slept for almost 12 hours saturday night! Woot!

The trial was a bit of a bust. 2 q's for Icon and 1 for Polly. Both of Icon's runs were totally my fault and Polly's was really just bad luck. He got called on his dogwalk up contact and I really think it was a bad call. Of course I misjudged where I was for a front cross and caused to miss a tunnel entrance for a refusal anyway, so it's not like it matters. But it's the principle!

Here is his run. I think it looks like he got it with his rear feet.
Man, I had some sucky handling last weekend! Hopefully that was just a temporary thing...


081008 AKC Polly Sat Std from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Monday, August 4, 2008

When the going gets tough...

The tough go shopping!  

Thanks to the takeover offer from Roche and stock going up, I exercised some options and had a bit of extra cash laying around.  Why bother re-investing the money in something smart when I can buy a new toy?  So last weekend I brought home my new View.    I had a great name for him, but forgot it.  At the time I thought of it I KNEW I should have written it down, but I didn't!  So now for a name, I'm kind of thinking about Viewbert (like Hubert).  I joined a View/Navion yahoo group to learn the secrets of these rigs and someone there named theirs Beluga, which I thought was cute and pretty fitting.

So it's pretty cool, I really love it so far.  I plan on keeping it in my driveway where it JUST barely fits.  I'm hoping that the neighbors won't complain about it, because it's rather big!  People down the street keep their RV in their driveway, but it doesn't...uh...stand out as much.  I'm also a little worried about it getting damaged because the neighborhood kids will often play football in the street, and I can tell you that none of THEM are making it to the NFL with their throwing and catching skills.

Our first trip will be this weekend to an AKC trial in Petaluma.  I'm really iffy about rving at that one because we'll probably be done by around 10 or 11am on Saturday, which gives me plenty of time to drive home and do productive things.  It's about a 1.5 hr trip.  But I figure I bought it, I might as well use it!  Next weekend I'm signed up for a trial in Dixon with RV parking but it looks like I will have to work that weekend so I'm not even sure I'll get to go to the trial!  I'm looking forward to the next two weekends in Prunedale for USDAA shows.  Even though it's only an hour to Prunedale it makes WAY more sense to stay overnight for those ones since the trials run later.  There are no hookups in Prunedale so I will be boondocking, which should be a fun experience!

I'm also looking forward to USDAA nationals.  I plan on going to the 3 day AKC trail in Pahrum, NV again and then heading over to Scottsdale after that.  Hmm, I guess I should look at where to stay between NV and AZ for a few nights.




Tuesday, July 29, 2008

My awesome new clicker trick

is not going well. I want to get Icon to blink on command or close his eyes on command, however he is definitely not getting it. I tried this previously with Apollo as he was recovering from TPLO surgery. I thought it was a great trick to teach him where he didn't have to move. He didn't get it either, but I figured it was because he wasn't very bright :)

But really, I think it's hard for dogs to link something they do reflexivly to a reward. I've started to blow at him to see if a more consious effort of closing his eyes will make it more obvious. We'll see.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Back to basics

Well it's no secret that I've been floundering for motivation on what to work on with Icon. I went through a phase of not even really wanting to practice agility, although I guess during that time I did set up a few things in my back yard with weaves and the *new* triple but I really wasn't into it so it made for less-than-productive training sessions.

So last night I decided that if I can't decide what to work on, we'll just go back to basics and see what happens from there. After all, you're only as good as your foundation skills and it never hurts to make sure they're still intact. It's so easy to lose them once you start competing!

So I started with going back to the teeter. I decided that my final goal (see? it only took me about 5 minutes from deciding to go back basics to formulating a formal goal) I wanted to have him driving to the end of the teeter when it's facing a wall (or probably hedges in my back yard) . Since I knew we weren't there yet in this session I wanted go back and work the teeter with me in all positions again (send, recall, run with on each side, front cross after, rear cross before, move away lateral, and parallel lateral distance). We were fine so long as I was running with him, but the send/recall and lateral distance (where I didn't pass the end of the teeter) SUCKED. He didn't even go as far as the end.

So, back a step!

I got our target out. It became obvious right away that we had forgotten that a nose touch is supposed to be part of the performance! Not that I'm surprised or really expected it at all because the last time I asked for a nose touch on any equipment was....ooooooh... probably about a year ago.

It didn't take us long to figure it out again, although it seems that he was just humoring me at first. But finally we started getting the drive I remember from all positions. I will continue with this a bit before I start moving it towards the hedges.

I would also like to start a similar process with the weaves and dogwalk. But I haven't yet.

I did spend some time going 'back to basics' with one jump work for tight turns a la Nancy Gyes. But it hasn't been so long since we stopped doing that so he was pretty good.

Monday, July 21, 2008

WTF?

ok, so the shuttle drops me off and I walk over to where my bike was locked up. What's there? Nothing. Nothing but a cut lock. Damn. Well it was an old messed-up bike anyway. It was supposed to have 21 gears but only 2 work. It will probably cost them more to fix it than it's worth. So my bike will likely end up in a ditch somewhere. Cold, tired and abandoned. It's enough to bring tears to your eyes!

So I had to walk home. It's not far, just about 3 miles maybe. And of course I stopped at safeway on my way home for a steak and some wine!

But as I walked in the house I realized that Polly wasn't ready to let me be done for the day. He had somehow found a lovely rose-scented bar of soap, which he had eaten and proceeded to puke up on my carpet. Thanks Polly! I wanted nothing more than to get out the steam cleaner and clean up rose scented puke. You're the best!

What a wonderful day

Life sure doesn't like to stand still, does it? This morning I woke up to another day at work, only to check my blackberry to see that my company is being bought out by Roche. The senior executives at Genentech had no clue the offer was coming, and neither did I! It's basically a done deal, just the price has to be decided. The reason for this is that Roche is already a 56% majority holder in Genentech, and there's not much that we poor people can do about it. On the bright side, stock went waaaaay up today. I even sold some :) And most people feel that it will go waaaaay up still until the takeover is complete. So, maybe I'll make some money out of it. The bad news is that Roche is notorious for consolidating and laying people off. More good news - the are also notorious for having good severance packages and I hate my job right now so I'm not sure I would even mind so much.

The next "fun" thing to happen to me was that the bus that I take to work now got into an accident on the way home. We rear-ended a car, who I think had already been in an accident. The bus was fine, but the car pretty much totaled. The bus is actually now taking us the rest of the way home. Later than normal though :(

But what does this have to do with my dogs or agility? Well nothing really, except the possibility that it might affect my ability to Feed Polly.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Feelings of guilt

At work I am notorious for coming in late. If I'm in by 9:30 my manager celebrates. Most people think that I probably wake up at 9am and hop in the car, but that's just not true! I would get up at 6:30 (ish), have a cup of coffee or five, then take the dogs to the park for their morning run around, come back home and have another cup of coffee, shower then finally head to work. But recently my company started offering a bus shuttle from the park and ride near my house to work. Since I drive my SUV 60 miles a day (both ways) and cross a bridge, I figure I'll be saving over $400 a month taking the shuttle 4 days a week (I can't take it 5 since one day Icon comes with me for class). BUT. The shuttle leaves at 7am, which means I get up at 5:45 and leave to catch it by at least 6:40, which doesn't leave me enough time to take the dogs to the park. The most they get now is a quickie walk around the block, which I only do because otherwise Polly refuses to pee for me. So they are gettin gway less exercise now. And then when I get home from work I always have the best intentions of taking them to the park, but I'm soooo exhausted I just don't have the energy so I end up playing with them in the back yard. Anyway, I really feel guilty about the lack of exercise they're getting. But I did take them to the park last weekend and the grass is so brown and dead I think it would be hard on their feet to run on it, so maybe it's for the best.... yeah. I'll just keep telling myself this :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Polly's official!


my house

When I was checking the value of my home on www.zillow.com (ugh, boy it's fallen in value) I found this lovely photo of my house taken, probably April 2007. I thought it was cute because there are agility jumps in the back yard. I must have just been starting jumping stuff with Icon since they are in a rather simple configuration.

It's interesting to see the changes that have happened to my house since then. A huge hunk of the cement is gone and replace with grass. I did that last July-September... what a pain in the ass that was! The Loquat and 2 apple trees that are barely visible along the back fence beside the outdoor shelter are gone (but I have 3 stumps I don't know what to do with now!) and the biggest change is that there is no more honda civic in my driveway since Jay has moved out! Haha.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Time off and other stuff

So Canby didn't go quite as well as I hoped. No semi-finals bye's in GP for Polly OR Icon! Both E'd! Haha. Oh well. Otherwise I was very happy with them.

Last weekend we were at the 3-day Bay Team USDAA trial. Icon went in needing a snooker, gamblers, pairs for his ADCH and he managed to get them all :) That was really nice. On Saturday during our pairs run 3 or 4 dogs in a row were blown off the dogwalk due to windy conditions and Icon was one of them! Thanks to that, we didn't get the last pairs Q we needed. But LUCKILY we had 2 pairs at that trial and Terry and Heath were our pairs partner. But on Sunday morning when I ran Polly during snooker, I just KNEW that Icon and I were destined to get our ADCH that day on the afternoon pairs run. I knew, because just after taking the first jump of the gamble, Polly pooped in the ring!

"Why would that predict getting an ADCH for Icon," you ask? Well just moments after Icon got his MACH on June 1st, Polly pooped in the ring! (more like explosive diarrhea). So now we know that Polly pooping in the ring is a predictor of great things for Icon and I.

So now that the bay team 3-day weekend is over I have quite a long break from agility. I don't have anything else in July and probably nothing the first 2 weeks of August (I suspect I'll be working those weekends). I am not entirely sure what I will do with myself, but I think I need to come up with a training plan for the dogs so I do, in fact, do something and don't just sit on my rump the entire time.

Some initial thoughts on training during my time off from trailing:
1. Work on speed over contacts.
2. Wicked weave entries at speed (not easy to do in my back yard)
3. One jump work with the triple (now that I have a triple!)

I'm rather looking forward to my time off at this point, but I suspect after the first weekend or two I will start chomping at the bit to get to a trial. But realistically, I'm a bit burnt out from agility. Icon got his MACH and ADCH and I'm floundering a bit for motivation right now without a specific goal.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The end of an long, painful era (or why invitationals sucks)

Last weekend was the end of the AKC invitational qualification period for me and Apollo. The 'official' end is June 30th, so there is technically one weekend left, but I opted to go to the Canby regional instead of another weekend of AKC. The only reason I took that option is because Apollo is pretty solidly in 1st place for invitationals (and they take 5). Last year I also opted to go to the Canby regional instead of an AKC trial and Apollo ended up #6 on the invitatioanl list. #6 by TWELVE POINTS. That's one run! ONE RUN and we would have been there! It was a sad and painful experience that took me a long time to get over. Well this year I was sure that I didn't want to end up in the same position so I really pushed Apollo. We had some awesome trials, which is the reason we made it to #1, but we also had some really unlucky/crappy trials. For example, at the December Rancho trial he was hurt and I had to pull him. At the new years trial he got pneumonia and I had to pull him. At the Del Monte trial we had an 0/4 weekend with explosive diarrhea in the ring for one run (oops!) and then last weekend, at our last trial to get invitationals points, which I entered JUST for Apollo since I don't really like the site (although they have really improved it since I last trialed there) and with temperatures in the 100's, he got hurt again and only got to do his first run (where he totally crashed through a bar). I had Wendy adjust him after the run and do accupuncture and apparently he was 'pretty messed up'. Poor guy! I've been resting and massaging him this week for Canby regionals, but if he doesn't seem ok I just won't run him. It's not like we're going to be winning the pGP anyway! On the bright side, I didn't bother entering him in team so at least he has fewer runs.

But there were some highlights during our AKC invitational qualification as well, like the Pahrump trial we went to last November, which catapulted us from solidly within the pack of 5 boxers to the top. Then in January we travelled to Portland for the Rose City Cluster and Polly had perfect weekend going 8/8! In January at a trial down in City of Industry, Apollo got QQ #20 for his MACH (the next run after getting QQ #19! I'm so lucky that it happened that way since we can often go months and MONTHS without a qq!). And then our final happy time was at the Terv trial in Palo Alto where he had another perfect trial going 4/4 under Lisa Miller and Dan Selthofer. Boy do I ever love their courses!

I don't think I'll ever 'campaign' Apollo for invitationals again, although it's so easy to get bit by that bug when you see yourself in the top 5 list. After Invitationals in december this year, I think I will start ramping down his agility, but we'll see what happens.

To summarize, invitatioanls suck.

So tomorrow morning I'm off to Canby for the NW Regionals. I'm very nervous about it and was dreading it for the last week or so but I'm finally starting to look forward to it. The competition will be fierce, but Icon and I will just do our best and hopefully will get a bye to the semi-finals for both GP and SC.