Sunday, December 27, 2009

Place food here

Merry christmas!

Ok, so I don't have pictures of christmas trees or decorations.  I'm not the most 'christmasy' (is that a word?) person around.

But Foster likes to be festive.

And we did have a wreath (of a sorts) repeatedly make its appearance at our house.

Polly wants to know why HE can't have a wreath (I didn't want to tell him that it's because he has a boxer nose).

Rammy says, "Hey Kahve, get your own damn wreath!"

And Kahve's response...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jump work

On Saturday I loaded up the border collies and drove to have a lesson with Susan Salo.  There are two main reasons that I took the extra step to have a lesson with her as opposed to just doing the grids on my own.  One was that I had had feedback on one of Rammy's videos (which I appreciate!) and I couldn't see what she saw.  At that point I wanted to visit Susan because I didn't want to mess Rampage up doing things wrong on my own!  The other reason was because as I worked with Rampage I decided to also run Icon through the exercises since they were set up and he was awful!  He wouldn't even do the straight line equidistant grid. 

So off we went.

Icon's set point was good.  She said Rampage looked good overall but at times he was pulling from his front instead of pushing from his rear.  I asked about his over-jumping and she said he's not over jumping too much.  It's just due to his inexperience and I shouldn't worry about it at this point.  He needs to learn to shift his weight back and wait for the jump to come to him and the set point exercises will help with that.

On the grids (aka ladder work) Rampage was very good, but as I expected Icon is not comfortable at all in the grids.  Susan asked if I had been working on collection a lot with him, which of course I have been.  I worked on nothing BUT collection as we prepared for WC.  Or I guess more specifically I worked on him being aware of my deceleration, which then kind of makes a lightbulb go on when you think about why he didn't want to send away from me down a line of grids or recall to me through line of jumps as I just stood there motionless.  He was better when I was moving, but it also depended on HOW I was moving.  If I just trotted alongside him he was mighty confused.  I don't blame him!

So I think what I learned from my lesson with Susan is that Rampage is cute (but we all knew that) and I need to balance Icon's training with extension as well as collection.    We'll be going back to see Susan again in a few months.

I'm very thankful that Susan's friend offered to video tape for me!!  

Rammy Set Point from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Icon Grids from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Rammy Grids from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Some amusing moments...

Icon bend work from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Poor Icon


Oh, you think that just an unlucky shot for him, eh?  Well think again.  How does he manage to look EXACTLY the same???

Ok, so I did manage to get one of him looking pretty normal.

But I had to use the "kitty" word, which resulted in naughty dogs.  Hey!!  I said STAY!

At least TWO of my dogs were good!  Or, I guess only one of them was.

Good boy, Polly!  Sorry you're out of focus.


As always, Rammy takes good photos.

I shouldn't have told Rampage that I thought he was more photogenic than Icon, because then he decided that he should save the world from Icon photos by jumping in front of the camera.

But really, Icon CAN be photogenic, just not when he's around other dogs.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


I received a massage from the AKC today.  Oh, wait!  It was a MESSAGE, they just spelled it wrong.  I would have preferred the massage though.   :)

I was lucky at invitationals this year since I had my RV pretty close to the agility tent so I didn't have to use the crating area.  I am very thankful for this because Apollo is a delicate flower and wouldn't have fared well in the crating environment.

But when it comes to real massages I've been a bit concerned the last few times I've massaged Icon because at first he hasn't wanted to extend his right front leg fully, although he extends it well enough by the end of the massage.  I also remember that when Cindy massaged him in Scottsdale she had a hard time extending that leg one time as well.  Hmmm.

I have made progress with giving Rampage a massage.   I used to be able to only do one body part before he became unmanageable, but recently I've been able to give him a pretty close semblance to a full massage!  He's like Gumby, he'll move in any direction.

Apollo always loves his massages.

Foster... well there's only so many hours in a day.  Now I feel bad!  I guess Foster will get a massage tomorrow.  Maybe the AKC will give him one.  :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I went to AKC invitationals...

and all I got was this lousy scarf

 Actually, the scarf was given to Rampage, but PINK does not go with RED very well!  He's still cute in it though, if perhaps in a rather psychotic way :)

Everyone got to try it on.  Foster wants to know why Apollo has to sneak his way in to all of his photos.

Poor Icon didn't have a very good time in Long Beach.  He didn't understand how it was possible that we were at an agility trial in the RV and he didn't get to do agility!  I tried SO HARD to get him in as a demo dog in the finals, but they took the border collie from Japan instead.  How rude!  Ok, so the bc from Japan came a bit further than we did, but Icon was in withdrawal and the Japanese bc had 4 runs over the weekend!  To make it up to him I let Icon sit on the coffee table while he wore the scarf.

But we're all happy to be home.  Apollo spent his first night home destroying a green PollyBall.

What?  Aren't PollyBalls made to be destroyed?

Poor Icon isn't the most photogenic.  Rammy is though!

Well, Rammy USUALLY is...

What happens when you extend your hand in a home with two border collies.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Long Beach bound

I'm leaving tomorrow morning for Long Beach!  I'm so thankful to Kay for being willing to come as my 'assistant'!  It's because of her that I'm able to go, really.  Due to my project rolling out at work I'm going to need help mostly on the drive.  So she will drive while I work.  I've never had my own chauffeur before (and the reason is probably because I'm a really bad passenger)!

My psychic powers tell me that Apollo is going to have 2 faults (dogwalk and a-frame) on the Standard round and 1 fault on the Hybrid round (a-frame), but will otherwise be awesome.  Let's see how accurate my psychic powers are!

It looks like Marcy's physical therapy has been going well and she will be able to run Wave this weekend, for which I am very grateful!  Running someone else's dog at a weekend agility trial is one thing and running someone else's dog at event such as the AKC Invitationals (where she is more than capable of winning the 12" class!) is an entirely different kettle of beans!  But let me tell you a little secret... I just loved running Wave last weekend and we did awesome too!  We got a double Q on Saturday and a triple Q on Sunday.  What an awesome little dog.
Rampage has had a break from his weave pole and jump training the last week or so.  I want to get him on some channel weaves to help his footwork and I forgot that I had loaned mine to a friend.  I probably won't get them back until New Years, so he gets a nice long break :).  He's taking a break from jumping drills because I got a private set up with Susan Salo on the 19th of December.  Fingers are crossed that we don't have to cancel due to weather!

We have continued with the running dogwalk but are doing it less frequently because I moved my DW to the side when I went to 12 poles with Rampage.  I'm now just working on speed with him as Silvia suggested.  I've tried throwing the toy while he's on the dogwalk, but I'm just a genetically poor thrower!  I don't think any amount of practice would be able to help my aim.  So I place the toy and try to get him revved up before going. 

Disclaimer:  All videos should be viewed with the sound off.

121009 - Rammy Running DW from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

I also started the a-frame with him today.  Well, he's seen a few before but I decided just to raise him to full height and be done with it.  It didn't go very well at the lower height!  He was better once it was raised a bit.  He is still a link away from AKC height.  I wish USDAA a-frames were the same height as the sane agility organizations.

121009 - Rammy A-frame from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

What I learned from Marco Mouwen

On Tuesday I took Rampage to a Marco Mouwen seminar.  It was for puppies/foundation, but I think it was a bit too advanced for him.  Or I guess it started out at the right level but then got too advanced.  But I learned a lot in that seminar.  Not about agility, foundation or puppies but about Rampage.  He started out well but he gradually started getting slower and slooower and slooooower as the seminar progressed (it was only 2hrs, so it's not like it was over-long for young dogs).  I kept things upbeat and he seemed happy enough when it wasn't his turn, tugging away and giving good attention.  When we had a break I put Rampage in the car so he could get a little rest and if I were a good trainer, I would have left him there and audited the rest of the seminar.  But noooooo, I had to get him out and watch his increasing slowness progress.  So I'm sure no lasting harm was done except to how I think of myself as a trainer, but I definitely will be more aware of Rammy's 'mood' in the future and I have once again made my mental note, "Rampage is not Icon."

On a side note, Marco is the most efficient seminar giver I have ever seen in my life.   And quite good looking too, but maybe I'm just saying that because he's so tall.

Friday, December 4, 2009


  • Apollo nearly crushed my windpipe this morning with his head.  It now hurts.  A lot.
  • Then he stepped in a huge pile of some strange dog's poo right before jumping in my car.   I was not happy.
  • Foster is the boss of Rampage.  If Foster was training him, Rampage would have his Ph.D. by now.  I think he'd be a Botanist. 
  • Rampage went to a Silvia Trkman running contacts seminar this week.  I was a bit disappointed.  Not necessarily in her, but just in how the seminar went overall.  I don't think it was conducive since the working spots were filled with dogs at different stages of training and it was essentially 8 semi-privates.  I'm sure her handling/tricks seminars would have been much better.  I also found there were (way, way, way) too many auditors.  Our feedback that was Rampage needs to extend more/go faster over the dogwalk and I should throw the toy when he's on the up ramp.  That was the feedback for most dogs.  We'll work on it.
  • Rammy is going to a foundation seminar with Marco Mouwen next week.  Hope it's fun!
  • When I take the dogs to the park in the morning they all run with the same intensity (maybe Icon runs with a touch more) but when I get home Foster, Icon and Rampage drink, lay down and pant for about 20 minutes but Apollo drinks and then sits and stares at me WITHOUT panting while I'm on the computer doing work.  What does this say about Apollo???  I guess he's just in great shape :)
  • I found a little bump on Apollo's leg :(.  It feels like fat, not attached to anything.  I'll have it looked at.
  • Apollo and I are going to AKC invitationals in 1 week (along with the other 3 boys as his supporters).  I also have to work that weekend, gotta love technology!  I may also have to run Wave at invitationals, but I really really really hope Marcy's calf holds up and she can run Wave herself.  Either way it should be an exciting weekend!
  • I had better get a bonus for my project rolling out according to the original schedule I put together 8 or 9 months ago because I'm the only person I know at my company that actually has projects roll out on time.
  • I ran Wave in class last night. We had fun!  She's so tiny!
  • I don't feel like getting up at 5am to go to the trial tomorrow.  I hope I remember to set my alarm.