Friday, January 29, 2010

"But he can do it at home!"

Ah, the famous words that every agility instructor rolls their eyes at.  I never thought I would be the one to cause the involuntary eye rolling to occur.  Not because my dogs never make mistakes but because of COURSE I'm smart enough to not make excuses for my lack of training.  Yet last night when Rampage wouldn't weave I found myself saying to anyone that would make eye contact with me, "But he can do it at home!"

Last night we dropped in to our first ever 'big dog' class with dogs that actually know agility and stuff.  Aside from the weaving, he actually did really well.  And really, it was a place he'd never been before, they were 24" weaves (he's only ever seen 20" weaves), and it was dark out with bright scary lights shining on the weaves.  And I'm SURE there were monsters hiding in them too.  Yep, there I go making excuses again :).

He was really cute though.  He held all of his start line stays, did front crosses, rear crosses, serps, wraps and even a push to the backside of a jump! (yes, on purpose).  He had the tightest turn out of tunnel that Jim had seen on that course (and then he missed the entire straight line of jumps out, but that's a different story.)  In the middle of a course he even managed to pick up a cone and place right in the center of a curved tunnel.  He definitely didn't stop and pick it up with his mouth so to be honest I'm really not sure how he got the cone in there.  But *I* had to crawl into the tunnel to get the cone out.  Rampage just wanted to humiliate me.

Poor Icon didn't understand why he was stuck in the car while the puppy was out playing at HIS agility field.  Amazingly he didn't bark like a maniac the entire time (mostly likely because I knew both he and Rampage would so I parked as far away from the field as possible) but he did HOWL mournfully.  Heartbreaking.

Next week we will hopefully start Rammy's 'young dog' agility class which is full of fun dogs and people.  I can't wait!  But until then, maybe we'll have a few weaving field trips :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poor Rammy

I am an agility person who does best running 2 dogs.  The great thing about running 2 dogs is that you have enough time to focus on both dogs, but if you have a bad weekend with one dog chances are good that you will do well enough with your other dog to make you feel better.  I don't want to run 3 dogs because that's one more dog to focus on and more importantly, $$$$$$$$$$$$$.

When I got Rampage I thought the timing would be perfect and stars would align so that Rampage would be ready to start trialing while Apollo is just telling me he's ready to retire.  I'm starting to think that this isn't going to happen!  Apollo is such an amazing dog and he just keeps on getting better with age!  He was such a good boy on Saturday at the USDAA to qualify in every run with a bunch of placements! (admittedly it was a small show so we didn't have a huge amount of competition)  So when will he be telling me he's ready to retire?  Hopefully no time soon!  I love Polly!

Rampage is still months away from being ready to compete but I know I'll soon have the following dilemma.

Should I:
1.  Wait to compete with Rampage
2.  Retire Apollo early
3.  Retire Icon early (haha, just kidding!)
4.  Spend $$$$$$$$$ and trial with 3 dogs.

I'm sure the answer will be #4, but I'm not looking forward to writing those checks!

On a similar topic Rampage got together with Tricki and Space Monkey to practice agility today.  They're quite a bit more advanced than Rampage (even though Space Monkey is younger than him.  Damn those fast maturing girls!) But we had lots of fun!  Rampage did his first ever real sequencing today!  I was really happy with how he did.  His weaves were good despite the fact that he hasn't seen any for at least 3 weeks (and not very often before then!) And his dogwalks were good, although I think one was not within my criteria (in for AKC but probably not for USDAA).   His a-frames are still a challenge because he loves to SOAR over the top.  His first one he even missed the yellow.  EEK!  Tammy suggested randomly placing a stride regulator on the downside, which I will try for a bit (you can see it on his 3rd a-frame).

Obviously, lots of of work to do but he sure is fun!

012410 - Rammy's first sequences from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


When you live in California experiencing winter is like giving birth*; you suffer a great deal during the week or so that it lasts, but as soon as it's over you see the sun and forget what a horrible experience it was.  Until the next winter brings all the memories tumbling back.

This winter I feel like octomom.  We have a series of storms coming through that has essentially put a stop to all dog training (yet somehow I still have to work!  It just doesn't seem fair.)  I can't even let my dogs out in the back yard to potty because it's so wet and muddy.

During a moment of relative calm I managed to get the dogs out for a practice.  I was pretty happy with Rammy's dogwalks.  We only did 4 because they were going so well I didn't want to risk getting a bad one. 

You can see the what the strong winds did to the poor jumps in the video.

012110 - Rammy running from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Wasn't so happy with our a-frames today.  Rammy, can't you put in ONE more stride?  Sheesh!

012110 - Rampage Running a-frame from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

We also do some trick training in the few weeks of winter we have in California (which is the only time I do it and why I'm not very good at it.)  Rammy and Icon demonstrate holding a piece of PVC pipe.

Hold it! from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

*So I've heard.  I've never actually given birth myself.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rose City Cluster

This weekend coming up is the ever-exciting indoor 4 day trail in Portland!  And I'm not going :(.  I made my decision not to go to this one quite a while ago.  It was mostly due to lack of vacation time and very little desire to drive for 12+ hours in my RV to get there. 

Listening to friends talk about preparations for the trip up to Portland has left me feeling nostalgic about not going.  But with the weather forecast for this week I'm pretty glad I'm not going after all.  I'd like to wish safe travels to everyone driving through the snow to get there.  And good luck to everyone going to the trial!

For me and my boys, we're heading to a one day USDAA trial this Saturday.  It should be fun and I get to keep Sunday to myself!  Hopefully it won't rain much :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

Trip to Santa Rosa (the graphic novel)


My mom took me and my brothers to the Border Terrier AKC trial this weekend.  She said that Icon was perfect as usual and Apollo was also perfect but the judges just didn't understand his unique a-frame performance and dissed him on 2 standard runs.

We had a really nice RV spot right beside a huge field.  To be accurate, it was a field when we arrived, but by the time we left the trial it was more of a swamp.  It was cool either way, though!  I had lots of fun watching Deb and Nalu practice their field work.  I could even watch them from the bed when I was left alone in the RV.  Nalu was so exciting to watch that I tore chunks out of the memory foam mattress and tore holes in the bedsheet.  It's not my fault though!

On Friday after we arrived I was busy doing what I do best, posing for the camera. 

But suddenly I saw another handsome red dog way off in the distance.

"Hey, who's over there??"

Wouldn't you know it?  It was my old bro Riff!  And Keeper and Celeste too.

Riff was really happy to see me, but Keeper had a different opinion.   If asked, I think her exact response would be, "Gag! Now there's TWO of them!"

Riff looked really good, but if you ask me he's a bit of a Momma's Boy.  I mean, he CAME when Celeste called him and made sure she didn't get very far away.  But not me, man, I'm a rebel.  I ignored my mom whenever possible.  I have to keep my cool image.

It's been a while since I've seen Riff and I thought he looked... different somehow.  Once I gave him a proper doggy greeting, I figured out what it was.

"Dood!  Where are your cahones??"

I won't give you nightmares by sharing his answer.  I'm personally scarred for life.

After I got over my shock, Riff and I spent some time collaborating on the best way to annoy Keeper. 

I suggested harassing her, but Riff ensured me that it was not a smart idea.  We finally decided the best way to annoy her was to have fun!  And so we did!

LOTS of fun!  Can you tell where one Red Dog ends and the other begins?

But then the "Fun Police" came and broke up all of our fun.

Still laughing at our close call, Riff and I ran off into the sunset together to plan what kind of trouble we can get into next Saturday at the Bay Team USDAA trial.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And then there were videos

I got my video editing software working!  I had a fun video of Rammy and Icon doing some tricks but as I was trying to edit the video I kept being distracted by my plumber butt.  This is a PG rated blog so there's no way I will be posting that online! 

So instead I guess I'll just post Rampage's running contact videos. 

It looks like most of them are in the yellow, but this dogwalk has AKC contacts so the higher ones are not good for USDAA.  The black tape on the dogwalk is the USDAA length.  I'm trying to reward for lower than the 3rd slat and spread rear legs (eg, not leaping) but I did reward him for a few "leaps" :(.

011310 - Rammy Dogwalk from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

And the A-frame.

011310 - Rammy A-frame from Agility Dogs on Vimeo.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Techno-tragedy strikes in threes

Or maybe it's clumsiness?

First I step on my Kindle and break the display.  Then my computer hard drive dies.  And then last night I drop my iPhone and shatter the display!  So sad!

Tragedy number 3

Monday, January 11, 2010

The sliver lining

Well my computer is back!  But the magic is gone...  My harddrive is now almost 10x the size of my old one (and was ridiculously cheap) but it's missing that special je ne sais quoi it used to have.

Well, to be totally accurate it's more of a je sais quoi since I know EXACTLY what is missing. 
1.  Microsoft Office Suite:  I can't remember where I originally got this but I don't think it came with my computer.  I'm going to have to shell out $100 for the basic suite.  Argh.  But then I guess I'll have the installation disks...
2.  Photoshop:  I remember where I got this and could probably get it again for free, but it is more photo editing power than I need.  I  could never figure out how to use the layers feature...  I might just look up free photo editing software and see if it meets my needs.
3.  Pinnacle Studio:  This is the painful one.  I bought this software when it was Studio8 and have been legitimately buying the upgrade since then.  I'm now on Study14 and have only the upgrade disks and they won't install since they don't see an existing installation of Studio on my system.  I have no clue where my Studio8 disks are and I doubt I could even install them on my computer anymore!  I have a call into support but haven't heard back yet, but if they don't fix my issue soon I'm going to find a new product to use!

So that brings me to the silver lining of my computer dying.  I am totally unable to upload or edit any videos. 

"Why is this good," you ask?

This comes at a very convenient time as Rampage's running dogwalk is totally falling apart.  Thanks to my computer I have a legitimate excuse for not sharing the videos.  I'm not sure where I went wrong with him but he just got higher and higher on his hits as I started adding in obstacles and training turns.  I've gone back to the plank and will add in obstacles and turns there while raising it, but it's less and less likely I'll stick with the running dogwalk.  I'm not giving up QUITE yet.   I'll wait until we start trialing, lose a few Q's because of a missed dogwalk contact and then put a stop on him.  It's really a shame because I was getting excited about handling a running dogwalk!  Oh well :)  We still have the a-frame... 

Saturday, January 9, 2010

06/15/2006 - 01/04/2010 RIP beloved Alienware

My home computer died this week :(.  On Monday I went to Nalle Jansson's (2010 WC judge) website to see if he had any new courses posted and my computer was infected by spyware.  I'm assuming it is from his website because that's the only place I went.  I told my (totally up to date) virus program to run a full scan on my computer and left for work.  When I came home the computer was cycling on and off.  I'm fairly computer savvy and tried to fix it, but no luck.  I suspect massive harddrive failure. 

I know you're thinking, "Channan!  Your computer was nearly 4 years old!  Surely it was out of date?"  But when I bought it, the computer was state of the art, top of the line gaming machine and is still very competitive with computers you can get today.  And we've had a wonderful relationship for the last 4 years.  I'm going to buy a new harddrive today and see if I can get it fixed.  But it will never be the same....

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Happy New Year!

Ok, so my resolutions this year are all work related.  They are:
1.  Get to work at a reasonable time.  I'm aiming for 9:30, but I think I'll have to ease my way in.
2.  Eat lunch (and/or breakfast) every day so I don't come home from work so hungry I can't help but eat a bag of Doritos.
3.  Water the plants in my office more than once ever 3 months.

So far I'm doing great on #3, but I'm 0/2 on the first two.  The year has just begun, though!

Otherwise I had a great vacation from work.  I did lots of stuff and yet absolutely nothing.  If only I could live that way forever!

I'll leave you with a photo of Tricki Woo!