Friday, October 30, 2009

AKC Trial Day 1!

Today I drove down to Albany, OR for our very first AKC agility trial! I have both of the dogs entered today and tomorrow in Novice A FAST, Jumpers With Weaves (JWW), and Standard. I didn't really know what today would hold since the dogs haven't gotten much exercise for the past week and a half and haven't had an agility class for about two weeks. Not the most ideal situation, but sometimes a little rest can also do great things. However, I would have to say for us today, not so much!

On the up side, both of the dogs qualified on their first runs of the day, which was FAST! I was very pleased with that! FAST is a games course with a distance challenge worked into the mix. In other words, it's not a bad way to start your day off if your worried about your dog(s) potentially having some zoomies. Bess ran first and was fairly exuberant, but did pretty well listening. She did AWESOME on the distance challenge part of the course. Going straight onto the teeter and over the jump. I was really pleased with that portion especially! Heffner's run went more according to my planned route, but he needed a couple of redirects to the teeter to get the distance portion of it. All-in-all, two good runs! And here are both of the dogs tonight with their ribbons. As you can tell, they are VERY impressed with them.;o)

Unfortunately, our runs sort of went down hill from there. Our next run was Novice JWW. Bess' run wasn't great, but that was predominantly because it was full of handler errors. I said "my bad" quite a few times while on that course. I just wasn't really setting her up effectively and wasn't running her that well on that course. On the up side, we did get in one good rear cross and I did get her to correctly do her weaves on the second try!

Heffner's JWW run was not great. He got the way that he sometimes gets during trials; very distracted. I couldn't get him to do his weaves for the life of me. Then after I got him over the jump that followed the weaves after just giving up on them as a lost cause for that run, he decided it was time to go and visit the ring crew! Ug! First he went up the photographer. Once he got up to the photographer, he realized our instructor was there and happily sauntered up to her to give her some kisses since she was so conveniently sitting down at his level. **insert eye roll here** I could not get his attention back to me for the life of. Heffner had effectively checked out, so I just decided to call it there. I said thank you to the judge and we left the course. I was really hoping that his distractedness was a one shot deal, but it wasn't. **insert more eye rolling here**

Next up was our final run of the day in Novice Standard. We had our first tunnels of the day on this course. One thing I definitely have to give AKC props for is their lack of tunnels on courses. I had the option to skip all tunnels on the FAST course and did, and JWW only has jumps and weaves on it.:o) Bess was up first again. She had a few bobbles, but overall it wasn't a bad run. I'm a little blurry on the details now and haven't reviewed the videos (or uploaded them), but I think we ended up bailing on the weaves. I made the mistake of charging ahead of her when she got to the dog walk and she jumped off of it. Something that she almost never does. EXCEPT that they're starting to use this weird texturing on the contact obstacles and she's very much a texture dog. She gets really hesitant when the texture of a surface isn't right or she isn't used to it. When she started to slow down going up, I should have realised this (I even commented to my friend Kennedy that I didn't think it would be a problem for her since she's been on this texture of surface one other time) and hung back with her. If I had done that, I doubt she would have bailed. The rest of her run otherwise went fine. No Q's, but not horrible.

Heffner on the other hand was a whole different story! He was Mister Distracted!! We didn't do our weaves again. He didn't want to hold his sit on the table, something that he is normally EXCELLENT about! And after the table, he went visiting with the ring crew again and found our instructor to give her more kisses.:oP As his penance, I put him through the tunnel that was our next obstacle and we finished the course. He actually finished the course pretty well, to much applause at the end because he was being such a ham (and admittedly I was being overly dramatic, in a good way). He also got a round of applause when he came out of the first tunnel. I think a few people thought he was going to get stuck in there! Again, no Q, but hey, at least he's a cutie!;o)

My goals now are to figure out why in the heck Heffner turns off like that and pretty much only at trials (and only occasionally). And what am I doing to cause him to do this? I'm pretty sure there's something that I'm doing that's making him sort of shut off like that. I'm going to try tweaking a few things tomorrow and see if that helps. Who knows! Tomorrow is another day!!:o)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting Ready...

I was planning on snapping some pictures of the dogs in their new Halloween costumes tonight, but I've ran out of time. So it'll have to wait until tomorrow. I am thankfully starting to feel better and have been busying myself getting ready for our very first AKC agility trial tomorrow and Sat. Heffner has been in desperate need of a bath and finally got one tonight. And I also dremmelled both dogs nails. It's amazing how much those buggers grow in a weeks time, let alone two weeks since I missed doing them last week! I've got the truck all packed up with our gear that we'll need. Unfortunately Heffner managed to kill the front entrance to his crate while I was gone, so I'm down to one soft crate that can actually contain a dog. I'm bringing it with me, but I think I'm just going to keep both dogs in the canopy. It's cold enough that they won't over heat and the canopy is really well insulated. The only thing I'm worried about is changing out dogs. Unless they combine the Novice A and Novice B classes, we've only got one dog in between our runs. Which means that I'm going to have to haul butt out to the truck and switch out dogs. Not what I really want to worry about, but don't have much of a choice.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good, clean runs tomorrow. I don't care if we Q at this point. Neither dog has had agility practice in two weeks since I've been feeling under the weather this week. And since they've had little exercise over the past two weeks, I'm bound to have my hands full. My predictions are that Heffner will start up wound a little tight, but we should get more in sync by our last run of the day. With Bess, I have a feeling that we're going to have some zoomies on our first run. Which I believe is going to be FAST, so it's a good course to have the zoomies on. If I can harness her craziness, it might turn out alright. I've done that before with other CPE games courses and it's actually worked for us! I'm also bringing my set of "weave poles" with me to practice. They're just poles sunk in canisters of cement so that I can position the poles independent of each other if I so choose. It makes them incredibly portable, but easily tipped over by the dogs when they really lean into the poles. However, I just want the dogs to get in the groove of correct entrances and follow throughs.

So we're pretty much ready for tomorrow! It should be interesting!!:o)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pumpkin Patches....

For the past three years in a row I've made it out to the Lakeview Farms pumpkin patch with one of the dogs. It's a super cute patch that obviously allows dogs as long as they're leashed and you pick up after them. There's a cute little train that takes you out to the patch and a paddle boat across their pond (with creatures popping up out of the water!) that takes you back to the barn to pay for your pumpkin(s). I really enjoy it and it really gets me into the Halloween spirit so to speak! Unfortunately this year we won't be making it out there.:( I should have taken advantage and gone at the very beginning of the month because all of my available time otherwise got filled up. But I do have pictures from the previous years to share!:o)

In 2006 we went with my friend Kris and her lab Porter. We had a good time and got lost in their corn maze. It turned out to be a fair bit more complicated than we thought it would be and actually ended up busting out on one of the sides of it because we couldn't find our way out and were done with the corn maze at that point!

In 2007 I went back to the patch by myself with Heffner. Um, yeah, I felt a little weird going to the pumpkin patch by myself with just my dog! I did get one of the funnier questions as to what Heffner was. A little girl asked me if he was a goat while we were waiting in line to pay for our pumpkin! Her dad totally started cracking up and I told her that he was a very big dog.:) This was also the first year that I attempted to get Heffner up on the little train (which is constructed with small children in mind!). And since he's such a mamma's boy and will do pretty much anything I ask of him, he did manage to squeeze himself uncomfortably onto the train and stay there for the short ride.

And last year we introduced Bess into our house and therefore it was her turn to go to the pumpkin patch (while the dogs are pretty well behaved, handling two of them AND a pumpkin AND the rides was really beyond my capabilities!)! Bess was quite the trooper. She wasn't really a fan of the train ride or the paddle boat, but she put up with it and had a good time otherwise.

Next year I'll be more on the ball and will also hopefully be able to convince hubby to take a morning off of work to go out to the pumpkin patch with us! I'd also like to try out a new patch with the dogs. We have some really great pumpkin patches in the area that I have yet to visit.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blogger Tuesday

Since I missed doing Blogger Tuesday last week, I figured I'd catch up a bit and do two blogs this week! In case you haven't noticed my pattern yet, I try to alternate between doing a dane blog and doing a blog from another breed. Keeps things interesting.;) This post is also coming a bit earlier than normal because I stayed home sick today. I'm feeling a fair bit under the weather and not even sure that I'm going to make it out for Heffner's agility class tonight. Which is a huge bummer because we have and AKC trial on Fri. and Sat. and we could use the practice! Oh well, we'll see how I'm feeling as the day progresses.

My pick for last week is Chihuahuas Are Not Sheep! I LOVE this blog! Totally cracks me up! It's about the life and times of three chihuahuas and a border collie. Their mom has a fabulous way of writing that makes every post very enjoyable. This post in particular had me laughing out loud!

My pick for this week is the PR Gang! I knew of these guys from a dane board that I used to frequent. It wasn't until more recently that I found out they have a blog too!:) And as you can imagine, they've got some BEAUTIFUL scenery to show off in their picks. Makes my guys a wee bit jealous!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Videos Galore!

As promised, I have a few videos from throughout the national specialty that I finally got uploaded to YouTube! Most are from the various different days of conformation. But a few are from the parades. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Getting All Caught Up!

Home sweet home! I got into Portland last night right around 10:30pm (missed my connecting flight that would have originally put into Portland at 8:30pm). And this morning I had Bess entered in an all breed show. Thankfully hubby bathed her for me so that all I had to do was clip her and get the remaining nail polish off of her toe nails. I was also VERY thankful that we didn't have an 8am ring time!! But I'm getting ahead of myself! I've got pictures and commentary for Friday and Saturday from the national.

Friday was all bitches all the time!;o) he he he....I just really like saying that! But it's true. Friday was the bitch classes. Or I should say, as many of them as they could get through in a timely manner. They made it all the way through the Open Brindle class that day and stopped. These classes I was especially interested in because I wanted to see the get of the two studs that I'm interested in for Bess. Since I intend to keep a bitch puppy, I want to see what the bitches look like! Needless to say, I was very pleased!:) And of course, I took pictures! I was starting to get a little worn out with the picture taking (go figure!) so I began just taking pictures of the classes when everyone was lined up.

I fell absolutely in LOVE with this natural eared fawn bitch!

And I can't forget to show you the vendors!! I did a little bit of shopping on Mon., a little on Fri., and a little on Sat. Trust me, it was hard to hold back!:)

First there's Louise Peterson, the well known dane sculptor! I love all of her statues! And she also had some jewelry there. One piece of which I just had to get.:)

Next we have Originals by Omar! I love, love, LOVE the jewelry here! However, it was a little more than I could spend without getting in some serious trouble at home.

Next up is Jerry Lobato's amazing sculptures and art work!

Next up is Virginia Perry Gardiner! Again, beautiful jewelry, but I would have been in some serious trouble if I brought any home! She also has some lovely pewter statues.

The next vendor I unfortunately could not find a business card for. But they had some wonderful dane pieces!

Next up we have Country Square! While I don't have a web site, I do have an email address for her. It's countrysq1@ Her painted pieces are just beautiful and I picked some up on the first day!

Next up is the Thread Heads! They had all sorts of different cloth items embroidered with different dane designs and of all colors! On Sat. they had a sale where you got 20% off your entire purchase. Naturally I capitalized on that!

And finally, there was a vendor there making these really great beaded collars!
Now on to Saturday! Saturday started off by finishing up the open bitch classes, picking a winners bitch, the veteran bitches classes, and the brood bitch class. More bitches!;)

I got to watch a few of the groups for the Best of Breed competition, but then I had to leave. I was happy with the dogs that I did get to watch. Then it was off to the air port. I shared the shuttle ride with one of the judges who came out for the judges education and ring side mentoring part of the specialty. It was really interesting hearing a total outsiders perspective on things. She's obviously not new to dog shows, but is new to judging the breed. She came from german shephard dogs and papillions. So that was fun talking with her about the various different dogs and some of the pulls that had been made from the dog groups.
This morning I had Bess entered in an all breed show. Let me tell you, it was sooooooo weird to see other breeds of dogs when I had spent an entire week of only seeing danes. Bess ended up going reserve winners bitch and we did pretty well all-in-all. You know, aside from throwing my bait directly at the judge! That was one of those d'oh moments!
I also think I managed to catch something while I was in TN. Either that or I got what Adam came down with right before I left, which kind of makes sense. I've been feeling really crappy since getting home from the show and have even taken a nap. Not that the dogs really let me get too much continuous sleep since they're both wicked pent up. I did take them out to run around off leash for a while and that was about the extent of the energy that I've had.
I do have a few videos that I took throughout the week that I plan on uploading to YouTube tomorrow and I'll get around to posting them.