Friday, September 30, 2011

Cool Story!

This story ran in the Denver Post a few days ago and was circulated on an email list. I thought that I would pass it along! The before and after pictures of the dane's legs are pretty incredible!

Not much else to pass along here. It looks as though Larger Than Life is winning in the poll. I realized shortly after posting on Wednesday that not everyone necessarily is all too familiar with the Backstreet Boys, so here are the music videos of the three songs that I'm trying to decide between:

"Shape Of My Heart"


"Larger Than Life" (couldn't find the actual music video, but at least this is the song)

Happy weekend everyone!! The danes and I are headed down to Salem tomorrow for a CPE agility trial!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Request For Help and Random Thoughts

I swear that my mind has been all over the place today! Following in this vein will be today's post. I've got a couple of questions to put forth to those reading the blog (and hopefully able to comment!) and then a bunch of random thoughts. Most of these random thoughts surround the upcoming national specialty, which is only a MONTH AWAY!!!

Firstly, if you'll notice off to the right hand side of the posts, I've added a poll. I've got both dogs entered in the Parade of Performance Title Holders. I've got my outfit figured out (though only 50% completed), their collar maker figured out, what they're going to do figured out, and what song Heffner will be in the ring to. I'm stuck on Bess though. ARG! My theme is Backstreet Boys because I love them so! Heffner's song is going to be "I Want It That Way" for a multitude of reasons. But I'm having difficulty coming up with a song of theirs that's well known and suits Bess enough. I've got three options right now, but if you have another idea, PLEASE leave me a comment!

Secondly, I need ideas for their collars!! Kennedy is going to be making their collars and I said that I would come up with some ideas for her and I'm struggling! She put out some questions to get my thinking going and I'm just dead in the water. I tried finding some iron on BSB paraphernalia and came up with zilch. I really need to get my order in with her soon so that she has enough time to make them. So if you've got ideas, by all means, fire away!!

I worked the dogs this morning on bits and pieces of things that we're working on for obedience and they were all across the board awesome!! I was a little paranoid because our Monday morning practice wasn't all that stellar, but that's probably what I should expect after they had almost a week of nothing with me being gone at the conference and then sporadic other activities that impinged on my training time. They were so on this morning though! I was really proud! Bess especially has made leaps and bounds and I hope that it continues.

Heffner had a chiropractor appointment today. Bess really laid him out a couple of times at the beach last week. That and I'm shooting for getting him in at least every six months to keep up on things. His right pelvis was a little out again, but she got things more aligned. I'll take him back to see her again in two weeks and possibly one more time right before we leave for the national specialty. I want him feeling his best!

We leave for the Litchfield Park, AZ on Oct. 26 and I'm starting to get all of the my check lists in order to make sure that I take care of everything I need to and make all the arrangements necessary. All of our entries are in. I've ordered all the souvenirs that I wanted. I've signed up for the agility workshop with both danes. I've bought tickets for the dinners that I plan on attending. I've ordered the catalogs that I wanted. I've signed both danes up for the echocardiogram clinic. I've already double checked my reservation with the host hotel!! And I think that covers the biggies. I'm getting really excited, but also a wee bit stressed because we're going to be away at a CPE agility trial the weekend before we leave. E-gads! Therefore all my advanced prepping needs to get done the week prior so that I can do the immediate stuff on Mon. and Tue. night. Oh yeah, I do still need to verify the route that I'm taking and who all are going to be in the caravan! That is definitely important!!

An email started circulating on one of the lists with more details about the Halloween dinner! I'm super stoked!! They're really putting a lot of effort into the dinner with a magician, DJ, costume contest, and now they're trying to get people to do a line dance to Thriller!! How cool is that?! Naturally, I'm totally game for it. Now I just need to learn the moves.;0)

And speaking yet more about the national specialty, towards the end of August I decided to create a page for the trip itself. Things are going to be busier this year since I'm bringing dogs and I don't know exactly how much time I'll have to update the blog or be on my computer much at all. I'm going to finally enter the world of smart phone users once the latest iPhone comes out, and I thought it would be entertaining to create a Facebook page to sort of document the trip itself and everything that goes on. I still plan on using my regular camera, but the iPhone will make it a ton easier to upload random shots and of course status updates.:0) I'm already a bit of a Facebook whore, and this will only further that. The side bonus is that you don't have to be an actual friend of mine in order to view the page! Sometimes the whole friending thing can get weird and not everyone wants to friend someone they don't know in person. Therefore, the page that will allow everyone who already has a Facebook account to keep up on what's going on if I sort of drop off the face of the planet.;0) I haven't done much on it, but just little random updates to keep me in the habit of at least periodically checking in. As the departure date approaches, more stuff will crop up. So if you're interested, just click here. I believe that my friend Chris may also be posting some of her trip on there as well!! She's got a really cute theme for their trip to the national since they're stopping at a few dog shows on the way. Any how, I'm hoping to have a lot of fun with it!

So yeah, most of my random thoughts surround the national. Probably because activity on various email lists regarding this has picked up as the date approaches. I'm really excited!! But it's going to be a lot of work to get there, a lot of work while we're there, and a lot of work getting back home. But definitely going to be worth it!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Blogger Tuesday

My pick for Blog of the Week is My Life With Flyball Dogs!! Also a Pacific Northwesterner, I just overall enjoy the blog and the pooches! I don't do flyball with my guys, but I enjoy hearing more about a sport that I know very little about. In this vein, there are a few posts that go more into the sport for those of us not involved in it. So head on over and check them out!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Movie Monday

And as promised, I've got some agility videos for you! Here are the videos from Saturday:

And the videos from Sunday:

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Agility Trial Day 2

Firstly, I have a few pictures from yesterday!! The above is one and below are the other two.:0)

I do in fact have video from yesterday (thanks Kennedy!!), but I decided that I'm going to save the agility videos for tomorrow. Kind of the perfect Movie Monday. I'll save the beach video for the following week (which saves me some time since I haven't put it together yet!!). I will, however, share the video that I bought from the professional videographers at the trial this weekend, when I get around to that course.
The first course of the day was Excellent Standard with Heffner. The course was nice and I felt like we had it pretty well, and we did. Until I botched it a bit in some spots. While I'm still happy with the run, I have to say that it's getting a little old that I'm still making these little mistakes that are costing us our runs. Frustrating! I'm more mentally there than I have been in the past. At least I feel like I am. I just keep doing these little things. ARG!! Anyhow, like I said, the course was a nice one. Unfortunately we dropped a bar on #6. After looking at the video, I did a quick movement with my left shoulder while Heffner was going over the jump and it looks like that's what caused him to drop the one bar. Blarg! And then I botched his weave pole entrance by basically not doing anything to signal it. Awesomeness!! At least my dog still loves me!

Otherwise a good run. And the run that had an unexpected event in it. Heffner has really been trying to pick up speed as he goes through the weave poles. In the process, the poles tend to take a beating. This time it was enough that he actually dislodged a pole and sent it flying! And that's why I bought the video. When I was viewing the video, the frame seemed to me to be bigger. But after viewing it at home, it doesn't seem as large and you don't really see much of the pole popping out. I'm hoping that if you're ready for it, it'll be easier to see. So watch for it! At the time I had no idea that it actually even happened.

After some waiting, both dogs were up in Open JWW.
When the course was all laid out it just felt so crammed together. While I was watching outside the ring I made this comment and a few other people agreed. There were huge gaps of unused space along both sides and the back of the ring. I was a bit bummed that things weren't spread out more so that there could be some real stretching out. Oh well. Heffner was first up and I have to admit that everything was kind of a blur. I know that we knocked a bar, but I don't entirely remember why or which one it was. I do know that he did NOT want to hold his start line stay, which was also evidenced in his Standard run. Otherwise it was a good run and we had fun!

Bess followed Heffner and she also had a good run except for one little blip on my part that caused us to go a fair bit over on time. She nailed her weaves and I celebrated too early. She got amped up, vaulted over #14, swung wide around #15, we incurred a jump refusal, and then it took extra time to get her around without back jumping, to take the jump correctly. Otherwise, good run.
Our final run of the day was Open Standard with Bess. It was a good run! Not clean, but an otherwise good run. Again, things are kind of blurring together at this point, but I believe we had a dropped bar somewhere? We did end up with a Q and 2nd place though! Yay Bessy!!

Ruthie also got to come along so that she could start getting used to chaos that surrounds agility trials. She's used to conformation shows which are generally quieter and more under control than everything that goes surrounding agility rings. She did good for the majority of the time and was actually mostly quiet, which was my biggest paranoia. I had visions of her doing her strangled hooker scream and other people around me shooting me dirty looks. Thankfully that didn't happen. Overall she was great and well behaved. The only problem she had was while I wasn't in our set up, but the people crating next to me and Kennedy confirmed it. Ruthie apparently doesn't like Vegas. As in rather violently doesn't like Vegas. When Kennedy would walk past our set up with Vegas, Ruthie would start barking and lunging from inside her crate. I was really surprised by this and I don't know why she would be bothered by Vegas. I'm sure that gradually she'll get used to seeing her, it's just weird! Aside from that, Ruthie enjoyed getting to walk around the grounds and meet lots of people.

We had a great time at the agility trial. My Cleveland Browns beat the Dolphins. And my fantasy football team won this week after our oh so hilarious league manager predicted that I wouldn't win a game all season!! It's been a pretty great day!!

I've got a bear of a work week coming up and I would really like to pretend that tomorrow isn't Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend and that your Monday's treat you gently!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Agility Trial Day 1

Okay, so technically this is day 2 of the trial since it started yesterday, but it's day 1 for us so I'm going to stick with that. I got to the fair grounds a little later than originally intended, but still managed to snag what looked to be the last available open crating space that was big enough for all my gear. The plan was to crate both dogs inside the arena, but still park the truck in my normal mostly shaded spot just in case I didn't feel that I was able to keep Heffner cool enough inside.

The day started off coolish and overcast so I was very hopeful that the predicted 80 degree temps would either not really happen or they would hold off until after I was already done for the day. No such luck, but I was able to keep both dogs happy and cool throughout the day with LOTS of complete hose downs! Two thumbs up there!!
First up for both dogs was Open Jumpers With Weaves. Thankfully there were enough 24" dogs entered that I didn't have to stress about how many dogs were in between my guys. Bess was up first. I did a lead out beyond jump #2 and did a little hand switch cue that I've worked on a little bit to help signal the dogs that there's a change of direction coming up. I just forgot about the part where I do need to actually move. Preferably before she takes off for the second jump so that she knows where to go. D'oh! I started moving late, we almost collided and there was a knocked bar. I believe that the rest of the run was fairly decent. She did pop out of the weaves towards the end and I had to fight the urge to just push on through the course so that we didn't take forever. We redid them and I just chilled out and let her take however long it was going to take her and I think that paid off for us in Standard. So not too shabby of a run for Bess, but no Q.

Heffner followed and I did the same initial move, but I think I still botched it for him because I'm pretty sure that's the bar that he dropped on the course. His weaves were awesome! We haven't practiced them at all since I believe June, he just loves them! He really started to open up on the course and thoroughly enjoyed himself. It felt so good to be running him again! The big grey dog is back and ready for action!! He did have the one dropped bar, so no Q.
After a few hours of hanging out, Heffner was up again in Excellent Standard. It was a pretty nice course. I'm not usually a fan of tunnel or chute starts, but between the two, I'd much rather have a chute. Everything was going well until the teeter. Heffner shook himself off after coming out of the tunnel and I didn't support his entrance onto the teeter. He went on at an angle, lost his footing and bailed off. I chose not to repeat it for two reasons 1) he doesn't get weird about contact obstacles. 2) I wanted to finish the course. If I had chosen to take him over the teeter again, I would have forfeited the ability to finish the course. The rest of the run went pretty well until jump #13 where I think I cut him off and we got a refusal. Otherwise, he did great and I was really proud of him!!
We ended the day with Bess in Open Standard. The course was still nice and I was definitely going to pay more attention to the teeter entrance. Everything went really well and she was more lively for this run! She was actually pretty fun to run! Her weaves were slow, but she didn't pop out and she nailed the entrance with basically no help from me. The only minor blip on the radar that didn't seem to get caught by the judge was the ending. We ended on a tire jump. Instead of jumping through the tire, Bess jumped through the side area within the frame. I turned her around and had her go through the actual tire. Otherwise it was a nice clean run! Which means a Q!!!:0)

It was a great day. And now I'm sitting here typing this, sitting in multiple layers of dried sweat and trying to figure out what exactly I'm going to eat for dinner before I crash for the night so that I can do it all over again tomorrow!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Double Specialty

Well, it was a lovely day for a dog show today. The weather was a bit on the warm and humid side, but for the past few years that I've gone to this show, it seems to always turn out that way. There was a sizable entry and lots of gorgeous dogs!! I was able to see a lot of my dog show "family" today and that's always awesome!! The down side to such a busy and packed day is that I don't get quite as much time to chat as I would like and since I only had Bess entered today, I sadly won't have the rest of the weekend to catch up at a more relaxed pace. On the up side, I do get to play agility with the danes this weekend!

But first the dog show results. For the morning specialty Bess won her class. I'm not entirely convinced that the judge really liked her a ton over the other bitch in the class. I think it was more the fact that the bitch wouldn't hold still for examination that put her in second. Either way, Bess showed really well and I was very pleased with how she did in her class and in the winners bitch ring.

For the afternoon specialty Bess took second in her class. The other bitch was less skittish than the morning, but still far from solid. Oh well.

I'm pretty stinkin' beat and I still have to finish getting things ready for tomorrow. We've got an early morning so that I can go set up the dogs' crates at the agility site. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't get too warm and crating inside the arena won't be too much for Heffner. I'm going to park in a back up spot just in case.

So yeah, agility tomorrow and then coming home to pass out! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Beach Day!!

Just a heads up that this post is going to be quite picture heavy! I also took a ton of video today, but I'll put that together hopefully in time for Monday. It was a GORGEOUS day on the coast!! Unbelievable! I very rarely get out there when it's actually warm and today was one of those rare times. The temperatures started out in the low sixties in the morning with a slight breeze and then warmed up into the seventies with a stronger wind. It was actually quite warm and a bit humid once you got off the beach.

I got to the beach about two and a half hours before everyone else because I wanted to bring the dogs and let them run around for a bit. I almost left Ruthie at home because I knew that we were going to be out there for a while and even though her stamina and endurance have so far impressed me, it was definitely going to be a long day. I am definitely glad that I didn't! Once I got her onto the sand, it was like Ruthie crack! She was having the best time! She was running every where and trying to keep up with the big dogs as they ran around. Super cute! But any how, now on to the pictures, with a few bits of commentary sprinkled throughout.:0)

For starters, I brought along my rubber boots to wear on the beach and it was the best idea ever!
Once on the beach and after a bit of crazy happy running around, Ruthie did some of her signature back scratching that cracks me up!

Ruthie had a great time just being one of the "big" kids.

Throughout the day, the wind would send the sea foam skittering across the sand. Bess was particularly enamored with pouncing on them.
And just some random shots.

Ruthie taking her turn at attacking the sea foam.

Being brave walking through some of the streams on the beach.
And the crazy one...
More random shots.

Sorry that some of the pictures came out so dark. I find myself really wishing that I had Photo Shop to better process my pictures. Then I think about the number of pictures that I have a tendency to take and the large amount of time that I would spend processing those pictures and I realize that maybe it's for the best.;0)

And with that, I'm off to take care of some doggy toe nails and prep Bess for a double specialty up in Shelton, WA tomorrow. I know, I know. I said that we were basically done with conformation, but it's a specialty and I already her entries in. And I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot of the people who'll be there. So basically this is a for fun dog show. Though I'm not telling Adam that!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I'm Back, Phew!

I'm back from a great conference in Austin, TX! I have to tell you, while I understand that theoretically if you live there you get used to the heat, but in actuality, I don't know how people do it! And it wasn't even as hot while we were there as it was the week before! Thank goodness for air conditioning!

The dogs were VERY happy to have their mommy home. Heffner kept nose bumping me and followed me every where around the house that I went. Bess was licking me constantly like I was a lollipop. Her favorite spot was my chin. If I hadn't stopped her, I'm not sure how long she would have gone on for! Ruthie was leaping around me and happy to race around the back yard with me. Definitely good to be home! And both hubby and the dogs survived my absence!;0)

Not a whole lot to report otherwise. It was an academic conference, so LOTS of talks with a couple of poster sessions thrown in. I picked up some great ideas for a project that I'm going to pitch to my boss next week. I learned all sorts of seemingly random things. At first I was disappointed that the talks were scheduled in 15 min. increments, but with the number of people presenting and the fact that these talks were scheduled from roughly 7:30am until 5:00pm or 6:00pm, 15 min. is about the maximum length of time that I could pay attention to any one topic. All good stuff though!!

This afternoon Adam and I headed out with the dogs to get a professional family portrait taken! I picked a really pretty area that's fairly close to our house and the photographer met us out there. She got lots of shots of us together as well as individual shots of each dog. I'm really excited to see how they turn out!

There were a couple of down sides to the outdoor shoot. For one, today was hot. I was not planning on this and I was less than pleased given the fact that two out of my three dogs are usually quite panty in relatively warm weather and this was enough to make all three pant and be generally hot. I brought a spray bottle along with me and kept misting them, but it didn't help. The other problem we had involved Miss Bess' prey drive. We did the shoot near some ponds that have ducks in them who are used to being fed by people. Bess fixated on the ducks any time they were even close to us. Her focus is complete. There is no food and no toy that can distract her. So that made things interesting. And of course, trying to get three dogs to look at the camera, hold a position, and have good expressions and ears is a feat in and of itself! happy Wednesday everyone! Tomorrow the dogs and I are off to the beach for a little work related "retreat" of sorts. I'm heading down really early so that the danes at least can run off some steam on the beach before we meet up with everyone else.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Conference Time

Things have been busy lately and especially so today. I'm leaving in the morning for a work related conference in Austin, TX. I'll be gone until Tue. While I've got posts that I would like to write, my time is short and I still need to finish packing. So "see" you all next week and keep your fingers crossed that the dogs don't drive Adam insane while I'm gone!;0)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Movie Monday

Sorry for my extended absence! It's not that I don't have anything to post about, but it got really hot here all last week and it pretty much zapped me of what little brain power I had left. Any exercising with the dogs was done around the lake because it was too hot to do anything else. I didn't even go outside to go running by myself, but stayed inside on the treadmill instead. So here we go, picking things back up.

This weeks video is a few different clips of the cuteness that is Ruthie! I tried capturing some of the funny stuff that she does around the house. I was successful in most cases, but am still trying to capture others that I missed. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Blogger Tuesday

My pick for Blog of the Week is Identity: V!! The blog is about the adventures and training of Elli, a dalmatian/pit bull mix. And they just happen to live pretty close by in Portland! How cool is that!

Yesterday, Elli's mom did a little post about keeping dogs' toe nails short. This is something that I also feel is incredibly important regardless of what kind of activities your dog does. I dremel all three of mine once a week and am religious about it. Neurotically so! Her post also got me thinking about doing a few different posts on nail trimming. I've been toying with the idea, but this definitely makes for the perfect segue way into it.:0)

So head on over and check them out!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Movie Monday - Conditioning

This week's Movie Monday also doubles as a conditioning video and little Ruthie makes her "training" video debut!:0)

This video is just a basic approach to some variety that you can throw into a routine involving an aerobic step. With a larger dog and a smaller step, even simple movements such as sitting take more concentration and muscle control, as evidenced by Heffner and Bess. The aerobic step is also something that's a little different than the various core balancing balls that we use. The possibilities are really endless as far as what types of equipment you can work into a strength training routine for your dogs! It's one of the many reasons why I get so much enjoyment out of doing these various routines with my guys.

Before putting a string of movements together I first introduce the dogs to the individual pieces of equipment and get them offering the positions/movements that I want. Once they're comfortable with the equipment, I start putting it all together!

The aerobic step was bought off of Amazon, and is one of the more basic steps. Right now, I didn't feel like spending a lot of money on the step and this fit my purposes perfectly. It's a small enough step that just moving around on it requires concentration and muscle control from the danes. Eventually I would like to get one of the longer steps, but this one is great for right now. The only down side to this particular step is that the top surface is VERY slick and poses the threat of injury if I were to try to use it as is. To solve the problem, I cut off a chunk of my yoga mat to fit the step. Adam then recommended I secure it to the step with a spray adhesive, which has worked woooooonderfully. And now we have a fully functioning aerobic step that the dogs can use with pulling or straining something!

Just having the dogs sit and stand on the step got boring after a bit, so I decided to play around with some of the other equipment that I have to spice things up a bit. I don't use my Paw Pods for very much right now, so I thought I would throw them in there and see what happened. Prior to ever having the dogs step on them I tried them out with my own bare feet because I was a little concerned that the spikes were too poky and they were. To alleviate this problem I took an electric sander to the tips and sanded them all down so that they were nice and rounded. Much better! After that, I got the dogs to start standing with just their front feet on them to get them used to the positioning that I wanted. Then I combined it with the step and we have an exercise that's a little more interesting.

I hope everyone is having a great Labor Day!!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

We've had a pretty low key weekend here. I had Bess entered in an all breed dog show this weekend. She went Reserve Winners Bitch both days. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride. It helped me to cement my decision that she is now retired from all breed dog shows. There's a specialty at the end of the month that I've got her entered in and I think I'll probably enter her in another specialty in January. After that we're going to start planning on when to spay and gastropexy her. We gave it three years, over 100 entries, and over $2,500 spent in JUST entry fees to be at only 9 points. I got the message and her retirement is imminent.

On the up side, my friend Elizabeth is going to let me show her new dane puppy!! I got to meet Ruby this weekend at the dog show and she is an absolute doll! Elizabeth has already done such a great job with her. I did some hand stacking with her and she was such a good girl! At four months old I expected a lot more squiggling and antsiness when I got to stacking her rear. She was great though! And a pretty girl to boot! So even though Bess will be retiring, I'll still have a dane to show!:0)

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Bulldog Powerhouse

I haven't done a Ruthie specific update and I think it's about time. In a nut shell, the little bulldog has impressed me. I went into frenchie ownership with the thought that it would be fun to try some performance events with her, but really, a dog that would be happy to just hang around the house with Adam when I was off with the danes would be really great as well. I had been warned about their legendary stubbornness. I had been warned that they were not exactly designed to be a performance dog. I had also been warned that frenchies are not danes and do not require the kind of exercise that my danes are used to getting. With all that in mind, this little midget dog has been quite the pleasant surprise. She's a little powerhouse!

This dog LOVES to train! Really, she loves to do anything. While she can be happy to chill with you on the couch, she's also just as happy to be out for a walk or out training wherever. Once she figures something out, she's got it. It's all about teaching it to her in a way that makes sense to HER. Then again, that's what all dog training is about. It's just that teaching her things is a fair bit different than teaching the danes things.

I've been gradually building up her conditioning routine and she's now this happy, energetic, bouncy little thing too! She's doing almost exactly the same core conditioning exercises that the danes are doing, I just have to alter things according to her size to make them a little more challenging. On our casual walks, she loves to go bounding ahead of me. 20 min. is almost no effort for her any more. She's actually to the point where I occasionally take her out on light hikes off leash with the danes; weather dependent. And if you can hold back your amazement, tonight she went on a one hour light hike with us and she was strong to the finish and still doesn't seem very phased by her outing.

She just continues to amaze me (in good ways!) and I'm very definitely looking forward to what's in store in the future!