Thursday, December 29, 2011

2012 Goals

I go into year long goal planning with a little trepidation. You just don't really know what the new year will hold. There could be injuries (we've had that), there could be set backs (we've definitely had that), and there are any number of unknowns that you really can't plan for. So completely ignoring all of that, here is what we're shooting for in 2012, broken down by dog and by sport.



Our goals here are pretty mild because I go into it knowing that we aren't going to be trialing a ton. In AKC agility I would like to finish up his Excellent Standard title. We need two more legs there. And I would like to finish up his Open JWW title. Because for the love of gawd, I would like to no longer be in Open Jumpers!!lol I can't remember entirely, but I think he only needs to more legs there as well. For CPE agility I would like for him to finish up all of his Level 3 classes. I think he's at least half way there. And with the number of CPE trials that I think we should be able to hit this year, I think it's doable.


I am sooooooo excited that AKC is doing away with the honor station in Excellent!! This makes trialing Heffner so much less stressful! Now I just need to focus on getting him less stressed overall when in the ring. I've read up a little bit on the new stations and I think that we should be good to go on them by April. Because of these changes, I will happily wait until April to begin trialing him in rally again. Which means that Lodi will be our big welcome back to rally.;0) Our goal for 2012 is to get that RE title that I know he is capable of!


For the most part, Heffner is retired from obedience. I use that phrase loosely because it's not like he really had much of a competition "career" any how. With respects to obedience, I will only be showing him at specialties. Because Beginner Novice doesn't have any group exercises, I would like for him to finish that title in the new year as well. There are more than enough obedience trials near us that this should be a totally doable goal. We will continue training however, because I would eventually like to show him in the versatility class. There's also that newer Teamwork class that sounds like a lot of fun and a different type of challenge.

Lure Coursing

Since the big boy did show some interest in the sport at the one practice that we attended, I would like to try him out at a few more practices to get a better feel for it and then possibly enter a trial and see what comes out. Our only goal in this sport for the new year is to try it out more and see what happens.



Bess only needs four more legs to get her RAE, but we seem to have stalled out. While her limited performance in the obedience ring seems to have improved, her level of depression in the rally ring is clearly evident. We'll keep working on this and see what we can do. I don't think that four more qualifying legs over the course of a year is too lofty of a goal. After that, she will be semi-retired from rally and will only be competing at specialties.


We've seen some pretty great improvements in obedience and I'm really happy with the direction that we seem to be going! I've got her entered in a trial coming up in January. I was going to enter her in Graduate Novice again, but then chickened out. The trial site is going to be pretty crazy and distracting and I don't want to overload her too much and turn it into a negative experience. Therefore, I entered her in Beginner Novice. For 2012 I would like to put a BN on her as well as either a CD or a GN title. The BN is definitely doable. The CD will be the hardest because our off leash heeling is still pretty terrible and is the one thing that I'm really having a hard time figuring out how to fix. The GN would be the next most achievable after the BN due to the lack of off leash heeling. But we do still have the off leash figure 8.


Bess made huge improvements over where she started out at the beginning of this year. The beginning of this year so a total mental break down in the agility ring that took several months to fix. She's a stresser, and it had apparently built to the breaking point for her. We've had success this fall and I'm hoping that we continue to improve as a team. I feel like our runs are still pretty inconsistent because I'm not entirely able to trust her and am wary about her getting the urge to zoom. Which means a lot of looking back and stutter stepping on my part. This is not always conducive to good clean runs. I guess my goal for 2012 should be to trust Bess more on the course and hope that we start to jive better as a team. For her, I would REALLY like to finish up her Open Standard title. I'm on my laptop in the craft room (hubby is hosting poker night and I'm hanging out with the dogs since some of the people who come over are scared to death of them) and don't have my competition spreadsheet (remember, Excel and I have a serious love affair!!) to know for sure how many more legs she needs. I think it's two more legs. Those darned down contacts specifically on the A-frame are just killing us! I would also love it if she could get her Excellent JWW title, but since I have some personal hang ups in JWW, that one is going to take some work.

Lure Coursing

I would also like to try Bess out at more lure coursing practices. She didn't quite catch on to it the way that Heffner did. She was more interested in chasing the other dogs who were chasing the lure. We'll see how the practices go and maybe enter her in a trial.



I am trying to take things nice and slow with little pressure with Ruthie. She seems to really enjoy our time out at the agility barn and is catching on to things faster than I expected. I've tried some sequencing with her and once I realized that it works waaaaaaaaaaaaaay better to front cross with her than to do anything else, our runs actually smoothed out and we are starting to get more fluid! She has no qualms about the A-frame or the dog walk, but the dog walk is her absolute favorite obstacle on the course right now. Enough so that as I'm going around lowering jumps for her, I have to keep my on her because she will just run across it. The teeter is so-so right now. She does the full height teeter, but she's not a fan of the fast descent, so I'm slowing it down for her and that seems to make her much happier. We'll continue to work on it at her pace and it'll come when it comes. On the up side, she very willingly gets on it, it's just the going down part that she's not a huge fan of. My goal for her is to put her into a group class in the spring and see how that goes. My eventual goal is to enter her in her first trial in the fall, preferably a CPE trial since it's a gentler way to start trialing.


Everything really is a clean slate with Ruthie and we're just starting into the various sports. My only goal for her in the new year is to have her to a point where I feel comfortable entering her in the rally trial at the national specialty in the fall. I'm not shooting for any titles in 2012, I just want us to get started and see how things go.


Our goals for obedience are pretty much the same as they are for rally. I want to have her to a point by the fall where I feel comfortable entering her in Beginner Novice at the national specialty. We're actually starting things off in January with a bang by going to an specialty A match! Are we ready? Nope! But it'll definitely let me know where the major holes are! On the up side, posing for all those Christmas pictures had me working on her stays daily in a fun way. And now she actually has a freaking stay!! Yay!!

Lure Coursing

LOL.....I put this on here because I included it for the big dogs. I don't think that lure coursing will be in Ruthie's future. It's not that she doesn't have the athleticism or the spunk, I just don't think that she'll see the point in chasing a baggy. And with those stubby legs, I'd have to make sure that she was running in only well mowed fields. I MIGHT bring her to a practice or two just to see, but there really isn't a goal for her in this sport.

I've also made a commitment to improving the ball studio in the new year. There's a ton of equipment and other things that have been on my mental wish list for a while now and I've decided to just suck it up and start adding things on a monthly basis. Some of it's little like adding in more mats. Some of the items are more spendy, like an 80 cm peanut ball. There's also a possibility that I will be moving the studio from the garage into this mostly unused room towards the front of our house. The dog crates are currently there, but we could pretty easily move them else where. It's a possibility, but would take some work and planning.

I've also got two bitches who will be getting spayed. We've been saving up for Bess spay and gastropexy so that we have the money up front and don't have to put it on a credit card. I'm shooting for doing that in May so that she'll have the summer to recover while we're in our "off season.";0) Once Bess is taken care of, then it'll be Ruthie's turn.

I'm also planning on starting a new sport with the dogs, but I'll leave that for the new year to reveal!;0)

2012 is looking like an exciting year and I know that regardless of how things turn out, getting to spend time with my dogs is the best part!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Changes Are A Comin'

That title sounds so much more ominous than what it actually represents. But, since I do like to OCCASIONALLY be overly dramatic, I find it fitting.;0) I had thought about making a combination post where I talked about changes that I plan to make for the blog combined with what my goals are for the dogs in the upcoming year, but I thought that might get a little lengthy. So I'm splitting it up. Today will be about the blog and either tomorrow or Friday will be about goals (just depends on which day yields me more time).

I'm not planning on doing anything terribly drastic, just some little things that I would like to add in and kind of get a general feed back on what people thought. The first change that I'll make has to do with my Blogger Tuesday. Instead of picking a blog to highlight each week, I'm going to take it down to once a month.

I'm also toying with the idea of doing a weekly training challenge. I really enjoyed doing the trick challenges on the Smooth Sailin' blog at the beginning of this year. They got me trying new and different things with the dogs, and we all enjoyed it! It also helped to spice up our training time, something that I've felt has been a little lacking lately. The challenges would be fairly simple. It's something that I would be fitting in with all three of my guys, so nothing too complex that would turn me into a stress monster. I've started compiling a list already and I think it could be fun. I'd post videos of how our training of the "trick" went and if there were others who were regularly joining in, I'd like to include links to their blogs on my post so that other people could check them out and see how other handlers and various other dogs accomplished and went about the training.

Movie Monday is definitely staying! I'm having fun with that. And the weekly training videos would be separate from the Movie Monday videos. Videos galore!! What I would like to do is add a little something to it. I follow a few non-dog bloggers who do some video blogging and I LOVE their vlogs!! I thought that it might be fun once a month to do a video blog post. I have a few ideas about what I could start off talking about, but questions or ideas would always be welcome! It's fun to "get to know" someone who's blog you follow without being a stalker.;0) I have a fun idea for January that I'm hoping will work out!

And finally, as always, I have such a fun time taking daily pictures of my dogs throughout the month of December, that I wanted to try and find a way to keep myself going with it minus the "pressure" of joining a group. So I'm going to issue myself weekly photo challenges and I'll post the results here. I'd like to play with lighting a little more and some of the settings on my little point and shoot and I think this is just the ticket to keep me snapping away!

So those are the changes that are forth coming to the blog in 2012!! I hope you like the ideas and will like the actuality once I get going with it! If you have any thoughts or questions, just leave me a note in the comments section!:)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Blogger Tuesday

We got an award!:0) And I'm finally getting around to posting about it.;0) Falkor and Famke as well as Luke gave us this award. Thanks guys!! This award fits in perfectly with my Blog of the Week thread too! Here are the rules:

(1) Thank the blogger that gave you the award and then add a link to their blog.

(2) Reveal your top five picks (with less than 200 readers) and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.

(3) Copy and Paste the Award to Your Blog.

(4) Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite up-and-coming bloggers, and keep it going!

My top five picks are:

1) Gemini's Leo the Lionhearted. This is a blog about my friend Kennedy's fluffy midget Leo! Leo competes in agility, rally, and obedience currently. He's full of cute spunk and is lots of fun to watch!

2) The Wild Life. This blog is about the life and times of an adorable black great dane puppy. They haven't posted anything in a little while and I'm hoping that this award along with maybe some more followers will encourage them to keep at it!

3) Shutter Hounds. This blog is about two retired racing greyhounds and their photographer daddy. I LOVE blogs with pictures, especially really good ones!:0)

4) Running with Kona. This blog is about the running (and life in general) adventures of Kona and her person. They go on some lovely runs and take some great pictures.

5) Northfield Natter. The focus of this blog is more on competition obedience, but these dogs seem to do it all!

So head on over and check them all out!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Not In Love

I most certainly am not in love with December 26th. It's the one day of the year that I dread the most. December 26th means all the Christmas festivities and anticipation are over for another year.:( I strongly dislike this. Thankfully today has been a full day so I haven't had a lot of time to dwell on it. I went in to work this morning for a few hours. Then it was off to lunch with some friends from high school who were all in town. Then home to take the dogs for a hike and get in some cardio while it was still light out. And now I'm sitting down and collecting my thoughts for the week. Still no video for Movie Monday. Tomorrow I'll be posting about the award that we received!:) And then on Wednesday I'll talk about some of the upcoming changes that I plan to make to the blog.

In the mean time, since almost all of my Christmas cards have gone out, I thought that I would share our card with you.:) These are the pictures that we had taken back at the end of September by Alicia with Four-Legged Photo. We happened to pick the one day at the end of September that turned out to be hot and humid and also had some uncooperative ducks. Which meant that getting Bess' attention was difficult. At any rate, the pictures turned out great and I'm happy to share them with all of you! I hope your holiday was full of family, friends, and good times!!

And for anyone in the area who is interested, we received four referral cards worth 25% off a session fee, to give out. Drop me a line and I'm more than happy to give you a referral card!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve!!

Merry Christmas Eve!!! The day is almost here! I do have to admit that I think I kind of like Christmas Eve better than the day itself. There's all the anticipation. The magic of what's coming tonight. And just the general good cheer and build up. It's just all sorts of warm fuzziness.:0)

This morning I started my day off on the best foot possible by taking the danes out for a long hike. I opted to leave Ruthie at home because I knew it was going to be cold, I wanted to do a longer hike, and it was also damp. Being a low rider dog, even with a coat on, she gets way more wet than the big dogs just trucking along on the trail. And considering how mucky the big dogs' coats got, she would have been a total mud ball! So Heffner, Bess, and I headed out for an early morning hike so that we could get in a few good hours of actual hiking. The down side of that is that it meant starting our hike while it was still totally dark out. Thankfully I picked a trail that I know very well and am comfortable with at least the first portion of the footing. Even so, I still almost bit it within the first few minute. Figures! Other than that, it was a lovely hike and just what I needed!!

Since I haven't really done much actual updating on the blog, I did have a fun Thur. evening. I met up with my friend Elizabeth for a handling class! I mentioned previously that she had asked me if I would handle her dane puppy Ruby for her (did she really think that I would have said no???). Thursday night was a practice to see how we were going to mesh together and for me to get a chance to work her. Elizabeth has already been taking her to handling classes herself and has worked with her a ton, so she's already a really well behaved girl and great about letting me hand stack her. Really the only work that needs to be done is for her to get more used to working with me so that she's totally comfortable. Our first show together will be the big Rose City Classic in January! I'm so excited!!

Other than that it's been a whole lot of getting things done at work and finishing up Christmas shopping.

I hope that everyone has a great Christmas Eve and a very merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy December 23rd! I should have time to post tomorrow, but just in case I don't I wanted to wish everyone a very merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Some Days....

Happy December 20th! Today when I got home from work I was having one of those days where I had a very short fuse with the dogs and they were pushing all the right buttons. I get home and after letting everyone outside and then back in, I hear some odd rustling upstairs in the media room. Heffner apparently got bored today while Adam and I were at work. He's none too thrilled that his best buddy Bess is getting crated during the day now (she's in season) and obviously is having a hard time keeping himself occupied. So he decided to bring it to my attention that I had not in fact cleaned up the various bags, napkins, and boxes that were used to house the food that I brought home for the movie marathon this past Saturday. He did this by shredding everything. Everywhere. Thanks Heff....

So while I'm getting that all cleaned up, Heffner and Bess are expressing how excited they are to see each other after such a long separation, by rough housing that turns into humping. I just wish that had been the only problem. Except that Bess often loses some bladder control when she's in season. It's annoying, but it happens and then goes away once she's done. We already had an incident this morning in the ball studio where she peed through her boxers and onto the giant core disc. Then today in the hallway, it happened again. And now she's down to her last pair of boxers until I get another load of laundry done. Super! At least we now have a carpet cleaner of our very own to clean that kind of stuff up!

And my only complaint about Ruthie today is just that she was uber whiny in the car while she was waiting for it to be her turn at the agility barn. So really it's just the big dogs that were driving me crazy.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Update...

Happy December 19th! The goal for this shot was to get a footsies only picture. But when you're a midget and short little legs, this ends up including your cute little face.;0)

And yes, if you're keeping track, I have fallen off the wagon and I missed two days worth of pictures, but I have a good excuse! Saturday was the annual Christmas Movie Marathon with the following line up:

Claymation Christmas
The Year Without a Santa Claus
Twas the Night Before Christmas
Santa Claus is Comin' To Town
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Frosty the Snowman
Frosty's Winter Wonderland
A Charlie Brown Christmas
A Garfield Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
Classic Holiday Stories
Pee-Wee's Playhouse Christmas Special
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation
A Christmas Story
The Santa Claus 2

We had friends and family in and out of the house throughout the day and it was a lot of fun. Until the evening, which is usually the more fun "adult" part of the day. It was either something that I ate or I didn't wash my hands well enough after feeding the dogs, but I got suddenly and rather violently ill. To the point where I couldn't leave the bathroom. Which is super awesome when you have friends over that you don't get to hang out with often enough. Pretty much a little ways into National Lampoon's I was hugging the toilet. Not so great. So I missed taking a picture. Then the following day I was still feeling rather ill and spent most of the day in bed. I finally got up in time to go see the Nutcracker with some friends. Well worth it! But came home pretty beat. Which leads us into today. And I still don't have a video for Movie Monday. D'oh!

But I do have a funny story!;0) Tonight on our run, the danes and I got pulled over by the police. We were almost home and starting to cut through the park near our house when the lights flashed. I knew that it had to be directed at us since I hadn't seen anyone else around at all. Sure enough, I turn around and the officer rolls down his window. He then asks me if my dogs are great danes. Yep! A couple of dog loving officers wanted to ask about my dogs.:0) The other officer in the vehicle has a mastiff and her interest was perked when they saw me jogging by with my guys since Bess has similar coloring to her mastiff. So that was kind of neat. The dogs got to go up and say hi and it was a funny end to our evening.

I hope that everyone's Monday has treated them gently! And holy crap, it's the week before Christmas!!!!!!!

Friday, December 16, 2011


Happy December 16th from Santa's little helper! he he he Isn't she adorable?!

I am currently letting out a big sigh of relief! I made it through the work week, barely. I got the bigger chunks of house cleaning done that I needed to do. And tomorrow is the Christmas Movie Marathon!!! Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

The down side is that I have a mountain of laundry that still needs to be folded and few minor things to get done. My cousin Dylan is coming from Ft. Lewis to spend the night and be here for the "opening ceremonies." I'm really excited to have him here because he's been deployed for the last while. Not only is it great to have him back on safer soils, but it'll be great to physically have him here!

So once again, apologies for the lack of content, but I must jet to finish things up. I hope that everyone is having a most enjoyable Friday and here's to a wonderful weekend!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Happy December 15th! Tonight I was very firmly reminded of exactly when the danes get the most competitive, and specifically Heffner. I took the big dogs out for a run and along part of our route we just happened to get caught behind someone running towards the MAX station. Unfortunately for me, the dogs don't seem keen on the idea of someone being ahead of them. There gets to be a lot more pressure on the leashes as the dogs really lean into them in an effort to catch up to and pass this person who has the audacity to be ahead of us! All I really wanted was a nice little jog. Instead I got a reminder that my dogs can run me into the ground any time any where.

And with that, I really need to clean some floors. We received a blog award that I really want to get to and I'm hoping that I will be able to by this weekend or early next week. I hope that everyone is looking forward to a good Friday!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Scheduling Fun

Happy December 14th! I took a series of pictures last night out by the Hillsboro stadium in an attempt to capture the pretty lights in the background. Trying to do that while also getting all three dogs in the frame while also trying not to use a flash that washed everything out AND while getting all three dogs to look at the camera, proved to be too much for one very cold photo shoot. Bess seriously thinks that the red light on the camera means that the camera will eat her soul if she looks directly into it. Hence why I end up with a lot of shots with her NOT looking directly at the camera. If you could only see all the out takes and deleted shots that I get! So the above picture was the best out of the lot. Because I had a feeling that things weren't exactly going to turn out the way that I had hoped, I also took a shot of just the pretty lots from the angle that I preferred, and that thankfully turned out well.:)
I have other things that I would like to catch up on with the blog, but I am finding myself very fast running out of time with various holiday activities looming, so my posts this week will also unfortunately be pretty short on content. I apologize that it's been a little boring around here lately! I hope that the pictures help! And I have some changes/additions that I would like to do with the blog in the new year that I will introduce once my favoritest holiday has passed and I can breathe again.;0)

And did I mention that I did a HORRIBLE job scheduling all my projects at work this week and next??? There wasn't really anything that I could do about it with the time frames that I'm working with and the various needs of the projects, but good lord! I'm running myself ragged at work and I can't wait to come up for air from that as well! (this is how this post got it's title ;0) )

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Blogger Tuesday

Happy December 13th!! For today's Blog of the Week, I'm going to revisit a blog that I've posted about before and referenced in other posts. It's a blog that I would like to bring additional attention to right now, because this team is about to embark on a very exciting trip and I would really like for as many people as possible to cheer them on. The blog is Danes Can Q.:0) Kennedy and Vegas have worked very hard to get where they're at and I do not envy them the schedule that they have. So head on over and wish them lots of luck at the AKC agility invitational!!

And here's a few more pictures for today.;0)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pictures With Santa

Happy December 12th! I would have had a Movie Monday for you today, but the Movie Maker program kept crashing my laptop.:( I actually captured footage of a deer coming down onto the "road" the danes and I were on and the initial pursuit. Definitely proud of myself for that one! Hopefully I'll get whatever the problem is cleared up this week.

And since I still have a boat load of laundry and cleaning to do, these pictures of the dogs with Santa are going to have to be enough.;0) Enjoy!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Happy December 11th!! Everyone is home now and settling back in. It feels so good to be home!! I am trying not to think about how much we have to get done by Friday this week. Ack! The house needs some serious cleaning. Especially after lugging in all of our gear from the trip. The tree still needs to be decorated. The Lego Christmas village still needs to be constructed. And I need to get everything ready for the Christmas Movie Marathon on Saturday. Ack! Oh yes, and because I took almost all of last week off from work, I had to cram a metric butt ton of work into this week. This shall be a great reason as to why taking a vacation during December is not a very good idea for me.

Oh yes, and it looks like Bess will go into season any day now. Which is actually perfect timing! She should be out just in time for at least some obedience/rally trials, if not also an agility trial. And this works out great for the trials I have planned for winter and spring. Which then leads into her getting spayed in the summer! Occasionally these things work along a time line that I prefer.;0)

I hope everyone had a great weekend!! I promise to start taking actual pictures of the dogs now.:0)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Dec. 10th

Happy December 10th! Today is our last day in Whistler and all I can think about is seeing my pooches tomorrow!! Adam and I are going to do one more day on the slopes to help pass the time and then it's packing. I hope everyone is having a great start to their weekend!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dec. 9th

Happy December 9th!! It's kind of hard to tell, but both the red and the green are in there, but the green is more muted. I'd lighten the picture, but then it would wash out the prettiness of the lights against the darkness. So you'll just have to take my word for it.;0)

Today has been another lovely day on the slopes! Adam's really getting the hang of snowboarding and REALLY improved a lot today. We were actually going down one of the shorter green runs together towards the end of the day. I have not too surprisingly discovered that I really enjoy skate skiing. Considering how much closer it is to cross country skiing, I shouldn't have been that surprised. And I love doing tight, sharp turns where I get to really dig in with my skis.:)

I believe that we're going to do another day of skiing tomorrow and Adam is so far game for trying a longer run, so that should be pretty fun! Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy December 8th!! I am happy to report that yesterday's skiing was actually really great! The group that I got into for my lesson turned out to be at a lower level than I needed, but our instructor was great and was able to give me different challenges and grill me more on my technique. Once I actually got up on my skis I realized that I have actually become a better downhill skier thanks to all the skijoring that I've done with my dogs!

I hadn't really thought about it, but I've had to utilize a LOT of the same skills that I need for downhill skiing with my cross country skis while getting pulled behind the dogs. I'm way more confident on the skis now than I was the last time I was on downhill skis and I'm a lot better at last second changes in direction and speed. And here I was worried that spending so much time on cross country skis was going to mean that I was clueless on downhill ones! That was a really pleasant surprise.

At the moment I am "patiently" waiting for Adam to get ready so that we can head back to the slopes. I'm not sure what the rest of our party is going to do, but I want to ski a lot more today!

I also have some pictures to post of Ruthie and Remi! Many thanks to Diane for nabbing these!