busy week

Taught classes Monday afternoon, woke up early Tuesday and drove to Power Paws for a quick trip.  Vic was great, this "only work sequences every other month" is really working for us.  More fast lines, weave/contact maintenance, but really it's about conditioning for Vic which is another great excuse for living at the beach on our days off.  :-)  Rich was amazing.  Really, he blew my mind.  I had no idea the things he could do, lots and lots still to do, the fun stage where there's years worth of things to teach ahead.  Weaves are coming, I'm going to spend this week (3 days I train) doing channels.  We started frames last week, time to add more motion and make it look like an agility obstacle, dogwalk looks good for what I want, but always fun to play around with.  Some single jump stuff, low bounce jumps, toy tossing and remembering to do an obstacle we don't always do, every time I'm around equipment.  Oh yeah, the was so good, but is now very very broken.  No video from Nancy's and the weather wasn't great for pretty pictures.  This week the first Clean Run with me as a Backyard Dogs contributor arrived.  Still weird to me, but most definitely cool.  :-)

Came home, taught the next day and more importantly, met my new agility guru (so much I've had so wrong...).  I knew other people would also see the value in what Vergina has to say, but I the response is truly amazing.  As it should be, Vergina is incredible!  Taught again on Friday/Saturday, then had Sunday off, which I totally took, though I really should have been catching up on things.

Here is some video of contacts this past week

And a few pictures from the week...


Trying to keep updating

Not much to update, a lazy weekend, I was reminded NOT to go to the dog-friendly beach on a Sunday morning.  Rich is fine, Starlet was appropriate in her fun policing, but after getting randomly jumped (owner would say it was friendly, I'd say her dog is a punk), Vic had no faith that anyone was going to give him the respect he deserves.  Plenty of other beaches to go to, I was just lazy, since that one is all of 4 minutes drive from my front door.  Plus, it seemed like the overcast was up the coast a little more, so after Saturday's foggy beach, I wanted to see some sun.

Foggy, but private trip to Campus Point...
Sunday morning at Hendry's, last Sunday at Hendry's for my crew.

There's supposed to be rain coming this week.  Good news, we need it, bad news, Rich and Vic will probably drive me insane without hours of exercise.  They only had an hour at the beach yesterday and have been bouncing off the walls for the last 18 hours.  Including causing me a terrible night's sleep, because any time I stirred, they thought it would be a great time to get up.
And video of Rich from Thursday, our worst dogwalk day in a while, but still pretty good.

Touching base

I need more time in the week, maybe another day would be nice.  I think it's the agility gods looking out for me, that I've had a hard time finding a local place to have a weekend workshop.  So, I've had a lot of weekends off, but not fully by choice, but it's probably good that I take the time off, because well, I teach a lot these days.  Taking ridiculous amounts of pictures, love the camera, fascinated by what can be captured with it.  Most of the pictures are at the beach, because the trails are depressing.  We need rain, lots of it and what should be green and starting to bloom is brown.  The beach is a place to forget how dry everything is.  On our freeways are signs that used to tell how many minutes to the next interchange, but now say "SEVERE DROUGHT:  Conserve Water".

The dogs are awesome!  I am in one of those moments that time could freeze and I'd be happy as things are forever.  Starlet is my sweet, predictable senior, happy and mobile.  Every now and then she'll get herself into a situation that she needs help getting out of, but she hangs on our hours long walks and seems to dig the lifestyle.  Vic is my right-hand boy, such a good boy.  Okay, he's eating upstairs these days, so everyone can have relaxed meals, but he is just so good, so easy.  Rich is all potential and newness.  He's the pushiest dog I've had since Max.  He really does remind me so much of Max, most notably in how he inclusive he is with all the people in my life.  Vic is very much MY dog and really only likes a handful of people, Rich likes LOTS of people, still prefers me, but definitely better at making other folks feel appreciated than Vic.  And something else very Max-like about Rich...


I'm loving the light showing schedule I'm doing with Vic.  There were 4 weekends of local USDAA in a row down here, but we went north for the first weekend and then hit the last show of the 4.  Dear lord does Stone Pony have great footing.  REALLY great footing, like a putting green.  Vic was awesome.  Clean in everything.  I only filmed the MC classes, which were fun courses by Marty Gadsby.  Looking forward to running under him again at the SW Regional.

In the theme of less showing, I've taken AKC Nat'ls off my goal list.  I did the math and to get through Novice to qualified would take 20 3 day shows.  60 days of showing, bleh, no thanks.  I like that I can qualify for Cynosports in 2 trials and spend the rest of the year training and preparing.  :-)

Rich is coming along.  Still struggles making good choices with jumps when he has momentum, but getting better.  The running dogwalk is basically done for what I want it for.  We're learning our weaves, when those look understood, we'll tackle the frame and then add a second command to the dogwalk.  We head up to see Nancy at the beginning of March.  Good for me with both the boys.  The only place I work on sequencing with Vic is up there and I LOVE having someone to help guide me with Rich.

Here's some extreme baby dog action from last week.

And some pictures:

Remember Kristi's puppy Keg?  Yeah, he's almost 7 months now and still Rich's BFF.  :-)

We did go to the Shores yesterday, so brown, but the dogs didn't care.
And today, we headed back to the beach.  We've had some extreme tides lately, which have brought more rocks than usual to the beach.  Still can't complain, I was in the water late this afternoon and not cold, I guess if we're going to run out of water and burn to the ground, at least we can have good beach weather.

Birthday and baby dog seminar

Vic turned 7 on Monday.  Seven years old!  How on earth is he over 5?  He remains my most awesome boy, so handsome and such my perfect match.  He's starting to get a little grey, but the white half helps to hide it.  He is as happy and vocal as ever, we're moving back into training mode after taking December off and hitting a show this weekend up north.  No real goals for this year, other than being as ready as possible to do well at Cynosports and taking lots of pictures of him being his awesome self on our walks.


And a couple days before Vic's birthday was Rich's first agility seminar.  When I booked Jim and Nancy several months ago, I made sure we had a "baby dog" group, that was just doing jumps and tunnels, so Rich could play.  I really wasn't sure at all what to expect, which was something I haven't felt, since before Vic.  He was so much fun!  So keen to play, so quick to learn and so happy.  I do adore my puppy.  I don't have much good video of him, since usually I'm just balancing a camera on a jump and forgetting to edit through the 10 minutes of footage to get to the 2 minutes of action, so this feels like the first time I've "seen" him and I really like what I see.  :-)  I didn't include Jim's half in the video, because well, working at a distance is not something Rich really needs and watching him do a jump/tunnel/jump wasn't too interesting for me.  ;-)  On the dogwalk front, he's on a full height dogwalk just targeting to a toy and giving me good performances 80+% of the time.  I'm waiting until next week to add an obstacle after, since the multi-tasking was hard for him and frustrating for me, which is why we took a step back.


Tomorrow I head up to Nancy's for a couple days of training.  My plan for this year is to get up there every other month.  The year off from big goals was so good for my soul, I am so energized and excited for what this year will bring!

Break and a birthday

So nice having two weeks off, sure I taught a little here and there, but the longest time I have had off since before Vic came to the household (and he turns 7 next week).  I did very little, but take lots of walks, eat whatever the hell I wanted and take a ton of pictures of my dogs.

Big news of the break is Rich turning 1 year old!  How has that happened?  I remember watching the puppycam, first while teaching classes, then all afternoon, into the night.  I was starting to wonder if I was a jinx for birthing (still scarred from the Quick experience), when Zim (formerly known as Bootlegger) hit the ground.  Quite literally, Chant dropped him out from a standing position.  And for the first couple weeks, I thought Bootlegger would be Rich, but as the time went on and the awesomeness that Ultimate Porker radiated, I realized there were two pups that could be mine and now I can't imagine any other dog being Rich.  He remains a happy, sweet, bold boy and totally sound.  The suffocation by kissing continues and he has also knocked me down the stairs once or twice, but it's all from love.  My favorite Rich kisses are when we're going to sleep, that is always one quick lick and then he curls up next to me.  I did miss having a dog that likes to sleep on the bed, it was one of the things I have missed most about Max.  Also like Max, Rich seems to be everyone's dog.  Make no mistake, he is my boy, but unlike Vic who only cares about a couple people other than me, Rich makes people feel appreciated.  He's a small boy, he measures taller than he looks, over 20", I think Angela's prediction of 20.5" will be spot on.  I love how he moves, love the crazy Go-Go-Gadget legs.  I love how soft his eyes are, he has kind eyes, unless he's hit the crack pipe one too many times, then they're just crazed.  He makes lots of noises, he is appropriate with all other dogs, still not totally sure about small children, but just gives them a wide berth.  It's possible that he's reflecting my attitude.  ;-)  He is always up for a good time, resilient, impossible to hurt his feelings, up for trying again and happy to try something new.  He is a super puppy, I can't imagine my life without Rich in it.

Angela's shares a birthday with the puppies.  Not sure if I ever knew that or forgot as soon as the first puppy hit the ground...  Anyway, Chris gave her a super collage of the grown up puppies for her birthday.

puppy collage
In the upper right corner is Jimmy, formerly known as Vito.  In the middle of the upper row is Nite, formerly known as Pepe.  Zim (aka Bootlegger) is on the upper left side.  Bottom row are the girls, Vista, Jpeg nad Addict.  A very good looking family, if I do say so myself.  :-)

From this...
Ultimate Porker day 1
To this...




Still BFF's with Kristi's super lovely puppy Keg.


Lots to update

Since tomorrow is Rich's 1 year birthday, I realized I have to do a catch up post before the "my puppy is awesome" post that is bound to come tomorrow.

Big things that have happened since I last wrote.  I had a lovely moonlit walk on the beach with a fireman.  Not as romantic as it sounds.  It started with a walk at one of my favorite places, More Mesa.  I've been so happy that Rich has been sensible enough to not try and go down the cliffs to the beach below, that I've really enjoyed walking along the super high, super steep cliffs.  Now, it's not the safest place, but in fairness, the cliffs are sandstone, so aside from a couple really bad spots, you'd just slide 100+ feet to the beach below.  I'd just taken a picture of the dogs posing over the cliffs, looked to see what I had and noticed I was missing Rich.  After calling for a minute or so, I looked down the cliff and there he was, 20 feet below me and stuck.  He definitely couldn't come up, so I realized the only way to get him was to go down to the beach.  A nice father and son, noticed me lying on my stomach talking to Rich and said they'd stay with him, until I could get to the beach.  So off I went.  I knew a way down to the beach that was closer than the stairs and jumped from a ledge only to land with my ankle and side of my knee touching at the same time.  I remember thinking, "that's not good", but kept going.  Starlet by this time had already found her way to the beach, but Vic decided the trail wasn't safe and he wasn't budging.  The father of the father/son duo showed up and said he'd stay with Vic, so off I went.  I spent the next 40 minutes or so, climbing up the cliff begging Rich to come down.  I made it within 10-15 feet of him, after repeated slides and so many thorns in my hands.  I think the last one finally worked it's way out today (this happened before Thanksgiving).  I then realized I was stuck, no reception on my phone, so Kristi started getting sent some now hysterical texts.  "I'm on the cliff at More Mesa trying to get Rich."  "Rich is stuck."  "Well, now we're both stuck."...  The sun started to go down, a super beautiful sunset and I had the bright idea to take a picture, when the ground went from under me.  I had enough time to shove my phone in my pocket and turn around, then slid down the cliff.  Meanwhile, the son had come down to the beach and called the fire department.  The father carried Vic to the beach, where Vic started having a party, which got Rich howling on the cliff.  Kristi received my texts when I hit the beach and made her way to where we were, following the firetruck.  A very nice fireman repelled down the cliff, got Rich and then came the rest of the way to me.

The knee is doing much better, still not 100%.  Rich was totally fine.  My really good dog that day was Starlet, she was perfect.

Next big news is on my most awesome boy Vic.  Truly, I don't see how I can ever have such a perfect match of a teammate again, agility is so easy for us.  At the Happy Dog trial, with me doped up on pain meds for my knee, Vic picked up his 50th Pairs leg, finishing his ADCH and LAA-Platinum.  It was more emotional for me than I expected, but that day, my good luck to have this amazing dog, this dog who has taken me farther than I ever imagined, all really hit me.  I am so lucky.  He'll finish this year Top 10 in Snooker, Gamblers and Standard, probably #14 or 15 in Jumpers.  Extra impressive since we haven't shown all that much and took 2 months off after Rich's ocd diagnosis (when my fears of a super expensive surgery were peaking).  Next year, I'm hoping we'll win the DAM with our awesome teammates Rosanne with Strafe and Anna with Nevian.  We'll be training to do our part.  I also want back in GP Finals.  Of course that's 2014, which is days away and we're still enjoying a break for the rest of the year.

A couple weeks after seeing Nancy, I had an "oh, she meant that was really important" and taught Rich to line up at my side.  It's been an amazing help, I'm now somewhat obsessed with him coming to heel positions and he likes the game.  I don't have much video of our training, lazy on my part, hopefully I'll pull out the camera on Sunday.  Before we went on break at Happy Dog, we had moved to adding an obstacle after the low dogwalk.  He rarely made a mistake without the obstacle, once it was added he has been challenged with the multi-tasking.  I'm still liking my plan for two behaviors on the dogwalk, but won't worry about teaching the 2o/2o, until we're done with the full height dogwalk.  Here's the last video I have of us training.  We've been working on his body awareness on jumps, so that's looking much better.  This video is the first time he's done 20" sequencing and the low dogwalk.

Then after another fun trip to Barb's in Portland, I was having this flash that I should go on a vacation.  It's been years and then I had a brighter idea, which was to take that vacation money and buy a camera.  I was supposed to teach the Monday after I returned, but windy conditions canceled classes, so I went to Best Buy and bought a Nikon D3200.  I love it!  So, new camera and the most time off I've had in over 7 years that wasn't weather related, means there are LOTS of pictures on FB.  And tomorrow Rich turns 1 year old, how the hell did that happen?

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Agility vacation and some RDW

Super fun 5 days, first a show up in Morgan Hill.  Not our best showing, but I really had no goals going in, other than repairing contacts and well, it showed in how we performed.  Lots of good moments, most of my "experimental handling" worked, but was followed by me analyzing it and making a mistake.  Vic was a good boy as always.  We followed the shows with a few days at Power Paws.  My plan for 2014 is to make the trek once every 2-3 months, I just learn so much every time I'm up there.  Nancy has been so great to me, Jim always so tolerant of my presence.  I really like having a coach, I really like feeling like I'm being coached and Nancy is just amazing.

In our practice, Vic will continue focusing on building his extension, so I expect most of our "handling" practice will be at Power Paws and in shows.  We'll see, if I get worried about being in sync, I'll change the course in the summer.  Vic and I really didn't miss a beat on the International stuff with the always accommodating Tuesday group and where we can make up time is in his extra strides, not our turns.  Rich played a little at Nancy's too.  She has convinced me that a better heel position will make our lives easier when the jump training really begins.  And it was suggested that I pull out the alphabet drills to help focus our training.  I'm leaning towards just doing channels to teach Rich how to weave when he turns a year or so.  I like the close jump work to refine weave entries, but actually training the weaves, seems like I can get more bang for my buck with the channels.  I think I may buy Silvia's weave video to see what she's doing with them.  RDW continues, we're now doing a 12" table and a tunnel to kick into it.  He seems to be getting it and I'm happy with what I'm seeing.  Since I'm too lazy to download video from the show, here's yesterday's session with the plank.

I still suspect Rich may need a intervention, but he's been 1990's Whitney Houston in training.  It's around the house that he can become 21st century Whitney.  The highlight this week was him stealing a nearly empty bottle of sriracha off the table and taking it upstairs.  At least I believe that's what happened, since Vic has never been a thief nor has he ever really played a bunch with plastic bottles.  But it was Vic that I thought was covered in blood and after minutes of panic, I smelled the "blood" and realized it was hot sauce.  Upon further searching, I found the now chewed up bottle on my bed, which means I also had hot sauced sheets.  Hard to believe my puppy turns 11 months next week...

Camp and questions about Rich's sobriety....

Power Paws Camp was awesome this year.  So much fun, a full camp, tons of great teams to play with and great people to hang out with.  I was teaching "Transitions", which was just a nice generalized topic that I chose so I could change my mind about the emphasis at the last minute.  ;-)  In the end, the teams kind of set the tone for what we'd be working on, which was a ton of pulls and f-turns (formerly known as post turns, but doesn't f-turn sound sexier?).  So many weak decel cues, dogs just weren't noticing that the handler had stopped moving forward.  Very interesting.  I don't know if I'll be asked to teach next year, but if I'm not, I'd like to think I'll go to participate.   It really was a great time and I think being a camper would be awesome!
Powerpaws 2013

Let me start the next portion of this post by saying, Vic is awesome as always and Starlet is happy.  Rich is great, he taught himself the full height teeter a couple weeks ago. I was setting cones and he kept doing the teeter, so I figured WTH, let's just go with it.  It's actually damn good.  We're also making good progress with the board work for the running dogwalk.  I've decided not to post video of it, because well, it's pretty boring, but if you want to see it, just ask.  A few weeks ago, Rich developed a new ocd behavior (and not the shoulders, he's still sound, looks great...need to find wood to knock on...), he loves hanging out behind tunnels while I teach.  If I'm not paying attention, he'll leave my side to find a nice tunnel to sit behind.  It's cute, but slightly crazy.  Which leads me to my question.  Does Rich have a drug problem?  I mean the type of energy he has, just isn't natural.  He's skinny like someone with a methamphetamine problem, seriously skinny, please don't call Animal Control skinny and a lot of the time won't eat his food.  His teeth are good, so maybe he doesn't have a stash hidden in my house, but I'm suspicious.   I was playing around with him on Friday, truly ground speed will not be an issue and once again I'm saying, "I REALLY need to get some structure to our training!"  We'll see Nancy in a little over a week, so hopefully I'll have a better plan after that.

We had the weekend off, so took the time to visit our two favorite bluffs.  More Mesa yesterday and today we went to Ellwood.  The weather is so nice, a little cold at night, but just gorgeous.  We do need rain, but if we aren't having rain, I'll take these beautiful days.
Vic More Mesa sunset
happy pack at bluffs

pretty Starlet bluffs
happy Rich at bluffs
running at the bluffs

long time no write

Quick update:

Vic is all qualified for 2014, so no more GPs (where I know I'm ripping him off contacts) or Steeplechase (I never run round 2 anyway) until March or April.  I'll keep entering the MC classes because they're fun and will be helping some baby dogs with Vic in Team (because I may need help for Rich later this year).  Cool story about our DAM leg.  Naci's Will was hurt in Standard.  The second class of the first day.  They finished, but Will was clearly broken.  Despite our 100 point lead at that point, Teri and I pulled our dogs from Snooker in an act of team solidarity.  We made breakfast plans for the next day and it was all okay.  Then we looked at the results and we'd only dropped to 5th, 60 points out of first.  Hmmmmm, okay, no breakfast, we ran Jumpers and figured if we both ran clean, Naci would get the call to come out and take part in the baton exchange for Relay (literally, just Naci, no Will, in the ring to hand off the baton).  We did, so he did and despite our 5 zeros, we earned the last qualifying spot.  Vic's Nationals team should be sorted out by the end of the day, it's definitely Strafe and Vic, the 3rd we'll know in a few hours.

Rich is now 10 months old.  He was off a couple days ago, I think he slipped in the mud.  Of course, I freaked out that it was his shoulder and checked it repeatedly (normal range of motion, no pain response), but I think it was his wrist.  He looked back to normal yesterday and seems totally fine today.  He's still growing, he's not a big boy, I joke that he's two dimensional, because he's so skinny, but sometimes he looks pretty tall.  Still, no concerns about him going over 21", but I look forward to getting a measurement on him one of these days.  We're still working on him not being terrified of the wicket (I have one next to his food bowels these days).

Starlet is her normal happy self.  Love that girl.

cute Rich 10-10
And here's one from Tuesday...