Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Cool Coats

Years ago at a dog show I bought two shammy cool coats for the hot summer days. The coats stay cold for hours on the dogs and help keep them from overheating. They were expensive and the company stopped carrying them at the shows. Waiting for ringtime in the summer be it conformation, agility or obedience the dogs are definately more willing to work when they are not hot. I was bemoaning the fact the coats were no longer available to Bryn's mom Marie. She immediately said she could buy car shammies at Walmart for a fraction of the cost I spent on the orginal coats. A few other supplies, velcro and ribbon and in a short time she made Echo her own cool coat.

Coming home from work today it was 105 degrees at 5:30PM. Now I have three dogs, three coats and three happy dogs.
Thank you Marie, Bryn and Walmart.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fun Weekend

This past weekend was a busy weekend packed with agility(Whisper) and conformation(Lyric and Echo). The day started off early with agility and later in the day conformation. Whisper had an excellent day Saturday in agility. She QQed that day but a problem is becoming evident. Although she holds her contacts reliably in training, when she gets excited she jumps off and barely touches them. In the standard run she was suppose to hold until I could front cross and send to a jump. It didn't work out that way since she jumped off, it was messy but qualifying. She was fast enough to be 21 seconds under course time but I would rather be alittle slower and better about the contacts.

She ran very well in jumpers and qualified. Her weavepole entrances are super.

Conformation didn't go as well as neither Lyric or Echo won neither Breed or Best Op.

The following day she barely made the dog walk contact and popped the A frame contact-not a big suprise but otherwise her run was excellent, fast and responsive. I decided in the Jumpers run since we couldn't QQ I would push the limits alittle in running, talk less, more distance handling-basically not play it safe so much. Although I talked more than I thought the run was awesome-until the last jump. I was told I slowed down at the last jump and she looked over to see why and hence knocked the bar. I don't see it on the video so am not sure what really happened. But we had a blast with that run.

Conformation was also good in that Lyric won the Breed but unfortunately did nothing in the group.

All in all a busy fun weekend for all the dogs.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Darby's First Real Job(by Lisa Stine)

You know your kids are growing up when they get their first babysitting job. Someone trusts your kid to watch their (littler) kid. This Labor day Darby met a baby greyhound.

He was in awe, "I didn't know they came this small!". Yes you did, buddy, it wasn't so long ago YOU were that small. They're pretty little at 8 weeks old. But Darby didn't care, she was cute and fun, and best of all....Stripey like him! He showed her all his toys.

He held them up just high enough that she couldn't get them. She didn't care, playing with the big dogs is FUN!

Darby is a very gentle and tolerant dog. He shares his toys willingly (after the initial 'ha ha ha, look what I have and you don't' game)

The puppy bounced and tumbled and streaked, Darby Crash was soooooo careful with her. He wasn't tickled with the razor sharp puppy teeth, or the body slams she would execute on him, but he was as patient as a Saint (to my absolute delight). My other two greyhounds, Andretti and D-Square have very good puppy tolerance temperaments. Andretti will investigate, play a little, and then find a nice quiet kennel to remove himself to. Dee plays very gently, and eventually seeks higher ground. Q will race and play and then join Dee in her spot on the bed or couch. Darby had never been allowed to show what his temperament would be until Monday. He is an excellent babysitter, from what H tells me this is directly descended from Merlin, who was also an exceptionally gentle and tolerant boy.

After all the other dogs had retreated from the storm of an 8 week old puppy and the sun went down, Darby was left 'holding the bag'. She refused to leave him alone, which resulted in a slow motion chase around the fire hearth in the living room. Poor Darby wasn't sure why this little thing wouldn't leave him alone, so his solution was to keep moving. Around and around and around, each time he'd pass by me he'd look up and grin a big smile as if to say "Help please? It won't stop, okay, gotta keep moving see you on the next pass" as she bounced along behind him dragging a toy or grabbing at his tail. Eventually she wore down and, as 8 week old puppies are prone to do, collapsed in a little puppy heap dead to the world. Only then Darby lay down, about 10 feet from her, and took a nap himself. Babysitting is an exhausting gig, especially when you're barely out of puppyhood yourself!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Echo's Agility Match

Echo and I entered her first agility match after the labor day weekend shows. She did quite well, working with me and not as distracted as she often is. In agility classes she will sometimes run over to people sitting on the sidelines watching or waiting their turn-say hi and run back onto the field. The agility match was in the afternoon but still plenty of people and distractions ringside. I wasn't sure if she would stay with me through the entire 20 obstacle course. It was a blistering hot 95+ heatwave when she ran. I would like to see faster weavepoles and more intensity but overall I was pleased with her performance.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Whisper's Agility Trials

After taking the summer off from agility trials Whisper and I entered a three day Labor Day weekend trial. Unfortunately it was a blistering hot outdoor trial. By midday it was at least 95 on the field. Our first time back in the agility ring we not only qualified but won a huge Jumpers class and QQed that day. Although the runs/handling was rusty as can be seen from our first day runs we both came out feeling good about working together. During her standard run her A frame contact is weak(she runs off although she is suppose to do a 2on/2off position). Although I am not always good at directing her correctly to the next obstacle, at least I am getting to be a good enough handler to figure out how to get out of unexpected situations during the runs. I love her standard weave pole entrance.

The next day we NQed by a cats whisker with both runs. In the jumpers run she knocked a bar with her tail. In the standard run she went to the table and went to the back to jump on. She does not like the table because of the position required. Hopefully with the new AKC rule change to no position on the table she will learn that she can stand.

Our last day we earned another 1st place in Jumpers ,QQed again and picked up 82 points more towards our MACH.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Darby's Vacation Adventures (by Lisa Stine)

Another Type of Puppy Test.....this time at 20 months!

Darby Crash has always been an brave and outgoing dog, he is the fastest learning and most adaptive dog I've ever had. Recently he was truly put to the test. Art the Husband and I took the Jeeps and the dogs into the high Sierra for a huge gathering of off-road enthusiasts. It was a weekend of trail runs with the Jeeps and camping in the mountains. Darby has been camping before, but he's never run a trail with me. My Jeep has been modified specifically for my dogs; the passenger seat has been removed and a dog bed takes it's place. A leash is always attached to the front dash, always attached to the dog and the doors are always on the vehicle when we are on any paved road.

Off-road the doors come off so I can see where my tires are on the trail. For Darby's safety I got some tubular steel, mesh covered trail doors. We don't move over 2 or 3 miles per hour on a trail, tops, so combined with the low center of gravity dog bed in the deep well where the passenger seat used to be and the dash leash it's a pretty safe, scenic and cushy ride.

The trail was fun, but dry and dusty.

And if it wasn't dusty and dirty enough, Darby fixed things to his satisfaction. He was so dirty at one point I couldn't see his stripes.

Thank you Donna for the portable waterbottle, it was filled and emptied several times on this trip. It didn't leak and it fit wherever there was room! Perfect!!

Darby Crash was the best behaved dog on the trail, and made himself the center of attention at every rest stop. The best place to be the center of attention is pooped out in the middle of everyone's conversation circle. And why get up to be petted, when they'll come to you? Smart dog.

Each day the trail run would last around 6 hours. There were lots of stops to rest. There was a creek that needed exploring, with kids to play with and lots of sticks to retrieve. What nobody told him is that it got real deep in spots, but that didn't matter when it came to getting the sticks. Lyric loves to chase sticks as well, I think he got that from her.

There was plenty of grass to bounce through and leaves that needed to be taken off trees.

And plenty of shady spots to relax and soak up as much dirt as his fur would safely hold. For the record, I think that must be somewhere around 20lb., approximately.

It was a fun weekend. It was, as I explained to folks who asked, what show dogs do on the weekends they aren't at dog shows. They go out and get dirty!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tanner Tunnels

Tanner has being doing tunnels since he was a pup. Regulation agility tunnels can be between 22-26 inches tall. Tanner is 32 inches tall. However, just like in the dog door post, Tanner doesn't seem concerned about the size difference.

You can see that I throw a toy for Tanner to keep him driving straight through the tunnel. If I had an adult dog Tanner's size that I wanted to teach this behavior to, I would start with a hula hoop. I would want to dog to be comfortable to scrunching down to get through the hoop before I moved on.

The next step would be to have them go through a tunnel that is completely scrunched up and more like a thick hula hoop than a tunnel. I would gradually lengthen the tunnel while keeping a high rate of reinforcement up for the dog. Keeping training sessions short so that the dog is never tired of the activity is also important!