Sunday, October 25, 2009

Once in a lifetime...

This weekend I had a once in a lifetime experience with a once in a lifetime dog....

We had a four day trial in Paducah Ky. I had been pretty sick earlier in the week and really thought that I was not going to be able to do the trial. But massive doses of meds got me back on my feet and we took off on Thursday morning. To our surprise, we started off with a double Q and two first place ribbons. As the weekend progressed, we were unstoppable... by Sunday we were eight for eight... FOUR double Q's, FIVE first place, two second place and one third. And in the 2nd and 3rd place finishes we were with 1 second of the first place dog.

This kind of thing will probably never happen again. But then again, a dog like Maggie will probably never happen again, either.

I love you big girl!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If I HAD to choose...

Nicole, over on Borderblog ( came up with an interesting idea. If you HAD to choose one dog from every AKC group (not counting your current or previous dogs) what would it be? So I decided to give it a try:

Sporting: This is a hard one for me, because I love the spaniels. All of them. But, I guess I'll go with the Sussex Spaniel. Maybe I can keep up with his short little legs.

Hound: I'm not much of a hound person, but Basenji's alway interested me.

Working: Greater Swiss Mountain Dog.

Terriers: Hard to pick just one, because I like a lot of terriers. But I'm going with Miniature Bull Terrier... how can you not LOVE that face?

Toy: Thank goodness that Cavalier King Charles are in the toy group or I would be stuck. I'm not all that crazy about the toy breeds... partly because it is harder to bend down for training and partly because people treat them like babies.

Non-sporting: Shiba Inu. They always remind me of minature akitas

Herding: Sorry in advance to all my Aussie and Sheltie friends, but shaving Mopsy reminds me how tired I am of hair. So I'm going for an Austrailian Cattle Dog.
So, now it is YOUR turn... if you need some help remembering what breeds are in what groups, zip over to and click on the "breeds" tab. That will give you a tab on the left that says "breeds by group" and you pick the groups you want to see.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Mopsy Princess

You might recall this photo I posted a few months ago of my old girl, Mopsy. This photo was taken after she was freshly bathed and combed out... not a simple task. This is made even more difficult this time of year with the leaves she drags in that get stuck in her hair. And at her age, I admit that I feel bad making her sit through the de-tangling and the endless combing so I have been threatening to shave her down.

Last night I sat down to pick out her tangles and found several HUGE mats with little sticks in them. Instead of picking at them, I just picked up the scissors and SNIP! the mat was gone! So she had a couple little bald spots... she had enough coat to cover it. But then I found another mat and another and before you know it, her beautiful long coat was impossible to fix.

SO, my beautiful little princess now looks like a sheep right after shearing. But she has been anxious to snuggle with me all day. I keep telling myself that she knows I'm sick and is cuddling, but the fact is that she is probably cold....

Sorry Mopsy... we'll let it grow back.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Hey Julian!* I think I found the perfect girl for you!


Monday, October 12, 2009

Breaking bad habits

Nothing makes you want to rewind the clock and start over like agility. We often leave a course and say "I want a do-over!" Of course, there are no "do-overs" but it sure would be nice just to fix your mistake.
And for those of us that are training our first dogs, how many times have we wished we could rewind the clock to our novice training days and correct bad habits. Our friend Addie had the best contacts in the business and watching her stretch those long legs back to the contact while she leaned forward waiting for the release was a beautiful sight. Notice I say "was." As we progressed and started running for time with a little bit of nervousness thrown in, Addie's mom let Addie slide a little here and there. She would hit the contact, so she didn't lose her "Q," but she didn't stop... she'd keep moving to the next obstacle. Because she was still "Q-ing" Addie was allowed to continue the course. But this bad habit grew and grew until Addie decided that she not only didn't have to stop, she could jump for the highest height, ignoring that critical yellow area on the obstacle.
So Addie and her mom are trying to rewind the clock and insist on contacts and a release, every time- or else Addie leaves the ring... "no stay, no play" Imagine how difficult that is... you've paid for the show, moved two tons of stuff to the show site, waited your turn and then your dog hits the contact, but doesn't stay. You can still Q....and the little devil on your shoulder says "you can fix this problem in training-go on!" and more than almost anything, you want to finish your run. This is the decision that separates the real competitors for those that just complain that their dog never Q's and blame it on everyone but themselves.
On a happier note, Addie got to run her first complete standard course in a long while. She hit every contact! Even though there were other problems that kept her from that Q, it was quite a wonderful thing to see. I'm sure that they have not put this problem to bed forever, but at least they see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Next time, I'll tell you about Maggie's bad habit....

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Double Q

We earned our sixth double Q on Saturday and I've attached the video of the standard run below. At the very end you'll notice a crazy handling method. All of the dogs in front of us had an off course, taking the two jumps after the A-frame. The problem is that they were only supposed to take one jump and then turn. So, I gave Maggie a stay and led out to the point where she needed to turn. It ate up a lot of time on the clock, but as you can see, it worked! A couple of other people eventually Q'd as well, some of them using our crazy technique.

Monday, October 5, 2009

This weekend's agility trial

This weekend, Maggie and I were at Lake St. Louis for an agility trial. She ran really well, but was beginning to do her start line creep again. She gets SO excited to run, that she does not want to stay where I left her. The problem was compounded this weekend because the club that sponsored the event had fabric covers on their winged jumps, which blocked her vision. So, if I left her on a stay to lead out a few jumps, there were times when she could not see me and she would stand up or creep up until she could see me again, rather than wait for my "okay" to go. We were still running well, but I realized that every time I let her run after that, I was reinforcing the idea that is was okay to do.
Saturday afternoon the club had a new event that the AKC is experimenting with called RAD (Run and Done- meant to go very fast). So I put my money down, led out three jumps, turned around and there she was, creeping up! So I walked back to her, said "wrong! Bad stay!" told the judge "thank you" and walked her right back to her crate. Her head hung low and she was in shock that she didn't get to run the course. But fortunately she's a smart girl, because the rest of the weekend, she stayed on that startline without moving a muscle. It was worth every penny of the $10 entry fee.

(photo from Sunday, click on it to see a larger version and how she tucks her front feet under her chin when she jumps)