Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weekend Fun

Well, I'm officially done with my first week of my second-to-last semester of grad school! Woo hoo!!!!

The weather has been nice and cool for the past few days. I love that slight bite to the air... it means that fall is on the way! Fall is my favorite season by far. I love everything about it... except that winter comes right after, haha.

The dogs are happy, too. Last night, I sat in my front yard and took a few photos.

Cedar really wanted to bark at a loose dog that trotted by:

But she also got to do some obedience training:

What she *really* thinks of the dumbbell:

Moss got to play some fetch and pose for the camera, because, well... he doesn't know as much cool "party trick" stuff as Cedar does:

He's so handsome <3

I love my collie dogs. They are the only thing keeping me sane right now.

Moss goes back into sheepdog training in six days. I'm going to miss him SO much :(

Wouldn't you miss his cute little face?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Have you ever had a lot that you want to say, but no words to express how you're feeling? That's kind of where I am right now... so I apologize for any rambling thoughts and awkward grammar.

Monday of this week was my first day back in school since May. After three months of glorious, thought-free vacation, to be honest, I am not quite ready to be back yet. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work that's waiting for me, being my thesis year and all.

See this lady?

This is Frances Burney.

Some people refer to her as Fanny.

She wrote some pretty amazing stuff in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

I'm writing my thesis about a few of her novels. Needless to say, we're going to be spending a LOT of time together for the next 7-8 months or so ;)

I'm already feeling overwhelmed. This semester, I need to at least get the first chapter of my thesis written. I think that I can get it done, but it's still scary. I mean, if I don't get it done, I don't graduate. I just need to not procrastinate and write it a little at a time... which is not my usual style, to say the least. I tend to be a last minute, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants writer. I work well under pressure. That just won't work in this situation.

Yesterday was also my first day of my second year teaching English composition classes for Boise State University. I am teaching two classes this fall as part of my Teaching Assistantship, and will teach one next spring. So far, I am pretty impressed by my new "crop" of students. They seem respectful and friendly, without being overly chatty. Plus, being as the majority of them are first-year college students/incoming freshman, they still have what I like to call "the fear." They are still unsure about how to act in college/in front of college professors, so they don't *usually* cause as much trouble or talk as much sass :). I was relieved to find that I was nowhere near as nervous (hah, alliteration) talking in front of the class as I was last year. Last year, it was almost crippling. My hands and voice would shake, and I had trouble speaking. As someone who typically doesn't have problems public speaking, it was horrifying. Soooo.... I'm glad that I seem to have passed that stage. :)

The dogs are doing well. My new set of 24" competition weave poles came in the mail yesterday and I can't wait to try 'em out! Cedar and I had three days of agility this weekend, which was super fun. The highlight of the weekend, for me, was Monday night's class. We worked a really tight, super tough standard course, and Cedar did her weaves correctly EVERY time! Twelve poles!!!! I was so excited. I do need to work harder on proofing start lines and shifting her focus back to me. In recent weeks she has been getting more and more amped about agility (not that she ever wasn't... but she is even MORE excited about it now, if you can imagine) and as a result, has become quite obstacle-focused. So I need to do some work on her responsiveness.

Moss is doing great, as always. He's such a good boy. He's been looking less gangly in recent weeks, so I think he's starting to fill out. What a handsome guy he is. He goes back into sheepdog training next week in preparation for this coming USBCHA Nursery trial season. We are hoping to get him qualified for the National Finals as they are in Colorado next year. He definitely has the talent and natural ability... I just need to find a way to finance it! :)

Scully is doing well, too. She is leaving to go live w/ the hubby in WA next weekend after he moves into a new (dog-friendly) place. I think the move will be good for both of them. Joe needs some company, and Scully really prefers to be an only dog. :)

All righty... I need to get to work. Thanks for reading :)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

OMGZ Tunnels!

Today at practice we worked a NADAC-style Touch N Go course. For those who don't know, Touch N Go consists only of A-frames, Dog Walks, tunnels, and hoops. There are no jumps.

But there are lots...

And lots...

And lots...

Of tunnels!

It was a great opportunity to work on my handling because without jumps in the way, Cedar was haulin' butt even more than usual :-P. Overall, I was very pleased with how well she did today, especially with doing the contact obstacles at speed.

Practice was crowded today because everyone is gearing up for our local NADAC trial next weekend. I decided not to enter Cedar and wait until we're completely ready. I like to err on the side of caution when it comes to competition... I'd rather go into the ring feeling over-prepared than worried about what might happen. :)

We ran the course twice one way, and then did it backwards-- which was tough! I had a hard time remembering where we were headed at times. I was worried that she might not "see" the hoops and run past them, but she did awesome-- even at a distance!

As long as I told her where to go, she was more than happy to work out away from me. I was very pleased to see that. I really feel like Cedar and I have become a much stronger team in recent weeks.

Agility has been really great for me and Cedar's relationship. I've learned to trust her more, and she has learned to listen better and work confidently under pressure and distraction.

Agility makes Cedar happy.

It makes me happy, too.

Things we need to work on:
- Finish training/proofing the weaves
- Tunnel discrimination (she is quite the tunnel sucker... so I need to break her fixation a bit with what Mary likes to call "tunnel aversion therapy," LOL)
- Speeding up her teeter performance
- Solidifying contact (2o2o) performance at speed.
- Smooth out my handling and practice thinking further ahead so that I can give Cedar cues/commands on time.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Not in the writing mood... but here are some pictures.

Cedar rocks in agility :)

Like I said, I'm not much in the writing mood, but thought y'all would like to see some photos of Cedar doing what she does best!

My instructor is in love with her and thinks that we could go really far in the sport, which is awesome.

We are *so* close to being ready to compete. Just need to tighten up my handling and solidify her contact behaviors and weaves. But she's doing great! It's been so much fun learning to handle her and to feel us improving.

Here's a video from our latest lesson:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Our First Award!!!!!

Thanks so much to The Circus Dog for our very first blog award!!!! It is much appreciated :)

Here are the rules for receiving this award.
1) Thank the person who gave you the award
2) Share 7 things about yourself
3) Pass the award along to 15 bloggers who you have recently discoved and you think are fantastic
4) Contact the bloggers you picked and let them know about the award

Hmm... 7 things about me? Yeesh...

1) My favorite kind of pizza is Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach with pesto sauce instead of tomato.

2) I've been training agility off-and-on for about twelve years, but have never competed in an actual trial--yet!

3) Cedar gets freaked out by the sound of my sheepdog whistle.

4) I'm overwhelmed by the number of directions my life could take me.

5) I've been to England, Scotland, Wales, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. I'm going back to the UK next year for a long-anticipated trip with my mom! We're going to spend some time in London, Cornwall and Wales. I can't wait!

6) My car is a 2007 Toyota RAV-4. His name is The Spaniard, because he's Barcelona Red. And yes, I name and assign genders to my cars.

7) I used to be really active in conformation showing (like the dog shows on TV) and competed at the AKC/Eukanuba Invitational and the Westminster Kennel Club dog shows.

My list of 15:

Greyhounds CAN Sit
Life With 5 Dogs
Just Another Dog Blog
The Teacher's Pets
The (Mis)adventures of Sage
My Brown Newfies
The Life of Eva The Sheltie
A Spicy Boy, a Cat, and My Fat Ass
Hound Girl
Exercise Finished
Charlie the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Moss has something to say.

Moss: I'm the boss.

Yeah, Moss... you'd like to think so, wouldn't you?

.... um, no.



I played a little fetch with the dogs this morning. They were feeling pretty saucy.

Cedar and Moss get a little, um, intense when they play ball together.

Sometimes I feel a little bit like this:

Moss was feeling handsome.

Even though when toys are concerned, he goes a little bit Gollum.

"My... precious..."

Cedar just wanted to get the show on the road.

A few minutes later, she got her head stuck in the fence. (Don't worry, she was fine :) )

That will be all.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Some photos from our agility classes this weekend:

Contrary to what this pic shows, her weaves are still pretty much broken :( But I just ordered some 24" poles so that should help her gain more confidence. We only have 20"ers at home. I guess I should stop saying that she's "broken" when she probably never fully understood the obstacle in the first place. So... it's a work in progress.

She really is doing well on her "turn" command and will confidently switch directions and turn away from me to take another obstacle :)

Thanks to my new exercise regimen, I've lost 10 lbs and have been able to run a lot faster with Cedar recently. That, combined with better timing, is starting to make things a little easier for us. I think my handling is getting a bit smoother, and some things are starting to make more sense. It's really neat to see AND feel us getting better as a team. Cedar is more responsive (in general) and listens very well. She's lightning fast and never drops bars. She cues off my body language so well, sometimes it's like she reads my mind. I know that we are just beginning, but in my newbie opinion, I think we could really go places someday. That is a great feeling.

You guys are probably getting sick of hearing it, but I love this dog :)

And The Winner Is...


If Courtney's dog, Johnny suddenly learned to speak, the first thing that he would say is:

"Can we go jump off the dock again?"

Perhaps Johnny will enjoy his new toys in the water.... Chuckit balls float, ya know :)


**Courtney, please send me an email at ASAP to let me know where to send your prize!**

Many thanks to our esteemed "judge" Cedar, who picked her winner from an outstanding field of entries ;)

It was a hard decision...

But she ultimately decided that one particular crumpled up piece of paper smelled the best.

She seems confident in her choice, don't you think?
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