Thursday, December 30, 2010

We've Got Goalz

In a recent email, my agility instructor encouraged all of her students to start thinking about goals for the future for them and their dogs. As the New Year is rapidly approaching, this is pretty apropos :). So... without further ado, here are some of the things that I want to accomplish next year with Cedar and Moss.

I'll start with my Cedar girl. This past year has been a whirlwind of fun, learning, and lots of agility! I decided to take a break from stockwork with her this year and focus primarily on building our skills in agility, obedience, and freestyle. Cedar has excelled at all three, meeting and exceeding many of my previous goals. In 2011, I want to continue to build on what we have already learned and accomplish, while also pushing us as a team to conquer more advanced skills and challenges. Here are some specific goals:

1) Achieve more reliable, fast and confident weaves from a variety of entry positions. Be able to perform 12 poles regardless of handler position.
2) Get her more confident on the teeter in a wide range of situations. Continue to reinforce solid 2o/2o contact performance on A-Frame and Dog Walk.
3) Begin competing in AKC agility. Earn Novice, Open and Excellent titles in Standard, JWW, and FAST.
4) Continue competing in NADAC, and earn the rest of our Novice titles.
5) Build confidence on course (mainly for me!). Smooth out my handling with the goal of being able to clearly and cleanly guide my dog around the course with minimum extra motion and incorrect commands.
6) In obedience, earn her Rally Novice (RN) title, and maybe her Pre-Novice (PN) and Companion Dog (CD) obedience titles.
7) Get our competition/travel routine down.
8) Keep having fun, and avoid letting my ego take control of my thoughts and actions! Always remember to keep good sportsmanship and to make it fun for my dog :)

These are some of the things that I hope to accomplish with Cedar this year. I think we have some really exciting things ahead of us in 2011!

I have quite a few plans and hopes for Moss next year, too. This past year has mainly been spent focused on stockwork and letting him grow up. Now that he's two, and has a great training foundation, I look forward to doing some competing next year. Our first sheepdog trial of 2011 is in a little under a month. We will be running in Novice and Nursery. I'm pretty nervous about running Nursery because it will definitely stretch our abilities as a team, since neither of us have been doing this very long! I guess I need to dredge up some confidence :) In addition to herding, I also plan to do some agility with Moss next year. I think that he'll have a blast with it, and am really excited to see how he does :)

Anyways, here are some specific goals for he and I in 2011:

1) Qualify for the 2011 USBCHA Nursery Finals. They are in Carbondale, CO in 2011, and I really want to go!
2) Get used to competing in sheepdog trials in a variety of conditions and on different types of sheep. Gain more confidence as a handler and perfect whistles.
3) Work in different places, and (yes) on more different types of sheep.
4) Strengthen and maintain our trust in each other.
5) Learn more finesse with holding straight lines on the fetch and drive. Improve timing.
6) In agility, I'd like to begin building his foundation skills with the help of my instructor. Get him thinking about his body, increasing focus, teach 2o/2o contacts and get reliable weave pole performance. Channel his toy drive. Etc etc. :)
7) If he does well and progresses steadily, aim to compete at the summer or fall BARC NADAC trial in a few classes to expose him to the competitive environment.
8) Maintain a fun, upbeat attitude about training and competition. Get more comfortable with training two (very different) dogs at once.

All right... there ya go. This is some of the stuff I'm hoping to work on in the coming year with my dogs. I'm sure I will add to/adjust this list as the year goes on... as always.

What are your goals for 2011?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Updates (erm... Pupdates?)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas/holiday this year. We certainly did... with the exception of Mr. Moss, who developed a mysterious case of Conjunctivitis. He was laid up for about four days with two very swollen, red and gunky eyes. Poor dude... he was sick for his birthday!

Yes, Moss turned TWO years old on December 26th, the day after Christmas. I can't believe it! So, since he didn't get to do anything on his birthday (and we need to practice for an upcoming sheepdog trial), I went out to Dianne's and worked him today. Thankfully, my friend Kelsey was willing to take pictures for me, so I got to see how my new lens performed at taking dog pictures :D

Conclusion: I'm in love with my new lens :D

Before I got to work my dog, Dianne worked Moss's half brother, Reef. Reef looks more like Riggs (their dad) than any other one of his offspring I've seen. He's certainly a character :) Here are a few photos of Reef:

Here's a photo of one of Dianne's Bostons, Lacy :)

Moss worked really well today. I had to get on his case a bit about pace and taking the correct flanking commands, but overall he was awesome. His outruns are shaping up very nicely, and his driving is good. And in these pictures, he looks SO freakin' grown up! What a beefcake <3

That'll do, Moss!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Yo Clicker Freaks!

Just a reminder to enter our clicker contest.... I have a fabulous prize lined up, but no entries! Deadline has been extended to January 5th. Here is a quick reminder of the rules:

1)My plan is to present a specific clicker skills challenge on the blog once a month.
2) If you choose to accept, you'll have 2-3 weeks to teach your dog the challenge skill, video the finished trick, and post it (either through YouTube or some other video sharing site) to the Cedes of Change facebook page. If you're not on Facebook, email the link to the video to me (ElementBCs (at) and I will post it to the Facebook page.
3) After the entry time has passed, I will randomly choose a winner through a drawing. The winner will receive a secret fabulous be announced :D

As a reminder, this month's challenge is to teach your dog to blow bubbles under water. I really hope to get some entries!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Holidays from Cedes of Change

I'd like to take a moment to wish all my readers a VERY Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays!!!

I hope you all have a wonderful day and get the chance to spend some time with your loved ones. Give your pets a hug for me :)

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Special Christmas Message from Moss

Dear readers,

Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy, right? Spending time with your humans, getting new toys and treats, lounging around. This is all stuff I like.

You know what I DON'T like?

Wearing hats.

I hate anything to do with them. And I resent this whole "Christmas photo" thing, too. I know that Cedar and Scully will back me up on this.

It's not funny, it's not cute, and it's certainly NOT in the Christmas spirit!

Torture does not = festive. I won't stand for it.

Wait... are there treats involved?

Maybe it's not so bad.

But then again...


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

On Break... But Back to Work!

Thankfully not school work :)

Today I was finally able to go to Dianne's again to work Moss. My plan is to work him on sheep at least twice a week over Christmas vacation, to get in some good training time and also in preparation for the Big Freeze Stock Dog Trial at the end of January. I am planning on running him in Novice and (*gulp*) Nursery.

Today, Moss really impressed me... especially considering we haven't worked in over a month. He was a little overeager; a bit tighter on his flanks and more amped up than usual. However, I was able to figure out what I needed to do to correct him and we figured things out. We're both a little rusty, but motivated :) I ran him twice. The first time, we worked mainly on outruns and I worked hard at getting him to kick out on the comebye side and calm down on the fetch. Young dog stuff. For the second work, Dianne had us work on driving; I had him driving a square around me, with me standing in the center. Because I had him switch directions several times, we got to work on inside flanks as well as holding straight lines at a variety of angles. It was good practice for me as well as him.

But he's such a good boy... very honest and trustworthy. I am excited to see what his future holds.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Recipe: Chicken Caesar Pasta with Mushrooms and Broccoli

Again, I apologize for not posting much lately. I know I haven't been that interesting. Fortunately, finals are almost over and I'll have a month or so where I can breathe again.

While I haven't been doing much with the dogs lately, due to the snow, I have been doing a lot of cooking. I've had an idea bouncing around my head for a few weeks now for a dish that is kind of a deconstructed version of one of my favorite things: chicken caesar salad. I thought it would be delicious converted to a pasta dish with a warm, cheesy caesar cream sauce.

Last night, I decided to make it, and it was delicious! I would totally recommend it... with one warning. Make sure to use a very high quality caesar dressing, or make your own. This would not have been nearly as good, or complex in flavor, with a cheaper/lower quality dressing. I used Brianna's Homestyle Asiago Caeasar, which I bought at my local grocery store. The following recipe is good for two-three (generous) helpings.

What You'll Need:

7 oz (1/2 box) rotini pasta (or penne)
2 chicken breasts, sliced (or one large)
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 cups broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/3 cup good quality caesar dressing
1/4 cup cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1 dash thyme
Salt and pepper, to taste

How To Make It:

1) Slice the chicken, place in a large plastic bag with caesar dressing, garlic salt, and a bit of pepper. Set aside to marinate until other ingredients are ready.

2) Set some water on to boil for the pasta. Splash some olive oil in a separate pan and heat to medium. Add the garlic, and sautee until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.

3) Add the chicken, cooking until done, about 10 minutes or so, depending on thickness. Remove to a separate plate.

4) Add the broccoli and mushrooms to the pan, adding a little butter the olive oil and chicken juices, if needed. Season with a little salt and pepper, and sautee veggies until almost tender, about 5-8 minutes. Remove veggies to a separate plate (can go with chicken, if needed).

5) Reduce heat to medium-low. Add in cream and caesar dressing, stir to combine. Heat until just starting to simmer, then reduce heat and add parmesan and thyme. Stir until melted.

6) Add chicken and veggies back into sauce, stir to combine and heat. Serve over bed of rotini pasta with extra parmesan sprinkled over the top.

Enjoy! This would be great with asparagus or green beans, too. Some bread and a side salad would compliment this dish well.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Introducing... The Inaugeral Clicker Challenge!

Howdy, all you clicker trainers out there. . . . I've got a challenge for you!

I'm hoping to make this a regular segment on Cedes of Change. My idea is this:

Once a month, I will pose a specific clicker-training challenge to my readers. Here's how it works.

1) I will present a specific clicker skills challenge on the blog.
2) If you choose to accept, you'll have 2-3 weeks to teach your dog the challenge skill, video the finished trick, and post it (either through YouTube or some other video sharing site) to the Cedes of Change facebook page. If you're not on Facebook, email the link to the video to me (ElementBCs (at) and I will post it to the Facebook page.
3) After the entry time has passed, I will randomly choose a winner through a drawing. The winner will receive a secret prize.

Sound fun?

For the first challenge, I thought I would go easy on y'all :)

I'd like you to teach your dog to blow bubbles under water. Here's a short video of Cedar learning this skill, shot a few years ago.

Go wild! I look forward to seeing your entries. The last day to enter is Christmas eve, 12/24/10. Trust me, the prize is worth it :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Perfection, a Response

The topic of this post is different than what I usually write about. In fact, I hardly mention dogs at all. But I read something this morning that really got to me.

This blog post, titled "Perfection" and written by Single Dad Laughing, really made me stop and think about a lot of things, like how I treat myself, and how I treat other people.

The main idea (or thesis statement, for all you English composition-minded people) of this post is that the illusion of "perfection"--which we all cling to/are affected by in some way--is not only completely unobtainable, but seriously destructive. As the article mentions, it can even lead otherwise normal people to harm themselves and even commit suicide.

This is unacceptable. And it needs to change.

Why is it that we strive towards something we can never achieve? Why do we constantly compare ourselves to others, when we should really be working towards becoming the best version of ourselves?

So many times I have been afraid to face my fears, afraid of the inevitable hardship and rejection, without considering that I might be better off in the long run. The drive to not appear to "fail" in front of others (or yourself) is strong, at least for me. The problem is, the more I try to hold onto that illusion of perfection, the more self-destructive I become. Part of me thinks, how can I possibly ever be happy when all I can think about are my shortcomings?

After reading "Perfection," I feel like a part of me has been reawakened. I am going to make an effort to be less passive about things. Trust myself. Try to love myself. Consider it a work in progress :)

How has the disease of "perfection" affected YOU?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Let It Snow!

No, that's not dandruff on Moss's head.

It's snow.

And we have a lot of it here... at least for Boise.

Here he is standing on the concrete pad in our back yard. Now, Moss is not a small dog. He's probably 23" at the shoulder. So we have about a foot of snow, I'd say. Pretty cool... but also not cool :-P

I'll try and go out and get some "real" pictures later when the light is a bit better, but for now, iPhone pics will have to do :)
Related Posts with Thumbnails