Friday, October 28, 2011

A Few Cedar Pix

Here are a few shots of Cedar, taken today. We're loving the crisp, sunny weather!

We <3 Fall :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Been Awhile

I'm sorry for being so lax with posting on the blog this year. School and life have really gotten in the way of blogging fun!

In school news, I only have seven more weeks left until I'm DONE. I really truly cannot wait. I'm definitely ready to move on to the next phase of my life! My classes are going well, and are both pretty interesting... but I am just ready to be done with school. I've been here long enough :)

In dog news, Cedes and I had a trial last weekend, our local AKC club's fall trial, which is held in conjunction with their fall dog shows/obedience and rally trials. I entered Cedar in both rally and agility. She finished her Rally Novice (RN) title on Thursday with a score of 95 and 2nd place :) So... Cedar earned her RN in three straight trials with scores of 92, 100 and 95. Not bad for her first experience with obedience!

The agility trial was a lot of fun. I tried really hard to keep a positive attitude and stay relaxed, and it worked. I was a lot less stressed this weekend, even though we maintained our tradition of only Q'ing twice a weekend in AKC ;).

But in good news, Cedar finished her OA title on Friday with a blazing fast run and a first place! We are now in Excellent in Standard and FAST. Still waiting on those Open Jumpers Q's, though... ugh. We had some great runs this weekend, even those that we didn't Q. She did her weave poles perfectly in all but one run, which I was very proud of!

Here is a video of one of my favorite runs of the weekend, even though it was an NQ:

I was really pleased with all the stuff we did well last weekend. Cedar and I were, for the most part, on the same page and didn't have any WTF moments, except for the one run where she messed up her weave poles. She just gets in that "omgomgimustgofast" mindset sometimes and can't weave; it's hard to get her out of it when she's like that. But she was a good girl overall this weekend. We ended up with Q's in standard and time 2 beat. We would have Q'd both runs on Sunday (Exc Std and Open Jumpers), but she dropped a bar in both. That was a bummer, but she ran really well in both runs and we finished the weekend with smiles on our faces.

This weekend I had my usual class on Saturday-practice on Sunday schedule. We ran a course from Cynosport this year, I believe. Cedar was fantastic. Today, my friend Jan brought her camera and snapped some pictures of us (and the other dogs, too LOL). Here are some of my favorites:


Sunday, October 9, 2011

Ketschker If You Can :-P

Cedes and I returned to agility this weekend after a three week break, first for class on Saturday, and then for practice on Sunday. It feels good to be back!

(Since I don't have any new pictures of us in agility at the moment, here's a completely unrelated one of Cedar staring at a parrot at the Richland dog shows last weekend. LOL)

Anyways... agility class. We worked a jumpers course that Mary ran last weekend at the Pocatello, ID trials. It was designed by my good friend Jan Skurzynski, who was also the judge. It was a really fun course with some significant challenges and tricky spots for fast dogs. We ran this course on both Saturday and Sunday.

On Saturday, we were definitely rusty after taking so much time off. Plus, I'm still sick, and have no voice, and the grass was really wet and slick, so we were having some problems with timing and stuff. But all in all, it was a good class. We ran the whole course, then worked on pieces of it to focus on specific skills. My classmates helped with some weave pole proofing exercises too, which I really appreciated.

By Sunday (today I guess, LOL) we had our act together. I felt like our teamwork was really good and for the most part, her weaves were, too. We ran the course cleanly several times, then moved on to other stuff. I worked on her contacts for a bit in preparation for the trial this weekend, did some other little drills, worked some distance, and worked more on her weaves. I got the opportunity to run a friend's JRT, "Izzy" through the course as well, which was fun. It's definitely different running a small dog!

Then, Jan (who had come to practice to work her awesome red BC girl, Blazer) mentioned the Ketschker turn, which she had seen done at a trial that past weekend. She set up a jump grid and taught us all how to do it. For those that don't know what a Ketschker is, AgilityNerd describes it as a "reverse front cross to blind cross." Here's a link to a video of someone demonstrating the move:

Basically, you turn into the dog as they commit to the jump, and pick them up with the same hand as the takeoff side. Sounds confusing, but in practice, it works great! I was amazed at some of the tight turns I was able to get out of Cedar. I think it works because your body language is so clear to the dog. With this move, your feet and shoulders are facing the direction you want to go as the dog is landing. Another good thing about the Ketschker has to do with the dog's path. With a front cross, if you are not spot on with your timing and body position, there is a big danger of back jumping. With the Ketschker, the line you draw for the dog's path is different (I think of it as a "U" instead of a "V") and should avoid a lot of back jumping. I know I was able to get some really tricky wraps and tight turns out of Cedar that would not have worked nearly as well with a front or other kind of cross.

So... I was glad to learn this move today. It's an interesting and useful skill to have in my agility toolbox! I'm excited to practice it more :)

We do have a trial next weekend, my local kennel club's fall trials. Three days of agility 20 minutes from my house :) I am going to try really hard to run with a different attitude and take things less seriously. It is a privilege to be able to run my Cedar girl. So many people I know have lost dogs or can no longer play the game with them due to death, illness, and injury. I need to think less about competition and more about how amazing and joyful it is to run with her. So what if we don't get the weave poles? They will come with time and practice.

I think this break did us good :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moss vs. the Flappy Floatie

For my first toy review, I thought I'd take a look at Moss's latest victim, the Flappy Floatie, a toy that--in spite of being designated as "not for aggressive chewers--actually lasted quite a long time.

I bought this toy originally (the large size, I believe) at TJ Maxx because I was looking for a toy that Moss could use for dock diving. Our foray into that event was short, but the toy was a hit. We took it with us to the river for a good part of the summer, and into the fall. It floated well, was easily visible to both us and to the dogs, and was the perfect size.

Unfortunately, the Flappy Floatie met an unfortunate end a few weeks ago, sustaining a fatal ripping injury to the main part of the toy. But, I liked it so much that I went out and bought a new one, but in a bigger size this time. It was a good toy for occasional games of fetch, but I know it would not survive regular rotation as a "house toy." But... it worked very well for the purpose for which I bought it.

So, all in all, I give this toy a positive review. Here's my breakdown:

Durability -- 3
Interest -- 4
Visual Appeal --4
Fun --5
Value --5

In an ideal world, I would like a similarly designed toy but using tougher fabric. I am not sure whether this would compromise the "floatability" factor, though.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Segment: Moss vs (Insert Toy Name Here)

Moss is, ahem, not a friend to toys. If it has something that can be chewed off, torn, ripped, or otherwise destroyed, he will find it.

Needless to say, we end up going through lots of toys because he destroys them so quickly.

So, this morning, when thinking of things to do with this blog, I had an idea. Moss can't be the only dog that's hard on toys. Each week, I am going to do a review of a dog toy. I will score the toy from 1 (poor) to 5 (awesome) in the following categories:

Visual Appeal

I will post the first toy review tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Rally-ing We Will Go :)

This weekend is the Columbia Basin Dog Training Club & Richland Kennel Club dog shows. These are small-ish shows, outside in a really pretty park by the river. I thought it would be a great show for Cedar's debut in Rally, and I was right! Yesterday, she scored a 92, which was good enough for 3rd place in a big Novice B class. She was distracted for about the first half of our run, sniffing and staring at Joe and the judge, but once she settled in and focused, she was perfect. Here she is posing with her rosette:

Today, she was ON. She had great focus, and we had a snappy, clean, and pretty run. We were totally connected and she gave me her best. I love when she's like this... makes training fun :) To my surprise, we got a PERFECT SCORE of 100, which was good for FIRST place :D Apparently this was the first time the judge had ever given a 100. I was so proud of her. We're entered in another rally trial in a couple weeks, so hopefully we'll finish our title there :)

This weekend was a lot of fun, not very stressful, and good for confidence and team building, which is what I hoped for :) Rally really is a great program for that. Good girl, Cedes!
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