Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Reno Bound

Today I am heading to Boise to meet up with Mary, and tomorrow we are going to drive to Reno! Mary will be competing with her 7 year old Belgian Tervuren, "Dani," aka MACH Flashfire's Diamond Dancer XF CD RA EAC EJC WV-E NCC TN-E TG-O CGC.

This is Dani:

I am SO excited to be along for the ride! I think it's awesome that Idaho made it into the Top 10 states represented at the National, in terms of number of competitors.

If you're in Reno, look for me! I'll be the blonde girl in glasses wearing a white Idaho Agility t-shirt :P

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring has Sprung!

Today dawned (fairly) sunny and (pretty) warm, so we decided to take our stir-crazy dogs to the park for a little fetch action. They all had a great time, as usual!

Oh, and Ember is 17 weeks old today :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trial Report-- ICCKC AKC Agility, 3/16-18 2012

This past weekend, Cedar, Ember and I packed up and drove to Caldwell, Idaho for my kennel club's spring AKC agility trial. We had the opportunity to stay with our friend (and agility instructor), Mary Hunter, and had an absolute blast. Both Cedar and Ember traveled well, and I was especially impressed with Ember's patience and good behavior with a routine so different from her normal life at my house.

Overall, Cedar ran really well this weekend on some tough courses by judge Bob Long. We earned two Q's, both in Jumpers... which is surprising because it's been our worst event until this trial!

On Friday, we earned our last Open Jumpers Q with a first place!!! Cedar handled really well in this run, with only the one little bobble that (I think) was caused by me giving a late command for the jump right before the weave poles. But I managed to get her back around for just a fault (no back jump, yay!). She had awesome weave poles in this run.

We also had a really nice standard run on Friday. It was the first of three REALLY awesome, but Non-Qualifying Excellent Standard runs this weekend. Each day, we smoked the standard course except for one small, usually stupid error. I was pretty down about it on Saturday, but after some thought, I realized just how encouraged I should actually be. These courses are HARD. The fact that we are just small mistakes away from consistency is pretty dang good considering that we just moved up to Excellent a little bit ago. We only had one "trainwreck" run all weekend where we weren't on the same page at all, Jumpers on Saturday. That was just awful. You guys don't need to see that video ;)

Here is the video of our Excellent Standard run on Friday:

And our Excellent Standard run on Saturday:

And here's a video of my favorite run of the weekend (also our last run!), our first Excellent Jumpers Q:

I REALLY liked this run. Cedar showed me just how much she is maturing as a competitor at the weave poles, when my motion almost caused a refusal but Cedar, knowing her job, found the entry and absolutely NAILED those poles. What a good dog!

Ember had a really good time this weekend. She traveled like an experienced dog, was awesome in her crate at night AND in the car, didn't get carsick, pottied on command, and was just a dream overall. She got to come to the trial with me all three days, and met a TON of new people. Most, she was happy to meet, but she was acting pretty shy with some others. She must be in a fear period, because she's always been super friendly and outgoing. But even when she was scared, she would still give me good eye contact, sit, and do a hand touch. She would also take treats from the people she was "afraid" of. I think she has a really nice temperament. She also had fun staying at "Auntie Mary's" house. She has recently discovered the joys of fetch, and played that game with me for almost an hour on Saturday night. I learned that she also has quite the vertical leap ;)

I just love how much sass she has. I think she's going to be an absolute BLAST in agility :)

Cedar is not looking forward to the day when she has to share both life AND agility with her bratty little sister, however ;)

In a few weeks, I will be attending the AKC Agility Nationals with my good friend, Mary. I won't be competing, obviously, but I'd almost rather be a spectator anyhow. It will be so much fun cheering on all my friends that are going. I know quite a few people that qualified this year. And, because it's relatively close by (Reno, NV), most of them are going! I'm super excited!

Will you be attending the AKC Agility Nationals in Reno this year?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Things are going pretty well here. Cedar and I have an agility trial this weekend in Caldwell, Idaho. We are running in everything. I'm pretty excited! We will be staying with our friend and agility instructor, Mary Hunter. I'm really excited to get to spend some time with her. I think that Cedar and I are pretty ready for this trial, and I am looking forward to tackling some tough courses with my best girl dog!

Ember will be coming along, of course. I'm sure she'll have a great time socializing and soaking up the trial environment.

Speaking of Ember, she went to the vet today for her last puppy shots. She got another DHPP and also Rabies, so she's totally good to go until next year! She was friendly and confident enough in the lobby, but was pretty terrified in the exam room. I suppose that's okay... I hate the doctor, too! But she was well mannered for the exam and the shots, and met a few friendly strangers, so it wasn't a total negative experience.

Here's a video of Ember a few weeks ago, working on her tricks :)

Moss and I went herding on Sunday for the first time in about a month. Life has just gotten in the way, I guess! Both Moss and I were rusty, and the work, well, didn't go so hot. My whistling, which I've been working really hard on, was sadly worse than ever. Maybe worse than it's ever been. And, of course, the more I worried about it the worse it got. Also, apparently I've been reading Moss's temperament wrong his entire life. I think he's a lot more sensitive than I thought.

At one point, I had him so cranked down and demoralized that he was eating sheep poo. I felt--and still feel--horrible about that. And the worst part? I didn't even know that I was talking harshly to him until my friend Mary pointed it out. In my head, I was speaking in a normal, calm voice. Cripes. We did manage to get some good, fun work in at the end, so it wasn't all bad for Moss. But the whole rest of the day I struggled to hold back tears because I felt so guilty.

I really need to figure out a way to do this that doesn't make me stressed out and frustrated. It IS frustrating, though, because I have good dog sense, and good stock sense, but I can't seem to put the two together out on the field. I have no confidence, and to be honest, I feel like an idiot out there most of the time. A total idiot who will never really "get it." I'm afraid that I will ruin Moss, which would be a fucking shame because he is an INCREDIBLE dog. I don't appreciate him enough. I feel like I owe it to him to give him the best training possible, and am disappointed that I am unable, for whatever reason, to do so.

Now, let me be stress over herding has NOTHING to do with my friends who are currently helping me. They are so supportive and helpful that it makes me want to cry. I am SO grateful to have them both in my life.

Okay, feeling-sorry-for-myself moment over :) My personality is very much that of a "fixer"... if something is bothering me, I obsess about how to make it better. If you haven't guessed, relaxing, chilling out, not stressing over stuff can be hard for me ;). So... what can I do to fix this? The way I see it, I have a couple options:

1) Write down a list of goals so I have a clear path to follow to achieve them. A training plan, of sorts. Then, actually follow through with it. Go all out, and conquer the hell out of my fear and frustration, becoming calmer, more self-assured, and a better handler because of it.

2) Take a step back. Focus on agility, and go herding whenever I can. Not worry so much about progressing or keeping up with other people or trialing.

3) Quit. It's not like herding is my job... it's supposed to be something I do for fun in my free time. Life is too short to stress over something like this.

I am not a quitter by nature. But I can't keep on like I am now. I guess I have some thinking to do...

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Pix :P

I've been SO bad at updating this blog. Sorry :(

Anyways, to make it up to y'all, here are some photos of the dogs at the park yesterday. It was an absolutely gorgeous day outside!

It's amazing what some sunshine and a day out with the dogs can do for a person's soul :)
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