Sunday, May 27, 2012

Contest Finalists

We have a lot to catch up on, you and I!

I have a couple more fun posts planned for this coming week, but for the sake of organization and focus, here is a list of all the entries for our contest! These are in order of submission. I will announce who won this week, so stay tuned!

1. Joe: "I just K-9 torpedoed Scully and Cedes and I am so happy about it!"
2: SprinklerBandit: "Jumping babies. PETA. Horse Slaughter. Draw reins. What, bitch?"
3. Nancy K: "HEY! I'm the star of this blog!!!"
4. Priscilla: "Hey hey hey!!! Why are you training Moss and Cedar? Don't you know I am the STAR puppy here???"
5. Rinsie: "MOOOOOOOOOM! MOM! MOM! MOM! Hi."
6. Bicontinental Dachshund: "Are you serious? Dogs don't get to vote for President?!"
7. Claire: "You know, right now I'm about as intelligent as your average 2 year old but just give me a few months....I'll do your finances for you."
8. BlackWhite: "I’m adopted? … Naaaaah!"
9. Patty: "I can learn that trick in mmmm...30 seconds!"
10. Catalina: "Eeeeverybody loves Emberrrr!"

I think that's everyone! Thanks for your entries, and like I said, the winner will be announced this week.

Happy Memorial Day!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Spokane Dog Training Club AKC Agility Trial-- May 11-13 2012

This past weekend, Joe and I loaded up all four dogs and headed to Nine Mile Falls, WA for three days of AKC agility. We ended up earning just one Q (in Excellent Jumpers), but really, our Q rate does not reflect just how well we actually did. This weekend, Cedar showed me that we are truly ready for Excellent-level competition. For the first time since we got into that class, I felt confident in myself and my dog when we stepped up to the start line. Cedar showed maturity and focus that I didn't think she was capable of. I made an effort to run more aggressively, and found out that I really CAN make it where I need to go, if I'm only willing to try.

So, while many competitors might consider a one-Q weekend a "failure," I count it as a full-on success.

On Friday, we were still suffering from "NADAC fallout" LOL. Whenever we run a NADAC trial, if our next trial is a different venue, we almost always have trouble the first day. Cedar LOVES the wide open spaces and distance of NADAC, and likes to go wide as a result. I find that I handle a LOT sloppier in NADAC than in AKC or USDAA as well. So, it took us a run and a half to get back in the groove ;) Our first run, Standard, was great except for some strangeness in the beginning which resulted in a missed weave entry. I cued her for a turn into the weave poles but she blasted past me like she wanted to visit the judge (???). But other than that, it was a fun and smooth run. Our next run, Jumpers, was my fault that we NQ'd. I messed her up and sent her off course in the beginning, but the second half was great and she had perfect weave poles. Doh!

On Saturday, I messed up a good Standard run by blocking her entrance to the weaves like a total boss. Then, she knocked the double after taking off about two strides too early. Oh well, it was still a really nice run on a difficult course! In Jumpers, she missed a weave entry we've (hah, no pun intended) practiced a hundred times at home and at class. Again, oh well.

Sunday started off well with a Q in Jumpers! Yay! She handled really well for me all day, and we would have had a triple Q if not for dropped bars in Standard and T2B. Dang! That Standard run is probably my favorite from the entire weekend. She was awesome and I felt that I handled her well.

Not only did we Q in Jumpers, but we also won first place and the "High in Class" award, which means we had the fastest time out of all the Excellent A dogs running in Jumpers on that day. Yay! That award earned us a gift certificate good for $10 off an entry for one of SDTC's future trials. What a great idea! We will definitely be returning to this trial next year.

Here is a video of our qualifying Jumpers run on Sunday. I really liked how I handled the sequence from the tunnel to the jump after the weave poles. And check out that tunnel call-off!

Here is the video of our Standard run on Sunday. I am SO proud of Cedar for nailing that weave entry! At least 50% of the Excellent dogs, and 75% of the Open dogs (who had that same section in their course) missed it. What a good dog I have!

Speaking of good dogs, Ember was a total rockstar puppy this weekend, as usual. She traveled well (except for refusing to pee Friday night... ugh!) and was great just hanging out ringside. She never got overstimulated or too excited to focus on me. She had a blast showing off all her tricks to people and I was glad to see that she could perform in public!

What a great little puppy.... even though she is kind of a bully stick hoarder ;)

Overall, it was a great weekend at an extremely well-run trial. The location was beautiful, and we had great weather, good judges (including our friend Jan Skurzynski from Boise!) and wonderful courses that were challenging without being impossible or unsafe. We had a blast hanging out with friends and I had the privilege of getting to run in another trial with my best girl dog, who seems to be okay after a lameness scare. I think we got better and smoother with every run, and I never looked at a course map and thought, "wow, there is NO WAY I can do this!" For me and Cedezz, that is success ;) If not for three knocked bars and two missed weave entries this weekend, we would have been 6/7 Q's. We only had one "disaster handling" run, haha. Again, success!

Who says that a weekend has to be all about the Q's?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

On Heart Dogs

This morning I read this post by fellow dog blogger Jenna over at Jenna and Snickers. It got me thinking about my own heart dog, Cedar.

Like Jenna, I never really believed in or understood the term "heart dog" before I got my very own. I thought it was something "those" dog owners said about their "furkids" and all that nonsense. Every dog I've ever owned has been special to me in some way. Sure, some I have had more connection with than others. I have had lots of dogs I liked, a few "favorite" dogs, but only one heart dog.

It was clear to me and everyone who knew us that practically from the get-go, Cedar and I had a bond that ran deeper than just a normal dog-human relationship. We can almost read each others' thoughts. She is by my side constantly. That, I think, is what makes a dog a "heart dog" and not just a "favorite dog." That little something extra. We just "get" each other. Cedar is not an easy dog to "get," but again maybe I'm not easy to read either. For us, it works.

Being so close has not always been beneficial to our working relationship. Cedar feeds off my emotions in a MAJOR way, and that has caused us lots of problems in herding, and some in agility, especially when we were just getting started. Agility has given her a lot of confidence, and she is now comfortable working further away from me. We don't always get along (I think we frustrate each other a lot, actually, lol) but we understand each other. She has pushed me to be a better dog owner, more intuitive trainer, and a more patient person. She makes my heart full.

To me, that is a heart dog.

I wondered whether I should post this or not, because this blog is about more than just one dog. Not sure that I need to even say this, but I love ALL of my dogs dearly. They ALL bring something special to my life. My sweet Ember, the child-prodigy, with her ever-wagging tail and big puppy grin. Moss, the happy gentle giant, who has been oh-so-patient with me as we learn this herding thing together. Even Scully... who is the best lap dog anyone could ask for... that is, except for the farts.

Without them, I would be nothing.

Do YOU have, or have you had a heart dog? I would love to hear your stories. Feel free to share in the comments section! :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Contest Deadline Extended!

We have some really good captions entered in the contest.... but the problem is, there needs to be MORE of them!

Ember agrees.

Sooooo..... I've decided to extend the deadline for the contest for another two weeks. Now, y'all have until May 20th to get your entries in!

Here is the post describing the contest, what you could win, and all that other fun stuff. Submit your entry in the comments section for this post, that post, or on our Facebook page.

If you don't, the Ember Monster will come haunt your dreams ;)

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

BARC Spring NADAC Trial-- 4/27-4/29/12


What a weekend.

I almost don't even know where to start :)

Last weekend, we attended BARC's spring NADAC trial in Caldwell, ID. I had been kind of dragging my feet about going to this trial for some reason. Guess I didn't feel too inspired or something. But dang, am I glad we went!

Cedar and I ended up qualifing in 13 out of 17 runs. This is the most consistent we've ever been at any trial--ever! On top of that awesome Q rate, we also earned all first places and finished FOUR titles: EJC (elite jumpers), OAC (open regular), TG-N (novice touch n go), and TN-N (novice tunnelers). I don't know if we are just getting better, or if I just had more confidence in my handling, but something was just clicking this weekend. It felt great. Cedar's name is now BonniDune Norwegian Wood RN STDs OA OAJ OF OAC EJC HP-N NCC TG-N TN-N :D

On Friday, we qualified in our first run, Elite Jumpers, to finish our EJC title. It was kind of a messy run on my part, but Cedar held it together and saved my butt. This was a trend that continued with several other runs this weekend, LOL. She is really showing me some great things in trials this year. She's matured a LOT and is turning into an even more amazing dog than I already knew she was. On the first day, we Q'd in 5/6 runs, finishing our EJC and OAC titles. We narrowly missed going 6/6.... and it was totally my fault. I messed us up in Chances... AFTER we nailed a really difficult send! Ugh! Oh well, such is life ;)

Our first day's loot:

Ribbons for our OAC title :P

Normally, Cedezz and I do really well one day of a trial, and do okay the rest of the weekend (but don't Q as much). Well... we broke the tradition this weekend, going 4 for 5 on Saturday and finishing our Novice Touch N Go title (TG-N)!!! Cedar won both rounds of Elite Jumpers, the second round of Elite Regular (our first day in that class), and the first round of Touch N Go for her title. Because it was late, and we had finished our title already, I decided to scratch the second round of TNG and go home. I thought it would be better to get some rest :P

Plus, Ember needed to get out and burn off some steam ;) She got to play with her "uncle," Nick... my friend Mary's GIANT Belgian Sheepdog puppy. He is 13 months old and about 26.5" tall... but is a gentle giant. They had great fun romping around Mary's yard :)

My happy girl <3 She is just under 18" at the withers and 22 lbs at 5 months old. Any guesses on how big she'll be? I'm guessing 19" and about 30 lbs.

By the time Sunday's trial rolled around, I was freakin' exhausted. In spite of my fatigue (and Cedar's.... she was definitely tired LOL), we managed to Q in 4/6 runs and finish our Novice Tunnelers title! In Tunnelers round 2, we ended up having the fastest time out of any team, any level :)

Overall, I feel good about this trial. I feel like we have lots of room for improvement, though. I could be a lot tighter and less sloppy in my handling, that's for sure. And we still need to keep working those weave poles. We have an AKC trial in Spokane, WA next weekend (May 11-13) that I'm really looking forward to. But we have some work to do before then ;)

Oh! Also, my good friend Mary, who owns Moss's brother, Toss, competed in this trial with her Jack Russell Terrier, Kitty. It was her first trial ever, and she did absolutely FANTASTIC, earning 7 Q's out of 12 runs. I was SO proud of them! :)

Anyways.... here are a few videos of my favorite runs from the weekend:

Novice Tunnelers Round 2... new TN-N and fastest time all levels :D

Open Regular Round 2 on Friday.... new OAC title and first place! Love her independent weave poles.

Elite Regular Round 2 on Sunday.... love everything about this til the very very end when I almost messed her up.... but we saved it! haha

Open Chances Round 2 on Sunday... smooth sailing with a 12 second run!

Open Hoopers on Friday... fastest time all levels! (15-some seconds :P)

Yay Cedezz!

This picture makes me smile :)

Don't forget to enter our blog contest HERE! It ends May 6th, so get your captions in!
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