Monday, December 29, 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, Christmas came and went in a blur, like always. Every year I start thinking about the holidays early....I just never actually *do* much about them until the last minute. We don't do a ton of gifts, I really have most everything I need and I spend money through out the year on myself and the dogs, so there's no need to go overboard.

The pugs got a sheepskin rug to lie on in front of the fire, some kneecap bones to chew on while laying on their new rug, some wheat free chicken meatball treats, new skate board to play on and Abby got a mouse toy, which she already chewed off one of his feet.

It was a nice, relaxing day spent eating way too much, but now I feel like I haven't exercised in six months and gained 5 pounds....back to work!!

We have not a single trial planned...not one! We're training as much as possible though. I found a weekly class that's not bad and we're training with Donna a lot of weekends. I'm also planning to go to a foundation handling skills seminar both taught by Donna and again directly from Linda Mecklenburg. I want to brush up on understanding exactly why what works for me, works and really try to dig at what's happening when things go wrong. Kittie's a dog that I can practically run in my sleep. We just have a connection and a great understanding for what each other wants and when more information is just comes together so effortlessly. Abby gives me no wiggle room, at all! She needs much more information from me, what I assume is obvious is not to her, so I really owe it to her to pick apart every little thing that I am and am not doing. I also want to brush up on foundation skills for the new pup that will be joining us sooner or later.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Susan Garrett's Blog

Susan Garrett has a new blog, sure it's fairly self serving, but she does answer a lot of questions. People are always asking me about training weave poles and there's loads of info about it. I'm not a Susan G. freak by any means, but I do *love* her 2 X 2 method for training weave poles.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Crown Classic, your pugs are so skinny and the invitational

We ventured off to Cleveland for 2 days of the 4 day all breed agility, obedience, conformation, shop til you drop giant circus that is otherwise known as The Crown Classic.....and we had a blast! I don't always really enjoy big events with *lots* of spectators, but it was fun this year. It's not being watched that bothers me, when I get in the ring, it's all about me and my dog. It's walking around and aswering the same questions all day long and the non-stop "can I pet your dog?" I understand people go to dog shows to interact with different breeds and ask questions about them, but the dogs entered are living creatures and it's a long day and for most dogs it's just too much for them. I used to just say yes, but I'm a big meanie now and I look out for my dogs best interest.

Kittie ran two days and Abby ran one. Kittie was wild in her first run of the weekend. She's little miss steady, who just won't drive ahead of me even enough for me to rear cross.....she apparently is getting in touch with her inner wild child! and drove straight ahead and took 2 off course jumps. She was having fun and I couldn't help but laugh after the intial shock! She Q and took 3rd in Jww that day, on Sunday she had a very nice standard run and took 1st! 2nd place was a full 10 seconds slower!! JWW was a nice run, but she took down the 2nd bar, oh well...... Kittie was happy and focused in a very loud and chaotic environment, so I have to be happy with that.
Abby's runs had a common theme. They both started and ended really well, with a bit of a disaster in the middle. Lots to be happy about in them and I got her head back both times and had very nice finishes. Abby recieved lots of compliments about her speed too.

Weave poles were a problem in both runs. Where we're taking classes now they always just use 6 poles and at first I whined enough that they put out 12, but lately I've just been going with the flow and it goes to show you that you need to train on 12 poles. It drives me crazy when they use 6 in classes. I guess I'm going to have to go back to being the official pain in the ass at class and insist on 12.

One really annoying thing that came up a couple of times was nasty comments about my dogs' weights. People are so used to seeing fat pugs that they don't comprehend pugs can be thin. I tried explaining that they are athletes and you certainly woudn't expect to see obese runners or blank stares. Oh well, I have 9 1/2 year old pug that can still run circles around 2 year old pugs.

I did spend some time at the papillon ring, watching breed competiton and I'm in love. A pap will definitely be joining us sometime in the new year.

I want to congratulate everyone who qualified for and competed at the invitational. Amy and her pug Zoro just seem to be getting better and better. They Q n 3 out of 4 runs and were up there in the results! Big congratulations to Angie, who won the 8" class with her toy fox terrier Duncan & the 16" class with her rat terrier Dylan. Just amazing and Duncan is only 3.
Watch thier finals runs here: Dylan Duncan

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kittie video

This is one of my favorite agility videos of Kittie, one of those runs that just feels so perfect and effortless. I never could get it to upload to youtube. It's from my favorite outdoor trial at Westmoreland Obedience training club, the same trial that she earned her MACH at a year later.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Our Favorite Things

Oprah has her favorite things show every year. This is our favorite things, just like Oprah.....except it's mostly dog related....and no will be going home with thousands of dollars worth of loot.

Stella and Chewy's Carnivore Crunch. This is one of my favorite treats to use at trials before the pugs go in the ring, especially when we're traveling and I don't want to bring a lot of things that need to be refrigerated. There's no grains and they break up really, really tiny.

The "Tug it" toy. This has been my secret weapon lately with Kittie. she's the type of dog that if you have her out ringside for too long, she starts to just wilt away, this toy has been great for her, she loves to tug, but never would play ringside, just toss a chicken wing in this and she's a tugging maniac, oblivious to how long she's waiting to get in the ring or to any of the commotion going on around her.

Horse Blanket Style Dog Coats I have a thing for well made coats, that actually fit dogs and are functional, not just cute (you won't ever catch my crew wearing party dresses or badly fitting sweaters, nope, no way) unless of course it's for a contest and we can win a prize or something.Like these: Most came from but Kittie had to have pink, so hers came from also has some nice coats. The pack may be getting some lighter weight fleece coats from there.

My Pillow Pet Bed, from Annie's Sweatshop Nice and cozy for the Winter.

Here's something not for the dogs! North Face Fleece Pants I restisted buying these for years, fawn pugs & black fleece just don't go together, and I'm cheap, so I was waiting and waiting for these to go on sale, but they almost never do. I went ahead and got a pair earlier this year, figuring I'd wear them at home or at trials, and who isn't covered in dog hair at trials? I was suprised that their fur didn't overly cling to these pants...and who cares, I'm already the crazy pug lady. At least I'll be warm and comfy.

Just about anything made by Janis at She customs makes harnesses, collars, martingales and just about anything you can come up with, and if you're difficult like me and come up with all sorts of different ideas she'll even do that and when you don't explain yourself well and want all sorts of changes made, she'll do that too. Can't say enough good things about Janis.

Canine Massage, from Maria Duthie. Everytime I get a chance, my dogs get worked on by Maria. We're lucky enough to live in her neck of the woods. She's amazing. If you can't get to Maria in person her video is a great substitute.

Friday, December 5, 2008

AKC Agility Nationals

What a great email to read!! Especially after the results we've been having lately.

CONGRATULATIONS! You have qualified for AKC’s National Agility Championship in 2009.

National Agility Championship home web page:

The premium list for AKC’s 13th National Agility Championship and International State Team Tournament has become available online. To obtain a copy, go to the web page listed above, then select “Premium List” from the navigation menu to the left.

I need to decide in the upcoming weeks if we're going to go this year. I'm skipping the invitational that's held next weekend, so maybe this will be my year to go to nationals. We're certainly not going to win, or likely even make the finals, but it would be nice to go once. Kittie's going to be 7 in just a couple of weeks. She's certainly not old, but she's old enough that I don't know how much longer she'll be seriously competing and who knows where nationals will be held in 2010. It's in N. Carolina (just like this years pdca nationals), so it's very do able drive.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Lead Outs

I've been thinking about the subject of lead outs a lot lately. Should you lead out, should you run with your dog, what do you do when the dog who's supposed to be sitting and anxiously waiting for their release springs into action the second you move an about the dog that sits nicely, waits until they're released only to consistenly drop the first bar....or even worse *run around the first obstacle to get to you as quick as possible*?

I'll start by saying I'm huge fan of running with your dog from the start line. It's fun!! Contrary to what many think it is a skill in itself and it does require practice to do it effectively and there are ways to get a bit ahead of your dog when starting with them. You can use a "sling shot" start where you start with the first jump *behind* you and send your dog around you and to the first jump. Since the dog will be on the outside it gives you an advantage and you can move a bit ahead as your dog's taking off for the first jump. You can ask your dog to run around you as you take off running or you can do what I do with miss Kittie, hold the dog with your hand against their chest slightly behind you and push them back gently as you start. This will help to rev up the dog too. Like in this run:

Leads Outs are good too and I don't think "the dog won't stay" is ever good reason to choose to run with your dog. Run with your dog if you're fast enough to keep up with them, if they're a softer dog that will shut down if left alone or if it's a dog that really needs your oomph to get and keep them going. You should make that decision for your dog based on both of your needs.

So what to do when they don't stay? This is the one and only time I've picked a dog up and taken them off course. That is so hard to do. You wait all day for your brief moment in the ring and it's over before it starts.....of course if you're expecting your dog to stay and they break, it's probably over anyway! I took Abby off course one time. Her stay was proofed, she held 100% of the time in class, in the park, at home, at run thrus in many locations and had been holding her stay in trials as well. I could take off running in any direction, do jumping jacks, call her name or anything else and she would not self release. It only took one time, so I think it can work, but only if you know your dog really, truely understands and love, love, loves agility. I wasn't harsh with her, just "awwww, Abby what did you do that for, now you don't even get to run"

Abby did pick up a bad habit of sometimes holding her stay, but running straight past obstacles to come to me. I have no idea how to fix this one. Any ideas?? Lately I've been just doing very short lead outs and luckily the courses have been the kind where a big lead out won't help much anyway, but I want my 3 jump lead out back! She did good in class on Wednesday, so mabe I won't be a chicken at the next trial. See, she started out with a great lead out, she looks so tiny sitting all by herself!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Some turkey and some agility

After the Thanksgiving feast and bit of relaxing on Friday we went to the YABTC trial.

Kittie ran both days and dropped lots and lots of bars. She started the weekend off running nice and fast and ended it running s-l-o-w! She hates dropping bars, so she slows down, but it doesn't really help. She did get another standard Q again with a 2nd place.

It's weird I'm simultaneously thinking about moving Kittie up to 12" and down to preferred 4" The bar knocking just gets so depressing. She started off jumping at 12" and didn't seem like she knocked anywhere near as many bars then, she wasn't as fast at 12" either. Her jumping form is completely different at 12" it's very rounded, at 8" she jumps very flat. I think she likes 8" jumps better though. I may run her in class this week at 12" just to see what happens.

Abby just ran on Sunday. She did pretty well in JWW, kind of slow for her and she ran around one jump, but otherwise did well. Standard was a wild ride. This time she was moving!! Hit her contacts, stayed on the table and payed attention well, but she came out of the weaves twice, that's not really like her. I think the bar setter who was sitting close to the weaves was worrying little Abby girl. She dropped a bar somewhere in the run as well as an off course.

Both dogs got lots of turkey before and after all their runs!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tamarack Lake trial Nov. 23

We went to the Tamarack Lake trial for just one day last weekend. We were entered two days, but it's held north of here, near Lake Erie and they get tons of snow and wouldn't you know it, of course there was a storm predicted for Friday night straight through Saturday. I'm not a big fan of driving in snow, so we just skipped it the first day and drove up Sunday morning.

Abby had a fantastic JWW run on a very tough course, Kittie did great too, but NQ because of.....a dropped bar, what else?! Abby's standard run was a wee bit of a disaster, she pretty much did her own thing, running past obvious obstacles and darting behind me to take others. I just can't consistently figure that little muchkin out! She's amazing when she's on, but you never know what to expect. Kittie Q and took 2nd in standard! YAY Kittie!! We've had such a dry spell lately...all because of dropped bars.

We're going to a trial this weekend and then again in mid December and then we *may* take some time off.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

New Collars

The dogs are getting some new collars for Winter. Aren't they great?!

Janis, who runs made these just for us. She's the best. I always come up with something totally different, than what she ordinarily offers and it's like she reads my mind. Kittie & Abby have custom made martingale leads for agilty from Janis too. She always keeps my crew looking good!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Bichon Frise, seriously?

I've been walking dogs for seven or so years now, lots and lots of dogs. Dogs of all shapes & sizes, some are well trained and others not so much. I've never been drug by a big dog, I've felt less control than I would have liked, but never out of control.

I've been bruised up, just by big dogs running into me. A lab border collie mix once came running full force at me and tried to *leap* into my arms....that was interesting, but I came out of that unharmed. My ankle got split open this summer when a dog's nail scraped it, but I've never been completely taken out....until yesterday, by a bichon frise!

The trails are wet, muddy and covered in leaves right now. I have a new dog in the little dog group, Oliver. He's a cutie, but has zero training, so he's staying on leash and I'm basically teaching him how to walk nicely, stopping and waiting just wasn't working for this guy, so I shortened up the lead so he had enough that it could slack, but not enough to go lunging way ahead or wrap himself behind me. I'm bending over to give him cookies, almost constantly right now.

Still following? Wet, muddy leaves, crazy untrained little dog named Oliver. So where does the bichon come in? That's Jake, he's an odd little dog. He's on anti anxiety medication, has attacked many big dogs when he's with his mom, but somehow morphs into this little puddle of a dog when he's with me, he's not happy, he's worried and truly looks on the verge of a panic attack, but never does anything really wrong either and yes his owner knows he's like this.

So, I'm walking on the muddy leaves, just as I turned to give Oliver his "good boy, walking nicely on your leash cookie" Jake starts pulling like a lunatic, since I wasn't on solid ground and I was already off balance from feeding Oliver, I got pulled straight forward....into a tree that had fallen on the trail. I skinned my face! right between my eyes is a giant swollen goose egg lump and it's completely scraped up. I look like a total freak, yay......all from a bichon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Abby!

Abby turned the big 03 yesterday ! What better way to celebrate than with some cupcakes from our favorite bakery.
Really? Cupcakes for me?!!!!!

I have to act civilized, I *am* 3 now. Patiently waiting.....

Cupcake? What cupcake? I can wait all day.

I didn't even notice, there was a cupcake on my paw, really....

Mmmmmm, being 3 sure tastes good.

Everyone had cupcakes. The pugs all had peanutbutter and we had smores.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Abby's bloodwork results

I got Abby's bloodwork results back the other day and everything is normal. My vet said she's in great shape! So, we're just going to wait and watch for any more seizures. Hopefully this doesn't amount to anything!

I feel better after talking to some people at the trial this weekend. It seems like a lot of dogs out there have had a seizure or two or three or more and they're perfectly fine, not on medication, not limited in any way by it.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Worst Part About My Job

Andrew died last night.

He's the handsome tall dog to the right.

Andrew was one of my favorite dogs. I walked him 5 days a week for probably close to 5 years now. He was a rescue, with some health & behavioral issues. He did not like other dogs at all when I first started walking him, but we worked through it and he was a great dog, got along with every dog I introduced him to over the years. The mailman was his only enemy.

His health problems did not go away as easily as his behavior issues did. He had addisons diesease and a problem where the muscles in his face were just deteriorating. I don't understand it untirely, but from what I was told eventually he wouldn't be able to eat. That's not what caused his death though, over the past few months Andrew had a several times where he would vomit and then not want to eat, sometimes he would stay in his crate and he just shivered/shook. I'm assuming he was in pain. His owner, Alice took him to the vet several times, but usually he was back to his perky, bouncy self by the time he saw the vet, so nothing was ever figured out.

Last night, he had another one of those spells. Vomitting, shaking, hiding. Alice took him to the emergency vet and he immediately needed CPR, he was dying as they got there. Turned out he was bleeding internally and had tumors through out his internal organs. Sorry, I don't have all the details or fully understand it all. I'm just sad I won't be seeeing this dog anymore.

Monday, November 10, 2008

AX Abby!!

Woohoo!! Abby earned her AX (excellent agility) title this weekend, doing it in style taking 1st place too! She had a great time too, actually beat out some world team contenders...who knew!?

Abby's a tough little cookie to figure out. When she's really there, not too over the top or worried about something in the environment at a trial she's amazing, but it's tough to get and keep her at the right arousal level. So often, she's literally shaking before she can get in the ring. I can always tell when she's way past her ideal arousal level because she stops blinking. I do think she gets worried about the environment around her, especially at trials where it's crowded near the rings, so I had anyone and everyone feed Abby throughout the day on Sunday and I'm working my way through the exercises in "Control Unleashed" and marking her looking at other dogs (calmly of course) it seemed to really help. I also decided to ditch a lead out with her. I'm not sure if that's going to be a permanent change, or just something to play around with, I'm thinking about it and plan to write more about lead outs in the near future. Anway, I'm just thrilled with this little girl!

CLANG, CLANG!!! aaaawwwww. That was the sound of Kittie's runs this weekend. All beautiful, every single one of them would have been 1st place finishes, but every single one had at least one bar down. Ugh, the points we lost this weekend! I'm not sure I'm going to run Kittie anymore at this particular building, the floor is a bit slick and there are big colums in the building and the course is set around those colums, so in just about every course there are jumps, where I disappear from her sight for a split second behind the colums, and every single time the bar came down and then she starts to worry, and she stutter steps and flings herself at the jumps becuase she's really trying to keep the bars up, but doesn't know how to fix it. Poor kid! This building isn't good for her mental health, but I'm not sure if not running her there, if I take Abby to run would be good for her either.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Assistance Cow cow?

Abby and I were chatting last night, mostly talking about how she's *not* going to do this ever again. It scares everyone way too much ! Abby had a suggestion though, maybe she could keep her favorite cow toy, "cow cow" (the toy she goes crazy over, but will kill in mere minutes and then try to eat) with her all the time.....he could be her seizure alert cow, maybe get him his own service cow vest, he could come shopping with her, to the park, agility even fly on airplanes with Abby.

What do you think?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Stella's 5th Neuro Episode

This very closely resembles what happened, only much shorter. Like I wrote before the first two times lasted literally just a couple of seconds. I'm not sure how long this lasted today because I just walked in and found her like this. She doesn't try to move as much as this dog though.


OK, I'm starting to calm down a bit. Something happened this morning, I'm not sure what.

Abby had been hanging out in our bed this morning while I was showering, getting ready to leave for the day and what not, like she does most mornings. I walked into the bedroom to find her laying on her side on the floor, stiff, eyes huge and filled with terror. Her body was warm and clammy feeling. I picked her up and she stayed in the same position she was in on the floor, her front legs held straight out in front of her. Gradually she started to look a bit more normal, so I placed her on the ground and she took a couple of steps, but everything was completely uncoordinated, each leg was moving on it's own.

It's been about a half an hour and she seems pretty much herself. she's always kind of quiet in the morning, (she's not a morning dog), she had breakfast, sat on my lap a while and is hanging out in the big dog bed with the others right now.

She's had two similar spells, but I chalked them up to extreme over excitement/fear. One was just after a really good agility run. Just as she crossed the finish she stiffened up and her eyes glazed over just a split second and then she was back to normal. I though she either may have had a slight cramp (had her massaged that day) or was just *way* over stimulated. A second time this happened after Kittie attacked her in the park totally out of nowhere. She stiffened up for a second and took a couple of very uncoordinated steps. I carried her for a minute and then she was fine. I thought Kittie may have hurt her or caused her to strain her back or she was just very frightened. I was pretty upset with Kittie and Abby hates when I shout.

I thought she was just very sensitive to fear, excitement etc....she's always been sort of like a little cartoon, every emotional response is way over the top and extremely animated, now I don't know what to do.....

Sunday, November 2, 2008

USDAA coverage

Wow, the coverage really has been great. Great runs!! The little 8" performance standard and speed jumping winner, "Taboo" is just an amazing little papillon and she just turned 2 yrs old!

We haven't done as much usdaa, partly because there just aren't as many trials locally, but also because of the jump heights, it's pretty cool to see the performance divison given so much attention. It's not treated as the retirement class, the way the preferred class often is in AKC, although it's a bit different since AKC's jump height are more relaxed.

I'm looking forward to watching more tonight

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bunch of Agility Slackers

We've been doing nothing, nothing at all lately. No agility classes, no trials, not even practicing in the backyard much.

We've been doing a ton of hiking though, everyday for a couple of hours. It's so gorgeous right now, there's leaves covering the trails, some are still on the trees too. There's been this great mix of weather, everything from snow earlier this week, to the mid 60s yesterday. I love all sorts of weather, with the exception of extreme of HOT and humid.

I've been doing some work with Miss Abby too. Trying to figure out just what happens some times at trials in her little head. I really believe she's somewhat worried and over stimulated when she's at trials, so we've been working on lots of impulse control stuff, and she's been going everywhere with me lately, without the others....and I think that's key. I always bring either all 4, or take 2 anywhere I'm going, never just 1. I don't think she's used to being all by herself and some of her confidence goes away when the other pugs aren't around. So she's been my helper lately, coming to help me walk nice dogs, coming along when I run errands, going for little trips in the car. She's signed up for an agility class that starts next week at Splash and Dash agility, the club I started out with.....hope that goes well, we don't always see eye to eye.

I'm going to try a little experiment with Kittie. No agility classes! Just real short practice sessions in the backyard. She knows what she's doing, I know how to run her, we just have some specific areas to improve or correct: her totally out of control teeter for starters, reminding her that come means come, right now, no matter what and really that's it, yes she has jumping issues, but not much other than some tweaks in my handling makes any difference, so we'll see what's a good time to experiment, since there are no classes I want to put her in anyway!

Things will be in full swing for the month of November, three weekends of trials and then just one (a huge one) in December. We may take most of Jan. & Feb. off. I have a little theory about when Kittie seems to peak and when her performance seems to fall off, that I may experiment with more over the next year. I do need to find somewhere to train though over the winter (it's one thing to not do classes when you're trialing regularly, but quite another if you're not), so she can bring home mach 2 next year!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

USDAA Nationals Video Coverage

I'm so excited, I'll be able to watch usdaa nationals this year!

Go sign up!! It's free!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

My business skills

Are non existent. The economy stinks right now, so what do I do? Hand two dogs I walk 4 days a week over to a friend who's getting back into dog walking after a year long hiatus. Smart huh?

But still, I feel good about the decision. These dogs had a really rigid schedule and they prevented me from taking on new clients, they were seriously limiting how much time I could spend with my "little dog" group, which my dogs are part of! and my friend needs the work much more than I do.

It's been two weeks and I can tell my dogs are happier, I'm not getting that *look* at the end of the walk, that "that's it?!" look. I'm happier because my day is less frantic, their rigid time schedule was starting to rule my whole the dogs would turn into pumpkins if they weren't walked exactly between 2:00-3:00.

I just hope I don't start losing clients with this economy.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Why are dogs so gross? The pugs, their friend's Luca, JB and I were walking on a trail along the creek and I see them all gathered around something along the brush. Rudy's got that look like she's getting ready to roll in it, so I call them to come. Abby's the first to come to running, but what's that dangling from her mouth???? A *huge* dead snake! Yuck! I swear she learned this from JB, he pulled this same stunt a few years ago. Luckily 1) it was dead 2) it was Abby who picked it up, she'll drop anything the moment you ask her to, which this was no exception...she had to pee on it afterwards mark it as HER snake? Does she plan on going back to get it later?

JB still ended up rolling all over the dead, pissed on snake.

Dogs are gross.

Monday, October 20, 2008

POTC trial and Wayne National Forest

We're back home from the Parkersburg Obedience training club's trial and Kittie now has her 1st double Q towards her MACH 2! She qualified in 3 out of 4 runs and did a great job. Would have been a perfect weekend for her except she off had an off course into a tunnel.....a really tricky spot on the course where there was a very fine balance, you either pushed out too far and they took the tunnel or you cut it too close they missed the weave pole entry. I thought Kittie would get it, she *used to* respond very well to my motion and the come command. Come always meant come, right now, switch off of all obstacle focus. She's getting more and more obstacle focus lately, which is a good thing, but I need to maintain handler focus when I need it!

Abby was definitely stressed. A lot of newer dogs were too, it is very loud in this barn, everything really echos. I asked a friend who I really respect what am I doing wrong when I came off the course and she said absolutely nothing....I'd rather it were me!

The worst part was after Abby ran around a couple of jumps in a row, the judge whistled her off course. I'm sorry, but that's just uncalled for. I paid money to be there, she's not out of control or a danger to herself or others I should be able to at least try to end on a positive note. When Kittie stressed in the ring years ago, she never got whistled off, even though she was obviously miserable...walking around the course, eyes glazed over. When dogs who are hyped up to the point that they're out of control, run frantically around the course taking anything and everything they don't get whistled off the course, even though in many cases that's stress too, some dogs stress high, some dogs stress low. Abby just gets very, very clingy. In my opinion she's worried about the environment itself, just too many dogs and too much noise for her. She does better at some locations than others, and she tends to run her best outside where the noise isn't magnified and there's more space. Abby's entered in a few trials next month and depending on how she seems I may sacrifice the runs for training, just go in and do a couple of jumps, maybe a tunnel and run right out. I may pull her the first day of the weekend and just spend time near the rings working to help her feel calm and secure. I now she'll come around, but it's so hard to know what to do to help her.

We did do some hiking at Wayne national forest.
You drive through a neat covered bridge coming into the park.
Kittie in the leaves

Kittie and Abby running up the hill in the leaves

We came across this oil.....thing, not sure what it is, but of course the pugs had to check it out

This picture cracked me up, Abby and Willy are making the exact same dopey face!
Everyone was pretty tired after a full day at the trial and a nice hike!

Friday, October 17, 2008


We're heading to Parkersburg later today, home of the scary barrels used as jump wings! Remember back in April, when both Kittie & Abby stunk it up because they seemed afraid of the barrels? We're going back, I assured the girls there are absolutely no ghosts, witches, scary clowns or Sara Palin hiding in there!!

It's a really small trial (thanks to the awful economy) and little dogs are running first, yay! So, we'll have lots of time for hiking after the trial. There's a great Mexican restaurant in town too. We should be back home nice and early on Sunday, maybe our orange front door will even get painted!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Not a lot going on

Things have been fairly quiet around here, no trials since The Wine Country Circuit in the Finger Lakes last month. Summer agility classes are winding down......(with no idea what we're doing about training over the Winter).

As it's getting cooler I've been thinking more and more about finishing up all the half done projects around the house. We did a lot of work on our kitchen when we moved here, but things like awful lighting fixtures and the broken dishwasher need to be taken care of soon! Along with our *orange* front door (I can barely see the pumpkins, they blend in!).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bill's New Problem

All this Summer while the pugs and I have been at trials or agility classes Bill has been on his mountain bike.....biking, biking, biking and some more biking. He just started taking races more seriously and it seems to be paying off, he got 4th place two weeks ago. Bill also found a new style of riding/racing he's in love with "cyclo-cross" He went to his first practice last Wednesday night and then entered a race that Sunday and what you know he took 6th place overall his first time out!!

It's like a combination of road riding, moutain biking and running. There are barriers set up that you have to jump off your bike and run over (while carrying your bike). There's a video below that shows it much better than I can explain. It makes perfect sense this would be a good fit for him, Bill was a very competitive distance runner for several years. Before I got into conformation (pre-agility) we spent most weekends at road racing or cross country events. Cyclo-cross combines cycling and some running, perfect...if you're Bill! He's scoping out races like I search for agility trials!!

Cyclocross Compilation

Sunday, October 5, 2008

$400. Crate

Isn't it cute? Something that would actually look great sitting in your living room. Too bad about the price though, that's a lot of entries fees!

No Agility demo afterall

We got to pugfest...or pugoween as it was called this year and were immediately told by Kelly (who had corned me into doing it this year) that there wasn't going to be a demo, the outside space where the demo would be, was actually rented to someone else and cops were already out there to get people and pugs off that space. *Great*, I just don't enjoy this sort thing, it's crowed with too many people and too many dogs and I get claustrophobic and want out of there! The demo at least was going to be some good training with oodles and oodles of distractions, it's a small miracle if you can get everyone to actually clear the course while you're running.

I really wanted to pack up all four dogs and head out of the city to explore some new hiking trails in the great Fall weather. We did find a trail right by the fairgrounds in south park where pugoween was held, but I didn't bring Rudy or Willy, so it was total guilt hiking, fun, twisty and steep trails, but couldn't help but to think about those two sitting home on a great day. Next year, I'm saying NO, repeat....."no, we will not do the agility demo"....please remind me not to do this again next year!

Another thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is the difference between "pet" and "performance" people and dogs just wanting to say "Hi". Among people who show dogs in breed, agility, obedience or whatever, you never, ever let your dog go right up to another dog unless they know each other, you just don't, certainly not in the dogs face, if the dog doesn't take your dog's face off the person attached to the leash may take off yours. This is just the way it is, then you go to a "pet" event and every single dog is right in your dog's face. Here's where I start to get really get torn and confused about this, their (pet people) dog's don't seem to care one bit, my dogs (and most dogs owned by show/performance people) are utterly offended and annoyed by this. Kittie hides behind my legs and ignore them. Abby did a lot better than she has in the past, only told off one pug who just wouldn't take a hint, she's getting a lot more confident and doesn't seem to need to tell off every dog who is doing wrong in her opinion like she used to. I'm certainly not going to start walking my dogs on flexi leads through crowded events telling them "say hi" as it's just not safe or necessary, but it makes you wonder if performance dogs are less tolerant of it just because they are not used to it.

Bill had an interesting take on it, agility/obedience etc dogs are so absorbed in paying attention to their owners, that other dogs in their immediate space get in the way of that, they have been so heavily reinforced for "attention" that everything else becomes a barrier. I'm not entirely sure about that, but it's an interesting concept.

My dogs are pretty tolerant, even friendly with dogs they meet in the park, but it's like when the leash is on, they're potentially on the clock, so to speak.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Pittsburgh Pugfest

We're going to the Pittsburgh Pugfest this weekend. We've done an agility demo there for several years, we were going to skip it, but since they had already planned it and Kittie & Abby pretty much are the only pittsburgh area agility pugs we really have to do it. It's nice experience for them, but we're booking out of there asap after the demo. In past years I've stuck around, tried to help people get started, chat about pugs, training and agility, but it's so, so depressing. I've watched way too many people set jumps higher than the dog would jump in competition, drag the dog by their leash, shouting JUMP and then call them "dumb" or "stubborn" when they don't do it. The first year we bought a teeter out, not for new dogs to try but just for the demo...we couldn't keep people away from it, YIKES!!

Anyway my guys are all over their website: that's baby Abby in the red and black checkered fleece and Willy and Rudy in their coats on the top of the page (the photos change), and you can get your very own Abby screensaver.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Abby Finger Lakes EX standard

Kittie finger Lakes Ex standard

Now on to agility

Kittie did great, qualified in standard every day, but had one stinkin bar down in every jumpers run. She's having fun, even if I'm getting really frustrated with all the bar knocking.

Abby has been really suprising me lately. She was pretty close to perfect this weekend, just one bar down in jumpers, but perfect in every other run!!! She's focused and happy out there. These were tough courses too! I'm thrilled with her contacts too.

These two are so different, Kittie's a total nutjob outside the ring. Barking, carrying on, but will start to just whilt away if she's ringside too long. Abby looks half asleep! Calm and quiet as can be, doesn't mind hanging out ringside, then as soon as you walk in the ring she perks up! Wonder if she'll change over time. It would be nice if she remained flexible, it's very difficult to time things out perfectly for Kittie and things happen that are out of my control.

I will say this was one of the worst organized trials I've ever been to though, dogs were *in the ring* waiting to go and they were still trying to find assisstant scribes, no one could move a dog without directly speaking to the judge, which resulted in lots of last minute changes, even your leash was put in a strange place at the finish. We didn't get done until 6:00, so there wasn't much time for sight seeing, hiking or much of anything...oh well.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Back from the Finger Lakes

Thursday morning we left bright and early to drive to Watkins Glen, NY. The drive was so pretty and the pugs were nice and quiet...a real bonus! We checked in at our cabin and headed out right away to Robert Tremen state park.

Things didn't start out so good. Walking across a stone bridge, coming into the park Kittie went to jump up on the bridge, but jumped right *over* the stone railing and was hanging for a second by her leash and collar.....I pulled her back up and over and she was completely unphased! I however was not!......especially as this is what we were hiking in. Rocky trails with old stone steps and railings (just like what she jumped over) built around, up and down the gorge with huge drops.

It's hard to tell here, but those little specks above the warterfalls are people, to give a better idea of the scale of the place.

The ever intense Abby. Down at the bottom of the gorge.

Rudy, Kittie, Abby & Willy.

Kittie looking cool as a cucumber...what's the big deal mom?!

More Later.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Agility Vacation

We're heading out for a 4 day trip to The Finger Lakes in NY. First day we're going to spend hiking, then Kittie's entered in 3 days of agility, Abby's doing 2 days. There's an all breed conformation show, obedience and even lure coursing going on at the same show which is held in Sampson State Park. I've heard the show site is just beautiful!

We're staying in a small cabin right on Seneca Lake, walking distance from waterfalls....can't wait!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

See ALL our latest pictures

The pack now has a new outlet to show themselves off, It's almost complete, still have to upload Kittie & Abby's photos. It's nice to be able to see everything all in one place. There's a link in the "link" section (where else?) too. I'll post all the new photos from their adventures there as well.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Queen MACH Kittie

Not necessarily a happy queen, but pretty cute! We have Mugsy's cape and crown from PV. What better way to show it off?! I'm not sure she knew she could actually move.
She told that cape what for the second it came off, she's not a big fan of "formal wear".

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Our Weekend Off

Bill and went hiking in North Park with the pugs. It's only about 30 minutes from our house, but this was the first time we've been out there. We're so lucky to live in the city, but have so many great parks to explore.

Abby picked the trail......sounds a little creepy.....
I'd say this was more than a little creepy. No names or anything, just this.
How do we always seem to find this stuff??

They still had fun!

It's hard to tell in this picture, but they were all *so* tired, their eyes are barely open.

Then today I took Kittie and Abby out to Splash and dash agility, (the club I started out training with) to take the Canine Good Citizen (CGC) test and they both passed!! Kittie was all kinds of wound up, because she remembered going to classes there and was sure she was there to do agility, but she settled down just enough to get the job done!

Then the club was having an open house, so we stuck around and participated in the agility demo, they just love working the crowd!

Why Do I Ask?

Recently I asked a simple question on the pug agility list, "How to develop more obstacle focus", I mentioned that the dog I was specifically asking in reference to (Abby) is young and competing at the Ex. level, just because I know she's young and wanted people to understand this is a dog who, even though she's running at high level really is still learning some foundation behaviors, like most Ex A dogs.

I don't push my dogs to compete while they're young. Agility is just a part of daily life, it was mentioned that "at 2 years old Abby needs to be playing not training" Isn't training play? That sure seems to be what my dogs think. All of my dogs have moved up very quickly, I made the decisions back when Abby was only 1 and got her novice and open titles to move her up.....the novice courses weren't doing her *any* favors. Those courses are so wide open, that all she was going to learn was to ignore my motion cues.....because all I was doing was running like heck, trying not to lose her in a trap, too much time in novice and a dog like Abby would just end up very confused about the handling system she was taught. I moved her out of open because the courses really aren't much different in Ex, sure she would probably Q a bit less, since no mistakes are allowed, but who cares. There was no reason not to move her up.

I'm just frustrated because I've been accused of pushing my pugs too hard several times from "pug people" who don't even know me. I only asked the question on the pug list, simply because a lot of companion breeds tend to be overly handler focused and most people I know and train with are not running small companion breeds like pugs. Teaching a dog to to take obstacles in front of them without you right there to babysit is a foundation skill, just like performing contacts or weave poles correctly.....I'm not asking for anything unreasonable.

Abby's young and very motivated and I know this skill will come, just like every other bobble we've worked though. She went through a phases of running past the first jump if I led out, of not weaving at trials and running past the table.....just like most green dogs go through various issues, no matter what their age.

The pug agility list is a great resource, but I think I'll take any questions I have elsewhere.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Just Running

We went to a local trial this weekend and after everything that's been going on, really all that I wanted to do was have fun with my dogs, especially Kittie and we did. No obsessing to keep bars up, we just ran (and the bars came crashing down) and had a good time together. Kittie had all nice runs all with one or two bars down. Abby was her usual mix of nice try runs and total chaos runs, but that's okay.

We'll be back to obsessing about converging on her path, front crossing late so she can land first, keeping perfect pace with Kittie and all that stuff that mentally exhausts me in a few weeks, but for now I'm just running like heck.......Kittie would have won every run this weekend if dropped bars didn't count, she had great times!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Best News!

Kittie's mass is benign!! Not much more needs to be said, just the best news ever! Now we can really celebrate!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Too much going on lately

So, here's a summary of my week.

August 31: Kittie gets her MACH!!! Finally!! Yippee, happy, happy, happy, me and Kittie dancing around on cloud 9 somewhere. Just the best feeling in the world!!

Abby's one mistake away from clean runs and mega points saga continues by running straight by the chute in an otherwise clean standard run, that just happens to be 22 seconds under time. What happened in JWW you ask? Abby flew through that course, hit a tough weave poles entry, ran the course 17 seconds under time (in EX JWW!!!) but knocked one bar : ( She's only 2 1/2, I just keep repeating that, again, again and again to myself. I am really happy with how she's working, but can we just get a Q, please?!

Sept 1: Kittie Qs in std, with another 1st place, bars down in JWW though.....Abby made one little mistake in std and then ran around like the 2 yr old she is in JWW....oh, well

Sept 2: Trip to the vet to have the weird mass on Kittie's leg checked out, hoping to hear "it's nothing to worry about" but instead was told, "there are some suspicious cells, we should remove it" yikes!! Talk about major highs and lows, Between her MACH and a possible mast cell tumor on her leg, I feel drunk.

Sept 3: Kittie has her surgery, goes well, but I'm told "oh, she has a fractured tooth that we couldn't get out since she was under light sedation, so we'll have to put her under again to remove that" oh, great. (had her teeth cleaned since she was going to be under anyway.

Sept 4: Just trying to return normal, running late as usual when I pull into a clients driveway, turn the key to shut car off and yank key out of ignition, but did this in the wrong order and the key is *out* of the ignition and the car is *still running*....drove it to the mechanics, without a key in it. When most people have car trouble, their car won't start, mine wouldn't stop.

Sept 5: should be packing for a trial, but we're skipping it, since Kittie still has stitches and Abby's not entered. Her incision is in a terrible place and they warned me it could take as little as 7-10 days to heal or as long as a month if it opens up. So far so good!!

Playing the waiting game to find out results for Kittie, it may take up to two weeks. Keep the little Miss MACH in your thoughts please.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More thoughts on Pedigree dogs

I finally watched the whole show, it's good for forcing you to think, if nothing else.

Some thoughts:

Just because a problem is common in a certain breed, doesn't mean simply breeding those dogs outside of their own breed would solve anything. Take cavaliers, a breed I love, but haven't seriously considered because of some very real, very serious health issues. If affected dogs were bred to others, it would introduce those problems to other breeds/mixes.

I walk a lot of dogs, both mixes and breeds and many have health issues. The least healthy dog I walk is a mix, french mastiff mixed with an unknown dog, maybe lab, pitbull or something else. He has very severe allergies, that do impact his quality of life, he's been on medication his whole life and those meds have side effects of their own.

There are some breeds that have issues, and honestly I don't know how you can have a dog of these breeds, that looks remotely like it's standard and not have health issues......this is concerning. Some breeds really have become too extreme, bull dogs and German Shepard come to mind.

Pugs, pugs, pugs.........I have mixed feelings on some things with the breed I love. I've told most people about when I picked out Abby at her breeders. She was so spunky, right in your face, just gave me no choice but to pick her up....and I put her right back down after taking a look at her tiny, tiny nostrils and absolutely flat face. I wanted a pug that looked like a pug, but I wanted a dog that could breathe! Well, she was just meant to be mine, she wouldn't leave me alone and when she finally got tired she curled up on my foot. I was so in love, I forgot all about any rational thoughts and it's good that I did, because she breathes just fine. Hikes for miles, runs for miles, will work all day out in the heat and pants no more than any dog of any breed! So pug's breathing issues must be more related to the soft palate, than the nostrils themselves. The main point I'm making is it is possible to breed a pug with a correct head that breathes well.......many breeders just aren't looking at this enough though.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pedigree Dogs Exposed

I'm still working my way through this, but without watching all of it. I can say it's obviously one sided and has it's own agenda, but it should make you think.

I'll write more after I've finished watching it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Not intentionally holding out

Really, I'm not trying to hold out on the new breed that's going to be joining us one day, not trying to create suspense, like Barack Obama's been doing lately with the anouncement of his vp candidate, really I'm not.

It feels funny to be thinking of any other breed than pugs, like I'm cheating on the little muffin heads when I go on youtube and watch silly _____ videos.

It doesn't help that I'm planning to bring home a *very* traditional agility breed, and no it's not a sheltie. Like I'm saying the pugs aren't good enough. My pugs are great little agility dogs, I've learned so much from them and continue to learn new things all the time. I've been forced to become a better trainer, to educate myself on jumping, motivation, stress issues. Despite the fact that there is only one MACH pug to date, I still believe any pug that's conditioned properly, and has a good owner/handler with the right attitude and consistency can earn a MACH, ADCH, CATCH, NATCH or any other agility CH titles I'm forgetting : )

Here goes, I've decided to get a papillon, a butterfly, also known as a "squirrel Spaniel" (that last one really cracks me up). I've been stalking them at trials lately, researching like crazy and I think this is a really good choice for us. The pugs seem to like the ones we've met too.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Five dogs? Am I crazy for even thinking about this?

I really, really want to add to the pack, not a pug this time though. My guys really are good. I have the occasional spat between Rudy and Kittie, but they're few and far between. I have the time and money for them.

I like running more than one dog at trials. Kittie's 6 1/2 and Abby's 2 1/2 so if I got a puppy right now (I'll probably have a bit of wait anyway) Kittie would be 8 1/2 & Abby 4 1/2 by the time the puppy would be competing. I really don't know how long Kittie will last, she's a good girl with no real signs of slowing down, but she's not built like Pugsly, she's a heavy boned, cobby conformation bred pug. I'll run her as long as she's having fun and it's good for her, but I don't want to push her beyond what's best for her. I'm hoping she's going to be running for a long, long time!

I may have to change the name of the blog sometime in the future.........

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Abby's totally awesome agilty weekend

Wow, it's like Abby went and grew up and turned into a real, genuine, pug in a border collie suit agility dog! all in the span of week! She was just great. The only mistakes were mine and she tried her best to cover for me too.

I'll post some video as soon as I get around to downloading it.

How did Kittie do?..........she's still an almost mach dog. Saturday, nothing. Today ran JWW first and she Qd with 2nd place. Standard had some tough spots, but they were no problem.....the little stinker popped out of the weaves!!

I think her mach may be my christmas present, I just hope I don't have to wait until Christmas to get it, you never know though.

Monday, August 11, 2008

This isn't pretty

Had a long, terrible weekend and I woke up to a poop covered pug and crate.......

Went to Cleveland for two days, Kittie ran really well on Saturday, but both she and Abby had bad calls on their dogwalks. I was slightly ahead of both dogs as they came down the ramp, and I turned into them slightly, just like I always do, I saw a foot hit the yellow and I took off, just like I do in every run. The judge's (Blair Kelly) arms went up and we were done. Qd in JWW on a really different style course. The beginning was very demotivating for a lot of dogs, but it didn't seem to phase my girls.

Sunday, Abby had an off course into a tunnel, but ran well, she was really moving this weekend. Kittie was all set to go, when all of a sudden there was some kind of hold up. So, I'm standing there with a pug who's starting to freak out and I remember the last time this happened, so I want to get her out of the ring, but my leash is gone, by the time I get my leash Kittie's totally flipping out, I get her out of the ring, but there's no time to play with her, give her a treat or anything, now the judge is ready, she's cranky and pissy because I'm not in the ring. The second jump comes down and the double as well, to top it off she seems stressed and worried probably from waiting around, being yanked out of the ring and then immediately brought back in.

What was the hold up for? There was no second bar on the double for half the 8" dogs, no one noticed, until the person ahead of me told the judge after she ran, then they had to inspect the entire course, and who knows what else!

I know this is just so negative, but I left after that. The jumpers course wasn't pretty and I just was not in the mood.

Kittie got sick over night and I had a huge mess to deal with this morning. What a way to start the week.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Public Attitudes

I found this through another forum, it was originally printed in a Canadian Newspaper, I believe.

My pets have won my heart
Posted 17 days ago
I have always been an animal lover. I remember that when I was small I had a pet pig. This little pig would follow me everywhere and would also sleep in my bed. I know some people think pigs are dirty animals, but mine
wasn't, as he used to bathe in my bath-water when I was finished with it.
One night I climbed into bed and there was a huge spider there. When you are four years old, all spiders look huge. I screamed and jumped out of my bed, and my little pig ate the spider, saving my life.
I shared everything with my pig, even my food, not realizing I was contributing to his being sold for slaughter.
I also had a horse who would let me ride him bareback all over the farm. How I loved my horse, but one day he followed me into the house, and the next day my father sold him.
I cried when my pets were taken away from me and promised myself that when I got older, I would never give up on my pets. They would stay with me forever. I guess that is why I now have six dogs, eight birds and two lizards. I just can't seem to part with any of them for fear of them being abused.
I read with disgust the stories about mutilated cats in a Kingston neighbourhood and the dog that was set on fire on Montreal Street. I cringed when I thought of the last moments of these animals' lives and I pray they didn't know what was about to happen.
I do not understand why anyone would want to abuse an animal. Like children, animals depend on humans to give them love, provide them with the necessities of life and clean up after them. If one cannot or will not do these things, then one shouldn't own a pet.
While there are activities for dogs, such as racing and agility or flyball events, I wonder if they are being entered into such events to give them some play time or so their owners can win a trophy. Many of these animals are kept underweight, confined in kennels and not treated as pets. Unlike humans, they have no voice in what they want to do; no voice to complain if they are hungry or to say they want to be free to run and play. Circus animals face this kind of life, too. That is why I do not support the circus.
I own whippets, which, like greyhounds, are well known for their running ability and their slender form. I know my dogs are an ounce or two overweight - OK, maybe a pound or two - but at least no one can accuse me of starving them. I rescued two of these dogs when they were within days of death from starvation. Their ribs were sticking out, their rump bones were standing high and their faces were sunken. I cried when I saw them, but now when I look at them I see beautiful, healthy dogs that look at me with love in their eyes, as if they are saying "Thank you for saving me." While they may not win a trophy, they have won my heart and a safe home until their last day on Earth.
¦ Kathy Bauder is a self-employed hairstylist, mothe

r of four and grandmother of 10. She is a member of the Whig-Standard's Community Editorial Board.
I've experienced this attitude and perception of performance people and their dogs, pretty much any trial with a lot of spectators and you'll hear comments about the weight of dogs. Could that be because the majority of dogs in this country are obese? I'm asked if I "keep them hungry so they perform better?" No, I don't feed breakfast before they run if little dogs are first, but only because I wouldn't want to run with a belly full of food, why would my dogs?

I don't know any highly successful agility competitors whose dogs sit in kennels all day, doing nothing but agility. Virtually everyone agrees that to be successful you *need* a very strong relationship with your dog and that comes from doing things together. I doubt most "pet dogs" live as full a life as my crew do. They get to run and hike off leash, becuase of their training. They love agility! It's not like you can force a dog to sprint around an agility course off leash!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Abby's lame swimming video

Abby's not lame, and neither are her swimming skills, but this video, most definitely is! It's got lame music and apparently I turn into Minnie mouse when I see a pug swim. Abby's extreme cuteness makes up for it though I think.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Two Days

Two days is apparently how long it takes my pack to turn into complete lunatics if they dont get to run. We skipped our usual run/swim in the park on Friday and I foolishly attempted to spend my Saturday like normal non-dog people do....getting the oil changed in my car, eating out at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants and doing some shoe shopping.

Clearly a bad idea. My dogs have lost their minds! It's been non-stop "blender head" (when they roll around, biting each others faces...mine like to flail their little muffin heads back and forth so fast you can barely make out their faces), barking, barking, barking, living room obstacle course: Run full speed in to the room, up on to the club chair, onto the floor, quick lap around the room, take the straight line to the sofa, who cares if the coffee table is in the way, you just use it to launch yourself up to the sofa and then the big air competition off the sofa arm.......woohoo, yahoo!! and some more barking.

We're going on a long, long walk today!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Here's video of Kittie's would be mach run, hear how quiet it is, do you hear the groan of everyone watching? It's hard to see, but she starts stutter stepping after dropping bars.

Rambling about bar knocking

After class last night on the long drive home, all I could think about was bar knocking. Kittie's not a great jumper, that's obvious, but I'm trying to wrap my head around how....why...she goes for months with just the occasional knocked bar in trials and then all of a sudden, she can't keep bars up to save her life, and then the stutter stepping starts to take over. That's the point that I start to really fall apart. Stutter stepping effects her running, it gets very hard for me, because we're running together and then all of sudden I'm a mile ahead of her, because she's still back taking tiny, tiny strides trying to figure out where to take off to jump. I reread Linda's article on Early take off syndrome and the biggest thing that jumped out and hit me like a ton of bricks was *Confidence*....dogs that stutter step do it from a lack of confidence. This makes perfect sense!

Through out this Spring, when Kittie was just Qing machine, her Q rate was high enough that if the occasional bar came down, it really wasn't a big deal, we still were getting at least one double Q each weekend. Then the big MACH weekend came, and down came a bar, I'm sure I completely deflated....I know everyone watching did. I truly think Kittie picked up on both my, and everyone in that crowds disappointment, that's when the stutter stepping started, in that run after she knocked the triple jump! and it's been with her surprise, since I'm sure that was enough for Kittie to lose confidence, she's just insanely sensitive and so serious in everything she does.

So, my job now is to get her confidence back. Lots of easy jumping, with praise no matter what and big, big rewards for keeping bars up and no stutter stepping!

Monday, July 28, 2008


I got to run under 2 of the 3 judges for this year's invitational this weekend, and the concensus seems to be thanks, but no thanks. Several people who were definintely going, are pulling their dogs. The calls were completely inconsistent and all over the place and the courses just ridiculous! Ex Standard had 8 qualifying runs, in total for all heights and just about every one of the NQs came from the weave pole entry. Dogs that *always* hit their entries couldn't get it, the only dogs with maybe 2 exceptions that got it, were slow dogs.

Kittie's doing some major bar knocking again, this has been the routine for her whole career. Just when I think I have things figured out, bars start crashing again. She's just the best dog, great drive, focus and a nice variety of skills. She's so easy and fun to run, but this is so hard on both of us. She's mainly hitting the double and triple, not a little tick either, she's jumping *way* too early and literally landing on top of the jump. About the only reason for this that I can come up with, is I've been doing a lot of work with Abby over the past week, just rewarding her for offering jumps, so my jumps are set at 12" & 14". Kittie of course has been doing them too, and lazy me hasn't changed the height for her (she used to jumnp 12" before AKC changed the heights), she jumps 12" just fine, but her arc is totally different, much more rounded, so maybe that's a part of it. It's so frustrating, Kittie would have a Q rate around 90% if she didn't knock bars!

Abby had some wild standard runs this weekend, even got that evil weave poles entry, but couldn't hang on to stay in the poles. She had a beautiful JWW weaves run on Sunday, but missed a weave's always something!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Outdoor Trials

I'm so sad, I found out earlier this week that my favorite trial is going to move indoors next year. There are fewer and fewer outdoor trials every year it seems, and the ones that are left have very low entries.

Am I the only one who loves an outdoor trial? Just spending the day outside with my dogs is good enough for me, but an outdoor trial is just the best! You get to run on grass, good traction and cushioning for both us and the dogs. Sure sometimes the weather doesn't cooperate, but that just adds to the interest to me. Some of my favorite agility memories are of being huddled under a tent waiting to run in down pouring rain.

We're off to an outdoor trial this weekend. The site is beautiful, with a small lake right there and the weather forecast looks good, sunny with highs in the low 80s!

I have an odd request, think ugly! Yes, that right, send your ugly course vibe my way. Kittie's speciality is ugly, twisty, turny courses with very low Q rates. The easy, flowing ones with lots of straight lines just eat us alive!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Not Yet

Kittie's really making sweat for this! She had a beautiful standard run on Sunday on a tough course, with a first place! The JWW course was easy, flowing and the Q rate was really high.....strangely, those are typically not the courses Kittie does well on.

I was feeling really calm, despite every other person I saw asking me if I was nervous and giving me a pep talk. The only time I felt that flutter in my chest was when I saw them bring the mach bar ringside, it felt so real, that was *Kittie's* mach bar! The whole place was dead quiet as we stepped up to the line, the toughest part of the course was the beginning, three sharply angled jumps, with a front cross right before the weave poles, no problems at all, then it was just a fast, straight stretch of jumps......she brought down the triple and the whole crowd just groaned, then she visibly slowed down, knowing she knocked a bar and then the nervous stutter stepping started, poor Kittie.

We're entered in an outdoor trial next weekend. Kittie usually has a really high Q rate at outdoor trials.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Bill didn't come

And we still didn't double Q....what the heck, I though leaving your husband home was the trick to successful agility runs!

Kittie was really, really wound. She didn't stop barking the entire time she was ring side, until I picked her up to go in the ring. We were all set, ready to run......then the timers were having an issue, no big deal I though, I'll just hold her, it shouldn't be too long, well within a few seconds Kittie had enough, first the wiggling started, then...oh no, the pug scream started and continued until it was time. Nothing like standing on the line, holding a wiggling, screaming dog! We actually started off pretty good, then a bar came down, followed by another bar down, then she thought we were heading to the weaves and missed the teeter, then she almost off coursed into a tunnel, followed by an incorrect weave pole entry....and one more bar down to end things.

The lesson in all of this, if the timer is malfunctioning, go take a seat right outside the ring until they call you.

She did have a nice JWW run. Maybe tomorrow...........

Friday, July 18, 2008


Really, I'm not one of those people with all sorts of superstitions, but I can't help but to get all wrapped up in this.

Every single trial that Bill has come to this year has been a total bust, not a single double Q the whole weekend, and every weekend that Bill doesn't come has resulted in at least one double Q...sometimes more. I need to break this weird pattern, I like Bill, I did marry him after all : ) and sometimes he really needs to be there.

We're trialing this weekend, and Kittie is running for her MACH! Just one double Q is all that's needed. Bill would like to be there, but has other plans he would gladly do instead (the dirty dozen bike race, it tackles all the major hills in the city and makes a stop at the vintage grand prix). Everyone has an opinion about whether Bill should be allowed to come! Everything from hell no, leave him home, to he definitely *needs* to be there, to run standard, if I Q call him to come for JWW.........I just don't know what to do. It's our MACH, I really want him around, but I want to actual get the title too!

I don't really do anything different when Bill's there, I may be a bit more focused...okay more obsessive when he's not there, but really I don't think there's a big difference....other than the obvious results.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Road trip?

I've been thinking about the invitational a lot lately. I would love to go again this year. It's a really fun event and such an honor to be a part Kittie's consistency has come a long, long way.

But, it's being held in Long beach again which makes it a very complicated and expensive trip. I can't stand flying, never cared for it, but with all the additional security issues it's just miserable. I hate stuffing the girls in their little sturdibags for hours and hours (although they don't seem to mind). Then there's the issue of what to do with Rudy and Willy, they are not dogs you could just leave at a kennel, or have someone just stop in a couple of times a day. Last year I begged a friend to come home from Chicago to stay with them, that worked out, but I don't know if I could pull that off again this year.

Here comes the part where Bill starts calling me Lucy. I'm thinking of *driving* to the invitational! A cross country road trip with all four pugs in tow! I would take some real time off from work (a first in years), we'd stop at all the cheesy tourist attractions, go hiking, camp some of the time as soon as we get out of the bitter cold. Since I'd have a car anyway, we could stay a little further from the show site and save a ton of money and we'd be more mobile to see more of the west coast too

Really, we're just fine in our bags. We'll be waiting here until you come to your senses.

What do you think? Crazy trip to insanity? or fun cross country adventure? There's other issues to figure out, like what to do with Rudy and Willy once we get there. It's a long day and Willy gets kind of stressed being around *that* many big dogs all day, but I wouldn't want to leave them at the hotel all day either, there's also the little issue that it seems like Bill's my bad luck charm for agility. I've yet to QQ on a day when Bill's at the trial this year.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hiking in Apollo, PA

Bill and I took the pugs (and their friend, Luca) out to roaring run watershed for some hiking and swimming.

Abby being brave and swimming!! Every chance she got, she was in the water swimming like a little fish!

Kittie, with the creek behind her.

Me walking with Willy and Luca over the suspension bridge.

Abby considering some high diving into the creek!

Thursday, July 10, 2008


How cute are these guys?! I've been in love with smooth coated brussels griffons for a long, long time.

I won't be adding to our family for several years, but I've been thinking about the next puppy a lot lately....and I'm not sure if it's going to be another pug. It will defnitely be a small dog though.

Here's my short list of breeds I'm considering in random order:


Toy Fox terrier

Boston Terrier

Brussels griffon (smooth coated)

Pug, I really think no matter what breed I get next, I will always share my home with a pug.

Papillons really appeal to me because they're a small dog that's considered very trainable and intelligent, now I've been training dogs known to be anything but for close to 10 years now. I'd love to see first hand how the experience is different. My pugs have done well in agility, but there are issues, I haven't seen a pug who is truely a *great* jumper. I've learned how to work around their bar knocking issues, but it's a constant challenge. They are insanely sensitive. I would love to run a dog who is bit more "stable" in a competition environment.

Brussels griffons...well they sound almost just like a pug, intelligent, but very sensitive, maybe more sensitive! I'm just so drawn to them. I know and understand that temperment and I know I'm good at bringing a lot out of those sort of dogs.

I'm still researching and learning about Toy fox terriers and bostons.

Pugs are what I know best and I could just stick with what I know and love! Maybe a little black female pug, next time!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hiking in Boyce Park

Group shot, don't they all look kind of annoyed? "c'mon, enough with the pictures already!"
We had to sneak out onto the "NO Dogs Allowed" soccer field, for some chasing and playing with their favorite new tuggy toy.

Another group shot. It got really dark, quickly and withon a minute of getting back to the car it started down pouring.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dreaming of vacation

this place looks absolutely perfect seriously I can't imagine anywhere could be better.

What I need to find is somewhere just like "sheep dung estates" that's just a wee bit closer, for an extended weekend. I'm trying to put together a little agility trial/hiking/eating way too much vacation in the finger lakes to coincide with a 4 day trial held there at the end of September, but so far it looks like I'm late on this, as all the nice houses and cottages are booked up, at least for the weekends.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Barking, lots & lots of Barking

It's been non-stop, round the clock barking around here. I don't know if we have new neighbors, if someone recently rescued a couple of dogs, or what, but the barking hasn't stopped yet.

There's the big dog barking, loud, low pitched and constant and the shreaky, screaming little dog, (maybe a puppy?) punctuating the big dog's barks.

I'm watching Luca, a litle cockapoo for the week and you guessed it, he's joining in with the neighbors! Abby's been grumbling a bit, with the occasional "real" bark thrown in.......

Who just lets their dogs bark non-stop? My dogs bark, but they're not allowed to just go on and on.

It's bound to get worse too, once people start setting off fireworks. Why I didn't I just enter that trial this weekend?!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Home Stretch!

Miss Kittie, Miss Kittie......had a perfect weekend at the Erie trial!! She's now at 19 double Qs, I can't even believe it. I'm running her very conseratively lately, just trying to be clean and keep all those bars up, but she still earned 83 points, woohoo!

Then there's baby dog Abby, a little of this, a little of that, but no Qs. There will probably be a whole post dedicated to my little stinker in the near future. I *need* to figure out what's going on in her little head!

No videos, the weather was crazy. Hot and sunny one minute, freezing and downpouring rain the next, didn't want to risk ruining my camera. There definitely will be video for our next to get that MACH run on film!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Free Pug

Really, would anyone like a 9 year old pug? Basically healthy, other than some allergies, pk, potential knee surgery...oh, she's also prone to total freak out, temper tantrum style fits.

I'm *mostly* kidding. Yesterday afternoon, about 5 minutes before I had to drive out to the barn for practice Rudy attacked Kittie. She used to be much, much worse, but she's gotten better. Not perfect, but better. I honestly have no clue why she goes after Kittie. Rudy has had issues with other dogs, and she's tried to pick fights with Abby, but Abby just ignores her and it goes nowhere....Kittie gets afraid and Rudy seems to feed off of it. Abby jumps in when Rudy attacks her sister, so I end up with a big, messy pile of fighting pugs. Part of me wants to just walk away, let them "work this out", but how on earth can you walk away, if something happened to one of them I could *never* forgive myself. I managed to grab Rudy, Kittie and Abby were shaking, completely freaked out, covered in drool and spit, but not a mark on them.

I tossed Rudy in their room without saying a word, let Willy just have the run of the house and left for class. Abby did fine, not really mentally there, but did well considering. Kittie was a mess, ran around the first jump, *never* completed a set of weave poles, totally not like her at all. We probably should have just stayed home, but usually within a few minutes everyone is back to normal.

Rudy's the first dog I've ever even gave a thought to rehoming, but I'll never do it considering her age and potential for expensive health issues. Even though actual fights are rare, I know Kittie is walking on egg shells around her...and it's just not fair to her.