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!