Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mom's favorite present!

Mom tells me she is sorry because she forgot to take a photo of her favorite Christmas present so that I could tell you all about it! It's a pawprint of my paw!!! Dad helped me to make it so I could surprise mom for Christmas!

Dad made some mud (we decided to do this on a day when the ground was frozen so we had to make mud!) - he worked at getting the consistency just right - I had to keep putting my foot in it again and again until a clear pawprint was there. And then we put in some plaster of paris. After it dried, dad removed the plaster of paris from the mud and there was a cast of my paw!! Cool, huh?

I also gave mom a card with a tri-color chihuahua on it (closest we could get to a tri-color sheltie!) and when she opened it, dogs barked "jingle bells"! Well mom loved it all - the card and most especially the pawprint! But she says what she loved the most is that dad and I made it for her!

What will we do to top that next year????

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Third Place!

Wow - I won third place in Johann's Howling Howliday Giveaway! Thanks to everyone who voted for me! Congratulations to Merlin and Kaley (the #1 and #2 place dogs)! There were a lot of great photos so I'm excited to have the honor of being third! Here's my winning photo and some of the others we took for the contest:








Johann says he plans to make the contest an annual event so watch for it next year! Thanks Johann for a fun howliday giveaway! And thanks again to all of you for voting!
Gotta zoom!
Ricky


Our Christmas!

Hi everyone! We hope you all are having a good holiday season! We had a great time on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day! On Christmas Eve mom and I went to agility practice - it was really fun but really crowded. Guess everyone had the day off from work and wanted to get in some practice. When we got home, we had a little celebration after lunch with just me, mom and dad. Santa dropped a couple presents off for me early because he knew I wouldn't be home on Christmas morning. I had never opened presents before - I knew they smelled good and mom said it was for me, but I was pretty careful. So mom helped a little:

Wonder what it is? I am trying to get it out of the wrapping:
It was a new kong wubba! And I had another present and this one smelled great! It was easier to unwrap (or maybe I was getting better at it)! Look, it's a bully stick! My very first one ever!


Yummy!
After mom and dad opened their presents, we got things ready and loaded up the car and headed off to grandpa and grandma's. I decided I needed some relaxation time:


But soon it was on to more presents!! (Not for me though):

We had a very nice time Christmas Eve - mom and dad and grandpa and grandma had a good dinner, played Wii and played a card game called euchre. We spent the night and on Christmas Day, we got in the car again (all of us) and went to Cousin Wilson's! I love my cousin Wilson, but going there is exhausting! I am constantly on patrol - watching out for the big dogs, the kids, all the grown-ups, keeping an eye on mom so that she doesn't leave without me! The photo kind of shows how unrelaxed I am:

Wilson doesn't have a problem with it all. He just wants to play fetch with anything at any time. But here he is taking a break with his holiday tennis ball:

And poor Sandy - well her expression sums up her feelings about the day:

Wilson got me a present - so I got to open another one! It was a soft snugga wubba! I love it!
We got home to our house late on Christmas Day and boy was I tired! Good thing Christmas only comes once a year. But we are so lucky to have a such a wonderful family to spend the holiday with and we are very grateful for them all!
Gotta zoom!
Ricky








Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Holidays to all!

Warmest wishes to everyone!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Friday, December 19, 2008

Beginning Intermediate class 7

We went to our last class of beginning intermediate agility last night. Next month we will be moving on to the advanced intermediate class. We sure did learn a lot in the two sessions of beg.inter. that we went to. Last night was divided into three sections - weaves, contacts and teeter. We started off in weaves - I did some pretty fast weaving for me on those silly weaves with the bars in between the poles. Too bad we can't use stick in the ground poles in the class! Then in contacts, I slowed down. I took the aframe when mom was really showing me and telling me to take the tunnel - so I didn't run hard enough to get the momentum I needed to get up the aframe. That made me have to scrabble and claw my way up there - and then after that I didn't want to do it any more. Mom never really knows what to do with me when I sort of shut down. I'm not sure what to tell her either. We also had the chute in this section and I just didn't feel like going through it, unless the instructor held it open for me. So she worked with us on this and after quite a few repetitions, I did do it. She told mom to change the chute we have at home to darker and heavier material and practice with that. Then we went on to the teeter. We practiced getting more speed - mom tried to get me to run to the pivot point and she gave me a treat there and then I got another at the end. Cool - two treats! It did motivate me to get the teeter to tip.

During the next couple weeks mom has some ideas of what she wants to practice with me - as much as the weather will allow - she wants to figure out a way to get me to run with her to the first obstacle in a sequence. I am mostly very slow to get started (more so in class than at home). She wants to keep working on the chute - she already tried a new one with me this morning using a dark green flannel sheet (I went through before she was ready for me and got all tangled up and had to be rescued but it didn't phase me and then I did it a whole bunch of times after that - go figure - don't know what to tell you, mom!). And we are going to keep working on front crosses to speed me up - mom has to keep finding ways to put them in. Luckily we can go to open practice the next two Wednesdays and get in some good use of the equipment at the club. Also we are planning to make a few more jumps so that we can set up more complex jumping sequences in the backyard.

It's pouring rain outside - our morning walk has been postponed - mom doesn't mind walking in light rain but heavy rain is another story. Guess we're lucky it's not freezing rain and/or snow?

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Amazing!!!

We just found out that my grandma Catherine (Zinsky) and her Border Collie Kyle placed third in the National Obedience Invitational going on right now in Long Beach, CA!!! Wow - that is so awesome! In 2006 Catherine and Kyle competed in the NOI and came in within the top 8 but not in the placement - the top four. But this year they made it! We are super proud of their accomplishments!

Also my favorite trainer Deb is out in Long Beach competing in the Agility Invitationals with her Russell Terrier Bug. We don't know much about how they have been doing but according to the AKC website, yesterday they NQ'ed in both the standard and JWW runs but today they Q'ed in both their runs!!! So that is great news too!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Agility class 6, etc.

Thursday night was our sixth class of this session. We actually ran a course during this class. So during the first 30 minutes, we split into two groups and practiced some parts of the course. Then during the last half of the hour, we ran the course. It was really fun. It started with tunnel, dogwalk, chute, then front cross and two jumps. They had a different chute out there than usual and I forgot my new "king of the chute" mentality and I only did it when the instructor held it open for me...sorry mom! Then we did aframe, tire, weaves, tunnel - and then I sped up. The tunnel went to a triple and mom started running full out and I went with her! After triple was teeter, table, 180 jumps, another 180 jumps and then broad jump. Our instructor came right over to us and told mom that we should stop doing 2o2o for the dogwalk and teeter (we were already not doing it on the aframe). She thinks I won't bail on my contacts and she says if I start to, we can just put the 2o2o back in since I know it so well. Cool! Now I won't have to come to a dead stop in the contacts and maybe I'll be a faster dog. She also reminded mom to keep looking for places to put in front crosses to motivate me more. So we did pretty well over all except that I did a little sniffing when I should've been following mom...sorry mom!

Yesterday mom took me to run in the park even though it was only 20 degrees! There was no wind and the sun was out! And the sun is hardly ever out in Ohio in the winter. We had fun and surprisingly there were quite a few people and their dogs there.

Today we practiced in the yard - it was much warmer outside. We practiced teeter without the 2o2o - I rode it down and as I approached the bottom mom just said ok and we kept running. I liked that! We also did table - we don't practice that much and some times I am a little slow doing my down or sit. So mom made sure she really rewarded the fast responses.

We are working on a lot of new tricks too. Every evening after dinner, mom gets out the cheerios and we practice the new stuff - handstand, hide under a blanket, open the door, take and hold the dumbbell (not really a trick but we may need it for obedience some day), and shake head no. Some things are getting better, but they are all works in progress, that's for sure! We really love kikopup's YouTube channel and all of her videos on how to teach tricks. She really inspires us!

This week we have Wednesday morning practice and then our last class of the session on Thursday. Then we have a couple weeks off and start the advanced intermediate class in January! Can't wait!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We've been tagged!

Diana at 4 Dog Craziness tagged us to list six things I like most:

1. Barking at anything that might be a threat to my territory!

2. Chasing cars (and squirrels and birds)!

3. Food!

4. Agility and learning new tricks!

5. Walks in the park on my long line!

6. All my favorite people! (too many to list here - there are a lot of people that I love)


Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Snow!




On Saturday we had our first measurable snow - a little over an inch, I would guess. I think it's awesome, but mom's not too thrilled.
Over the weekend we went to visit grandma and grandpa and then the next day we went to watch my favorite trainer Deb at an agility trial. She did great and I had a good time because lots of people know me now (although I have yet to step foot in the ring!) and I get lots of treats just for standing around and looking good!
Mom tries to keep me busy even though we can't play outside much. We are working on lots of new tricks and trying to get even better at the old tricks. We practice some agility nearly every day - either inside or out. Yesterday we did weaves and jumps in the snow!
This morning it is raining - the snow will soon be gone. And the sky is gray, the ground is gray....everything is gray. Oh, Ohio in the winter......
Gotta zoom!
Ricky


Friday, December 5, 2008

Class 5, agility practice and reminiscing with videos

We've been getting in some agility practice this week in spite of the winter weather. Mom has been setting stuff up in our living room again. We've been using only 4 plungers as weaves because it's easier in the small space we have. I've been practicing entries and distance - mom is on one side of the couch or the other, depending on the set up.

When it's not super cold, we try to do a little practice outside. This morning mom had me doing some pretty fast weaving and also reviewing serpentines with her staying on one side.

Wednesday we did go to the morning practice at the club. Our first time on the course things went pretty well. But the second time we got in there, I found a tasty liver treat that some one had dropped on the floor - and that was the end of my ability to concentrate on what mom was saying. Everything she said to me sounded like "blahblahblah" - I didn't hear "Ricky" or "come" or "jump" or anything like those words. But the smell of liver was so enticing and I could've sworn I smelled it every where! Needless to say, that was the end of Wednesday morning practice.

Last night was our beginning intermediate class 5. We had the week before off for Thanksgiving. I was happy to be back in the class and only suffered from a little leftover sniffing from Wednesday morning. We have really been enjoying the repeat of this level of class. We like the instructors a lot and feel confident with the skills we are asked to perform. And each time we get more advice specifically for us to run better sequences. Like last night our instructor reminded mom that she needs to do more front crosses with me to speed me up and to really show me where I need to go. Other dogs might do ok with a pull or just running on the same side, but every time mom worked in a front cross, we did better. That's something important for her to remember when she starts walking courses and planning the best route. Also even though I am fairly good at holding my start-line stay, I do much better when mom runs with me.

Mom got to looking at some old video of me when I was just a little pup...she found this video of me playing with my friend Ciara when I was about 2 and 1/2 months old. I was so tiny back then, but pretty fearless! Ciara was also a puppy - maybe 4 months old - but look how big she was already! I miss Ciara but she's a lucky dog - she and her mom moved to a really neat house in the country where Ciara has a huge yard she runs in all day long. It was fun watching the video and remembering......

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Finally some agility practice video!

Well once again we were inspired by a video that Johann made a few days ago of some of his backyard agility practice. He did a really cool sequence of jumps, tunnel and then weaves at a distance. So mom set up something similar in our backyard but used the tire because she was too lazy to get the tunnel out! We practiced it a couple times yesterday and then got it on video today. We are not super fast or anything, but this was the first time we had tried to do distance work like this. Mom said she was real proud of me!


When we switched and went the other way - weaves and then the jumps - I had never done it before and so that was my first try. Mom knows she could've told me to jump earlier and given better cues, but she was afraid she'd pull me out of the weaves. Next time we try this sequence, she's going to run faster and see if she can get me to go faster too!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Friday, November 21, 2008

Class 4, more practice, and cold weather!

BRRR....it's COLD! We are having January weather in November! When mom and I walked this morning, the temperature was 24 but with the wind chill it was 9!! I love it! I say, "Bring it on!" But mom is freezing all the time. So we don't go outside very often. I don't get it - why is it that we are outside all day in the summer when it's 80-90 degrees and I am so hot I can't stand it, but now that the weather is so nice, we spend all our time inside?

Wednesday morning practice went well again this week. We set up the chute in the small ring like last time and practiced it starting with the material folded up a little and progressing to full-length in no time. Mom was happy to see that I was still willing to do the chute and last week wasn't a fluke! We also did well in the big ring on the course.

Last night was our agility class 4. The most exciting news to report is that I DID THE CHUTE in class too - different building, different chute, but I still did it! Hurray! As a matter of fact, mom had trouble keeping me out of it. We were supposed to do a sequence where mom blocks the path to the chute so that I would take a nearby jump and I went straight into the chute! Not what we ultimately want, of course, but mom was very happy to see my enthusiasm. We also worked on some difficult weave entries - a jump at an angle into the weaves, a lead-out push to the weaves, and a jump straight on into the weaves where I had to collect and mom had to make sure to stay out of my way. In the contact section, I did my fastest dogwalk yet - I was actually moving so fast that I had trouble stopping my momentum to do my 2o2o and ended up running right off the end of the walk! I was not used to moving so fast! Our instructor said that I look like a different dog!

This afternoon mom set up a little agility course in the house. We had a tunnel in the kitchen, 6 plungers we got at the Dollar store for weaves, a jump, and a short board for a mini dogwalk. It was really fun! Mom would have me walk-it and then send me into the tunnel while she stayed in the living room, then over the jump and through the weaves while she stayed on the other side of the couch. It ended up being a good distance challenge (I'll be ready for novice FAST in no time!!!). We wanted to take video but we couldn't get the tripod far enough away to get a good view. So we took photos instead to show you our set-up.







Hope you all have a great weekend! Mom says if the temperature is above freezing tomorrow she'll take me to the park! I'm keeping my paws crossed!
Gotta zoom!
Ricky

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Agility this week

So today is rainy and cold and perfect for sitting down at the computer to do a little blogging. We had a great agility week! It started on Wednesday with my chute success. At Wed. morning agility practice the building is split up into two rings - a big one for the course we build and a smaller one where we can practice obedience or jumps or something. This week we dragged the chute and a couple of jumps into the small ring so that mom and I could work on the chute without worrying about a time limit or other obstacles. First mom folded up the chute material about half way and then she put a couple of cones in it to prop it up just a little bit. Then she put a jump in front of the chute and we tried jump to chute. Since mom didn't have to stop to hold the chute open, she ran right past it and called me to come through. And I eventually did it. When she thought I was pretty comfortable with this stage, she took a cone out and then took the other cone out. Then each time I went through I gained more confidence and got lots of praise and treats. Mom gradually let out the material and before you knew it, I had gone through the chute with the material all the way out several times!!! Mom was jumping up and down, cheering me on and giving me jackpots! It was very exciting! After that we went over to the big ring and practiced short sequences on the course. I was really having a good time. I flew over the jumps and a frame and wasn't bothered by the noisy teeter at all. And then later we tried the chute again - this time with a jump before it and after it - and I did it all!!!! We're very excited to try again next week.

Then on Thursday night we went to our third agility class of this session. We didn't get to try the chute there because it wasn't one of the obstacles that was out for us this time. First we started with jumps and mom working on her front crosses. Then we went to contacts. We did more a frame/tunnel discrimination. And dog walk. Well, my instructor was so impressed with my improved confidence level that she told us right there and then that we were ready to move on to the next class level after this session!!! Hurray! There are several classes we could chose from - advanced intermediate, a handling class, or novice courses. Mom is thinking advanced intermediate might be good - they split the room up into two bigger sequences (instead of the four sections with small sequences that we have now). Any way, our instructor also told us she thinks we could start doing trials and she predicts we would go straight through novice and get into open with no problems! This was all very exciting news!!! Then we went on and practiced weaves and finally we ended up with teeter and jumps.

So I had a great agility week! Mom and I are going to work on the chute again this coming Wednesday and once we think I can do it reliably, we will try run-throughs, a show and go, and then maybe a trial in February!!!

Gotta zoom!


Ricky

Friday, November 14, 2008

Leaf zoomies

I promise to write a real blog entry soon to catch you all up on what a great agility week we had! But until then, here is a video from our walk in the woods today. The thing about zoomies is you just never know when they might hit you!


Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Guess what?????

Mark this day on your calendars everybody -

I DID THE CHUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Gotta zoom!


Ricky

Friday, November 7, 2008

Class 2 and a rare bird

Yesterday morning mom read on a birding list that there was a rare bird - a long tailed duck - sighted at a small pond in a metro park about 15 minutes from here. So since dad and mom had never seen that duck, we drove to the park to see if it was still there. To me it was rather boring. This park doesn't have any pet trails and birding is not really my thing. Now if we were there to herd the bird, that would be a different story! I was a good sport about it though and hung out on the dock while mom and dad and several other birders ooohed and aaahed over this duck way out in the middle of the pond.

Unfortunately this is the best photo that dad could get. This long tailed duck is a female and only the males have the long tails. They are diving ducks and can dive as deep as 200 ft. to forage for food! Sounds crazy to me!
Then last night I went to my second agility class of this session. I was lucky and got put into a group with just one other dog - a cattle dog that was in my class last time and that I think is pretty cool! Things went well - in our first section we had the broad jump for the first time in the class. We have something like it at home and mom has been practicing with me so I jumped it and didn't try to walk on it at all. I also did the triple jump - wow, I really have to jump far out for that one! I also did the full-height teeter again and am not startled much by the noise of the bang when the teeter falls back down after I get off. I attempted the chute once and as it is my M.O., I ran right into the opening and then didn't move until mom lifted the end just a little bit. It was the longer chute this time. I'm sorry, but I like to see just a little bit of light at the end of the chute!! In the second section we practiced start line stays and front crosses. After trying the stays a few times to prove that I could do them, mom switched back to running with me because that always makes me more confident and faster. After that we went to contacts and I am getting faster on my dog walk and a frame. We did a little work with tunnel and dog walk discrimination and this time I wasn't afraid to do the walk just because there was a tunnel underneath it. Our last section of the night was weave poles. We worked on 90 degree entries. Mom has to line herself up across from the first pole and then send me into the entry. We did pretty well and were excited to really start working on this. Yay, something specific to practice at home! My instructor was very excited that my weaves in class were faster last night. She was cheering and so was the cattle dog's mom. Boy if they only saw how fast I am at home with my stick-in-the-ground poles!
Gotta zoom!
Ricky

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Grandma finally went home today!

I'm happy to report that grandma finally got to go home from the hospital today! She is much better than she was on Saturday. She can breathe easily again, she lost 10+ pounds of water (fluids), and the infection is gone, but despite having her heart shocked on Monday and then twice yesterday, it is still beating out of rhythm. So she went home on new medication and in about a month they may try to shock her heart again unless she goes back into normal rhythm by herself. We are very relieved that she is better!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Class 1 and the weekend

On Thursday night we went to our first agility class for this new session. There are a lot of new dogs in my class - and a lot of big dogs! I was the smallest dog there. The class was pretty good for me - I am feeling more comfortable there now that I know the instructors and am familiar with the building and the loud sounds there. We worked on the teeter, jumps and tunnel first. The teeter was set at full height - and I did it and stuck my 2o2o. We did a pinwheel which went well and sends to a tunnel - I didn't want to do the tunnel because it was set up very close to the noisy adjacent ring. Our second station was weaves and chute and table. The weaves had two wires on each end. Last session I got used to seeing one wire on each end, but I had never seen two! What the heck? So sometimes it confused me and I went under the wire. Mom still doesn't see why I have to do them with wires at all. My tables were good but I still didn't just run through the chute (and it was a baby chute too!). The instructor said maybe it was mom's fault because she stops running when I go into the barrel part. (Mom would love it if this were the reason I stop!). So she tried running full out right by the chute and I still stopped. Oh well... Our third station was contacts and jumps. The instructor wants mom to keep running past the aframe too, to get me to run the downside faster. We're going to try that at practice on Wednesday. Also mom was telling me "out" to go to a jump that was just a little bit away from her and our instructor told her just to say "jump" and to make me look for the jump. She says we should reserve out for getting really away from mom. This is good advice because mom had also been saying out to get me to do the middle jump in a pinwheel. So all in all, a good class!

Unfortunately this weekend wasn't all that great. Mom and dad had a lot of what they call "gigs." All that really means is they go to work and leave me at home! But worse than that, grandma went into the hospital on Saturday! Apparently her heart doesn't stay in rhythm and even though she's been taking medicine and under a doctor's care, her heart got out of rhythm and she started to get fluid on her lungs and around her heart and that fluid got infected. She is a little better today but has had tests today and will have more tomorrow. The doctors are trying to find the right medicines to help her. She's in a good hospital so I am sure she will get better soon. If I could go and visit her, I would give her lots of get-well kisses!

Gotta zoom!


Ricky

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Fall is here


Fall is here! We had our first major freeze last night and the leaves are really starting to come down now. Some of mom's flowers survived since they are close to the house. But the cana lillies froze, so mom dug them out today to save them for next year.
Yesterday we went to agility practice at the club. We set up a pretty fun course that was really 3 sequences - some of the people there are in a distance class, so they wanted to work on stuff from their last class. We set up three jumps and then a tunnel and then three jumps coming out of the tunnel. The idea was to be on the outside of a row of jumps and send your dog into the tunnel and then over the other row of jumps. Lots of dogs had trouble - they would come out of the tunnel and then cut back to their mom or dad instead of staying away and doing the jumps in front of them. We didn't really try the distance part. But I did the row of jumps and then the tunnel and then mom was in the middle of the rows of jumps but kind of as far away as she could be and I did the other row. We also practiced jump to weaves and then jump and back into weaves. My weaves were slow but I was consistent with entries. The third little sequence was tire, teeter, table and aframe. For distance, you send the dog to the table. Mom and I actually worked on that in our backyard today. I am a little reluctant to go on to the table when mom is behind me. When she stops her forward motion, I do too.
Tonight is our first class of the new session of beginning intermediate agility. Boy, I wish this class had a shorter name because I get tired typing it in every time!! Maybe I should just start calling it agility class! Any way we are excited to try again and see if we have made any progress. We'll let you know how it goes!
Gotta zoom!
Ricky

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Party at Wilson's

Well, yesterday we went to visit my cousin Wilson and to celebrate my nephew's and my dad's birthdays! We first drove to Grandpa and Grandma's and we all piled into their car. And then we made the trip to Wilson's. When we got there, I couldn't believe there were so many people all in one house! 18 people - ranging in age from 3 to 69! It was the biggest group I had ever been in and the most kids - I only knew my niece and nephew - and there were lots more kids there. But I did a great job - let everybody pet me and admire me. Poor Wilson and Sandy were banished to the backyard for most of the day. But since I am a little guy, I got to stay inside with everybody.

Wilson and I did get to play outside together but we couldn't chase the ball much because my aunt had planted new grass in the yard and she didn't want us to tear it up (well, I wouldn't with my dainty feet, but Wilson is another story!) Dad got some photos of us - we make a handsome pair!







I was soooo tired when we finally got home! Birthdays and visits and 18 people are exhausting!!!
Gotta zoom!
Ricky


Friday, October 24, 2008

Another metro park pet trail

Grandma complained to me today that I haven't blogged anything in awhile - sorry Grandma! We have been busy with our usual stuff - walks, lessons, agility practice, etc. We tried to get some good photos of me with some pumpkins the other day - but none of them turned out good enough to post. So yesterday we went to one of the pet trails we like - this one is 3.5 miles long and goes through some woods and then around several prairie/meadows and then loops back. It's one of my favorite walks! I am happiest when I can be out ahead of mom and dad but I'm really good about turning around and checking in.

Behind me is a big woods and ravine - it is so pretty in the fall!

Here I am leading the way:


Here I am waiting for the slow pokes to catch up!


Hope everybody has a wonderful weekend!! I'll be going to visit my cousin Wilson so will try to get dad to take some photos that I can share when we get back!
Gotta zoom!
Ricky


Friday, October 17, 2008

Beginning Intermediate Agility Class 7

We had our 7th and last class of this session last night! It was pretty fun....there was an entire agility course set up that we got to run in the second half of the class. For the first half we were split up into two groups and essentially learned to run the course - the instructors pointed out little things and we got a chance to practice. I started out slow for some reason. Mom tried to get me into it, but I was not feeling very confident. The aframe was higher than it used to be - it was almost up to full height. I really had to struggle to get up it and then coming down, it was so steep that I was jumping from near the top of the contact zone! So we will need lots more practice with the higher aframe. Also the teeter was nearly full height - but I am happy to report that I went over it without anyone holding it or slowing it down. It went bang when it hit the ground and I just did my 2o2o like a pro!

The course was pretty easy from a handling view point - pretty much straight line. It started with a lead out (mom needs to remember to set me up so I can see as much of the course as possible - she set me up pretty straight in front of the jump and she should've set me up at an angle so that I could see that I would be turning right after the jump and going to the tunnel), then jump and right turn into a long tunnel, then jump, and right turn onto the teeter, then black tunnel (I did the black tunnel in practice, but when we ran the course, I wouldn't go in the first time - mom brought me back around and then I went in), dogwalk (probably my fastest one yet and a good 2o2o), tunnel, then right turn to table (awesome down and wait!), then weaves, then left turn to a pinwheel made up of tire, jump, jump, then front cross to the aframe (when we ran, mom didn't do a front cross, she just kept me on her right and sent me up the frame at an angle - we didn't realize that was dangerous. The instructor stopped us and told the entire class that we should make a very straight path for the dogs to get on the aframe so that no dogs would jump off - important thing to think about! So we redid the pinwheel and then mom did the front cross and sent me straight up the aframe -I got up and over the aframe real well even though it was high), then she did a forbidden blind cross (our instructors don't like blind crosses and mom does them without thinking!) after the aframe and sent me into the chute (I am SLOWLY making a little progress with the chute - I still won't just run through it, but I will go if it is lifted just a little bit), then left turn, jump, and jump. That was it!

We have next week off from the class and then the next session starts the week after. We're excited even though we are going to repeat the same class level because we think there is still so much we can learn in this class and from these instructors. Today we have had two short backyard practices - and I have been on fire!!! We did a pinwheels and then teeters making sure I went straight onto the teeter, and some serpentines, and weaves, of course. Too bad mom didn't have her video camera on me - I did my fastest weaves to date! Dad saw them from the kitchen window and he couldn't believe it. Now if I could just be that fast in class....

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Cross paws

Mom and I love this video that shows how to train a dog to cross his paws! We have been working on this trick since we watched the video, and I can do it!! We used a small square of yellow paper as the item that I first learned to touch. And since we don't do clicker training, mom would say "yes" whenever I touched the paper. It took awhile for me to get the idea. But now she can just say "cross" and I cross my left foot over my right. Guess now I'll have to learn how to cross the right over the left? Any way, hopefully Emily won't mind our posting her video. She does amazing stuff with her dogs Kiko and Splash! We love to learn tricks and Emily is a real inspiration!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Photos from a great walk

Last Friday we went to a new pet trail - it was awesome! The trail goes down through woods and then along the creek and then back up and out into a grassy prairie. We had the place all to ourselves. Couldn't have asked for a more perfect day!





Gotta zoom!
Ricky

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Beginning intermediate agility class 6

Wow - this week has just flown by and I realize I have really been neglecting my blog! Sorry! But I am happy to report that tonight's class was our best one so far! I am getting used to the building and the sights and sounds and people and dogs. Plus going to the club on Wednesday mornings to practice on their equipment is really helping my confidence.

Tonight we started with jumps. Mom was still confused on exactly what a lead-out push is and on how to do it. She asked a lot of questions and thinks maybe she finally gets it. I wait on one side of the jump. She goes to the landing side and faces me with her shoulders toward me and her inside arm toward me but her outside leg points in the direction she is going to go. (Is that right?) Then she can stand still close to the jump and call me over the jump for true collection or she can call me over the jump and start moving in the direction she wants me to go. Or she can lead out farther from the jump and closer to the obstacle we are going to and show me the direction to go. Make sense?

Next was weaves and table. My weaves were faster - even with a wire on for the entry. Luckily I am not bothered by the wire any more. We also practiced fast sits or downs on the table. Mom had been rewarding me when I got released from the table, but the instructor suggested she reward me when I am on the table and then the release is another reward in itself. So we'll try that. Right now I have an awesome wait on the table. Mom could walk all over and I don't get up. However don't know what I might do once I get faster and more confident!

Then it was on to teeter, pinwheel and tunnel. I went across the teeter much faster than last class, but I can't say I am racing across it or anything! We did pretty well with the pinwheel - we practice those at home some. Mom needs to figure out just how far into and out of the pocket she can go and still give me good directions. And my tunnels were good!

Finally we did contacts. Tonight we did some fancy stuff. First practiced discrimination again between tunnel and dogwalk. Then we did some longer sequences like tunnel, aframe, front cross, tunnel, tight turn and right up onto the dogwalk. We did jump, jump, dog walk, tunnel, aframe. Any way it's hard to describe but it was fun. And it's cool that we practice stuff in class that is much harder than the novice course stuff that we will see at our first trial.

So we're pretty excited about how well we did and are starting to really look forward to the next class!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Friday, October 3, 2008

Beginning intermediate agility class 5

I am happy to report that class 5 of beginning intermediate agility went well last night! I think going to the open practice on Wednesday really helped both me and mom be more confident! We arrived early again last night (only way to beat the traffic) and so we had plenty of time to warm up. Mom tried to get me to play tug - I managed to be slightly interested in my sock toy that I love when I'm at home but am too stressed out to play with at class. We are going to keep trying to get me to tug every week. We also did some pre-class weaves to have more experience with using the wires. It's going better each time - but I still don't see the point of having wires for me!

My first area during class was jumps. We practiced table and jumps and a sequence using the tire and a front cross close to the tire. Mom needed to make me turn tighter after the tire so she learned how to move to accomplish that.

Next we went to the weaves and jumps. My weaves are getting better - I am still way faster at home with my stick-in-the-ground poles and no distractions. We also did some straight line jumping to work on my speed (or lack thereof).

Then we went to the teeter and chute area. The first time I approached the teeter, I refused to go up. Mom didn't let me get away with that and put my slip lead on and then I went across willingly. Next time I wasn't fast but I did it on my own. The teeter at class and the one at the club are a lot bigger and heavier than the one I have at home and I am still getting used to how fast they tip and how LOUD they are when they hit the ground! I am making slow progress on the chute - I go in the barrel and don't come back out, but I wait to see mom peek through the end and then I go through even when she lets the material fall down on me. I know I am being goofy - but I will get it eventually.

Lastly we did the contacts. This week the tunnel was under the aframe. That didn't scare me like the tunnel under the dogwalk did. We practiced jump, double jump and either sending into the tunnel or over the aframe. My aframes were much faster after my practice at the club. Now mom is going to work on keeping her shoulders straight and her arm out and then lowering her arm as I go down into the contact area. In general mom needs to think more about the position of her shoulders and about where she is looking. If she gives me good cues, I can definitely follow her.

Our instructor said that I did better last night and seemed more confident and mom seemed more relaxed. Hopefully we are headed in a good direction now. This morning we did some practice in the backyard - the jump sequence from last night with the front cross, some weaves and teeter. It went very well! We have also started to get serious about practicing a start line ritual. Now that the weather has cooled off, we hope to get in lots of practicing before winter. I like agility a lot more when it's cool outside!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Things

Boy it feels like fall outside today - great weather if you're a Sheltie! I have so much more energy now. Mom is a little sad because she's not ready for summer to be over, but me, I can't wait for snow!

A couple days ago mom took me to the park that has the walking path around the big lake. I like going there because mom let's me drag the long line when we are on the far side of the lake. Then I get to run ahead of mom and sniff, etc. It's really fun. We were having a great time until we were close to the end of the loop - mom was holding my leash and making me walk next to her - and we saw up ahead a medium-sized black dog (possibly a portuguese water dog or a labradoodle or something) off-leash but close to his owner. Mom was thinking that since the dog was off-leash, the owner probably had some control over him and that he was probably a friendly dog. Well, as we got closer, the dog was not listening to the owner (when mom heard the lady repeat her commands to her dog she should've known that the dog was not under control). Any way, that dog came over and growled and tried to jump on top of me. Mom moved me away and the owner made a feeble attempt to get her dog under control and he lunged at me again! Mom swooped me up into her arms and the lady was like "sorry". Mom was really mad but she only said, "You mean you have your dog off-leash when he's that aggressive?" The owner said, "he usually isn't." Right, like little old me made him want to kill some body. Well I wasn't hurt and hopefully won't hold a grudge against black dogs! Plus mom won't be so trusting next time (although she still doesn't want to overreact every time a dog is nearby - that isn't good either).

Later that same day, one of dad's student's moms brought over the latest edition to their family - an adorable 14-week-old Australian Shepherd puppy. Mom thought he was so cute! I thought he was a big stupid puppy and why was he in my yard? Fortunately he was kept on a leash for most of the time so that he couldn't trample me out of enthusiasm. I actually had to growl at him and show my teeth to let him know who was the boss. I had never done that before (but I was still a little shaken up by my dog encounter at the lake.)

Today we went to open agility practice at the club where we are members but where we are not currently taking classes. My trainer Deb paved the way for us to get to go - and it was so much fun! The other people training there on Wednesday mornings are really nice (Deb is there too - you know how much I love her!). We each get five minutes to practice on the course by ourselves - we can practice anything we want. Then after everybody goes, you get another turn. Five minutes doesn't sound like a lot of time but it is plenty. Mom was huffing and puffing after running around for that short a time! We worked on aframe (I was flying over it - compared to what I have been doing in class lately). And the tunnel was under the aframe, so we got to work on a little discrimination. I also tried the teeter there - man, it makes the loudest bang I've ever heard when it goes down. I didn't like that but I think I can get used to it. My weaves were slow today but my jumps were good. I did some lead-outs and Deb says I "come to the hand" really well! All I know is I had FUN doing agility today! We are going to try to go every Wednesday morning now.

Dad had his camera out again and took some photos of me playing with my big red ball this afternoon. So we thought we'd share them with you! I'm practicing my "ugly face" in the first photo! I push that ball all over the backyard!




Gotta zoom!
Ricky

Friday, September 26, 2008

Beginning intermediate agility class 4

What's this photo have to do with agility class? Nothing! Mom just thinks it's cute!


Last night was week 4 of my beginning intermediate agility class. We left the house super early in order to avoid a repeat of last week's late arrival. We got to the class building 30 minutes before. That was ok, actually, because mom and I went for a little walk, did some stretches and a few tricks. Then we got to do the aframe on our own a few times before class started. I did it but not very fast.


When class started, we reviewed what mom needs to do for a front cross, a pull, and a lead-out push. Mom knows what these moves are but thinks they are easier to do in context rather than practicing with one jump sort of in the abstract. But she really understands the purpose of each one now. We also talked about extension and collection.


Our first station last night was weave poles. The instructor really wants me to be able to weave with one wire on for the entry and one for the exit. I was still shying away from the wires, so she took a really long time to help me to be more comfortable. She pushed the wire all the way to the ground and then it didn't bother me at all. Then she gradually raised the height, and I tolerated it being there. She also says that when mom moves more confidently, I behave more confidently too. She thinks the noise in the building and the distractions make me slower and less confident and more wary about what I am doing. So private lessons wouldn't help me to overcome that. This means that we are going to need to repeat this same level class again next month. Ok, as long as it makes me more secure.


Then we went on to teeter and jumps and tunnel. I did three pretty good teeters - with 2o2o at the end. And my jumps and tunnel were fine. But by the fourth time on the teeter, I had had enough and jumped off.


After that it was contacts and dogwalk/tunnel discrimination. Well, I had never seen a tunnel under a dogwalk before. What the heck was it doing there? I didn't like it. I went slowly into the tunnel and even refused to go in - my first tunnel refusal. Mom was so proud (NOT!). So my instructor worked on getting me over that too - she moved the tunnel away a little and had mom work on getting me to do the dogwalk. We also did dogwalk, tunnel, aframe, double jump. I knocked the bar on the double when I went over it at an angle. That's something we can practice at home.


Finally we did jumps - a little quiz on the LOP, pull and FC. Then we practiced doing fast downs on the table. I am good at that! And I stay put while mom walks away from me - so theoretically, she may be able to do a big lead out from the table once we start trialing.


All in all not a bad class. Tomorrow we are going to watch an agility trial and hopefully see some of our instructors (past and present) in action. Should be good for mom to watch and learn and good for me to soak up the sights and sounds.


Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A Trip to the Lake

Yesterday dad and mom took me to the lake to swim and walk. For the very first time I got to run along the beach without any kind of leash on! Freedom! I ran and zoomed and swam a little bit and chased dad in and out of the water! I was careful not to abuse my rights to freedom and stuck with dad and mom. There is a dog trail near the beach that we explored. It was a beautiful sunny and cool morning. Perfect for cool weather shelties!







We had an awesome time!!!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Windstorm video

Here is a little video dad took in our backyard during the windstorm. You can see the power line down in the fish pond garden. (Well, I guess you can't really see it. The quality of the video went way down when it was converted from quick time to something that windows movie maker would accept).

video

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

We're still here!

Hi everybody!!! We finally got our cable and internet back yesterday. The line to our house was damaged in the storm so it took awhile to get someone to fix it. But we are back to normal here. We were very lucky - much more fortunate than those in Texas who are still way far from getting back to normal. Our hearts go out to them. From the little taste we got of what a hurricane is like, we can't imagine what it must be like for those people! Our electricity went off Sunday the 14th around 4:00PM and didn't come back on until Friday evening around 5:00PM. We really appreciate electricity much more now and don't take it for granted!

Of course there were some positive things about last week. First of all, we had a great time with grandpa and grandma! We spent four nights there and had wonderful company and great meals! I got to run in their big yard each day - I am even getting better at fetch! I am learning from watching my cousin Wilson! My personal record is 7 times of running way out into the yard and bringing the tennis ball back to mom.

On Thursday night I had my 3rd beginning intermediate agility class. This class was our worst so far! The traffic was really bad and it took us twice as long to get there as it should've. So we were late and had to go from sitting in the car for 50 minutes straight into action at the class. We did weave poles first. I kept entering the poles and stopping after one or two to bite at my leg. Mom discovered that I had a burr in my fur (where I picked that up I have no idea). She got it out and then I did the weaves just fine. No wires, thank goodness. We just worked on getting a little speed. Then it was on to contacts. I did a slow but accurate dogwalk but I didn't want to do the aframe at all. Mom encouraged me but I scrabbled up it on my toe nails - it was awful! The instructor picked me up to check to see if I was sore. She showed us how to stretch out my legs. She thought that maybe I was a little sore (earlier in the day dad accidentally rolled his chair back and I was sleepy and didn't move quickly enough and he caught some hair and some of my foot - maybe that was why I was sore). When we moved to the next station, I did a slow teeter but refused to jump the double. After that we did jumps but I didn't want to do those either. So it was pretty much a wasted class. And after we drove in all that traffic to get there! Mom is starting to wonder if maybe classes aren't the right thing for us. We'll see how it goes tomorrow night.

On Saturday I took my CGC test! Our first "competition"! The very first part went well - accepting a stranger and sitting politely for petting. No problems there. Next - appearance and grooming - I looked good, of course, but this lady leaned over me and went right for my ears to examine them and I did not like that at all! I was very fearful and tried to get over next to mom and away from this lady! I also did not want to have anything to do with her touching my feet! Mom asked if we could go on and do the other stations and come back and try again. (Thankfully mom had watched Johann's video of his CGC test and knew that it was possible to try again! Thanks, Johann!) So we went on to other tasks - walking through a crowd, sit and down on command/stay in place, coming when called, reaction to another dog, reaction to distractions, out for a walk. I did all those with no problems. Then we went back to the grooming one, and there was a different lady there. She was very nice and got down on the ground so she wouldn't seem so intimidating to me. Mom got down on the ground too and I managed to be brave enough to let the new lady touch my ears. Then mom handed the lady my front feet one at a time and I let the lady touch them. Whew!! Passed, but just barely!!!! Finally I did my supervised separation - there was no way I was going anywhere without my mom, so I easily laid there until she came back to get me. Any way, I passed the test! Mom was very proud of me!

More later but for now....


Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Monday, September 15, 2008

Windstorm!

We had a horrendous wind storm yesterday! The remnants of hurricane Ike and a cold front combined together to create winds of 70 miles per hour. The high winds started at about 4:00PM and went on for four hours! We live in a neighborhood full of big, old trees, and they were no match for the wind. Our electricity is out (and our electric service line was ripped off the house by falling tree limbs), our phone is out, our cable is out, etc. But our house itself has very little damage. We spent the night at our house last night and with grandpa and grandma's help, we cleaned up a lot of the debris today. But since we still don't have power, we are spending the night here at grandpa and grandma's. I won't be around a computer much and we might not get our power on for a week! So I'll try to let you all know what's going on and I'll have to catch up on your blogs later!

Gotta zoom!

Ricky

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Fun with new camera!

Grandma Catherine gave dad her old digital camera - it's a way better camera than the one we already had - and he is having fun learning how to use it! We are sharing with you his very first attempts at action agility shots staring ME!





So cool!
Gotta zoom!
Ricky