Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Why no camera when you need it!

Too bad mom didn't bring the video camera to yesterday's agility class! It was the last one for this session (maybe the last one until the Fall because the building gets really hot in the summer and the instructor won't teach when it's hot - well, I won't do agility when it's hot either), and there was an awesome course set up and I ran it three times! The course wasn't too easy but it wasn't too difficult either. Mom was able to just walk it 1 1/2 times and she knew what she planned to do. The first time through we did great - I was pretty fast and very confident. The only mistake came when mom forgot where the second to last jump was and had to move and redirect me. Other than that it would've been perfect! Second time through mom handled it the same and corrected herself at the end, so if I remember correctly, it was perfect! Then for the third time mom decided to try some different handling - a lead out, some rear crosses instead of front crosses, the other side for the weaves - well, the lead out worked great, I missed a tunnel/aframe discrimation because I didn't read mom as well and she ran past the aframe before I committed to it (she needs to keep saying to herself - like a mantra - "don't go on until Ricky commits to the obstacle!") - but other than that things went well again. We were very excited and are feeling much more confident for Saturday's trial! It's also a good feeling when you hear other people in the class saying things like, "Ricky's looking good" or "Nice run".

Other than agility (cause we've also been practicing in the backyard almost every day too) we have been going on walks - two different and really fun pet trails and also my favorite park - on Saturday we went to grandpa and grandma's and visited and had dinner, and on Sunday we went to a Pet Expo. I had never been any where like it - loud, crowded with people and dogs, smelly, and LOUD - did I already mention the loud part? It was held in a convention center and there were exhibits and booths of things to buy and demonstrations of dog training, rescue groups, etc. Our club volunteers to be in the shows and we went partly to see if we liked it and might want to volunteer to be in the show next year. We're undecided about that - because it was so LOUD! But it was a good experience for me, I guess. I was a very good boy and stayed right next to mom (she protected me from getting stepped on) and only snuck a couple tiny pieces of yummy somethings off the floor (and I could've eaten non-stop the whole time!).

We're enjoying the spring weather on the days when it feels like spring - our grass is greening up and star magnolias are blooming as well as daffodils and even some tulips. Looks like regular magnolias and flowering trees like crabapples will bloom soon! This morning we had a migrant Eastern Towhee in our backyard scratching away at leaves. If it's not yet looking like spring where you are, we hope it will soon!

Gotta zoom!


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Slow Poke Agility

Finally made a video........

Gotta zoom!



I'm pretty far behind in my blogging. I've been to three classes and haven't written about any of them. My Monday morning class has been really fun. Two weeks ago we tried a FAST course for the first time - FAST is kind of the AKC equivalent to USDAA gambles. This was an excellent FAST course so the send part was way over our heads but interesting to try and to see. You had to send your dog into a straight tunnel and then hopefully the dog was going so fast that he would shoot straight out of that tunnel and into a second one that curved around and then you had to call your dog back into the first one - all without going over the line (so the handler was like 15 feet away?). Well, I was never moving fast enough to go straight into the second tunnel. Mom ran with me - ignoring the line - which of course would cause an NQ in the real world. But we just don't have those skills yet. I think only one dog in our class got it - so it was hard for dogs that are already running in excellent. Then this past Monday, we did more work on contacts and discriminations. I ran faster than I used to except my dogwalk and weaves were really slow.

Last Wednesday we had our third novice competition class. We are still really loving this class. But mom was apparently so tired from all her working that she couldn't remember the sequences by the second half of the class. There were only three dogs in our group, so you get to run a lot back to back to back. The instructor says stuff like - "Next sequence - right side of the tunnel to the blue (jump) to the teal to the teeter to the white to the red to the left side of the tunnel to the weaves to the table to the blue to the yellow....." - get the idea? So after hearing these different combinations all night long, mom's head started spinning. She never had this problem before - hopefully it was a one-time occurrence. It was embarrassing when she didn't know where to tell me to go! Besides that, mom needs to keep reminding herself to do front crosses and run to keep me moving. Also we found out that I can't follow her direction to one end of the tunnel or the other, so we are practicing sends to the tunnel at home more. We don't have class tonight because most of the instructors are going to the AKC Nationals! Wish them luck! So today we're going to the open agility practice - we haven't been there in nearly a month.

A couple days ago our friend Ludo gave us this awesome award! Thanks for thinking of us Ludo!!

Time for my morning walk - it's raining for the first time in days - so we're going to get wet!
Gotta zoom!

Friday, March 20, 2009

My One-Year Blog-iversary!

It was one year ago today that I started blogging! Hard to believe a year has already gone by! Well, lots of things have happened - I've gone on lots of walks, been to lots of classes, learned a lot of new things and even been to my first agility trial. But what I really want to say is how happy I am to have so many good blogging friends! I had no idea that I would "meet" so many people and dogs - it is really fun to have you all as blogging buddies! Thanks for all your comments and advice and good wishes! Blogging has been a wonderful experience - sharing your thoughts and dreams and problems with people from all over the world - people you would've never met otherwise - and learning so much from the experience of others! It's just fantastic! I hope to keep on blogging for many years to come and look forward to more posts from my friends and from new friends I've yet to meet!

(actually smiling for once!)
(hard at work on my blog!)

Gotta zoom!

Friday, March 13, 2009

In the interest of full disclosure.....

By the way, when we talk about having a great class and being fast, we don't mean "Miley-fast" or "Sizzle-fast" - now those Shelties are FAST! We just mean faster than I was before. Mom started worrying that you all thought I was fast at agility now. But we can tell you for sure that we are both liking agility more and more!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Gotta zoom!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just a quick post

I had the best class of my life last night - for me, I was fast! Mom set me up at the startline each time and said "Ready, set, go!" and I went (not super fast, but fast for me)! We did some really fun sequences with harder jumps and weave entries. I got a weave entry with mom doing like a post turn from maybe 4:00 (not sure if I am describing it right) - and I got it on my first try and everybody in my half of the class cheered! Then they cheered when I got a lateral send to the tunnel and when I ran full out on a straight line jump sequence to end a set! I was pretty happy and mom was ecstatic! We think agility rocks!

In our Monday class, we ran a JWW course - set up for people who are competing in excellent. So it was much more difficult than what we are used to. It was very fun and challenging. The worst part was that mom had trouble remembering the course - but in fairness to her, she didn't have much of a chance to walk it.

Mom sent in the entry for our next AKC trial - April 4th. We decided to just do one day again. Mom says she has trouble writing out the check for two days of trialing! We just don't know how people run multiple dogs!

Mom tried practicing measuring with me at the class last night - she thinks she got a measurement under 14" - but she wasn't sure she was doing it right. At least she got me to relax a little during the process. I have definitely lost some weight - maybe that is helping.....

Time for my morning walk and then mom has to go to work!

Gotta zoom!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

If only .....

I think this is what mom wishes I looked like at the start line! BOL!

Gotta zoom!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Funny photo!

Dad has been trying to get video and photos of me catching my blue squeaky ball - he will be upset that I posted this photo because it's a little out of focus, but mom thinks it is a hilarious picture and worth sharing!

Gotta zoom!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Novice Competition Class 1

Last night was our first novice competition class and it was awesome! The class seems to be challenging but not over our heads. We are split into two groups again - last night there were four dogs in my group. We started on the side that had the most jumps and weaves and the teeter. Worked a lot of little sequences in 30 minutes - some pinwheels, 180s, - mom did a lot of front crosses with me. She's trying to get me revved up to run but now when we get in front of the first obstacle and mom starts to say ready, I immediately start moving but not very fast still. So it's been difficult for her to get a startline routine going. I admit that I am just not helping her very much. I did save her butt a few times when I went the right way and she was not very clear with her handling! And I love the end of the sequences because I get a lot of chicken!

After 30 minutes we headed to the other side which was the contacts plus tunnel, jumps and weaves. My contacts were fine - mostly because I don't run fast enough to miss the yellow! The thing that gave us the most trouble was wrapping - we have practiced jump wraps before, but last night I kept wanting to back jump. Mom tried different moves and we are going to practice all week at home. Too bad we don't get copies of the exercises we do in the class. After doing so many, it's really hard to remember the set-ups when we get home. Overall it was a great class - new people and dogs, a new instructor, and new challenges! Looking forward to next week!

Monday agility class went better this week too. In that class we practice some really advanced stuff - some of it is definitely too hard for us right now - some discriminations and some layering. But it's good to see it and try it. Mom played around with a couple of bc's after class again. One of our former instructors had two of her dogs there - one is a MACH 2 dog - mom ran her and got a real thrill out of it - it's like driving a sports car, she said - hard to control when you don't really know what you're doing! And she also ran with the other dog - a young and wild girl! It's interesting for mom because not only are they super fast dogs, but they're a lot bigger than me and mom has to think about different handling options with them.

Now for some sad news - my cattle dog friend Riley that works with her mom at my favorite pet store has been diagnosed with cancer - she is 10 years old (young for a cattle dog) and doesn't have long to live. They did surgery to remove her spleen but the cancer had spread and is in her blood vessels. Chemo doesn't work well so there's really nothing to do. We are going to visit the store as often as we can in the next few weeks. Please keep Riley and her mom in your thoughts! It's really sad - no one ever knows how much time they have left - we should all make more of an effort to enjoy the time we have......

And so,

Gotta zoom!


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Visiting and some walking

We just came in from our morning walk - sun is out but it's 19 with a wind chill of 10! Hello March! Spring is right around the corner - can't you tell?

Thursday and Friday mom and I went to visit my cousin Wilson (and my aunt, uncle, and two human cousins and my other dog cousin Sandy)! The weather was supposed to be warm but cloudy. (Warm meaning in the 50s). As soon as we got there - it's about a 2-hour drive - we loaded up my aunt's car with the two big Goldens and me and headed off for the park. They have a nice park not far from their house - an almost two-mile walking path around a lake. The only bad part is that one section of the path goes close to a major highway - so you guessed it - I do lots of barking there. It was not warm at all - very windy - I loved it but mom and my aunt were complaining. After the walk we hung out at the house - the yard was too soppy for ball playing but I got to follow Wilson around every where he went in the house. On Friday it was even colder and windier and wetter, but mom and my aunt still took me for another walk at the park. Poor Wilson and Sandy had to stay at home - they are a lot more trouble than me since they are so big! After lunch mom and I left to drive back home - I am always happy to go visiting, but it exhausts me - I sleep soundly all the way home and then usually go to bed very early in the evening!

We found out during the week that we could go to a trial to get officially measured even if we are not entered in the trial - did you all know that? Now that I am two, I have to get measured twice to get my permanent height card. So mom and I got up early yesterday and drove to the same place where my trial was held two weeks ago - there was another trial this weekend. We were hoping to get measured by our instructor again - but she is sick with a very bad case of the flu and couldn't be there! So we decided to wait and go to get measured during a trial in March - we can't enter it because mom has to work. The next trial we plan to enter is on April 4th and 5th. Hopefully I will have my height card by then and it will say I am 14" or under!!!!!!

Then yesterday afternoon mom, dad and I went for a cold walk up at the lake where we frequently go - the temperature was in the upper 20s and mom was hoping that the ground would be frozen. Well, no such luck for her! We started out walking on a closed road that leads to the sailboat club but some stupid people had been there and broken a lot of glass on the road! Why? So we got off the road and took a grassy path. The path was cool but the ground was not frozen and there were puddles and mudholes every where! Soon I was pretty wet. The path leads down to the beach and the lake - at this time of year the beach is really big because the reservoir lake is low - so I had tons of room to run and run on the beach. Then I was covered in sand too. Mom almost had a heart attack when she saw how dirty I was getting but dad just laughed and laughed! I had a BLAST!!!!! I didn't care how dirty I got or how cold it was. The wind was terrible - mom's eyes were watering, her nose wouldn't stop running and her cheeks were fire-engine red! It would be great to have some photos or video of all this - wouldn't it? But who can take their hands out of gloves to do the picture-taking? When we finally got back to the car, mom got a towel to try to dry me off and found that my belly, legs and chest were covered in sandy, muddy icicles!! What a mess. There was nothing to do but put me in the car and go home!

Hope you all are having a fun and enjoyable weekend!

Gotta zoom!