Tuesday, December 29, 2009


I won't go into the whole story here for those that don't know it, except to say the rental house I moved in to in August was supposed to have blinds installed on all the windows by Sept 1. I just got them up today. They are really nice, and I am happy to take the sheet down from my bedroom window and the paper off the bathroom window. And I am glad I can close the blinds when it is dark because that makes me feel more secure.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dottie and Pie

Dottie and Pie are demolishing the house with their play time, and Dottie keeps stealing all the new toys and destroying them even faster than Pie does. Maybe Fancy wants to play with the nice blue lufa dog. Dottie does not share well. Fancy got in a few squeakes on the cupcake (we love check in toys!) while Dottie was "resting" in her crate.

I am enjoying blogging on my new laptop while sitting on the couch! Maybe later I'll go to the park and run into an ex boyfriend who I don't like and then for some reason we'll go on a trip together and get in a fight when he eyeballs some other girl. Sounds like a plan to me. An no matter what others think, I still say listening to the radio and accidentally memorizing the commercials is better than watching too much TV.

Looks like Fancy won't get a chance to play with the lufa dog.


After playtime was dinner time. Since The Dot was put away, Pie got some rests in. Once again Pie chooses a bed that is too small for her. Silly Pie.

I still have to post about Christmas and now I have a report on my day off today, which involved fun with my mom and sister and Godchild. No dogs were involved, although apparently my brother walked Dottie while we were gone. He reports she was a good puppy and ignored the loose dog running amuck. She is a good girl. We just have to fix the pulling on the leash. She needs to watch Fancy as her example, not Pie.

The video is taking quite a while to upload, so this won't get posted tonight. Here is Pie doing a better job of trying to fit on the bed. Earlier she had her head bent around and it was working out quite nicely for her. The remains of a toy Pie had her way with are seen as well.

I have such a small bed because I thought Fancy might use it. It was $5 at a drug store. Pie uses it the most, proving that she is a very silly dog.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas! Short Version

I'll write more in a bit. Right now I'm testing out my brand new laptop. Thanks, Santa!
The dogs enjoyed their present.

Then we went on a Christmas walk.
Dottie got mud on her face.
I hope everyone who reads this (and those that don't also!) had a nice Christmas.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Busy Day

Let see...

During lunch at work I visited the mini-exchange and bought some necessities and also addressed and mailed off the almost last of my Christmas cards. Then after lunch I went for a "jog." I put it in quotes because it was fairly lame. When the weather got super cold I wasn't doing my run three days a week like I was supposed to, and I had never gotten back up to full jogging status after I hurt my knee at the Costa Mesa trial. But at the dog club holiday party someone who hasn't seen me since I lost weight from jogging complimented me on my weight loss, and since it was a bit warmer, I figured I'd better get back into it. It is too bad that Pie's tooth did something painful to my knee last Tuesday and I've been feeling it ever since. It did hurt a bit during the last part of my run.

After work I took the dogs for a walk behind the house then had dinner (always an exciting thing to blog about.) Before I started cooking my dinner, I played fetch inside with Dottie a little. She is doing so well! Then, just as I was cooking, my private lesson client arrived. Her agility class had been canceled so she was early. She decided to go to the market while I finished dinner, which I was grateful for. After she came back we worked both her dogs for her hour lesson (Fancy and Pie helped with the groups), then I played fetch with the dogs outside. Dottie has decided harassing Fancy is more fun than harassing Pie, which seems to be living on the wild side, because Fancy will bite back, while Pie won't. Apparently Dottie likes a bit of danger in her life. If she was human, Dottie would probably be a base jumper or sky diver (like my Aunt Kathleen!) or maybe a bank robber (luckily I don't have any relatives that engage in that activity, that I know of.) Even though it was a really good idea to give Dottie a toy to hold so she won't bite the other dogs while playing fetch, the drawback was Dottie would chew the toy and not get the exercise of chasing the ball (or in her case, the other dogs.) So I'm extra happy she is chasing Fancy because while she barks at Fancy she knows better to bite her. Now all the dogs get exercise and no one gets bit! Perfect.

Now I'm blogging and after I'm done I'm going to wrap all my Christmas presents.

Before I start that I'll give a quick agility wrap up from this weekend. Pie got a double double Q, putting her at 16. Fancy apparently thought she was too special to run in a regular agility trail after doing well at the Invitational and ran super slow in jumpers and refused to run in standard, coming to a stop after coming out of a tunnel. She was slightly better on Sunday, running both coursed for a Double Q, but earning only 2 points in jumpers and 4 in standard. Sort of embarrassing, Fancy. But she was so fast at the Invitational, I'm glad she gave me everything she had last weekend. Pie has slowed down considerably in the weaves. I got her ball out and did the weaves at home and with the proper motivation, she was fast... I wonder if I can fix that in a trial?

Pie is sad right now. The puppy took her bone and when I tried to stop the pup, Pie got sad. Methinks Pie is too sensitive for her own good.

Alright, off to wrap the presents now. I'll try to keep the dog hair on the tape to a minimum, but that never goes as well as I'd like.

One more thing before I go. As I was redoing the header to reflect the current dogs, I found this picture. The computer reports it was taken in Feb of 2008. Bloom stopped going the beach when he was no longer himself so I think I am correct in saying he hadn't been himself for around a year when he died. Blossom never made it to the beach. I don't think he would have liked it very much. I got to pet a poodle at the trail over the weekend. I've been thinking about Blossom a lot.

Actually, Bloom didn't really care for the beach. He and Blossom were very much a like.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Beach Day!

I got off early work today, so I took the dogs to the beach. Earlier today it was 82 degrees, but by the time we arrived at the beach it was cooler. It was Dottie's first time at the beach, but Fancy and Pie knew where we were going. Not only do they know the word "beach" but as we get closer they smell the sea air and Fancy makes the most amusing noises. Claire was on the phone (looking forward to your upcoming visit!) and she could hear the noises coming from the back of the car. Yep, Fanciful loves the beach.

Dottie isn't as into the ball as Pie and Fancy, so while the two older girls tried to outrun each other to get the ball first, Dottie just chased them. She went into the surf, but it didn't seem to increase her enjoyment, as it does for the other two. If you have trouble telling the Mal girls apart in any of the pictures (Dottie is actually growing! She is around 6 months or so now) the puppy is the one with the collar on.

My first time at the beach!

Tail shot.

Where'd it go?

Dottie investigates some sea foam.

Follow the leader.

Water and a tennis ball- my two favorite things. What do I care how I look?

Getting in deep.


The Channel Islands. Not sure which one this is, actually. I should probably know that...

My most beautiful Malinois ever, Pie.

Fancy really doesn't share "her" ball very happily.

I'm all wet, and salty, and sandy, and you think I look cute??

Posing time. That is the most neck I've ever gotten in a picture of Dottie. Usually she has no neck.

I had the camera on "sports" setting to capture all the action, but with the sun setting, it made some pictures not as sharp as I would like.

Practicing the down stay while I loaded the car. Dottie isn't too bad for an impulsive puppy of such a tender age.

After we got home, we took a walk in the "hills" behind our house. I saw a hawk with possibly a squirrel. I hope it wasn't a rat. Gross. It seems the beach and the walk was sufficient exercise for the puppy, because for the first time ever, she is sitting by my chair, calmly getting pet. The only other time she has been close to calm when loose in the house is when she is frantically gnawing on a bone. Usually she would be pestering, chewing or body slamming Pie.

A successful day, I'd say.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Invitational Report

I'll do this by days... for those that don't know- this is Fancy's fourth invite to the AKC Invitational. The first year Fancy had only been doing agility for half a year when she was invited, but I was the weak link and got lost on course. The second year we made it into the finals and I messed up, rear crossing too hard and causing a refusal at a jump. Still we made it onto the Animal Planet showing and had an unofficial placement of 6th in the 20 inch class. Our third year we were not working well together and had only two clean runs. This year... read on!

Day 1- FAST Warm Up
I arrived and found my crating spot which was really close to the actual rings. I got lucky because I was almost on the end of a row and I was in the tent closest to the rings. I was happy I didn't have to fight my way down the isles through four tents to get to the rings like the people who were in the farthest tent had to. We ran FAST and I practiced the contacts but since I haven't made Fancy hold her contacts in shows in years she didn't hold them in the warm up, which is what I expected. Fancy ran fast and happy.

Crating tent.
Agility tent. Nice sod.
Main ring one.
Second ring.

Day 2- JWW and Standard
It was pouring. I drove really slow because of the torrential rain. We arrived and ran for the tents and got all wet. Many of the crates in the tents were wet. I was lucky because I had Fancy in her vari kennel on my dolly so she was dry all day.

Nice and dry and guarding my camera.

We ran jumpers first and Fancy reverted back to her slower speed. But it wasn't horribly slow, and I used front crosses to speed her up. This course had many clean runs. I think the judges wanted to allow us to have success in our first run. We ran clean which fulfilled our goal of being clean in our first run so we could look forward to the rest of the weekend.

Next was standard and Fancy was much faster. I'm not good at the blow by blow because I can't really even remember the courses. I do remember it started with a tunnel which she came zipping out of and I did lots of front crosses even though I am better at rears. The fronts let me get ahead so if she is going slower she has to catch up. On this course I didn't need to speed her up, but I wanted to keep her moving. Ran clean again.

We were done really early and as soon as I was done, we went to check out the vendors and meet the breed. On the way back we got caught in the rain and soaked. While walking around, Fancy got lots of compliments on how beautiful she is, which is always amusing to me. I think Fancy is very cute, even adorable, but I don't think of her as beautiful. One person told me their friend has a Tibetan Terrier that exact same color. And they recognized her as a TT without asking! Then Fancy got a break and I took Pie and Dottie over the breed ring areas. I bought a great huge stuffed toy bigger than Pie for the two Mals to play with. Dottie managed to latch onto it, and I could not get her off. The more things I tried the harder she pulled until finally I borrowed some cookies and shoved one practically up her nose, whereupon she immediately let go and I removed the toy. Which was good since the breed and vendor area was very crowed and she was making a scene. Both Pie and Dottie attracted the attention of some K-9 handlers and those cops pet them. I think they were surprised how friendly Pie was. I think they are used to Mals who do not try to crawl into their laps while wagging their tails so hard they almost fall over. They got pet by lots of other people too, but Dottie was too excited to be a pleasure to walk, so they didn't stay out too long.

The river in the crating area. You can see a video of the dog bowl race here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dnBUnWjgGEw Some competitors were seriously upset about the conditions, but I am more of the feeling- the AKC did not cause the weather, and they did the best they could to make it better... Also, since the AKC is actually about the breed ring and obedience and agility and all the other games come in second, we are lucky they hold this event at all.
Drove home in the pouring rain and horrible traffic.

Day 3- JWW and Hybrid and Finals
Today the general walk through started at 6 am. My class wasn't going to start until maybe 10, but I got up at 3:45 to make it in time for the general because my first year at the invitational, I forgot one of the courses, and if that happened again this year because I was too tired to make if for the general, I would only have myself to blame. I watched all the dogs run before us, and I love seeing all the unusual breeds, and the super fast and really good more popular breeds that had to work really hard to get in. I thought our jumpers run went really well. If I lead out with Fancy she tends to be sad and run slower, so I've been doing running front crosses rather than leading out. It was 2 jumps into a box and I was worried if I didn't do the front cross correctly she'd be over the third jump before I could catch her, which happened to many dogs in the 24 inch jump height. But we did that part well and she had really nice fast weaves too. We finished clean!

The hybrid round was basically standard with no dog walk. This course was really fun. I did a serpentine type thing to get her in the weaves. It was a left turn after the poles and I was on the left so as soon as her nose passed the second to last pole I called her into the chute, which got us a nice turn. It was then a really long run and Fancy loves long runs. I actually remembered to decelerate to cue a front cross and as soon as I saw her read it, I took off to get into position to get another FC in on the other side of the same jump. Sometimes I am able to handle like Mia has taught me to. The trickiest part of the course was next. From the teeter you went into the tunnel which was on the other side of the a frame. Then you and to get to the other side of the tunnel because if you were too slow, they'd zip into the chute. At the last second I chickened out and held back because I thought she'd run into me coming out of the tunnel. I almost didn't hold back far enough and she almost hit me anyway, so I had to dance out of the way, and still try to redirect her from the chute to the jump to the right. She was able to redirect to the jump and we made it over the jump and up the a frame. I was going to do one more FC before the triple, but she was moving so fast I couldn't make it and rear crossed. Clean again and into the finals!

Getting the finals ring set up. Who me? Obsessively watch as they set up, then obsessively walk? Never!

One thing I don't like is they only take one dog of each breed in each jump hight into the finals. There was a BC in first and second place and a golden in third and sixth and seventh (or something like that- 3 goldens)... But only one BC and one golden got to go on. Even if they had taken all the dogs in the top spots, we still would have made the finals, but since they do it like that, going into the finals we went from 9th place (they took 11 dogs) to being seeded sixth. Fancy was the fastest non fast dog. What I mean by that is the cumulative time of the dog placed right before her was 119 (two BCs, three goldens, Aussie, Terv and a beardie) and then there was a huge difference of 14 seconds between Fancy and the faster dogs. Her cumulative time was 133 then the rest of the dogs were after her. That is a good accomplishment for us.

Posted scores. Check means you get to move onto the finals.

They let us walk for 15 minutes and I walked for 14 of those. I was super happy with Fancy's speed. Last time we were in the finals she was not her fastest, but this time she was. We were not clean- off course into the wrong side of the tunnel. I completely forgot to say her name before she took the jump into the tunnel and when I saw her heading for the wrong side, I do not think I stopped moving. I think I chased after her screaming her name. Probably if I would have stooped and said "DOWN!" I might have been able to save us, but one (I have lots!) of my weaknesses as a handler is I can't think fast enough. Also, the crowd saw us going off course and started screaming and even as I was shouting I couldn't hear myself so who knows if she could hear me! I put her back in the correct side and we finished strong. Her speed was super! I looked at the results today and using her posted time, which included an off course tunnel (doing the tunnel twice), her time was fast enough to put us in fourth place! But, since were were not clean we NQed instead. I feel like, "someday I'd like to run clean in the finals" but really I'm just lucky to be there. Fancy is an awesome dog, but if it were not for the unique way dogs qualify for the Invitationals, we wouldn't ever be in the finals! So instead I'll think "someday I'd like to be a better handler!"

Our unofficial placement was 8th. Unofficial because if you do not go clean you don't get a placement.

Fancy and her loot.

Fancy is such an awesome teammate. I've learned things from every dog I've trained, and she has really taught me about finding what works for each individual dog, and not just handling wise, but motivation wise too. The best part about the show this year was how fast she was through out it. I got to show off the dog Fancy is capable of being, when she wants to.
I don't know why she looks so sad. Sometimes there is no figuring her out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Can't forget Kurt's birthday. Not that he reads this blog. His birthday was actually yesterday, but I was so busy driving to celebrate with him, then celebrating, then driving home from the celebrations, I didn't have time to blog. For those keeping track he was 26 years old yesterday.

I also didn't take any pictures. Seems I'm falling down (which isn't unusual for those who know me well) on the blogging job.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Malinois Play Time

How is this fun?

But they both do it to each other and don't seem to mind. My favorite is when Dottie starts gnawing on Pie's leg like a bone, and Pie just lays there. For a few seconds, at least....

I am surprised I got a picture of Pie doing the face pulling. Usually it is Dottie, and she doesn't take such a tiny bite. Her entire mouth is full of Pie's face. It may be interesting to note this way of play appears to be genetic, because many Belgian Shepherds do it. (Belgian Shepherds means all the varieties- Malinois, Groenendales (sp?) Terverens and Lakenois.)


Have your feet ever been so cold it felt like you big toenails were being bent backwards? I kept pulling my socks looser because I thought maybe they were responsible. But seeing as how my toes were super cold, I figured it out. Now, this isn't a post about "poor me I was so cold" because you should think, "just turn the heat on" because I did, or at least I tried to. I just wanted to share a curious new sensation I had.

When I got up to turn the head on (46 in the house) walking around warmed my feet up and my toe nails felt better. Sadly, I discovered the pilot light appeared to be out. The propane co charges $80 an hour to come out, plus service fee, and I'm in a dispute with my land lord over a different matter, so I don't want to talk to her until I'm sure she got my certified letter. I'll call her on Monday. In the meantime, I've bought a space heater and it's great. It is especially good because the outside does not get hot, so when the dogs poke it with their nose, they do not get burnt. I dangle my feet in front of it on the couch and then move it to my bedroom where it gets so toasty I wake up sweating and turn it off. I bought the cheapest one I could find so it doesn't have a real thermostat to regulate itself.

Today I am off the big dog show in Long Beach. I think Fancy and I can do well, but as always, any small mistake is too big of a mistake and both of us are capable of making mistakes.... so I'm optimistic but not too hopeful. Fancy went to the groomer's yesterday and is fluffy.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Post About Dog Training

I just had an awesome training session with Dottie!! We worked 2o2o on DW (she prefers to lay down), and a frame (I ask for a sit), bang game, table, tunnel, shaping tire, running through uprights and beginning rear cross with uprights.

But the BEST part was I was able to use the toy and she'd bring it back and we'd tug, even though I had chicken in my other hand! And she was really excited. Previously if there was food around, tugging wasn't that cool. The food could be in my pocket, but not my hand.

But EVEN BETTER than all that is if she dropped the toy, I could re-engage her by asking where it went. Previously once it was "dead" I couldn't get her interested unless I made it alive. This is our first step to understanding a retrieve to the hand, instead of the foot (which is still so much better than what we ha...d a few weeks ago.) Yeah, I'm excited.

Something non agility I'm working on is when I play fetch with the dogs she wants to chase them and bit them. Not cool. And me verbally correcting her isn't effective. At all. All it does is make Pie sad.

My brain wave for the year is I gave her the same toy we had been paying with earlier, thinking it is hard to bite with a toy in your mouth. And by golly, it was an improvement! The biggest drawback is she would stop to chew on it, which is only bad in that I would like her to get the excercise of the fetching. Or in her case, chasing. But chewing on the toy is better than biting. I didn't want to crate her while we played because I hoped to fix it instead. I think we are working our way there.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I know, I'm a bit behind the times, but here are some photos from that momentous day of dreamily delicious dietary delights, fabulous fun family and cavorting carnivorous canines.

Dottie with one of her friends.

Pie trying to cut in while Fancy looks for an opening of her own.

Fabulous Family (and Molly. And Pie.)

After the feast.

And I got my picture taken so no one forgets what I look like.
As always, I am thankful for my family, my good fortunes, and my dogs.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

No Blogging

Very sad, I'm sure. But I haven't been in the mood. Maybe later.