Monday, August 30, 2010

Weekend Recap

Ffluffy and kiltman came for a short visit and to participate in the Santa Barbara Dog Show. It was great to have them back in CA!

5 years ago this was my very first obedience show with Bloom. I was so nervous driving up the coast in my Miata (not a true dog person yet because I only had a non-dog friendly car)that I felt sick and I thought, "If I'm so nervous I'm getting sick I shouldn't even go." And I also wondered what was making me nervous. Sure I wanted to do well, but it wasn't life or death, and there is always another dog show. I did not turn around and Bloom did not qualify that day- missing the recall- but the next day we tried again and did qualify, wining first place and a real silver trophy. So the show has good memories for me.

This year Pie was trying for a UDX leg or two. The show had moved the obedience location to a much less crowded area, with plenty of set up room and close parking. Nice.

The first day Pie qualified in both classes (no placements) for her third UDX leg.

The next day Pie picked the wrong leather article and refused the sit signal. Both days she was very stressed and not having fun, very inattentive, lagging and just blah. She trotted out to the go out spot, trotted her retrieves and was super sniffy. The good side is she had several straight fronts and finishes. The past 2 weekends I went to matches because I wanted to associate the obedience ring with rewards. That didn't work. Maybe I need more. It is a common problem to practice better than you show, and I wish there was a quick fix. Or even a long fix, but I am not aware of the proper steps to take, so that is very frustrating. It is sad Pie is not enjoying her time in the ring. I retired Fancy because she was so sad she walked many exercises but I thought Pie enjoyed showing. In Fancy's case I know her temperament is not suited to the repetitiveness and lack of positive feedback in the ring. I thought Pie wouldn't get stressed and would work better since she enjoys petting and voice praise. I'm not giving up, but I do hope to find some help to improve her attitude. Working on your own to fix problems doesn't work when you don't know what you are doing. I know it is my fault and that is discouraging because I don't know what I did to cause it. Both of ffluffy's dogs were very happy in the ring, and we have trained together, so I do not know why my results are not the same as hers.

In better news, ffluffy and Hunda (Valhund) earned their final leg for their CD! This is a huge accomplishment for this team because of their early difficulties and because Valhunds are not a typical obedience breed. They are mixed with Corgi and Elkhound and in Hunda's case, he got more Elkhound traits than Corgi. Elkhounds are a nordic breed, AND a hound... so do your best trying to train that combination! Hunda was amazing and his tail was wagging the whole time with super attention on ffluffy.

Pickle, ffluffy's BC got his second Utility leg which is also great since he is ffluffy's fist utility dog. Pickle has a handicap of having only one eye, so glove number one gives him trouble, which is why he does not have his UD already.

Some pictures from Sunday. They key to self esteem is only posting the good pictures! I will not proudly display the one of the Open fast with Pie about 6 steps behind me. Yikes.

The worst picture I'll post. You can see Pie is stressed from the panting (it was cool outside) and the ears that are not attentive. This was our very first exercise.

Nice straight front.

Good attention.

Pretty dog.

A little crooked on the halt, but still nice attention. Even if she lagged durring the heeling, she always catches up on the halt!

Open retrieve over the jump.

****I wrote the above during lunch. I came home determined to make Pie and I a happier team. I do not think Pie's problem is she is not getting toys in the ring, since she began stressing on our very first exercises, before they were complete. Even so, today I worked the broad jump (she did great!) then wrestled around with her. Then we did a go out and one jump and I had her jump on me. Then we did both articles and I had her do figure 8 through the legs, nose touches, and then we ran for the toy together. My hope is when she begins to be worried in the ring, I can play these same games to release stress, put her in a playful mood, and get her thinking a better toy will be coming soon. The problem is keeping it fresh and not boring her with the same "fun" games. If anyone has additional ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Short Story

Nothing? Nothing at all was saved out of the thousands of hours of work I had put into the project? As I stared at the blank screen before me, desolate as a desert landscape after a nuclear blast, I felt despair cover me like a black death shroud covering a decaying dead body. I immediately decided on suicide as the only escape from this defeat that was as crushing as an overweight elephant that had just eaten cement sitting on my chest would be crushing me. My scissors failed to cut my writs because they were like a lecture delivered in a monotone at one word every 30 seconds on the topic, "How to Breathe." A thought hit me like a blazing bright yellow bolt of lightning from the heavens that I could still succeed in my heroic suicide attempt by looping my necktie through the air vent directly above my desk. It would be fitting to die by the air vent that I despised like a younger son cheated who was out of his inheritance by his evil twin brother who was born only a few second before him but was considered older so he always got all the best stuff despised his older by a few seconds twin brother. It always blowing ice cold arctic cold air on me in the freezing dead of winter, and balmy hot and humid tropical air on me in the hottest sunny summer months. I succeeded in looping the necktie around the air vent standing on my wheeled office chair. Checking to make sure the knot was as tight as an 18th century sailor's knot on a big sailing ship, I kicked the blue paisley patterned wheeled office chair out from under me.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Conserving Engergy Video


It is so fun how you can take the behaviors your dogs already know (or do naturally) and use them to tell a story!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Vacation Day ?? - the End

I'm a bit behind on posting this. We left Big Bear on this day. Had a lot of packing to do and cleaned up the house so you would never know there were 8 dogs staying there.

Our Cabin.

Went to the lake one last time then headed down the mountain the back way, into the desert. The mountain was very dry with no trees. Apparently the rain comes in from the other direction then the mountains stop it and the opposite side never gets any moisture.

We were heading to Sacramento for the last few days of our vacation. This makes more sense if you consider originally we were only going to spend a few days in Big Bear, then head into Oregon for dog friendly beach camping. Then we decided that was too far so we'd stop in Eureka instead, but we never even made it that far. Later we realized we would have been better off staying in Big Bear the entire time, but I did get to see the inside of the State Capitol, which was the reason I wanted to go.

We drove all day, missed a turn and drove some more. While we were driving we had some drama because ffluffy's boyfriend was also driving cross country and no one had heard from him for over a day and everyone was starting to get worried. Phone calls went back and forth. Luckily it turned out he was fine but his cell phone was broken.

Using a map, we spotted a campsite along our route. However, our map was not detailed enough to show us where to get off the highway. Eventually we found it because we saw a sign for the RV campground (also shown on our map) and we followed the sign then asked them how to get to the campground. We got there was it was still light and set up camp. We were right next to a river but it had a no dogs sign.

Much to my dismay I was physically sick in the middle of the night. Happily, ffluffy is a heavy sleeper and didn't have to listen to anything, but I'm afraid some of the other campers might have been treated to some sounds they probably didn't want to hear.

Other than that, it was fun being in the tent. My little air bed roll was very comfy and Pie and Fancy slept snuggled up with me all night. I made Bacon and Dottie sleep in the car since ffluffy had her own dogs to sleep with and I knew those two would try to take advantage of her.

The next day we packed and made it to Sacramento. It was so hot! We stayed with ffluffy's cousin in a nice neighborhood with a cool pet store. Also a running shoe store where I finally bought some new running shoes. The old ones were getting comments about their sad appearance, so I knew it was time.

The next day we toured the Capitol, seeing the capitol building, gardens, and old governor's mansion. We got to go inside the governor's office, but only the reception area. We also saw the state Assembly and Senate rooms and various reproductions of old rooms such as some sort of money room. I don't really recall what was going on in there but there were 2 huge safes/ vaults. A newer one and an older one. Here are a few teaser pictures, the rest can be seen on the Facebook album, but you will have to scroll through all the pictures I posed here first.

In the CA House of Reps Room. I almost fell over the side because I set the camera up on timer then had to climb down the chairs to get in the picture and I wasn't very graceful.

In front of Ahnold's Office.

You can't see me but I can see you.

The rest of the pictures are here:

We decided to head home the next day, being that it was so hot in Sacramento we couldn't go hiking or really do anything. Then we spent all day driving and made it home before 10pm.

It was a great vacation. Big Bear was definitely the best part, and even though Sacramento was scorching and a long drive and I got sick on the way there, I am still glad I finally made it to see inside the Capitol.

We Are Famous!

On one of the Belgian Internet boards I am on, a lady asked some questions about the SchH BH. Then she mentioned that she asked a certain individual who I have heard of but never met or corresponded with for some input and he told her a good video to watch is the "Rt. Hon. Marla & her very accomplished rescue Malinois, Pie, doing the BH (videos)"

My goodness! Who knew that people I don't know, know who I am. I think that fits the definition of famous!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Dog and Boxes

Yes, I am moving again and that means the dogs have boxes to attempt to eat and it also means they are going to be subjected to pictures with boxes.

Fancy does not want to get left behind in the move so she packs herself up. The Mals are not so worried and instead devote their energies to eating Fancy's box. This makes Fancy sad because how will she get packed up and moved if her box gets eaten?

Fancy investigates the damage. I taped it back together to ease her mind.

Dottie does not know about moving (she was too young to remember our last move and she was sequested in her crate at the time with "distempter.") She figures she will play it safe and put herself in a box. But being a silly puppy she picks a box that is too small. Pie laughs behind her back. Pie, it is not nice to laugh at your little sister.

Yep, still too small from the side also.

Dottie gives up (loudly) and gets out.

Guess who found a box big enough to contain her? Except for her wonderful, lovely long tail. Does that mean the tail might get left behind?

Pie kindly shares her box with her sister.

Dottie is mostly concerned with eating boxes.

Eventually I had to lock Dottie up and eject Pie from the room because the box nibbling was becoming ridiculous! I need those boxes and nibbled on (or shredded) boxes do not work as well. Plus, there are little pieces of cardboard everywhere for me to pick up.

I am moving back into the duplex I moved out of a year ago because it is cheaper and I like it just as much. Also closer to work and town (food shopping and gas, etc.)


As I already wrote about, last Sunday I got stung by a bee for the first time in my life. 2 days ago the foot started inching like crazy. I almost went insane. It was really bad again today. But it has now progressed from just being itchy to the foot swelling up so much I can't bend my toes, redness, and a strange yellow stain within the red, that looks like a river of venom, except that it is huge and no bee stinger could possibly have that much venom in it.

I bought some anti itch spray, and that helped, but the tingling is annoying and so is the pressure from the swelling. I will ice it and see if that helps.

In better news, today at work I was awarded the Air Force Meritorious Achievement Medal, First Oak Leaf Cluster for doing a very good job getting prepared for an inspection. A nice surprise.

Also at work today was an airshow. It was not at our base, but at the base next to us. We are not able to see it. However, the show was a bit delayed due to a heavy marine layer in the morning, so the AF Thunderbirds went later than planned, and by the time they started, we had been released for the day. A few of us made our way onto the roof of our building, where we had the best seats of anyone! The only word to describe it is cool. I suppose also awesome. Many times the planes flew right over us, seemingly low enough to touch as they roared by in preparation for their next maneuver. Wow.

My family had attended the air show so afterward we all met for dinner at my local favorite pizza spot. I just wish I had been able to attend the air show with them.

I hope my foot does not swell up so much it bursts. That would be pretty gross.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bad Week with Creepy Crawlies

Earlier this week I was stung by a bee for the first time in my life. I stepped on it. I was surprised how much it hurt, not only initially- I expected to find a huge nail embedded in my foot- but also how much it continued to hurt. I looked for the stinger, but never found it. My foot swelled up and I couldn't bend my toes. I was actually unable to sleep that night because of the pain. I eventually took some Benadryl that I had bought for Fancy, hoping if it didn't help at least it would make me sleepy. That was on Sunday. Today the swelling is all gone and I can walk normally, but the top of my foot is itching like crazy! The top in that area did swell and turn red so I assume it is related, but not really sure why it is still itchy.

Today I opened up a storage box to get out my obedience jumps to practice for Pie's upcoming competition and I was swarmed by earwigs, which is to be expected. What was not expected was the biggest black widow I've ever seen. I've always thought if you see a huge black spider you are safe because black widows don't get that big. Now I have to re-evaluate that idea. I took the wimpy way out and attacked it with Raid. Then I scooped up the dead body (without touching it) and put in in a baggie for a picture.

Then I put the baggie in Tupperware. I'm not risking it coming back to life and eating it's way out of the bag and getting loose in my house!

Since that is a yucky picture here is a nice one. Fancy and Pie practicing the long sit framed by the jump I set up at risk to life and limb from the hugest black widow ever.

I hope that is the end of my bad luck with small nasty creatures. Please excuse me while I attack my foot itch foot with a cheese grater.