Saturday, October 30, 2010

Dixon Obedinece Day One Results Post

Tried for another UDX leg today. No Q in open or utility.

I decided to try something new. I was distressed last time we showed and Pie was so sad in the ring. I know Pie likes to work so she should enjoy showing. Therefore, it must be something I am doing that is causing, or at least contributing, to her stress. Usually I warm up with food or treats on me, then I put them down and warm up, and run to them. I'll practice heeling and some signals, maybe some pivots for the gloves.

Maybe my warm up felt like drilling and even though she was getting rewarded, something didn't click. I do know the more I would do the signals outside the ring, the more she would start refusing them, and I would quickly have to build her confidence back up before we went in. If she refused them outside the ring, I would just go in and put her in the down position. Nothing harsh or upsetting. Then when she was in the correct position I would praise and we'd do it again. I think on that particular warm up where I was going wrong was if she did it correct I would still do it again. That and I'd do it on the flexi but we never practiced on the flexi.

Today I did not warm up at all. We played with the ball, then put that away and she tugged and tugged and tugged on the leash. I spanked her and drug her around and wrastled and told her how good she was. I had her get into heel position one time, then as soon as she was there, broke and played and played more. We went into the ring not heeling, handed our leash over and were off. She as so happy. She did not lag at all, she came in so fast on the drop her drop was much slower than usual and she even kept up on the outside of the figure 8.

As always she passed individual exercises, then passed the sit, but as soon as I walked away in the down she started sniffing, then creeping, then I was out of sight and before too long I was called back to pick her up because she had been rolling around. We were next to Dream, the dog that won the National Obedience Invitational 3 (I think) years ago (beautiful prancing heeling!) and I was hoping some of that would waft over to Pie. Apparently instead Pie wanted to show off that na, na...! You are so good and I'm not!

No UDX leg today.

But we still had utility and I noticed there was a third ring set up. Turns out it was a practice ring and you could use it for 5 minuetes. Sweet! We don't have that in Southern CA! I took the ball in there and did signals three times and rewarded each time and she was perfect each time. Then we came out and put the ball away and just tugged, and spanked and then went in. She did the go outs nice. She did the moving stand well. She wiggled and wiggled but did not step towards the judge at all. Gloves were good. Articles-both- good also although there was a moment she put down the correct leather then came back to it and she really did not want to pick up the metal but finally did, chattering with it all the way back. Signals were last. She was distracted on the heeling- stress creeping in?- but did not lag until she missed an about turn and I had to do the fast. However, she caught up BEFORE the end of the fast so that is fine. Then I stood her and walked to the other end of the ring and she refused the down. I was disappointed.

However, her overall attitude was 110% better than at the Santa Barbara show so I am very, very pleased. Even though she didn't do the down signal she did the sit and come so I praised her as if she had done everything correctly.

Both times in the ring I was much more physical with Pie than usual. She likes spanking and pushing but in the ring you should try to be more formal. I have always done that in the past but I want my happy dog back so I was pretty crazy and she loved it. It is better if your dog is happy without you acting like a fool. I think we will be there someday (we will be subdued fools) but for now I want my dog to be happy so I will do anything legal and if we are too crazy and get excused that is fine with me.

Happy Halloween!

Still at the dog show in Dixon and they had a costume contest. I came prepared withe child costumes from the dollar store. I titled our entry "Good Dog or Bad Dog" and during the judging, right on cue, Dottie started ripping Pie's wings and purse off, while Pie barked and Fancy sat calmly and held her pitchfork. We all know who is good and who is bad. Is that a foot Pie is holding?

The foot, the gloves, and Pie's necklace (not pictured) did not last up until we went into the ring.)

This is a good dog.

Dottie's wings from the back.

Pretty necklace. Not sure what her expression means.

This picture was taken as Dottie was calming down. You can see Pie's wings are missing. Dottie has Pie's purse and was doing things to it no purse should have to endure. Pie is also loosing her skirt.

There were many, many costumes better than ours (even if my dogs did put on the best show.) A crowd favorite was, "A Witch and her Spider" and the lady was a witch and her black newfie was a tarantula. The schnauzer club had 7 "dwarfs" with beards dyed grey, a schnauzer pulling an ore cart, Snow White, Prince Charming, and the witch. It was a great entry. Even with Doopy. (See above picture.) I hope to post some of the other entries pics. I was not taking pictures, having left my memory card in the computer. Luckily another Mal person took pictures for me.

Friday, October 29, 2010

In Dixon for a Dogshow

We drove up to Dixon last night. The drive was not too bad. We ended up going up the 5 to save time. I stopped once to buy gas but other than that drove straight through. We made it to Dixon but then I wasn't sure how to get to the fairgrounds. Luciky I fell in behind an RV that I could tell belonged to another dog person. I was correct and they lead us to the RV check in but the check in people had no record of the group I was staying with. Eventually we met up with our group. I was happy to see the fairgrounds have the large stadium lights on. Much easier to camp with lights. The bad part was they never shut them off all night.

Fancy and Pie were fine sleeping in the car with me, amongst all the huge RVs. I'm not too out of place though because my friends are sleeping in their cars also. Dottie was not so well behaved. She paced, and circled and looked out the windows. I think she felt the need to keep her eyes on the situation to keep us safe. Every so often she saw something she felt needed a warning bark from her. The other obstacle to sleep was the train crossing that was seeminly as busy as Union Station. Not the best night for sleeping (my back was also protesting) but not the worst either.

This morning we did not have to get up early since our ring time was not until 11:45. I eventually got up, making use of the showers, which were not too bad, then hung out and practiced with Pie a bit. Today was the breed ring (it is a Regional Specialty.) Pie has to practice because in the breed ring the dog is not supposed to look at you as they trot along (unlike in obedience when they are supposed to keep attention on you.) Pie was in working sweepstakes. Unlike the regular breed ring, working sweeps is a non-regular class that does not count towards a championship so the club is allowed to make their own rules. The club welcomed dogs like Pie with no papers or registration number.

Before I showed Pie I helped a friend by showing their boy puppy i n puppy sweeps. I was unable to stack him but I think I gaited him nicely. He ended up taking first in his class, but did not progress after that.

Pie's turn was next. There were 2 dogs in her Working Sweeps Bitch Class. She gaited nicely and stood still nicely. She never stacks very great but that wasn't even that bad. She took 2nd (out of 2.) Still, it was very cool because we got a ribbon and even a small amount of prize money. 6 dollars! I bragged about Pie on Facebook and said she got second, but didn't mention there were only 2 dogs. :)

Here is our "win" picture. I see I must be expecting a baby. Surprise!

Tomorrow and Sunday is obedience.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Fotos 2010 and Agility Report

I have other items to blog about but will start with these pictures.

Dottie is tempted by the gourd.


Patient Pie. Also Pumpkin Pie.

Fancy is a very thoughtful dog.

The rest of the photos are here:

In agility news we had a three day weekend. This is a special trial for me because it was my very first trial 5 (or is it 6 already, or only 4?) years ago with Bloom and also with my mom and Roscoe. I wish they still trialed!

Last weekend it was a double double Q for Pie. This weekend we had 3 days, 6 runs and only 1 Q. Yikes. Lots of knocked bars, 2 missed contacts and even a popped weave exit, with an off course thrown in afterward for good measure. Even Fancy NQed. Must not have been our weekend. To make up for it we went to Goleta Valley Dog club for the Fun Day.

However, even though we are not closer to our Mach 2- still need four more QQs- I'm grateful for this weekend of low Qs. It gave me stuff to be aware of for the Invitational. I should try to get Pie to hold her contacts in Friday's practice so she will be thinking of not jumping them during the competition. I should not be over confident in her ability to stay in the weaves as I leave laterally. I am always careful of knocked bars (or try to be) but other than being a smooth handler, there is not much I can do about those.

We had a good time at the Goleta Fun Day. Here is a link to Dottie's videos. First Run. Second Run.

Her first runs outside of class. And we haven't even had very much class experience. Maybe 6 total? All the rest of our work has been in the backyard. Mostly I am happy with our performance. I KNOW she has more speed than this. The speed off the line vs when she catches up to me is markedly different. You can see her kind of loping along next to me, and she doesn't speed up for the straight away at the end. I hope I can change that. It was very cool that day, so I am sad to think on hot days she will only be slower. Other than her speed, there were lots of good things for such a green dog. Her weaves were good- first time on 24 inch poles. She missed the last part of the one set because I took off, forgetting baby dogs need support. Only one knocked bar- with me saying tunnel right over it. And she went around one jump and pulled off another. Again, just baby dog mistakes. I should have continued to support the one she pulled off of and the one she went around I wasn't supporting at all because I was trying to get to my front cross which I was horribly late for anyway. I liked how she went out of the straight tunnel to the jump nicely both times.

Also at the fun day we did a barrel racing tunnel course. The three tunnels were set up in the clover leaf pattern. The only rule was you had to run the correct pattern but could pick any sides of the tunnels. Everyone was timed and Pie tied for third with a lab behind 2 BCs. We had a run off, where the lab ran faster than her first time and Pie ran slower so the lab won the bragging rights. Pie ended up in fourth and Dottie right behind her in fifth. Fancy was a bit further down, but still had a respectable time. Neither Pie nor Dottie did amazing at the hot dog bobbing contest, which was taken very seriously and had people upset over how much water should be added based on the length of the dog's muzzle.

I took the left over hotdogs home and used them for tracking today. Pie did well- we have had to go back to more food on the track. Dottie did ok. She is more frantic. Fancy just sniffs around until she comes across a hot dog. She bolts off the track using her eyes and thinks she sees something edible. I think she is following the hot dog scent wafting on the breeze. I've had good help from fellow club members but I wish I knew what I was doing so I could progress when working alone. When ever I go tracking alone I don't think I make progress since I have no clue what I'm doing. I remember some things I've been told but new situations arise and I probably don't remember all the solutions to the old situations. Sigh. Maybe I can pretend my dogs are cadaver dogs and only go for a SchH A (no tracking.) Cadaver Dogs are never supposed to follow a live scent so that way I'd have an excuse for not tracking, rather than just, "It's to hard and I don't know what to do."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Now Officially a Malinois

Dottie's ILP- now called PAL, purebred alternative listing- came back and she was accepted. I never had a doubt she would be. Her name is Dottie von V(insert last name, removed to protect some family members.) In the SchH world, many people who breed their dogs use their last name in some form for the kennel name and add haus or some other such designation to make it sound more German. Our last name is German enough. Sure, it is a bit silly to name her as if I bred her, and not only bred her, but as if it is my fourth litter because another thing SchH breeders do is letter designations. Your first litter all the names must start with A, second litter B and so on. By using my last name, it appears she is from my fourth litter, with D names. People who know about ILPs will also know that us weirdo's make up official sounding names to help us blend in and because it is fun. So no harm done.

In the SchH club, USA, if your dog does not have papers it is listed as a mix, even if it is not. When listed as a mix they only record your call name- probably to stop people from pretending they bred the dog when they did not. Hence, again, no harm done with Dottie's new AKC name.

I am traveling to AZ in Nov to visit ffluffy. We will go to an agility show and I decided to enter Dottie. Then again the following Thanksgiving weekend in Camarillo. I did serpentines and threadles with her last night for the first time and she was great- except for at first when she kept going under the first bar. (NDTB!) I'm thinking as she came out of the tunnel towards me she felt crowded and thought it was safer for both of us if she didn't attempt to clear the jump and land in the space I left her. I appreciate her concern. Eventually I convinced her to go over the jump.

Speaking of jumping, Dottie did the full sized SchH hurdle last night with ease. She is a very nice jumper.

Dottie's biggest challenge to her performance career is she is very heat sensitive. Way more so than Pie, who also slows down when it is hot. And overall her stamina is not what is should be for such a young, well taken care of Malinois. I think I saw there will be a cardio clinic at the Regional in Dixon? I think I will have her heart tested. In agility class this week (her first full length class) she did three runs spaced over 1.5 hrs. By her third run she was noticeably tired- and it was not hot outside. There are many wonderful things about rescue dogs, but one of the negatives is unknown health issues.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


This is the long talked about moving update post.

I moved out the the three bedroom house in the "country" last Sept. I always wanted to live in the country. It was very nice, but there were some things I did not consider. It was very inconvenient since the route I took to work did not go through a town at all. I therefore had to go out of my way on the way home from work for shopping and gas. And if I forgot to stop on the way home, it was again quite a hassle to go back into town. Living further from work also intruded into my sleeping and being at home (or out training dogs) time due to the extra travel needed to get there and back.

I came to the conclusion living in the country works best if you don't have to work, if you are retired, or can work from home. Second best is if a town is between your house and place of work or if you are married and your spouse does not work and has more time to do errands, or at least maybe your spouse drives through a town on the way home from his work. Some people might not even consider my old location the country. It was not a neighborhood but not nearly as rural as many places.

The extra space for the dogs and the peace and quiet was great, but could not make up for the high rent and even higher water bills (for all that grass.)

When I realized I wanted to move I contacted my old landlady and asked her to let me know if the place I had moved out of became available again. She was very happy to have me back as a tennant and the current tenants were moving out so that is how I came to be living in the place I moved out of a year ago.

It is so very nice to have $300 less a month in rent. Plus I do not pay the water bill or the gardener and this house is on gas instead of propane. Gas is cheaper. I am not teaching weekly agility and obedience lessons anymore, so I am not quite saving as much as it appears, but I am still coming out better off than if I had stayed at the country house. I still do have one private obedience student that I teach every other week.

I think I mentioned the grass I had worked so hard to plant last year had died. The good news is it is not quite as dead as I thought. I wish the gardeners would let it grow taller and not cut it so short. They prefer a buzz cut.

I love being back in the city of C. Everything is so close. Work is 15-20 minutes away and the stores are just down the street. I can walk the dogs on sidewalks without being run down by cars speeding on narrow country lanes. It is not as quiet as the old house, but neither do I find myself thinking it is too noisy. I can hear the neighbors in the other side of the duplex, but I do not find it horribly disturbing. It is good to be back.

I plan on staying here, unless I find a place to buy- which considering my criteria, is not likely. BUT- just in case, I asked for and got a month to month lease, with the provision that I should, if possible, give her longer than a month's notice.

I have no desire to ever pack, move and unpack again, so that will also figure into my decision to buy. It would have to be the best deal ever, on the most perfect house, in an amazing location and with an outstanding yard. Eventually I may move out of CA, and I hope by then I can face the task of moving. Yuck.

For the actual moving, I hired a guy and his brother from my work and they didn't do a very good job. First, they started loading small boxes, instead of a large furniture. They did not take my gentle hints so eventually I had to tell them to leave off the boxes and put in the furniture. This meant they had to remove some of the boxes. My cheap-o furniture has been moved quite a bit, but this is the first time I noticed scratches and damage on the bookcases, etc.

Even so, the price was pretty good. I found a great cleaning lady to clean the old house for the move out inspection and she did a wonderful job. I got my entire deposit back.

Too bad the "new" house was not as well prepared as I had left the old house. I found lots of random stuff in drawers, messy walls, stains on the bedroom carpet and trash in the back yard. The landlady eventually removed the trash (by putting it in my trashcan) and paid the little girl next door one dollar to help her clean up the cigarette butts. (Gross!) I threw out the stuff I found in drawers and got the landlady to give me paint to touch up the walls, which I haven't got to yet. I also had to buy a washer and dryer because the dryer didn't work and she told me she was not going to include it in the rent, like she did when I lived there before. I found a washer/ dryer set on Craigslist for $200 and they work great. The nice couple even delivered them and set them up for me. Now I just have to get rid of the old set.

I'm going to see if I can get a new dishwasher because the one in there does not work very well. It mostly cleans, but leaves soap everywhere, which is strange since I use the pre-packaged little thingies that have the exact amount of soap needed, plus the drying agent. Does not help.

I seem to be having a bit of trouble with mail. I've gotten some mail, but some is being sent back to the sender because the post office thinks it is old mail from the last time I lived here and the forwarding ran out. Not sure what to do about that. I may eventually set up a PO Box. They seem pretty cheep.

That is the moving story. I'm very happy to be back. Not sure if I mentioned it but Fancy and Pie remembered the house. Dottie was too young. One of the neighbors remembered me also. Speaking of remembering things, one more thing... I hung a lot of my pictures up where they used to be. The exact location because the nails were still there! I thought I removed the nails when I moved out (I know I did on the country house) so either I forgot or the new tenants used the same nail holes and put new nails in. When they moved out they left the nails and my pictures went right up where they used to be. For the quilts that I put up with tacks, the tacks are gone (had to remove them to get the quilts down (but the holes were still there and I made use of them.)

I like posts with pictures but I don't have any new ones, so here is a random old one. Fancy warning Dottie to stop being obnoxious. Someday I'll get an even better one showing the true horror of her threatening snarl.

Don't forget that she has to work extra hard to get her teeth to show through all that mustache. I believe the camera messed with her menacing, because this is not nearly as good as she can be. Or bad, I suppose.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

2009 Mal Nationals Photos

I finally got around to ordering these. Here is a sample- Pie in the conformation ring! The rest can be seen here:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vote for Pie and Dottie!

Vote for Pie and Dottie in the 2011 Mal Rescue Calendar! I submitted 5 of each girl, I think. You are allowed to choose your favorite. :) The directions are on the web page. Follow the links above the first pictures to see all four seasons. You can vote for more than one and I also give permission to vote for some of the other nice photos out there. So generous of me, I know.

See pictures here. Vote by clicking on the blue link that says Lyn and Ann. That will open an email where you can write the name of the pictures. But for each season they want you to click on the link on that webpage. So if you vote for all four seasons you will have sent four emails.

Looking at these great pictures actually makes me sad. Each one of these much loved dogs (you don't take pictures and submit them to calendar contests unless you love your dog) could have ended up euthanized. Pie was in the shelter 15 days before I came across her picture on (you can search by shelter or breed- lots of Mals end up listed as GSD X) and it also took a few days to organize getting her out. In CA, the law says strays like her have to be held for a minimum of 5 days, so she survived 10 days longer than mandated by law. For those of you who know Pie, can you imagine her being killed in the shelter?

I should focus on the positive, that these, and so many others thanks to the work of Mal Rescue, have made it out alive, but instead I can't help thinking about all the ones who didn't make it. Such as this girl:

My friend sent me her info and I sent it to my contact at Mal Rescue who said she would send it to the rescue committee. A few days later on the weekend the first friend asked me if anything was done and I reported what I knew, so we called the shelter who said she was due to be euthanized the following Monday. I called someone I knew near the shelter who agreed to visit with her the next day. She called me back the afternoon of the visit and said the puppy had been euthanized that morning*. The poor little puppy. Never had a chance to grow up. Her little tail was wagging in the shelter picture but it wagged no more after that Saturday. "It shouldn't happen to a dog." And especially not a little puppy. Dottie was even younger in the shelter- she could have suffered the same fate but a shelter worker sent her video to Mal Rescue who sent it out to local people like me. That is why these pictures make me sad. To steal from a Toby Keith song, "Do you rejoice for the ones who walk from the shelter, or cry for the ones left behind?"

Mal Rescue does what they can, and so do unofficial people like me and the two friends who helped, but there are so many dogs that right now, it is impossible to save them all. Once the calendar comes out you can help by purchasing it and not only will you get to look at beautiful Malinois, but you can also help Mal Rescue monetarily. The 100% best way to put your finger in the dyke is to adopt a Mal (or any other breed) or be a foster home. One of my friends likes to say, "Buy a dog from a breeder, then adopt a friend for him." That way you get the benefits that come from buying, but you also save a life. Sounds like a good plan, until you realize she has a lot of dogs!

*We don't know why the shelter told us she would be around until Monday and then put her down on Saturday before opening, but I hear stories like that all the time. If you see a dog you like on (where I found Fancy and Pie and Blossom and Bacon) don't wait a second longer- GO!)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Spent all day on the firing range qualifying on the M-4. It had a optic sight with a floating red dot. My dot kept disappearing. I prefer the "iron" sights. If those disappear you have real problems. I qualified but did not shoot expert.

In domestic news, my "new" washer and dryer came, after being without since I moved in. I bought them off Craigslist for $200 total and the nice couple delivered them to me, unhooked the old, broken ones that came with the house, moved my dog food freezer so they'd fit better, hooked the new ones up, tested them out, and told me to call them if I had problems! If they break will they come fix them? It sounds like they might. They were unable to deliver them as soon as I (and they) had hoped, but they called me with updates. A very nice experience.

Craigslist is a great place, but a lot of people are flakey. Despite that I've found 2 places to rent, and found three new tenants to rent my old places on CL. I sold the Miata and bought my freezer, bike rack, a ceiling fan (new in box offered for $45, got it for $20) and washer and dryer. Lots of good deals to be had. A lot of people using CL just want to get rid of their stuff. That is why you can get such good prices. My freezer works great and would have been around $400 new for that size, if I remember. I paid just over $100. My new motto will be, "Never buy new, buy Craigslist." Maybe I can market that slogan and make some extra $ to spend on CL.

Speaking of $, I took my coins to a coin machine. I had them stored in a Disneyland popcorn cup. I got $11.00 and spent it on dinner.

We got about 2 drops of rain on us today.

I tracked with the dogs last weekend with some experts who thought I need to start using a bit less food. Yesterday I went to a park and used less food. People wandered over my tracks but that was ok. What wasn't ok was I was forgetting exactly where the tracks where, which is the most important thing not to do. All the dogs were sweeping back and forth over their tracks.

Today I still used less food but made sure I knew where I was going, by sticking to boarders around planters and sidewalks. All three dogs did better. I even let out the line so I wasn't standing right next to them. Fancy and Dottie are both so food motivated they get quite frantic to get to the hotdog pieces and start acting crazy if they think they are near a drop. Pie is also food motivated but not quite as much as the other two. Pie likes to cut corners which is a big no-no in Schutzhund tracking. In SchH it is all about style and precision. The dog's nose tells them the track is making a corner and they feel it is silly to go all the way into the corner, but we are supposed to train them to do it that way. So far I'm lacking on convincing Pie that is the only way to go.

ffluffy is coming for a visit and an agility trail next weekend and I'm excited! I'd better have the house put together by then.