Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas 2011

I still don't have the time to give Christmas the time it deserves, so this post will be re-visted again later. As my mom said, this was one of the Best Christmases Ever! (We are so lucky that we get these a lot!)

One of my friends had a dog Christmas Miracle. She has a 10 year old flat-coat, which is sadly, due to their affinity for cancer, almost a miracle itself. Kirby still competes in agility as well as also still being alive. She missed her last 2 classes due to a mass being found on her spleen. She had her spleen removed and since she has a family history of hermagiosarcoma, her owner was certain cancer had caught her at last. Her hope was it was less aggressive and more treatable. Well, the biopsy results came back, and the mass was benign! A 10 year old flat-coat with a mass, and it isn't cancer! Merry Christmas Kirby!

We can only hope the news is as good for her elderly ex-racing greyhound who is also having some health issues.

Happy New Year to everyone. Stay safe out there.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

I have pictures to post of church with Laura, and out to eat afterwards, but those will have to wait until later, as it is now almost midnight.

So, Merry Christmas to all and to all a GOOD NIGHT!

I will leave you with these pictures of the dogs wearing my new Santa Hat.

Dottie went first. I liked the look of the pictures better with no flash. But the light was dim so the shutter stayed open for a few seconds. I was not sure she would sit still so long, but she did.

So cute!

Fancy always looks like a professional model.

The hat fell off as the shutter was open and gave it a kind of cool effect.

Pie was very proud of her hat. She was the only one who enjoyed it.

With the flash. Has a harsher look and the eye shine also.

2nd Dottie CDX Attempt

Last weekend we headed down to Long Beach for our second CDX attempt. The obedience was in a separate building, the Long Beach Arena. Cool venue. Pie was also entered for a UDX attempt.

The first day she did her down signal! Finally! I had been throwing the down signal throughout the day in the house each day, so maybe that helped. However, she was still very barky, did not sit in front with the glove, and wiggled a lot on the stand. We got NQed on the stand, and the judge said we might have pointed out on the rest. She qualified in open, did the groups perfect, and got an open q. Which is nice, but doesn't do much for us. She was fairly barky and had a 176.

As I was walking into the utility ring, the steward came up to me and told me it was Dottie's turn. The utility steward verbally chastized me for holding up the utility ring as I stopped to point out to the open steward I was in the other ring. Apparently they held the open ring for me, and didn't just have someone else go. As soon as I came out with Pie, the open steward pounced on me and told me I had to take Dottie in. So, the only warm up she got was as we ran to the ring. Not surprisingly, she was horrible. Her heeling was very inattentive and she sniffed the baby gates. She did do all of the exercises, except the drop on recall. I realized later I used my high pitched "come" voice when I said "down." Usually I use a low pitched voice for the down. Sure, she should do it anyway, but I know Dottie especially listens a lot to tone. The groups were perfect. Besides not getting a warm up, I also failed to walk Dottie around the rings and let her look at the surroundings. I was concerned with Pie, since she went in first.

After our not so grand attempts, we went shopping at the vendors and got some supplements. The show went very late, I was there until about 3.

After the show, we went out to dinner for older younger brother's birthday. He is 28.

The next day Pie was much more quiet in utility. This weekend I jumped Pie at 22 since she is 23 inches tall according to her agility jump height card. Usually I jump her 24 since that is her agility jump height, but we were right in the middle of a group of 22 inch dogs so I put her at 22 inches. Today, the utility judge measured everyone. Weird! When it was Pie's turn, he put the wicket up next to her (which she actually found to be somewhat odd) then used a pen across her shoulders and eyeballed the location. He didn't look at it at eye level, and the since it just a pen, it wasn't locked into a flat position. After measuring her, he said "Leash Please!" and sent me out of the ring. I thought maybe I was getting excused! But he put the jumps up to 24 inches then called me back in. Of course Pie can jump 24 inches, but I was embarrassed, as if I was caught trying to cheat! I was just going off her agility height card, which is measured by 2 different, trained judges, and is on a table at eye level, with a wicket that is fixed in a horizontal line. So I feel as if he measured incorrectly. But oh well. Other than the embarrassment, it wasn't a problem.

Pie did her down signal again and was much more quiet than yesterday. She seemed happy. On the stand for exam, she stayed a little better, but then walked out of it and into heel position!!!! Darn, darn, darn! So, so close.

Dottie was next and this time I walked her around the ring before Pie's turn. We also didn't have a conflict today. I had a really good warm up with her. I don't use toys or treats before we go in so she doesn't miss them as soon as we go in. We played lots with just me poking and letting her jump and mouth my arm. We practiced heeling with chasing and jumping. I do let her tug on the dumbbell because that is with us in the ring!

We went into the ring in sync. Her heeling was attentive and fairly precise. Great individual exercises. On the retrieve over high, it bounded off to the side, but we've proofed for that and she did a great job. The most amazing thing is she had a perfect score on both the retrieve over the high AND the broad jump!! I've never had a perfect broad jump before. Possibly the same for high jump. Again the groups were perfect. We got first place with at 196.5. I am so happy with that score!

I think with good warm ups, baring unseen circumstances, we should pass in the future. CDX, here we come! (Now I've jinxed us for sure!)

Pie's turn in open also went well. Pie had the best heeling she's had probably ever, and we got a 189.5. Also our best score in a while. Her warm up is to play with a toy a lot. I was happy she did her groups so nicely both days.

As a bonus we got out of there much earlier.

While walking around between times in the ring, I found this random hole in the wall. My dogs know the command, "What's in there?"

Fancy's head goes in the furthest.

I think Dottie might have gotten in further, but there was an end to the hole, and I think her nose hit the end!

Pie only goes up to her eyebrows.


I've spent the better part of the month making Christmas cookies. Or at least it feels like that. A double batch for the family, a batch for older sister, mailed off with her present, and a batch for K.

First order of business was to keep the dogs entertained.

Pie and her wubba snowman. First the legs got gnawed off. Then the nose went, and finally the hat.

Dottie was given a small toy. But it kept her amused for a little while.

My only work surface. The downside of a small kitchen.

The washing machine was the work area for making the icing.

Figures Dottie got flour on her face.

Cookies cut out.

Very messy, but a close look at the cookies show they were worth it!

The dogs help with the clean up.

So far the cookies have been a hit, so the toil has been worth it. I have one more batch to make in case ffluffy and I want Christmas cookies at the trial before New Years.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best Wrap Job Ever

If I may be so bold as to declare this about something I wrapped! I already gave this gift so it is ok if I give away what it is. But first, can you guess?? Dottie was too sleepy to even wake up when I posed the gift next to her.

I'll give you a hint- it is what it looks like. Nothing fancy here!

Grass Day 32 (If I Did My Math Right)

It actually looks better in person. I guess when it looks good in the pictures, I will know it is ready to use.

Close up of the fullest section.

Blurry pic of the side that isn't growing as fast.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All Moved In

Here is what the new place looks like with furniture in it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pie Being Pie Again

Nothing really to say here. Pie is so Pieable. As I tell her often.

Pieable= adjective. pronounced Pie-a-bul Silly but puts on airs of a desire to be dignified. Cute but regal and noble. Prone to take odd physical positions. Usually applied to a canine of the Malinois persuasion, esp those with the name of Pie.

Dottie's Frist CDX Attempt

Two weekends ago we attended the Valley Hills obedience and agility show. Dottie was entered in agility and open obedience and Pie was entered in agility and open B and utility B for an attempted UDX leg. It was not our weekend.

Pie QQed the first day in agility, but that was it. No one else Qed in anything for the rest of the weekend.

Dottie has been going under the table in agility (easy for a 22 inch dog and a 24 inch table) so I pulled her off in standard when she tried it again. I have been working it in practice. No problems there. It has been too long so I can't remember what happened in jumpers both days.

I had crazy conflicts all weekend, which is not surprising considering what I entered. Actually, it was a lot better than usual since they ran FAST first and I didn't enter that. I wisely did not enter Fancy, and since both Mals jump the same height, I only had to walk one course at a time.

Pie refused the down signal in utility both days. It is related to stress. She was fine in open the first day but I pulled from groups because she seemed to be uncomfortable sitting and the second day the judge NQed us on the drop on recall because she scooted forward too much when I walked away. Also related to the sit problem, I think.

Dottie did all of the individual exercises fine her first time in the ring. During the groups she scooted about 3 feet on both positions for an NQ. I addressed that for Sunday and no scooting. (Too bad all problems aren't fixed as quickly!) As we were returning on the long down on Sunday after passing everything up to then, but before I could see her, Dottie sat up! Darn! But both days she worked nicely with good attention so there were some definite positives.

I decorated my EZ Up to be festive. Our club held a small Christmas party where we brought gifts and the dogs picked their own gift. Dottie picked one I brought! Silly girl.

I see you are speechless with amazement at my superior decorating skills. I made Dottie wear the jingle collar again.

Pie picked the big wubba. Perfect! You can see the green Lufa already met Dottie. Dottie was the best present opener. She pounced and immediately began ripping. Can't wait for her to get to open presents on Christmas!

K's BSD was in agility and he earned his NAJ. His first agility title! And K's also!! He needs one more leg for his NA. I took a few pictures using my small camera, but these are the only 2 worth sharing.

D exiting the weaves.

Just blasted out of the chute and heading for the last jump.

I recycled my decorations onto my house. And made the dogs pose with the gifts they picked. Fancy was pouting.

Dottie abandons her small toy and investigates Pie's big one.

Pie holds her sit but also guards her toy. Dottie goes back to her original loot and Fancy asks, "Is that a bug, or am I so bored I'm making things up?"

Pie Gets it Wrong

Big bed, but not big enough, perhaps.

Grass on 12/11/11

I am way behind in blogging due to the preparations for Christmas. More on that later.

Here is the grass progress on Dec 11th.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Random Cuteness

My favorite stuffed animal.

Pie gets the upper "head." This time.

Two sleepy peas in a pod. Bonus points if you know who is Pie and who is Dottie.

More cuteness.

It was so cold that Dottie's ears got frostbite and had to be amputated!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas Shopping

No cute dog pictures to post today. Just the report that I've been doing most of my Christmas shopping online. It is easy and I can find what I want. When I go into stores, they either don't have what is on my list, or maybe it is there but I can't find it and I can't get someone to help me. So online shopping is the way to go. Plus, I can be shopping at 11 pm (when I really should be sleeping.) But since I'm working during the day (as most people are) then when I get off work I need to train dogs or walk them before it gets dark, when else am I supposed to shop? Maybe on the weekends. This weekend I have a combo agility/ obedience trial AND it is our dog club Christmas party after the trial... That shopping I actually did in the Pet Smart store- at 8:45 after agility in the evening and I was the last customer in the store. As soon as I left they locked the doors behind me!

At the party the dogs will pick their own gifts out of a pile. I wanted all 3 of my girls to get to pick a gift so of course I had to buy 3 gifts. I already wrapped them and to make it more exciting I warped each one differently and put one in a wine bottle sack, one in a gift bag, and just wrapped one normal. That way people won't know their dog is picking something that is identical to my other gifts. Yes, I probably put too much thought and effort into it.

While online shopping, I was also cooking chocolate chip cookies for the dog party. To make them more festive I put candy snowflakes and blue sprinkles on some, candy holly berries and leafs on others, and m and ms on the rest. And I backed some extra to take to my parent's this weekend as a bribe. A bribe for things to come- always good to stock up on future bribes.

There was some talk of my work making me come in this weekend to supervise some contractors. Don't they know 1) It is Dottie's first CDX try? 2) It is a combo agility/ obedience trial and Pie is all excited about agility so she tends to do really well in obedience and these type of trials hardly ever happen so I have to take advantage when they do? 3) It is the club party and I'm excited about the doggie presents? (and human food?) 4) I entered 2 dogs in 2 runs each day in agility and 1 dog in 2 runs each day in obedience (UDX) and 1 dog in 1 run a day for obedience and that is a lot of money in entry fees? No, they don't know any of that, but you can be assured if they ask me to work, they will know!

One thing I bought online just now is for me! (and one for ffluffy- hope she doesn't read this blog much!) Mal Shirt
It is a t-shirt supporting Malinois Rescue, so the proceeds go to help homeless Malinois. I recommend it because it is the gift that gives twice! Once to the person who gets the shirt and the second time is the benefit to rescue. I also bought some Mal Rescue Calendars again this year, although both Pie and Dottie got picked for month pictures but then got the boot due to (alleged) picture quality issues. Yes, Dottie's had a problem but I do not believe Pie's did. Oh well- maybe next year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Photos Published in Canda

I had some photos I took of K's BSD published in Canine Review, a Canadian dog show magazine. It is like "Dogs in Review" here in the States. This is the electronic version.

My photos are the ones of agility on this page. Does this mean I'm an Internationally published photographer now??

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Practice (Obedience) Photos

From sometime during the past week practicing groups on my lunch break. Fancy was excused because 1) she doesn't show any more and 2) I didn't come prepared and didn't have treats for a job well done. Fancy usually participates, but due to the lack of treats I excused her.

On Wednesday during my student's private lesson my dogs always get treats from their "Auntie" which makes the beginning and end of the practice group difficult because my dogs maul her. Apparently when their Auntie is around all training goes out the window. Kind of like if cash was raining from the sky and my boss told me to stay at my desk to answer the phone. (He probably would, too. And I would probably do as I was told since the alternate would be to get fired. My dogs don't get fired for mauling their Auntie and ignoring me. They just get more treats.)

This is the inside area where I teach my class. Except no one showed up this week. I didn't mind, I took my dogs for a walk instead. This photo makes the area look big. The wood part is actually a wood wall. The blue floor is the only floor space.

Not an obedience practice photo...

Last one for the day. Pie looking rather uncomfortable. But her head falls off the beds frequently so perhaps she prefers it that way.

Friday, December 2, 2011

New Grass Day 11


There was some cheating because some grass had started to grow after we got rain but before I planted any. Perhaps it is annual rye grass and will die in the summer. But then my grass will be established so it won't matter. The greenest section is where the 2 sprinklers overlap, proving it takes lots of water to grow grass. Some of the green is clover, probably the bur kind that Fancy gets stuck in her coat. But it is green and not too pokey, so it is better than the goat's heads.

Close up of the shoots in the barest section.

Also, I caught my first gopher today. I took this picture before I knew if I had one or not. This is the second time I set the traps. I think the first time I set them I put them in a section the gophers have moved on from. I set 2 more traps but I don't know how many animals I'm dealing with.

Yes, I am anchoring the traps with a stick in the ground weave pole base and an old chewed leash. Use what you have.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

New Random Video!

I do not think it is quite on par with "Hero Dogs" or "Conserving Energy" but it isn't the worst video to ever take up space on Youtube. With the other 2 I had a plan first, then filmed. This one I just filmed the dogs then made a story to go along with the video clips I had. I use the word "story" loosely.

I had quite a bit of trouble putting this together because I forgot that the program that came with my laptop does not to the black and white old film look. So I had to use my desktop computer which is all hooked up, not not in a very accessible place. So I had to rearrange the table, then move the files using my camera card. Next, when I went to add the music, the speakers won't work! I did everything I could think of, but no luck. However, I am very familiar with the music so I cut it as I wanted it, then transferred the whole thing back to the laptop to test it with speakers. I had forgotten the music is actually a recording using my camera off the computer speakers with me giving an intro voice over first. That did not work. So I had to cut it approximately which lead to all kinds of other problems, and I didn't do one clip right the first time, but finally it all worked.

Why did I put so much work into such a cheesy video? I could have been training dogs (if it wasn't dark, cold, windy and I had a spot to do it.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

First Christmas Picture

Because nothing says "Merry Christmas" like forcing your dogs to wear absurd head gear.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Open Practice

Dottie's first CDX show is in 2 weeks. I've been doing little things here and there but today decided to get serious.

Today I actually used jumps and set them up as in a ring. Dottie did the retrieve over the jump and on the flat fine. She didn't try to take the jump on the flat. But on the drop on recall she kept taking the jump. I could get to to come straight to me by teasing her with the toy first, but as soon as I didn't do that, she'd take the jump again. I hope to fix it before the 2 weeks is up.

Pie was fine despite not doing any obedience for who knows how long. I ran out of time and didn't practice groups. Pie really needs to practice that though.

Since the grass is still growing in my yard (actually it hasn't progressed to much- disappointing) I had to lug the jumps to the park. I didn't get kicked out for having the dogs off leash so that is a plus. But the park is on a hill and there is no parking near the flattest section, so I had to carry the equipment a little ways. No one should be surprised that the jumps started to fall apart on the way back to the car and I left a little trail of forlorn objects. I made Pie pick up and carry one jump standard, but she was being bad and kept putting it down. It probably would have been easier for me to just go back for it, but by that time it was a battle of wills.

Besides practicing obedience I did a lot of unpacking and putting things away and organizing the garage and putting items in the attic storage in the garage. I hope if there is an earthquake my car is not in the garage or there will be a travel touch board trainer, various wire and vari kennels, fans, a raised dog bed and a folding crate on my hood.

Fancy Abuse

Fancy abuse. Just arrest me now. The back was full of jumps, smaller storage containers and crates. I should have put her in the empty crate before loading the car up. Luckily Fancy is like a little weasel and fits in absurdly tiny places. Poor Fancy.