Friday, June 29, 2012


I bought a new car, and now I'm trying to buy a house!  You will know from my previous posts I haven't had much luck on this previously, and I don't expect this time to be different.  (Being realistic, not pessimistic.)  I found a house that is 2 houses on a 1/2 acre with a great spot for an agility yard.  Live in one house and rent the other and for what they are asking, my side of the mortgage will be low, so I'll save lots for future unexpected repairs.  AND, I can still cover the entire mortgage on my own if for some reason the other house won't rent (it will, no issue with that around here.)  I know there are already 4 other people trying to get pre-approved- everyone has to go through 1 lender, not sure why.  I'm sending all my documents in right now.  I actually don't know how much I'll get approved for. 

This would be a good house for me, but I shouldn't get my hopes up.  2 days on the market and 4 people wanting to make an offer.  Probably more cash buyers too.  But I can't help not getting my hopes up.  I'm going to see it tomorrow afternoon, after Dottie's FH (advanced IPO tracking) attempt.  Which is in Landcaster- the desert- in the heat.  I've said what happens to scent in the heat, right?  Just like water, it evaporates... since the track has to age 3 hrs, what was I thinking?  If anyone can do it- Dottie can.  Fancy and Pie are trying for IPO 2 Tracking.  Hmmm- is all I have to say about those 2.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Car!

My very first brand new car!

It is a Toyota Sienna.  It has lots and lots of room.  I think it will fit 2 500 crates side by side.  Right now I have a  550 and a 400 in the back, and a 300 on the side, and I still have one of the seats in.

Navigation with Average MPG showing.  So far 21- 22.  Map is always on, even if I'm not navigating.
Who needs a Prius!  :)  This is what happens when you coast.
It has lots of cool features like an average MPG calculation, an instant MPG value, a Navigation system (which I didn't really need but it was installed on the color I wanted.)  It has 4 cupholders in the front, plus one on the door.  Mom- I found the cupholders for the rear seats in addition to the one on the door and the one in the middle console.  It has 1 touch down and up windows for all 4 windows.  All kinds of neat stuff that I could never list all of it here.  I need to read the instruction manual for the Naviation system so I can figure out that display.  Also I need to read the vehicle owner's manual more thoroughly so I know everything it does.  For example, what are those 3 buttons on the review mirror for?  No idea.  It has a little light that comes on that says "Eco."  That lets you know your driving habits are giving you maximum gas economy.  If you accelerate gently it stays on, but if you zip by someone, it goes off.

Some things it does not have is auto headlights, or a ding if I leave the headlights on.  The running lights go off 30 seconds after the door closes if you leave those on, but the headlights seemed to be staying on.  Ok, so maybe that is the only thing it doesn't have.  

I need to have a hitch installed so I can use my cargo rack to keep dirty things on the outside of the van.  I hope to try to keep it nice, but it is a dog car, so I can't be too hopeful.  I found special seat covers that are designed to be used with airbags that come out of the seat.  I plan to buy them.  I had my old car detailed before I traded it in, and just about the only thing that didn't come clean was the seats.

At first I thought maybe the Sienna was lacking power.  I pulled onto the county road our IPO training is on and decided to test it out.  I made the turn safety, then mashed the gas pedal all the way to the floor.  The car hesitated, gathered itself, then flung itself forward with such velocity I was thrown backwards into the seat and was actually a tiny bit scared that I wouldn't be able to control the vehicle with such acceleration and eased off the gas pedal.  I imagine that is what astronauts feel like during take off!  Wow.  It would seem in order to get the "spirited acceleration" the reviews talk about, you just have to want it enough to be aggressive with the pedal.  Same goes for braking.

So far (after 2 days) it is a great car!

Crate configuration.  I can slide the seat back further and the dogs can still get in.
Showing Fancy's crate.
Marla tested, Fancy approved.  She likes the armrest. 

Crates are not pushed all the way back. Still lots of room behind them.  Storage and safety.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

5 Hours

What can you do in 5 hrs?  Work over a half day of work.  See a double feature.  Drive from Los Angeles to Phoenix- no traffic.  5 hours is a long time.  Can you image following a scent that is 5 hours old?  It is hard for me to imagine since I couldn't track a bloody steak dragged over the ground.  Unless it was on concert and I could see the blood trail.

Today I laid a track for Dottie at 10:30, and we ran it at 3:50.  It took us about 20 minutes to run, (time spent feeding on articles and staring at my map!) so when we were done, she was tracking a scent that was 5 hours and 40 minutes old.  That is insane to me.

There was only 1 spot that gave her a bit of trouble. She sniffed, then ignored the beach... ball that was about a foot off her track. (There is a pre-school across the street, I guess it came from there.)

I used my Fitness app on my tablet and it told me the track was about 900 feet long.  About 300 yards.  Not that long, but lots of corners.

The weather on base were we are tracking has been "June Gloom."  Overcast and cool.  It didn't get over 70 degrees the entire time the track was aging.  A track aged 3 hrs in the heat is much harder than one aged 5 hrs in the cool.  Scent is like water.  It evaporates and much more so in the heat.

Since it has been so cool and overcast, I needed to challenge her to get ready for our IPO FH in 2 weeks.  The FH is an advanced  tracking title.  It is aged 3 hrs, but I don't have the other requirements memorized.  It should be similar to a TDX, but no obstacles.  The trial is inland in the dry heat.  I hope they lay the track nice and early and we get to give it a try before it gets too warm!  Fancy and Pie will be entered for their Tracking 2 titles.  The TR 2 tracks are aged 30 minutes.

Pie's track was aged a half hour and Fancy's 40 mins. Fancy was so intent on her track, somehow she did not see the bunny that broke and ran 2 feet in front of her nose, over her track! That is very unlike her.

Fancy is finally coming along.  She is motivated, confident, and wants to be out there.  Pie improves, then regresses.  1 step forward, 2 back.  But next time it might be 2 forward and 2 back, then 3 forward and 2 back.  So we make some progress.  Until then she does 7 steps back and now we start all over.  Yet even when that happens we can progress more quickly than last time since she has the foundation.

Time for me to head out to IPO training now.  Dottie is going to trial for the "Search Dog Suitability Test"  (in addition to the FH.)  She has been practicing finding victims lost in the orchard.  She doesn't give up searching, but sometimes she runs right past them without finding them!  At first our poor victims were starving to death, but last time Dottie found her before hypothermia set in.  This is doing air scenting rather than ground scenting like in tracking.  When she finds the victim she barks to let me know.  I don't think Dottie can be a real life search dog because her stamina is too low.  They have to cover a lot of ground and I think she would tire out too soon.  Pie would be better suited physically, but she gives up and becomes discouraged.  Dottie has the tenacity needed to keep looking.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Dottie's New Harness

Not the best picture.  Her new harness for just about anything!  It puts the pressure on her chest instead of across her shoulders as lots of the agitation type harness do.  I adjusted the fit after taking this picture.  She is a hard dog to fit due to narrow shoulders and very deep chest.

I pretend that dogs perform even better with brand new pretty high speed equipment!

Obedience Day 2

Dottie earned her CDX on Day 2 of the Bahia Del Sur Kennel Club in San Diego.  She had a score of 195, missing first place by .5.  Her heeling could have been more attentive, and we lost points due to a slow drop.  I have to figure out how to speed her drop up, without making her show pressure.  Right now when I say "down" her ears stay up the entire time.  (PS- That is good.)  I'm not too worried about it, but it was a point loss we could do without.  Her fronts and finishes were pretty straight.  Over all a good girl!

Pie refused the drop signal in utility.  This is her most common failure.  Pretty frustrating.  Then she was clean in Open B, but sad.  The judge combined open A and B groups, so I'd have to get a handler for one of my dogs for the groups.  My dogs aren't going to listen to anyone else for the groups, so even though some other competitors nicely offered, I declined and pulled Pie from the groups.  So once again no UDX leg for us.

I suppose I'm not ready yet to write about my decision regarding Pie's continued (or not) obedience career.  Some other day.  For now, we'll focus on Dottie CDX AX MXJ IPO3!

San Diego Dog Beach

It was worth the trip for this alone!

Everyone ran a lot!
See?  Lots of running!

And some kicking like a mule?  Kinda strange.
We used the river portion.  Some of the other patrons.
More running.
Yes, and more.
Ok, and even more.
Dottie was extra hyper.  Not sure why.
Fancy always rolls around when she is wet.
Dottie practicing her sea moster form.
Pie going out after the ball.
Eagerly awaiting the ball.  I didn't bring one, but they found it floating in the river.
Remember when her nose used to be pink?  Too much sand, I think.

Is this my good side?
Staggered start after the ball, for a picture purpose.
Pie with drool nose, taking beachizing seriously.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Obedience Today

Made the long drive down to San Diego (Chula Vista actually.) It shouldn't have been that long of a drive, but there were some problems.  I'll get to that in a minute.

Pie got 1st place Utility B, 1 OTCH point. (Hint, she was the only qualifyer- a TINY trial.)  Her score was 177.5 and I had to work really hard to keep her happy enough to be confident to do the signals.  It was a struggle and she wasn't truly happy.  Her heeling was not attentive, but she was not lagging, which is a good thing.  The "funny" part is when I get comments, as I did today, about how happy and animated Pie is in the ring.  Of course I agree and say thank you, but I am squeezing water out of a stone to get the animation I have, and that isn't happy tail wagging you are seeing, but a submissive stress way.  But I suppose it is better than a tail clamped between the legs.
 NQ in Open B on the sit, so no UDX leg. They did the down first, and we got some no sits in heeling so I knew there was no hope.  The groups are hard enough as it is.  If I was a judge, I'd NEVER do the down first.  I've lost so many UDX legs on the sit, and this is the second one I've lost doing the down first.  She lay down before I was even out of sight.  On Thursday I posted a picture on FB of my dogs doing a 4 and a half minute practice sit and she sat there the entire time AND looked happy.  ???  The old, "I'm in a happy place because I get to play with my ball in this park" and she is stressed at a show?
Dottie got 2nd place Open A, 191.5, could have been happier and more attentive in the heeling. That was her second leg.
We got done so, so early, I didn't know what to do with myself.  First I had a hot dog- a really good one, not a typical dog show hot dog.  I watched some breed judging, then I decided to try out the San Diego Dog Beach, which I've heard of but don't know anything about.  Luckily it was in my GPS so off we went.  That will be a post for itself, but here is a picture preview.
 (Btw, Pie now has 2 out of 200 OTCH points, so that is not a goal of ours.)
 Also the topic for a future post is whether or not I will be continuing with Pie in obedience.  Stay tuned.  

Here is the story about our trip down here:
I left my parent's hosue about 7:30 pm (after having an early Father's Day dinner with my dear Dad), trying to wait to avoid traffic. Yet I was still stuck in traffic, even at 9 o'clock at night. Then Pie indicated she had to use the restroom, so I pulled off the freeway. The neighborhood I ended up in was so crowded, there was no open street parking! Eventually I drove far enough in that I had room to park and she had relief. I saw a McDonald's and decided to get a drink. I waited in line for a soda for at least 15 minutes. With the person behind me being very annoying the entire time. Finally I got my soda and got back in the car and it was 9:30 and I was only in Anaheim. Drove more, more traffic. Now I was sleepy and had to pull over. I ended up sleeping for about an hour. Walked around to wake up more and got back on the freeway, only to have the freeway come to a dead stop. I listed to KNX 1070 through 3 cycles of "Traffic on the 5s" hoping to find out what was going on. If I know what happened and how long I'll be there, it is so much easier to deal with. They never said anything. Eventually we inched along and it was an accident, a motorcycle involved and I'm pretty sure when I passed, the deceased was still there on the freeway under a sheet/tarp. I looked up the news story and the motorcycle was being unsafe- 
Click here for the story.. How sad for him and his family.  Finally at 1:30 I made it to Motel 6, only to find a line at check in!!! I spent another 20 minutes in line, listening to a distraught/ drunk and/ or high lady interact with some cops across the parking lot. Turns out she was probably a victim of violence, but she was telling them she fell down. Got my room, only to find out it is on the 3rd floor. Ugh. 5 hrs of driving, one of sleeping- and it should have only taken me 2.5 hrs. Still, I arrived alive and with all my dogs. I'm sad for the motorcyclist's family.
Tomorrow is another day of showing obedience, and then the drive back to Ventura County.  I hope it goes smoother on the way home!

DogStock 2012

Last weekend ffluffy and I went to DogStock in Northern CA.  Placerville, which is a tiny bit above Sacramento.  I had to wait for ffluffy to drive out here, so I went to work on Friday.  Then I met her at my parent's house and we transferred all the dogs and gear into my car.  Most likely I will be getting my new vehicle over the 4th of July weekend (hope for some good offers) and I was crossing my fingers that the trusty ol' Buick would see us safely  through one more long trip.  Even though I had the breaks replaced when I got the trailer, they have never been right since, and now the tires are getting worn also.  Since I'm typing this you know the car held up for us.

We had all the regular dogs (minus ffluffy's oldest, plus Espresso who was heading to her new home) and also camping gear because we planned on camping at the club Saturday night.

We arrived at our Motel 6 pretty late on Friday, after detouring around a brushfire that had shut down the 5 North.  Sleep was short since we wanted to get to the club early to drop of Espresso and get a good parking spot.

DogStock is basically an extended training day.  Very extended.  We checked in at 7 am.

Espresso got the trade off first thing.  Later that day I heard via FaceBook she completed her other legs and made it to her new home!  Everyone who comes in contact with her loves her.  What a sweetie.

The club invites a bunch of different helpers, and you pick one and he works your dog.  One dog on the field at a time, and there were a lot of dogs.  I don't know any helpers so I asked for a recommendation and the person recommended ended up working dogs second, so I got to go fairly early in the day.  We worked Dottie mostly on the pole, working her grip.  She cooperated by demonstrating the problem she always has.  She gets a nice full grip, but as the tugs, she tugs herself off into a very shallow grip.  Our club helper is always working on it, and this helper worked the same things.  I wanted to take her up to DogStock to work on a different helper, in a different place, and also see a lot of other dogs work, and I got all of that.

Dogs worked all day.  ffluffy and I watched dogs, ate snacks, walked various dogs, had a nap in the car, and battled the wind.  It was so windy and pretty cold.  Usually the participants are almost dead from heat stroke, but this time it was cold.  Burr.  The wind was a real bummer.

Dottie all suited up for her turn on Saturday.  Barking in excitement and posing with just some of the stuff we brought.
Working on the pole.

Good grip.  But will it stay good?
Seems painful.
At around 6 we took a break for dinner.  It was a German theme and I ate a lot of it, even though it is stuff I wouldn't normally eat.  We got a Police K9 demo in bitesuits and no suits or sleeves but the dogs were muzzled.  This proves the dogs will try to bite even with the decoy not wearing any equipment.  The GSD was good, but the Malinois used the muzzle as a weapon.  Jabbing and slamming.  I bet those guys were bruised the next day!

A few more people still had training to do, then it was the IPO Protection tournament.  I entered Dottie, again for the experience.  Since we hadn't run the blinds, or even used the "hot" blind, I was curious to see if she'd run them correctly the first time.  This field is huge- the distance between the blinds is really a factor.

Dottie ran all 6 blinds correctly!  I think I can say she understands the blinds.  However, her barking in the blind was very weak.  She really does need a helper to warm her up (agitate) her first.  On the escape bite she came up underneath the sleeve and it is too wide there to grip.  So she came off the grip, then re-bit.  I gave her the "out" command, but no dice.  I got three tries and I got nothing.  In a real trial we would have been tossed out on our ear, but since it is a tournament, we were allowed to keep going.  No surprise that I had "no out" for the rest of the routine either.  The judge said she appeared to be angry that she missed the first grip and that is why she didn't out.  The dog might think of it like this- The guy was getting away, and I missed and he almost did get away, so this time if I don't let go, he isn't going nowhere!  (I guess dogs don't have the best English Language skills.)

Each dog was clocked with a radar gun on the courage test/ long bite.  I'll give you one guess as to who won.  Drumroll...... Dottie!  The little weasel ran 35 mph!  Another dog did 33 but no one else was close.  A few years back a different Malinois ran 36, so she isn't the fastest ever, but close!  We won a glass mug, a t-shirt, and $50.  Go Dottie, Go!

The tournament didn't start until 9 and didn't finish until around 12:30.  So 7 am to 12:30 midnight.  Yes, I'd call that an extended training day.  We ended up doing back to the motel because it was too windy to camp.
Dottie and her "Fastest Longbite Prize."

Back at the Motel it is 3 against one (but Dottie doesn't mind.)

On Sunday the participant list had shrunk quite a bit.  Since we had to be on the road, I just picked the helper who I could work with the fastest.  Since her barking was poor in the tournament, I had him work her up a bit, then sent her in for barking.  It was 110% better this time.  Then we worked the escape and the out.  All was in order, but she isn't a dummy.  She knows training vs. trialing and also this time she didn't miss.  However, it was still comforting to do it correctly.

Working with the new helper on Sunday.
Going into the hot blind.  And this time she knows it.
Taking a drive.

ffluffy had the same helper work her new BC pup in puppy sack work.  So cute!

Something is getting distorted with the pictures I am posting!

We stuck around for the lunch (which was good) and then we were on our way.  We cut over and took the 101 home so we could stop for fish and chips and at the beach.  Moss Landing- strange little town.

We also stopped at the Wharf in Santa Barbara.  You can drive out on it and then you walk around and shop.  Who knew?

I had to pass my house to take ffluffy back to her car.  Then it was time to transfer all the dogs and stuff back to her car, and head back to Ventura County, just in time for SchH club training night!

My review of DogStock is that the drive was too long and the training day was too long.  If it was in Southern CA I would for sure go again and just put up with the long day, but the drive combined with being up so long on the first day made it more trouble than it was worth.  I'm glad I went (I like to brag about my fast dog of course, had fun with ffluffy, worked dogs and watched dogs) but next year I don't expect to go back.  Maybe I can get someone to organize one down here....hmmmm...

Here are pictures from the beach in Moss Landing:

Puppy Peep's first time at the beach.  A wave!
Fancy was in the Glamor Shot mood, it seemed.
Me and my Fancy and the pup is a photo bomber.
Work it, work it!
The Malinois are not in the Glamor Shot mood.  Maybe Sports Illustated, Contact Sports Edition.
Or maybe MMA edition.  Pie didn't want to sit still for a picture.

We took 2 groups to the beach.  This was the "bad dog" group.

Pie Bed

Maybe she sees a tiny bed as a challenge.  Can she fit it in, or will it burst at the seams before she is successful?  This mini-bed was bought for $5 at the grocery store.  It isn't even Fancy sized.  It is for a toy dog or small terrier.  And yet, somehow, Pie fits (sort of) into it.

This is the first time I've seen Pie in a shape resembling a ball for a long time.  Her back usually doesn't let her do this.  Just today she was  trying to scratch her collar but her rear foot doesn't reach because her back isn't bendy enough.  Sad.  I helped her out.  What else am I for?

Monday, June 4, 2012


Bought some knuckle bones at the show that proved to be quite popular.  Pie got a hold of hers and only made it part of the way onto the bed before she had to start chewing!  She never changed positions during the 3 hrs it took her to finish it.  I don't think most dogs finish a beef knuckle bone in three hours.  Later she wanted to start on another one, but I took it away from her and got a sad look for my troubles.

As you can see, there are lots of bones in our house!