Friday, August 31, 2012

Petable Softness

Of course that is Fancy.  Here she is imitating a sleeping Malinois.  Not too often we get a funny picture of Fancy sleeping.

Dottie And Her Nose

Dottie may not be an amazing obedience dog.  She isn't the best agility dog either.  And despite the fact that she likes to "fight" the helper in IPO, no matter how hard he tries to train her to have a full grip, her grip still isn't that great.  She may or may not be a good herding dog.  She showed promise, but I don't have the time to find out just how good she is.

So what is Dottie's forte?  TRACKING.  Who would have guessed?  Today we did tracking on asphalt.  Aged over 2 hrs.  "They" say the dog is following the scent of your dead skin flaking off.  Listen to the video.  It was windy.  We were out by a runway near the beach.  2 places you can always count on it to be windy.  Didn't all my dead skin (gross) blow away?  But you can see that she is for real tracking.  After the corner, she looses the scent.  She crosses the track then THERE!  You can see her nose stop, and go in the correct direction.  There is no doubt she is following something.  Too amazing for me.

Not all Malinois are good tracking dogs.  Of course they have the ability.  But most of them are too good and don't want to follow the scent, they want to run straight to the thing they are supposed to find.  Good if it is a bad guy, not so good if you are being graded on how closely you stay on the track.  Because I had K helping me, I was able to train Dottie to track correctly.  But Dottie also has something that makes her an extra special tracking dog.  She isn't the most precise.  I'm sure my training is to blame.  She will overshoot corners and that costs her points.  But when the track gets old, and tough and she gets hot and thirsty, she doesn't quit.  She tries and tries and tires, AND has great ability.  What a great dog.

The number one biggest problem with rescues (other than possible heath issues) is when you get an amazing one, you have no idea where they came from, so you are unable to get another one from the same source.  I don't know which Mal lines gave Pie her unflappable, over the top friendly temperament and her love of and power in agility.  I don't know which Mal lines produced such a great tracking dog in Dottie.  And I have no idea where Fancy's petable softness came from.

Here is Pie's  tracking video from today.  I think EVENTUALLY we should be able to get a TD, but I will have to hope nothing on the track causes her stress.  Even in this video you can see her stress on some of the corners.  Mouth open, and head up is her stress indicator. 

Fancy also has a video from today, but I had problems while filming and we are working on increasing line distance, so it is not thrilling enough to share.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dottie Variable Surface Training

Not a perfect track, but I suppose that is how we learn.  The whole track is not filmed, just the section between 2 articles.  She had a lot of trouble going through the bare patch, but eventually got it, and finished correctly.  Yes, our article indications are slow and sloppy, but that will be something to work on separately.

(Note that "variable surface" means different surfaces, not not necessarily "hard surface."  I did have the 1 section of hard pack dirt, but we are still working on asphalt and concrete, so we aren't ready to incorperate that into a variable surface track yet.My surfaces for this track were crab grass, deep grass, hard dirt, back to grass, then less hard dirt with some deadish cover.)


So Cal Sunset

So Cal Sunset with Wires

So Cal Sunset with Wires II 

Note the two trees in the top photo, then see if you can spot them in the last photo.  

I went out to do some obedience training with Dottie (go outs, signals, and utility articles) and had to dash back inside for my camera.  I keep hoping to take a photo good enough to submit to the Fair next year.  Even though I am pretending the Wires are part of the artistic vision of my photo (human necessity vs. natural beauty) in reality they were just in the way and I'm sure the Fair judges would agree with the truth, rather than believe the fiction.  Ah well.

Dottie is now doing the sit and come signal nicely, but stopped doing the down, which used to be her strongest one.  Her go outs to the baby gates are coming along, but I know the jump will lure her over on the way out.  That will be a large challange.  I'd say today was the first time she really showed me she is understanding articles!  2 or 3 times she grabbed the first one she came to, but the rest of the times she sniffed out the right one!  The grabbing the wrong was was actually good, because it shows her she needs to use self control to find the right one, and the wrong one won't get her a reward.  Utility, here we come!  (Not quite yet, but someday.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Fraizer Park Hike

Today Dad and I and the dogs headed up to Frazier Park for a hike.  Mnt. Pinos ended up being our destination.  It was a nice hike on a dirt road.  Crisp air, blue skies, pine tree smells, and good company.  What better way to spend a Sunday?  The only thing I regret is I had trouble getting good pictures.

Pie runs amok, as usual.

One of the many sticks Dottie carried.  I also notice in this picture Pie and Fancy are looking over the edge, while Dottie does her own thing.

Pie was supposed to carry the dog water, but one of the bladders was leaking, so I ended up carrying the water for myself and the dogs.  All Pie had to carry was a Tupperware to drink out of, and my small bag of Pretzels.  Lightest pack ever.

Dad, my hiking companion.

At 9 years old, Fancy was the oldest hiking dog, yet she seemed to be the least effected by the heat and distance.

I got so desperate for some decent photos, I posed Fancy on this lame rock.  Of course the photo turned out lame.

We made it back to the Jeep.  Where all the dogs had an extra long drink from the water in the Jeep water jug.  It got quite dry and hot at the end.

Agility on 25 Aug 12

Not the best day ever.  Fancy did QQ, number 16 to PACH.  Pie NQQed, but had so much fun it was worth it.  She was very hyper and barky.  I guess I say it wasn't the best agility day ever since it seemed Dottie had regressed a bit to unfocused and lacking effort.  She did Q in standard, even though she hit a bar very had, but it didn't come down, and I had to screech (never pleasant) to keep her off the same jump Pie NQed on.  In jumpers I again had to shout (this time NO, NO! after calling her name first) to keep her out of a tunnel, and then she dropped a bar so I excused us. Those bars are really starting to get to me.  Combined with the lack of effort made it a disappointing Dottie day.  Still, a disappointing day at agility is better than a good day at the office!  And Pie had extra fun and Fancy had a good time, so of course the day was not a bad day, just not the best day ever.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Puppy Playing and Plane Pictures

Once again I was watching a co-worker's dog, Chipper, and my parent's pup at the same time.  Since Dottie was out of the action, Chipper and Kerby were able to keep each other entertained.  Here are a few pictures of the fun.

Pie had fun playing with the puppies too.

I love the look he is giving her.

Yes, he is an annoying little boy terrier who thinks he is in charge of everyone.

But Kerby disagrees.

The local airshow was going on the same weekend.  I live about 2 or 3 miles from the airport (far enough to have no unusual airport noise) and the aircraft were turning and coming around for more passes right over my house.  So I got out my zoom lens and took some pictures.  After taking these, I decide I need a more powerful zoom lens.  Sorry, I don't know what most of these are, hence no caption.  It was pretty neat to be at home and still see some of the action.

I know the pilot of the Navion 2nd from the left, and my youngest brother had a ride in that plane.  I pat myself on the back for recognizing it!

Getting An Early Start

On Halloween!

I was in Michael's and they had all kinds of good Halloween props.  The bloody severed arm will be good for the Malinois.  Or Fancy.  I also liked the Skeleton Hand W/ Arm that was printed W/ARM, and I almost touched it to feel the warm hand before I realized it was "with arm."  Also good for the Malinois. Halloween is the holiday you are supposed to dress up.  But I like to dress the dogs up given any excuse.  Birthday, 4th of July, St. Patrick's Day...

This weekend we have 1 day of agility at the far away location.  At least is should be cooler than last week.  In fact, I found myself a bit chilly today.  Super odd weather.

Then on Sunday the plan is for Dad and I (and the dogs) to go for a hike.

Agility update:  Fancy and Pie are both at 15 Double Qs towards their next MACH.  Fancy tends to be entered in less shows, but she is also more consistent (unless I mess her up which is what happened last weekend.)  Who will get there first?  Or could it be the same day?  That would be exciting.  Speaking of exciting, at the last trial (where Dottie had to pull due to being injured) Pie took first in Standard, by 2 full seconds.  And the fast Golden that I like Dottie to be close in time to, did Q and had a nice run.  I don't know where Pie made up the time and how she was so fast.  Her time in jumpers was a normal Pie time.  Not slow, but not full seconds faster than everyone else.  I guess Pie was feeling good and frisky!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

It's All Fun and Games....

Until Dottie gets chomped and ends up in the cone, among other things.  As I wrote in the previous post, Dottie was attacked at a USDAA trial by another competitor's dog.  A border collie who had just finished running the course.  Dottie and I were waiting by the score table under the EZ up making use of their shade, since all the other shade had been cleaned up, due to the trial being almost over.  The dog ran over so fast I didn't see him coming and didn't have time to react.  He latched onto Dottie's head.  And was not letting go.  I could see his canine digging into her skull.  Luckily another competitor was able to pull him off.

The owner, who I did not know, was very apologetic, and has paid for Dottie's surgery, and has checked up on us numerous times.  She had her dog neutered and is seeking the help of a behaviorist.  I say this since she appears to be (and from what I'm told) a really nice person who is in a bad situation since her dog happens to be aggressive.  No one wants an aggressive dog, but she got one.

The attack is under investigation by the board, and the "sentence" on the dog (such as suspension or a life ban) has not been decided yet.  For the owners sake, I know a life ban would be really tough, but for the other competitor's sake, how do you guarantee this won't happen again?

As for Dottie, she does not appear to be traumatized and is heeling well.  The vet stitched the head wound (before it bled a little I could see the muscle membrane covering through the hole) and stitched and put a drain in her chest.  It took over 3 hrs due to the sedation and the other dogs and I were stuck in Santa Barbara.  We headed to State Street to pass the time.  Not one of the worst spots I've been stuck.  

Some statue on State Street.

Pie made friends with a homeless man in a wheelchair.  I appreciate having a friendly dog, but trying to crawl into his lap and licking his ear off is a bit overboard.

The next pictures are of Dottie's wounds, so if you are squeamish you may want to not scroll down.  (It's not that bad.)

The head wound after it had bled a little.

All stitched up the first night.

Chest wound with drain, draining.  All over the floor.
The first night was rough.  Neither of us got much sleep.  I thought the traffic would be done since we left Santa Barbara so late, but we still sat in traffic.  I didn't get home until around 11 pm.  Then Dottie couldn't sleep due to the pain, and she whined all night, and circled and banged her cone.  Ugh.

The next night she felt much better.  I didn't realize she thought she couldn't potty with the cone on, and when I took it off the next afternoon, she had the longest pee ever.  Sorry Dottie.

The drain came out four days later- Thursday.  Dottie is feeling very hyper but I couldn't let her run around.  I finally let her run a bit today, and she was very happy.  Still, it was limited since there are still stitches.  She has fluid retention around the drain site.  I'll show it to the vet on Monday.  I hope she will say it will re-absorb, but what if it is bad fluid?  Overall, Dottie seems ok.  I suppose I won't know if she has lasting mental issues until she gets upset when a dog surprises her or gets in her space.  She has never had issues with these scenarios before, and let's hope it stays that way.

Poor sweet little Dottie did not want to be chomped, but it happened anyway.

Feeling better the second day, no cone under supervision, sporting a tee shirt. 

Head wound done draining.

Santa Barbara Flyers USDAA Trial

Dottie needed 2 advanced standard legs, a pairs leg and a snooker leg to get out of advanced.  Even if she got all that, we'd still be in advanced for 1 more show due to the 3 judge rule.  Sadly, we didn't qualify much, so now the three judge rule isn't a concern for us.

We did Q in snooker the first day.  Here is the video.

I don't think we Qed in anything else on Saturday.  No gamble in gamblers, a bar in standard (video below) and actually we did Q in jumpers, but we didn't need a jumpers leg.  Still, it was nice to have some success.

We did Q in steeplechase, and went on to round 2, where we took second place and won $7.50.  Sweet!

The next day we did not Q in snooker due to a back jump, and the last bar came down in jumpers- my fault.  We were very close to passing a tricky Grand Prix, but at the last moment had a fault.  No Q in standard (darn!) due to a weave bobble that I didn't know we had until I watched the video and saw the judge call the fault.

As we were waiting for the last run of the day (gamblers) Dottie and I were waiting outside the ring since we were next dog in, and the dog a head of us ran out of the ring and pretty violently attacked Dottie!  A bystander was able to pull the border collie off, but we had to go to the emergency vet for stitches.  More about that in the next post.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Fancy Gets Around

In addition to being in a Motel 6 ad,

Fancy has now traveled to the Philippines to supervise the recovery effort.  I found her in the photo of the horrible ongoing flooding.  She must have super powers, since I never noticed her absence.

 There is also a look a like on the Avoderm bag, but it is too clean to actually be Fancy, so that is how I know it is a look a like and not the real thing, 

PS- For those who might not know Fancy, none of these dogs are actually her, although the one of "her" on the roof soaking wet really does look like her.  As does the Motel 6 ad for that matter... maybe she really DOES get around.

Toy Story

Toys-r-us dog toy bought at Petsmart lasted 2 CHOMPS with Dottie and the squeaker broke. And it was a ball in a ball, so she didn't even pull the "plug" thing out. (See spaceship chin rest picture in the following post.)  Still, she is enjoying continued chomps, even squeaker less. Opps, she just dropped it and Pie made off with it. I bought Pie a giant cuz ball with feet and the furry ball inside. I think they are so cute, perhaps even more so after the feet get nibbled off. But it wasn't so cute when a piece of a nibbled foot was in my bed and I thought it was a bug!  Eeekk! 

Chin Rest

If a company made chin rests for dogs, I'd have to buy some for my dogs.  They seem to have a need for them.  In the mean time, Fancy makes do with my work boot, while Pie settle for the new toy I bought her/ Dottie.  Although Pie could have the ulterior motive of keeping the toy away from Dottie, while I do not suspect Fancy of hording the boot in a similar manner.

Is that even comfy?  At least it isn't steel toe.
Pie's spaceship toy is not cleared for take off.

An Observation

Chocolate Covered Bacon- less chocolate, more bacon. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Catch Up, No New News, But You Should Read Anyways

Just a quick post to let my loyal readers (ha, ha) know I haven't dropped off the face of the earth.

I made another offer on another house, but was passed over (again.)  The accepted offer was 60% cash.  How can I compete with that?  I played the lotto that night, in a feeble attempt to compete, but with the expected results (ie- I did not win and become wealthy, fabulously or otherwise.)

I had drill weekend last weekend, hence no dog show, and it was a long weekend.  On Saturday I had to attend the weapons qualification course.  I have never had trouble passing previously, and even shot marksman once.  But this was the new improved course.  Yikes.  I did properly field strip the M-4 rifle under the 4 minute timeline, then also reassemble it in another 4 minutes.  I also properly demoed such things as doing a function check, clearing jams and clearing advanced jams.  By the time eveyone had been tested on the classroom portion it was 4 o'clock.  We had been working since 7.  Time to go home!  Nope!  Time to start shooting.  Sadly, I did not pass.  I was not alone.  We left the range at 7:30, and the course wasn't even done yet.

The previous weekend I entered a 1 day trial.  Ran all three dogs and only Fancy Qed, and only in 1 run.  Not our best trial ever.  Fancy needs 5 QQs for her Pach and Pie needs 6 QQs for Mach 3 and we have been stuck at those numbers for some time.

That Sunday we had SchH training.  A nice way to spend the day.

I started taking 1/2 hr private agility lessons with a local who teaches international courses.  Maybe more on this later, but I want the challenge of running international level courses, and I thought it would be fun to go to the European Open some year.  That is A) if I can afford it and B) if we can get chosen for the team.  Last year was the first year they had more people who wanted to go than they had spots for.  And they take 30 people!  I thought the cost alone would turn a lot of hopefuls away, but there are a lot of people with lots of $ doing dog sports.

We had a great regular agility class with our regular instructor tonight.  That class is so much fun.  I think I've learned I am the funniest person I know.  I laugh at myself so much, I must be!  And everyone else laughs along with me.  I say, if you can't laugh at yourself, you shouldn't laugh at anyone.  The word of the day was "awkward" with music notes.  At one point I was trying to do a forward send while moving forward, and I couldn't get the correct foot out in front.  So I was kind of shuffling along looking like a zombie or something.  Hint: a forward send requires you to NOT be moving.  :)   Ah, good times.

This weekend is USDAA agility up in Santa Barbara.  It will be Dottie's second trail in advanced.  Hope we Q lots so the next show we can move up to Masters.

Not too much exciting going on around these parts- same old, same old...