Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Black Friday!

Oh, and Happy Thanksgiving, too, I suppose. This is the first year I've ever braved the crowds for the craziest shopping day of the year. Of course my reasons were dog related. But I won! I got what I went for!

Because corporate greed is ever-growing, Black Friday actually started on Thursday. While going through the fliers at my parent's house after our family turkey day get-together, I saw that Walmart had this swanky storage bench on sale for $29 as one of their 8 p.m. Thursday deals. Hmm. Not only is it twice the size of the dog's current/old window seat, but theirs was also in terrible need of replacement as the foam seat has been starting to scatter throughout the house. Nothing the dogs are doing, the top just got ripped to shreds by nails, I guess. Heaven knows I couldn't just throw the thing away without a replacement -- Secret spends the majority of her life sitting/laying on that thing!

I happen to live about two minutes from Walmart, so being the naive Black Friday shopper that I am, I left home at about 7:52 p.m. The entire parking lot was full! In Sparta! It was overflowing into the Do-It Center next door, even. Holy crap, what did I get myself into? The good news is that there weren't any lines waiting outside. The bad news is that there were no carts -- Oh, and did I mention that I had no idea where these darn benches were?

Luck was on my side. I turned my head to the right as I walked past the first aisle and there they were! Surrounded by people.... But one was a friend of mine! Score! She let me squeeze in and when they called 8:00 I was able to snag one. Sweet! And then lug it around the store with me by hand. Not sweet...

The only other thing I wanted was a set of sheets going for $20 and I also stumbled upon them by luck -- Wasn't too hard, really -- The mob of people in that area kind of gave it away. Thank goodness for having a king-sized bed. An employee was helping to hand them out and she was to the last of the queens when I got there. I even got to pick my color! Yay!

Then I had to traipse all the way across the store to go pick up chicken for our trial this weekend. That was fun. I have no idea what the big special was in the produce area, but I had to go under a roped off area just to get to the darn chicken. I got out in a hurry and was home by 8:15. Phew. That was crazy.

Today I put the new bench by the window and had to laugh. Luke took it over immediately. Poor Secret! Lucky for her he didn't stay there all day and she was able to give it a try, too. This will be nice because now she won't have to scrunch into a tiny ball when she lays down on the window seat. I bet that's just awesome for her back. Yay for Black Friday deals!

I actually went out again today, but I waited until 10 a.m. to avoid all of the crazies. Petco was giving out free doggy antlers (the kind they wear on their head) with any purchase, so I went and picked up a couple new Jolly Balls (with rope for Secret, with handle for Luke). It might eventually snow this year, you know, so I figure it's good to be prepared with snow-appropriate toys and all. I was going to go back and buy a bag of food to try to get another pair, but they didn't have any specials on food and I decided I just didn't care that much. Instead I went to the mall and found the $30 bedspread I went for -- I'm hoping this thing will fit in my washer & dryer, unlike the giant poofy comforter I currently have.

I was hovering over the mailbox today hoping that our package from Tillies Tuggies would arrive. I found this shop on Etsy earlier this week after doing a search for "tug leash with snap" or something like that. They were very well-priced, so I got one with a fleece bite bar and one with a rabbit fur bite bar. The shipping notification said they'd be here today, but obviously USPS forgot about the holiday. They left St. Paul today, so I'm sure they will be in my mailbox when we get home on Sunday!

This purchase was prompted after a discussion on the USDAA list about tugging in the ring. I am certainly not anti-tugging at all, but I do get frustrated that some people refuse to admit that tugging dogs have an advantage in the ring over those who don't view their leash as a toy. Those of us who have dogs who expect food have to teach them to wait for their reward until you are well out of the ring -- easier for some dogs than others (OMG, Kaiser was so not good with delayed gratification for the longest time).

Since I no longer use Secret's fleece tug leash that goes over her head, I thought I'd look for a fun tug leash that can snap onto her collar to allow me to continue to avoid bringing things over her head. The Tillies site was the first one that popped up in my Google search and it was by far the best looking and most Secret-pleasing tuggy I came across. We'll see what she thinks of it, I guess. I'm thinking I should just save it for USDAA trials so as not to confuse her with the whole, "You can tug here, but not here" deal. Who knows, first I just want to get her to tug at trials period, especially with something attached to her neck.

As kind of a preface to the whole 'target your leash' deal, yesterday I decided to work on targeting to a toy after a couple of jumps. Yeah....  I don't know if it was that she wasn't really in the mood yesterday or if this is just another one of those giant gaps in training that I've stumbled across. What I can tell you, though, is that Secret thinks she is being horribly punished if you ask her to leave her toy and walk away from it. Then she becomes super unsure about interacting with it at all and you end up with a big old meltdown. Isn't that fun! That will come in super handy in the event that she actually does start to view her leash as a toy....

I did make some headway, though. The first key was to lead her away by the collar so that I wasn't asking her to leave the toy of her own free will. Then she would happily target the toy after the jump. The other (more successful) thing I did was to throw the toy behind me while holding her collar and then release her forward. We'd do a jump or two and then wrap back to the start where she could target the toy. That worked really well, except for the time or two that I didn't throw the toy back far enough and she saw it when I released her.

So.... Homework. The good news is that this is something we can easily work on indoors if we happen to get forced inside by the weather (or darkness, as it tends to be). The bad news is that I am not entirely 100% sure HOW to train this. Baby steps, I guess. The dog has impulse control, but apparently she just needs help making the right choice in this case and not thinking it's the end of the world to leave her toy.

Tomorrow morning we leave well before dawn for our USDAA trial at Think Pawsitive. Secret is entered in Standard, Gamblers, PSJ and Jumpers on Saturday, then just Jumpers & Snooker on Sunday (we'll stay for the PSJ finals, too, if either dog makes it). Kaiser has a more limited schedule thanks to him & Secret being in the same classes again. I wanted to avoid conflicts, so I just stuck him in Standard (the only class where we'll have a conflict), Pairs Relay and PSJ on Saturday -- then just in Jumpers on Sunday. I'm not sure why I didn't put him in Jumpers on Saturday.... I was probably going with the assumption that he jumps like crap at the end of the day at USDAA trials. But he could have gotten his P2 Jumpers title if he Q'd in both. Oh well. Next time. No hurry, since he's just starting in P2 for everything else.

If Secret gets a Q in Snooker on Sunday that will be her P2 title -- I'm looking forward to trying our hand at the P3 Snooker classes! I was very torn about not sticking around for Standard on Sunday, because she just needs two more Q's. Ultimately, though, I want to get home at a decent time and the last trial there just ran so late. There will be other trials.

Time to finish up a few things and get ready for an early bedtime!


  1. Good job on making it out alive with your walmart goodies! I am not that brave. There was an item at Best Buy I would have liked, but I am sure they probably had 2 of them and I would have had to set up a tent and camp out for the day to get it - no way! Jokes on them though, because I went online and was able to buy it for the sale price - take that all you line standing people!

    I do like that bench and have a window in my office that would be the perfect height for looking out from a bench perch... hmmm.

    Funny story on the leash tugging. We have a local competitor - I do like the lady - who has a couple really fast border collies and usually places pretty high at local competitions. Well a friend was leash running the class - it might have been Grand Prix. As the trial was outdoors, leashes were just being put on the ground somewhere near the finish jump - but it just so happened that the course curved around near the finish jump and her dog spotted the leash and ran to it, picked it up and was ready to tug. Ha NQ! So teaching your dog to target and tug their leash can certainly backfire!

    1. For sure it can backfire! I chuckle at how many Gambles I see ruined because the dog won't turn away from its leash at the end -- so obviously judges are on to this and must enjoy it, too. ;o) I do get a little miffed at the people who tell the leash runner not to place their leash until X point of their run. But whatever, I'm working the rules to my own advantage. Since Secret is not a fan of the whole collaring business (hello, what fun is that?) I just let her run out of the ring with me to where the treats are stashed. We may not tug in the ring yet, but we can still appreciate that USDAA doesn't make us leave the ring with a leash on!

  2. Usually I'm at an agility trial on black friday, and hate crowds so never go out shopping. But this year we didn't trial and happened to be near an outlet mall on friday so we hit that for a few hours. It was busy, but doable.

    Legend has a little trouble with the when to tug and when not thing, but usually catches on pretty quick at the nadac trials. After a few seconds she starts looking for treats instead of tugging.

    1. Apparently one of my aunts was at Walmart Thursday night as well -- When she talked to my mom she said it "was hardly that busy." lol Guess it depends on what you are used to? For this non-shopper it was CRAZY.

      I hope I have to worry some day about Secret needing to wait to tug until we get out of the ring in NADAC. ;o)