Friday, February 28, 2014

Oh my god! She got a Q!

Oh my lord! Look what happened tonight! Kizzy got her very first Q!! Who knew it was possible??  :o)

We're playing NADAC here in La Crosse this weekend and I wasn't sure what to expect following that horrible day of UKI. Thankfully Kizzy was much more into the game today and we didn't have the problems of a couple of weeks ago.

I'm going into this weekend with a new plan. I have a history of getting her all revved up before her runs, playing tug and all that other crazy jazz. This isn't a dog that needs revving up. The more hyper she gets, the spacier she gets in the ring. I don't care about fast at this point, I care about building up good habits and learning to run together in the ring. So we are going zen. No playing before the runs. Just doing sits and downs for treats and giving me lots of eye contact. I'm also trying to be very quiet in the ring, limiting my "happy squeaking" as much as possible (and the clapping, let us not forget the clapping...).

The Novice Regular courses at the trial today seriously could not have been better for us. They were very simplistic and didn't have any discriminations to worry about. Just a loop up, back, up and back again. Gosh, I hope for similar courses all weekend...

Kizzy did just super awesome on the first run, sticking with me the whole time. Even the end was really great! I sat down on my knees and played around with her while the leash person brought the leash over and was able to easily scoop her up. Hooray! I couldn't believe it! Did she just Q? Yes!  :o)

The second run was also very nice, right up until the end. The weaves were the second-to-last obstacle on the course and I guess these must stress Kizzy out a bit (gee, you think so, after she never did them at UKI?). She DID stop when I called her, which is a very good thing. When she did the play bow, though, I knew we were screwed and that she'd leave on me, which is what she did. Oh well. She ran right out to the people outside the ring this time, though, so at least there were no worries about her taking off out the door. We did go down to the basement to have some happy weaves when we got home, just to fill the bank back up before tomorrow.

I don't have video for the other dogs, but everyone had a super night! Kaiser & Luke both got their Chances Q's tonight! That means that Kaiser is just one away from NATCH 2 and has two more shots at it this weekend (this was Luke's 50th Elite Chances Q -- he is now three away from NATCH 5). Kaiser was "technically" perfect. Our NQ was because I walked the course wrong and left out a tunnel.... Oops. Nobody bothered to tell me this and thankfully I watched a couple of runs while waiting with Luke (Kaiser was first up). I was like, um, why are they all taking the off course tunnel seemingly on purpose? Then I noticed there were two number cones at that tunnel. Hmm. Sigh. What a moron. Thankfully I did it correctly on Luke's turn so the big guy got a Q.

Secret's run was awesome! I really pushed her and she came through. Her dog walk was lovely and I did a blind cross on the landing side of the a-frame and she ran with a nice deep hit. She ended up with the second-fastest time in the class, just a fraction behind the lead dog. I love that she's having fun! She has two runs each of the next two days. I'll be interested to see how she is on Sunday with three days of agility, even with the limited runs.

That's all for now! I'm very curious to see how the crazy one does tomorrow.... My only real concern is that her day ended with running out of the ring. Guess we'll see!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Audition photos posted!

I've been stalking the photo albums of the photographer we visited a couple of weeks ago for the Target audition. I believe the actual photo shoot is taking place next week, so I knew the choices would have to be provided to the producer here any day. Finally this morning they were there! The album containing all of the pictures appears to be locked, but the ones submitted for this shoot are available.

Both Kaiser and Kizzy made the cut, so now we'll just see what Target decides. Barbara felt that they would likely use both, so we'll see. Sure would be nice to get a double paycheck for the drive, right?  :o)

I'm glad they know Kaiser, because his picture wasn't quite as eye-catching as Kizzy's. They know he's a star, though, and that's what counts. And of the two, we know who listens better, so.... lol  We'll wait to see if we hear anything from Barbara now! I should probably put clothes on Kizzy one of these days to make sure she's okay with it. I don't anticipate any issues, but a head piece could be a different story.

Not much else to report on our end. I tried to get in for a ring rental this past weekend and was told it wasn't available.  :o(  So we just sat at home and didn't do much of anything. It's a mess outside thanks to a massive ice storm that we got last week, so in addition to STILL not being able to go for walks, it's no longer even safe to play frisbee in the yard anymore. Sadness. Jolly Balls prompt a bit less body-breaking insanity from the big dogs, so we were able to kick those around a bit. Kizzy continues to carry her rubber stick while chasing Luke, which provides a really good outlet for her. Once the big dogs are done running I throw the stick a bit for Kizzy -- and she fetches pretty reliably, who knew!

I am so ready for winter to go away. The long-range forecast was looking favorable a couple of days ago, at which point it was telling me that within 10 days we would be above freezing and stay there. Well, that took a dump... And now we're pretty much stuck in the 20s for eternity (with a brief visit to hell this Thursday with another day giving us a high of 0 and a low of -34). At this point I just want the ice to melt, that's all I care about!

We have three days of NADAC this weekend. Because we aren't doing anything else in March I put Secret in a round of Regular & Jumpers each day (no Jumpers on Friday, so just Reg). Would she care if she didn't do agility for a month? Probably not. Kaiser is doing his usual core classes -- and he has three shots at the two Chances Q's he needs for NATCH 2, so we'll see what happens (My expectations are not incredibly high considering we just broke a 7-month dry streak at the last trial). Luke is just running in Chances and Jumpers (and 1 Reg on Friday) in an attempt to get what he needs for his next NATCH. And Kizzy.... The spaz is entered in Regular & Jumpers, so we'll see what happens!

I have our next AKC entries (for April) on my desk ready to go out. I'm conflicted about entering Kizzy, especially after what happened at UKI. Granted, it's over in Oshkosh and I know she did decently well there. I figure I'll send her entries (Nov FAST on Friday, JWW & Std on Saturday) and can always pull her before closing if this trial is a giant mess. I would like to hope that we'd be able to train some at home before that point, but with the way this winter is going I wouldn't hold my breath on that one.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Audition & UKI update (LOTS of course maps!)

We are home from our two-day trip to Minneapolis and Secret is showing you what we've done all day.  :o)  I did go out to shovel this morning and then we played frisbee, but aside from that we've been inside all day, which is probably a shame since it's actually been sunny and somewhere in the 20s, temperature-wise.

Yes, I shoveled again. Because it snowed yesterday. Because the weather ALWAYS does something crappy when I have a road trip planned. It was actually clear and sunny on Friday, which was a nice change, but yesterday we got a couple more inches of snow while at the trial and the roads were horrid on the drive home. Once again we ended up tacking on an extra 45 minutes to our drive home.

The photo shoot (audition) on Friday went super well! We arrived around 2:45, so we were hitting the end of the two-day shoot and the wait wasn't too terrible. I had plenty of time to walk the two dogs that weren't having their picture taken, followed by the little ones. I left everyone in the car and waited until we got closer to Kaiser & Kizzy's spot before bringing them in. I found myself a great little waiting spot in a corner alcove that allowed me to keep Kizzy distracted and playing so that she wouldn't start screaming at the other dogs. This was perfect and she actually didn't make a peep (aside from all the growling and carrying on over her toys).

They both went in at the same time and Barbara took some new shots of Kaiser first. He was a good boy like always and was happy that we just had a white paper floor and not that slippery fake wood stuff like last time.

Kizzy also did super awesome for her shots with Barbara! She may not have held her stay quite as long as Kaiser, but she did a very good job all things considered -- and since she'd just been tugging for the last 10 minutes or so she definitely had that happy-go-lucky panting thing going on for her pictures, too. Target should eat that up.

After the single shots were done, Barbara asked if we could get some shots of them together posed with her assistant's fuzzy winter boots. She is building a series of this type of shot and was excited to get one with the Klee Kai. I hope she got one that turned out okay, because this one was a bit more challenging. Kaiser was not thrilled about being placed next to someone's boots and Kizzy was starting to lose her mind a little and was really struggling with her stay at this point. Hindsight being what it is, I probably should have switched them around so that Kizzy was closer to me, but we were a bit rushed for time as it was nearly 4:00 and there were still several people waiting their turn.

Everyone survived the hotel stay. I was thankful that our bed had a solid frame, so no wee Klee Kai could go exploring for unknown nasties. I wish all hotels had those! There was a herd of elephants in the room above us, but thankfully they seemed to go to bed at a decent hour. I was reminded of how lucky I am to have a dog door, as taking four dogs out on leash and attempting to pick up poop really sucks. Especially when your fingers are so frozen that they stop working.

We got to the trial site (Agile Canines Training School) just a bit after 7:30, which is when they said the doors opened. I had no idea where I was going and parked in the wrong lot, which meant hauling all of my stuff the length of a city block through the snow. It wouldn't have mattered, as the lot was already completely full and there was no space to crate around the edges of the room already. Apparently all of these people knew how cramped it would be for space and arrived very early.... This meant we had to do my least-favorite thing and crate in the dead center of the room, but it actually didn't go too badly and all of the dogs were really well-behaved.

I'm just posting the Champion Gamblers map for this class because they are all almost identical. The Beginner/Novice class ended at the teeter but had the same line. The Senior class ended at the tunnel, same line. As you see, the Champion class had to push out to the jump (if you chose Option 2).

Short story (because this is going to be very long) --- Kizzy was the first dog on the line and I had like no time to get her focused and connected. She took off like a bat out of hell and randomly grabbed some jumps as she careened around the ring. I had called this run as an NFC before we started and had her toy, but not even that interested her. I was able to collect her at the end of the run by kneeling on the floor and waiting until she rolled over onto her back. This is appearing to turn into her default trial behavior, but whatever, I'll take it.

Kaiser's path was the start jump up over the dog walk through the tunnel up into the weaves, over the jump, back to the weaves and the buzzer sounded as we were approaching the dog walk again (thanks to several issues that caused us to waste time). I ran with him through the gamble and took the 10 point option. He got a Q/1st for 6 points!

This was a horrible, horrible day for Kaiser. I'm not sure if one thing in particular was to blame or if it was more a combination of the crappiest floor we've ever ran on, the awful dim lighting or courses that hurt his confidence. I think the first two are more to blame because we weren't trying any "fancy crap" in Gamblers and he started off right out of the gate with massive jumping issues and was hesitant about everything. I have not seen him jump this poorly at 8" EVER. He will never return to this facility.

Secret seemed to manage better, but she was not fond of the floor, either. She put in a really, really nice Gamblers run, though! I was not going to do the weaves with Secret, so her route was to go through the tire to the tunnel, up and around to the a-frame, back around the right side to the dog walk and then we wasted time on jumps near the gamble because the darn buzzer hadn't sounded yet. I could have been called for loitering because it was taking so long. Who expected Secret to be going that fast?  ;o)  I also opted to run with Secret for the gamble, which she nailed -- She actually had more opening points and a faster time, but she got 2nd in the class because the 1st place dog did the gamble from behind the line for 15 points.

Novice Agility was up next and it was another NFC run for Kizzy. She did a few more obstacles this time.  :o)  She didn't get her weaves, but she tried a few. I opted to finish the course at this point by going straight up to the chute and out -- She ended on a very good note with the chute, teeter and tire!! Again I think I waited for her to roll over and scooped her up. Whatever works.

Kaiser thought this sucked. I ran with him around to the tunnel entrance and then he promptly went off course to the tunnel under the dog walk instead of coming to jump 3. My guess is that he was looking to do anything other than a jump on this footing in that lighting. Pretty sure he got called on his a-frame and then he skipped a couple of jumps. I couldn't get him to do 8, for instance, and every time I tried to send him around he went through the tunnel again so eventually we just went on. He was happy in the weaves and ended well after that point.

Champion Agility was something else. There were no qualifiers in this round. Secret was PO'd at me from the start because I thought, "She can do the backside send to the tunnel." No, I should have went with her like I did with Kaiser, because this seemed to totally throw her off and she pretty much came out of the tunnel walking and seemed so out of it that she went between jump 3 and the tunnel for a R, so that run was NQ'd. She also was not pleased with my push to the backside of 7 and almost got another R there. Her weaves were nice, as was the dog walk. I'm not sure if you can accurately tell by the course map just how short the distance was from the dog walk to jump 13, but it was insanely close. At any rate, she didn't pull through for the threadle and got an off course/E there. But yay for happy teeters!

Snakes and Ladders was up next and it took forever for me to figure out a course. Kaiser was up first and his turn was very short. I started over the start jump coming towards the gate and turned back to the jump to go to the weaves. He ran past the jump labeled 9, which wasn't a big deal so I kept going to the 4 tunnel. I called him to come over jump 16 there and he once again ran into the tunnel under the dog walk. Anything to avoid the jumps, I guess. Game over.

Kizzy did much better! Another NFC run of course. She did a few more weave poles this time and then we went down the tunnel and back up the a-frame, doing the jumps up top on the way to the chute. She ran past jump 15 and I think skipped the 3 tunnel as well, but did the 2 tunnel and did the dog walk. The buzzer went off when we were having a party with her toy. It was a really nice training run for her.

Beginner Jumpers was another good training run for Kizzy. She did the opening line nicely and I think ran by 5 & 6. We got it together for 7-10 and then Kizzy ran through the open gate into the food area which was oh-so-conveniently located RIGHT NEXT TO THE RING. Sigh. I went in and scooped her up and started over again at the weaves. She did a few more this time and around then the time buzzer sounded since so much was wasted with the food incident. I scooped Kizzy up while she was tugging again. Aside from the food area incident, she was working much better with me on that run.

I felt bad for Kaiser in his Senior Jumpers run. I could tell he was just miserable. Even sadder was the fact that any time he saw a tunnel or the weaves in front of him he just gunned it and then the jumps came back and he was sad again. We NQ'd right at 4 when I tried to do an awful flip around the right side of the jump and he R'd instead. Pretty sure he skipped 5 after that. I believe he was clean to the end at that point, but there was much sad stutter jumping.

I am so proud of Secret's Champion Jumpers run! There was 1 Q in this class and Secret was the only other dog to get through the course cleanly. Unfortunately it wasn't fast enough and we incurred 3 time faults. We probably wasted at least that much time at jump 4, as I opted to handle it differently than I had with Kaiser and it didn't work a whole lot better (although at least we kept it clean). I am tickled that she got her weave entry from that spread -- it was so close that she literally almost landed into the weave entry, so I'm very impressed that she held on to it and her weaves got faster once she realized she was right. All of that turny stuff after that probably could have been a little faster, but she was being cautious on the floor so I don't blame her. Plus she was pretty much jumping on concrete all day, so who knows how that affects them as well. I was really thrilled that we got through this and was a little bummed about the time faults, but oh well, what can you do. I guess times are tight in this class.

Because things had been steadily improving for Kizzy, I opted to throw caution to the wind on the final run and go in without a toy and try a "for real" run. And it started really well, until she went over jump 6 and looked over to the side of the ring and saw the previous dog walking down the aisle. Sigh. Over she went to investigate, and then out the ring entrance. I scooped her up and asked if we could finish the course (I mean come on, that set-up wasn't fair...) and the judge allowed it, but by that point Kizzy was just done. She ran past a couple of jumps (she probably doesn't like jumping on concrete either), so I sat down on the floor to collect her and we called it a day. I appreciate the judge giving us a chance to end on a good note, though.

I was really hoping to end on a good note with Kaiser since the Speedstakes class is basically a NADAC Jumpers run. Sadly, he was so far gone at this point that there was no bringing back his confidence or his jumping. He earned a R at jump 12 for an NQ. We were both glad to be done. He tried hard all day but the conditions were just not appropriate for him. It made me very sad to see him jumping like this at 8" and I will have to try to do a ring rental next weekend to make sure he's not broken.

Secret ended very well for her fourth run of the day. The only real hesitation she had was at jump 9 because I was a little too far behind to really support and push to it, so it was more of a send. Her closing line was really nice, including that super short line between 17 & 18 -- it paced out at just under 5 strides. Eek. Other dogs bounced it, but Secret seemed happy to throw in a really short stride and it worked out. She was several seconds behind the other dog in the class and brought home another 2nd/5 points, but she was running really well so I'll take it.

So, after our first UKI trial my initial thought is, "Holy crap, this just got real." It's a huge step up from AKC and actually quite a bit more technical than we experienced in USDAA as well. I'd love to try again, but there is no way I am going back to that facility, so we'll have to see what other options are available to us. I'd probably give it one more go with Kaiser to see if he did better under more favorable conditions. I'd absolutely love to continue to do training runs with Kizzy, especially in new places. As cruddy as the floor was at this place, it was still good to get her out and running in a new environment. At least the equipment is all in great condition and there were no concerns there. While we never did actually do a full set of weaves, she did do all of the contact equipment!

We have a NADAC trial coming up in a couple of weeks and I have to decide who is entering what. Luke will probably just enter Jumpers and Chances since that's what he needs for his next NATCH and I don't think he needs to do a lot right now. I'm thinking of limiting Kizzy to just Regular and Jumpers, especially if I opt to run her all three days. I need to decide about Secret, as if I don't run her at NADAC she'll be sitting until April.... This will be an expensive trial.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

AKC and other updates

My last post got a lot of response! Thanks to everyone who participated in the discussion about AKC and mixed breed/All American dogs. I posted a link to the blog on the AKC Facebook page with a comment about it being time that AKC opened up all performance events to all dogs and got a lot more mileage than I thought I would. In addition to oodles of likes and shares, it actually resulted in someone from the AKC offices reaching out to me. They asked me to contact them outside of Facebook at a specific e-mail address, so I did!

Penny from the AKC offices got back to me on Friday and asked for my phone number so we could chat. We went round and round trying to find a time that would work for both of us. It was starting to look like Friday would be futile, but I was antsy and curious about what she had to say so I didn't want to have to wait until Monday or Tuesday! Finally we were both able to find time around 3:00 p.m., so I found a spot away from my desk and waited for her call.

I felt it was a very productive conversation. If nothing else, it really solidified that AKC does care about their Canine Partners program and they are staffing people who are hardcore advocates for mixed breed dogs. Penny runs a couple of All American dogs herself, she tells me. Penny also shared with me the statistic that only about 3% of AKC agility trials exclude All American dogs today, which is a massive improvement from when the program first started.

Additionally, when the AKC offices hear from persons such as myself regarding clubs that do not accept All American entries, someone from the Canine Partners program will reach out to said clubs to ask questions. They are curious to know the reasons why a club might still choose to not accept these entries and they work with these clubs to see if they might be willing to change their policy in the future. Because of this, I encourage everyone to contact AKC every single time they see a trial that doesn't allow All Americans. Little by little we might be able to whittle that 3% down to 0%! I feel that AKC is likely headed towards a day where they don't give clubs the option to choose, and that will be wonderful for all.

Because we opted not to drive up to Minneapolis for the run-through this weekend (good thing, because it snowed yesterday and the roads weren't great), I decided to take the crew in for another ring rental at Family Dog Center. No surprise, but the course set-up was virtually unchanged from last week. I shuffled things around a little, added wings to a couple of jumps and drug out the broad jump. It occurred to me on the drive to La Crosse that Kizzy would see this next weekend and, to date, I think she's seen my broad jump once or twice and that's it. I didn't have anything to worry about, as she was fine with it.

This week we did more "fancy crap" to get in the right frame of mind for UKI. Basically this just means that I did fewer straight lines and more backsides, wraps, blinds and other fun stuff. Secret was pretty amazing on her turn, so I'm really looking forward to seeing how she likes those Champion courses next Saturday. I only asked for one set of weaves in her session and they were lovely, so I didn't drill those at all.

Kaiser was a good boy, too, if not a bit loopy. He was just so high that any time I went to set him up for a new exercise he'd just take off and start taking whatever was in front of him. I had to rein him in a little.  :o)  One interesting thing to note about Kaiser's wraps -- I've always known that he has an issue with back-jumping his wraps, but I seem to have figured something out. He doesn't back-jump when wrapping right, it's when we wrap left. I sat and did a figure-eight exercise with him for a bit on a winged jump and over and over and over again he'd bounce right back over the bar when turning to the left. I haven't figured out how to fix this, but at least now I see a pattern -- AND it's something I can keep in mind at trials for the time being.

I'm super pleased with Kizzy's training time yesterday. Her set of 12 weaves were super awesome, which is great since that's what she'll see at UKI in the Beginner classes. Her dog walk and a-frame were also really nice. The first couple of teeters were perfection, but then she started leaving off the side early.... I fixed it and rewarded for staying on until released, but I'm not sure where that came from. She stayed with me for both of her turns and stayed focused the whole time, which is super.

We have "additional" plans for our trip to Minneapolis this coming weekend. It's once again Target casting time for the Halloween costumes. This time they are not having an open call and are instead doing a "by invitation only" audition. I joked on Barbara's Facebook post that I want her to meet Kizzy one of these days, but that she needs a lot of work before we attempt it.

Well.... Today Barbara sent me a message and said that she'd like to try shooting Kizzy and could I bring Kaiser along, too. The auditions are Thursday and Friday, so I figured technically I could drive up on Friday to do the shoot and then stay over in a hotel -- which means I wouldn't have to get up at 3:00 a.m., which is kind of a bonus. There's also a good chance of snow in the forecast due to the temperatures warming up later in the week, so that's another reason not to chance driving in the wee hours of the morning.

So, we are all signed up and have our reservation at our favorite La Quinta. Too bad I just signed up for that La Quinta Rewards VISA card and don't have all of those bonus points to use yet.... Oh well. Hope the tax money comes soon.  ;o)  Meanwhile, I know what we'll be working on this week. The good news is that I took the little dogs into the basement tonight to work on our stay skills and Kizzy surprised me! I could actually back all the way across the room and she'd stay put! At this time I have very little control over her actual spot or the position she chooses to keep (sit vs down), but she is staying put so that's a start. It's a little embarrassing how little "obedience-type" work I've done with her to this point, I know.... We will continue to work this week, but it will be a while before she reaches Kaiser's level of professionalism. lol For instance, that pose he did last year where he has to sit and look back at the camera -- Kizzy?  hahahaha  Never.

But if they ever want a Klee Kai that needs to work with a model and be all cuddly, oh yeah, that would be Kizzy. Or bounce up and down with gleeful abandon.   :o)  We'll see how the shoot goes. Maybe we'll get lucky and Barbara will be set up to do shots on a table.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Really AKC? Hello UKI!

I was one steamed individual last night. I'm still not terribly thrilled, but there's not much I can do about it. Why so frazzled, you ask? Because last night I received Secret's confirmation for the AKC trial we entered over in Oshkosh at the end of February. And along with Secret's confirmation was a note from the trial secretary stating that she could not accept my entries for "the other two dogs" (apparently All Americans don't even warrant being called by name) because this particular trial was not accepting All Americans.

Are you FOR REAL? It boggles my mind that there are actually still clubs out there making the choice to ban "mixed breed" dogs from their shows. Frankly, I cannot even begin to fathom why AKC allows the choice! If you have a Canine Partners program that allows me to register my non-AKC-recognized dogs, then for christ sake you should allow my dogs to play in any damn event you sponsor.

All of this is even more ridiculous considering the HUGE amount of publicity surrounding AKC/Westminster's choice to "allow" All Americans to enter their new agility trial this year (this weekend, actually). The press has been hugely positive about this change and it's doing a lot to remove the elitist stigma surrounding AKC. An International event like Westminster is able to open their doors to all, but the stupid little Doberman Pinscher Club of Greater Milwaukee is allowed to be close-minded and "doggy racist"?

How did this happen? Well, the first snafu is that clubs do not have to specifically state that All American entries are not welcome. Apparently by simply NOT stating that the trial is "accepting" All Americans, you are supposed to automatically assume that they are not welcome to walk through the doors. Nowhere at all in the premium does it state that they will not take entries for All Americans. Because I am still new to AKC and innocently thought that we don't have such ignorant and close-minded clubs around here, I missed out on this all important piece of information.

I also base all of my entries off what I find on I am not wanting to bash this web site because it is seriously the best thing since sliced bread when it comes to trying to decipher all of the confusion that surrounds the AKC trial calendar and the entry process. Unfortunately an error was made on their behalf and they simply missed the fact that this trial was being run by a bunch of doggy bigots. I don't blame them; I mean, how many clubs are even doing that these days? And considering the premiums aren't actually made to state that they are being jackasses, it would be an easy thing to miss.

So.... I did not plan my February very well. This piece of news last night left me with zero trials for the month of February -- which, along with living in the frozen tundra with no agility opportunities to speak of, made me a little sad. There is a trial in Iowa that same weekend that DOES specifically welcome All American dogs in their premium, but I'm almost 100% positive that all of the AKC trials fill down there. I sent off an e-mail to check, but I don't hold out much hope. The trial closes this week and was a random draw.

Meanwhile... When I got up this morning there was an e-mail on the MN agility list reminding folks of the MAC UKI trial coming up in a couple of weeks. Hmm. I have long been interested in UKI and the fun courses they have, but to date there just hasn't been much opportunity around here. Several trials are popping up in MN, WI and IL now, though, so it's definitely becoming more feasible. In addition to the super fun "International-style" courses, UKI also offers NFC runs that allow you to train with a toy in the ring. Hmm. Who needs that? Why, Kizzy of course! This is sounding better and better!

So as of today, I now have three dogs registered in UKI. Apparently the UKI-registered name of "Secret" was taken already, so Secret's registered name is "Secret Is Amazing."  :o)  The two Klee Kai are their names plus "The Klee Kai." lol  No, I am not original when it comes to names. That's what you get when you force a registered name on me.

I put the two wee ones in everything on Saturday (the 15th), so they'll be running Gamblers, Agility, Jumpers, Snakes & Ladders (had to look that one up), and Speed Stakes. Secret is running everything but S&L, as I still don't really know what it is and she doesn't need or want 5 runs in a day.

Thanks to UKI's lateral registration, Secret gets to start right out at the top level! Huzzah! Kaiser is the next level down (Senior?) because no, NADAC titles don't mean anything to UKI..., and Kizzy is, of course, in Beginners. I have looked at some sample courses online and I think these will be good courses for her. I may just plan on the whole day being training, but I suppose we could see how the first couple of runs go.

To be clear, we are not done with AKC. While I am miffed at this particular club, it does not change the fact that to date we have been welcomed with open arms by all of the clubs and competitors we have met. I do STRONGLY feel, though, that AKC really needs to reexamine their policy of giving clubs the choice of whether or not to "accept" All American entries. I paid to register my dogs with the AKC. They have a valid AKC number. This should give me the right to enter any AKC event that I wish (excluding conformation, of course).

If AKC truly cares about their public image (which apparently they do, considering all of the hype surrounding mutts at Westminster), they will reconsider giving clubs this option. My other wish would be for competitors to stop supporting trials with these close-minded practices! It boggles my mind that this trial secretary asked me the following: "Would you like to write a new check for the one entry or receive a refund for the other 2 dogs?" Are you for real, lady? On what planet do you think I'm going to come support your trial after you wouldn't accept two of my dogs? I am still awaiting a response to my reply, but I tell you there will be hell raised if she tries to tell me that she's keeping my money for Secret's entry.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

(Another) Ring Rental

We did another ring rental at Family Dog Center yesterday. We haven't gone since what, the end of November or the beginning of December? I figured it was time. Following what occurred at the trial last weekend, I definitely figured Kizzy could use some happy, reenforcing time on the equipment.

I changed up a few things this time. I put the crate with the little dogs right in the arena and tied Secret to a pole to offer a "distraction" while Kizzy ran. Also there to provide distraction was the open bag of toys, food and other goodies. None of these seemed to pull her attention at all. I also switched away from the harness and instead used Kaiser's old fleece slip lead. That seemed to be way cool from the very start, as Kizzy actually left me a couple of times before starting her turns to go grab the leash. I rewarded this each time. Yes! Play with the toy!

I ran with the food-stuffable furry tug stuffed up the back of my shirt and into my bra, so for all purposes it appeared as though I was running without a toy on me (Kizzy has gotten wise to stuffing it in the back of my pants and has been known to jump up and grab it out...). I randomly rewarded for the dog walk, teeter and weaves, but otherwise tried to make all of the fun at the end of the run with the leash.

She was, of course, pretty much perfect. The course that was set was the Novice course from last Sunday. I tweaked it by putting in a full set of 12 weaves (she rocked them!), and adding the teeter, a chute, a table and a few extra jumps to offer some variety. It was a nice little set-up. The only time I really lost Kizzy was on her last turn -- I was going to end with one run around the outside loop and up on the top she started going around obstacles and started sniffing up and down the wall. I was pretty positive this meant she needed to go to the bathroom, so I whipped out the food, grabbed her and took her outside where she pee'd and poo'd right away. We had just enough time left in our session to do the outside loop that I'd planned to end on a good note.

Kaiser and Secret were equally as awesome. Secret was happy that I remembered her frisbee, although I always worry that she's going to get burns on her paw pads from sliding around on the turf the way she does when she chases it. Oh well, she was a happy camper and she had some awesome runs. Kaiser was his typical awesome self and I appreciated the opportunity to reward his dog walk and teeter.

I tried to get Kizzy into a class this session, but somehow they didn't end up with enough dogs to fill the one competition agility class they offer, so there is nothing available right now. It sounds like they might open it up one day a week for open ring time later this month, though, so I'll definitely be on the lookout for that and take advantage of any opportunity to get Kizzy in the ring right now.

There is a fun run in Minneapolis next weekend. I'd like to go, but it will add up to over $100 in gas and run fees, so I'll have to think about it... Weather will also play into it, of course. I went ahead and entered Kizzy in both Novice runs at the Oshkosh AKC trial I entered at the end of February, so it would probably be a good idea to do the fun run. I did just file my taxes and have money coming back, so.... We'll see.

Today is Groundhog's Day and apparently we are in for (at least) 6 more weeks of winter. Honestly, I'll be surprised if I'm able to do agility at home before May. There is so much snow out there...

We did manage to go for a walk yesterday afternoon when it was around 20 degrees or so, but today it's cold again and we've been stuck in the house minus a quick game of frisbee following poo pickup. We'll all be happy when this winter is done.