Sunday, December 28, 2014


Well, here we are. Today in Oshkosh, Secret earned her 20th QQ. Alas, there was no grabbing of a bar or a victory lap that followed, because we have not yet hit our 750 points.  ;o)  We're close! Coming into the weekend we were 80 points shy, so I knew that no matter what happened there was no way that this would be a MACH weekend. Forty points per run is a bit out of reach for us. Secret tried hard, though, and knocked out 32 of those points, which means now we have just 48 to go. We can do that in one more QQ and a Standard run, so we'll have to see what happens!

The courses today weren't overly challenging but nor were they completely boring. Poor Secret was only out of the van about 10 minutes before she had to run this morning, so considering that, the nine points she brought home on that run was pretty good. Kaiser was stuttering more than I like on his first run, but his second one was quite a bit better. Unfortunately he came back out of the #5 tunnel in Standard -- after several dogs took a very long time to come out of said tunnel, so I can't help but wonder if there wasn't something in there. No matter, the little turd left the table early after that anyhow.

Kizzy gave it a good go in Excellent JWW. We were good until she squirted behind my back when I tried oh-so-very hard to make sure I presented the #15 tunnel with me on the INSIDE. Then I think she missed the second-to-last jump because I was running the inside line and didn't really beat her to it.

Kizzy did super in her Open Standard class! She ran the whole thing flawlessly for a 100-point 1st place Q! Her first in Open Standard! Maybe she'll hit Exc/Masters in everything one day yet.  :o)  She was such a good girl and stopped on her dog walk & teeter, and did the table & weaves on the first try.

I don't have video from the trial today, but we did get to play at home again the day after Christmas! It was 44 degrees outside! Normally I don't do agility at home so close to a trial, but who could pass up that opportunity? I replaced the weaves with the table since I figured most of the dogs could use that practice before the trial.

We lucked out and missed the snow that passed by yesterday. Just a half hour to hour away they got several inches and we got nothing at home. Likewise, there is nothing over here in Oshkosh, so the trip over was easy going.

I stayed to help at the trial, so we didn't get to the hotel until nearly 5:00. This hotel is right on a golf course, and of course the golf course is closed this time of the year -- so we enjoyed a fun walk around part of the course before coming in to settle for the night. The dogs thought that was especially fun since they spent the last several hours of the day in the van.

Kaiser and Kizzy both spent the day crated in the van today because there wasn't room for me to bring both crates inside this morning. Tomorrow's trial is quite small, so I brought in a second crate and moved everything together before I left today. It's supposed to be quite a bit colder tomorrow, or else I'd enjoy the peace and quiet and leave them outside again tomorrow. Who knows, we'll see how Kizzy does.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! The holidays are in full swing here -- The dogs and I just spent the morning at my parent's house and I'll be returning there shortly. Everything went pretty well today, considering there were eight people and eight dogs present. Secret is the only concern in my pack, as she doesn't put up with anything from other dogs and my brother's two female dogs are stupid enough to challenge Secret until she puts them in their place. That happened with Daisy (basset hound) pretty quick -- Daisy is old and also just wants to be left alone, so they were fine after that. Their cocker spaniel is less savvy, though, and after several hours together Secret finally snapped at her. Only feelings were hurt, but the point was made.

It's actually pretty impressive that this was the only snafu in the 4+ hours that we were all there together. The two Klee Kai did great and Kizzy was her usual loveable self. Luke just wants to be by everyone and he's a happy camper.

The most impressive feat of the day was when we managed to get a family picture with all 16 of us!

We have never attempted this before. There was no planning that went into it, so it's a bit haphazard, but still pretty awesome that we pulled it off.

My dogs will get chewies and new stuffies when I get home later this evening, and they also got a couple cans of "special" dog food that I served up yesterday and will add to their dinner later tonight. Merry Christmas to them! I picked up a few more things for the hotel this weekend, too.

We'll lay low the next couple of days. The weather is supposed to be clear but colder, so we'll try to get out on the trail for a hike each day. Then Sunday we're off to play in Oshkosh!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I'm dreaming of a .... brown.... Christmas

Actually, it's not even that brown! I will be the absolute last person you hear lamenting about lack of snow at Christmas time. I'll never understand people who are all like, "It can go away right away, but I would like to have snow for Christmas." Why? What makes a silly holiday better because there is snow? Guess what, there was snow at Thanksgiving. Good enough! Call it good for the year and be done with it.

Last weekend the last of our November snow disappeared. Sadly, along with the 50-degree temperatures came quite a bit of mud, so we weren't really able to do much or play agility last weekend. The temperatures dropped this past week and everything froze back up again. That means we kind of have the best of both (winter) worlds at the moment -- no snow and no mud.

The ground is a bit hard, but I figured I wouldn't let that stop me! I was home on Friday burning up a day of vacation at work and I couldn't resist setting up what is likely our last Happy Hurdle Day exercise of 2014.

Secret was being kind of a poo-head. I went through three toys in her first session because she was struggling with the first weave entry and despite trying hard to keep my energy up I kept getting the "woe is me" face from her when I went to restart. I finally gave up and ran her again at the end, and I finally got a nice run out of her. The little dogs did pretty well, no real trouble spots to speak of (though Kizzy's first weave entry was far from tight). Luke got to chase his Jolly Ball around the yard while I put stuff away.  :o)

Secret had her yearly wellness visit with our regular vet on Friday and then a chiro visit on Saturday, so she just got to be a little social butterfly with everyone. She was totally messed up at the chiro, so I'm glad I squeezed this appointment in before our trial next weekend. I did finally get confirmations and we did get in for Sunday and Monday -- but Sunday was close to filling, so we just made it!

Today I had to go in to teach class at Petco, but that wasn't until 2:00 so I made sure to get out with the dogs and go hiking out on the bike trail. It was 38 degrees today! This is the kind of winter I can take. We went just shy of 4 miles today and everyone thought it was loads of fun. I figured I definitely owed it to them because I was kind of a lump yesterday and didn't do much aside from Secret's chiro appointment. Then I used that as an excuse because I figured she should lay low after her adjustment, right? Right? So yeah, we needed to get out today.

Aside from that, we've been pretty lazy this weekend. That's okay, lazy is good.

It's Christmas week! I've only got 2 1/2 days at work and then I'm off for five days. At least two of those days are at an agility trial or I wouldn't know what to do with myself. I can't believe 2014 is almost over.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

(More) Decals!

I went a little crazy with the decals when I first got my van earlier this year. God forbid anyone think it's a mom-mobile, so I covered it in agility-related decals to show that it's a DOG-mobile.  :o)  Plus it distinguishes it from all the other vans in the parking ramp, and it stick out at agility trials, too. On top of that, they make me smile, and that's why I love them.

I still have a lot of open window space available for more decals, but I never really settled on anything I felt I needed to have. I designed all of my original decals and just hadn't spent any time coming up with other designs I like. I do still want personalized decals for each of the dogs. I'll get there eventually.

In the mean time, I've always known that this set of "agility stick figures" existed because I saw them when I was getting ideas for creating my own designs. They are super cute! Someone posted a picture of them on my Facebook page around Thanksgiving and, since I was spending so much money around Black Friday anyhow, I went ahead and made an order on Small Business Saturday -- Figure I could support this small business, right? They are from Inky Dinky Dax Designs, BTW.

They arrived the next week, but I knew from earlier experiences that there are "ideal weather conditions" for applying decals to glass -- and below-freezing weather is definitely not ideal. The weather has been pretty consistently below freezing since I got the decals, so I just sat on them, waiting for a day when I could apply them and hoped I wouldn't be waiting until spring.

We are having a warm spell this weekend where it's getting in the 40s. It's a little damp out, but I figured now is as good a time as any. I ended up putting them on the driver's side sliding door. I figured that way I will see them often and get to enjoy them. They would have fit on the back panel, but it would have run right into the Klee Kai agility decal, so this location seemed best for the amount of space it took up. This is the first time I've actually applied them myself, so go me! I think it turned out super cute.

Things are quiet here until after Christmas, which is probably a good thing. I sent off a last-minute (literally) entry to a trial in Oshkosh the weekend after Christmas. I entered Sunday and Monday (yes, it's a 3-day trial that runs Sat-Mon) and swapped around one of my days off at work for this month. It closed on Wednesday and I didn't get entries in the mail until Monday. I ended up having to send it next-day air ($20....) to make sure it got there in time. Apparently they don't have 2-day mail, so it was that or Priority, which wouldn't have gotten there until Thursday. Sigh. I'm hoping we are in; apparently the trial secretary is down at the AKC Invitationals and won't be able to finish putting in entries until she gets home this next week. I didn't have time to email to make sure there were openings ahead of time. Oshkosh doesn't typically fill, so fingers crossed. Otherwise our next trial is the Lakeland trial down in Madison in January.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hounds trial update

This was our second time attending the Hounds for the Holiday trial, hosted by Cream City Canines over in Milwaukee. This is the largest trial we have in this area, running 3 rings for 4 days. Last year we just drove over for one day (Friday). This year I am burning up vacation and don't have anything local for a while, so we signed up for Thursday and Friday. I figured those would probably be days with lower entries, plus Thursday started (slightly) later, allowing for an easier drive over. Also, who can say no to two days of agility followed by a weekend to recover?

I admit, I was disappointed when I saw this snoozer of a Master JWW course. I had hoped that a trial this size would have funner judges that bring challenging courses. Zzzzzz. That said, considering that this was Kizzy's first time in Excellent AND her first time dealing with an environment like this, I was okay with it.

Secret was in the first group to run. She put in a very nice run right up to the end where I beat her to the tunnel (on the off side) and stopped. So she nearly stopped as well. We probably killed at least a second there but it wasn't a refusal, so she got a Q and 12 points. I think she ended up in like 6th place or something.

Kaiser was awesome! I have just come to assume that his first day of jumping is going to absolutely suck, so I was happily surprised to see him just go flying out of the gate. I was so happy to see him having fun and not stressing at all. He won his group by several seconds with 17 points.

Kizzy was a rock star for her first go at Excellent. I avoided rear crossing that last tunnel by running the inside line on that last loop of jumps. Somehow I (barely) made it and managed to keep her pushed into the jumps. And since she also managed to hit her weaves on the first try, that means that.... Kizzy Q'd in her first Excellent JWW run! Her time was only a little slower than Kaiser's! (BTW, Secret was fastest with 31.64, Kaiser had 32.22, and Kizzy had 33.61).

Secret was up again first for Standard. I did a sling-shot to the tire to call her over two, but she went for the a-frame initially and made a heroic effort to actually make it over jump two. The majority of the dogs were NQing at the weaves -- missing entries or leaving early. Secret hit pole 5 and just veered off to the right. Why does she do that? There was a goalie net behind the dog walk, I suppose it's entirely possible that a person/dog walked behind there at that moment, I have no idea. She also got called on her a-frame when I layered jump 18 to pull her for the turn. That happens like once in a blue moon, so no biggie.

I led out with Kaiser and did a rear cross into the weaves and thankfully HE did not have any problems there. He did, however, have a problem when I was behind while going to the table. I was trying to keep him off the off-course jump next to the table -- and he avoided it, but also ran right past the table. Oh well, can't get a Std Q to save our lives lately it seems.

Open Standard was the last class of the day. Kizzy was holding it together really well. She did super awesome in the crate all day, too. We were crated in a tiny lane between two of the rings and there wasn't a lot of dog action over that way. It helped a lot.

I was doing drop-n-go's with Kizzy both days so as not to lose her before we even started. I got in a front cross on the landing side of 4 and she nailed her teeter. I had us go a few steps after the teeter to line up better for a front cross to the chute, and then she refused the chute. That seems to be becoming a habit. She got it on the second try. She hit the weave entry but then skipped a couple of poles while going through them. Because you are only allowed one refusal to qualify, I elected to keep going. She stopped on the dog walk! Then she did her little table dance and earned at least one more R there (she acted like she thought it was time to be caught). I realized I was leaning over the table and when I stood up she got on it. Oh. Bad handler. I ran the right side of the final line and it worked out swell. Obviously an NQ, but a good run!

We got to the hotel around 3:00 and I attempted to take a nap. It's hard when you have given the dogs hooves to chew on and crunchy/squeaky plastic bottle toys that you bought for them at the trial. Oh well, I got enough rest that I was able to stay awake for my school seminars that I had to sit through at the hotel that night. I took the dogs outside for the last time a bit after 10:00 and that was the first time all day that Kaiser pooped. I swear.... Kizzy seems to go like 4 times a day and I can't get Kaiser to go once.

Kizzy's group was first in the ring on Friday and she was the 4th dog on the line. This is unfortunate because I think she still needs that settle time. Plus it was day two, when her brain is already on the fried side. THEN we encountered a freakazoid border collie hanging out by the ring while we were waiting to go. It was completely amped up and the owner was prodding it on and getting a reactive/frenzied bark out of it. It sent Kizzy over the wall and that was that. I was pissed off until I realized that the dog was running in the 12" Preferred class just a couple of dogs ahead of us, so they did actually have reason to be there and weren't just ruining it for the rest of us.... But still, rather unfortunate for Kizzy.

That said, she put in a valiant effort. I ran the inside and did a gross landing side rear cross (spin) at jump five, then a scoop and push to nine. I was trying to slow her down to control the entry into the weaves and that was when she decided she had enough and just kept going towards the ring entrance. Blessedly the ring worker was standing right there (the rings were not gated as I'd hoped) and blocked her. I called it quits and sat on the floor to collect her. She danced around me a bit but I did manage to get her before she got out of the ring. Win.

Kaiser was still having fun -- so much fun that he took a bonus jump when he failed to turn tight enough after nine and went over to take the double before going into the tunnel. He brought the double down on his second trip through, too.

Secret didn't run this class until the end of the day (after she ran Std). Her jumping was super, but her weaves just sucked. Did I over-handle the entry to the weaves and she got mad at me for it? Who knows, but she literally WALKED through them. I swore she was just going to leave them at least three times, but she managed to stick it out -- and then she picked it up again when she was out. Her weaves in Std had been fantastic, so who knows what was going on. Handling-wise, I beat her and fit in a blind between 4 & 5 so I didn't have to rear cross. Then a blind between 7 & 8 and then a fun little ketschker at 9 for a nice turn into the tunnel. Then another blind on the landing side of the triple. Even with that WALK through the weave poles she ended up with 9 points, which tells you how nicely she ran the rest of the course. I was expecting 6 points.

Here's our Master Standard course from Friday. You would not believe how much bitching there was over this course. I heard so many comments of how "awful" the course was. That it had no "flow" and you were just cranking the dog around the course. Well, maybe if you are a shitty handler... I heard numerous people say that this judge was going on their "list." This is the side of AKC that I absolutely hate. God forbid you see a course that requires that you actually have to handle your way through it. I had no problem with this course and rather enjoyed it. The angle from that 3/15/10 jump to the 4/16/11 jump was a bit harsher/shorter in person than it appears on paper, that was the only thing that took me by surprise while walking it.

Secret was first. I missed her walk-through while in the JWW ring with Kaiser, but I didn't stress over it at all. They were super great at this trial about accommodating conflicts, so I just figured I'd walk and run with the next group. This was nice, because I hadn't even gotten her out of the van yet and pushing back to the next group gave us plenty of time to chill and get ready. She rocked this course and loved it. It was picture-perfect, if you don't count that she left the table early. Sigh. I can't say I'm blameless, as I was the one standing there revving her up. Well, no worries about that 20th QQ this weekend! She now needs 80 points to go with that last QQ.

Kaiser's run was great. He always tends to get the courses that people complain about and nobody Q's on (and NQs the easy ones...). He had a nice, smooth run and once again won his group by several seconds with 21 points. No issues with the table this time since I beat him to it.  :o)  He did leave off the side of the teeter again, though, but thankfully he manages to stick a foot in the yellow before he jumps off. Wish we could fix that bad habit. Oh well, this was his MXP, finally!

Here's Kizzy's Standard course. But wait, you say, what is different? It's exactly the same? Well, almost. They didn't do the wrap jump after the table and we got the "easy" side of the tunnel in Open. Otherwise it's exactly the same. Okay. Guess we're up for the challenge.

I won't lie. I debated leaving after Kaiser ran Standard. I had to move Kizzy out to the van earlier in the day because her brain couldn't handle the added commotion of the day and she was making a lot of noise and getting all worked up. I didn't know if she had it in her to get through this course and stay in the ring. I decided to stick it out and give it a go.

I dropped her at the start and squeezed in a front cross between three and four. And she stopped on the dog walk again! I am so proud of her. Then there was that darn chute. Off she went, careening towards the front of the ring. I didn't chase after her this time, though, and just stood my ground and called her back. And you know what? She came barreling back! She did the chute on the second try, got her a-frame and then ran past the table. I made sure not to hover/lean and she popped right back on. The angle/distance from the table to 9 was atrocious handling from the left, but I needed to do that to get the tunnel and she managed just fine. And THEN she actually got her weaves! Heading towards the in-gate! I wasn't even expecting that, so happy surprise. She nailed the teeter and finished just great -- just two refusals on day two after a total meltdown! I'm very proud of her.

In some ways I wished we had stayed for three days, but it was very nice to come home. Now I'm toying with trying to get an entry in for the Oshkosh trial the weekend after Christmas (it closes on Wednesday and I wouldn't get anything in the mail until Monday). Can't decide on one day or two... I admit, I've got that MACH bug now and want to get it finished.