Friday, December 31, 2010

Vampire Cat Defends Her Food!

Mom, hey Mom, I'm going to go see Bella K.

Enter at your own risk chops!

Watch it sheep dog I'm thirsty

Aahhh, sleepy too!

Okay so that didn't work, she's coming closer...

really, really close

Hey, Bella, you wanta eat? Huh, huh, what do you say we break into this here bucket.

A little kissy kissy from the kitty first.

I can't believe you even ask for that Reese!

I don't like dogs...

I don't get it, why doesn't she like me?  I'm not pushy or anything!

(as a disclaimer, Bella the cat was yawning when her mighty mouth was open wide. She yawned at least three times in a row, so I was able to get multiple pictures.)

Ice, Ice, Baby

Finally had a day off of work. I was so excited, had so many things planned. Was going to start the day with a run......yeah right!

Woke up to this...

At least the rain made the snow melt so I can see my light bulbs now. Previously they were covered in snow making it glow different colors.

It rained yesterday - well poured actually.  Definitely needed an umbrella. Then then temps dropped and we ended up in Ice World! I kinda knew it was coming but darnit I really wanted to run today.

Not good for border collies and really not good for their owners. We did some basement agility this morning. As Reese's turns have gotten tighter I have noticed she is slipping quite a bit on the carpet down there.

So...since the carpet needs replacing anyway, I am looking at putting matting down. I ordered a sample of the Great Mats matting so I will see if I like it. One of the joys of being a single homeowner I guess. Don't have to get permission from the husband. Just answer weird questions from strangers.

"Do you have a carpeted basement?"
"No, I have matting."
"Oh, so your kids can play."
"Nope, no kids."
"Hmmm...." and here comes the quizzical looks.  Love to walk away at that point and leave them wondering....

Now it is sleeting on top of the ice -  Great, gotta love MN.  Glad its New Years - fully stocked on beverages:))

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Fun Run - On the Run Canine Center

Reese and I went to a fun run today at a new facility where we will be trialing this year. I wanted to see how she would do, handle the stess, and deal with different contacts. There were two teeters and they were different, some dogs didn't like one or the other so I was happy to see that Reese had no problems with either one. 

My handling could use some work, well okay, a lot of work. But my goal for today was to see if Reese would take my direction and stay with me on the course. She did both. Well she took direction when I gave it to her clearly. After we got through the set course we improvised and I tended to slow down trying to figure out where I wanted to go next.  She has been getting faster at our lessons and I think she will get faster at new locations too, once we start visiting more of them.   

Here is a video with some of our runs from today.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We're In!

Tonight I received the confirmation that Reese and I got into our first agility trial!!  It is only a few short weeks away too. 

I am so excited but a little nervous too.  How will she handle it, and the bigger question, how will I handle it?  We have done the work and prepared, and now we must trust that we are ready, and go out there and have fun. 

Just not sure how Reese will react to all the stimuli outside the ring, but she was fine at a trial we went to this summer and walked around very nicely, and didn't get all excited or barky. We have done some fun runs and she did fine at those. This trial is inside so may be a little more noisy but noise doesn't seem to bother her so much in this situation. I do have a CD of noises you would hear at a trial. So we will be listening to that in the house and the car during the next few weeks.

When I leave her at the start line she knows she needs to watch me and be ready to rock and roll! We have been practicing the games at our lessons and I am starting to get them, so hopefully by the trial I will have them fairly straight in my head. My main concern is remembering the courses but I know what I will be walking them longer than I do at our lesson and I think that will help. Also, our runs should be far enough in between that I will be able to get the previous one out of my head before the next one needs to take its place.

Reese and I have been running and while I really need to do some sprint work that is pretty impossible where I am, in the frozen tundra with mountains of snow everywhere. But the running is good getting my body stronger and helping to clear my mind of junk that doesn't belong there. I am doing some strength training, working on my core.  Reese is also working on her core and getting stretched after runs. We are spending lots of time playing and learning tricks and having fun with each other.

When the trial date comes it will just be another day for us to go out and have some fun. I'm not hoping for any speedy times nor do I really care how many Q's we get at this trial. I just want to have fun with my dog, stay connected, and try to remember the course as best I can so I can direct my dog as best I can in a confident manner. 

I know we are ready. I am just amazed and can't believe we are finally ready to hear that electronic voice say "GGOOO" :))

Monday, December 20, 2010

What Could you Buy with $10.00 ???

A pizza and a soda at the grocery store....

An order of Chinese take away...

A movie ticket and a very small kids popcorn...


A dog tag so you could get your Dog Back!

Yes, that's right for about the cost of the food listed above which you will probably eat and immediatly regret having done so, you can get your dog an ID tag. 
That way when your dog, that never wanders off, decides today is the day they are going to explore the neighborhood the person who finds them standing in the middle of traffic can return them to you that much quicker. 

$7.50 at Petsmart if you want a cheaper hanging tag or $10.20 at Boomerrang Tags for tags that will not fall off or breakaway from the collar for those dogs that are rough on tags.

Last week going back to work after lunch I found a dog standing in the middle of a busy intersection.  Oh, hell no, I thought I can't leave this dog here.  I called the dog and it came over, a nice, friendly dog.  It had a collar but NO tags - lovely!  

So I put the dog in the crate in my car and off to the local humane society we went to see if she (the dog, had a pink collar so I was pretty sure it was a she) was microchipped.  No such luck.  However, the owner had called the humane society as soon as she noticed her dog was missing and reported it.  The description matched the dog in my car fairly well and it was about 6 blocks from where I found her. 
I took the dog back to the owner, who had been beside herself all morning, imagining all the horrible things that could have happened to her dog.  It was pretty clear the dog knew she was home after we got there and I was glad they were reunited.

I was glad I could help, but if the dog had been wearing a tag it would have been so much easier! 

Please people put tags on your dog.  A tag really is probably the cheapest part of owning a dog.  It might seem like something you can easily skip and figure you will get the next time you are at the store.  But what happens if you don't get a next time...???

Be smart, ID your dog either with a tag or microchip, preferably both.

Here is the dog in my car.

A happy dog reunited with her owner - priceless!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What to Do with a Border Collie during a Blizzard?

Yesterday we got the snow. Last evening the blowing started resulting in lots of drifting. Today the bitter cold set it.

We got out for a walk yesterday morning, but didn't get one in last night and there would be no walks today. It was a quick trip out-and-in for all the business duties, as the windchill called all the shots today.

So it was agility in the basement this morning. Then this afternoon I got this.

Dreaming of warmer days!

One can only keep looking at it for so long....

Soooo bored!

"I think I'll move to Florida!"

Ho hum...

Nothing to do but nap.

Sophie and Bella came out to play too.

Reese and I did some trick work today. I got one of our new ones on video, I think it's pretty cute.


Friday, December 10, 2010

A Storm's a Brewin"

So we did what any self respecting agility enthusiast in Minnesota does when the snow flies and the cold sets in. We set up our agility the basement.
And tested it out for tomorrow...

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Final Preparations!

It is getting more real everyday. This game I play with my dog. My game that is work for her, but work she enjoys. I am talking agility of course. We have now registered for two agility venues - CPE and USDAA. We are starting to enter trials, sending in the entries and fees - it is giving me chills to think we are almost there after having this dream for so long. 

This has been a long road for us, well not so long after we found a good instructor who understood what we needed and taught us (okay mostly me) how to handle certain issues we were having.  In a little under a year we have prepared and are ready to trial. that the time has come there are those other things that come with any sport. Things like the mental preparation that goes along with the game. My goals for our first few trials are not lofty, not by a long shot. But they are doable and I would rather have a couple of goals that we can achieve and if there is another one that we take home too, all the better. I have been starting to read some Jim Loehr again.  He is a tennis mental toughness guru that I used when I played competitive tennis. 

I'll get more into that in another post as the time gets closer. One of the most important things is to do everything you can to prepare for the match, or the trial that is in your control.  The mental toughness then comes in, at the event when things may go wrong or not as you had planned - how are you going to handle them, how will you react and how will your reaction effect you and the end result.

To do's for us right now the things we can control: 
  • Stay fit and get in as good of shape as we can. For agility it isn't just being fit to be fast it is imperative that Reese be fit and strong so she lessens her chance of getting injured. We will keep doing ball work, running when we can and taking long walks for overall fitness. One jump work and other tricks to build Reese's back end so she will be all set for pushing off for those 26" jumps.
  • Keep working on turns, keeping them tight, and the communication between Reese and I on the flat.
We will of course be doing all of these things by playing and making it a big game and having fun. The most important thing is that it is fun for Reese and I.

Moving Sheep Cross-Country

Last weekend I witnessed something I may not ever see again. This kind of thing is probably common place in Ireland, England or Scotland.  But here in the States it is a rare sight. My friend Loretta was asked to use her border collies and help with some real farm work.

                                                     7 miles.

It was very fun to watch. There were about 110-120 head that were moved from one farm where they pasture in the summer to the farm where they will spend the winter months. There were four dogs that were used, plus four ATV's and then a vehicle followed to pick up tired dogs and switch them out with fresh ones. So across county roads and down a railroad track they went...
Getting ready to leave the first farm. View from the vehicle.

On our way!

Crossing the first busy road.

Loretta working Zip

How about taking the sheep for a walk through the woods? Okay.

Zip keeping the sheep from spreading out on a cross street while heading down the railroad.

Zip says, "Get along there Ladies, get along."

Gator my co-pilot during the drive.
Loretta used two of her dogs, Klink and Zip.  And Kathy used two of her dogs.  Gator came along but didn't get to work with the sheep.  He was however, my right hand man, with my driving the car and keeping me safe from strange men along the way.....and heck he is so photogenic for pictures.  Love pictures of Gator.