Thursday, December 30, 2010

What's A Vacation?

The company I work for is always shut down the week between Christmas and New Year's. We all look forward to it. There is something different about a forced shut down. In typical American fashion, most of us don't take like actual vacations. A day here and there, sure, but like a week or more at a time? Doesn't happen often. And even though we work for a very relaxed and understanding small company, there is still that weird feeling that someone will be irritated or angry if you take time off. No one actually does, but it's there. Plus, since the company is small, we all wear many hats. The thought of digging out of the pile of shit that will be left after returning from vacation makes taking one not worth the trouble.

Christmas week, though? Different story. No one can get irritated because no one is there! No one to leave extra work on. No one to screw up your stuff up in your absence. No one to steal your favorite pen.

So what do I get to do on this fabulous free week?

Jury duty.

I know! WTF?!

So far it hasn’t resulted in me having to actually do anything other than check back in after 5, check back in after 5, check back in after 5, but I feel like I’m being held hostage. Can’t make any sort of plans since I don’t know what day to day will bring. I may be called on to execute my civil duty and send some crack head to jail at any minute!

So, my grand vaca has so far consisted of lots of laundry and ball throwing.

I even managed to plan a dog trip that involved the sun. We have not seen much of our fiery friend of late.

Sunnies make for a happy Belly

Happy big-eyed Belly

Who even got warm enough to engage in the summer time cool down roll

She was like a spring chicken

And occasionally, a little like Kate

Not so surprising, Kate was like Kate, too


That is to say weird with a dash of annoying.

We also got to go to work on vacation.

You totally wish you were me right now, right?

Hey, it's the end of the year and shit needs counting.

It's a little hard to work with Kate, though. Smidge on the OCD side. This is what I get the whole time we're there

You may say, "just put the ball away."
Tried it.
She can stare at a drawer, too.
Note the little torn open packet? Yeah, that's the ibuprofin I lifted from the first aid cabinet.

So much for dogs lowering your blood pressure.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Damn It I Missed Bark

Kate has a little quirk known throughout the South Bay dog parks as the Damn It I Missed bark. Whenever she misses the ball, which happens to be a lot, she barks. It goes a little like this…

Ukiah from 2halves on Vimeo.

If she’s really excited, it’s more like this

Untitled from 2halves on Vimeo.

Now, this has never really been an issue. I mean, who cares, right? A little woof-woof never hurt anyone. However, about a year and a half ago we changed our exercise routine. When my office mate went on maternity leave my work schedule had to change. Gone was the in at 6 out at 3 sched. Since I refuse to do the dog park thing during peak hours, we changed to AM runs. 6:30 AM runs. And since our dog park runs right behind a residential neighborhood and people’s back yards are like right there, the barking had to stop. I just can’t be that dog owner.

I tried yelling at her for barking, praising her for being quiet, little time outs, treats, nothing worked. I ended up just managing it by running them individually as the barking tends to be Bella-inspired. This works, but it also means that they either get half the amount of exercise or we stay at the park twice as long. And, contrary to what the dogs may think, I actually do have other shit to do.

I decided to try walking her down. She barks, I just head right at her. Not fast, but no saunter, either. End up meeting her about half way. She sits in front of me looking confused as to why I am no longer in the throwing spot. I quietly explain that she needs to STFU and turn and walk away. Four times I did this. Barking stopped. She finally made the connection. Woots for Kate.
I would say she is quiet about 97% of the time now. When she does have a slip it looks like this…

Throw the ball

Eye on the ball

Overrun the ball

Damn-it-I-missed bark

Shit, did she hear that?

My bad

At least she seems to be getting it. :-)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Miss Kate In Action

I can't tell you how fun(ny) I find these vids. Little Kate. The dog that would pee when you asked her to sit. The dog that hates doorways. The dog that runs into fences.

Just having a good old time. She's running like a puppy. Hey, she ain't trotting, so I'm good. And watch her tail. The damn thing never stops.

Kate STD Fri from 2halves on Vimeo.

When I go online to check records, Bella's are more about business. Where are we at? What does she need? What should we enter next. There may be a "oh, that was a fun one" thrown in, but more about the record keeping.

Kates? Ha! Everytime I scroll down to see tht she has a little growing list of Q's it makes me smile. My Kate has titles. I never thought that would happen. Of course I would have been totally fine if she had never started enjoying agility. Everyone needs a good Auxillary Dog.
It just tickles me. Totally puts a smile on my face.

Kate STD Sun from 2halves on Vimeo.

That a girl Kate Kate!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

She's So Handsome

No one ever mistakes Kate for a male.


All the time.

What's his name?

I guess she is a little tomboy-ish, yeah?

Would totally play softball if she were a person


Eh, that's OK.

I *heart* her manly ass anyway.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Even When You're Good You Still Get Tortured

Kate still continues to impress me with her newly found love of trialing. I ran her twice a day, all three days over Thanksgiving weekend and it was seriously the most fun I have had running her. It still sorta feels like I was running someone else’s dog. Like, “where did you come from?”

I fell outta the sky. Now throw my damn ball.

I was worried that our agility break would have a negative effect on her. I knew Bella would be fine. Thought maybe having 5 weeks without touching equipment may have set her back a tad. Not at all. She was kinda – “yay, this again!?!” – all weekend.

Leave me alone. I’m judging you for doubting me

The problems, as per usual, we all me based. I keep catching myself babysitting her. I don’t even mean while actually running. I do it while walking the course! I have to keep stopping and asking myself why I am doing X. I don’t do this out loud, mind you. I do have to keep telling myself that if something happens I’ll just fix it. No need to walk the damn fix!

It’s a wonder you get your shoes on in the morning

That whole Trust Your Dog thing is tough.

Trusting your handler sucks, too

I said it’s “tough,” Kate. I didn’t say it sucks.

Well, you should have

We certainly have stuff to work on. I decided to try one thing on each run and see how she did.

Sending to weaves – check
Fading weaves – check
Fading contact – check
Rear cross – fail
Obstacle discrimination – epic fail

The rear cross thing I get. We don’t do a lot of those. The obstacle discrimination? Whew, we need some work on that. Kate has decided she is a tunnel-sucker. Tunnel under contact? Damn it, we are doing that tunnel!
And again. And again. And again…

I also noticed that she is stressing a bit when I lead out. Her little ears go back and she sits there like she waiting to fail.
Kinda like when we're at home and I ….


Maybe I should put a cookie on her head at the startline?

I could stay like this alllll day!

This is so them.

Bella – say “free,” say “free,” say “free,” say “free,”

Kate – Holy mother of God, I’m going to die!
Cookies on my feet, cookies on my feet.
*happy place* *happy place*


Being one of my dogs kinda sucks sometimes.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Who Started This?

So, I'm sitting in my office and housemate is watching an agility DVD. Finishing up one started over the weekend, so it's been ringing in the house for a few days. Don't know who. Hearing things about contacts, though. Does it really matter? No so much. They all sound the same.

I have a question for the more experienced people...

Who the frickin' hell started this "boy-woy" and "girrrrlllll-lay" shit?

Drives me nuts! All I can think listening to it is...


I think it drives me nuts because it’s so bandwagon-y. I think trainers should have their own unique thing. I don't mean language. How screwed up would that be everyone called the same thing by a different term? I mean their own thang, you know? Whoever started it should stick to it and other people should get their own calling cards. Hearing all these people praise the exact same way is just a little weird. It gives me the same reaction as when I hear someone at the park do the Cesar Millan psht thing to their dog.

I'm also very curious as to why they ALL talk that way? Really, all of them. Like every DVD. How did that happen?

"Gooooood Boy-woooooy"
"Goooood Girrrrllll-lay"

When did this become the universal way to praise your dog?

Isn't agility complicated enough? Do we really need to start adding syllables to shit?

Aren't these are the same people that can't take the time to completely say other stuff. No time for reverse flow pivot or lead out pivot or serpentine. We are in a rush. Agility all about speed. Must RFP and LOP and serp!

But we have like 12 minutes to get out
"gooooooooooooooooooooddddd giiiiiiiiiirrrrrllllly-laaaaayyyyy?"

Me no gets. I'm conflicted. Is this my problem? Will things change if I switch to the 12 minute praise? Maybe my old-timey "good job" or "atta girl" or "yes" not getting through?

Hmm. There is so much I don't know.

And, for your trouble: Partial Kate's

How They Love The Plastic Bag

Went down to Aptos yesterday to do a little Lure coursing. Our new favorite thing. Well, maybe Bella’s new favorite thing. My good little brown one that does no wrong becomes a complete crack head when she hears the lure machine. She becomes Primitive Bella. Wild Beast. Huntress of the recycled grocery bag.

See, I don’t let me dogs chase stuff as a general rule. No crittering. No harassing wildlife. I think it’s dangerous to encourage a dog to, for example, chase squirrels. As most of you know, generally their ears stop working when they get that heavily into prey mode. Then you end up with dogs that get into trouble, say, with a moving vehicle, because they decide that going after a small fuzzy thing is way more important than listening to you bellow COME!

I think Bella’s years of “don’t even think about it” are catching up. She’s like the kid that was raised to be all responsible and a good citizen and for god’s sake eat your vegetables who goes all ape shit when they get to college and spends four year getting drunk and eating nothing but Snickers bars and pizza.

She really thinks this is the best thing evah!

She could seriously do this all day

Kate thinks it’s pretty much Da Bomb, too, but more in a chasing Bella kinda way. Kate is much faster than Belly. If Kate is behind, she’s on Bell, not the lure

It takes her a few go-arounds to figure out what they are doing. The first couple of runs are spent yelling in Bella’s ear.

What are we running for?!?!!!

Seriously, where are we going???!!!

She does eventually realize that there is a purpose

She at least shuts up then

She’s still giving Bella a break, though. Trying to not one-up her big sis. She could totally get around the track in half the time it takes Bella

Maybe Kate just sees it as more of a family activity than her self centered sis?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Dogs On Logs

Well, not logs, I guess. More like Dogs on Tree Stumps, but that doesn’t rhyme.

Work with me, here

In continuance of our agility hiatus, we did more regional park-ing today. This morning it was Pulgas Ridge.

There was much posing on stuff

They have taken down quite a few trees, so there are plenty of dog torture opportunities

Some nice lady stopped me to let me know a rattle snake had been spotted up the trail a bit. As I was thanking her for the info she commented on how well the girls posed.

“I can’t believe they just sit on a stump like that”

Yeah, well, they may have done this a time or two before. :-)

And they may stay there, doesn’t mean they are wholly participating in the experience.

Other things on their minds

Bored with my non-dog hobby

Perhaps checking out the scent of a previously irritated dog forced to sit on a stump for no good reason

Kate not usually this direct with her commentary

Bella sooooo did not want to pose on the fence. Did you know that dogs fake smile? The mouth says Happy, the eyes say I Hate You With Every Fiber Of My Being

She hated it until she found the bird poop

Apparently a little poop goes a long way with her