Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 16, 2010

Agility By The Sea

We went out to Pacifica to do a little training on Sunday.
We stalk Luke at trials. May as well on the free weekends too, yeah?

Luke (1)

Mr. Luke recently lost an eye to glaucoma. Luke’s mom has been working being on Luke’s blind side without him taking her off her feet and practicing the dog walk as much as she can, as poor Luke is a little hesitant. The place we trial most often has one ring inside and one out. Luke has had a few dog walk meltdowns inside. Obviously, he doesn’t see as well in the darker indoor arena.

He has no problem camera-spotting, though

Luke (8)

It’s really quite amazing how these guys adjust. Try just walking a course with one eye shut, let alone running it!


Our practice? Not quite so serious. Sure we do some stuff in the beginning. Then we practice the agility that involves me sitting the grass with a camera on my face. To make myself feel better I just call it “distance work”

Hey why don’t you two go do that 180 so I can get a pic


Backup, backup, backup, weave!

Now get your ass in that tunnel

Maybe this is why I get ignored on course?

Our practice time also involves other important things like The Art of Begging

Investigation of what bug is crawling on your ass

Keeping the ball away from your no-good, dirty, low-down, ball-thieving sister

And waiting for the opportunity to be a no-good, dirty, low-down, ball-thieving sister

We take out training very seriously!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

An Itchy Bum: Bella's Tail Of Woe

“Tail” of woe. Haha. I made a funny.

Not so much?

OK, onward…

So a few days after our trial in San Martin, I noticed Bella was licking her tail. There was what appeared to be a bug bite. Mosquito-ish in nature. OK, whatever, leave it alone dog.

Week later, I get out of the shower and notice clumps of hair on my bed.


Bella chewing on tail. Damn. Didn’t I say leave it alone? OK, get the skin powder stuff out. Seems to be getting better.

Another week, was furminating (<-- that will be in Websters before you know it!) Bella outside and noticed a weird depression in her heiny feathers. Bald spot!

Bigger WTF?!

Now, I never see her itch. She’s all sneaky and shit about it. Of course we are on our way to another MF’ing trial. Decide to bathe her at hotel with the magic shampoo.

If you ever wondered what “learned helplessness” looks like….here it is


I totally screwed with her notion that hotel rooms were bath-free zones.


I tried to smooth it over with the whole, “well at least you can be on the bed when you’re wet. That’s cool, right?”

Again, not so much

I hate to be the one to kick a girl when she’s down, but, damn, this pic cracks me up. For those that argue with me about whether or not she’s a mix, can you see her cattle dog front end now?!

HAHA! That tiny little heiny! If The Incredibles ever need a dog I have one for them. She’d probably love a cape.

So, off to the vet on Monday. I asked them to do a scrape to make damn sure we had no passengers. Nothing. Bug bite that went wrong because she was messing with it? (Hate to say I told you so, Bella). Did she get something on her that irritated her skin? Who knows.

The vet did harp on the flea thing.

Me: She doesn’t have fleas.

Vet: Well sometimes we don’t notice….

Me, interrupting: No, no. I don’t know about “we,” but I notice everything. I know every square inch of that dog. I am constantly going over her looking for lumps and bumps and cuts and scrapes. I go over both of them with a flea comb at least 3 times a week. I’m quite sure that most of your clients love their dogs and treat them well. I’m also quite sure I’m your only client who has a flea comb on her nightstand. Yes. That’s where it lives. Nail clippers, emery board, flea comb.

Three beings in my bed. No more. Like, ever. I gua-ran-tee. I’m a little OCD about the flea and tick thing if you haven't picked up on that yet. Trust me, it ain’t that.

It’s funny ‘cause it’s true!

So, 20 minutes later, some fancy new spray. And we’re off.

I am now referring to it as the G-d damned, 170 dollar bald spot.



Am I right?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Just One!? Argh!

After all my impatient waiting, only one fricking pic of Kate.


I do happen to notice where the photog is. Not that I plan my courses around that, but, you know.. :-) I know he had a few great A-frame pic opportunities. Bad light maybe? Maybe he was being nice because every time Kate saw him she would look right at him? The sound of a shutter is like a clicker for my dogs. It means you either have food or a ball!

Also, maybe she should be jumping 20? Hmm.

Some good ones of Bell, though. I guess since she is running a full load, more photo ops.
Being a Good Girl during her gamble.

This is her being good after being an ass. She did not want to get in these poles.

So funny how she looks all serious. Was not serious at all all weekend!

When it warms up, hose the dog!

All photos by Dave Mills (

I *heart* Dave's work. I want to be just like him when I grow up. You should check out some of his other dog sport stuff. The lure coursing shots are to die for.

We are back at it again this weekend. No running for Kate, though.

Enjoy your collective weekends!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Baby's First Q

I’ve been holding off the weekend re-cap because I’ve been (impatiently) waiting for trial pictures to be posted. Not up yet. Can you believe people have things to do besides put pics up of my dogs?! Umm, hello? Kate’s first trial!

Need. Pics. Now. Less waiting, more buying!

Alas, we’ll make due with our own. I’ll just use random backyard have-nothing-to-do-with-this-post photos.

Short version, if you’re the short attention span type: She did great! 3 out of 4 Q’s. Even got a first!

Longer version for those that care:

I must admit that sometimes I tire of learning things from my dogs. Sometimes you’re in the mood for the deep and meaningful, sometimes you just feel like playing a stupid game on the weekends with your dog. Am I right?

Things are never simple with Kate. I guess I should say “with me and Kate” or even perhaps, just “me.” I really, really just want so bad for her to relax and enjoy herself. Enjoy the game. Not worry. So, naturally, I worry about her worrying. She notices that I’m worrying and worries even more. Now that she’s worrying about me worrying, I worry more (and, honestly, get a little frustrated) and we end up in this circular cluster fuck of nerves.


Now, one of my agility problems is that I don’t really plan much or set goals. I do love to train and trial, but since I don’t tend to take the agility thing super-serious I don’t take the planning and goals thing seriously either. I have no timelines. I can’t do this with Kate. No off the cuff shit like with Bella. Goals settle my mind. Keep me from thinking about other shit that doesn’t matter. With Kate, I must plan more. Think ahead.


I got up Saturday morning so freaking nervous that I was physically uncomfortable. OK, maybe now time to think about this a little? Like, what the hell is my problem? What is there to be nervous about? Stupid game, remember?

I am always a little uncomfortable at trials. I am a fairly introverted person. Being the center of anything is never completely comfortable for me. This was more than that, though. Was I worried about being embarrassed if Kate didn’t perform? No need for that. Great group of supportive folks. Many of whom have or have had dogs with various issues. Damn-near everyone knows what it’s like.


Am I worried about failing? Failing what?! It’s agility, dummy. Not only is it just agility, but since I have no plan or goals, no mark to miss, right? Plus, Kate doesn’t know a good run from a bad one. Far as I know, she doesn’t read course maps or have the ability to count points, either. That’s the point that stuck with me…

She doesn’t know.

That’s what I have to keep reminding myself of. She really doesn’t know. She wants to have fun and enjoy herself as much as I want her to. The clock, the points, the Q’s, the titles, the people standing around watching don’t mean shit to her. She wants to run around and then eat some cheese. She doesn’t know.

And people say talking to yourself is weird.


So, in that 10 minute drive I let Kate and myself off the hook and even set a few goals:
1) Hold her contacts (no worrying about the clock, no letting them slide *cough*Bella*cough*)
2) Play with her in line and at the start. Don’t stand there watching other dogs and ignoring her.
3) Should a problem arise, stay with her, support her until she figures it out, don’t change my volume or tone of voice.
4) Dispense lots of cheese even though it may mean 2 AM potty walks

It worked pretty well. Our non-Q of the weekend was our first run. It was one of those WTF?! non-traditional gambles. The ring was divided into quarters and the gamble was doing a 1 pt, 3 pt and 5 pt obstacle with no others in between and you had to be outside of the quadrant that the gamble obstacle was in. Whew. There was lots of hopping back and forth and really weird lines. Fun to watch, kind of a hard one for baby dogs. Kate nailed her contacts and got her gamble but was over time because we screwed around with a difficult tunnel entry.

Her other three runs were great. Stayed with me, didn’t run around anything and actually had a little speed. Not her top, but that will come with experience and confidence. We had some nice compliments on her contacts and someone actually said, “Oh, I didn’t realize you were running the young one.” *smile*


I think Kate was feeling pretty good, too. Normally, Kate is pretty clingy. She is seriously like owning a 31 pound piece of lint. Saturday night she actually went on the other bed in the hotel room to sleep. I asked, “What are you doing over there? What is this? You get one damn Q and you suddenly need Me Time?”

Yes, me time. All about me. If you could stop thinking about yourself for 5 minutes, you would have realized that years ago. Stupid human.

SOOO proud of the Dingbat!
Will post trial pics when I get them.