Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Mardi Gras/Fat Tuesday!

Today we had to get out of the house. It's not that we don't or haven't, but busyness and weather have prevented much in the way of exhaustive exercise for this girly. So today we ventured out in the early afternoon for a bicycle ride. In between rides (when it's been a while) I forget how much I truly love riding with Vegas. It's so refreshing and energizing and fun. She loves it, too. In fact, I have to start out for the first mile with a much lower gear and keep my speed steady and low to warm her up or she'd drag me down the street. I love seeing her excitement for the adventure, the run, and the time with me. 

Today we took our most common route from home down the street about three-and-a-half blocks then I let her off to run at the park nearest to our house figuring a good case of the zoomies on the squishy grass at the park would warm her up sufficiently. After tooling around that park for a couple of minutes, we headed across town via the through-the-woods-and-under-the-freeway path to the big park in town. I always let her off leash on that path and we vary our pace quite a bit... slow and steady up hills and cruising down hill. I also use that opportunity to work on our left and right commands. Once we got to the park I let her off leash again and she took the opportunity to romp and run and stretch her legs int he grass. Of course she drops her nose from time to time and I just kept riding. She loves to play catch-up and I know she really pushes the speed then. We had a lot of fun. We went across the park then meandered down through the woods on the gravel path, returning to where we entered the park. We took one more lap around the entire park on the paved pathway then headed home. 

All said and done we did 4.03 miles at an average speed of 5.98 mph. I have an app on my Android called Move! Bike Computer that tracks distance, idle time, elevation gained and lost, and a whole bunch more facts. Unfortunately I accidentally did something to lose our ride today so those are the only things I remember other than we were gone about 46 minutes and it said we had about 7 minutes of idle time. 

When we got home I expected she'd drink some water and mellow out. Would you believe my girl wanted to play tug? She got pretty wound up for a little bit, just shy of zoomies inside. We played for a bit and then she napped until dinner time. And is still napping now. That's my idea of a good day. We avoided rainfall, too, and only had a bit too much breeze for part of the trip. Hopefully we'll get an opportunity to go out again tomorrow. I'd like to make it a regular thing - for her and for me. 

Hope everyone had a good Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Happy Heart Day

Better late than never. Had the intentions and the "set," just not the time. So here's some of the shots I took.

I love how photogenic my girlie is. :-) And so as not to get behind on St. Pat's day, I took those photos while I was at it. But I'm going to save those until at least March.

I spent an hour or so today cutting up 60 pounds of beef heart. I was "entertained' for much of that time by Vegas' singing. Her singing, of course, amounted to demands for "more, Mom." I borrowed a page from a friend's blog, Flying Poodles, and cut up a pound or so into much smaller pieces to make into treats. Of course, being knee (elbow?) deep in beef hearts meant I didn't look up her suggested directions and went from memory. After cutting them into bits, I boiled them for a short while. I then drained and rinsed them. I set my oven for the lowest temperature it goes, 170, and spread the beef heart bits on parchment paper spread on cookie sheets. They've been in the oven since about 2:30 this afternoon with the exception of the hour or so I used the oven to make dinner. The goal is to dry them out as much as possible so they don't go back super quickly. I'll still store them in the freezer in between uses each time to avoid any bacteria or spoilage to occur. I can tell the dogs are excited to try them, and even one of the cats. Their noses have hardly stopped going all day.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


This morning the dogs got me up early like normal. I let them out to potty, let everyone back in, and proceeded with breakfast preparations. Vegas eats in the garage; the little ones eat in the kitchen. After everyone had their dish I headed back up to bed for a short 90 additional minutes. Since Vegas only had a chicken quarter, I thought it odd three minutes or so later that she hadn't come upstairs and that I hadn't even heard the garage door open and close. Usually when she comes back through the door it closes all the way and with little exception I never miss the sound. Of course then I started worrying.... What if the door closed all the way when I came in the house and she can't get in? OR What if she tried to swallow too soon and choked?

Of course the latter got me out of bed the fastest. I opened the garage door (which was not shut all the way) and watched her frantically leap over something in her path and scramble back to me. Caught! I had forgotten the 60 pound box of beef hearts I picked up yesterday was defrosting in the garage. Vegas apparently didn't. Foiled her plans! No beef hearts that are not dished up!

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Attempt to Lose the Crazies

By Saturday I was going to lose my mind if I couldn't get the dogs out of the house to burn off some steam.

February Contest Winner

Charlton (and mom), thank you so much for providing such cute shots for my February contest. I just had to choose the following - you look just like a puppy, completely velvety soft and cuddly. Not to mention handsome!

To redeem your prize, please visit my website at www.kennedyskustomkollarkreations.com. Make your selection from the Fabrics or Seasonal page and submit an order. Make sure when you fill in the contact information you indicate this was for the February Blog Contest.

Thanks for participating and congrats!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Doberman Trial Weekend Recap

This weekend's trial was held at Clark County Fairgrounds, our most frequented stomping grounds, and hosted by the Mt. Hood Doberman Pinscher Club. Their trials are two of my favorite each year, partially because of all the Dobies that show up and I love them. Our judges for the weekend were David Mancino and Victoria MacVicar. We'd run under Victoria before, not David. I didn't put together two and two and come up with who he was until I heard today. David is a Doberman owner; his wife, Yvonne, runs Flare who won the 24" class at the invitational in 2011 and 2009. Very cool!

So without further ado, here's the scoop:

We ran Standard first and JWW second. The run order was set to tall to small both days but for Excellent that was actually 24/26 running second Saturday. We were first dog in the 24" class for Standard, second in JWW. It's been a long time since we started the class. Quite frankly it was pretty nice!

My game plan was as follows:

  • Set up at a diagonal from #1 to make #2 apparent as the next obstacle plus place me in position to easily make it out in front of the tunnel to direct her properly. 
  • Sweep into the tunnel using the left arm and blind cross out to the dog walk. 
  • Step into her path coming off the dog walk to push out and around #5.
  • I walked the weave entry with both a front cross after 5 as well as a front after. 
  • Rear cross the a-frame
  • Blind cross 14 to 15.
  • Rear cross 19.
The challenges were certainly plentiful. The start line was interesting. The push out after the dog walk to wrap the jump made a lot of dogs who usually run flawlessly very confused. For one second they were pushed so thought they were supposed to go to the tire then pulled back to take the jump. Then front crosses were late and caused dogs to take the off course (9) versus the weaves. Number 20 presented itself as an off course possibility if the 180 wasn't handled well at 13-14. The finish line was not straight so some dogs had difficult there and it was possible to even push out to the tunnel without proper queuing to #20 from 19. 

I'm excited to say that while this was the most disjointed run we've had in a long time, it was clean and it was a Q for 13 points. The first issue that happened was right off the bat. I didn't say "tunnel," I would guess and Vegas saw the dog walk when she came over the panel and headed that direction. I got her set but then my brain game was off so I just felt jerky and off. Got her over the dog walk and around the #5 then I made a late front cross that just felt wrong. Fortunately this and the rest of the "off" feelings I had didn't cause Vegas issue which is why we were clean. It was just not a harmonious run. So with my front cross, I was on the right side of the weaves which set us up for 7-11. She nailed her a-frame contact beautifully which I'm thrilled with. She also handled the send out to 13 and read my blind cross to come back over 14 and hit the teeter just fantastically. Originally I took one look at the finish line from the table and thought I would handle on the left side, but realized when I walked it the line wasn't right to do that without risking a knocked triple since she would need to know when she landed to stride at the angle to hit #19. So instead I worked it from the "inside" which was just right. No video, but a great run and really nice to jump right in and have a Standard leg under our belt.

Jumpers... My game plan:

  • Work from the right for 1-3.
  • Send to #4 and "flip" to #5. 
  • RFP to pull back from 5 and use my right arm to push into the tunnel.
  • Run out to be on the other side of #7 and call to weave; handling from right.
  • 9-11 is fairly straight-forward but I had hoped to work a blind cross in after 11. 
  • Flip from 12 to 13 (assuming I got the blind in).
  • Blind/front cross between tunnel exit and 15 and handle on the right through the end. 

I almost lost her to the tunnel after #3.... Got a good call back before she touched it and that worked out. I was slow on 9-11 so not in a position to blind cross. Alls well that ends well though, as they say. We had a clean run and earned another five points!

End of day total for Saturday: 18 points and QQ. Technically we didn't need the QQ but hey, I'll take it. It does give us that leg up on invitational points.

As a related but just observation/feeling about how we did. It was odd to double-Q Saturday because we were not running as a fluent team. It wasn't anything about Vegas' behavior that caused the problem either. It was me. Not sure why; our last trial was two weekends ago so it's not as if my brain was on vacation from agility. I do know that before our first run someone was talking to me about Danes (Not a competitor; just someone who stopped in to watch?) and is interested in getting one. Few subjects can send me on a tangent like that one between going on and on about the wonderful characteristics of the breed to applying steady and persistent pressure regarding purchasing only from a breeder who really health-tests and is doing the right things, not to mention discussing their temperament, capabilities, health risks, longevity, and a plethora of other oh so fun chitter chatter on my favorite breed. Yeah, so I know as I stepped into the standard ring while they were changing bars I had a fleeting thought, "Do I know the course?" And then stood there trying to recall it. I know my timing was off and my brain was not engaged as thoroughly as it should have been. JWW was fine; I just wasn't pushing like I usually do and I was not handling my best. So I guess all that to say is, sometimes things still come together because the foundation is built right and the dog has the skills, common sense, and drive to take the wheel anyway and "git er dun!" 

Today we ran first thing. There wasn't a Fast class so it really was right off the bat. And wouldn't you know it. I slept through my alarm and we were first dog in 24" again. Fortunately they were doing walk, walk, run, run, which meant 16 minutes of walks plus 5 minutes to the first 26" dog plus a good 7 or 8 in that height running. So we ended up okay. First up again Standard, followed by JWW. Strangely, JWW didn't follow as closely as yesterday. Which meant I worked but that's okay. I like scribing and timing and chatting to get to know others who work. Plus the club is generous enough to give vouchers that can be applied toward future trial entries.

This standard course was B-E-A-UTIFUL! It was flowing and smooth and just plain fun. Of course it didn't hurt that I found a spot or two for a blind cross - my new love! No video here which is a bummer but here's how it played out.

  • Vegas on the left 1-4.
  • Blind cross 4/5 and a LOVELY touch on the a-frame - good girl, Vegas!
  • Blind cross 7/8 and 12/13. 
  • Front cross out of the weaves. 
SCT was 65 on 173 yards. Our time was 48.89 - 16 MACH points!!!!!!! Yea, I was pretty stinkin' happy. AND, I kept my act together. I was there for Vegas like she is always there for me. Thank goodness for no disjointed runs Sunday - amazing considering I only got about 4-5 hours of sleep the night before!

JWW was up before too long. I worked some first and Vegas lamented (loudly) in her crate. I hadn't even picked up course maps until shortly before this run..... And when I did take a look at it I wondered if it would be one of those runs we "could" get because we aren't the screaming-fastest, or if we'd just not make it because I lack the skills to handle some of the technicalities. I think I was freaked out about the start. *Usually* I am more than happy to say our lack of a start line stay doesn't bite me in the butt. Of course I teach my students to work hard at it and not to give up; I learned and applied that lesson with Leo's training.

I hung out course-side while they set, tweaked, and wheeled the course. Apparently I was due a lightbulb moment because I "Aha!" figured out how to handle the opening. Walking it, it made perfect sense and turns out that while people walked it about 50/50 each way, more ran it from the inside than the outside. The plan was to:
  • Severe angle on #1 so it was nearly a straight line to 2 (me on the right).
  • Front cross after the weaves and set her up for a straight line for 9/10.
  • Rear cross 10/11. 
  • Front or blind cross 15/16.
  • Serpentine 17/18/19. 

And we did it!!! The run was smooth and... exhilarating! Everything came together and it felt easy! I had so many comments coming off that course and it felt so good. People watched it and were just impressed. It was nice to feel like a part of the "excellent" crowd. Not to say I haven't gotten compliments on handling before, but it's always nice and on a highly technical course like that with pitfalls for all. It just felt good and I appreciate everyone who had something to say to me.

SCT was 42 on 148 yards. Our time was 35.38 and we earned another 6 MACH points. What a weekend. What. A. Weekend. So proud of my girl. It's kind of ironic that we didn't need the QQs for MACH (Our first, anyway... ;-) so with that pressure off all I did was think about the individual runs not the day in its totality. When they happened, well, wow. So super cool.

Our weekend totals included four Qs, two QQs, 29 Standard points, 11 JWW points, and put us 40 points closer to our goal. We have *just* 208 points to go. Vegas rocks!

And of course she was treated like royalty.... She had a bully stick at the show, a Wendy's vanilla frosty when we got home, and a yummy raw bone she spent a good part of the afternoon gnawing on. All in all, a fantastic couple of agility days with my girl.

Here are a couple of pictures photographer, Joe Camp, took that I scanned in. I will have video later in the week of our frolic in the lovely sunshine, too.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

February Contest

As a part of my one month delayed plan of rolling out a more consistent approach to my blogging, I am excited to announce my very first contest. The contest will run from today, February 2 until Friday, February 17. In honor of Valentine's Day and all the puppy love out there (plus to lift my spirits a bit during a time I'll miss my love even more), this contest will involve pup (and other critter) love pictures. You get to put on your creative thinking caps and adapt this how you like (Keep it clean, please!). Here are some ideas:
  • Valentine's theme
  • Valentine's wear (collar etc.)
  • Snuggles
  • Heart bokeh
  • Pup kisses
The Rules
Post as many pictures to your blog as you would like between now and the end of the contest
Comment on this post with a link back to your blog posting(s).

Feel free to share this with others.

Over the weekend following the contest period I will review all of the pictures posted. On Monday, February 20 I will post the winner of the contest and share their picture on my blog.

The Booty
Some of you may know I have had a lil' biz venture on the side for a few years. The first contest prize will be a Kennedy's Kustom Kollar Kreation of your choosing. That's right; you can pick from any available fabric or trim, select buckle or martingale, and the size and width you prefer.

So what are you waiting for? Get snap happy!