25 October 2011

Who doesn't like more video of the "puppy"?

So I am slowly packing for my TX trip throughout the day today. But i also had to go out and get some more video of my awesome puppy. I was so impressed with how he did the sequences I had set up for the seminar last weekend! So here is a video showing some aframes, jumping sequences, dogwalks and weave poles. We have started working on leaving the toy on the ground near the start line area, so sometimes he comes off the line a little slower and looks a little sad ("why are we leaving the toy behind?") but he started to get better as the session progressed. Nothing too complicated with the jumping, just working some basic handling reminders with slightly higher jumps. I was pleased with his obstacles today. A couple "superman" one-hit aframes but he is usually pretty good at balancing as he exits the contact. No somersaults or face-smashing like Seri. His dogwalks today were just beautiful. He popped a few weaves, but I've been verbally encouraging him to speed up and also slowly adding in a little lateral distance so no worries there.


24 October 2011

CO thoughts, and my favorite season

I think fall has always been my favorite season. I love the cooling weather, the pretty trees, and the crisp smell in the air. I really don't like the sweltering heat and humidity of summer, or the sunburn or the crispy dry grass. Or even just the long hours of daylight. It should be dark before bedtime! I've always found the weather and clear nights of fall to be energizing. Sure, it means winter is coming, but winter comes every year, and since New Years has never really meant much to me (it's just a human way of marking time, after all, the world doesn't care one bit what date we call it...), it doesn't bother me. Winter is just "cold time of year". So fall is a productive time. It's cool, it's usually not as dry as the heat of summer, so dogs can work and play. I can hike as long as I like without myself or the dog overheating. Or freezing. The orange and yellow and red trees are lovely.

I am still waffling a bit about USDAA in Denver. I will be in Denver myself to teach in November, maybe I'll see how I do with the altitude then. I do have asthma - it was bad when I was a kid, mostly cleared now but I have no lung power and can get quite short of breath if I have a cold or something, so I'm curious to see if I can talk all day 6,000ft up. Guess we'll find out!

As for USDAA, I guess it's strange but the REAL reason I'm planning to go is because I can't really allow them to hold a big national event and not attend. I mean, someone else might get MY placements or something! ;) Goofy reason, I know. And it would be fun to take Strafe. But the high altitude, BSL, and possibility of adverse weather conditions are all real turn-offs for me. Not sure I want to travel that far and risk frosty grass, or snow, or rain. And supporting a city with BSL sucks too. Not have bully breeds, i haven't paid attention to it much before, but it's become a public issue this time, and unfortunately it sounds like USDAA doesn't really want to talk about it. Not always good with the whole public relations thing, USDAA. For a privately owned company, they do have trouble remembering that competitors are really consumers here....

Anyway. Enjoy the extra blog post, I'm sure I won't be blogging while in TX this weekend (although I hear it might rain, oddly enough!)

ETA: after I made my post about loving Fall weather, I took the dogs out for an evening walk and got a pretty good pic of the sunset. It's just from my Droid, so some of the color didn't get captured, but a pretty cool picture nonetheless.

A rambling post about how busy I am and how my puppy is turning into a dog


My dogs are good sports about being posed for pictures now, but the 2 smooth coats kept closing their eyes. Sun glare? Who knows.

This weekend I was off teaching in Salisbury MD, which was fun. We had FABULOUS weather, cool, sunny, a nice breeze. I probably got sunburn. Today and tomorrow I'm resting my feet, my voice, packing and preparing for the next trip, teaching in Austin, TX for 4 and 1/2 days. I leave Wed and fly out of BWI for the first time. I decided not to take a dog with me, since it just makes flying more streamlined not having to deal with the dog. Delays and cramped conditions and finding my ride are smoother without dealing with a dog. Plus to be honest, I hardly ever use a demo dog while teaching.

I fly back on next Monday, I think Ria is coming that Tues. Strafe goes to get his 1-year-plus booster vaccinations on Wed and to get his initial vet visit under his belt so he can get his hips done in a few weeks. Then I'm off to Richmond VA for a day or so. November is also busy for me! Exciting to have so much teaching lined up. I enjoy it, even if it is tiring, and so far most of the people I'm teaching seem to enjoy it too. I really like creating sequences that will challenge people but that they can still have some success on. I want people to walk in thinking "I can't do that" and walk out saying "I did it!" - although sometimes they might have to say "I know what I have to train in order to do it"....

This weekend I took Strafe and Seri with me, and for the first time I ran Strafe on quite a few sequences at 20", and he got to do brand new weave poles and more aframes in sequences in a strange place. He was AWESOME. Got all 12 poles every time, even picked up some more speed through them. He jumps 20" like it's nothing at all.

My growing up little boy in the field:

21 October 2011

no one's being persecuted here...

I just wanted to touch on a topic that is one of my pet peeves today. Judges. Namely, that they are there to judge your dog, not to "get you". Judges aren't out there wishing your dog would fault. They're not out there getting distracted and then calling a fault just because it's more fun that way. They aren't being paid off by the "big name" handlers. They are just as likely to call Johnny Never-been-to-National's contact or refusal as they are to call mine or Susan Garrett's or Linda Mecklenberg's. I was a judge once. I was approached by a few competitors who told me flat-out that I had called their contacts wrong. I knew I had not, but always there are "friends outside the ring" who saw it and agree with them.

When a judge is watching the course, they aren't really watching your dog that closely. When your dog is on the contacts, the judge is staring at the yellow and waiting to see if feet appear. When the dog is weaving, the judge is watching the weaves to see if the dog is on the proper side of each one (this is harder than it sounds). When the dog is going down a line of jumps, the judge is watching the dog peripherally but if they veer or slow down in any way, they are trying to visualize the "thirds" or watch the plane of the next obstacle so that they can correctly call the refusal or lack thereof. This is partially why it's hard for a judge to remember your dog - they aren't staring at it directly. This is also why the judge is usually right, and your "friends outside the ring" are usually wrong. Your friends are watching you and your dog running around the course. In the long years I've been doing agility, I think I've had ONE bad contact call... There were many others that people TOLD me were bad, but I usually side with the judge.

Judges are not out to get you. They are watching the contact. They want you to succeed! They don't want to make you cry. Judges are people too, and often they are even fellow agility competitors. They know what it feels like to come THAT CLOSE to achieving your goal, whether it be Finals, a MACH, a Regional bye voucher, or whatever.

So give judges a break. They're usually right. They are, in fact, hired to stand there and stare at contacts and jumps and weaves all day and do exactly what they do - judge whether your dog hit the yellow, weaved correctly, or ran past the jump. Hovering over the yellow doesn't count, running next to the jump doesn't count, and the judge calls what they see. In my 19 years of agility, I have to say, the judge is almost always right. So if your friends outside the ring tell you the judge is wrong on a regular basis, perhaps you shouldn't believe them. They are watching your dog, watching you, and want you to succeed. But they are not judges. Judges are watching the obstacles, watching your dog, and also want you to succeed but have a DUTY to call the fault if you don't.



Did Drifter hit this contact? It was practice, so I don't remember, but judging from his footfall pattern, it must have been very close...

20 October 2011

Strafer-Dafer...

It's Strafe! Weaving 12 poles and doing some sequences! I did discover we need to work on driving forward off the dogwalk a little more since he kept turning in to look at me today and it made his striding a little weird, but overall I'm happy with this session. Sorry about the wind noise but I didn't feel like looking for music for today.

Strafe, 20 October 2011 training session:




And also, here's his littermate See Me in Denmark doing some courses as well!

19 October 2011

And a pic that doesn't move :)

Myself with Kiba and Kate with Driven on the podium for 1st overall in PVP. 
(photo by Karen Moureaux)

It's raining again today so we had to cancel our Masters classes for the umpteenth time this year. Oh well. This weekend I'm teaching in Salisbury, MD, which is nice because it's less than 2 hours drive away so I am leaving Saturday morning and will be home Sunday evening. Then next Wed I fly to Austin TX to teach for 5 days and return the following Monday. Then that Wed/Thurs I'm teaching down near Richmond, VA. Will be a busy couple weeks. I left that Nov 5th weekend open for relaxation and youngster training.

Also big news, I filled out Strafe's first entry form! If we make it in (it's a draw trial), Strafe will debut on December 9th, indoors on dirt at Oriole Dog Training Club! I decided that due to the weather and me being so busy, it wouldn't be fair to run him at 26" right away, so we'll run 20" that first trial - he'll be barely 15 months anyway and as of right now we usually still do 16" or 18" in training. I hope to have him running courses at 26" by January though. No rush! I am also going to get his hips checked soon so his breeder will have the results. In europe they will score hips at 1 year instead of 2 like OFA does here. I will be doing Pennhip though, and getting the vet's opinion on the OFA view as well, probably won't bother to pay for OFA's Prelim since they're pretty useless....

STRAFE!

18 October 2011

Moving Pictures

First up is Kiba in PVP Standard. She curled in more than I expected after the chute and I had to recall her out of the poles to fix her entry but otherwise a nice run.



Next up is Drifter in Team Standard (the same course, just a different view. No, he didn't stay. No, he didn't stay on his see-saw either. Brat dog. Good run though.


And here's Kiba's winning PSJ Finals run!


And while I was away, my mother closed up Strafe's 2-by-2 weaves and got him up to 6 poles. This video is from yesterday evening after I got home. Today I took him out and got him up to 12 poles in about a 5-minute session. Now I just have to get him driving through harder. He has a good rhythm but I fully expect him to do a one-strided gait through them when he's finished, at least in the front, so I will probably do some work with them slightly open for a bit to get him driving harder. He shows good understanding though!

16 October 2011

USDAA D4, 5 and 6

As usual, the days began to bleed together and run late, and I was not able to blog every day to update my results on here. I did try to keep brief updates on facebook at least.

Thursday Drifter ended up 7th in Team Standard, and Kiba's PVP Team was sitting in 1st place overall after Standard...

Friday, Day 4, was a big day for my dogs. Kiba and Drifter both had Team Snooker and Steeplechase/PSJ Semi-finals. Drifter also had to run Grand Prix Quarterfinals because of getting a flyoff called at NE Regional way back in June. Both dogs ran Snooker first, Drifter knocked the #2 bar in the closing, turned out to be due to a sore glute (actually sacrotuberal, but you could say "butt muscle" and not be wrong). Kiba did great, finishing with 48 points in only 37 seconds... Next up was Drifter's GP Quarterfinal run. He ran flawlessly - I was being fairly careful, just trying to stay CLEAN to move through to Semi's, but he ended up tied for 2nd on time and only .05 behind 1st, so I was happy with my "safe" time there! Later we ran Steeplchase, just like last year I was in the very last group to run and it was about 5:30pm or so. This year the footing was definitely less slippery, but it did pack down pretty hard by the end of the day. This was a VERY straightforward, FAST course, and Kiba did well for 7th place and into the Finals. Drifter had a fantastic run as well, but his time was slower than usual, he ended up 34th (they took 21 to the Finals). After we finished we discovered his feet and toes in general were very sore that evening, so I am going to assume his time was slowed down by his feet saying "ouch ouch ouch" around the course. After several sessions with the laser and some high-dose Traumeel he woke up feeling pretty good.

Saturday, Day 5, and we had Team Jumpers (a tough course), Grand Prix Semi-finals for Drifter and at night Speed Jumping for Kiba. Drifter's feet seemed much less sore and aside from one big wide corner in Jumpers he had a lovely run for 11th place. He also put in an absolutely fantastic run in Grand Prix Semi's, proving that old dogs can still rock it, he won Semi's by half a second, putting him in 1st seed for Finals. Kiba's Jumpers went a little better and she posted a great time for 2nd place. Her Teammate also ran clean and our Team finished the day in 1st place again...

The biggest Saturday news is that Kiba put in a fabulous run in Speed Jumping and won the class! She won me $500 which is wonderful and almost covers the hotel bill for staying here for a whole week! What a good little girl! She turned tight, ran fast, and I took advantage of the perfectly set course to use front crosses to get fast aframes including hitting the contact:)

No, we don't get to keep that trophy, it's just for the picture:)


Sunday morning Kiba's team had to pony up and run clean (or at least not go off course) in Relay. The relay course wasn't ridiculously hard, and this year Kiba got to go first (last year Driven punched me in the butt after she finished running her half). We both ran clean, a little careful so we didn't place in the Relay class, but we WON the Team Overall out of more than 100 PVP Teams! So Kiba won both PSJ and PVP this year! If we win PGP in the future, she could be a Performance "Triple Crown" dog! So cool!

Later on we had Grand Prix Finals. i was pretty concerned about my old boy, knowing his feet had been sore the other day, but our PT said he felt pretty good, she worked the kinks out of his neck and upper back (from the hard footing), and he looked great. We had to wait till the end of our height since we won the Semifinal round. He felt good going to the line, he did the opening great, gave me a very pushy see-saw but the judge wasn't calling them, I rear crossed the next jump, he started to come with me, I said something like "come on let's go!" to encourage him, and he shot off to the right and took a tunnel. I don't know if he misinterpreted my verbal encouragement to mean "go tunnel"? I am absolutely certain my body did not tell him to do that, but something I did must have. I stopped for a few seconds, shocked that he had done it at all, he came back and looked at me, I gathered it up again and we went off and finished the course in style, clean aside from our little miscommunication, I even fell briefly trying to pivot after the dogwalk, but he went on like nothing happened. 

This was a first for me, I realized, and the reason I had a moment of such utter shock. Drifter has been in Grand Prix Finals 4 previous times, Steeplechase Finals once, and AKC Finals twice. Out of those 7 appearances (I'm not counting Team Relay Finals here), he ran clean 6 times, and once missed a contact. My old retriever made GP Finals twice and ran clean and hit one bar in them. Kiba's made various Finals 5 times and run clean or only knocked bars/missed contacts. NEVER have I gone off course in an individual Final event. So it was a tough disappointment, especially knowing it will be his last Grand Prix Final. Perhaps if USDAA moves closer before he's too old, we will show in Performance, but I won't run him  in CO outdoors, so he won't do USDAA this year.

I am glad we managed to make Grand Prix Finals in high style this year, marking his 5th time making it. Not bad for a dog often described as "crazy" and a "bar-knocker" when he was younger.

Getting our Finalist ribbon and plaque. It was hard to smile just a few minutes after the off course of a lifetime, but I managed. Drifter is watching dogs warming up in the next ring and refused to look at the cameras...

13 October 2011

USDAA D2 and D3

Yesterday (Wed) was our first day of actual runs at USDAA Nationals. Both dogs only ran Team Gamblers, and both ran the courses I planned perfectly. I deliberately did an aframe with Kiba just so i could remind her she's supposed to stop at the bottom, and I was glad I did, because she totally "forgot"...
.
Kiba's PVP Team was in 3rd place overall after Gamblers on Wed. Drifter's team was not doing as well since his teammates did not have perfect Gamble runs and in fact one of them got robbed of points due to the judge thinking her dog had entered the poles when he hadn't...

Today (Thurs) we had Team Standard and Kiba ran PGP Semifinals. First up was Kiba in PVP Standard. She had a pretty good run, she just curled in towards me more than I expected out of the chute and missed her weave entry. Not bad. After that we ran PGP Semi-final. I was really excited for this course as it was a fun but tough course and Kiba could easily win the Final if she put in a good run, but no, in a totally random move, she popped out of the weaves at pole #10. I had slowed down, but I definitely had not started moving away from the poles yet since when she popped, she and I were basically face to face standing still. I was pretty upset at her for that - she's usually quite reliable in weaves as long as I don't do anything strange. i got her checked out but aside from a bit of tightness she really was in pretty good shape still.

Drifter only had one run today, Team Standard, and he didn't run till 4pm. He ran great, put in a good solid run, a few slightly wide corners and his usual pushy see-saw but his contacts and weaves and handling and jumping are all looking fantastic and he's clearly feeling very well!

I got a run or two on video but I certainly won't have every run. I do not like the stress of finding someone I know to video before the run...

11 October 2011

USDAA D1

Well today was all about setting up for me. I brought extra crates for Ria and David to use, hung up schedules (boy was THAT a task!), and set up my crating area. Drifter and Kiba get to share a big x-pen all by themselves, but it should enable them to move around and spread out and get good airflow, all important for such a long week. Instead of running the warm-up class, I went to a local park and took a nice 30-minute on-leash hike with them instead. Nothing strenuous, just wanted to get them moving in a nice gentle, continuous fashion to loosen them up. They enjoyed it. Now we're back at our super-nice hotel, dogs are fed, and we're ready to relax. Tomorrow both dogs only run Team Gamblers, nothing more. So not a real tough day. I will also be checking on the ACR crew to make sure the schedules are running smoothly and they're doing OK.

Here's what we did instead of running agility:



And here's video of Strafe's mother Jiggy getting 2nd place in Individual Agility with a fantastic run!

09 October 2011

Relatives at FCI!

Strafe's relatives had some great runs at the FCI championships over the weekend. Two of his sire's sisters ran clean in Individual Jumping:

Fleece:


and Bu:


They also had some great Team runs as well, but I can't find videos of those.

Also Strafe's mother Jiggy, and her sister Nala, made their debut at the event, and both looked fantastic.
Jiggy in Individual jumping:


Nala put in a fantastic time in Ind Jumping as well but hit the broad jump. Jiggy then proceeded to run clean in Individual Agility on Sunday, and I am pretty sure she finished 2nd for that individual class, which is absolutely fantastic!!! What a great debut for a young dog!

Jiggy and Nala's mother Simic (Strafe's grandmother) had a wonderful showing. She is now 9 years old but you wouldn't know it from watching her. She only ran in Team events, but she ran two fast clear rounds and looked great. Hopefully there will be more vidoes as the week goes on.

I figured I'd share Strafe's family success tonight too, even though I only just posted about Drifter half an hour ago. I wanted to post while I was thinking of it, and I won't be posting much the rest of the week - keep track of me on Facebook or Twitter for brief updates during the trial.

About to embark on a farewell tour of sorts

Drifter enjoying a good roll in the grass at Woodhenge in England, May 2010.

So i was away teaching this week from Tuesday to Thursday at the Doberman Specialty in MA. That was fun - check into a hotel and there's Dobermans EVERYWHERE! So bizarre, like an alternate universe or something! It was fun though, all the dogs did great and there are definitely some talented Dobe's out there in agility. I even watched some of the Top 20 Obedience dogs run! Didn't stick around for all of them though.

While I was gone, Drifter developed a UTI, peeing way too much and unable to hold it. I've heard of other dogs getting them post-neuter, even though the vets will tell you that shouldn't cause it. So he's on antibiotics and 3 days in he seems very much improved, and after discussion with the vet we decided that since he seems fine he should be absolutely fine to go on a week-long trip. Boy he likes to keep me on my toes, I guess. As of today he's not going out to pee anymore often than usual, and while he still looks a bit uncomfortable and pees perhaps a bit more often when he's out than usual, he seems perfectly happy in the house, so I do think the antibiotics are clearing it up nicely. 

On the note of Drifter, I realized that this week will almost certainly be his last trip to a National event. He's getting older, and I don't think a 28-hour drive to CO where the competition is 6,000 feet up in the air will be a great idea. Too much travel, too much altitude (I worry about his heart though he's doing great), too much uncertainty with the possibility of wet footing. I'm also not planning to fly him to Reno for AKC in the spring. Again, too much travel for his age and I am determined not to fly him again. So...   this is probably it. I really want to retire him while he's still sound and happy. I do not want to be someone who runs my dog in the ring over and over as he ages visibly and begins to have trouble. So we will go to Kentucky, hopefully do some great things, then we will finish our MACH2 (6 more QQ's), and then we will most likely just retire permanently. Do some training, walking, and hiking when the weather is nice. There's the possibility that I might take him to Tulsa in 2013, but I will probably be focusing on Kiba and Strafe at that point. We shall see.

Anyway, here's to Drifter's likely retirement of Nationals, although of course no guarantees as it will depend on how he's doing, but he will no longer be my focus, my "main dog" any longer. He's accomplished a lot, taught me a lot, and he's got his last hurrah this week to try to kick some young-dog butt... 

Tomorrow morning we're off for our 11 hour drive!

03 October 2011

Strafe from today:)




No, I won't be doing a lot of 26" work, and when I did the dogwalk sequences the bars were either on the ground or set at 12". Strafe will get some time off with very little work throughout October as I'm going to USDAA Cynosport games in a week, and I'm also teaching a lot. Clearly he won't have 12 weave poles by the time I leave, which was my original goal, but I think we may get to 4 closed ones by next Monday - we'll see. I want to keep getting his basic entry skills a little better, as you can see he has trouble with a couple of them, but when asked to try again he got it, so he's getting there. What an awesome youngster!

02 October 2011

LKC D2

Good day at Lancaster today. It was cold and damp outside, but they turned the heat on in the canvas building and it was bearable. Just not used to cold yet, it was still pretty warm last week! Anyway, Drifter continued his awesome streak, after having minor surgery not even 3 weeks ago he came back in style, going 4 for 4 to add 2 more QQ's towards his MACH2, and I believe he now has 9 on the year. I am starting to feel bad that I'm not planning to take him to Reno, it just seems so silly to take a 9 and 1/2 year old dog with a heart murmur all the way across the (very large) country, when he's already won twice.... but. .... he looks GREAT! He's gotten very very consistent this year.

Kiba was also pretty good, although personally I think the judge was giving gifts today in the standard ring with the contacts...not just my dog either! Anyway, Kiba was clean in Standard - amusingly her time and Drifter's were only .01 of a second apart. And she was also clean in JWW for her 6th QQ on the year, so she's all qualified for Nationals now. I am sure I'm taking her to Reno (I think!) so I'm happy to have that out of the way. We are only planning one more AKC trial before the end of the qualifying period, so I really didn't want to have that hanging over my head!

I also ran my mother's dog Trig, Drifter's daughter. She's only 3 but is coming together pretty well. She isn't as fast as my dogs are (yet), but she's a very tidy jumper and hardly ever hits a bar. She ran well for me this weekend after a bumpy start Saturday morning. She also got a QQ today and now only needs one more to qualify to go to Reno! If she does, I may run her - in fact because of Trig's athleticism and my mother's achilles tendon issues, we are mulling over me trying to qualify for Tryouts with her, and running her at Nationals at 26". She's a pretty easy, careful jumping dog and can handle pretty much whatever height is thrown at her. . . more to come on that later. Nothing certain yet!

Drifter's little girl, Trig:

01 October 2011

LKC and more annoying Strafe bragging

Went on my super-long commute drive out to Lancaster Kennel Club AKC trial today. (and again tomorrow - 1hour45min is a looooong commute!) Drifter did great at his first trial since the end of July, really pretty flawless runs, although I overshot a few corners in JWW. I forget how much farther ahead I can stay using my nifty blind crosses now. He was 1st in Standard and 2nd in JWW, for his 33rd QQ. What a good guy!

Kiba almost had one, but when she jumped off the DW (after dipping her toenails in the edge of the contact) I was still insisting that she lie down (remember that video of her doing lovely perfect 4 on the floor at home?), and she ended up skidding to a stop and lied down RIGHT in front of the next jump, so we got a refusal. Oh well. That gave me free license to insist on her stopping at the other contacts, which she ALSO hadn't been planning to do, and I had to give her reminders after she jumped off. Naughty girl! She flew through JWW though for a time about 1.3sec faster than Drifter's. She's back at 16" this weekend to practice for Cynosport in 2 weeks in KY, and she is so happy - 16 is SO easy for her!

I also ran Trig, who had some, uh, mental focus issues in the first runs but got it together for a nice clean run in JWW for 3rd place behind her father Drifter.

And of course because I'm obsessing about it, after I got home I took advantage of the great weather and took Strafe out to train again. That boy's been getting a lot of work lately, but I try hard to keep it short and not do a lot of jumping - when I sequence the dogwalk I keep the jumps quite low to minimize impact. Anyway, we did some weave work - he did fabulous and I closed them a bit and he was still fabulous. No more "WTF" moments, yay! Getting closer to closing them! Then we did some more dogwalks "in sequence" with me holding the toy and just running. Perfect, perfect, and more perfect. And he's driving forward, not turning to stare at me, so I'm super duper pleased with it. I am confident enough to back off now, actually, and just focus on his weaves for a while. Which is good because I've been working him almost every day, for 10-15min, trying to get his obstacles solid.

Months ago I had thought with him I would probably bring him out in January, jumping 20", and then move him up in the spring to 26", but now I'm thinking about moving straight up to 26" right away. I am pretty darned sure his growth plates are closed, as he really hasn't changed height or physical appearance for probably 3 or 4 months now. In training, I have begun to work a few 26" jumps here and there, at low speeds mostly, a few wraps, a few backsides, a pinwheel or two. He is so great at jumping, he can turn, he can add strides, he can push up vertically from quite close. So nice! I am trying to be careful with him, so the vast majority of our work is still at 12 or 16", especially if we have some speed (dogwalk exercises, for example). But I"m now thinking I may go ahead and enter him at 15 months old, at 26" in an AKC trial. That seems so ridiculously young, but he is mentally ready for it, and as long as I limit his jumping activity, he will be physically ready as well. Now we just need to get his weaves finished! I'm so excited about running him, it's ridiculous. I'm not one to gush about any dog, even my own, generally, but this dog is just so close to perfect - exactly what I wanted. Which is wonderful, but even more so because I went so far and spent so much to get him!

My little boy doesn't snuggle a lot, because he gets hot, but sometimes he will sleep along my legs like this: