20 December 2012

Boy Dog

rendezvous planned for the Boy Dog this winter...

Also, I made him play pretty today for a nice stacked shot. Sometimes I think he is too pretty.... then I decide that's probably not possible.

edited off most of the leash as it was distracting, but you can see the nub still 
now those are pretty angles. He has a really nice shoulder which is, in my opinion, rare in border collies. they usually have nicer shoulders than some breeds, but a really well balanced BC is hard to find.

no trials

So apparently when I'm not trialing I just totally forget to post on here. I haven't trialed since the USDAA trial Dec 2nd, and I'm not entered till AKC on New Year's Eve. I have a lot of 3 to 6 week breaks between trials planned this year, as I try to make money without spending too much so that I can afford my planned trips this year (including the EO in Belgium!!!)

It is an interesting experience for me, as owner of a "stud dog" now... having to consider each bitch, her pedigree, her health, temperament, and then being trusting enough of the breeder to allow them to choose homes for the pups! Little Strafe babies? Seems crazy! But there are 2 fairly serious inquires for 2013 already.... I may limit it to that for the year. I do not want to be involved in having a super popular stud dog, and I like the idea of having 1 or 2 litters and then allowing them grow up a bit before deciding when/whether to breed him again. No guarantees on either litter for 2013 actually happening - depends on timing, etc. If a bitch comes in heat while I'm at AKC Nationals, then it won't happen, for example.

Speaking of which.. Strafe! At AKC Nationals! It's only 4 months away, which to me is quite near already since I am planning his conditioning and training in order to make sure he is peaking physically and mentally in mid-March. My goal is lofty, for a baby dog, and that is to make 26" Finals and run clean! Winning would be lovely, but honestly it is hard to even make Finals in the 26" class, and if we make it in put on a good show I will be thrilled. If we do well and don't make it, then that's OK too - he's a baby - but I know he CAN do it, we just have to be ready and confident.

Kiba's goal, of course, will be to add that elusive "NAC" to her name! A title I gave away last year by making a handling mistake. I don't begrudge the winner, he is a great handler and deserved it, but this year I won't be giving anything away by making a stupid mistake with Kiba. She's 8 years old now and quite likely only has 2 more AKC National events in her, so we are coming in super serious this year and giving away nothing.

I had increased our hiking up to 90min at a time, including hills, 4 to 6 times a week, but with traveling to teach privates and me feeling lazy, this past week we haven't been hiking at all. I am trying to increase the "field walking" time we do at home to 2 separate 20ish minute walks, with all 4 dogs off leash. And I'm concentrating on beefing up Kiba and Strafe's core work, especially rear end power, which is neither dog's strong suit. So we are spending time doing sit-up's, working on the disc, the egg, the Bosu, etc. Kiba loves it, because it involves cookies. Strafe thinks it's just OK. He only likes meat-flavored cookies ;)

Strafe, the amazing dog who can jump with his eyes closed!

13 December 2012

Now that Strafe is 2 and has his OFA clearances, he is already getting some interest from owners of "lucky ladies" that want to use him as stud... this is a new world for me. I am willing to breed him some, but not a lot. And I am very picky so I will be pretty careful who I breed him to - must have hips, no epilepsy too close in the family, good temperament, etc etc. But I feel that Strafe is such a nice dog - and here's the really important bit - from a family of nice dogs - that I'd be selfish not to breed him at least a few times.

So it is something else I have to make a judgement on.... and also try to dance around and not offend anyone if I don't want to use him on their bitch! I'm picky! I am not breeding him to make money....

In other news, AKC changed their qualifying requirements for Nationals for this next year. Instead of 6 QQ's and 400 speed points, you  now need only 4 QQ's, but 20 total Q's from standard/JWW and 500 total points. I am pretty sure my dogs each had 20 Q's without a problem, I know Strafe had around 25 this year and Kiba had more than him, but the points may be harder... I think using this criteria Kiba would have qualified this year but Strafe would have been about 30 or 40 points short.... Although I have to say if he had not thrown his pelvis out at the last AKC trial we were at, resulting in only 1 Q out of 5 runs due to knocking bars... he probably would have had it. He usually Q's over 70% of the time, so even if I say he would have gotten 3 or 4Q's that weekend out of 6, he would have qualified. And we didn't show a crazy amount this past year. So I expect I won't have too much trouble qualifying, although having to count points all year is kind of a pain!

I only have 1 AKC trial each month for Jan to March - I didn't want to over do it for a couple reasons - I need to save money towards attending the EO and Nationals and Tryouts. Also, I don't want to do too much AKC before I can earn qualifications towards next year's Tryouts, which doesn't begin until April.

Yes he fell asleep like this.

09 December 2012

My dog is a dork sometimes

yeah, she hung onto this, somehow....

Going to rain again tomorrow just like today only warmer... today we went to see Skyfall, I enjoyed it, lots of cool action, some humor, and Daniel Craig is a good time to be had on a rainy day.

When I took the dogs out to run in the field during a break in the rain, Strafe tried to dig in for a turn and slipped, rolling himself. One car crash! Anyway, Ria will be here on Tues/Wed and can make sure he didn't throw himself out, and we aren't trialing for a few more weeks anyway.

I am on a mission this winter to keep the dogs super fit... I have made a spreadsheet and everything. Of course I don't end up following it to the letter every day but I do go in and change it according to what I did do so I can keep track of how to escalate all the work. I'm working on endurance, core work (especially rear end for both Strafe and Kiba), and "explosive power" which involves more plyometric type exercises, sometimes involving a jump, sometimes not. I'm also working on both speeding up and proofing Strafe's dogwalk behavior. He stops too early if I say touch or stay, but he comes off the end if I don't and there's a trap nearby, so some more understanding is necessary there. My goal - to be running a super buff, educated, confident dog for AKC Nationals, then spend the next 6 weeks working our international skills and blow the competition away at Tryouts so I don't have to pay for my own EO trip! ;)

That's the plan, anyway.

But tomorrow it's going to rain again, so we still won't get a chance to go find a loop hiking trail that takes more than 90minutes... we will be stuck with working on the disc, egg, and walking up/down the stairs on leash a bunch of times!

Also sometimes a dork! ;)

08 December 2012

part of May just opened up...

Well, Strafe and I did not get selected for the WAO Team. As I said before, I am not surprised, his resume is quite short. However, I do think the selection process is really skewed towards rewarding UKI competition. I guess that is where the WAO is headed - it is turning into the UKI World Team. Which I suppose is OK, except I really don't have any interest in competing in UKI. I have enough to do with AKC and USDAA, and wasn't that excited by the course maps I have seen for the US Open the past 2 years. Not to mention there are hardly any qualifiers out here on the East Coast.
So I think perhaps that even though I really enjoyed the WAO event in 2010 and 2011, I may not try out again. I thought the entire point of the WAO was that it was not associated with ANY competition venue/organization, but it seems that is not really the case, at least here in the USA. So now that I have a 26" dog I will stick with AKC Tryouts, EO, and FCI World Teams (well, hoping for that last one in 2014 anyway, no guarantees!)

How cute is Strafe's mother??
ETA: Strangely, after I posted this, the team announcement mystically disappeared off the UKI Facebook page and doesn't seem to be anywhere anymore! But I am going to leave this up assuming that even though the full team isn't announced publicly, it is probably OK for me to say that I'm not on it ;)

07 December 2012

Amazing to me that it's been more than 2 years since my 4-day trip to Copenhagen to get Strafe... and this weekend marks 1 year since his agility trial debut. He's come a long way in just one year, from Novice to MX/MXJ and 8 QQ's, qualified for AKC Nationals and World Team Tryouts, ran at USDAA Nationals and did really well... and it seems like every time I run him he's faster, tighter, more efficient, more reliable... It's so amazing to have a dog who just does what I trained him to do, every time - he doesn't lose his head at trials!

Here is Strafe's first trial video, for nostalgia's sake. Note the lovely running dogwalk, and I apologize if hearing Judy S on the tape makes anyone cry :(

06 December 2012

No more trials in 2012

We are taking December off for a couple of reasons - finances being a big one, but also I think after such a busy fall season of competitions and seminars, it is good to take some decompression time. We are just hiking and doing core work and I am working to both speed up and proof Strafe's dogwalk behavior a bit.

It's gotten colder, and it's hunting season, so even though hunting is only allowed in a few small areas of the park, we are now hiking in our nifty brightly colored Hurtta vests. I like them a lot, the dogs can move freely but boy are they visible. And they are a little bit warm, without making the dogs too hot.

We've been regularly going for approximately 90min hikes for the past month, I am trying to build up to 2 hours at a time, but it is hard to find loop trails that last that long without getting lost or ending up in a strange part of the park. We are having fun exploring all the areas we've never been to before, and finding new trails.

I thought I'd also share my WAO Tryout videos. We filmed these about 3 or 4 weeks ago, back before the seminars with Jaakko and Janita. I am still doubtful that we will be selected for WAO Team, given the strength and experience of the 26" field that is applying, however, I think that Strafe and I are such a good, strong, already-meshing team that I am confident in our skills should we be chosen. He already runs like an "old hat" dog....

04 December 2012

Kiba D

Kiba turns 8 years old today. In review, she's accomplished a lot. I wanted to repost my  blog from 4 years ago (half her lifetime now!), celebrating her 4th birthday. She's done so much more since then....officially she is MACH ADCH Lock-eye Kiba MXS MJS TM-Gold and some Performance Tournament title I didn't keep track of. Considering exactly how soft she was back when we started training, and that she was only what I'd describe as "medium fast", she sure has come a long way! She still has a low frustration threshhold, but instead of shutting down and running away, she sort of gives up by staring/screaming at me or flinging herself at random choices instead....What I do know is that she freaking LOVES to run agility with me now, and is ridiculously fast. She achieved some accomplishments at 20" and 22", but truly excels at 16" due to her boxy structure, tight back, and mild near-sightedness/ETS.

A quick summary of her accomplishments in the past 8 years:
MACH (and halfway to MACH2)
ADCH (at 22")
at 20"/22":
AKC Finalist at just over 4 years old, in the 20" class!
USDAA DAM Team Overall - on the 2nd and 3rd overall Teams in 2008 and 2009
USDAA Steeplechase Finalist, running clean and placing 8th (at 22") in 2009
in 2010 I dropped her to Perf 16" (she already measures into 16" for AKC)
USDAA Perf Grand Prix Finalist, placing 3rd 2010
USDAA Perf Speed Jumping Finalist 2010 and 2011, winning the Championship in 2011
USDAA PVP Finalist 2010 (placing 10th overall) and 2011 when she won the Overall with Kate/Driven
AKC Finalist at 7yrs old, in the 16" class (she won 3 individual classes this past year as well)

As well, she has many placements at Nationals and Regionals, including back to back Northeast Regional PGP Championship wins in 2010 and 2011.

In 2012 we made the World Agility Open Team, which was her first, last, and only time running in an International Event. She had to jump just over 20", and because I trained and conditioned very determinedly, she did quite well, but now as she turns 8 her old back tightness has returned along with some very mild shoulder issues, and her vision and early takeoffs seem to have gotten slightly worse as well, so she is permanently at 16" now till she retires (which I tentatively plan for 2014ish).

So Happy Birthday to my crazy, obsessive, boxy, adorable but crazy little dog! My only BC with obsessive compulsive issues, and my only BC who people still think might be "my new puppy" when I walk her around;)

03 December 2012

Pictures! Videos! Tournament Q's!

Pictures from USDAA Nationals from Great Dane Photos! Yay! More can be found on Strafe's Facebook page ;)

We went to a Tournament trial this last weekend. Strafe was a total rockstar, 9 of 11 runs totally clean, only faults were a knocked piece off the top of a wall jump and one knocked bar in the opening of Gamblers. He was top Individual Team dog in 26", winning Team Jumpers and Standard, and placing top 3 in Snooker and Gamblers, and running his section of Relay clean as well. And he got his 2013 Team Q! Yay! Glad that's done:)  He also won both rounds of Steeplechase, all 3 rounds of Open/Master Challenge (a special class like Master Challenge but anybody could enter!) with gorgeous clean runs, and also won Grand Prix for his 2nd Q and bye voucher for 2013. All he needs for USDAA Nationals is one more local Steeplechase Q.

Kiba also Q'ed in everything, although due to her back being really tight I did not run her in all the Challenge classes. We had a bit of miscommunication here and there, but overall she was good - won both rounds of PSJ, Q'd in PVP and our team won the Relay, and won PGP so she also got her 2nd bye voucher for 2013.

Now we are off for a month, I will spend it building up both dogs' backs and rear ends - Strafe's pelvis

27 November 2012

Hello from new computer land!

Yes I've gotten my holiday gift early this year, a spiffy new laptop, I've never owned something that involved the word "terrabyte" before, but I'm liking it so far! It's fast and new and has a nice HD display on it! I have Windows 8 which is different but so far I'm liking it, it's easy and customizable, works a lot like a really big mobile device;)

Anyway, November has been a busy month for me. We started out with an AKC trial Nov 10/11, where Strafe went 3/4 picking up his 8th QQ, and Drifter was 2/3 picking up his 38th QQ. Kiba was not entered - she is qualified for Nationals and I don't like to trial her more than necessary, both to save her body and my money! The week after that I attended an evening lecture and 2-day high-level handling seminar with Jaakko Suoknuuti and Janita Leinonen from Finland (I think I've finally memorized the spelling for their names!). Since I have been trending towards that style of handling for a while now, I was excited to go and learn their thoughts on different techniques and maneuvers, and it was worth it. They do a lot of foundation that complements what I already teach my dogs regarding commitment and jumping. Strafe did really well and I feel like I did too - there are some small differences in how we do things, but I am going to take some time to consider which way I like better before deciding "I am right" or "they are right" - after all, nobody's really RIGHT so much as they are FASTER out on course....  it really comes down to how well the dog executes what you've trained, which is partially a factor of how easy it is to understand. Making the dog think too hard is never good, thus consistency is key! Anyway, I really enjoyed training with them, and if I ever could afford it, would definitely take some time to go do it again! I hope they return to the States again next year.

This past weekend was another AKC trial, Drifter picked up QQ #39 and won 3 classes out of 4, not bad for a 10-year old dog in the 20" class (with over 100 dogs in it!) I do think his feet were a little sore on Monday, so it does reinforce my thought that he will retire as soon as he gets QQ #40 and finishes MACH2 - which he won't get another chance at until February due to my trial schedule, but that's OK, he's in pretty good shape physically and won't be unable to jump anytime soon, barring catostrophic injury, which is unlikely since I don't work him that much!

This weekend Strafe and Kiba are entered in a USDAA trial, Tournaments and Challenge classes only (they even have "Open Challenge" for dogs without their Masters titles!) Both dogs seem to have a tight back this week, so they are on partial rest, lasering, and are hanging around in their Back on Track coats today while it rains.

Various trial and seminar video can be found at my youtube page (link to the side of this page)

I hope to keep more updated now that I can type faster! Here are some pics detailing what we've been doing for the past month!

Survived our 2nd hurricane!

Started going on longer hikes of 5-6 miles at a time, even when it's cold!


Strafe's OFA came back Good!

And more hiking!

01 November 2012

sorry for the lack of updates

while i was down in NC my laptop became ill, not sure what's going on with it but till it's fixed or replaced, facebook is the best place to keep track of me. 

returned from NC and ran in a USDAA trial where Strafe finished his AD, picked up an advanced standard leg and won Grand Prix, but missed out on steeplechase and a few other legs due to (gasp) baby mistakes! with his increasing speed and confidence has come a but of extra oomph when i least expect it. Overall though, still my perfect boy;)

i also ran kiba who E'd in both Masters classes but picked up a PSJ Q and won PGP so she is qualified for regionals already.

Seri ran too, she did pretty well for a wild thing but in the end her tally was 3 E's and a 5fault run (that was GP and i was really proud of her for that one). she tried very hard but the increasing difficulty of the courses is not easy for her... and now her wrist is enflamed a bit afterwards. so she will probably be on indefinite break again...

after the trial, Hurricane Sandy hit us. We did OK, lost a tree and power was out for a day, and the cable golt knocked out too, but considering the eye passed right over us, our damage is minimal. the NY and NJ shores were not so lucky.

more updates when i get a working laptop, this phone typing is not so fun...

16 October 2012

first west, and now south, or at least, in a southerly direction

Well I spent Thursday to Saturday hanging out in beautiful, sunny California. I landed in Santa Barbara, got to see the Channel Islands from the air, had lunch along the beach with perfect weather. Then spent Friday/Saturday teaching. It was very interesting teaching out in CA, since the west coast is still very much a "GD" system area, while here in the east hardly anyone uses that system anymore. I was impressed though, everyone was very brave about trying previously "forbidden" handling maneuvers, and all seemed to have fun!

I stayed in a little town called Solvang, up by Santa Ynez area. Solvang was founded by Danish immigrants in 1911, and modeled to be like a cute little Scandinavian town. Having been in Copenhagen myself, and owning a dog from Denmark, I found this to be a particularly amusing coincidence. The town was adorable, though it didn't really remind me all that much of Copenhagen, it did have a cutesy little European town feel to it. Here are some pictures I took while out wandering around (and eating a really tasty Danish!)

Great little streets for walking with cutesy shops

Covered walkway between buildings

The front of my hotel had both the USA and Danish flags flying

I thought windmills were more of a Dutch thing?

I flew home from CA on the red-eye flight Saturday night, spent Sunday doing laundry and packing, and then yesterday I drove down here to Raleigh NC with Kiba, Seri, and Strafe. I am house and dog-sitting for a friend of mine while she's in Europe, so her house will be my base camp for the next 8 days or so. Her dogs know me and my dogs know her house, so everyone is pretty comfortable although 6 dogs is more than I'm used to watching.

09 October 2012

Another Video

Top 3 dogs in Steeplechase 26", of course we tied for FIRST but ended up 2nd:)

I am busy for the end of this week - flying out super early Thursday to California to teach Friday/Saturday, taking the red-eye flight home Saturday night, resting, doing laundry and packing on Sunday, then Monday I'm off to NC to house/dog-sit for a week, then flying from NC to OH for one day and back again, then driving home and stopping in VA to teach a few privates on the way! Crazy! Although the week in NC will actually be restful - I've got a few hours of privates while I'm there but mostly it'll just be taking care of the house, hiking, training, etc - hanging out!

Lots of talk about FCI being in South Africa next year. Much as I'd like to visit South Africa at some point in my life, I don't think I'm willing to deal with the enormous amount of paperwork and blood tests and super long cargo travel times and expense. Rumor has it that many countries won't go, USA probably included, but even if they do go, I don't think I'll try out. I can go to EO instead, and try out for FCI when it is an easier year for travel. There are also rumors "on the street" that if the USA does not go, they will use Tryouts to pick a team to sponsor for the EO, which sounds awesome to me, I would definitely sign up for that!

USDAA trial end of October. Seri's first trial since March, Kiba's first trial since mid-September, should be fun!

I am a little torn about putting Strafe's name in for WAO next year. I know I can't because I really can't afford both EO and WAO, but I did really enjoy the WAO both years and Strafe is actually going to be a really good dog for it. Unfortunately they just don't give enough money back for me to afford both! If only I had a major sponsor that would pay my way :(

Kiba exits the weaves during a clean run in Team Agility 2 at WAO 2012

03 October 2012

2012 USDAA Cynosport Games

When I decided to bring only Strafe to this event, I knew he would probably do "well", but I mainly wanted to use it as a chance to get him some experience at a large event that went for multiple days. He would get to run when tired, around crowds, on footing that differed from ring to ring (grass vs turf), and generally get the whole "big event" experience under his belt early.

I did not expect to win 2 classes and make 2 Finals. . .

We flew out on Tuesday, met our roommate and rental car buddy at the airport, checked into the hotel, and went to the site to set up. I was crating out of the Advanced Canine Rehab tent because I handled the scheduling and wanted to be there to deal with schedule changes all week.

poto by Brandon White
Strafe was in the red crate nearest to me (I'm the one in the hat). I stuffed a 3" memory foam bed into a carry on suitcase, and placed the crate on top of that so he had good, comfortable padding. Strafe disagreed with my strategy and spent the week finding new and creative ways to move the crate so he could try to lay on the ground instead ;)

Wednesday was the first competition day, and did not start out well. It rained a lot Tuesday night and so USDAA did not want to use the 3 competition rings on grass, which  meant the "warm up class" took twice as long to run as it should have, being in 3 rings instead of 6. Regardless, I just wanted to get him running, reinforce his contacts, and get a mild correction in if he hit a bar. Instead, he slid sideways off the see-saw, something he's never done before. I put him back on it, but the entire week after that he was really hesitant to go all the way out the see-saw board and I had to drive him hard to get him into the contact. Later Wed evening (running late), we ran Steeplechase and Grand Prix Quarterfinals. Unfortunately, the fall had made him stiff, and he hit a bar in Grand Prix, knocking us out for the rest of the competition. He also hit a bar in Steeplechase but we got through to Semifinals anyway...

After that I made sure he got all the kinks worked out by Ria:)

Neither of these is Strafe, but you get the idea!

He felt better on Thursday. We were the first group to run Team Snooker, and I ran a very ambitious plan, just made it through when we ran out of time, and somehow nobody else throughout the entire day could quite make the same plan work, and we WON the class! Ironic, because he has no Q's in Starters Snooker.

Strafe's first trophy!
later on Thursday was Steeplechase Semifinals. Strafe was feeling much better, and ran fabulously, placing 3rd place in 26" and making it into Finals! So exciting!

Friday we had Team Jumpers and Gamblers, and I caused a bar in Jumpers and was not running fast enough for some reason, but I was pleased with his time regardless - if not for the bar, would have been 2nd place. Gamblers he ran my plan perfectly, we did not place but got a solid amount of points.

Saturday started with Team Standard, a fun, twisty course. I pushed a little bit, and again we WON THE CLASS, beating a former World Team dog by more than a full second. Couldn't be more pleased with the baby! Not bad for having a stopped dogwalk contact either ;)

Saturday night was Steeplechase Finals. This was our very first run in the main ring - it has flapping banners and flags all around, running at night under lights, with a big cheering crowd. I assumed Strafe would be OK with all those things, but I couldn't really know for sure! Well he was more than OK! He ran a lovely clear run and TIED FOR FIRST with Svetlana Tumanova and Skippy, an experienced dog/handler team who has done a lot! She ran first in the run-off and knocked a bar, and since Strafe had no time to cool off from his first run and I had no time to really consider what to do or focus, we tried to run "conservatively" and be clean, but Strafe hit the last bar, and was a little slower than Skippy, so we lost the run-off. Still, the fact that my 2 years and 2 weeks old baby dog TIED with Skippy for FIRST PLACE! makes me very happy, and I think we both gave it our all in the first run. So Strafe ended up 2nd place in his very first Final Round at a National Event! Super happy:)

Sunday morning we got to run in Team Relay Final, Strafe ran his part clean, our team placed 4th in Relay, and 14th overall out of 167 Teams.

I did not get good video of much, but here is bad video off the livestream.

So Strafe came home with 4 big ribbons - 1st in Team Snooker, 1st in Team Standard, 2nd in Steeplechase Finals, and 4th in Team Relay.

He was also the top Individual dog in 26" over all of the Team runs!

He was very tired when we finally got home Monday afternoon.

He is not entered in any more trials until we run some USDAA at the end of October, and he gets the next couple weeks off from agility altogether. We will be hiking more and doing some core strengthening activity.

Starting late next week, I am going to be away almost every day till the end of October. Crazy busy!

24 September 2012

10 years

Tomorrow is Drifter's birthday. I will be traveling and therefore won't be able to post. I got Drifter when I was only 20 years old, I was already a pretty good handler in agility - I had earned a couple of ADCH's and made Grand Prix and DAM Team Finals several times already. But for Drifter I had to be more. More everything (that's my new motto). I had to be faster, stronger, firmer. I had to learn more about conditioning and collection and "cue and go", and running contacts. I learned more about start line stays (and lack thereof) and about dogs who won't lie down on the table. I learned about dogs that CAN jump 26" but maybe it's just a touch too hard for them to be comfortable... I learned to run aggressively.

Drifter turns 10 tomorrow, a couple weeks after I have turned 30. In my 20's, with Drifter, we went to 5 Grand Prix Finals, made the podium in 3 of them. We went to Steeplechase Finals only once, surprisingly, but we won that one. We went to AKC Nationals only 3 times total, went to Finals twice and won both of them. We won our way onto the USDAA IFCS World Team by collecting points throughout the year and then rocking it at USDAA Nationals to pull into 2nd place from 4th. We won our way onto the very first WAO Team, and then won the Biathlon World Championship. We got a MACH, an ADCH, and two NAC titles...

Because I don't trial a ton, and I actually didn't even do AKC for several years of his career, he does not yet have a MACH2, but we will finish that this fall and then he is retired for good. He has a mild heart murmur, a toe that doesn't work (long term result of a toe injury when he was 2 years old), and some very mild sore spots that pop up if he isn't kept super fit. But he's earned his retirement, I think. He is a pushy dog, but a good one. And I expect he'll stick around a while, digging through toy baskets and biting the grass and ignoring me when I tell him to lie down and stay.

So Here's to Drifter, the dog that helped me become "famous"!

Happy 10th Birthday Drifter! from Rosanne DeMascio on Vimeo.

23 September 2012

Briefly Briefly

I am home tonight, after a bit of a whirlwind trip with Seri and Stafe. 6 hours driving on Wed down to NC, Ryze met his new people and is in his new home, hopefully to stay. i stayed 2 nights there visiting a friend (and finishing up my scheduling for Advanced Canine Rehab), then Friday I drove 6 more hours across to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to another friend's place, and spent some hours each day teaching privates, but also visiting with that friend (we saw Resident Evil 3D!). I got a tiny bit of training in with the dogs, Seri got to play and practice her new aframe behavior (a 2on2off to make her control herself over the apex, rather than diving like a crazy beast), and Strafe got to see another set of 22" weave poles and another 5'10" aframe. Now I have to do laundry, pack, decide what's coming to Denver and what isn't, and Tuesday I'm off for a week in Colorado, to Strafe's very first big National level event! I am looking forward to it a lot, a relaxed event (running only one dog!!) with my relaxing dog:)

And somehow over the course of talking with Strafe's breeder, I may have decided to get a puppy end of 2013/beginning of 2014... IF everything works out, which it may or may not. We shall see ;)

Also, I FINALLY got my pictures of Kiba from WAO!! I haven't had time to process all of them but I love this sequence of me running past her weaves in the Gamblers run (we got 3rd in that one). I have no idea what I'm doing with my hands, but at least I'm running!

16 September 2012

Busytime recommences

so... I have been busy and will continue to be so into October. Here's a quick catch-up post of what's up.

Last week I attended a seminar with Jenny Damm, a high-level attendees only type seminar, and we had a lot of fun running some very tough courses. Strafe was a rockstar, did some very difficult things including weave entries/exits.

Ryze has found a home down in NC, I take him down this Wednesday and leave him for a few weeks to see how he gets along. He's holding at just over 17".

Strafe is 2!

Kiba's tight shoulder is doing better!

Seri has the "OK" from my PT to continue working agility and I am angling to qualify for USDAA in TN, which means she will be entered in a trial in Oct or Nov...

Strafe got his MXJ yesterday and I totally forgot! He also got QQ #7 and went 3/4 this weekend, maintaining his Q rate in Exc B of over 70% (all at 26"). I believe he now needs approximately 15 points to qualify for Nationals.

Kiba is already qualified - I pulled the eligibility report and she has more than enough points. She did not QQ this weekend but ran well.

My favorite run from the AKC trial this weekend:

Tomorrow I am "off" but I have to start prepping for my Denver trip. I still have a lot to do and little time in which to do it. I am also awaiting the group rotation schedule for Denver, so I can make the schedule for my PT... that will eat up quite a few hours. Tuesday I go to visit her to give Strafe and myself one more check before we leave. Wednesday I drive down to NC to visit a friend and say goodbye to Ryze. Friday I drive across to a different part of MD and Saturday/Sunday I'm teaching private lessons. Monday is crazy packing day! and Tuesday I fly to Denver!

06 September 2012

7 Sept 2010

no, that's not today's date, that's the date Strafe was born! I will be leaving bright and early tomorrow morning for the airport, to fly to New Hampshire for a weekend of seminars, so I won't be able to post. But tomorrow is Strafe's 2nd birthday! He is so mature that it's hard to believe he's only just now turning 2 years old. He's already qualified for USDAA Nationals, AKC World Team Tryouts, and AKC Nationals (aside from needing some more speed points). He's got his AX, his AXJ, only needs 1 more JWW and 2 more Standard legs for his MX and MXJ, and he has his Starters Standard title in USDAA.

He gets along great with all dogs and people, has never met a stranger, and pretty much has the perfect laid back temperament. He was well worth the expense of a trip to Denmark to go and get him.

So a day early, but Happy Birthday Strafe! Along with all your siblings: See Me, Jazzie, Tugger, Flex, Wink, and Zoya!

10 weeks, just after arriving in the USA

4 months

7 months

9 months

1 year

21 months old
21 months, "stacked"
I don't have any actual "2 year" photos, he just keeps growing man hair around his neck ;)

01 September 2012

First post from my 30's....

gee, feels just like my 20's, except today my cold/allergy thing has condensed into an occasional cough thing instead... with some head congestion. But really, I don't put much stock into the whole birthday/holiday/celebration thing. Just the way my brain works. Although some of my friends/students DID bring a cake and a balloon to the trial AND sing me Happy Birthday!

Good day at the trial, Strafe finished his Starters Standard title, picked up a Starters Gamblers and Pairs leg, and got 1 point in snooker - I went for the hard plan and tried to recall through 2 jumps off the start line, and he obviously needs a bit more work on that, as he went from 1 to 1 earning us a quick whistle. First time Strafe has been carried off for being "naughty" (we aren't allowed to continue on), but I wasn't exactly mean; I knew that would be hard for him, but he DOES have that skill at home.

Anyway, all he needs for his AD title now is a snooker leg under a 3rd judge.

When I stayed at a friend's place for the AKC trial last weekend, Kiba and Strafe were in love with her giant elk antler chews, so for Strafe's birthday I picked up 2 of them at the trial today. Seri went freaking nuts for it, and chewed for probably an hour straight before I took it away. They were the hot item of the day, for sure!

She softened one end up considerably already, but these things should last a while...

Tomorrow I'm home, which is good because I'm still not over this allergy/cold thing.

31 August 2012


Wed afternoon on a lovely hike at Fair Hill I found this:

I could almost hear the dogs saying "WTF?" just like I was thinking. No, I did not have the guts to open the mystery pot.

That evening I started to feel like the lymph nodes in my throat were swelling, and sure enough Thurs morning I woke up with a sore throat and a sort of allergy/cold feeling. Only mild nasal congestion and I don't feel too bad overall, but I took it easy anyway, canceling my tentative plans for a long morning hike in order to rest. I did go out and train Strafe on the USDAA aframe and the 21" weave poles a bit, and I did some indoor core/disc work and a few minutes of swimming with the dogs, but nothing too taxing for me so i can hopefully heal up completely and run Strafe tomorrow. Need to get those Starters legs!

I counted up my AKC points and I'm pretty sure both Strafe and Kiba need somewhere between 80 and 100 more points to qualify for Nationals. Not having multipliers has effected me more than I thought... anyway, I have 6 more days planned, so I will have to continue trying to Q in order to collect points.

Also the sad news that I debated about posting here - Ryze has grown again and is now 17" tall, give or take a smidge. He's 8 months old, so he might or might not be done, but the boy is too tall. Because I already have too many dogs, and I wanted a sheltie so I could compete in a lower jump height, I am going to rehome him (working with the breeder, of course). So if you or someone you know is interested in an oversize but otherwise really nice sheltie, feel free to contact me.

At this point, I am planning to wait till next year and re-evaluate how I feel - I may then try again to get a small dog, or if my dogs are holding up well physically I may just wait several more years and get another BC. I just don't really want to go through the puppy raising thing all over again so quickly, and the stress of wondering how tall the pup is going to be is a whole different factor from what I'm used to!

Yep, that's my head in the foreground, walking around Brussels. Now don't ever say I don't post pictures of myself;)
If i go to the EO next summer (which I'm strongly attempting to plan for), I will probably fly in to Amsterdam, since it's not much farther from the site than Brussels was, and I haven't been to Amsterdam yet so it would be another new place to go. And that's definitely something I enjoy along with the international competitions themselves - short sight-seeing trips to see new places, and I especially love OLD places, old buildings, old square, ruins, palaces, cathedrals, etc.

Today is my last day as a 20-something. Tomorrow is my 30th birthday. September is a big month for me, it's my 30th birthday, my 20th anniversary for starting agility training, Drifter's 10th birthday, and Strafe's 2nd birthday! Busy busy. i don't really celebrate any of that stuff, although i am planning to buy Strafe a nice big antler this weekend. But the fact that I've been doing agility for 20 of my 30 years is kind of mind boggling. In a good way. I'm happy with what I've achieved and I don't plan to stop anytime soon. I was never put off by being young - I made Grand Prix Finals at the age of 14 for the first time, my very first trip to Nationals! And in europe, there are quite a few youngsters competing, and they really have an advantage since the trend is towards big courses where athletic handling is key.

Anyway, bit of a ramble today, USDAA tomorrow, probably won't bother with video but it's all Starters runs anyway.

29 August 2012


I've been running Seri in agility more these days, including in class when I don't have many students. She's been doing well, for her anyway (there's lots of screaming on her part, of course, and some not so tight corners that I pretend not to see). I'm looking forward to bringing her back out this fall, hopefully she can continue to stay sound! Crazy girl....
She will be doing only USDAA, I just have to decide whether to do C22", P22", or P16" with her.

Also, I entered Drifter in an AKC trial in October. He needs 3 more QQ's to MACH2 and retirement.

27 August 2012


Strafe is amazing. I don't really "gush" about anything, ever, but nevertheless, my dog is amazing. He won't be 2 years old until 7 Sept, yet yesterday he garnered his 6th and final QQ towards AKC Nationals next spring, and also his 8th and Final Standard and JWW legs towards AKC World Team Tryouts. He is already qualified and entered in USDAA Nationals next month. So... my dog is amazing!

He started this weekend with some uncharacteristic bar knocking, but after working on him a bit with massage, stretching, etc, he seemed to be all straightened up and Q'ed in 3 runs in a row. He was the only 26" dog at this trial so of course we won all 3 classes ;) I did not get our QQ on video.

Kiba also finished up her 6th QQ towards Tulsa, so I am glad I didn't enter a lot more AKC trials this fall, as my hunch that they would both finish by September was correct. We have a 3-day trial in September where Strafe can collect a few more speed points (not sure if he needs those or not, but without the multipliers I believe he probably does).

Here's Kiba's QQ from yesterday:

Kiba struggled with a few bars this weekend, and I am more convinced than ever that she's slightly near-sighted and that as she ages (she'll be 8 in December) it is becoming somewhat more difficult for her to judge the jumps. As you can see in the video, I've taken to placing her 3-4 feet from the first jump so that it is within her field of vision where she can judge it, and I'm also starting to change my handling with her since she is having more trouble with me facing her over jumps as well. More blinds and rears for her... She's still unbelievably fast, of course!

22 August 2012

timey wimey

I realize I've greatly neglected this space for most of the summer, only posting brief trial results and occasional trial videos. Truth is, i've been off on my mental obsessions and gleefully rotating from hours of watching anime, to hours of reading books (or manga), to hours of reading on my Kindle. Interspersed amongst that of course is dog training and trialing and teaching, my largest obsession of all and also my livelihood. But obsessed or not, one cannot ponder agility for 16 hours a day, every single day. So here's a brief summary of the agility-related things I've been pondering.

1. The blog itself - I know a lot of "famous" agility handlers use their blogs to either advertise, to post articles, or to ruminate upon important training or handling issues. I know I do this once in a while, and when the mood strikes, I shall continue to do so, but overall I'm happy to keep this space as it is - a JOURNAL. It has always been such, and to be honest, I really don't want to turn into a walking talking billboard for myself. I'm too much of an introvert and don't enjoy hero worship from either side of the equation anyway. I would, of course, enjoy it if my readers would come and enjoy a seminar with me if I'm in their home town, but I will not presume to lecture anyone. If you aren't interested in a personal agility journal, then you probably won't enjoy my blog!

2. International Travel - it's expensive. Truly it is. And because my income is not exactly off the charts, I really can't afford to do all the international competitions I would if I won the lottery. I have to budget, and save, and ask for help... Anyway, with Kiba's shoulder continuing to be a little tight, and her back issues earlier in the summer, I've decided she's done jumping anything higher than 16", so i have tentatively decided to take Strafe to the EO in Belgium next summer, and MAYBE take a trip from there to the Border Collie Classic down in Italy the following weekend. Sounds like tons of fun but need to save $$$'s to afford it.

3. Denver. I entered it. I booked my flight and hotel. I got a roommate. I'm scheduling the PT. So Strafe goes to his first big event in September at 24 months and 2 weeks old. I'm sure he'll be fabulous because, let's face it, he ALWAYS IS!

4. My mother's dog Trig is not going to be bred after all, due to a couple currently minor health issues that probably have a genetic basis. So I am trying to help her puppy hunt. With a lot of luck perhaps she'll find a nice female puppy that we could breed to Strafe in about 5 years for my next puppy....

5. Strafe's OFA X-rays have been scheduled. For 11 September. For the first time, I'm going all-out and doing hips/shoulders/elbows. I seriously don't expect any issues with shoulders/elbows, I just figured since it's fairly common to check them in Europe, that I would go ahead and add them in. I am crossing my fingers for his hips - I don't believe I ever mentioned it on here, but his Pennhip score was not spectacular when I checked it at 13 months, but the fit of the hips looked good, and considering his muscling and way of using his body, I expect he will pass OFA with no issues, but I am looking forward to getting that out of the way.

6. Um... running out of dog things. I taught a fun seminar last weekend, I love going to ACA, and most of them seem to enjoy having me down! It's close, it's climate controlled, and the gang treats me like family, what more can I ask for? This weekend I'm off to another 3-day AKC trial and staying with a friend, we will watch Resident Evil and eat Pizza and hopefully accumulate QQ's!

7. I am tentatively planning to bring Seri back out this fall, and hopefully qualify her for USDAA in TN in 2013. I am trying to figure out what height to run her at. She does OK at 20/22" at home but because of her issues I am seriously considering running her in P16", it makes the jump landing impact that much smaller, and gives her a lower aframe besides. The speeds she will achieve will be enormous, however, she achieves enormous speeds at any height - height doesn't really affect the way she uses herself. I may have to play with the various heights at home a bit before deciding.

OK, I'm done for now, back to reading my Kindle book. Here's a picture of my hunky boy dog with his flowing locks. Which, by the way, got bathed, brushed, and his pantalones got thinned besides. he is PRETTY now!  (pic is old, not of his newly groomed self)

PS Post is so named because Doctor Who's new season is coming up soon on BBC! Hurray!