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!

07 August 2012


Up to NJ this past weekend for an indoor AKC trial with nice strong air conditioning. The building was a bit crowded with both people and dogs, but the footing was good and the courses were fun (for AKC). Kiba went 3 for 4, picking up her 5th QQ for 2012 and running well over all, her only mistake was me forgetting to front cross until she had already taken off for a jump and causing her to knock a bar. Well, and the mistake where she forget AGAIN what the cue for "wrap behind me" means and gives me a weird rear cross wrap instead. Saved it for a Q but we will be drilling that in sequences a bit! Strafe ran well but unfortunately a mistake in Standard each day prevented any QQ's. He did pick up a JWW Q each day, winning both of them handily. He is running quite well, but every once in a while I find something I need to train. He's just 23 months old today, so not exactly a problem that there are still little things I need to train!

I forgot my SD card for the camera on Saturday, so here's video from Sunday only.

Now we have 2 weekends off of trialing - this coming weekend I'm teaching for 3 days in VA, and the following weekend we're home relaxing.