Tuesday, December 28, 2010

End of the Year thoughts and reflections and goals for 2011

So I was reading all the other blogs I like to read and I came across quite a few end of the year wrap ups and goal setting for next year blogs. I figured I'd better get mine in too, only have a few more days of 2010 and i am in an hour hold at work so need something to do. Since this is Miller's blog, I will start with Miller!

What a year for the Miller man! Again we attended both AKC nationals and USDAA nationals. While we didn't win or place or get into any finals, we did get into the semi-finals yet again this year in grand prix which I think is pretty awesome for an 11 year old dog! I felt like our runs were overall better this year at both nationals and I had alot of fun at both as usual. I missed camping out at USDAA but got to spend some time with my friend and her hubby as they graciously opened their house to us, miller, and our crazy getting up and going at the butt crack of dawn national's schedule. I did pull Miller from weekly classes this year, which was a very tough decision, because classes are more for me than him, but I did start deuce in classes so at least I am keeping in the swing of things. I am happy to say that he seems to be keeping fit through us walking and working out at our little patch of land. Miller is slowing down slightly but he seems to know what i am thinking about retiring, and every time I mention anything about it, he goes out and gets three QQS or qualifies in everything in USDAA. I still have faint hopes of finishing up his top USDAA title in performance and also possibly getting his second MACH. I will take it slow, still only showing most shows just two days and try to limit how many classes he runs in at USDAA shows. I just sent in his first entry of the year for USDAA and (gulp, this is very hard) did not enter him in any of the tournament classes:( I feel like there really isn't a point if we aren't going to nationals and it saves me money so I can show him and Deuce. My goals for Miller in 2011 are to keep him healthy and happy and to let him tell me when it is time to retire. So far he is still dragging me to the ring every run and I will continue to do so while he drags.

I might as well include harley in this blog as I have been running him in practice alot lately and even at a show or two. Tony's crazy schedule dictates when he can show or not, so i am always up for running the red rocket. While his running contacts are getting better, we still don't have a dog walk to practice on and i need to do something about that. It's mine and tony's fault that they are crap, and I will not expect anything until we can truly properly train it. I just want tony to have fun when he shows and so far, he is. I got to run harley the other night in class as deuce was down with his bum toe nail, and I had so much fun. Deuce is such a mishmash of Miller and Harley so running the extreme other end of deuce's running style was fun, and actually helped me to understand deuce better. I would love for Tony to get his first QQ this year and maybe get a MACH but I am not pushing it. We still aren't really doing much with Harley in USDAA and while I think he could kick ass in it, we just don't have the money to run all three dogs. I would love for tony to get his act together and us put together a red aussie team for fun but he just doesn't like having others depend on him in agility. He kind of marches to the beat of his own drum and so does harley, so they get along great.

What a year I have had with my baby Deuce! We have been steadily taking classes and improving throughout the year. I think we are still trying to figure each other out in shows (only been in three total days of showing) but I think we will get there. I am very proud of myself for not rushing things and not letting my criteria fall apart (oh the temptations have been there) and I am proud of him for handling the hustle and bustle of the shows. Baby deuce moved up to the competition 2 class a few weeks ago and I am so proud of how he is handling the challenges lori lays down for us. Are we perfect? Heck no, but I see the potential just bubbling under the surface. Now if we can just get that dang toe nail to heal, we can get back to it! I am excited that in 2011, we are going to start in USDAA and in February, we will be on our very first team, The Aussie Brat Pack, made up of other aussie babies starting their agility careers. My goals for Deuce in 2011 are to become more consistent as a team in the ring, to withhold criteria, and to have FUN! Deuce baby is a blast to run so no telling what 2011 will bring!!!!

We also may have an addition to the coleman family coming very soon, maybe even this spring. We are currently waiting to find out if she will be born or not so finger's crossed that we might be adding a new female wiggly butt aussie that will be a direct relation to Deuce to our pack. Happy Holidays, happy new year and hopefully we will see ya down the road at an agility trial!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

miller and me in tulsa 2010

I have been bad about updating Deuce's blog but not Miller's blog. So we took Deuce, Miller, Haley, Chloe, and Danah to Tulsa for an AKC trial a couple of weeks ago. I had previously decided to not do anymore AKC till the end of the year, but just do USDAA and try to finish his top titles and maybe his Patch or whatever the heck it is called. Well, plans changed, Tulsa had novice all three days so I had at least two days to show Deuce in Novice. I decided to go ahead and show Miller all three days just to see how he handled it. He only had two classes a day and they were spread out pretty far. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a very, very emotional weekend with us loosing Haley but I don't want to get into all of that here. Haley has been battling a very long tough illness and her time had come, even though we were out of town. I ended up running not only Deuce in three runs on friday, but Miller in two runs, Danah in two runs, and Chloe in three. Lets just say I was one tired handler both physically and emotionally by the end of the day. I think because I was so pulled in all directions that I really didn't put much into my own runs and of course as usual when I don't care, Miller pulled a double Q out of no where! I didn't have anyone video taping so I can't remember exactly what we did or didn't do but it came together and I am happy with how great he was running! I think he was very close to placing on his standard run which is awesome at his age.

For whatever reason, on saturday, we double NQd with some very silly mistakes. There was a very short curved tunnel before a dog walk and i think he got caught up in the tunnel and I called his name and he came back out the entrance. Then I told him to go back in and he backed in barking at me like "i am not going back in there". I think he finally went back in the wrong entrance but I didn't care. He also popped the poles but I wasn't really worried about it at that point. Same weird stuff in jumpers, i went to do a wrap and when I stopped to wrap him, he also stopped, dead in his tracks and got a refusal. He also ran around a few jumps and i think knocked a bar but I just didn't care. We were running and that was all that mattered.

Sunday for whatever reason was another double Q day. Favorite parts of the runs: I didn't baby sit the weaves (yeah me), a blind cross in jumpers (thank you miller for reading that), dog walk contact in standard, and a good wrap in standard back to the dog walk. Here is the video of the two runs we got, enjoy! I have decided to now to keep Miller in Excellent at least till Deuce is out of Novice. I am half way to my MACH 2 now so we may see if it possible this spring before moving him into performance. Here is the video!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HRbGZOnGQs

Friday, November 19, 2010

Not a happy camper and then part 2

Miller is not a happy camper and I am not sure how to make him one. I started showing deuce last weekend and it was probably the worst weekend we have had in a while with regards to him and I and our performance. I haven't been taking classes with him so deuce gets to go with me both on Monday nights as a demo dog (miller's barking scares the other dogs) and he gets to go with me Thursday night for his class. I have been trying to give miller good yummy things when I leave but he has started to obsessively lick his legs while I am gone. I don't really want to take him and just leave him in the car because it is cold and I don't think it is good for him to sit in the cold. I can't put him in the pen while I run because he barks like crazy. I want him to be happy but not hurt, running but not too much. I did switch him over to a senior food as he has started getting very thick all of the sudden. I think his age is starting to slowly creep up on him. The old dog bumps are getting bigger and spreading and he is slowing down, little by little. I am not ready to retire him, but I have so many things I want to do with Deuce now that cost money, money i am using to enter all three of them. I do feel like Miller would not understand if we all went to a show and then he didn't get to run. He is getting to go to the show just him and I this weekend, no stinky little brother at all. This may be our last USDAA show if I move him down to preferred in AKC in January. I just don't see how we are going to finish up some of these titles and get super Qs if there are only a couple of USDAA shows and only a couple of P22 dogs entered in these shows. I think we could end on a great note with this show and then start Deuce in USDAA in February when he is old enough. How do you balance showing your older dog and showing your young dog? I am trying to figure out a good strategy that is fair for both miller and deuce.


Part 2:

Okay hadn't uploaded this before this weekend. This weekend, I just took Miller and no baby deuce since it was USDAA and he couldn't be measured anyway. Saturday was not great but not too bad, a Q in performance speed jumping, and a Q in snooker (not a super Q:(. Miller was sassy in standard, jumping off the table before the count was over because I was hovering over him (why the hell did i do that) and getting the hard part of the gamble and not taking the last jump (really dude?). He also missed a Q in grand prix because he ran behind me instead of coming in on a front cross after the teeter (again, really dude?). He was super tired by the end of the day and I was feeling super bad for thinking five runs was a good idea. I think we are going to have to cut out the tournament games but I LOVE them and LOVE steeplechase (at the local level). I was feeling pretty bad saturday night but my parents came in from TN and I was excited to see them and didn't have too much time to feel too bad. Sunday was my birthday and we had less runs so I was going to see how he felt and go from there. I need two legs for his P3 jumpers title so I was hoping he could pick up one and then maybe we would have to do less in the future. I am just not ready to give up on USDAA! Miller must have known it was my birthday as he Qd in standard (i didn't hover over the table, click treat me) leaving us two more legs to finish that title, Qd in jumpers (one more leg and we are finished with that), and got a Q in P3 pairs (four more but it is doable). We also decided to run speed jumping even though we were the only dog in P22 but it was a fun course and mom was doing lots of massage on him. We had a clean, fun, fast run and he got a big huge blue ribbon and 18 bucks! I think that is the most i have ever gotten for winning so I was excited! Miller bought us lunch at Taco Bell and himself a bone. He again makes my decision so hard as he did so well on sunday. I have decided to just do the regular classes, no more tournament classes :( I am still leaving hope alive that I can find someone to go to St. Louis with that can drive if it gets bad. I think there is hope that we could finish up those titles and he could get his Pad or whatever the heck it is called. Miller sure was proud of himself yesterday and I like to see how he looks and feels after he has had good runs.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

USDAA Nationals Part 2

Once again, as with last year driving back, moms driving and I am bored so thought I would blog. Another nationals done with, well for Miller anyway. This was a tough nationals as it was miller’s last year to compete. I talked about it a little in the other blog post, but this really was the first year that Miller was not competitive and it kind of sucked. More and more Bcs in performance both in 22 inches and 16, which made it so hard for our older dogs to beat those blazing fast times. True that there were older dogs too but even on our best run of the weekend, we only got 14th place. I kind of dread being in championship in a way because we just won’t have a chance in hell of ever getting into any of the finals due to the fact that Deuce is just not fast enough. He has shown me some speed but not BC beating speed. I am a very competitive person so it will be a huge bitter pill to take but I am ready. I look forward to running Deuce at nationals because the mistakes that I made where due to lack of proper training in Miller in the beginning, before I knew what I was doing really. Miller has never had independent weaves so any movements I make tend to pull him out of the poles or push him out. I also don’t trust his poles and he knows that so he is always looking at me and I am always looking at him which tends to put me out of position at times. I know it bit me in the butt in standard and also in grand prix. Deuce doesn’t even know I exist when he is weaving and I LOVE that. He also doesn’t care where I am when he is doing contacts which would eliminate me having to do any weird crosses like I had to do in standard as well. I look to the future of my showing career and am very excited, can you tell?
Today we ran jumpers and that was it and boy was it a tricky course. I felt like we started out well but he popped out of the weave poles again, at the beginning of them. Someone said he slipped as he just skipped two poles but I am not sure what happened. I don’t think he was reacting to anything I was doing as we had just started and I don’t think the poles were rocking that hard. We finished the run well after I got him back in with a double front cross on the back line of the course and a rear to a blind (yeah my ass was running to get that one). Someone said I looked discombobulated but when I watched the tape, I don’t think it was that bad. We ended on a pretty good note (still on kind of a high from snooker last night) and I am overall happy with the way he ran. He is slowing down a tiny bit but when I run full out, he does too. He gave me 110% on every run and I can’t ask for more. I wish we had a veterans program in USDAA so I could continue to do USDAA with him but I am not sure how much longer I want to jump him at 22 inches. I love going to USDAA nationals, a lot more so than AKC nationals but I just don’t know if I want to do as much per day anymore, especially if I do keep him at 22 inches for a little while longer to finish his top title.
I will say that I did enjoy having the nationals in KY, mainly because it is so close and my friends are there so we can stay with them. I will say that we will probably rent an RV if we come back, even if it means driving two hours in an RV. It was tough getting up so early to beat the rush hour traffic and then sitting at the arena for hours with nothing really to do other than spend money. I think poor miller got super tired of being in his crate to as he did not want to go back in it several times and that is very unlike Miller. The 12 hour day was the worst and I NEVER want to have to do that again to him or me! I do feel like the facility needs to get a handle on the dust problem. Several days went by with the arena starting out muddy and then ending up a dust pit. I got a great pic of the dust one day as it was hazing the whole place up. I do like having the seating around the main rings so you can see versus Arizona where you have to sit on the ground or drag your chairs out and finals is very limited seating as well. I do like that the crating space was in the middle of the two arenas and within reasonable walking distance to both rings. I was fortunate that I did not have any walk-throughs that were back to back so I didn’t have to run back and forth from ring to ring since the rings were separated by the large crating area. I do know that next year, I will spend the money to have two crating spots with my teammate instead of sharing one. While we all fit, it was tight and if we both had big dogs, we wouldn’t have fit very well. Overall, other than the very long day, everything seemed to run pretty smoothly and I didn’t hear a lot of complaining. I think the atmosphere was lacking but it is hard to really have atmosphere inside. You can’t beat the scenery in AZ for sure and it was nice to be able to see the dock dog diving and lure coursing from the arenas and crating area. I will miss going to nationals next year but I just don’t think I want to do that to Miller again. Long days in a crate are just not kind to him. He will be 12 this year and I think it is time to start scaling back my expectations of what we are goin got do. I feel like he is still running great, but for how long, I don’t know. He has taken me to so many places I never thought I would be. He has shown me the correct and incorrect way to train an agility dog and he has made me a better agility handler. He is an honest dog and I couldn’t have asked for a better teacher. While I want to strangle him sometimes and kick myself in my own ass at others, we have had one hell of an agility ride together and I look forward to starting the next journey with my baby. I am sure Miller will be whispering in his ear, “mom really likes it when you blow your dog walk contact”J

Friday, October 15, 2010

USDAA Nationals

Well another nationals is almost over for Miller and I and as usual, I am filled with lots of thoughts on many matters. I was really blessed this year to have a great teammate that is in it to have fun and just laughs off my mistakes and hers (although I have made more i think:) This is the first year I really feel like Miller just isn't competitive. The first year we came, Miller placed in all classes other than snooker in the top 10. This time it just is not so. I know he is slowing down but dang, the competition is getter better and better as more and more BCs move down from 26 inches. Lots of former world team dogs are moving down into the 22 and 16 inch performance classes and kicking our asses!

Our first run was European Standard on Tuesday and boy was it a fun, tough course and super TIGHT! I LOVE the european style course as they are challenging and bring forth skills that I don't normally use in AKC. Well, Miller ran beautifully but I front crossed too tight on a jump and basically blocked him from even taking it. I got him back, finished the course and was so proud of him and the way he ran. We had two runs on wednesday, Performance grand prix quarter finals and gamblers. Gamblers was a very unique gamble, with a 10 point distance bonus in the opening and then a box we had to stay in during the closing that would get us triple points for every obstacle we completed while in the box. The catch was we had to complete the gamble before the second buzzer went off so it was a gamble with distance and time. I had a plan to get in two a-frames and two tunnels and the teeter and then start a nice loop around with the teeter, a couple of jumps and the tunnel before heading out. I accidently got caught in a tunnel, nowhere where I needed to be and only got a couple of jumps and the tunnel before getting out. While we got a decent amount of points, the teeter would have helped us immensely in the points department. I truly felt good about the run though, he gave me 110% and ran fast and I just had him in the wrong place at the wrong time. I had Grand Prix quarter finals next so had to refocus. If you have never been to USDAA nationals (or haven't read my previous blogs), you walk courses in the morning and then you may not run for hours and hours later (like today). It takes a ton of mental fortitude to remember the courses and then bring the one to the front of your head that you need at that time. We have won our way into the semi finals twice so I felt good going into the quarters. Miller turned in a smoking clean run with a fourth place overall. He had a great dog walk contact and some nice tight turns. I was so proud of him for his run and excited to be in the semis again!

On thursday, I had team standard. I felt like the standard course was straight forward with one spot that I was a little concerned about due to miller's running a-frame and a big off-course jump right at the end. Joan talked me into doing a double front cross and it worked great. Unfortunately, Miller popped out of the weaves, and then missed the entry again before completing them successfully, but that gave our team two Rs. I felt like i let our team down as my teammate had a very fast clean run. The weave poles were rocking really bad, especially the second set but I hate making excuses for him. We had semi-finals next and I was a little worried as the course was HUGE! I knew Miller and I would have to run as fast as we could as they competition was very good and very fast. I was coming out of the weaves which was the third to last obstacle and because of standard was watching him weave and not paying attention to my position. I also think i was loosing oxygen to my brain because I was about to have a clean run. I ended up throwing him over the jump causing him to knock the bar. I felt horrible, I had let him down. I should not have been watching him weave, he knows his job and I should have trusted him. How many years have I been doing this? Anyway, I had some pity moments once again but then decided to just let it go. Even if we had been clean, we would not have made the finals due to his time. I think that would have really, really bummed me out. In the end, we went to church hill downs for the afternoon and did the walking tour and had a great time. I will try and post pictures when I get back.

Today we got to the show site at 6:45 and I didn't walk to 8:45 and did not run until 6:45 pm. It was the longest day of my agility life. I really felt like I was going to loose my mind:) I have never sat that long in my life. I watched hundreds upon hundreds of runs. I was mentally frazzled by the time I ran. I even changed my plan several times. Finally, when it was my turn to run, I laid down a smoking run and miller ran his heart out. I am so proud of this red boy! At 11 he can still kick butt! We got all four reds, two fives and a seven. Of the 100s of P22 inch dogs, he came in 14th place. Good boy MILLER! He ran tight and clean and listened to me so well. The only part he missed was the last seven, he ran around the second jump in the combo. I didn't care, he was awesome for having sat in the crate all day with a few walks and a bone to chew.

Tomorrow we have team jumpers and I am sure Jane and I will kick butt or at least have tons of fun doing so. I have enjoyed nationals thus far but am sad that this will be our last till Deuce gets us back in. I will have a wrap up blog and pictures in the next blog!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

USDAA nationals---Getting ready

Whew, starting to get a tad bit nervous about nationals and thought I should get my thoughts out and on paper so they will stop swirling around my head LOL! I have tried a different approach this year for nationals. I have given Miller some time off from training, just making sure is healthy and happy and stretched out. I hope this strategy pays off. This will be Miller's very last nationals and I have very high hopes. We did not qualify for steeplechase this year but I am okay with that. The competition is getting faster and younger in performance and while at the local level, he has a chance, at the national level, he is just too old and too slow. This will also be his last time USDAA show doing team. I have mixed emotions about team. While it is my favorite part of USDAA, it also has been the biggest thorn in my side. Broken promises and busted teams seemed to be the theme and I am hoping for better opportunities with Deuce since he will hopefully measure into 22 championship. Anyway, I digress:) Miller man has taken me to so many places and into so many people's lives that I otherwise wouldn't have been in so this is going to be a bittersweet nationals. I know I will be back with my deuce-do0 but who knows how long that will be. I would love to get into the finals this year for both team and for PGP but will still keep the goal of having a good time in the front of my mind. I have learned so much about myself at the nationals that Miller has taken me to and I will continue to learn. The biggest fun part of this nationals is I am actually getting to go home! I have put off going home for three years now because of my dog showing. Hell, I have put off having a family so that I could get miller's MACH (and I am dead serious when I say this). I can't wait to see my family and tony's family and to see some of my friends. It will be a quick visit (4 days) but it is better than nothing. I will maintain my blog and of course take lots of pictures when I go home and when I travel so look for those on here and on FB. I am leaving Deuce at home with his daddy and am really wishing I didn't have to but it will be nice to just have Miller and I at a show together for our last big hurrah. Good luck to all who are going to nationals and see ya there!

Monday, September 6, 2010

way to show me miller

I think Miller must read my blogs. I had been going back and forth about what to do with miller. I had been thinking everything from retiring him to dropping him down to 16 inches. Well, Mr. Miller went out this weekend and showed me he had no intentions of slowing down or retiring any time soon. He laid down some smoking runs and held his own with dogs half his age! Now, granted it was on soccer turf and he LOVES that type of surface but WOW! We had a standard run that had several tough front crosses and he kept all of his bars up and had great contacts. I was just shocked as he collected 14 points in JWW!!!! He never gets more than 10 or so points and he got 14! I think this was a big bold statement on his part. He did pick up the final double Q he needs for AKC nationals, but still needs almost 200 points and I am not planning on going to nationals next year so I am not going to push it. I still like just running him two days a weekend and keeping it to two shows a month. I am going to stick to my plan of focusing on USDAA after this next weekends AKC trial and maybe even do some ASCA trials. He is close to his top titles in both so I would like to finish those out. I may also start being selective in entering him in trials that only are on artificial turf as he seems to like those the most. That may be more of the st. louis trials or the columbia trials but he just never has done well at outdoor trials ( go figure, we train outside). If I am only going to do two shows a month, maybe I can afford it. I am going to see how it goes but man, did he make a liar out of me this weekend!

I also got to run Harley this weekend and am so proud of my red rocket! He was smoking fast and had some awesome runs! We didn't qualify but he showed me that he is listening and paying attention to my commands. His contacts were, well, lets just leave it at non-existent but I kind of expected that. Tony is still trying to shape a running contact with him and while i think he is for sure going to have a nice running a-frame, I really don't think he will ever have a good running dog walk. Tony thinks otherwise so I am just going to keep my mouth shut. Great weekend, great friends and food and great new facility!!!!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Miller's future

Been thinking alot about Miller's future here lately, espcially after the loss of berry. I seem to have not been really paying attention to how much miller really is aging. Call it denial or whatever, it really didn't hit me till berry was gone and he became the resident "old dog". Miller is still running great and loves going running with me on the track and in agility (we do about 2 miles on the track), but I am constantly worrying about how much longer I have to do these kinds of things with him. I flip flop between am I running him too much and injuring him versus not running him enough and injuring him. I have been debating about moving him down but don't want to too early if he still is doing well at 2o inches, plus I am still chasing my top title in USDAA and don't want to move him down to 16 in training and in the ring in AKC but still have him jump at 22 in USDAA. SO, I think I have finally got my mind made up on a plan. I think I am going to jump him at 2o for the two september shows that are AKC and then do USDAA nationals at 22 and then do only USDAA for the rest of the year and then move him down to 16 inches for AKC. I can do more local shows at novice preferred in the winter season anyway when traveling isn't as big a deal. I think that is fair for Miller and I and I will just forget the plan of getting his second MACH and think longevity more than what we can accomplish.

Deuce is also still a question. While he is progressing nicely, i do see moments of pure puppy brain. Take class the other night. He didn't want to do anything, was more interested in sniffing, visiting, and doing anything other than agility. I was so disappointed as he had been doing so great in the backyard with his weaves and with his contacts and then at Lori's house he wouldn't even send over a jump and decided creeping down the a-frame rather than driving into position was more fun. It was almost like, who the heck is this dog and what happened to my good doggy? I am leaning towards waiting till he is 2 but not sure. On one hand, you want to get them in early, on the other hand, you don't want to risk bad experiences due to not being ready. It is a pure balancing act between getting good ring experience and getting quality runs, versus letting bad habits form or stress increasing due to not being ready.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Berry dog April 17, 1997-August 5, 2010

I guess I knew this day was coming. I guess I knew in my gut when she got sick that there was no getting well. I had hope but I knew the odds were stacked against us. I thought I had mentally prepared myself for this but I was wrong. I feel like someone has ripped my heart out and stomped on it a million times. I feel like I am slowly falling apart. My heart dog is gone and all I can do is cry. Why I am acting so selfishly? I keep telling myself that berry lived a great life with me and she always got the best of what I could give her. I keep telling myself that she is in a better place and is whole again with no bum knee and no rules. She can be the fun police all she wants to and chase all the horses she wants to without me yelling at her, but for some reason, I still cry. I mourn for my baby, my sweet, sweet berry dog. I want this pain to lessen but I know time is the only healer. I have had tons of emails and FB posts and they all help me but this flat out plain sucks. I tried to sleep last night but every time I closed my eyes, I saw that look on her face as the medicine acted on her body. I wanted to be so calm so that her passing was smooth and not stressful for her but I am afraid that the last thing she saw was me freaking out and sobbing. Barb, my best friend in the whole world was there with me as was my favorite vet and vet tech, but it didn't matter. As she left this world, she took a huge hunk of my heart with her and it hurts like hell.

I have been trying to think of all the good times this morning and the things I will miss and wanted to share some of those funny stories here. I think blogging and talking to people is how I deal the best with tough situations so there may be many blogs and posts until I can heal.



This was probably one of the funniest pictures I have of berry. I was living in CO at the time in a little one bedroom apartment working a job in Golden. This had been a very hard time for me with grad school ending after a very bad time with a very bad major professor in which I had basically given up getting my degree and left KSU and KS for that matter. Anyway, Tony was still in KS in electrical apprentice school and had one more year till he could transfer anywhere. He and the dogs were just hanging out till they could join me in CO. I was super lonely, knew no one there, traveled so I couldn't keep the dogs with me and for that matter, the apartment complex didn't even allow dogs anyway. Well, christmas time came that year and Tony and all three dogs came out to visit for a while. My mom, who always out does herself at christmas, had as usual done more than she should. Carebears had come back into style as they were when I was a kid and she had looked far and wide for me a grumpy bear. That was my favorite carebear for some reason growing up and I had had one for years. Well, as you can see from the picture, as soon as I unwrapped it, Berry was very interested in it so much so that we put it up really high so she couldn't interact with it while we were gone for the day. I still to this day don't know how she got it down with her bum knee, but when we got home, grumpy bear was missing his nose and stuffing had been surgically removed from his nose hole and from a hole in his butt. The other dogs did not posses surgical skills like berry as they would shred toys to bits so we knew it was her. We still wonder if she bribed harley and miller into getting that bear down for her to do surgery on. She looked so guilty and when I got this film developed, I had to laugh so hard at this picture! Do you think she looked guilty? I DO!


I had taught berry to wave as a trick. Berry was a very smart dog but at the time I got her, I knew nothing of dog training per se. We had been asked to be in a church play where we ran on the stage and the dogs did agility stuff and then we ran off. Unfortunatley, the dogs got freaked out by the circus music and the lights so we had to go to plan B. We all ran onto the stage and then I had berry sit and wave for a cookie because she would do anything for food. Berry always saved the day! This picture was taken at aussie nationals in St. Louis. I think my mom took them with her 35 mm camera and they all turned out so great. Berry was a very photogenic pup so I have tons of pictures of her. One of my favorites was taken by Mickey Rabeneck as a professional portrait. We have it in our hall way with the boy's photos under it. She is and always will be the alpha bitch in our household and I will so miss her bossiness and her cheerleading.

I love this picture too. Berry loved frisbees and agility more than anything. Okay well maybe chasing horses too.

Okay for whatever reason this one won't load in correctly but I love it so I am not going to delete it. Tony could only come up once a month when I lived in CO so he would initially only bring one dog up at a time. The first time he came up, he asked what dog I wanted to see first and of course it was my berry dog. We went up into the mountains and did all the typical CO things. This is at the Contenential Divide. The prairie dogs were driving her nuts.



Okay tired from crying and typing so taking a break. More to come after I rest. This truly is making me feel better. I will have to get some really old pics of her out and scan them in for sure now. They are classic and I want to share them. Going to try and get some sleep.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Berry




Well, today has been a hard day. My eldest aussie Berry has been sick a couple of days and at 13, little illnesses hit her hard. I hate not knowing what to do, and knowing that a big decision may have to be made today. I keep thinking I am done crying but then I just start all over and it just hurts all over again. Berry is my first aussie, my first agility dog, and my first dog that I was totally responsible for from puppy to now. She is my heart dog and I have done alot for her over the years. I will not take this decision lightly but I will not prolong her suffering for my selfish reasons. I just hate not knowing what is the right decision and when is the right time. So, to make myself feel better, I want to tell Berry's story and celebrate the awesome life we have had together.

I remember seeing berry and her siblings in the closet right after they had been born. We had been to the rodeo and we knew berry's mom (my roomies aussie) was getting close to having the pups. Berry's mom was a nobody, just a working aussie that had been bred to another working aussie. Nothing special but alot of drive and alot of instinct. I had played around with the idea of owning a dog as I was a sophomore in college and working at the equestrian facility at UTM. Sometimes later at night or early in the am, I would see coyotes or other critters and I felt like having a dog with me would make me feel a little better. Plus, having a dog to work the rodeo stock would be nice too so I had been thinking about it. I have to admit, I feel in love with berry's sister, a little red merle I had named Margarita. I watched as people came to pick up their pups one by one till all that was left was little berry. She was the runt of the litter and usually hid when others came to look so they never really saw her. I like to think she had already chosen me and was making sure that no one else picked her out so I could have her. I was still on the fence about taking her as I knew the financial responsibility a dog carried with it and I already had two horses to care for. My roomie suggested I take her home that weekend to my parent's house as there was a rodeo in town and maybe if some of the rodeo folks saw her that they might buy her. She even said I could have part of the money if I could find her a home. I remember loading her into my truck and putting her in a bucket next to my seat so she was confined while I drove, but could still see out. Of course my mom fell in love with her and convinced me to keep her. Thus begins berry's story with me in earnest.


It just so happened that right after I decided to keep berry, I had to move. The new rodeo coach wanted the house we lived in as part of his contract so we had to quickly find a place to live. There was a little trailer park down the street from us and they had openings so in we moved, except they really didn't want dogs. So, my poor mom got stuck training, socializing and potty training berry for a few months till I could convince my landlords that I was a good dog owner. My mom would call me at night cussing me because berry didn't want to go potty and mom didn't want her to go in the house! Berry also went through a very serious chewing phase in which she ate an antique bed frame among other things. Finally, I convinced the landlord I could handle having berry there and not have her inside with me (hard to believe they were really that worried about the piece of crap trailers we called home but whatever). Berry lived on a little chain on our front porch with a nice dog house and plenty of water and food. She went to work with me every morning and helped me with chores and then every night same thing plus she went everywhere I rode. She was a happy dog and life was good!

Fast forward a couple of years to me in grad school. When I initially moved in, once again I couldn't find a place that took dogs so berry lived with my then fiance while I looked for a place for all of us. He was planning on moving out as soon as he graduated and then we were to be married that December. Berry loved Jody and his family as they always took her when she went into heat. Jody's dad Joe did alot of her initial obedience training and also taught her the love of the Frisbee. She was like their grandchild. I finally found a little house to rent and once again, berry had a little chain and a little dog house and went with me twice a day to feed and ride. About this time, Jody and I ended our relationship and berry and I became single ladies. I rode pretty much every day and made lots of friends at the barn, one of which became my best friend barb. Barb is solely responsible for getting me started in agility so I blame her for all of my addictions.

Berry and I started agility with a beginner class at the local kennel club on matted concrete and tiny equipment. After one class I decided I was ready to show (i laugh at this mentality now) and we started out at show and gos. Well, I quickly learned that I didn't know a quarter of what I needed to know to show so I started taking lessons/classes from Joan Meyer and Lori Michaels. We started competing after many classes and seminars and of course did well for what we knew. Back then contacts were point and pray and crosses were just becoming more well defined. We always seemed to muddle through courses and even made it to excellent A JWW and open standard before berry had to be retired. Berry blew her knee out during a non-related agility accident and even though we elected to do surgery, it never really healed well enough for her to compete seriously again. Berry retired to head cheerleader of the red Aussie crew as Miller and Harley took over the reins of showing.

Berry beat mass cell cancer during this time and other various little health issues and has always been as healthy as a horse. She has been with me through a major relationship and break up, a horrible grad school experience, a marriage that is still going strong, countless foster dogs, two silly puppies (Harley and deuce) long trips to TN and to CO, and showing in agility. She is my first Aussie and first agility dog and my heart dog. No matter what happens today, I will always love her. She is what an Aussie should be, tough, determined, full of instinct, and loyal. This dog would follow me to hell and back if I asked her too. I would do the same. I love you berry dog and no matter what happens today, you will always be in my heart and in my soul.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

trials

Well as I write this, Miller and Harley are entered in two fall trials and that is it. I am sad, I want to go to more but we just can't afford it. I am trying to make extra money by doing my dog training business but it just isn't helping the way I thought it would. I am wondering if the break would do me some good though mentally? I do plan on going to USDAA nationals as this would be Miller's last nationals but after that, I am not so sure. Deuce is coming along nicely but I am seriously considering holding him out of competition till he is 2 so he can mentally grow up. It sure is going to be hard with so many of my friends getting their babies up and going but I am going to try and stick to my guns and not put him in as soon as he is old enough. We started car shopping tonight to replace my van and even if I get a used vehicle that is going to cut my dog show budget in half:( I am seriously thinking about getting a car and keeping my van for the long trips. Maybe if the van didn't have the wear and tear of driving back and forth to work everyday and class, it would hold up longer but then you have to consider taxes and tags and insurance on two vehicles (well three if you count tony's truck). Anyway, I will continue to train my boys as if we have a show next weekend and be sad when everyone else is going to trials. I do miss my friends that I only see on trial weekends so it is going to be hard to not see them this fall:( We will be at Triune and Agility ability, but only for two days and then I hope to hit our local November USDAA trial. Past that, we will have to see how tony's work is going and if I am making a car payment or not. I am going to think positive, we will be coming to at least some local shows and that is going to be good enough!

Friday, June 4, 2010

where to go from here

I have been having lots of thoughts swirling in my head lately about miller and about showing. Miller is 11 now and even though he is still running like a young dog, I am trying to decide what is fair for him and what is not. I have stopped running him in competition class and just practice small sequences in the open practice, but I am not sure if that is helping him or hurting him. I have been running/walking with him a mile or two every couple of days to keep my cardio different and to get him out. He seems to absolutely love anytime he gets alone with me so he seems happy when we run/walk so I continue to do that with him and then I give him an anti-inflammatory just in case after wards. I am of two minds here and not sure what to do. On one hand, I feel like not doing full courses could be hurting us at shows, thus the knocked bars so maybe putting him back in competition class where we run three of four full courses would be better, but then I risk doing too much with him. On the other hand, I do feel like he doesn't need the repetition and length of full courses but I need it! I get rusty too! I am not sure the running/walking is all that good for him since we are on a concrete track but that really is my only option and of course when I say running, I mean he is trotting beside me jogging. I just don't know what to do! He detests water and we really don't have any place to swim our dogs anyway so that is not an option. I have seen too many agility dogs quickly age when they cut back on what they do and i have noticed he doesn't seem as happy with life right now, partially because of all of the attention Deuce gets but partially because he isn't training as much. I know we aren't suppose to put feelings on our dogs but I can tell when he is sulky for sure as he just goes and lays in the dining room floor and ignores us. It is VERY obvious. Anyway, trying to figure out what to do. No point in trialing if we aren't going to train but I am not ready to stop trialing. We are going to take the summer off due to Tony's work situation and due to us having a little too much fun with our credit card, but want to be back showing by the September show. I am going to go ahead and do the USDAA show next weekend so I have some glimmer of hope that we might find a partner and get to go to nationals. Still thinking and ruminating about ideas and possibilities. Trying to do what is best for my best canine friend, keep him happy and let him do what he loves but still stay injury free.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Go-Dogs Weekend

video

What a fun weekend! We always camp at the KOA as they have book Friday, get Saturday free this weekend and this KOA is super nice. I did book a cabin this time since Tony was camping with me and doesn't appreciate "roughing it". Plus, now that we have five dogs, camping in a tent when they all want to be on the cot with you is tough as we don't all fit! This year the KOA had a fenced in dog park with miniature dog agility equipment. It was so nice to not have to worry about the dogs tracking mud or grass into the room (floor was wood and sweepable), not having to worry about the dogs on the bedding (our bedding we brought) and being able to dump them in the dog park and watch them play off leash instead of crating them all day and night. Other than some of the campers letting their kids run around in the dog park (against the rules) and barefoot might I add, we had a great weekend camping. It was so relaxing, even if it was 20 minutes away from the show site. I think I might have talked tony into camping there again for the next Omaha show, even though cost wise it isn't much cheaper than a hotel. Something about having a cabin with a porch swing, in the peace and quiet of the woods just does something for you.

The show was fun, despite the Q rate. For whatever reason, Miller was refusing obstacles but randomly, not consistently any one obstacle. He ran around the second to the last jump in standard on saturday even though I connected with him as he came out of the tunnel and told him "out, jump". Oh well, wasn't a double Q anyway but still puzzled as to why he did that! He also ran around a tunnel on Sunday in standard even though I told him "turn, tunnel". It took more effort for him to run around the tunnel than it did to go in it. Then he thought barking at me was more fun than going in the tunnel. I will be honest, I was pissed about that one for a really, really long time. That would have been double Q number 6 for nationals, and even though I am not going, it would be nice to say at least that I qualified for nationals this year. I know we will get it, but usually I am already qualified at this point for nationals and I am a bit behind this year. I know we have plenty of time and I know I had to take things slowly and still am since his injury and I have to take all of those things into account. I know cutting back to two days per show is killing me but I know it is better for Miller.

Harley and Tony continue to gel as a team but he is still having inconsistency issues with Harley. He does seem to be handling this better and I do think Harley is maturing finally which helps. Tony did let me run him in standard on Sunday and boy was that fun! He seems to be alot less stressed now that we are doing running contacts with him. I got a fairly quick sit on the table, even though for me "load up" means get on the table and lay down first. Tony has let the meaning of that command deteriorate and if that is okay with him, I have to live with it. Harley is so obstacle focused and both Miller and Deuce are so handler focused so it about took me off guard when he immediately started shopping as soon as we left the start line! I did forget that pushing Harley in the weaves (me chattering go, go, go) really amps Harley up and usually causes him to pop so we popped out of the weave poles. Other than that, I enjoyed running him and forgot how much fun running a fast dog can be! I hope Deuce has some of Harley's speed in him for sure!

I am looking forward to a few weeks off before the next show. Let's just say that between all the concert tickets and the hotel rooms we have been charging, our credit card is starting to build up some debt. I originally thought about pulling all of my entries for the next three months but I think I will leave our June entries and just not enter in July or August. We should be able to pay a big chunk off by then and the doggies can always use the rest and relaxation. Maybe we will actually be able to start working on all the projects we have at home!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bellvue weekend 2010

video

Another outdoor show and another cold weekend with lots of bars. I love going to Omaha, so much to do and I love outdoor trials but this field has never been good to the red aussie crew and this weekend was no exception. Some of the bars were my fault (the lead out in the standard course was my fault, but what about the double?) but some were just weird and random (harley's first bar in JWW and on the flat in JWW). The field seemed to be un-level, especially in the JWW ring but the other ring seemed fine. There was a muddy spot in the JWW ring and for that reason, I think I ran very cautious for my first run. We were lucky that the weather held out and all we had was cold because it looked like it could rain for sure all weekend. We had fun, going to Cabela's on Saturday (Tony's toy store) where we got some cool doggy first aid stuff and then taking Deuce on a play date with Ami's Tazer, who is the same size and plays the same as Deuce. We are going back again this weekend so hoping the field won't be a mud pit from all of this rain we are suppose to get this week. Highlights from the weekend were no doubt Tony getting a Q in Ex B standard with a third place (don't watch his dog walk contact so you don't see Harley miss it by a mile) and going to a running shoe store and getting fitting for real running shoes!!!! Of course seeing Deuce so happy after playing with Tazer for an hour was great too and all the great advice I got made me feel so much better about some of the behaviors he is doing right now. We are camping this coming weekend so finger's crossed for good weather!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

GKCDTC weekend

As usual I am behind blogging. So much is going on in my life and even though this is Miller's blog, I have to share! I have mentioned it before but I am opening up a small business for dog training in the wamego area. I have joined the APDTA and am meeting with a small business consultant tomorrow. I have lots of questions and lots of excitement so looking forward to ironing out some details. I am still not stuck on a name and have contacted the local Wamego OZ theme person and she is helping me to think of a name and a tag line. My homework this weekend is to watch the Wizard of Oz and read the book looking for cool names. I love the name, Run Toto, Run, but this is the name of a wine at Oz winery so don't want to copy them. So far the best name we have come up with is Ozsome Dog Training and the tagline is "we will train you and Toto too" or "we will train you and your little dog too". Still thinking about this so nothing is set in stone.

I am so excited yet so scared too! My worry is that this will take over my life and my real job. I love what I do, could never not be in science or at a lab bench doing science. I also want time to work on my own dogs as I have so many aspirations for all of them still! I still want to do agility and tracking with all of them and get into herding with Deuce and Harley. I want this to be a side thing and not my life. I have a life and i like it. The book I am reading talks about how you have to set boundaries if this is a side job. For instance, if someone calls, not answering it and calling them back until you get off of work and having set hours to do paperwork on think about classes. I know me and I am very impulsive so it will be very hard for me to do this.

I will have to admit that my head is spinning with all of the possibilities i need to think about. Insurance, having others train with me, finding a location to have group classes, and what type of small business i am going to become are all things that i need to think about and process. I sometimes feel very overwhelmed and I haven't even started!!!! Then comes all the issues that come with teaching such as the people themselves. I feel like I am good with dealing with people but you get so many different kinds in classes or lessons. They mostly want a quick fix, don't want to do their homework and sometimes have dogs with issues that are truly behavioral, which I am not trained to handle, especially any type of aggression. Those will be the tough cases as I will have to turn them away as I not in any shape or form trained to handle these cases. Maybe someday, when I win the lottery, I can go back to school and take behavior courses and do internships at shelters or behavior training facilities and become more knowledgeable in these types of dogs, but I figure that won't happen for a long time if ever. I am going to try and read as many books as I can but reading books does not make you an expert in any way. Firsthand
experience with a knowledgeable expert helps and I have no clue how I would get that.


video


Okay, enough of my ramblings about my small business. This weekend was a good weekend for the Miller man with a double Q on Sunday and a single Q in JWW on Saturday. We would have had a perfect weekend but for whatever reason, he refused the chute in standard. It is weird chute, i will admit, but he has been in it before so this is not the first time we have done it. This is the only club that uses this type of chute in our area. It is a dog house and the barrel is in the house so the dog has to jump up in it and then go through the fabric part. Oh well, you win some, you loose some. We need one more Q for AKC nationals and then like 2oo points but I am not going this year so it doesn't matter. I guess it would be nice to list that we qualified 3 years in a row though? Anyway, Harley had a silly weekend where his contacts fell apart in standard and he knocked bars in JWW. In the video, the JWW run where he knocks the triple, we measure and he took off 8 feet before the obstacle!!!! I think Harley's theme song was I Believe I can Fly!!!!! I hope this isn't a trend for Harley, to become inconsistent again. He is doing so well in open practice and I am really pushing them and making him try hard things, just like Lori did when he was in her class. When he tries to get away with rears, I make him do all fronts or whatever to get him out of his comfort zone. One of the things that I think I finally got through to his head (which shouldn't have taken this long) was that he does not do contacts the same in class as in practice. I got him to working on a true running a-frame tonight and I hope he will continue to practice this. Harley seems so much happier when he can run the contacts but he needs to truly run, not run part of the way and then superman off. Tony was really surprised he did as well as he did tonight just using the hoop and the Frisbee to get Harley to focus ahead.

So we got to do some fun stuff this weekend, including some very good Italian homemade food on Saturday night (best lemon bars I have ever put in my mouth) and some very good KC BBQ on Sunday to celebrate miller's QQ. We even got to see a real steam engine come into Union Station while we were there. We also found a store we have been wanting to go to but it was closed. It is an architecture salvage place and we are hoping to get some cool doors for our house. I love when we get to explore but probably won't be able to do that much more as we have to take Harley and Deuce with us and leave them in the car as they won't behave in the hotel room like berry and miller will. We are going to buy a fan that uses a tool battery this weekend, which will help but not in summer time:( Oh well, we have had fun exploring this winter! Can't wait to go back to Omaha in a few weeks and go back to Upstream brewery and back to the antique shops we found there! One of them had antique door knobs and I am so excited!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Wichita Cluster weekend 2010

Back from the gym, trying to wind down and thought I would write a little bit about Miller and Harley's weekend. I am trying to make a mash up video of both dogs instead of separate videos so I can just upload one and be done. We only got 2 Qs videoed out of three between the two dogs but oh well. We left the video camera in the car for the first part of the morning as we were in a hurry since tony takes so dang long to get ready and he also wanted spangles this morning for breakfast. I normally just eat a granola bar but for some reason, forgot to pack them so had to eat out for breakfast. That much grease that early in the morning really does a number on my tummy!!!

Anyway, got to Wichita late friday night and swung by the show site to see if it was still open. I had heard that there was actually crating space this year so was hoping to get set up in a good location. I love this trial and I hate this trial. There is so much to do and watch including lure coursing, herding, agility, conformation, and obedience and so many vendors but with that comes tons of people, spectators, and not alot of space typically to set up your crates. To me, it looked like conformation entries were down this year because usually where we agility folks crate is surrounded by paid conformation crating and there was lots of space left for free. We have crated in the car in the past and i hate that because you never know what the weather is going to be like and it is usually too hot to leave them in the car.

Got to the hotel around 11ish and got checked in and drug all of our crap up the stairs. Four dogs have lots of crap to take with them in a hotel, even if it is just two nights. I had decided to bring a crate in this time since last time deuce decided to walk all over me all night and caused me to not get very much sleep. I tried leaving him out but about 3 am he decided it was time to walk on the momma and I couldn't sleep, plus his tummy was still a little unhappy from his dumpster diving antics. Saturday morning dawned way too early but at least we were set up and it was small to tall so we didn't have to be in a big hurry. I had two good runs with miller that weren't q runs. The weave poles in standard were going straight into the fence and I think I must have started slowing down and he popped out because i was slowing down. Who knows, he seems to do this alot here lately so it is something I am doing for sure. Other than that, he had an awesome run and had a great run going in jumpers too and knocked a bar. I was very happy with the way he ran even though they weren't Q runs. He was happy although he did break his stay in jumpers. I have got to get tough and make him stay as we were lucky this weekend that only one course really needed a lead out to be successful with the handling move I wanted to do. Harley was the star of the day, running fast and clean in JWW and getting a fourth place! I am so proud of tony and how he is coming along with harley. They are really gelling as a team and it shows! Harley seems so much more relaxed when he runs and alot of his issues are going away with the reduction in stress. Tony was really tickled that he did so well and that they beat out border collies for a Golden, Lab, Aussie, Aussie top four. Everyone is so supportive of him and all have been coming up to him telling him how well he is doing and he really loves it. I really miss running harley but I put way too much pressure on him and Tony doesn't and so he does better for him for sure!

We let Deuce do the herding instinct test (see deuce's blog for results) and then took the dogs out to go watch Barb's whippet do lure coursing. My dogs get so excited when other dogs lure course so I only had them out one at a time so we could really hold them. A whole bunch of agility folks came over and watched so it was fun. We went back to the hotel sunburnt and wind whipped and tired. I think we must have both laid down and died because we woke up and it was 7:30 at night! Tony really wanted to go to the dirt track as it was opening night and even though I wasn't hugely excited, I went. Just finding parking was horrible as I guess everyone in the little town of Park City comes to the races. I am not kidding, we drove around the parking lot for 30 minutes and tony had to race a guy for a spot and almost having a wreck in doing so. We had a good time watching the sprint cars and the modified cars and the kids racing but i was so tired and the nap made me feel worse not better. We didn't have our normal racing gear either so we got lots of dirt and rubber in our face and our ears got assaulted by the loud engines but it was fun. We left around 10ish and headed back to the hotel and died again!

Today was a good day too with Miller getting a double Q on some very fun courses. Harley ran past the weaves in standard, which I don't think I have seen him do since he was a puppy and then tony really pushed him in jumpers and he had multiple bars. I think Tony was bummed about his runs but happy because Miller got a fourth in standard today so we had reason to celebrate. I think that is our 5th QQ for our MACH 2 and our 4th QQ for nationals qualifying (even though we aren't going). I am hoping if we stay consistent that maybe MACH 2 will be a possibility. I know it was so awesome today to see Lynn and Scoot, who got there MACH the weekend after Miller and I did get their second MACH. Scoot is such an awesome aussie (i know, have run him:) and Lynn does such a great job handling him. They finished 26th out of 275 20 inch dogs at nationals which is a huge accomplishment for any aussie against so many border collies! Sara F also got her MACH this weekend with her little snazzie Maycee! It was so great to see so many people meet their goals with their dogs this weekend! I know how huge it is to get a MACH and I hope they all float on cloud 9 for a long time!

On another note, got lots of good books this weekend on starting my own doggy business. Dogwise was at the show so picked up three really good books. I am reading the business one right now and am learning so much! I am on the chapter about tax deductions and about what type of business you want to be and business plans and so far, I am not too scared yet! I really look forward to providing a service to the community and their pets and hope to get this up and started this summer. I have to get this going so that I can get insured so I don't get sued when I help people at their homes with their dogs. This is the main reason why I have decided to go through with this business thing and I really, really enjoy helping people and their dogs. I have been doing some one on one work at people's houses that I have met in wamego (met one lady at the track, one lady saw me working in the yard and stopped and started asking questions) but look forward to maybe having some group type classes and maybe even some puppy classes!

Well, better get off of here and go fold some laundry!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Final Blog from nationals rescued from mom's computer

On the road again and time to blog on my mom’s laptop while she drives. I am so thankful she comes as she is a tremendous help to me and Miller both mentally and physically (my favorite kennel bitch) plus as an added bonus, she comes with her laptop! Again, I am sad that she will be leaving Tuesday so that makes the final day of nationals very sad as all good things come to an end. We had the hybrid round today and once again had to be at the show site at 6:00 am. I was in the third walk/run group so didn’t have to wait as long. We had an awesome run going and miller was so amped that he missed his a-frame contact. We do a running a-frame and unfortunately this can happen if he is really excited. I was just so happy that he ran so well that I really didn’t care. He has been pulling me to the rings every run and even when we weren’t getting ready to run. I can’t ask for any more enthusiasm although I would like my start line stay back LOL! He even gave me a big bark on the start line today which he usually doesn’t do so you know he is feeling great! I am so proud of all of my agility friends as so many of them had good runs and brought home lots of ribbons. I think everyone pretty much walked away from the experience happy with their runs. I know I was super happy with my handling this year even if we didn’t have the Qs to back it up. As I said before, the worst run I had all weekend was the run that I got the Q on. My favorite run of the weekend was probably his ISC standard run that he ran so tightly and fast on. Heck, pretty much all the runs he ran top speed and tight! I have a ton of time to decide about Perry, but I am still leaning towards not going. It is a long way just for a green ribbon and I could probably save my money and invest it in equipment or Deuce or Miller more massages! I am truly so happy with my weekend and my nationals that this might be a good one to end on.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Video of final NAC runs

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Here is a video of Miller's last NAC in Tulsa OK. Mom has my blog of how things went on her computer so as soon as I have it I will post it cause I can't remember all i wrote LOL!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

NAC Tulsa 2010 Day 1 and 2

So I am tired but going to try and write some stuff up so my faithful readers can read my thoughts. It is day two, already have run four runs and yet I am exhausted. We got to Tulsa on Thursday afternoon in time to set up our stalls and check in. While our decorations weren't as eleborate as last year, they still looked pretty dang good. Unfortunately, several other states went all out this year and we are located in the very back of the stalling area so we aren't seen as much. Of course, the NCAA tournament is going on right now and KSU was in the sweet 16 and they were playing Thursday night. We went through double OT and and were up till 12 screaming for the cats so 5 am came wayyy too early! I think Lori and I texted back and forth the whole game! So glad the cats won and got to move on to the Elite 8! We had team day on Friday with two very tough but very fun courses. I LOVE ISC courses because they are so technical and they are so much fun to run. We had two great runs, but little mistakes got us. A missed weave pole entry due to mishandling of the threadle cost us our Q in JWW and a missed up contact on the dog walk (which I got but he sure did miss the down contact which she didn't call) cost us the Q in standard. I was extremely pleased with both of our runs and didn't care that we didn't get the Q. Last year was such a disaster running wise due to my illness and my belief that this would be our only nationals. He ran around obstacles and just did plan crappy and my handling was very crappy. This year I was determined to handle well and that was my main goal. I also wanted 5 clean runs but that was not to be this year. Friday night, mom and I ate and crashed, in bed by 8:30 pm.

Saturday dawned a bit earlier as we had to be at the site by 6:00 am. Mom and I had a good night's rest but still were a bit tired. I was in the first walk/run group for the first course which was standard but the last walk/run group for jumpers. So basically, I walked the course at like 7:00 am and then ran fairly soon after that and then didn't walk till late afternoon in jumpers and didn't run till 4:30 pm. I am so very exhausted, basically from the waiting. The song "The Waiting is the hardest part" by Tom Petty ran through my head over and over! At one point, my brain just started checking out and I started majorly zoning out. The standard course was not as technical as Friday's course, but had some hard parts. It was very doable and had some fun parts. Once again, Miller ran great but for whatever reason, popped the last pole in the weaves. I did fix it so we just got one fault but lost our clean run. The second run was JWW and he was clean but he broke his start line stay and the whole run felt very panicky. Funny enough, out of like 267 dogs, he is ranked 114. Not bad for a big red, barky bossy aussie!

Now on to my thoughts. They did announce that next year will be in Georgia. This is doable distance wise but I am not sure if this will be my goal. I want to get his second MACH and I am really struggling as to what to think about nationals. Much like USDAA nationals, the top dogs are more than not border collies and even with a clean run, Miller barely made time. I think this should be the goal of national events, to have the best dogs running and winning so don't think I disagree with how they do things. I am just not sure nationals is where we need to be. I agree, my first national events were a no -brainer, I had to go. Now, I have been to several and I am just not happy with just being there anymore. I am not wanting to get a border collie so therefore I will never be in the finals so what is the point in going? It is very expensive to just go and run and get a little green ribbon. Again, this is important to some and was very important to me at first but I am over that. I could move Miller down to 16 inches and run him in preferred for next year but I would have to start over in Novice and work my way back up to Ex B and get 6 QQs and 400 points. It is doable but why? I would have to put off getting his MACH 2 and I think this is an attainable goal with the way he has been running. I need to think about is somemore because I do really, really enjoy coming so would hate to pass up on the experience but is the experience enough?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pre-Nationals

Oh boy, getting excited and nervous! I am so ready for nationals this year, mainly because we had such a bad nationals last year (me being sick, him running around obstacles). As usual, my goal is to have 5 clean runs and handle the courses as well as I can. I have no delusions of making the challenger round or finals as I don't have a border collie:( We are just going to go, have fun, shop and run fast and clean! I look forward to having a good time with my mom and my friends and of course did I say shop? We are dragging an a-frame back that i bought from J and J and I will be on the look out for a base with 24 inch poles for deuce when he gets big enough to do weaves. I am feeling really positive about this year for a few reasons. One reason is even though we haven't had class since like November, Miller is running awesome right now. We have been practicing 24 inch spaced poles and he is doing great so that is not even a concern now. I feel like he is running very consistently and we should be able to meet our goal as long as stupid handler doesn't show up. I feel like I am in very good shape right now as well since I have been training with a personal trainer. I still have alot of weight to drop but I feel very physically fit. I remember last year hearing two handlers discussing peaking and preparing for nationals and feeling like I had done nothing to peak or prepare. This year, I feel like we are there, at the peak and prepared both physically and mentally.

This will probably be Miller's last nationals unless maybe they have it again in Tulsa or somewhere close and then I might consider going again. He needs 4 more doubles and about 300 more points. Since we have only been doing 2 day shows and not as many and have been struggling with these dang 24 inch spaced poles, so we are behind a bit but have many more shows this year so shouldn't be a problem. I am still not ready to drop him down but when the time comes, will for sure and then maybe we can compete in preferred at nationals. I just hate the thought of having to start back in novice because it took him a year to get out of P1 in USDAA due to all of the space between obstacles. More room for him to back talk for sure!

Anyway, will have mom's computer and the camera so will take lots of pictures and post and blog regularly! See ya in Tulsa!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Carthage Weekend 2010

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As usual, had a great time at Carthage. We always have a great time, even though it is usually cold inside the arena. You can't beat a show that has a bar in it that has good beer and heat LOL! Miller had been struggling at previous shows with the weaves but the previous shows had 24 inch spaced poles so was eager to see what he would do on 22 inch spaced poles. I am happy to say that he was 100%, 4 for 4 on his weaves. This is good and bad news. Good that we got two double Qs this weekend on some tough courses but bad that we are going to have 24 inch spaced poles at nationals and that seems to be an issue for him! I am going to get something to pound into the ground tomorrow and just do some 24 inch stick in the grounds to try and practice. It took him one day of getting entries but popping out last show and I won't have that much time at nationals. I hope that all clubs adopt them so that by the time Deuce is ready for weaves that everything will be standardized. I can really tell a difference when Miller weaves on 22 versus 24s for sure. Harley also had some great runs with a Q in Excellent B JWW for his MXJ. I was so proud of Tony for getting it and coming in 5th place. We worked all weekend, course building and helping scribe. Tony learned the fine art of course building and getting along with women at the same time. He sometimes becomes very shy around people he doesn't know but actually was nice and talkative and ignored the bossy ones and didn't let them get to him. We had a ton of fun saturday night watching the KU vs. KSU game at the bar in the arena. It was prime rib night so we had good beer and good prime rib, even if it was over cooked. We also got to go to shakes, a custard place that we use to have in Manhattan, and Deuce had his very first pup cup. I am so tired right now, thought I would be wide awake since we sprung forward but am fighting to stay awake. I am going to have a super busy week so if I can just make it through the week, the next week is just a three day week since we are headed to Tulsa to nationals. Going to head out to the show n go on saturday and hopefully sunday we can get some work done on the house. Bed time now!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wichita Weekend 2010

Back, unpacked, fed, having a beer and blogging. What a great weekend! Had so much fun, even though the Q fairy isn't being very good to me. Harley got his first MX leg and it was a great run and Miller got a JWW Q today with an awesome run. Had a great dinner with friends on saturday night with $1.99 margaritas. You can't beat that for frozen peach margaritas! I needed one because I did not sleep at all Friday night and I so needed something to relax me enough to let me sleep. I am a very light sleeper, so light that Tony has stopped sleeping with me because he snores and i can't sleep. Unfortunately, we can't get two rooms at a hotel, so I have to sleep in the same room and I didn't sleep at all. I think Friday night I had maybe 3 hours of sleep but surprisingly had great runs on saturday.

For whatever reason, Miller decided that weave poles were overrated and popped the last pole in JWW and then somewhere in the middle of the poles in standard. I am still undecided as to what exactly is causing his latest weave issues. I use to crowd him in the weaves so I am trying to be very conscious of giving him tons of space while he is weaving. Just as I had done with the dog walk, he knows his job and I need to stay out of his way. Babysitting is what causes him to jump or pop so I have been drawing an imaginary line and trying to stay on the other side of the line and stay out if his way. I feel like I did this weekend but for whatever reason, he was popping the poles. He has had issues with 24 inch spaced poles in the past so I am hoping that he can get this spacing figured out before nationals. He did have great poles on sunday so maybe it is something else or maybe the fact that we are seeing this spacing on poles pretty much everywhere is helping him figure it out.

We did get a Q in jumpers today and I am very happy with that Q. I was undecided at to whether practice some rear crosses since that is our weakness or to push him hard and do pretty much all fronts. Lori had told me to push since every run at nationals needs to be pushed so I listened and pushed him. He usually gets between 7 and 9 points in JWW and I am happy to say he got 10 this time! I am so proud of this big red, 11 year old dog!

I loved all of my runs this weekend even with the popped poles, other than my standard run this morning. I got miller out way to early and i think he got really stressed and started sniffing and not paying attention which is not like him. He did this at AKC nationals when I got him out super early so I need to not do that anymore if I can help it. Let's just say the whole start of the run was a big cluster f*ck. Once we got through the chute (7th obstacle), we ran fine, even getting in a nice blind cross off of the a-frame and a great dog walk contact.

Just to mention Tony and Harley, they had a great standard run today with a Q and also a very nice JWW run that wasn't a Q. Harley was pretty wild in JWW saturday and I ran him in standard in which I pulled him off for a blown a-frame contact. I so hoped Tony would get his first QQ today, but harley locked in on an off-course tunnel in JWW and blew tony off to go get it. Dang Harley! He is still looking great and for not having class or any practice since November, they are doing surprisingly well.



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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Triune Weekend (February Edition)

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Back from Lawrence and another good show weekend. We only showed 2 days out of four which I think was a good move for Miller. He does seem to get tired quicker now and because of the abundance of crappy weather, I haven't been able to really condition him like normal. Plus, every year I say I will never show for four days straight and every year I do and regret it. Imagine four days in a hotel or driving 2 hours, eating out, and getting up early. Seems like everyone is tired and grumpy after four day shows and I am happy to say I am rested and ready to go! I was interested to see how he ran after so many runs last weekend and I have to say I was very pleased. While he hasn't been placing in any runs, he got 19 points in standard and 12 in JWW which is pretty awesome for an 11 year old dog. I decided to really put my revelation to the test this weekend (trust your dog dummy) and I am happy to say it really worked. I was out of position a couple of times and he saved my butt, but I can trust that he will do that. He knows his job and I have to let him do his job and not micromanage. I am still not sure exactly why he popped the poles in our Sunday standard run, but it could have been a couple of things. I had attempted a blind cross after the a-frame and I think I was not far enough ahead and he read it as a push and not a cross. He kind of did a push, nose dive off of the a-frame and when I looked back, he was completely twisted in the air. The weaves were 6 obstacles later and he might have been feeling a little sore by then, thus causing him to pop the poles. The other reason could be, he doesn't train on 24 inch poles and sometimes looses his rhythm in them. Every year when we go to the MAC trial in Minnesota, he does this so I think we are just going to have to train more often on them. Whatever the case, to be cautious, I did not run him in JWW and Tony also pulled Harley. Daytona is today and it is the start of the NASCAR season so he was very anxious to get home. Driving home was very odd, drove through bright sunny skies one minute and blowing blinding snow the next. Kansas weather is so very odd!

I would have to say the weekend was good but weird. Had a very odd spell this weekend that i can't really explain. After we ran on Saturday, tony and I decided to go to Home Depot to see if they had anything different than the one in Manhattan. While we were in Home Depot, I started getting very dizzy and very nauseous. I literally had to hold on to Tony to get out of there. Even though I was a little green, it was about dinner time so thought maybe I was just hungry. Took Tony to a Chinese place that I thought he would love. Well, it wasn't as good as I remembered and it didn't help my upset tummy, even though I just ate beef and egg noodles. Ended up having to go back to the hotel room and just lay in the bed. I was so bummed because the major reason why we got a hotel room in Lawrence was to get to go out and eat with our friends, and instead I was laid up in the hotel room:( Oh well, we got to sleep late the next day and take our time getting to the show site. I guess it was worth it and I do feel normal today.

I have to comment on a blog I read about sportsmanship in our sport. A fellow competitor wrote about how negative things have gotten and I have to agree. People are alot more serious about agility now than when I started. More and more people are getting dogs based on what wins at nationals or what is going to get them on the world team and not what dog best fits them. More and more people are going to trainers and seminars to be their very best and that is a good thing. Wanting to be better is a good goal and whatever means you do to get there is awesome. We all have goals, some as simple as getting your dog walk contact, to getting the win and going to nationals. Some people are pushing themselves and their dogs way to far, thus creating unhappy sore dogs and and unhappy competitors. I do agree cliches are forming, some new, some that have always been there but I think in any sport or in any competitive venue or event this will happen. I don't think there is anything you can do about it. All you can do is to set the best example for everyone else. Don't sink to anyone's level!!!!! Let them wallow in their own misery. Karma is always a bitch and it will always come back to haunt you. Try to be the most positive person and you will create positivity that will spread. We all need to stop gossiping so much !!!! It brings us all down and doesn't help any situation. I know it is something I need to work on because who doesn't like juicy gossip! I think the true meaning of a champion or lets just say, a leader, is a very positive person who can maintain this demeanor no matter what situation arises. It is so hard to be positive when you are handling bad or if you are handling good but the chips just aren't falling in your favor. I will try and be the best example I can be of a positive handler and I will surround myself with positive people. Maybe we can spread this positivity! We do this sport for fun as most of us can't do this for a living. We need to remember that time with our dogs is short and we need to cherish every run, good and bad.