Monday, January 29, 2007

Less Funky Chicken

Yesterday I talked so much about how the kids did in our lesson that I forgot to add that I am making progress too! I have a lot to learn and practice too. My body language and hand signals are every bit as important as voice commands. You can't touch the dogs in an agility competition, so communication with voice commands and body language/signals are all you've got! I'm not always the most coordinated person, so running full out, not running into jumps, not running over the dogs, trying to keep an eye on the dogs to make sure they're going where they're supposed to, while remembering the course, and calling out commands, and getting the body language and hand signals all together can be frustrating (and sometimes funny). For some reason it always reminds me of the 'Funky Chicken' song - put your left foot in, put your left foot out, put your left foot in and shake it all about! But I am getting better!

Pictures from our walk this evening on the bayou (for those of you not from Houston, also known as the Bayou City, a bayou is a fancy name for a big ditch). The nice thing about our bayou is that there are strait, uninterrupted privacy fences on our side, so it's a nice safe place to let the kids run wild off leash. Check out the wild look on Mikey's face in the last picture. I caught them in mid-wrestle on that one! And yes, that's green grass! Winter in Houston!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi!'

Sunday, January 28, 2007


Finally! Agility play!

Met with J for a private lesson with both Holly and Mikey this afternoon. Mikey went first and had a great time, and was doing a great job of ignoring distractions (my mom came to take pictures, and my dad came for a lesson with his young dog Meg, as well as several dogs in the runs of the boarding kennel right on the other side of the fence). He also was following my hand cues very well, great progress there! One funny thing was his airheadedness with the tunnels today. He has been rocketing through tunnels, but today kept stopping and looking at me like 'Huh?' Really strange since most of the tunnels he has been doing recently have been after dark, with dark colored tunnels, which makes them look like black holes to nowhere. Today with bright sunshine, and bright yellow tunnels, he was hesitant. Go figure.

Holly went second and really struggled today. She did have a little diarrhea last night, and so maybe she was just feeling a little crummy still today. On the other hand, she does have a bit of a history of really enjoying a new sport (tracking, obedience), and really excelling, and then after the novelty wears off, just not being very interested anymore. Holly has considerably less drive than Mikey, which frankly makes her generally easier to live with, but also makes training with her more of a challenge. I really have to play cheer leader with her to keep her interested in what we are doing, which wears me out more than trying to keep up with speedy little Mikey. Holly has been doing pretty well in our Thursday evening class though, so I hope she was just off today, and not turning off on agility in general. She is really hard to figure out sometimes; she has a complicated personality and sometimes I just feel clueless as to what really floats her boat. Of course she's still my little doll.

Thank goodness we had the chance to play today, since the forecast is calling for rain all week and we will probably miss our Thursday evening class (and yes, it is still Mikey's turn). Both of the kids are sacked out on the couch (nice thing about those short legs, we all fit on the couch without crowding). My hips and knees are throbbing (someday more on the round about with my health). Too, too sad the weekend is over!

My mom got some great action shots. Enjoy! Also notice the great way both dogs are following my hand signals! Progress!!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Kill 'Em with Cuteness

I hate to tell you I told you so, but I did! No agility class tonight, the rain this week turned the agility field into a pond again. Obviously because it is still Mikey's turn.

I got nothin' tonight. I've been busy at work the last few days, so the brain's not much use after work. Luckily the dogs love me for more than my mind!

With nothing much to say, I thought I would post some baby pictures for your viewing enjoyment. I think Holly and Mikey are still the cutest things on four legs as adults, but oh boy, they were unreal puppies!

Currently reading - 'I, Elizabeth' by Rosalind Miles

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi!'

Monday, January 22, 2007

Adventures in Oral Hygiene

Yes, oral hygiene has been much on my mind lately. My mom broke a tooth last week and has been going through hell to get it fixed. I broke two teeth around Christmas of last year, and started '06 with two root canals, which totally wiped out my dental coverage for the year. I have been waiting to get two other teeth worked on until the new year, and now that it's here I guess it's time to face the music (especially considering that one tooth has been aching off and on for months).

All this has put a bug in my ear about how lax I have been with oral hygiene routines for the Cardis. Grooming, check. Nail care once a week, check. Regular physical exercise and mental stimulation, check, check. A nutritious and varied diet, check. Veterinary care as needed, check. Regular at home dental cleaning. . . well I have toothpaste and a tooth brush for each, but that isn't going to cut it. So tonight we started building a new habit, regular brushing. Nobody enjoyed it, but I'm sure if we keep at it we'll get better. And I won't have to feel guilty about skipping out on a very important part of the Cardis health.

In other news, there isn't any news. Agility class was canceled last Thursday because the agility field had turned into a small pond, and the forecast for this week isn't looking so good either. This could go on for weeks folks, because it is Mikey's turn. Both dogs are at about the same level right now, so I alternate every week who gets to go to class. And I swear, if it's Mikey's turn there's gonna be rain. It's like he's got bad weather karma.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi' and Holly says 'See my freshly brushed teeth, you can't play tug with rotten teeth!'

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Cast of Characters

Introductions are in order, so . . .

I'm 35 years old, 4'11" with brown eyes, and the rest is subject to change without notice. I live and work in a Houston suburb and make a living as a scientist at a biotech company. My title is 'Manager of Imaging and Statistical Analysis' which sounds important, but the reality is not so much. This blog is definitely not going to be about work, so I will just leave it at I mostly like my job, it's interesting, it pays the bills, I'm grateful to have a decent job/career, and I think it would be better to be independently wealthy and not have to work. I've got some health problems that I'm not going to bother going into today. I'm not married, and I don't think that's a huge loss, at least for now. I'm a board member of the local Cardigan club. And I adore reading; mostly novels and history. I would love to write myself, but so far haven't done so well with setting words down. I love sushi and vinegar and salt potato chips and have a real weakness for Ben and Jerry's ice cream. That about covers it.

No false advertising here, this blog really is going to mostly be about my adventures with my Cardigan Corgis, so an introduction to them is most important! Both of 'the kids' are training in obedience/rally and agility. Both have a strong start in tracking, but due to health problems (mine) and available time, we have been taking a break from tracking this year. Tracking is a lot of fun though, and I miss the people in the local tracking club, so we will be getting back to it soon. I have been showing my male dog in the breed ring (conformation) since he was six months old. He is only three points away from earning his Champion title and has three majors, all at supported entries or specialties (supported entries/specialties are sponsored by the national or local breed club, so wins are a bit more prestigious, and entries are larger, so they are also great opportunities to see other people in the breed that I don't get to see on a regular basis). Both dogs have their Canine Good Citizen certificate, which is basically the American Kennel Club (AKC) version of a temperament test. The dogs have to show good manners around people and other dogs and show that they can obey basic commands like coming when called, or staying in place for a short time. I would also love to learn herding with the dogs. My girl has been herding instinct tested on sheep, and she thought that was great fun! Maybe someday - it's another one of those time conflict things.

Cardigan number one is a three year old spayed female, brindle and white, named Twinroc Aelwyn Cariad CGC. Her name generally translates to 'white browed sweetheart' in Welsh. Her call name is Holly, as in Christmas holly, since she was born right before Christmas. Around here she is also known as The Princess, The Diva and Miss Sassypants. Holly was bred by Paul and Doris of Twinroc Cardigans. Paul and Doris have been breeding Cardigans since I believe 1969 and have won five Best in Specialties at the Cardigan nationals, as well as having bred dogs that have been influential in many past and present breeding lines. Doris was my first contact when I began searching for my first Cardigan, and I consider her both a friend and a mentor. Sadly, Paul lost his battle with cancer last year. I will always regret that I was only able to know him for such a short time.

Cardigan number two is a two year old intact male, blue merle and white with tan points, named Pecan Valley DreamCatcher CGC. His call name is Mikey, but he is also known as Mike the Mouth, Little Dude, and Monkey Boy. Mikey was bred by Betty and Colin of Pecan Valley Cardigans. As they live in another state, I haven't had much of an opportunity to get to know them.

The best thing about both Mikey and Holly are their personalities. Sooo different from each other, and both sure to keep things interesting around our house!

Enough for today, both dogs need baths, and they have a lot more hair than they look like! If you ever want to see the most pathetic sight, check out a sad Cardigan! Those huge ears start to droop when they are upset, and they kind of look like Yoda. The saddest thing you have ever seen!!

I'll leave you with a picture of Mikey's last big win. He went Best of Winners at the Bluebonnet Club specialty at the Reliant Series dog show here in Houston back in July. Shown with the judge, club officers with the memorial plaque for Best of Winners and art work that was offered as trophy for best of winners, and of course myself and the wonderful Mikey!

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'!