Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Laughter of Dogs

OK, so if it's a little past dusk, and you really can't see anything all that well, and one of your dogs (who shall remain nameless) is busy eating something that you suspect is cat sh!t, and is not responding to your 'come' command, don't loose your temper and try the old throw your keys trick, because while it will startle your (nameless) dog enough to pay attention to you, you will also spend twenty minutes in the (now dark) field searching for your keys. I'm just saying. . .

Monday, October 29, 2007

Run Forest, Run!

Excellent, excellent class night. Especially in light of the cruddy practice session we had at my parents house yesterday. Course night again; a fun one that included a little bit of everything. Oh, and with my knee braces on, I feel like Forest looked running in his 'magic shoes'; but they do seem to help.

Mikey was on a roll and didn't even hesitate a step going up the A-frame. The only real problem we had was kind of funny. It's dark by the time we start class; they have a great lighting system there, but still. . .dark. And the first time we attempted the weaves, almost at the end of the weaves, was a brace sticking out on the ground, but I couldn't see it, so I stepped on it, which caused the entire set of polls to rock a little, and Mikey said 'Huh?' and popped out. And we retried, and the same thing happened again, and again, until I finally managed to not step on the darn thing. There was also a little minor incident of me leaning over and flipping Mikey's tug toy up in the air for him to grab. . . and he grabbed the end of the toy and part of my boob. Ouch!!

And I can't tell you how nice it was to have chilly weather for class instead of humid and hot!

Here are some pictures from our weekend practice session. Nothing really went wrong, but it was just one of those days when Mikey and I couldn't sync. Thanks again Cardigrandma for taking so many great pictures.

Off to bed.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

And my dad and the awesome Meg.

And the awesome Holly - don't tell her that she's not still an agility diva! 'Cause she'll tell you otherwise!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Now I Know!

Now I know why I was so wiped out yesterday evening. I've got some kind of bug! Or food poisoning, maybe. But apparently there is some bug going around the area that fits my symptoms. I'm not going to go into gory detail, but I've had a chance to catch-up on reading Front and Finish and Clean Run while hanging out in the restroom, and I've got a headache like I haven't had in years. I've slept away most of the morning, and think I may just do the same with the afternoon.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi' and 'Mom's being boooor-iiiing' (insert sing-song, whiny little boys voice).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy

Yup, I wimped out tonight and skipped agility class. I didn't get enough sleep last night and I'm pooped. I know they are having class tonight, despite the rain we got with a cool front today, because I called and asked. I went back and forth with myself most of the afternoon, but decided against class when I started drifting to sleep at a stop light on the way home from work.

As much as I feel like it's good to make myself go some times when I'm having bad joint pain, tonight is different; I just want to curl up with Holly and Mikey and enjoy the first blast of cool air. We had a great walk on the bayou. For some reason, I am a complete sucker for cold(ish), windy, cloudy walks (or better yet, a hike in the woods). Tonight was perfect, cold enough to bundle up (and make the kids a little crazy), but not cold enough to make your ears or hands hurt. And boy was it gusty on the bayou. I love it when the leaves go hurtling by and the trees do 'the wave'.

Also, there's a tree branch that rests on top of a street light on the street behind me; in really windy weather it scraaaapes and screeeeeches back and forth on the light. I can't decide if it's really annoying, or kind of neat. Luckily I can't hear it from the bedroom.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Some old Photoshopped pictures of Holly and Mikey.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Agility. Thanks mom!

Pet-Fest. We didn't stay long; too hot and not enough shade.

Bonus! Pictures of my dad's dog Meg at the place they practice for hunt tests (ie A good place to 'try' to wear Meg out).

I Don't Think So

Ummm, doesn't look like agility weather to me. On the bright side, maybe I will get all the Pet-Fest and agility pics put on the blog tonight. And tell you about the adventures IN the bayou yesterday morning.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Gimme My Coffee!

I've been trying to brew a pot of coffee since 7:30, first I thought I hadn't turned the pot on, and then rlater realized that the pot wasn't actually plugged in. . . Must need coffee to actually be awake enough to make coffee. Pictures from Pet-Fest and agility to follow later today. . .

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Well, we're back from my parents. Our course was two jumps up the middle, weaves down one side, and teeter or chute down the other side. So, weave, turn jump backcross jump, turn chute or teeter, turn jump backcross jump, turn weave. My parent's backyard isn't that big, so everything was tight. Mikey did great, and Holly played too, with the jumps set with just a pole on the ground. Cardigrandma got some pictures, so hopefully I'll get a hold of them later and share.

Also, while driving home, I had a thought for Maverick; more of a long term solution. Teach him 'watch me'! Start this out at your place with no distractions and a handful of treats. Hold a treat by your face and say 'watch me', and then give him the treat when he looks. Build on this by over time moving the hand with the treat down to your side, but he still has to look at your face to get the treat. And then build on that by doing it outside with a few easy distractions around. Always reward with treats (green beans?). Eventually, this is something that can be used to refocus his attention when the Rottie or whoever comes around. Carry a bag of treats in your pocket or waist band.

You know, everyone that has dogs has something they do that needs work. For me, it's stuff that I'm too lazy to consistently insist on better behavior. Like excessive barking when a guest comes to the door. I would really rather my guys would do a sit and wait when someone comes to the door, but I've just been too lazy to consistently reinforce this every time. Asking for a sit and wait sometimes, and sometimes just letting them bark and dance around when I open the door is not ever going to work. On the other hand, some of their 'naughty' behaviors are just things that don't really matter to me, but might be unacceptable to someone else. The most recent thing I've started reinforcing is meal time behavior. Mikey just lays around and waits for his food, but Holly hops up and down and sometimes barks. It's finally gotten annoying enough that I'm doing something about it. Both dogs are doing a sit-stay or down-stay at the entry to the kitchen from here on out.

Now, on to Pet-Fest!

A Friend in Need

Aunt Andi needs some help folks. You all met Maverick here months ago. Aunt Andi and Mavvy used to be part of our morning ladies/dog mama's walking club. Marverick is the sweetest, most laid back fellow, and Aunt Andi is a first time dog owner. She's doing a great job with Mavvy. Maverick was found as a wandering stray with both heart worms and all his boy parts intact several years ago. So Aunt Andi took got rid of both and has given Mavvy a very happy home. I think he's around 5 years old. And nothing rattles Mavvy, except. . . male dogs that are still intact. With the exception of Mikey, either because he has known Mikey since he was a baby, or because Mikey has the ability to get along with everyone.

In any case, I'm not terribly surprised that a dog with an unknown history, that spent the first few years of his life intact, gets a little bent out of shape about other intact males. He barks like crazy and pulls on the leash, and even if she picks him up, he tries to wiggle out of her arms and continues barking. Going back to that 'Better Than OTCH' idea, the most important part of dog training is having a great companion. And Maverick's reaction to intact males is frustrating the he!! out of Aunt Andi. We've got a loose Rottie 'living' in our apartment complex, being fed by a couple of people, but no one is taking him in, and only one person here can touch him. His story is a whole 'nother post, but the point is, he's intact and he goes with that person when she walks her dog, meaning all of us around here run into him regularly. Since he's not on leash, he's gotten a little too close for Aunt Andi's comfort several times, attracted by Maverick's behavior.

Long intro, but the point is, I'm soliciting suggestions. Maverick understands no, and knows sit and, I think, down. My advice to Aunt Andi was to move over on the bayou as much as she can to let these dogs pass by, while saying 'No' to the naughty behavior and then immediately giving him something else to focus on such as asking for a sit or down. This would work best if there were treats handy to reward good behavior. Something I forgot to mention Aunt Andi, is turning Maverick so that he can't as easily directly look at the Rottie; don't turn his back to the dog, since that would probably make him feel vulnerable, but partially turn him away and then distract him with the sit.

So, blogospherians, please offer any suggestions you have in the comments section. Needless to say, positive reinforcement suggestions are expected. And remember that Mavvy has no formal obedience training, Aunt Andi is a first time dog owner, and Maverick is other wise very well behaved and very friendly to all other dogs.

In other news, I've decided to try and squeeze it all into Saturday. We're going over to my parents house to do some agility around 9 (Holly and Mikey are very upset that I haven't made a move towards going out to the bayou; be patient guys, we have better plans for this morning), and when we get home I'm going to knock the stink off and then we're going to Pet-Fest in Old Town Spring for a couple of hours, and then I'm going to dinner with my mom and dad. At least that's the plan.

Also, I have decided to start another blog for my rheumatoid arthritis. No reason to be a downer on this blog, but I need some place to vent. So if you've been coming to this blog based on the ra listed in my profile, you'll soon have some place to go. I'm going to try to get around to starting it this weekend.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Breath of Fresh Air!

The first 'moderate' cool front for the Houston area! Mostly, that translates to lower humidity, but when summer time humidity is close to 80%+, any drop in humidity is a real treat. Plus, the temps in the morning are supposed to be in the upper 50's to low 60's, which is a major treat after months and months of morning walks in the upper 70's to low 80's. In fact, I got so excited about the lower temps that I did a load of laundry tonight that included sweatpants and some hoodies(those of you who live north of Houston, please contain your laughter).

Actually, the weather this evening for our walk was almost perfect. A few degrees lower would have been ideal, but it was so nice without the humidity, and there was a nice breeze on the bayou.

We also ran into our new friends Tika and Tika's owner. Yeah, maybe I'll remember her name eventually, but for dog folks we all know remembering the dog's name is more important. I think I mentioned them in an entry a couple of weeks ago. Tika is a male rescue that looks exactly like a border collie wearing a brindle suit. Wonder what the mix is. . . In any case, Tika is a real sweet heart. I'm guessing somewhere over 12 months, but not yet 24 months based on his attitude. Full of energy and ready for a good romp, which my guys were glad to oblige. Holly and of course, Mikey, love any opportunity to romp with other dogs. I'm not the only one missing our old morning walks with Kiki and Maverick and their moms.

Tika's owner told me about another Dog-Fest coming up this weekend. I'm not sure if we'll make it, but like before, for anyone local reading this blog, it's this weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) in Old Town Spring. Click here if you want to check it out and see the schedule.

I had originally planned to 'lease' E's agility ring this weekend for an hour and drag my dad with me for some work with Mikey (and some play time in the tunnels, etc. for Holly). But the weekend is filling up, so I had decided to just go to my parents back yard to do agility with the kids and go to E's next weekend. But now there's the Dog-Fest in Old Town Spring this weekend too. Aaaaaand, I remembered that next weekend we're doing a booth from work for an Alzheimer's support walk (and I supposed to be able to bring Holly and Mikey). Hmmmmm. Do I have time for everything this weekend? What will have to be sacrificed?

Speaking of running out of time, I had plenty of things I thought I was going to do tonight, but I chattered on the phone with my mom for too long, and then took a longer walk than I expected because it was fun to have company, and then. . . How did it get so late so fast? I've got to figure out a way to get to bed earlier so it's not so hard to wake up at 5:00 am.

Currently reading 'Kushiel's Chosen' by Jacqueline Carey.

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Course Night!

Course night. Mikey and I did pretty good, if I say so myself. I played around in PowerPoint and hopefully the course plot makes sense.

Mikey is still having some trouble with the A-frame. I think maybe the problem is just that it takes so much effort to get up there that he gets intimidated. He also knocked quite a few jumps. Mikey and I slacked off on conditioning work right after the Reliant show, so knocking the jumps may be a lack of conditioning. On the other hand, he's a pretty heavy chested dog (not that he isn't supposed to be) and 12 inches may be asking too much. Also, my dad and I didn't do the careful jumping form exercises starting Mikey out like we did with Holly, so he may be jumping sloppy. I know when I look at pictures of him jumping he seems to be taking off awfully early for the height of the jumps. In any case, for now I'm dropping him back to jump at 8 inches. And I guess if I enter a trial this month I'll go with the 8 inch jump height.

Also, yeah, it's still hot and humid. Sooooo ready for the first realy cool front. And, here are some old agility pics of Mikey.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Don't Do That!

Don't you ever want to shake one of your dogs and yell that at the same time? Not really, but yeah, really?

We got out of bed this morning and Mikey was the three legged dog! Seriously. Would not put any weight on his left back leg and actually had trouble eliminating because he would not put weight on that leg. In fact I carried him out to the lawn and back because he looked so miserable. And my little shadow boy didn't follow me around as I was getting ready for work like he always does.

Of course I immediately hit panic mode and assumed something really awful, but both Cardigrandma and the techs over at our vets convinced me not to overreact and to give Mikey some of Holly's rimadyl and see how things go. Which of course was good advice, because he hadn't actually had an injury, at least that I was aware of.

And when I got home at lunch he was hardly lame anymore. And when I got home at the end of the day, I knew I was going to have trouble keeping him quiet tonight. Guess it was just a muscle that had tightened really badly overnight. I knew he was overdoing it last night! I need to do a better job of just stepping out of class when my dog looks done in; he's my responsibility and if he's not fit enough to finish class then we need to stop!!

So, to Mikey, 'Don't Do That!! Frightening the Cardimom is NOT allowed!!'

Monday, October 1, 2007

New Agility Class

Wow, Mikey and I are pooped! We are definitely going to be working our tails off in this class. Tonight was exercise night, which means that we broke up into groups based on jump height and practiced different skills exercises. The last exercise my group did was a stretched out serpentine meant to practice back-crosses. Ugh! This should have been our first exercise, since it was the hardest for me and Mikey and by the time we got to it we were both tired. In fact, I was starting to feel a little sorry for my high energy boy because he was so obviously worn out. Of course besides the amount of work we did it was really humid and still probably in the upper 80's at class time, which didn't help. Thank goodness next week is course week. Not that I think the courses that these instructors (E and C) design will be anything but tricky and maddeningly hard!

Enough for now; time for bed. . .

Holly and Mikey say 'Hi'.