Thursday, October 28, 2010

Mr. Naughtypants

I have a new nickname for Rip.  Mr. Naughtypants.  You can probably guess - at least generally - how he got that nickname.  To make the point well, let me share a couple of examples.  Both of these incidents occurred today.

Story #1:  Home Alone

The Husband was working away from home today, so the petsitter came in a couple of times to let the dogs out.

When I left home, I put Rip in the expen so he'd have a little more room to move around.  Here's how things looked when I left home:

Puppy in his pen with nice resting pad and lots of toys

When I arrived home to let Rip out of his pen, here's how it looked.

Flattened pen with no puppy

Thankfully, the puppy was put back in his crate.  Also thankfully, we've learned to keep any moveable, chewable objects on the "non-dog" side of the baby gates.

The note from the petsitter started with "All three met me at the (baby) gate.  Not sure if you wanted Rip out or not..."

Our petsitter knows us well enough to know that naughty little puppies aren't allowed to roam around unsupervised in our home, which is why he was back in the crate.

I guess this means no expen when we're out of the house anymore.  Either that or I need to pull out the extra heavy duty "child expen" we bought when The Child was still a baby.

Story #2:  Who needs toys?

...when you can just chew on the basket.

I was finishing up a few work emails after putting The Child to bed.  Rip & Ziggy were in the family room, keeping themselves busy.

Then things became strangely quiet, and I heard an unusual gnawing noise.

I peered around the room screen to find one naughty puppy chewing away on the side of the basket where the toys usually live.

Mr. Naughtypants caught in the act!
Note all of the toys are out of the basket.
Floor is covered in toys, yet puppy is chewing on the basket.

To tell the whole story, I'll crop the picture a little differently...  Notice Ziggy on the sofa to the right.  He was intently watching Rip destroy the basket.  Ziggy says, "A naughty puppy is better than TV!"


At least Mr. Naughtypants is cute and smart....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rip learns another important lesson

It's all well and good learning to sit, down, and walk on a leash.  But any self-respecting Cardi in our home also needs to know how to politely sleep on the sofa.

The Husband was away from home one night, so it was just the Trio and I to enjoy some evening TV.  Ziggy was already up on the sofa, and Rip wanted to join.  I lifted him up, and after a bit of shifting around (which Ziggy reprimanded him for - good job, Ziggy), he settled in nicely.  I had to keep a close eye on him to make sure he didn't launch himself off the sofa,  but otherwise Rip's first foray as a sofa dog went very well.

The down side of this is that the little naughty boy is now big enough to jump up on the sofa.  I just caught him up there starting to drag the box of tissues off the side table.  So much for unsupervised time in the family room...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We've got ears - say Cheers!

Since I haven't done an ear post lately, I thought I'd share the latest...

It's been a couple of weeks since our last round of ear taping (which lasted two days).  And here we are -- We've got ears!!

Sorry for the poor quality picture.  It's incredibly hard to get an ears-up picture of a puppy who is either in motion or asleep.  The only way I got this picture is to put my hand in his collar.

Here are some other tries:

Wrestling the bone away from his brother

See how quickly I can "down?"  
But I won't stay there long

Ha!  Try to take a picture of my ears now!

Yes, the ears are up now.  Rip does like to slick his ears back like his Aunt Molly when he's moving, though.  If he's heeling or ready to pounce something his ears are up - otherwise when moving they're slicked back against his head.  I think this makes for less wind resistance when moving - which should enable him to shave valuable fractions of a second off his agility course times.  

P.S. - You get bonus points if  you caught the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse reference in my blog post title.  This means that you likely have preschoolers at home....

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Thanks, Cindy!

Last Saturday The Child and I took trip to Foggybottom.  We got to meet Cindy, learn about grooming tools, and meet the Dirty Dozen.

Grooming Tools

Many thanks to Cindy for taking me through her grooming toolkit, and giving me many tips on what to look for, and a few things to avoid.  I have to say that I was a little bit frightened.  How can so many grooming tools be needed for a "wash and wear" dog?  I mean, I knew it was more involved than just wash and wear, but I had no idea how much was involved!

The other thing scared me a bit was when Cindy mentioned the upcoming shows (e.g., Des Moines in January) where I could show Rip.  January?!?  That seems so soon.  I thought I had more time than that.  I must have looked surprised, but then Cindy mentioned that he will be six months old by that time, and old enough to go in the ring.  She also kindly offered to save me a grooming space and help me groom Rip to get him ready.  That will be very helpful!!

The Dirty Dozen

I took The Child along with me so he could help socialize the Dirty Dozen.  Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures (there are some good one's on the Foggybottom blog), but let me tell you - 12 puppies is a LOT.  When they were let out of their ex-pen it was like a sea of little dogs flooding the room.  It's like when you spill a little bit of water - it just seems to go everywhere.  It was the same with the Dirty Dozen - when they started moving around the room, there were corgis everywhere.

The Child really enjoyed the puppies.  They were seven weeks old at the time, and very sweet.  He enjoyed running from place to place and being followed by a little brindle tide.  When we left, The Child told me he missed the puppies, and wanted to go back...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The glamorous side of business travel

I really don't like sharing a hotel room when I travel on business.  Particularly when it's with some of these fine creatures. 

This, my friends is a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug.

Hello, can I come in?
No?  Who cares, I'm coming in anyway...

Right now I'm at a training class at a conference center in Virginia.  Apparently, the area has had an infestation of stink bugs this year.  It's bad enough in the summer, when they stay outside.  It's really not good in the fall when they all want to come inside.  The buildings at the conference center were all built many years ago.  I'm all for historic, but I'm also all for weather stripping.  It's good for keeping out drafts and unwelcome critters.

Last night I dispatched 10 stink bugs.  When I got back from class tonight, I dispatched seven more.  At dinner I was joking that if I made it to 20 I was requesting a room change.  I made it to 20.  I confirmed my room change at 23.  When I left a couple more of the little lovelies were crawling around.  One of them was even on the phone I used to call the front desk!

I don't want you to think I'm a bug-phobic girl (especially when the bugs won't hurt me), but come on -- 20+ bugs?  A couple even landed on my bed last night while I was reading.  Ewww.

What makes stink bugs extra fun?  If you squish them they release a skunky smell (hence their name).  Thankfully, I learned this before I squished one.  Instead, I captured them in tissue and sent them swimming down the toilet.  The hotel also has thin walls, so my neigbor probably thought I had a medical problem thanks to all of the flushing.

Now I'm happily in my new room, and (touch wood) no stink bugs to be found.  As an added bonus, the router for the building is in my room, so I've got a great connection!

Oh, and I am learning a lot of stuff that will help me in my job, too - in addition to gaining some exterminating skills!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ziggy: the 15 minute dog

This week in agility class, we had 15 minutes to practice on our own on the equipment before class started. Ziggy was a lovely boy.  Happy, wagging, and enthusiastic (well, enthusiastic for Ziggy).  Eager to work, even.

Then Z had a break while we handlers walked our practice course.  When it was our turn to run the course, Ziggy was LAZY - trotting slowly around, barely making it over the jumps, etc.  Not really a pleasure to run.

At the end of class one of my classmates mentioned that we should consider extending class.  "Wouldn't an hour and a half - long class be great?!?" she exclaimed.  My other classmates agreed.  One of them chiming in that, "My dog would love a 3 hour class!"

This got me thinking.  Ziggy's ideal class time:  15 minutes.

The only thing Ziggy would really like to do for 3 hours is this:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Maggie is an Overachiever

Lately I've been working with Maggie on go-outs for Utility Obedience.  The method I've decided to try with her is to send her to a target using the term "run."

I started by teaching her to touch her nose red part of on the target.

Here's a close-up look at the target.
It's highly visible and the post can be extended if needed.

Then I slowly moved the target further out.  Maggie LOVES to run to the target.  Heck, Maggie's just happy that she's working and learning something new (did I mention how fun she is to train?).  Then I taught her to turn to me and sit when she's out at the target.  All the basic components of a go-out.

But, Maggie's an overachiever.  Touching one's nose to the red ball is just too easy.  Here's what I get now:

See mom, look how well I'm doing!

Maggie RUNS out to the target, whips it out of the base (note how the base in the picture is overturned behind her), turns quickly, and sits.  It cracks me up.  

It cracks me up because I've never asked to to put the target in her mouth or pull it out of the base.  It also cracks me up because the post is metal.  You may remember from an earlier post that Maggie does NOT like her metal Utility articles.  Yet the target seems ok.  She'll hold it for as long as it takes for me to come out and reward her.  Hmm.

I haven't yet decided whether or not I need to get her back to just touching the target.  She's doing all they key things I want her to do to right now: run out to a point away from me, turn, and sit.  Eventually I'll need to fade the target altogether.  Do you think it matters that she's picking it up?

A training conundrum.  Yet I love errors of enthusiasm.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This time I'm a bit sad to say that I agree with Kristine

Denzil doing agility back in the "good old days."
Note that he's so keen to compete that the fur on his back is up..

It's not that I didn't enjoy her article in this month’s Clean Run magazine, it's just that I wish it weren't true.  In her article titled “Has Agility Gone the Way of Obedience?” Kristine talks about the increasing competitiveness of agility - how it used to be a sport where everybody cheered for everyone else, but that’s not so true anymore.  Now people have handling systems, ways to train that are “better” than others, and are often less than supportive of their fellow competitors.  There's just not as much camaraderie as there used to be.

If you’d asked me a few weeks ago, I might have disagreed.  But after a couple of things I’ve experienced lately, I’m not so sure. 

Situation One:  Ugly Competitors

About a month ago, I was bar setter at our agility trial.  My area of the course included the double jump, the triple jump, and a high/plank jump on a curve.  I figured this would mean a lot of jumps down and a lot of action for me.  Unfortunately, only one competitor in all of the Excellent class had any of those jumps down.  One of my friends joked that I was like the Maytag Repairperson.

All of this free time did provide me ample opportunity to eavesdrop on the competitors sitting near my end of the ring.  I’ve gotta say that much of what I heard appalled me.  This particular group of folks started by chatting about their breed of dog, and the philosophy behind some upcoming breedings they had planned.  This was interesting not because I like their chosen breed, but dog talk is usually fun and informative.  Why not learn new things when eavesdropping?

Then they turned their conversation to the other competitors, and it wasn’t kind.  They talked about how some people shouldn’t even bother coming in the ring because they aren’t competitive, how “well, she trains with so-and-so,” the like. They also seemed to enjoy maligning other breeds.  We have a multi-MACH Cardi in our area.  I paid particular attention to what they said while she was in the ring.  They really liked this dog (how could you not – she has MACH’s and she runs like it), but then one of them said something like, “That’s the only corgi I’ve seen that isn’t fat and slow and who should be running agility.”  GRRR.  If I’d been feeling more cranky I would have said something, or “accidently” dropped an extra plank from the high jump on their toes.

Situation Two:  My training philosophy is right (meaning yours isn’t)

I am training Ziggy to do the weaves.  Ziggy does pretty much everything slow. Unless he's chasing a squirrel or guarding our house from the neighborhood dogs, Ziggy sees no need to do things quickly.  I'm trying to train him to be at least somewhat quick through the poles, so I’m training using channel weaves.  It seems to be working pretty well.  He’s happy, reliable with his weave entries, and brisk through the poles.  

The woman who’s teaching the agility class I’m in uses a different method.  In the spirit of learning a new training technique, I tried to practice in class using her method, but Z just didn’t get it.  That’s ok – maybe if I’d started that way from the beginning it would work – but at this point I’m determined to see the channel weave method through.  Anyway, she mentions to me that “no top trainers” are using channel weaves anymore, and that dogs trained this way just learn to run parallel to the poles.  I was a bit taken aback. 

Just because I choose a different training method doesn’t mean that one of us has to be wrong.  There are many ways to train agility obstacles (and I have many of the DVD's to prove it!).  What works for one dog/handler combo might not work for another.  I’m always looking for the best way to train my dog so that we both have fun and we complete the course safely and cleanly.  I guess maybe I missed the memo about right and wrong handling systems and obstacle training methods.

So yeah, I guess things have changed in the agility world.  It's not too bad for me, though - maybe it’s because I'm not a world contender (heck, I run my dogs in 8” Preferred – how competitive can I be?), or that I don’t live or compete in any of the big metropolitan areas - so far I've been able to keep myself out of the worst of the political fray at trials.  My dogs and I still enjoy the sport, and I have a group of friends from the area who are still happy to watch each other do well. 

I know a lot of you are fellow agility folks.  What’s the trial atmosphere like in your areas?

Friday, October 8, 2010

News from Denzil

Denzil with his favorite Frisbee.
Apparently, Denz has decided he's a Frisbee dog.
Here he's showing his cheeky Denzil look.

It's great that Denzil now lives with my parents.  It means I get a Denzil update nearly every time I talk to my mom.  To say that Denzil has wormed his way into their hearts is an understatement.

Recently, Denzil has been serving as an "unofficial" therapy dog.   My Granparents live near my parents, so they visit frequently.   Both of my Grandparents LOVE Denzil - and he loves them right back.  They invite Denz over whenever my mom comes to visit them.  According to my mom, they nearly insist that Denzil come along on the visits.  Apparently Denzil runs into their house, runs over to each of them, and gives them his love and happiness.

My grandpa (aged 90+) has been having some health problems.  Earlier this week Grandpa was in the ICU, so Grandma was staying with my parents.  Needless to say, this was a stressful time for my Grandma.  Apparently Denzil stayed close to her and even went to bed next to her bed at night.  What a sweet, loving, helpful dog. 

Denzil's also doing well for soundess.  My mom reports that he's not limping, and is able to go on 2 mile walks up and down hills with my dad each day.  He's also retrieving -  Frisbees, balls, and an old rawhide that he considers a toy instead of a chew (yuck) - on a limited basis.  

Life is good in Denzi-land.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Some final, random WEG pictures

One of the great things about the World Equestrian Games this year is that it's at the Kentucky Horse Park. This means there's a ton of "horsey" stuff to do and see that isn't part of the competition.  Here are some fun photos I took over the 3.5 days I was there.

Around the Park

The back of the main stadium stands

Man O'War memorial

Some "behind the scenes" from the Eventing awards ceremony

The gold (UK) and silver (Canada) - medal winning teams 
waiting to enter the arena for the awards ceremony.

Bronze medal winning Kiwis headed to the arena.

In the warm-up arena -
Coolers waiting for the medal winners.

A member from the Canadian team after the ceremony

The same horse cooling down after the ceremony

After-hours schooling

We wandered around after the eventing finals.  As we were headed out to the car, we noticed lights on in the main stadium.  We took a peek and got to she the Grand Prix show jumpers warming up.  Each team got 90 seconds to school in the main arena.  Since it was after hours, we got front row seats - fun!

A big vertical

 - then one stride to a big oxer

Finally headed home.  But what's this?
Another warm-up ring.  Riders were practicing here before entering the main arena.

A member of the Irish team.  
Who knew we could get so close to the world's best horses & riders?

Some other events we saw:

The Canadian vaulting team practicing.
This horse is HUGE!!

A driving obstacle course exhibition.
This team is moving quickly around some posts.

Here you can really see how quickly the teams were moving.

For the horse-loving kid in all of us:

A Breyer cross country scene.

Breyer combined driving.

And don't forget about reining.  
Notice the dirt flying b/c of the sliding stop.

Painted horses in the Children's Village.  
"Where the Wild Things Are"

"Peter Rabbit"

That's it for horses.  Back to dogs tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Eventing Pictures

I'm back from the World Equestrian Games.  I wish I could have stayed longer, but I had a great time!

Here are some eventing pictures I was able to get:

Let's start with a couple "close-ups" of the fences to provide an idea of what the riders were facing...

Part of the main water complex.  
This fence was big, with a drop into the lake.  Gasp!

Here I'm standing by another entrance to the same water.  
Who wants to jump in over this hedge, and face the choices in front?

A quaint little cottage.  That's nearly 6' wide...

An amusing sign at the last fence.  
According to the fence judge they meant it as a joke, but unfortunately some of the fruit did go missing...

Now some pictures of the riders in action:

The start box.  
This is eventing star Pippa Funnel from the UK.
Her horse is gorgeous.

One of the early fences.  It's WIDE!

Big fence on a hill.

Wide table over a ditch.

Hedge, anyone? (I think this is Buck Davidson from Team USA)

Another water complex.  
This one was tough b/c of the drop and angle from the log to the fish.

Pippa Funnel from the UK over the last fence.

The cool-down/vet check area at the end of the course.

And, finally, a picture from the Stadium Phase (Day 3)

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Cross Country Day!

Dressage Freestyle last night was GREAT!  My favorite by quite a margin was Juan Manuel Munoz Diaz and Fuego XII from Spain.  Gorgeous horse, flashy test, great music & choreography.  He was the only rider to earn a rousing standing ovation from the crowd.  (Well, Steffen Peters got a some people standing, too - but that's b/c he was the only team USA rider.)

My camera isn't good enough to get great pictures, but here's a couple anyway....


The view and the crowd from out seats. It was a packed house!

Isabell Werth from Germany

I'm now off for a day of viewing cross country.  My favorite!

Friday, October 1, 2010

It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it....

Here's where I'm spending a few days.  For work, no less! 

I'm at the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky. 

Yesterday I traveled here, worked a bit, then watched Freestyle Reining.

Today I work most of the day, but get to watch Grand Prix Freestyle dressage tonight.

I'll try to post some pictures for the horsey among you!

Oh, and don't forget to watch the games on NBC tomorrow and Sunday!
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