Friday, April 29, 2011

Denzil Goes to Show-and-Tell

I talked with my mom this week, and she happened to mention that Denzil had a little bit of fun.  It was my niece's turn to do Show-and-Tell at her school.  I've mentioned before how much my niece loves Denzil.  She loves Denzil so much that my niece asked my mom if Denz could come to her class so she could show him off.

Kids are lovely.  See, they rub bellies.
(Denzil used to hang out in our yard with The Child)

Denzil loves kids, but a whole class-roomful is a LOT of kids, so I asked my mom how he did.  Apparently, Denzil LOVED IT!

My niece told the class about Denzil.  My mom told the class about Cardigans and how to choose the right dog (research! plan!).   Denzil made sure that he did a thorough meet-and-greet, and that he demonstrated all of his tricks for the kids.

People pay attention to me when I do this.
They can't resist my cuteness.
(Denzil is freakishly good at sitting pretty)

Denzil knows lots of tricks, and my mom made me guess which one the kids liked best.  I guessed "sit pretty," as it's just so adorable.

I was wrong.  Their favorite was "get the paper."  Yes, my mom brought in a paper, set it across the room, and had Denzil go get it for her and bring it back.  How cute is that?!?

P.S. - Denzil was such a hit that now my nephew wants to bring him for Show-and-Tell, too :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Denzil gets the paper

One day Denzil needed to learn something new.  He wasn't competing any more, so I had no "official" things to train.

I was thinking of what sort of trick I could train, then it struck me:  I had a problem that Denzil could solve.

The problem: every morning our paper was dropped at the end of our drive.  I didn't particularly like having to trudge outside in PJ's just so I could read the paper with my breakfast.

So I trained Denzil to do it for me.  It was Denzil's favorite thing to do every day.

Here's a video we took the winter before last.  You'll notice that in true Cardi style he adds some "flair" to his performance for the camera.  Normally he would make a beeline out to the paper and run right back.  But this was more fun.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Zappos, you need to change your dog

I love Zappos.  I have bigger feet than the average girl, and I live in a small metro area, so nearly all of my shoes come from Zappos.  A great selection, not having to slog to the store only to be disappointed when the salesperson looks puzzled when I ask for my size, and free shipping both ways means that I am a Zappos loyalist.

If you love Zappos, too, you'll recognize their "thanks for ordering" Pug.  
This smiling smashed-face dog appears with each confirmed order.

Yes, the Pug is cute, but  I have a proposal for you, Zappos.  

Rip should be your new dog.  


Because thanks to this smiling face, I have had to replace at least 5 pairs of shoes in the past six months.

Yes, Zappos, if you've noticed a sharp uptick in my buying activity over the past few months, you can thank Rip.

At first, he destroyed a couple of pairs of shoes that were on their last legs.  I used this as an excuse to replace them.  "No loss," I thought.  Then he destroyed my favorite pair of travel shoes.  Then my favorite pair of rain/snow shoes, then a good pair of work shoes.

Just think how shoe sales would increase if everyone had a Rip of their own.  Doesn't that deserve a feature on the Zappos website......?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's nothing but a flesh wound

The pack has been a little unstable today.

Before work this morning, I broke up a fight between Maggie and Rip.  I was in the living room working with Ziggy - having him work for his breakfast.  Maggie and Rip were on the other side of the baby gates watching,  and all of this activity set Rip off in some way.  I pulled Maggie & Rip apart by grabbing Rip's tail and pulling him away from Maggie.  Maggie kept away.  I put them both in a down stay until they cooled off.

Then, just a few minutes ago, I broke up another fight.  This one started because Rip took exception to Maggie getting too near to the elk antler I bought at the Specialty.  I grabbed Rip's tail again, but this time Maggie kept going.  Thankfully The Husband was here to pull Maggie away.  Maggie got the best of this one, as Rip now has a bloody scrape in his ear.  It's only just a flesh wound with some missing hair, so his conformation career is still in tact.  Again, we did the down stay until they both cooled off.

I guess I get to be even more militant in maintaining everyone separated when food or treats are around.  Anybody have any other thoughts?

Oh, and by the way, today Ziggy is my favorite dog (by a mile).  He just stays out of the way and minds his own business.  Bless you, Ziggy.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

8th Wedding Anniversary

Today I have been married to The Husband for 8 years.  A couple of days ago, we were wondering what the "official gift" for anniversary #8 was.

Then I remembered.  It's The Portable Dog Dryer Anniversary!

I fell in love with Chris Christensen's Kool Pup Dryer at the National Specialty.  It's so small!  It's so quiet! And I want one.

I was wondering how I could justify buying one -- since I just bought a really good, but MUCH larger dryer a month ago -- when the Anniversary came along.  How convenient that is!  A little, lime green dryer would be perfect to celebrate the Portable Dog Dryer Anniversary.

Now I just have to convince The Husband that it's not something I just made up in order to get a another dog dryer.  Do you think he'll believe me?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rip Showing at the National Specialty

I finally got ahold of the camera, and downloaded the pics we took at the Specialty.  Here are some of the good ones.

Looking cute (and a bit wild!) on the table for the judge.

A happy little mover. 
(No cantering sideways on this go-around)

Stacking pretty for the judge

I won a ribbon.  Now I can look for trouble.  
Please, just let me off this leash...

And here are the fun things Rip won for his mommy 
(who loves National Specialty swag):

I love rosettes.  And I didn't have a lime green one yet!
Now we wait for the show photo to arrive so we can add it to the pretty frame.

And a fun leash holder.  Plus a pretty red ribbon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rip's National Specialty Results

I'm happy (and a bit surprised) to report that it's been a good National Specialty for Rip. 
Yesterday in 9-12 month Puppy Sweepstakes, Rip took third place in his class.  His "Gramma" Carolyn showed him for me (thank-you Carolyn!).  He was a very good boy entering the ring, and on the table (whew).  Near the end of the class Rip's "I'm a wild puppy" personality came back, and by the last go-around he was trying to get his fellow competitors to play by running wildly sideways.  Not exacty "big-time show dog" behavior, but the boy was having fun!

The lime green rosette that Rip won ensured that he could come back to Iowa with me.  I did warn Rip that if mommy didn't get a ribbon, he would have to go back to Oregon ;)

Today Rip was a good boy for Gramma Carolyn again.  He took 2nd in 9-12 month dogs.  I am so proud of him!  He was better at standing in the ring today - not as much sitting down as yesterday.

We did have some excitement in his class, however, when someone outside the ring bumped into and nearly knocked over one of the decorations - a cowboy boot that's about 10 feet tall.  This sent the whole class of puppy boys barking.  It made me smile...

Oh, and lest you think that Mr. Naughtypants is turning into some sort of well-behaved show dog, Gramma Carolyn infomed me that Rip managed to tear down one of the table skirts while waiting outside the ring.  That's my boy!

I'm sorry about not having any pictures to post.  Today after classes were over, The Husband left with dogs to head back to Iowa.  Unfortunately he also took the camera with him, so I won't be able to post any photos until I get back home.

I've also learned a lot at this year's Specialty - about grooming, handling, etc.  This is a very good place for a rookie handler to be.  I promise to share more later.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Ziggy is now Xtacee Tag You're It BN RA

Ziggy earned his Beginners Novice title today!

Unfortunately Slug Ziggy was back, and brought with him "I-don't-know-automatic-sits" Ziggy.  We still ended up with a 185, and again Ziggy lost zero points on his stay exercises.

After runs like today's, I tend to wonder if I should just "call it,"and let Ziggy be a couch potato.  But Ziggy was happy and waggy again, and he does seem to enjoy the training we do.  Also, getting out & about is making him a more confident dog.  Add to that the fact that I can use the ring experience, and I enjoy obedience.  I think we'll keep going.

I'm not sure what we'll do next -- Rally Excellent?  Beginner's Novice again?  Novice Obedience?

Things to work on:  fast in all forms, attention in ring, and quick sits.

Now it's time for me to finish up some yard work, bathe 2 dogs, and pack for Houston.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

BN Obedience: Ziggy's Q #2

Ziggy and I were back at the Obedience Trial today, and things were better than yesterday.  The heeling wasn't as good as I know he can do, but it wasn't quite as slow as yesterday.  I really need to work on "fast" with the Z.

We ended up with a 194, which I consider a respectable score.  All of our points were lost in heeling - excepting 1/2 point lost on the recall.  He came in really close and bumped me with his nose.  I don't mind that, though -- he was pretty quick and sat nice and straight!

I brought Rip with me today.  There was lots of extra crating space in the building, and it's great experience for the wild man.  I think my time with Rip also served to make Ziggy a little jealous -- he was anxious to get out of the crate and work with me.  Maybe I'm on to something here...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Beginner Novice Obedience: Ziggy's Q #1

In terms of my dog show life, today was 180 degrees from last weekend.  Last weekend = wild, bouncy dog and new type of showing for me (conformation).  Today = lazy, calm dog and type of showing I've been doing for 8 years (obedience).

Today was my first time showing in Beginner Novice Obedience, though.  If you haven't heard of it, it's a new optional titling class as of July 2010.  For me, the class seems somewhere between Novice Rally and Novice Obedience.  Some differences between Beginners Novice and (regular) Novice obedience:

  • All the heeling is on-leash
  • Rally signs are used for instead of judge's commands for the heeling pattern 
  • It's a sit for exam (with just a pat on the head) 
  • No group stays - just a sit stay while the handler circles the ring
  • A shorter recall with no finish
  • You can give one bit of "praise" during each exercise

To prepare for the class, I watched some videos on YouTube, looked at a blank score sheet, read the class regulations online, and did a couple of modified-Novice class run-throughs at show-n-go's.  At our last show-n-go (aka a practice obedience trial), Ziggy was awesome  - happy, heads-up heeling, very attentive.

Today - not so much.

I posted to my blog about our performance at this obedience trial last year.  At the show last year, Ziggy was happy, but really not so great.  Unfortunately that same Ziggy (who my obedience instructor now calls "Slug Ziggy") showed up again today.

He was really relaxed at the trial site, and didn't seem at all nervous - which is a good thing.  Apparently our outings about town are paying off and he's feeling more confident in new places.  But he also seemed to have just one speed:  a cute, slow, tails-up trot.

Given his mood today Ziggy was really good at:  the slow heeling, the sit stay, the sit for exam, and the left-hand turn on the figure 8 heeling.  Correspondingly he was really bad at:  the fast heeling, the about turn,  and the right turn on the figure 8.  And when I say really bad, I mean tight-leash-with-lots-of-pressure-on-it bad.  I really don't think he sped up at all.

BUT...  we still managed to qualify with a 188 (putting us in last place).

Oh, Ziggy.  I love you, man.  But, since I love performance events,  I'm really glad I have Rip.

I love you, too mom.
But what part of "sofa dog" don't you understand?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

White cat + black clothes = sigh

As you may recall from his previous appearances on this blog, we have an old white cat named Duncan.  He is 17 years old now, and his time is mainly spent sweetly sleeping.

When not sleeping, one of his favorite activities seems to be seeking out my black clothes and coating them in his lovely white fur.

I wear quite a lot of black for work (not all at the same time), so I've become militant about hanging up or putting away my black items of clothing when I get home from work.

Spring has recently inspired me to add some items to my work wardrobe, and I decided that I needed a lightweight black blazer.  I ordered two of them, and yesterday I finally got around to trying on the blazers.  There wasn't a clear winner (I'm only keeping one) - so I set them out on the bed in the guest room to until I could get The Husband's opinion on which looked best.

The cat likes to sleep in the spare room, so I decided to close the door just in case he wandered in, spotted the blazers, and decided they were the best place in the house to sleep.  I looked around the room before I closed the door - just in case Duncan was already there.

Then I forgot about getting The Husband's opinion on the blazers (after all American Idol was on!).

This morning The Husband opened the guest room door to find one very upset white kitty.  Yes, I'd accidently shut him in the room.  The poor old cat had been in there since around dinner time the night before.  Needless to say he was hungry, thirsty, and had peed on the carpet (can't blame him).

AND he had thoroughly cat-haired one of the black blazers.

I guess Duncan got to choose this blazer for me.  Fair enough.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Me and Conformation (hint: Scott Sommer's got nothing to worry about)

I posted how our conformation classes went over the weekend, but I never posted what it was like to be "on my own" at a conformation show.

The stuff that I took to the Show:
  • Lots of towels
  • A metal crate, and an old sheet to cover it
  • Grooming table & arm
  • Training bag - including treats, tug toys, chew toys, poo bags, and a clicker
  • Water for me & Rip
  • Show collar & lead
  • Show clothes for me
  • My "human" dog show bag (which has things like chapstick, a comb, mints, tissues, hand wipes, a pen, a granola bar...)
  • Grooming tools (brush, nail grinder, chalk, chalk brush, pet wipes.  That's it.)  I know, you conformation pros are probably thinking I'm crazy.  But who are we kidding?  I could bring a dryer, but Rip hates it, and I end up making him look like a husky, so what's the point?  And really, I don't own any other grooming supplies.  
The Stuff I wish I'd taken to the show:  some chocolate, reading material, and lint/pet hair remover.

Crating Space
When I got to the show I had no idea where to set up.  I hopefully pulled up to a sign that said "grooming."  I thought this would be a good place to start (clever girl that I am).  

I opened the door to a sea of empty crates and tables, with not a lot of spare room available.  I stood there for a while.  A nice woman walked up to me and I explained that I'd never shown there before, where do I crate?  She shoved a few crates over, and made some space for me.  Thank you, nice lady!

I set up, then went to get Rip.  He and I wandered around a bit, looking for our ring.  In the process of opening doors to buildings we managed to set off a whole pack of English Toy Spaniels who were on their tables being groomed -- that was kind of fun ;)

We finally found our ring, so I took Rip back to our grooming space.  I put him up on the table and thought, "hmmm, what do I do now?"  I tried to remember all of the pieces of advice Dawn gave me when I met her in Des Moines.  

Unfortunately the only one I could remember was "Cardigans are supposed to look natural."  I took that thought and ran with it.  Meaning I put Rip on the table, stared at him a while, then brushed his neck, body, and tail.  That took about 10 minutes (including staring time).

I now had lots of time on my hands, so I wandered back over to our ring, to see if I could pick up my number.  It was still 40 minutes before our ring started, so no luck.  I looked around and saw other Corgi people furiously grooming their dogs.  That worried me.  I saw a Pem woman I know from our club, and asked her how she planned to keep the loose dirt off her dogs.  She said she was going to make sure they were really dry so the dirt didn't stick, add some chalk to the paws to try and keep them white, and hope for the best.  

Ah ha!  There was something else I could do.  I had some chalk and a brush.  I went back to Rip, and added some chalk to his paws.  Thankfully Dawn had warned me about chalk's tendency to get everywhere, so I had extra towels, a dog wipe, and a hand wipe ready.  I needed them all.  

In the Ring
I've taken conformation classes.  I've watched conformation.  I showed Dawn's lovely girl Grace.  I still have no idea.  I can walk in a straight line.  I can follow basic ring procedures.  That's about as nuanced as it gets.

On Saturday, I sought out some handling advice after I was in the ring.  The conformation veterans I was talking to didn't really know what I was asking.  Truly.  They were very nice, but just too far removed from being ring novices.  I see this in agility & obedience, too.  The hard core competitors just can't relate at all to the beginners.

On Sunday, a woman I know from performance gave me some feedback - don't touch my dog so much. I appreciate knowing what I can do better.  I used to have a riding instructor who yelled things like, "Dear God, you call THAT a sitting trot?!"  I can take advice.  Bring it on.  Sans yelling is appreciated.

In the End
The weekend was nice.  I survived.  I learned some new things, and I met some nice people.  Rip had fun.  

Oh, and Penni, Mandy & Carolyn - you have a lot of training to do at the Specialty next week.  And I'm talking about me, not Rip!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Our first (almost) point...

See what pretty ribbons I won?
Can I eat them now?

Rip was a good boy again today.  He was little calmer in the ring, and took best 9-12 month dog, and reserve winner's dog.  Thankfully one of my friends was there to tell me when to go back into the ring.  I think I should re-read the "Show Me" book again so I'm not quite so addled next time.

Here are some pictures from the day.  We were in a better building, and The Husband and The Child came to take photos with the good camera.

Here I am being a nice boy on the table.

Oh!  Who's this nice lady coming my way?

She's here, and she talked to me!
Let me lick her.  Let. Me. Lick. Her.
After this the judge asked my mom to reposition me.
That was a pain, but it was worth it - I made the judge smile!

Mom.  Give me the cheese.  
Don't make me jump for it, because I'll leap right now.

This was my favorite part of the day.
I got to lick THREE kids today!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

We survived our first conformation show!

Rip and I showed in conformation today for the very first time.

The morning went something like this:
4:45 am - curse at alarm
5:00 am - leash up 3 dogs and take them for a walk
5:30 am - shower, do hair & makeup, drink a TheraFlu sinus (I've had a cold for more than a week)
6:10 am - on the road - first stop:  Starbucks
7:30 am - finished grooming dog
8:00 am - loitering outside the ring I'll show in
8:30 am - in the ring - our class was first in

So how did we do?  Well, we didn't embarrass ourselves.  Rip was a nice boy in the ring, and only tried to accost the judge once.  Apparently the judge looked very lick-able.  And Rip was really a good boy overall - he seemed to take everything in stride.  The show grounds were really noisy, and a few times he got the "what was that!?!" look when there was a new noise.  But he settled right back down and was quickly wagging his tail again.  This bodes well for his future performance career.

I also got to meet lots of Cardi people - which is always fun!

Here are a couple pics from the day.  Sorry about the quality - I brought our old camera and the building was quite dark...  But thanks to Cathy for taking the photos!

Look, mom - I can stand nicely

Oh, here comes the judge.  
Can I try to lick him again?  I missed him when I was on the table...
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