Friday, December 28, 2012

The Dog Food Files Part 2: More Food does not equal More Love

Originally Posted 4/13/11.

Podgy pooch Cassie has begun a strict diet after ballooning to over nine stone because she'd been allowed to gorge on roast dinners, takeaways, and fish and chips. The seven-year-old border collie looks almost seal-like after years of unhealthy eating left her over three times the weight she should be. Cassie was brought into the Dog's Trust re-homing centre in Kenilworth, Warks., tipping the scales at 58kg when she should be 18-20kg. They have now been given the task of helping Cassie to slim down so she can be re-homed with a loving family but fear it will take them at least a year. The hefty hound, who is too fat to stand up to eat and suffers painful bed sores all over her body from lying down too often, lived alone with her elderly female owner - who regularly served her gut-busting treats like fish and chips on Fridays and full roast dinners on Sundays.
Picture: / Glen Minikin
I was forwarded this picture from a friend and my jaw literally dropped when i read the article.  This poor border collie girl weighed an astounding 127.6 pounds.  (That is the same as my Qwill, Trophy and Shiner combined!!)  All because she was fed dinners of fish and chips and clearly not exercised as she should.

Ask any of my dogs and they will tell you I starve them, and to please offer them some more cookies for their empty tummies.

My dogs are liars.

Feeding Guidelines on dog food bags are just suggestions.  Each dog is an individual with their own metabolic rate.  Qwill and Trophy, for example are about the same weight at 45 pounds.  Qwill can gain weight by breathing air, Trophy loses weight while sleeping.  Qwill eats 1 1/4 cups of food divided by two meals, and Trophy usually eats 2 cups per day.

When training, it is best to use tiny pieces of treats.  The size of the treat is not important - the act of giving the treat to your dog is what is rewarding.  Offer them one large chunk of food, and it is still only one treat... but break that large piece into 5 treats and your dog has a jackpot!  In that aspect dogs are like children.  Try to trade a child 3 pennies for their quarter and see how excited they are to now have 3 coins!

So how much food should you feed?  I'll cover that in Part 3.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Dog Food Files: Part 1 Top 5 dog foods that make my skin crawl

Originally Posted 4/29/11. Edited.

I've been trying to write this article for several WEEKS.  It's not as easy as you would think to write an article on pet food.  Mainly because a lot of people feed the foods I'm about to talk about and some probably don't hear what I have to say.  Others, however, probably don't know any better.  The foods I list below have large marketing campaigns that have made their food public knowledge and have designed their packaging to be pleasing to the eye.  What would happen to the quality of the dog food, I wonder, if they stopped spending billions on large advertising campaigns and instead used the money to, I don't know, buy better ingredients?  Food for thought right there.

Stick around to the end of the article - ESPECIALLY if you feed any of the foods listed below - I'll go over some dog foods that are of higher quality and how to pick the right food for your dog.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

My Heart Is Breaking

My Macaroni Man is getting adopted tomorrow.... buy the most horrible person possible.

The rescue decided that the very day the radiologist called and told them that Mac's "suggested OCD" that was so small they couldn't see it and if he doesn't limp in the next two months it means he healed himself and will be able to compete in ANY SPORT without restriction, they decided to adopt him out to the only approved application that had come in for him.  That application happens to be from a woman who helped care for him when he lived at the golf course (the golf course that ruined him and wanted to have him PTS when he was limping instead of fixing him and had a 10 month old puppy 7 pounds overweight).

So my Mac.  My lovely Macaroni Man is going right back into the hell he came from.

And the rescue is fine with that.

Scratch the fact that I told them I finally found a SPORT home interested in him... but no, since they don't have any other applications in RIGHT NOW, they apparently don't matter.

I am so heartbroken.

I feel like I failed him.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Missing The Point

I recently had to take down my dog training blog I wrote through work because corporate policies changed and the old training methods aren't compatible with the new methods.  It's a bunch of bologna that I don't want to get into, but I love several of the posts I had written.  So until I start my own training business and can say what I want professionally, I'm going to move some of the posts over here.

Originally posted 10/15/11, Edited

Something that has been on my mind lately is something I think many people forget about in the dog sport world.

Dog training is about the journey, about the bond you build with your dog while teaching them to do awesome behaviors. It is *not* about the awards you win at the end of training when your dog is at competition level - that's just the icing on the cake!  Or at least, in my opinion, that's the way it should be.

If you want your dog to compete in a sport, you need to make sure you understand that your dog (most likely) isn't going to just *GET IT*, you need to brake down the steps in order to teach them what you expect.  You probably need to do some cross training to make sure that your dog isn't only in great physical health, but that they understand body awareness and have the mental strength to navigate a course.  For most dogs it's going to take a long time to learn these complicated behavior chains.

If you focus on the end result you're going to frustrate yourself and, more likely than not, burn out your dog pushing them farther than they are ready to go.  If you ever find your self saying "I want to do this with my dog, but I don't want to put the work in to get them there" then perhaps it's time to reevaluate your goals.

Teaching your dog - teaching them anything from sit, to shake, to maneuvering an agility course, or running flyball should be just as fun as the titles you add to their names.

You're going to have good days. You're going to have bad days. You're going to have days where you are going to swear your dog forgot every single thing you ever taught him.   Then you're going to have those magical days where everything clicks, it all comes together and you feel on top of the world.

And those days are going to make the journey seem so worthwhile.

Friday, December 14, 2012

If I Had A Million Dollars: 11 Dog Breeds I Must Own (Or Own Again) Before I Die

Yesterday I highlighted the dog breeds you couldn't pay me to own.  Today I will highlight the breeds that I would really, really like to own someday (or, you know, own more of).

Number 1: Border Collies
Obviously.  I love this breed. I love everything about this breed.  I will never NOT own a border collie, and seriously if I own nothing but border collies for the rest of my life, that will be ok.

Number 2: Australian Shepherds
Similar to my borders, but with silly, and sometimes stubborn tendencies.  Bouncier. Much Bouncier.

Number 3: English Setters - Field Variety Only
What can I say, I really love Pan.  I totally would own another setter some day. Even though she's twitchy.  Has to be the field variety, however.  I like their structure better, lighter bone.

Number 4: Boston Terriers
I'm really not a huge fan of little dogs.  Primarily because they pee everywhere, and I'm afraid my dogs will eat them.  I think a Boston could really hold his own in my house.  I used to dislike Bostons when I worked at a vet clinic, but this is one breed that working with in daycare has brought me around to.

Number 5: Cavalier King Charles Spaniels
Again, not a fan of little dogs, but I just LOVE cavies!  They are some of the sweetest dogs I've ever met.  The dog pictured was named Tiffany, she died very, very unexpectedly over a year ago and we ALL still miss her.  As in randomly someone will say "I miss Tiffany" out of the blue at least twice a month.  Lots of health problems in the breed, unfortunately.

Number 6: Whippets (perhaps also and Italian Greyhound)
Whippets were on my list before I started playing flyball, but even more so now.  :)  I think Trophy would have a ball with a Whippet in the house since playing chase is his favorite game.

Number 7: Dachshunds
Confession: I really want I doxie so I can post pictures of my wiener on the internet. (I currently have an obsession with posting other people's wieners on the internet, since i don't have one).  This is one breed that hasn't been spoiled by one bad dog (as we have one at work whom I LOATHE).  Surprisingly we don't have that many bad ones in the bunch as this breed is known for bad attitudes and biters.

Number 8: German Short-haired Pointers
I don't really have a reason behind liking this breed, other than this is Addie, and I love her.  She is probably Trophy's best friend at work.  She's smart, and reminds me a lot of my borders.

Number 9: Staffordshire Bull Terriers
I really want a pitbull type dog, and I think the staffy is the right fit for me. Small but tenacious. Love the 3 on my flyball team.

Number 10: Ibizan Hound and/or Saluki
In the hound world I like the sight hounds. Out of the sight hounds I think these two are at the top of my list, not many actively playing flyball either, but I think they could excel at it.  I love the graceful look of these dogs gained from their long legs.  Beautiful movers. (Photo courtesy of Marissa Jo)

Number 11: Great Dane
I bet this one is a surprise, especially how I crossed off several breeds yesterday because they were too big and drooly.  I've loved Danes for a while... unfortunately Trophy STRONGLY disagrees (we had an incident at a dog park involving a Dane and Trophy just can't get over it).  And then... there is that problem about the drool.  Probably (unfortunately) never going to own one (especially while Trophy is alive, and he's never allowed to die, so there), but I surf the Dane rescues every now and again and dream.

Runner's up:
Chinese Crested - the hairless ones look like PONIES!

So tell me!  What dog breeds do YOU want to own some day?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Not For A Million Dollars: 11 Dog Breeds I Could Never Own

Working for the past three and a half years in a dog daycare will open your eyes to a lot of things. For me it has opened my eyes to the depth of human stupidity, and also to several dog breeds that you could not PAY me to own.

Of course, this is a very subjective subject. My findings are mainly based on the dogs i have come in contact with; many of whom are problem dogs at home who are brought to daycare because it is cheaper than hiring a trainer. Also, many breeds are owned by people who should NOT own a certain breed either because they are too busy/lazy to give the dog what it needs or by just being totally oblivious (see note above about witnessing the depth of human stupidity).

If your breed of choice is on this list and is perfectly well behaved and amazing, that's awesome. I would love to meet him/her.  Truly I know that some of my issues with the dogs below come from ownership issues and not from the breed itself (and in that case i applaud you for being an above average owner).

...but you still couldn't pay me to own one.

So please, do not take the following as a stab in the heart if your breed is listed, ok? :)

Number 1: American Bull Dogs
These dogs are my number 1 pet peeves at work.  99% of them we have severe problems with, mostly because their owners are oblivious to their dog's social problems.

Number 2: Mastiffs (any variety)
Mostly because they are bigger than anything I would ever want to own... and I think they are uuuuugly.

Number 3: Old English Bulldogs
Walking health catastrophes...  I think the thing that pisses me off the most about the breed is how oblivious breeders and owners are to their problems. It's sad.  Also, their facial structures lead to many a dog fight because they can't show normal canine emotions.

Number 4: Boxers
 Lack of self control and inability to play nicely puts this dog on my list.  The fact that my neighbors own a boxer and he is a royal PITA doesn't help their case.  Years ago previous neighbors had a boxer and I loved her... not anymore. Ruined by doggy daycare for me.

Number 5: St. Bernards
Too big and waaay too much drool.

Number 6: Rottweilers
Another dog that was ruined for me.  Another neighbor had a rottie who practically purred she was so sweet. Now I strongly dislike them.

Number 7: Beagles
Cute until they open their mouths, and then I want to rip out their vocal chords.

Number 8: Huskies
My roommate in college had a husky.  Hate them. They are mean, and they almost always bite when you try to touch them or move them, and god forbid you try to take them by the collar.   Lots of dog fights involve huskies at work.

Number 9: German Shepherd Dogs
This one makes me a little sad to include as I love the herding breeds.  With one exception, every single GSD I have met at work has severe mental disorders or anxieties.  This breed is a mental nightmare, and don't get me started on structure... Not to mention they like to run up behind other dogs, grab them by the neck, and drag them to the ground while running full speed.  Drives me NUTS.

Number 10: Doodles (any poodle mix "designer breed")
For being the product of a breeding of an incredibly smart dog (poodles) I am so surprised by how DUMB these dogs are.

Number 11: Golden Retrievers

Another breed that is supposed to be intelligent   I strongly believe that the brains have been completely bred out of this dog.  I need a dog with a brain.

Runner up:  Labrador Retrievers.
Another dog that has suffered from having the brains bred out.  I think I could own a lab, because I know that I would be able to turn his/her mushy brain into something worthwhile and Trophy is half lab... but they are LOW LOW LOW LOW on my list.

Ok... so what dog could you never own?

(Follow up, dogs I must own before I die coming soon!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nothing fun going on

Demo is still sick, well, sort of.  I didn't take him to flyball practice Saturday. Sunday he threw up right before I needed to leave for work, and again Monday before the rice cooled enough to feed him.

He's getting too skinny. I got some chicken legs yesterday and boiled some up to add to his rice.  I haven't started adding back his normal kibble yet - he had just gotten up to 1 cup of kibble with 1/2 cup rice when he threw up again.

I kept Trophy home from agility last week when Demo was at the vet since I didn't know what was wrong with him.  Yesterday Trophy developed some gross diarrhea, so we stayed home from agility again.

So, unfortunately, there is nothing exciting going on here in the world of the Brokenbutts, and no scheduled Flyball practices until after Christmas. :(

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Well, That Escalated Quickly...

We flyballed this past weekend in York, Pennsylvania.  A short 6.5 hour drive through (literally) the mountains east, facing highway robbery (holy crap the tolls!  I could have filled the Vue with gas for what I pain in tolls!), and very few gas stations (it was kind of scary, actually), and we arrived at our destination.

My regular flyball crew was supplemented by my friend Megan and her Aussie, Rowdy. Only 2 of my teammates wanted to go to the tournament, and while I have the dogs to fill out a team we needed another person to run a dog, that's where Megan came in.  She did phenomenally well for her first tournament!

We stopped off at the hotel first, unloaded some of our paltry human belongings, then headed off to the tournament site to set up the crates.  There was no good way out of the hotel to get onto the street we needed to be on.  The 3 vehicles in our caravan ended up taking different streets.  At one point we ended up passing Kris and the whole thing felt like a scene out of a cartoon where there is a room full of doors and when you go in one door you end up in the same room coming out of another door.  

When we got to the fairgrounds, we all drove in circles trying to find the building.... or heck someone with a dog!  We finally did find it and got our boxes, balls, and ball shagger unloaded.  Then we set up our crating area.  We actually had quite a bit of room considering we were only running one team and we had 4 dogs with us not on the team roster!  I got to use the RV mat I won in Davisburg as our floor covering.  The x-pen covers I ordered didn't come in before I left (they arrived about 90 minutes after, grr!) so instead we stacked the crates which worked out pretty well.   

They had informal singles racing going on (it's a NAFA tournament) so Megan and I hung out and watched for a bit so I could kind of show her the flow of the race since she'd never been to a tournament and we don't have full runback to practice in.  Then we headed back to the hotel where a guy had his boxer off leash running around behind the hotel.  I asked him to hold his dog so I can get mine out of the car.  "Oh, she's friendly"  Well, mine are not, especially towards boxers. >_<  Luckily we didn't see them again.

Trophy was his usual jerky self the first night in the hotel.  I crated him, and Rowdy was crated as well since he had some diarrhea.  So, as per usual, i didn't get a good night's sleep.  Trophy's getting better, I get more sleep every night we stay in the hotel, but I still MUCH prefer camping.

So we had 5 races each day.  My plan was to run Pan in 3 and Demo 2 each day.  My goal was also to work on my starting abilities, as I sucked.  Our very first race the opposing team was a mess.  I'm pretty sure they false started every single heat.  The third heat in Pan was getting pissy after their third false start.  She very clearly looked over at their start dog, and exploded down the lanes in her very own false start. Ha. She was having an absolute ball running in start and her times all weekend were extremely consistent 4.6's.  The absolute highlight of my day was getting my starts dialed in.  I got running .05 splits and less, and then it happened.  Let Pan run and i cringed because I was sure it was early.  Stand up and the screen flashes .000 - I thought I broke it!  It took a few seconds to realize what happened and that we got our very first perfect start!

Demo ran his two races, but was pretty slow, running in the upper 4's.  It looked like his boxturn wasn't clean either.  He got his FDCh in his first race, and we accomplished our goal for the weekend and I decided I wasn't going to run him Sunday unless Pan was having a problem.

Saturday night in the hotel was better.  I didn't kennel Trophy, he slept on the bed with everyone, but he was trembling almost the whole night.  He's just wound up too tight and too stressed in the hotel.  My poor boy. :(  He did eventually fall asleep curled up with Pan.

I felt like I got much more sleep that night, but when Sunday dawned I felt like I had been run over by a truck.  It was really hard to get going.
Rowdy learning to chill (compare to first picture of him above!)

Our first race Sunday was a hot mess. The race before ours went really fast.  I had just gotten their boots on when we were in! Almost missed our warmup, didn't get to do a full run through. Second heat pan tried to launch early and ended up with a .2 second start after I tried to quickly reset her. Next heat the other team false started and Pan decided to not wait and reran herself  >_<  After that exertion, she was so slow coming back at the actual start of the heat Trophy bad passed into her.  Trophy did run a 5.0 on a clean heat, so there was some positives i guess.

I went up to watch some of the host club's races.  Mainly, to watch Steve from

When I went back to our crating area they told me Demo had thrown up twice.  I didn't think much of it at the time, even though it is really odd for him to get sick at a tournament.  Then I went up and learned how to line judge (OMG WAS IT SCARY!  I did 3 division 1 teams in a row, and even though they were slower than division 1 teams in our region it was TERRIFYING. I was so tense!)  When I went back to our crating area Demo threw up again.

We finished out racing on Sunday with nothing major happening, packed up the cars, and settled in for awards.
BrokenButt's Total Annihilation FDCh!
Tournament Swag, I love ribbons!

Then we started the journey home. we stopped around 9pm for some sleep as I couldn't keep my eyes open.  1am I'm awoken by Demo getting ready to throw up again.  Finally made it home at 5am where Demo threw up again.  Fell asleep woke up at noon... to Demo throwing up again.  At this point I figured he was hungry since he hadn't eaten since 6am Sunday.  Fed him breakfast and he was fine.  Fed him dinner, he  was fine.  11:30pm he is fast asleep on the floor and then the next thing I know he is projectile vomiting all over the place.

Dropped him off at the vet Tuesday morning along with my cat who is peeing outside of the litterbox.  $300 in tests later for both of them, and nothing is wrong with either.  OH MY FREAKING GOD.  This is the story of my life with my pets.  Something is clearly wrong, since one is vomiting and one isn't using the litterbox, but all tests are normal.  UGH!  Demo is doing better today.  Surviving on rice, but not throwing up.

Kept Trophy home from Agility since I didn't know if this was contagious or not... unfortunately due to my large vet bill, looks like Trophy's agility debut will be pushed back.  Just can't afford it right now. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012


My flyball goals:

-Earn 20,000 points (ONXY) with Trophy in NAFA
-Earn 20,000 points with Trophy in U-FLI
-Earn 20,000 points (ONXY) with Pan in NAFA
-Earn 20,000 points with Pan in U-FLI
-Earn 20,000 points (ONXY) with Demo in NAFA
-Earn 20,000 points with Demo in U-FLI
-Perfect start

Friday, November 30, 2012

Confessions Of A Flyball Freak

I am, admittedly, a freak when it comes to flyball packing.

(Actually, im probably just a freak when it comes to my dogs, but that's another story...)

I'm always worried that im going to forget something majorly important (i.e. dog food or skid boots), or that i won't have enough vet wrap, or Demo will destroy the tugs i bring, and on and on.

My newest flyball aquisition was a 30inch rolling duffle bag. It holds everything. It holds everything and i have more room to pack more. My flyball bag carries more than just the bare basics, it carries everything dog related i need on a flyball trip, essentially it is my dogs' suitcase and that's why it is so large.

In my flyball bag i have:
-small plastic storage bin that holds their "racing essentials": flyball collars, flyball leashes, gloves, and their racing boots.
-small plastic storage bin with vet wrap and practice/backup skidboots.
-smaller plastic cube that holds emergency medical supplies, bandage sissors and eastic tape.
-at least 5 tugs
-small crate fans
-cool coats
-winter fleece coats
-tennis balls
-bath wipes for the dogs
-face wipes for me
-kennel name plaques
-treats and a few clickers

...And probably a few more things im forgetting.

Does anyone else have any flyball quirks? Or is it just me? :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Countdown to Agility Debut: 59 Days

Had a good class tonight with Trophy.  Almost didn't go because I've been having terrible foot pain for months that's not getting better, but decided it was the right thing to do.  It was a really small class, only 3 of the regular 6 students were there so I'm glad I went.  We ran through two courses that focused on weave entries and crossing using weaves.  And I learned that either Trophy was never as solid on weaves as i thought, or that he is more out of practice after a week off than I thought.  So I need to pull out my weave pole set again and work with him.  He needs to learn independent weaving, and also better entries.... just have to get him out of FIERCE HUNTER MODE when working in my backyard... *sigh* (Anyone want to buy me a manners minder for Christmas?!)

Anyway, pulling out the weaves really is not a bad thing, because I was determined to teach Demo 2x2 weaves before signing him up for Agility classes.... and well, Beginner's agility is starting in January and she's holding a spot for me and Demaroux.  I am not excited about shelling out double for lessons every six weeks, but I am excited that one of my current classmates will be starting her second dog in this same class!

And in other news, I am TOTALLY TERRIFIED about this agility debut.  I had planned on competing in CPE if I ever did compete with Trophy in agility (since I didn't really care)... and then this trial ended up being the one that my instructor pushed me towards... and now I'm kinda sorta dreaming of MACh Brokenbutt's Law of Murphy ATD, CGC, (and updated list of flyball titles here)... and it all spiraled out of control. :)

Parting thought, I need a better way to get Trophy pumped up for the ring.  We've been doing so good lately in class with him really wanting to work for me, but tonight he was back to pokey and not-so-interested.  I don't know if this was because I was really frustrated that the first main obstacle focus tonight was trying to do a blind cross after the weaves or a rear cross into the weaves and Trophy couldn't hold forward momentum during either and kept circling out of the weaves to find out what the heck I was doing, OR if he was tired from two days in a row at work (he also knocked two bars,super rare for him, and refused the A-frame once, but never hesitated when getting sucked aboard the teeter).

Gah!  Why can't this dog have tug drive! :)

Final parting thought, my friend Megan and I are roadtripping to York, PA this weekend for a big flyball tournament.  She's running Catastrophy himself, while Dem and Pan will be splitting the starting position.  I'm really excited!  A photographer will be there (not that I've purchased photos from CanAm yet) and I loooove seeing my kids in action. :)  Wish us luck and not much snow!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Spread the Word! Border Collie looking for Forever Home, Amazing DISC DOG Potential!

So my foster dog is just about ready to start looking for his new home.  Mac (a.k.a. Macaroni Man) is just about 1 year old (born 12.1.11 I believe) and a purebred border collie.

He is 10-12 pounds overweight and hasn't fully grown into himself yet.  He has been limping due to a yet unknown shoulder injury/strain.  We are awaiting results on a serious set of radiographs (20 different views) that were sent out to a specialist Tuesday.  We do not believe anything is broken or that he has OCD (my personal opinion is that he is butt-high still in his growth stage combined with being significantly overweight is the cause of anything in his shoulder).  I have had  for almost 3 weeks (it will be 3 weeks on Black Friday) and his limp has peaked and is getting much less noticeable as he is losing weight and getting proper conditioning while slowly uping his activity level.  Today I barely noticed a limp in his movement.

The vet said he will probably have arthritis in that shoulder when he is older.  I feel he would not make a good flyball prospect or serious agility prospect as these activities put too much strain on the shoulders, but I'm sure he would love agility and be able to play in the preferred or elite classes with lower jump heights.  I have not yet taken him swimming, but he was training to be a goose dog in his former life so I imagine he would be awesome as a dock dog.

However, Mac's greatest thrill in life is chasing and catching a frisbee!  Mac LIVES for disc!  He is a natural and is already tracking and jumping for the disc.  He is very biddable (although he can be sticky-eyed and obsessive which might make freestyle training more challenging).  He is a natural toss and catch rockstar!  He learned to go around behind me to run out for the disc already.

Mac is wonderful with other dogs (although he does have a very in-your-face playstyle that some dogs may not appreciate.  Mac is also wonderful with people, he has never met a stranger (although I do NOT know how he is with children).  Mac has shown polite curiosity towards cats and small dogs, although he would probably chase if they ran.

Mac is available through Multiple Breed Rescue in Elyria, OH.  you can contact them through their website.
Video of Macaroni's disc prowess:

Video of Mac playing at Daycare:

Video of Mac hanging out at Daycare:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Twice is Nice!

Was lucky enough to have not one, but TWO flyball practices yesterday!

First, our normal Saturday morning practice with our team.  My friend Megan, who is going to be traveling with us to the tournament in York, PA in December and running Trophy for me came to learn how to pass.  Now, this is a really difficult task considering our building is not tournament length and so she's going to have to relearn on the fly at the tournament, but she needed to start getting the overall flow of running a dog down.  Eventually she's going to be bringing her Aussie back to practice with us, so she needs to learn it anyway.

I've been working with a client's dog for several months to get him out of the hosue and work his little brain in adition to giving him extra exercise.  We're starting to have a break through with him.  He has already chained the jumps and loves to do jumping.  Now we are working on box work and taking a ball off the box while maintaining a nice turn.  I took some video for him mom to see since she can't be in the building while I work with him (he used to be able to work for me, but suddenly because worried/protective of her).  I've been working on boxturns for months, and finally got him to do a nice turn off the box with no ball (using his butt on the box and not being lazy) so now we're trying to add taking the ball off the box.  This dog is going to be a ball spitter, I can just see it, but that's another issue (chasing is also going to be another big concern of mine with him, but one problem at a time!)

Demo was getting some pretty crazy turns in and coming up high off the box.  I didn't take my video camera, so I can't replay it and see what was going on.  Pan was awesome, as usual, and since I had a prop in the whole time Trophy's turns were nice.  which brings me to my second flyball practice, which I'm calling "remedial box turn practice".

Remedial Flyball practice was held at another facility slightly closer to my house (by like 5 minutes) with a woman who runs her dogs on a team from Michigan.  Her dogs are amazing and fast, so I took Trophy to get a second opinion and some ideas on how to re-re-fix his boxturn and get him to engage his butt on the box.  He's gaining speed while his turn is getting worse. If I can fix his turn I just might have another dog who can run under 5 seconds and not retire early with shoulder issues (the latter being my primary concern).  She gave me an exercise to work with him to 1. build confidence taking the ball and 2, get him to lower his turn slightly on the box without using a jump board (as it's high with a prop and non existent without a prop).

I also took Demo along to analyze his turn and brainstorm what he was doing in the morning practice, which of course he wouldn't replicate.  Practicing at another facility was good for him though and instead we worked on getting his turn off the box to be snappier and also worked on making it tighter since he's such a looong bodied dog.

And in a non flyball related news, here is a picture of my Foster dog, MACaroni. Ain't he a handsome dude?  He has a shoulder injury we're still trying to figure out, so no flyball in his future, unfortunately.

Friday, November 2, 2012

More Flyballin' Fun!

A few weeks ago I got a call from my team captain. They had a dog pull out of the upcoming tournament in Davisburg MI, would I like to go to fill in?

I didn't really like the facility the first time I went.  There is a minuscule 55 feet of runback, and the way the building in constructed one lane is up practically up against a wall and the first time I went they had up running back into basically a box. Very claustrophobic.  And the first time we went over new years Pan and Harley collided which started my worries about running Pan in the right lane because she looks left to watch the start dog.

Also, Davisburg is 3 1/2 hours away, and since it's indoors most tournaments there are when it's cold out, which means I have to stay in a hotel. Trophy was a total jerk in the hotel at the NYE tournament, he barked and growled alllll night long. I literally slept with my hands clamping him mouth shut. And by slept I mean I got about an hour. Total. All night long.

All of the above flashed through my head, but so did not having to pay a tournament fee. And that this would be a great run through for hoteling with Trophy if we ended up going to the tournament in York, PA in December.

So I went. And I was able to take two dogs.  Trophy, my rock solid dog, and Demo to earn some more points.

I was going to alternate them for two races each day.  And then in the last race on Saturday Demo jumped up for his tug, got his hocks tangled together and took a hard fall on his back legs.  He screamed and came up limping.  I walked him around until he had almost stopped limping, and then put him up and got Trophy.  Two heats into the race our start dog came up limping - she's 11 after all.  Our back up was Demo. Who hadn't raced in that lane and who wouldn't get a warm up.  Amazingly, he did not let me down.  He went out and ran his heart out and didn't mess up. :)  I'm so incredibly proud of him, and Trophy ran so nicely for my teammate.

Hotel was interesting with the boys.  They both curled up on the bed and passed out.  I found an NCIS marathon and did a little reading until my eyes got tired, then I turned off the light. I was going to leave the TV on to help mask the outside noises from Trophy.  Didn't matter. the second I switched out the lights, Trophy woke up growling and prowled the room and wouldn't shut up.  So I locked him in a kennel in the bathroom and Demo and I slept in the bed.

Sunday was similar with only one little bobble.  My teammate was running Trophy in start and I was going to run Demo.  She was late getting to the warmup, so I ran both dogs out and I don't think Trophy knew who he was supposed to go to after his first heat.  I'm passing him with Demo, and when he saw me run up with Demo he turned and tried to rerun. Luckily he didn't crash into anyone on our team, and when he didn't have a ball on his side, he checked out the other lane.  Once we got him back and he she started feeding him cheese he never made another error.

We played the raffle, I wasn't going to since I haven't been lucky yet, but I put in $20, and man-o-man did I come out a winner!  A new x-pen, RV mat, and a $25 gift card to BP!  That gas car proved instrumental to the rest of the evening.  I started out following a teammate home, and she stopped right before the highway and pulled into a BP station.  I almost continued on as I had 3/4 a tank, but since I had that BP card I figured I would also stop and fill up.  Turns out my teammate's breaks had gone out! So i topped off my tank (the card perfectly filled it up) and then the boys and I waited with her.  She has a tracphone, so I gave her my phone to use to call AAA and her husband so she wouldn't use up her minutes. Then I moved stuff around so she and her dog could ride home with us as they had to tow her van 187 miles home.

It took over an hour for the tow truck to get to us, just as my battery died from not running my car for the past hour, so he gave me a jump, and loaded up the van while my teammate and I started home.  I finally got home at 11 after dropping her off.

It was a a great weekend.  I love my team and I'm glad I could be there to help out in more than one way!


In blog related news, wow! Over 2,000 views to my little blog.  who knew? :)  Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Random musings on my life with my dogs

Yesterday I had several small, odd, things happen while spending time with my dogs.

First.  I found a dead blue jay while poop scooping the back yard.  This was odd because usually Trophy finds dead birds before me and they had been running around for almost 45 minutes before I started poop scooping.  So I loaded the bird (it was much bigger than I thought!) onto my scoop and walked it over to the bucket and dumped it in with the rest of the poop.  As I'm walking away, THAT's when Trophy decides to take notice of said bird, and tried to crawl into the poop bucket to pull the bird out.  Yuck!

Second, Baxter is obsessed with light reflections.  Trophy, Pan and Koda all have mirror finished tags on their collars they wear to work (which they were all wearing yesterday outside).  The shiny tags are VERY good at reflecting the sun.  Baxter spend most of the time outside following Trophy and trying to catch the light as it bounced on the grass.

Finally, once we were all back inside, one moment Pan is chewing on a Nylabone and the next she's chowing down on poop.  I have no idea where the poop came from.  It was not from the litterbox.  Eww!

Yep. my dogs are really weird. :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I can't decide!

Photos just went up from the official photographer at CanAm.  I can't decide which 3 to buy and frame.

The problem is that the only photo that works for Demo is the SAME for each of the selections.  The first (Vertical option) features all 3 dogs in the exact same pose (which also happens to be the same pose I have Trophy and Pan in from last year).  Pan is in the middle facing the opposite way of the boys.  Second (Horizontal option) features the 3 dogs in different poses with Trophy facing the camera in the middle and the other dogs running towards the center.

I have no photos of Pan facing the opposite direction and ALL of Demo's face in the other direction.

So... which of these two options would you choose?

Photo proofs pulled from copyright 2012 Fur-Fetched Photography

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

CanAm2012 - It was everything I wanted it to be!

I'm still in recovery mode after this weekend.

Last year, for CanAm2011 I was so, so, so, so sick.  Picture the worst cold you've ever had complete with sinus pressure, sore throat, the works.  Now mix that death cold with the plague.... and you've just about got the picture of my suffering.  Last year we also ran 4 teams on Saturday and Sunday (3 on Friday), and it's a long hike from our crating area to the entrance side of the rings...

Needless to say I was pretty miserable feeling last year running 2 dogs on two teams and boxloading a third... and CanAm2011 was still one of the best experiences of my life.  Trophy's team won the Division 8 Championship race.  I have the trophy (not Trophy) sitting on my shelf.  Coming from a team who really doesn't care about placements and running very fast (we rarely run under 20 seconds. We make time, we earn points, we are happy), it was totally unexpected and amazing!

Lori and Bandi, Me and Trophy, Melissa and Harley, Deb and Cruz, Carol and Rhona

I begged to go back this year (this is, of course, after I had infected my team with said plague that everyone else was suffering with for 2 months after CanAm... whoops, sorry guys!).  Begged.  Literally. I believe I got down on my hands and knees and/or threatened to go on several different Open teams if they didn't take me to CanAm again.

Fast forward.  This year we only ran 3 teams on Saturday and Sunday (2 Friday).  I was not sick.  Our Sunday schedule was rather enjoyable.  We once again made it to the Division 8 regular finals and against a team from our region, a team we race against all.the.time we went to 5 heats and we defended out title!  This time Pan was on the winning team. It was an amazing feeling.

Front: Me and Pan, Melissa and Harley, Carol and Rhona, Kris and Dodger, Kandice and Hershey. Back: Sharon (boxloader) Deb and Cruz.
And Video!

Other major accomplishments for the weekend:

  • Trophy ran his personal best time in start of 4.761
  • I greatly improved my starting split times. I'm still no where near good, but i went from a .9 to consistent .1's so i'm pretty proud of myself.
  • Demo earned his FD and FDX titles!!
  • Demo ran a 4.33 in start
  • Demo never crossed over and for running with 5 other simultaneous rings of flyball around him I am REALLY proud of him.
  • Trophy also earned his FDCh-G title officially, since there was a snafu where he lost 100 points at an earlier tournament this year... so it's kind of a hollow victory, but we did it.
  • Pan has stopped scaring me to death and didn't try to cross over to the left lane all weekend.
  • Pan has backed up to 50+ feet for passing.

Now I have to sit back, relax, continue to recover, and wait for the photographer to get all the photos posted online!