5 days of Dog Adventures

September 20, 2010

Wednesday – FAST class

Our agility class on Wednesday was a FAST course. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy the class much, but we did well, and it was interesting. Carla has been much speedier in class lately, but if I get lost, and stop to figure out where I’m going, it definitely slows her down, a LOT. I also learned that the send was not as much of a problem as I expected – good to know! Since we did well, I’m not sure why I didn’t enjoy the class more, but I suspect it has to do with the fact that l still feel so inept at planning a course, and FAST was all about the planning.

Thursday and Friday – Rally

On Thursday and Friday, my senior citizen, Dash, was back at a dog show for the first time in over 5 years. Dash always enjoyed showing, and was thrilled to get back into the ring again. He far exceeded my expectations, and came home with a blue ribbon from Rally Novice B both days. He scored a 98 on Thursday, and a 97 on Friday. I got several comments from spectators about how happy Dash was and how much fun he was to watch. Here’s a picture of him from when he was much younger. He’s still a handsome happy guy.

Saturday and Sunday – Agility

Carla and I entered our first ever agility trial, the Y2K9’s CPE trial. I entered this trial primarily so we could work on our (my) stress issues, in an environment that doesn’t have our “trouble” obstacles, the weaves and teeter. So, to that end, I guess the weekend was successful, I went from feeling drastically ill on Saturday to actually being able to enjoy eating on Sunday.

On Saturday we were entered in Standard and Jumpers. Our standard run was very, VERY, slow and painful, right up until when we were whistled off for time. Our jumpers run was more successful, although still way over in time faults.

On Sunday we were entered in Standard and Colors. Our standard run on Sunday was the most successful of the weekend, only 10 time faults. Here’s the run:

I know that it was our first weekend, and that I should be thrilled that Carla kept working, albeit slowly, despite the new environment and her stressed out handler, but I’m still frustrated and discouraged, not so much because of the slugg-y-ness, but more because I haven’t a clue how to fix it.

I’m trying to remember that in our first off lead Rally trials, our stress behaviors were much worse, a LOT of sniffing, and some out and out refusals, so I’m hoping that there’s hope for us in agility yet.

To end things on a positive note, here’s a picture of Carla practicing with Reanna at Y2 2 weeks ago, both of them having a good time.


Canine Experience

August 4, 2010

Reanna and Carla at the Canine Experience

On Sunday, a very rare thing happened. The whole family attended the Suffolk County Kennel Club Canine Experience in Long Island. Normally dog events are a me-only activity, with Audra occasionally coming along, BUT, since the canine experience was the first opportunity Reanna has had to “show” a dog, Perry came along to watch (and film).

Reanna was entered in pee-wee junior handlers with Beaker. Pee-wee juniors is a class for all children under 10. Parents were allowed to enter the ring with their child, but I was the only one who did. Reanna was by far the youngest in the class, and she was right between a child with a staffy bull and a child with an adolescent black GSD, neither of which had very good control of their dogs. I wish THEIR parents had been in the ring. At one point I actually picked Beaker up when the staffy bull got VERY interested in him.

All children won a rosette and a Pro-Plan towel, so Reanna was on cloud nine. She was very proud of herself.

Audra, Reanna and I showed Carla, Beaker and Lizzie in conformation. The judge was very happy to have Podengos in his ring. He was very patient with the kids, and very gentle with the puppies. Beaker won the puppy group which was very exciting. Here’s Audra showing Carla.

I also entered Carla in an agility fun “run.” As you can see, she clearly didn’t read the “run” part of the entry form.

All in all I thought it was a successful outing. In between rings we hosted a Meet The Breed Booth for the Portuguese Podengo Pequenos of America (PPPAmerica) As always, the pod puppies drew a lot of admirers and we handed out a lot of pamphlets. Perry did have an unfortunate (and painful) encounter with an easy up that wasn’t all the way “up.” Perry turned around and smacked his head right into one of the metal parts that was slowly sliding down. Ouch!

Here are the girls 10 minutes out of the show site on the way home.

Audra asleep on the way home Reanna asleep on the way home

In class on Wednesday, Carla had weave pole issues. She did 6 poles twice, but then had a real problem doing them again. So, in our private lesson on Friday, we concentrated on, you got it, weave poles!

In all our different classes and different instructors, we’ve never consistently worked on weave poles. In our very early classes we did a lot of work with very open channels, then one instructor introduced 2x2s so we did some work with that, but I never really followed up well with ANY method. Not surprisingly, while I occasionally get a very nice weave performance, it’s highly erratic.

So, on Friday we started over, using 6 straight poles with guide wires and ex-pens. I wish I had a video of this, because Carla did GREAT! She was faster and more confident than she has ever been. And even while we weren’t working, she would go over and offer poles. At the end of the session, she was consistently weaving 6 poles with no ex-pens and only 1 guide wire. When we practice at home, I’ll put the ex-pens and guide wires back to start, and I’ll make sure I get video.

The puppies, are continuing to be stellar performers. Here’s Lizzie weaving – this is about as many trials as we do with her because she is still just a baby. You can also see her here on Audra’s blog.

We also worked the puppies on the chute – they’re very wiling to go in, but sometimes come out crooked. When we introduced a jump in front of the chute, both puppies immediately tried going around the jump and the chute and running right for the treat at the end. Luckily Dawn is very quick so the both learned that they will not get rewarded for bypassing an obstacle. Here’s Audra and Beaker:

Week 2

February 15, 2010

The big news this week has been the weather.  Snow, snow and more snow!

Of course the puppies have stayed nice and warm inside. Here’s one from a few days ago, all snuggled up with Reanna.

And of course, the obligatory 2 week photo shoot pictures:

The puppies got hungry on the set, so we had some food brought in:

Then after the dinner break, it was nap time.

Darlene provided us with some “L” names that are in keeping with this breed’s Portuguese heritage. So far, the favorites are Leonardo and Lisette.

2 Days Old

February 3, 2010

Puppies at two days. They’re doing much better than I am, I’m a wreck.  Having puppies is stressful!  So far though, all is well.   I am also amazed at how hard it is to take pictures of these little guys.  They may not be able to walk, but they sure do squirm! 

I tried to take some pictures that would show their markings.  I’m assuming this will get easier once they’re a little bigger.

Today Carla and I took the first tiny step to getting back in shape for agility.  I had her run up the teeter board a few times, and do a couple of jumps in my basement.  Not much, but it’s a start, and more importantly, reassured me that she’s feeling ok.

They’re here

January 31, 2010

Well, they’re here!  Today, almost a full week sooner than I expected, Carla had her puppies, one girl and one boy.  The girl was 5.8 oz, born at 2:30 PM, her brother came along at 5:09 and was 4.2 oz. 

I was a little worried about the girl at first, she seemed to be having some problems breathing at first, but she seems ok now, although is definitely less vigorous than her little brother.  We’ll be keeping a close eye on her tonight.

Carla seems fine, and although she didn’t want to be separated from me at all during the day, she’s made it VERY clear that she has things under control now, and no longer appreciates my company.  So here are the birthday pictures.  They boy is the dark, smaller one.

Well, first things first.  Carla and I headed out to Springfield, MA over the 4th of July where we finished our RE title and earned our first 2 RAE legs.   I was particularly pleased about our performance because last year at this show, we had a lot of issues.  This venue is tough because it’s a large, busy, show; and the rally ring is set up right along the corridor where people come in and out of the building, so there are LOTS of distracting things going on.  Last year was our first attempt competing off lead and we weren’t quite ready for that level of noise and distraction.  This year, we were much better prepared, Carla even held her Sit for the honor when a big scary dumpster was pushed past us.  I was so proud of her.  So here’s the picture from Wednesday when we finished our RE title:

 Our RE!

I eventually want to transition to Novice, so we will continue to work on our RAE legs, while I continue to work on fading my cues.  After 3 days of Rally at the Springfield shows, we headed down to Enfield, CT, for the Portuguese Podengo Club of America Specialty.  The judge, Luis Gorjao Henriques, put Carla up out of 7 entries in Open.  He was also very helpful (and patient!) after the show when he discussed the merits of individual dogs.   He liked Carla’s topline, tail and coat.  He also commented on her attitude <g>.  He said she is a little small, could have a more triangular head, and a better ear set.  All in all I was pleased with the results.  Here is our picture with the judge and the show secretary:

Carla 2009 Specialty

The photographers at the show, Agile Images, were fantastic.  In addition to shooting win pictures, a video of the event, and candids, they kindly agreed to take some pictures of Carla’s spider dog trick.  To see all the pictures from the specialty, visit the Agile Images website here: http://www.agile-images.com/

Carla does her Spider Dog Trick at the 2009 Specialty

Carla does her Spider Dog Trick at the 2009 Specialty


In other news, our teeter performance continues to improve!  After our last teeter session, some friends pointed out that Carla was cueing off of my motion at the end of the teeter.   So we worked some more on this in my last session with Sassie.  Sassie was kind enough to videotape it for me so you can see our progress.  The teeter is slightly higher than what we worked on before,  and Sassie did a great job of directing me to run FAST past the end of the teeter. 

Here’s a clip of some of the work we did.  I was pleased with the improvement.  On the last run, there’s some yummy stuff (can’t remember the name) that’s sort of like play-doh at the end of the teeter that Carla is stopping to eat.

We’re going down to Y2K9 tomorrow to work some more.