October 11, 2010

Well, after 25+ years of showing dogs, I now have a dog with an AKC title at both ends. Dash, at the ripe old age of 10.5, is now CH Van Gunn’s Kickin’ It Up RN.

Our picture with the judge when we finish our RN

Dash finishes his RN

Dash was always a dog who loved to show, and he was so happy to be back in the show ring. He earned his 3rd RN leg with a score of 96 at the all Terrier Trial in Kimberton last week. He got up on the Sit-Walk-Around, which cost us 3 points for the do-over, but otherwise he was great. And, like in his other 2 trials, people commented on how HAPPY he was to be working.

Dash’s arthritis will keep him out of AKC Rally Advanced because he can’t jump. But, since he had SUCH a good time, we may look into competing in APDT, or maybe trying for the new AKC Beginner Novice obedience title.

Here are some pictures of the happy boy in the ring.

Left Turn

Figure 8



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:

Puppy Agility

July 18, 2010

Well, here we are, 5.5 months after the puppies were born and they’re both still here. Lizzie is definitely staying. She is Audra’s puppy, and while she may not be the most agile dog out there, what she lacks in structure, she sure makes up for with enthusiasm.

Beaker (formerly Leonardo) is also still here. If the absolutely perfect home comes along, I might let him go, but in the meantime, I’m having a good time introducting him to agility. Both puppies are in class with Sassie Joiris and it’s a real hoot to watch them.

Lizzie is a very earnest worker and tries very hard to be right. Beaker is much more laid back, and distractable, but Sassie assures me he’ll be a great agility dog some day. We haven’t done much with them outside of class, but here are some videos that we took today.

The puppies don’t know much about showing yet, but here are some pictures of them getting used to a grooming table. As you can see, Beaker is finally losing his baby fluff. His tail wouldn’t stop wagging long enough to get a good picture.

From July 2010

Lizzie looks more and more like her mom, although I think she has more substance.

From July 2010

1 Week Old

February 8, 2010

We all made it through our first week.  Mom and puppies are doing well.  Weights today were 11.5 oz (girl) and 10.8 oz (boy).  These puppies are going to be the Casa De Maio “L” litter, so the girls have been having a good time coming up with names.  So far the favorites are “Lexi” and “Laser.”  Somehow I don’t think that’s what Darlene, Carla’s breeder and co-breeder of this litter, has in mind.

Here are the 1 week pictures:

Since we’ve decided to let Audra have her “own” dog, she’s been diligently researching different breeds.  Before the puppies were born she did most of her research online and went through Aussies, Entlebuchers, Treeing Walker Coonhounds, and Shelties.  Approximately 10 minutes after the first puppy (girl) was born, she decided that was the dog she wanted.  However, she’s reconsidering (again!) and now thinks she wants a Norfolk Terrier.  I’m hoping that the Podengo Pequenos will make a comeback once the puppies are a little more interactive.

Here’s Reanna enjoying the snow.

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.

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.

Between kids and work and life, I don’t think I’m going to make it down to Y2K9s this weekend.  So since I won’t have any agility to blog about, I thought I’d put together the history of our spider dog trick to date.

Carla and I took a dog tricks seminar with Sassie Joiris back in January.  One of the tricks she is teaching her dogs (Norfolk Terriers and a Whippet) is a handstand.  We decided to try it with Carla.

I started off sitting down facing her and getting her to back onto a folded towel.  Carla knows a few body targets, so she picked up on this pretty quickly.  Then I moved the towel to a ramp, and then started working with just a ramp.

Here’s our first try with the ramp, my camera operator is my 7 year old.  She charges a $1 for 5 minutes of camera work.  LOL

Here’s more of the same session, you can see that I raised the incline too quickly, but once we brought it back down, I thought Carla did quite nicely.

And finally:


She’s even better at it now, I can just squat near the wall instead of sort of coralling her with my legs.  Last night at the Beginner’s Rally class I help teach,  I was trying to demonstrate backing up to a target, but Carla kept trying to put her rear end up in the air, even without a wall.  I’ll try to get a more recent video soon.

I think the total amount of time we’ve spent working on this trick is probably about an hour – spread out over a few weeks of 5 – 7 minute sessions.   It was easy and fun and made us the hit of my dog training class!