Some More Images

Our Canine Partners group last weekend. Me and Forest second from the right (he was being squirmy, the only unbehaved “All American” apparently). Our friends Cat and her “Swap Meet Poodle” Alfie next to us on the left. They started agility right when we did, and this was their first trial as well.

And some Lure Coursing Pics finally. Its crazy how the dogs instinctive/primal side shows through in images when they are really doing what they were bred to do… I wish he looked this excited/focused in his agility pics! Maybe someday…

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Super-Agility Extravaganza Kick Off Weekend!

Well, extravaganzatastic to me anyway. Yesterday we did Lure Coursing with the little luratic, class tonight and Thursday, our first trial Saturday and Sunday, two more classes, then a UKI trial/match on the following Saturday. Whew.

Note to self: Avoid any trials we want to compete in that have Lure Coursing on site. Our first go last month was probably like the first time one imbibes in a new substance. It may make one feel a little funny, but you arent sure what all the fuss is about. Then the second time, now that you sorta know the drill–WHAMO! Out of your mind.

That’s how Forest was yesterday. This time, the instant that lure fired up and we were on the outside of the course, he started that high-pitched insane dog squeal and started thrashing around like a fish on the line. I took him in for round one, and the girl asked “I cant remember is he fast or medium?” I said I wasnt sure, but the second he took off she said, “Oh yeah, he’s definitely fast!” He was waaay faster this time, which she said was typical. After two runs, he was seriously out of his mind for another hour, even after a cool down walk and being quiet in his crate in the back of the car. However, mission accomplished; he slept in this morning and didnt budge when I snuck out the door for work.

The photog said she got some good shots of him this time, so I hope to have something cool to post up here.

Tonight class at the “first” trainer’s place. She was at the AKC Nationals all weekend, so we’ll hear some good stories I am sure.

I also ended up downloading the Agility iLog app for my iPhone. I think I already love it. Its so simple, menus all right there, totally intuitive on how to navigate around in it. Looking forward to putting it to use over the next few weeks!

And, a news hit on a LA Pet-Store-Turned-Rescue Shop! Good stuff.

Monday Morning Memo

So this weekend was definitely not long enough. I was so exhausted this morning–for no apparent reason–and had to peel myself out of bed. Lots to do at work, so naturally, I am procrastinating.

(I also have both dogs at work with me this morning. They are currently having a silent—and well-natured—battle over the one bone I have in the office. Just caught Diego laying and holding it between his “hands” eyeballing Forest to say “What’re you gonna do punk?” Tried to grab my camera/phone but had to root in the purse so they both jumped up.)

Nothing momentous over the past few days, just lots of tidbits.

– Went to dog beach in Huntington yesterday with a girlfriend. There in the parking lot was a couple with a truck, a crate, a very lactating mom dog, and a handwritten sign that said “FOR SALE: American Bulldogs”. Awesome. It pissed both me and my GF off, so I called Animal Control. You have to have a permit in HB to breed and/or sell dogs. Not that they’ll do anything to these morons, but at very least they said they’d send a cop out. Its asshats like these that are the reason we SHOULD have mandatory spay and neuter laws. I am not against breeding “purebred” dogs. But breeders should be serious; i.e. knowledgeable about their breed(s), willing to test for genetic issues, willing to take the time to place their puppies in appropriate homes, and willing to pay licensing/permit fees to do what they supposedly are doing for the “love of the breed.” If you “can’t afford” it, then you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. I was reading a lot of blogs this weekend and heard someone refer to themselves as a “hobby breeder”. That term makes me want to vomit—those two words should not be allowed in the same breath.

– Speaking of lots of blog reading this weekend, found a few new blogs I very much enjoyed. In my quest to learn more and more and even more about training and behavior, I am enjoying the wide range of opinions and knowledge. I like the theories/ramblings of trainer Sassie Joiris from the East Coast. She has some good recent posts about toy vs. food motivation, and how much we should, or shouldn’t, worry about getting our dogs more toy-drivey. She also runs a Whippet which automatically ups her a few notches in my world. I think I’m becoming a sighthound addict.

– Also, love love love this woman’s commentary/opinions/vast knowledge on dog and animal training in general: Raised by Wolves. She has a few great posts on the Sea World Orca disaster.

– And, thanks Dogster (whose Behavior & Training Forum is driving me nuts. Some people on there are just not very open minded…) for the Most Horrible Dog Invention Yet. Just truly, truly awful in so many ways.

We worked on some short weave sessions this weekend that went well. Definitely finding that our weaknesses are sending him in from the left side, and him learning to decelerate before he hits them so he doesn’t miss that first pole… learning learning. Agility class tonight!!!

Valentines Day = Rabbit Tails, Minced Hot Dogs, and Freeways

I am lucky I have a significant other who cares as much about Valentines Day as I do–which is basically nil. Or maybe I should say he is lucky he has such an apathetic girlfriend as myself. Or maybe that’s just what happens when you’ve been together for a million years. Minimal in the smarmy gushy department.

So, I got up early, stuffed Forest in the car and headed an hour North to Van Nuys for a Fun Match. It was held in a really nice park. The park was huge and we were well out of the way of other goings on, which was great. It was noticeable how just plain nice the people were who were running the whole thing. They did a “debriefing” for everyone first thing , they were mostly patient (except for one of the ring guy who was kind of bitchy, but I think that’s fairly normal) and overall very accommodating to those who were new to the trial scene—which seemed to be the majority of the people there. They also had three rings running at once.

Agility-wise we did okay. Its pretty marked how well Forest is handling the obstacles—contacts, teeter, weaves (sorta/mostly)—our main problem is overcoming the focus factor. I find myself battling internally with the rate of reinforcement. I know I should up it, but I just want too badly to do at least most of the course without having to stop and treat constantly. However, I need to set some goals (for myself) before our first trial in April I think. Slow down, over-treat for now, then work back up to not treating in time for the trial. Only two months away, but I think I can make myself do it.

In the way better than okay department was that they had lure coursing set up as well. I had never seen one in person, so was excited to check it out. The second I saw it, I said “This is SO on.” As soon as Forest got up to the fence and caught sight of the dogs and the lure, he went nuts. I didn’t want to over do it, so we only bought one run (after our first Standard run, but before our remaining three classes). It was amazing. It only took him about 5 seconds to turn on to the lure and getting totally revved up—the girl said “he looks pretty ready…” She hit the button, I let him go and he exploded off like a shot. It was so cool. He went full throttle the whole way around, I love watching him run like that. Unfortunately we don’t have the right venue to do it very often.

When I see this dog run, I think that there is no way he doesn’t have some sight hound in him. It is such a cool thing to see. I actually ordered a doggie DNA test off Amazon last week. I am going into it knowing that it will be sketchy at best, but its really more to cease the bickering between Pete and myself over whether or not he is a Min Pin mix. If it comes back Mastiff and Bassett Hound then we’ll both just shut up.

I told Pete about the luring, he was bummed he missed it. We will keep an eye out for that again, we may be hooked if we get to do it too many more times. I cant wait for the images. Forest is SO sacked out right now. He may even still be tired for tomorrow night’s class which would be perfect!

One more hectic week at work then I may actually be out of the woods for a while. Looking forward to it.