Tonight's agility class focused on rear crosses. For the non-agility folks, there are 2 ways to change directions on course; front crosses and rear crosses. In a front cross, you get in front of your dog, turn into them and pull them to the other side of your body. Rear crosses are accomplished when the dog is ahead of you and you move to the other side of your dog. So, if I was running with Moira on my right and did a rear cross, she would then be on my left.
I was originally taught that front crosses are used to generate speed because the dog is catching up to you. Rear crosses are used when the dog has a lot of speed already and you can't keep up but need to change direction. I don't think that is still the philosophy - now all dogs should be able to do both. Sam only did rear crosses by accident. I could get great lateral distance from him but couldn't send him out ahead of me. He was a velcro dog.
Back to tonight's class... we started with just 2 jumps, the 2 we wanted the cross to happen with. Moira started on my right and I sent her over the jump while I crossed behind her. Our instructor stood off to the left and threw a piece of meatball in front of Ra to help her understand where she was supposed to go. We did that a couple of times and then added the 2nd jump. Jump, cross, jump. No problem.
Next we backed up and added 2 more jumps. Now the sequence was jump, jump, cross, jump, jump. Again, no problem. Ra was reading my cross and easily making the slight right hand turn to get over the last jump.
Then I screwed up. I crossed between jumps 1 and 2 instead of between 2 and 3. And do you know what my awesome little dog did? EXACTLY what I told her to! She turned but, there wasn't a jump there. Instead she took the logical line, skipped jump 3 and went straight to jump 4. Patty, our instructor, screamed "THAT WAS BRILLIANT! Moira, not you. She read that cross perfectly and did exactly what she should have done based on what you told her." It's thrilling when your dog gets it.
Ra and I also worked weaves tonight before we went to class. I keep our sessions very short - 5 to 10 minutes. The channels are closed down to 3-4" and she's doing pretty well - right about 85-90% of the time. I'm really thrilled with her enthusiasm too. When we walk out the door I say, "Let's go" and she makes a beeline for the weaves and enters them. She's still not doing all 6 without support but she is beginning to understanding what she's supposed to do.
Maybe the trial next weekend won't be a total disaster.
This evening I got the final email confirmation for Moira's first trial and the running order. Doesn't it just figure that Ra is the ONLY Nov A, 12" dog?
We have to be there at 7:45am for measuring but, I'm guessing novice won't run until close to 2pm. Ugh. I remember this from when I was running Sam. It sucks to be in Novice because you almost always run last. At least Saturday is small to tall. Wow! Out of 304 runs on Saturday, only 40 are dogs jumping under 16" - no 4" dogs. Can you guess what most of the agility dogs here are? I'm betting Shelties, Aussies and BCs.
Today I also got an email confirmation for the trial at the end of March. The trial secretary for that one is a Corgi (Pem) person so they are running small to tall both days :)
This morning I'd had it with Mother Nature and Old Man Winter and their spat that has left central VA with record snow fall for the season and left me, my weave poles and my training plans hostage. Today we would execute our escape plans.
First, I surveyed my battlefield and planned my rescue mission.
Once I had freed the weave poles from their snowy prison, I cleared an escape route armed only with the "World's Best Shovel."
I know it's the World's Best Shovel because it has a label that says so...
Then we made our escape.....
Despite Mother Nature's version of Flying Monkeys (Squirrels) trying to distract us..
Oh sweet freedom! First trial, 2 weeks away, National 62 days.
Our agility class resumed tonight and may I just say, THANK DOG! Moira so needed to get out and do some work.
Our whole class was there and we went from 7:40 until 9:30! It's supposed to be an hour class but we all have such a great time and the dogs are so wonderful that our classes almost always run long. I learned 2 important things about running with Moira:
1) She needs me to run as though there is a bear chasing me. The faster I run, the happier she is. So much for the idea that I will be able to stand and point. This girl wants a fast partner - at least right now.
2) For some unknown reason, she doesn't want to do the broad jump. We started with just 2 sections and she was fine. When we added the 3rd section to make it the right width, she balked and absolutely refused to jump it - even for a meatball. So next week we will be spending some extra time working on that particular obstacle.
We also did some independent tunnel work tonight. Moira picked it up right away and had no problem with being sent to the tunnel - until I had crappy timing with the reward at the other end and she decided that her chances of getting a treat were better if she stayed with me :(
All in all, a great class and it's wonderful to be back at it.
Sending a shout out to Moira's sister, Scout (Ch Cardiridge Jean Louise Finch HT RN) on her BOS win at Westminster. She was the only red entered and the only girl to come away with a ribbon. The 2 AOMs went to dogs.
Today I am painting my bedroom. Mercifully, I have not received any canine assistance - yet. Sam in particular, thinks that all paint jobs should be texturized. His technique involves either brushing his tail along a freshly painted wall or lying down next to said wall.
In any case, I have just finished putting up the primer. While I was doing this, I contemplated the variety of stains on the lower 2 feet of the walls. As anyone with dogs knows, walls get dirty. With Cardigans, it is the bottom 2 feet of the wall. With boys you get, what I rather indelicately call, wenus juice. Typically Understanding Roommate, who previously had a female dog, did not understand where all these small stains were coming from. When I explained that boy dogs can't "shake it off" she nearly had a stroke laughing. The laughter may have been enhanced by my pantomiming how a boy dog would have to move to accomplish that task. Go ahead, take a second to visualize it. It's pretty darned funny.
In any case, as I rollered Kilz over the stains (yes, I washed the walls first) I got to thinking about home improvements and what I would do if I were renovating or building my perfect dog-friendly home.
1) Poured concrete floors w/radiant heat. Easily washable (see #2) and would help keep toenails short.
2) Central water - every room would have a drain and a spigot so I could just hose down the floors.
3) The lower portion of all the walls would be tile or another easily washable surface.
4) Extra wide doorways so groups of dogs could enter and exit areas without a bottle neck.
5) Sound proofed rooms so neighbors couldn't hear dogs barking in the house - or me yelling at dogs barking in the house.
6) Extra tall windows w/built in shades that would cover the lower half of the window so dogs couldn't see people, animals, etc. walking by to bark at.
Those are just a few of the things on my wish list. What's on yours?
Well, we got another 6" of snow last night and today we have high winds that are blowing it around. My agility class has been cancelled again this week because my instructor can't even get out of her driveway.
Moira's first trial is 3 weeks away (March 6-7). She still doesn't have weaves and with this weather, it doesn't look like I will get a chance to do anything outside and 3 agility classes probably aren't going to do the trick either. That's assuming class resumes next week and we get 3 weeks of classes in!
I'm of two minds on this matter; 1) I should pull her if she's not 100% ready and 2) I shouldn't pull her because the experience will be good for her. So, dear friends and readers - should I pull her from the trial? It doesn't close until the 17th so I have a few days to make a decision.
Finally! We have power again and I can check email, read blogs, etc.
The snow started falling at 7am Friday, Feb. 5, 2010. Here are the stats from this weekend's storm:
6 - number of potatoes wrapped in foil we cooked in the fireplace
16 - inches of snow accumulated
36 - number of hours snow fell
46 - total hours without electricity
49 - temperature in the house this morning when the power came back on
The 16" of snow was on top of snow accumulations from earlier in the week. We have around 2 feet on the ground right now and it is heavier, wet snow. It packs very nicely. They are predicting another storm starting tomorrow and that is supposed to dump another 3-5" on top of what we already have. This is the never ending winter!
There was a great segment on the Today show this morning about a man who has spent the last 2 years walking from Austin, TX to Boston, MA to raise awareness of canine cancers. His walking companions are 2 Great Pyr and he is walking in memory of a dog he lost to osteosarcoma. The name of his odyssey is 2 Dog 2000 Miles and you can read his story at 2 Dogs 2000 Miles. When you visit this site, check out the very cool store they have with their logo - Puppy Up!
His journey to Boston is complete and now he is working on something called 2 Million Dogs as a way for every pet owner to get involved in the fight against companion animal cancers. The goal is to get 2 million people to pledge to walk 2 miles with their dogs. This is still in its very early stages but I will be attaching a widget to my blog so you can pledge to do your part. The website is 2 Million Dogs.
I've never lost a pet to cancer but I have so many friends who have that I wholeheartedly support this.
There he is! In the middle of the home page. If you click on the Spring on line catalog link below that or in the left nav bar, you can view the virtual catalog. He's on page 5 and he got what in the business is known as great real estate - half a page, right hand side of the spread and the 2nd full spread in the book.
He also got a modest pay check that he will be donating to the CWCNRT. Sammy would like to challenge other "model" Cardigans to do the same! Get a job and instead of blowing that paycheck on bones, give it to a Cardi in need!
again. We are expecting 3-6" tonight. There is another front forecasted to come through this weekend. It's coming up from the Gulf of Mexico which means very moisture rich air. That means, if everything lines up just right we could get 30" of snow or more.
I wonder if it's possible to teach weaves when there are only 6" of the poles showing?
"All knowledge, the totality of all questions and all answers is contained in the dog."
- Franz Kafka
About Me, UHM and The Horde
Me: I'm a 40-something dog mom. I never intended to live with five dogs and a cat, it just happened. Funny thing is, I can't imagine living any other way.
UHM (Understanding House Mate): She didn't even have a dog when she was a child. FIVE dogs and a cat!?!? Now you know why she's understanding. She loves the dogs as much as I do. The cat, not so much.
The Heathen Horde: Sam, Ginny & Moira are the original Horde members. In the last two years Bogey & Georgia have been granted full membership status. Everyone is red & white - that way the neighbors aren't sure how many dogs we have :)