Thursday, December 31, 2009

2010 Goals!

“Only as high as I reach can I grow,

only as far as I seek can I go,

only as deep as I look can I see,

only as much as I dream can I be.”

(Karen Ravn)

It's that time of year!
Time to reflect on what you achieved in 2009,
and what you'd like to accomplish in 2010.

I'm an achiever by nature.
I'm a list maker!
Nothing is more gratifying for me than to reach
a goal, or cross something off my list.
It just makes me feel good.

For me, personally, goals shouldn’t
necessarily be easy to achieve.
Nor, should they be so, challenging that you
have no chance of accomplishing them.

So, as I look forward to
Exciting New Year -
I make my -

2010 Agility GOAL LIST

2010 will see Seeker jumping 26” at AKC Events.
Our goal is to qualify for the 2011 World Team Try Outs.

Our ‘STRETCH’ goal will be qualify for the 2010 Try Outs.
Stretch meaning, it’s going to be very difficult to earn the
required Q’s and DQs in the time frame remaining.
This one is going to be tough,
so that’s why I call it a ‘Stretch’.

Our last goal for Seeker will be to
Qualify for the USDAA Nationals.
Rumor is that they will be held out East this year,
which will be much closer than AZ.

Bill and Kruz look to finish his MACH3,
than move into the Preferred Classes.

Mad will move back to the Regular AKC Classes.
Looking for more consistent performance
in those weave poles!

Having fun along the way goes without saying.

If you’re not having fun,
you’re not doing this for the right reasons!

As this year comes to a close,
look at all you’ve accomplished!

Maybe it was a new title,
an invitation to a special event,
or maybe you and your teammate
really came together as a team!

Accomplishments will different
between individuals,
and your goals will as well.

This is as it should be!

I am so grateful for all the wonderful friends
(two and four legged) that I have.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Suede's Puppy

The world's largest puppy is now 4 pounds at 3 weeks!
His eye's are all the way open and his teeth are coming in.

He seems to be at the 'bar' an awful lot!
Apparently stocking up before the milk expires!

I think his name should be "Craig",
after Jenny Craig.
Meme wants his registered name to be:
Lytnstrke's Counting Calories

Dena said he bites and growls at the toys
that she puts in with him.
He probably thinks they are after his food!

Here's a little video she sent!
He looks HUGE until she puts her hand in there.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Kay Lowe Passed away 12/25/09

I just heard that Kay passed away last night.
She had been ill for some time.
What a HUGE loss for the Dog Community.

Kay had been training a variety of
breeds of dogs for years before I met her.
She probably had the biggest impact
for me as an obedience trainer.
She's the first person I took a class with
that used food in training!
That was back in 1993, after our
one year old Bichon, Molly,
finished her CD.
WOW! What a change!

Kay was highly sought after
as an obedience instructor.
She was truly kind to both
human and canine students.
I don't think I ever saw her
lose her temper.

One of my fondest memories of Kay
was when 4 of us, Kay, Melinda, Marsha and myself,
piled into a SUV in order to attend a
Judy Howard Obedience Seminar in MN.
Marsha had Robin, her whippet.
I'm not sure if any other dogs attended?

That night at the hotel, we shared
a room! Yes, all 4 of us!
We paired up in beds, Me and Melinda,
Kay with Marsha.
All of a sudden we hear some
patting noise, along with Kay saying,
"It's alright Robin."
Then you hear Marsha's voice,
"That's NOT Robin!"
We all burst out laughing!
It was truly hysterical.

Kay had some great one liners.
Another night in the hotel resulted
in some 'banging' in the room
next door.
Luckily, I slept through it.
Not Kay!
That morning when someone
commented on it,
Kay spoke up and said,
"I sure hope he got a wart on it!"
What a card!

Kay showed mostly in obedience,
but she did try her hand at some
UKC agility as well.

She showed, Goldens, Eskimos,
Shelties, a Lab, Poms, an Aussie,
as well as Border Collies.
All of which at some time had been
call "Fluffy". It was her 'catch all' name.

Kay really touched so many people,
and so many dogs!
Kay, you will be missed!

Friday, December 25, 2009



Chores are done,
rain turned to snow.

Dogs are all sleeping,
time to read a good book!

Hope you all have a fun
AND SAFE Christmas!

Kruz, Mad Dog and Seeker

Monday, December 21, 2009

Do you have someone Tape your runs?

Maybe the question should be:

Do you actually watch them?

I will admit, there are times I haven’t.


Some Excuses….

I don’t have time
(hum…if you’re reading this, that’s not true. VBG)

We didn’t Q, (It Weren’t PURDY), so I don’t want to.

We didn’t Q and I know why.

We Q’ed so there’s no need to watch it.

I don’t feel like it.


I am now getting into the habit of watching
and analyzing ALL my runs?
This requires me to watch them several times each.


There are times that what “I think happened”,
isn’t necessarily what truly happened.


What a wonderful way to discover your strengths and weaknesses!

I call this “Home Work”!

The skills the dog, or handler, or both, need to improve on.
If you don’t watch and study your videos,
you’re likely to repeat the same mistakes over and over again.
Seems to me there’s a quote about that somewhere!
Here it is!

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting different results.
(Albert Einstein/Benjamin Franklin)

While you might think (and maybe it’s true)
that it’s more fun to watch runs in which you qualify.
That’s not always the case.
There are some pretty spectacular things
that occur in those non-qualifying runs.
That is why it’s important to watch both.
You'll not only want to find things you need to work on,
but also give yourself some kudos for what you do well!
You’ll also want to practice those things,
so you don’t lose those skills.


Here are some of things I look for:

Are our turns as tight as they could be?

Am I seeing collection at the appropriate times?
If not, why?

Am I giving the dog clear information?

Does the dog know what obstacle is coming
after the one they are completing?

Am I supporting the obstacle appropriately?

Am I standing up, or do you need
a board in the back of my pants? G

When things go amuck, how do I react?



By watching your videos and answering these questions,
you too can come away with a LOT of HOME WORK!

You now might be saying to yourself,
“Why do these things matter.”

Besides the obvious, you’ll be faster.

More importantly, the better you are at the above skills,
the better the outlook for your dog’s physical health.
Nothing pains me more than to see a dog face plant,
grunt on the landing side of a jump, or struggle up an A-frame.
Just think about the wear and tear that’s causing your teammate.
Would you want to suffer that approach or landing?

As Susan Salo would say,
"If your dog was a horse, would you want to be on his back?"

Seeker has a major face plant in a JWW run in
Wentzville over Thanksgiving weekend.

He qualified, but at a price that "could" have caused him serious injury.
I knew at the time that the turn after the jump out of the tunnel,
was going to be difficult at speed.
I also knew that I needed to pre-cue for that turn.
It couldn’t be too early or I’d risk dropping the bar.
I was too late and Seeker paid the price for my poor handling.

Had I taken the time to get up into that pocket,
and provided him with more information,
this would not have happened.
Next time PUP, …..I promise!
No Q is worth doing this to your teammate.

Of course there are thing I really loved.
I loved the ability to trust him to follow me,
taking the obstacles in his path,
this allows me to work ahead with my front crosses.
I loved his collection to the poles,
his stride through them that left them rattling.
I also loved the closing, turn and
run as fast as I can out.
Trusting him to follow over the
jumps and of course keep them up.

If you’re taking someone’s time to video your runs,
then please respect their time by WATCHING THEM!!

I personally would rather watch a run through my own eyes,
without the pressure of keeping both dog and handler in the viewer.
I do, however, understand the importance of taping
and will gladly do it for others.

Next thought…..Do you Tape your practices?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Great Job in California Addie and Carrie!!

Addie, Carrie and Mike have safely returned from
the AKC Agility Invitational!


We are so proud of them!
Not only for running extremely well,
under less than ideal circumstances!

Not only was it stressful getting out of Iowa.
We were having a snow storm
with Blizzard Conditions!
They faced another type
of precipitation once they arrived!

Carrie sent some pictures along with video!


The Show Site!


Addie was REALLY thinking when she suggested that Carrie and Mike
get a room in a hotel right across the street of the facility!

Let's face it!
At these events.....
It's all about THE FREE STUFF!

Addie displays the "Rescue Tags" that
were issued by Aunt Rilda!
Carrie is a tad bit FORGETFUL!

Let's face it!

Apparently Addie and Carrie
Couldn't get ENOUGH of the water


Is there really a DOG in THERE!

Follow the 'yellow brick road'??

Makes me wonder if this was a Portuguese Water Dog trial vs. Agility?

Anyone have a Paper Towel
I could borrow?

And Finally......
What to do if you have TOO much
WATER and TIME on your HANDS!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Today Bill helped me put together a
Christmas Video!!

The dogs were THRILLED as there
were COOKIES involved!


Friday, December 11, 2009

Four Feet In a Box

(Seeker and his "Red Neck" Swimming Pool)

I've had a few questions regarding the
'box work game'
that we played during puppy class.

I put together a little flip video.

I took this video by myself..sorry!
One hand on the flip, one hand using the
clicker and tossing the treats
that were piled on the floor.
(Yes, easily accessible to Seeker,
if he felt the need to dive for them.)
(He doesn't and didn't)

My placement of reward wasn't always
where it should have been.
I needed a 3rd or 4th hand!

You'll also notice at one point
Seeker picks up the box.
That means he wasn't sure
what I wanted, (he offered other behaviors)
and my rewards weren't frequent enough
for the behavior I did want.
Simply put it back or hold it for a bit.

I began with a rather large box.
I couldn't find the one I started with,
so I used this large tote lid instead.

I also sit on the floor while playing this game.

As your dog approaches the lid, click and
drop your treat "on the lid".
You're placement should be where
you want the dog.
Click = treat and end of game!

So, you progress to one foot,
click and treat.
Maybe two feet, c&t.
Your results will vary and is
dependent upon how clicker
savvy your dog is, and how good
you are about clear criteria.

The 3rd and 4th (especially) can be
difficult. You'll want to watch for
any lift of the 3rd or 4th foot and click that.
If they dog passes through the box
and the 3rd or 4th foot go in, CLICK!
You might think it was just an
accident, but they GET IT!

Now you're asking yourself...
"Why don't I just pick up the dog
and put him in the box."

That's not the point of this exercise.
The point is to get your dog to
interact with you and think!
Here's the problem puppy, you solve it!

Now, there are other positives that
come out of this game.
You're dog learns more about
his body and how to manipulate it.
He's also learning to keep trying!
You're also building a great
working relationship!

Once your dog understand the
"big" box, you can down size.

Seeker doesn't have a command for this box
behavior yet. I don't necessarily
"Love" the performance all the time.
I'll name it when I LOVE IT!
He's still a little frantic at
times and does a lot of foot shuffling.
Part of that is due to the cookies
(yes, I use Mini Marshmallows!)
that are flying all over the place.

Once I have a reliable '4 in the box',
I'll put a name to it.
If anyone has a great name,
Please let me know!

What I need to do is go back up a
couple sizes and get him to
hold all four feet in.
(Saying 'stay' or 'wait' is CHEATING!!!)
It MUST be His idea!

After he's solid there, then
I'll down size once more.

It's a great game to play when you're stuck inside
and your both suffering from

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Seeker says, "IT'S NOT MINE!!"

(Suede and Puppy)

I heard from Dena, (Seeker's Breeder) today that she had
'puppies' last night.
Well, she didn't....Suede did!
It wasn't a planned breeding, well,
not this year anyway.
These things 'can' happen.
Suede is a fantastic agility and flyball dog.
Scorch is Seeker's litter brother.

There were only two puppies, both boys.
Unfortunately, only one survived.

Below is a picture of Seeker at 2 days of age.

Below is the new puppy.
Rather uncanny huh!

Luckily Seeker turned out cute enough.
I'm sure this puppy will too.
I do wonder if his ears will be up or down?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Good Luck in California Carrie and Addie!!!!

Carrie and Addie will be competing in the 4th Annual
AKC Agility Invitational December 12th and 13th
in Long Beach, CA!

The top 5 dogs of each breed are invited to participate in this Event.
This is based on the Top MACH Dog formula (Double Q's x 10)
+ MACH (Master Agility Championship) points
that dog earned during the qualifying period.

Carrie and Addie will be running in the 12" class
and I'm hopeful she'll keep us updated on her status.

The forecast in Long Beach for this weekend is in mid 60's and rain.
Sure beats the teens and SNOW here!!

Have FUN!!!
Don't forget anything!!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

ICDOC Trials

Home trials are always nice!!
You get to STAY HOME!!!

Not only that, we always seem to do well when we stay at home.
I'm not sure if it's because we all get to sleep in our
own beds or if it's that you're staying busy at the
trials, so you don't really have time to worry about
your runs.

The down side is that you miss watching
everyone else run as you're busy working!

I always enjoy watching those that I
don't get to see run very often.
It gives me an idea of where they are
in their training and what things we need
to work on for next spring.

Speaking of it here yet?
We missed the snow this year!!
Just by a few hours however.

Congratulations to all those Qs!!!
I know there were a LOT of them!

Here's a little video that
Carrie and Meme helped me
shoot over the weekend!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Puppy Class - The Final Chapter! TRICKS

Here's our puppy class picture!!
(I know, it looks like a boxer specialty!)
We took it the last night of class, just so all
of the puppies would be well trained!!
Isn't it AMAZING!!!

(Yes, that's Carol hiding behind her puppy!)

I truly believe one of the most important things
that make a great companion as well as
performance dog is your RELATIONSHIP!
If you remember nothing else, remember that!

The tricks you taught are a great way to
build that relationship and give your
puppy an opportunity to learn fun things!
It also helps them teach them "how to learn".

I feel you've all come such a long
way on building a strong relationship
with your puppies!
Keep it up!

One thing that I thought was
so impressive is the amount of
attention your puppies were giving you.
Even in a room with 7 other puppies!

You were SMASHING!!

As promised, here's the
spectacular puppy trick video!!

If we had 4 more weeks we would
have been doing THIS!!!
Who wants to join the circus with me!!
There is nothing more fun!
Always train, like it's a TRICK!