Monday, December 29, 2008

December 27 & 28, 2008 - Christmas Trial - Grove City, OH

Despite the horrendous driving conditions - ice, fog, rain - the three of us made it down to Grove City in one piece although a lot later than I had hoped. Once again I have to say how much I love this trial site. With nice, firm black dirt and big rings it's an agility dog's dream. The people are always very nice and friendly and it's great to see such amazing handlers and their dogs.

After having 3 weeks off from agility, and this means no class time as well, I wasn't expecting much from our first day. I figured that we'd just get some of the kinks out and work on some problem areas - table, weaves etc. Surprisingly Ruby did fairly well in the first class of the day which was Standard. We had a tiny miscommunication at the beginning when she ran into me at the start. I led out two jumps for a lead-out push and I either didn't move soon enough or she just didn't know where I was going. Anyway she almost took me out at the knees and I thought maybe the judge had called us for contact but she didn't as I guess I didn't change the direction of Ruby's path - apparently I was just IN Ruby's path, stupid handler that I am. =) Oops! She ended up being 5th in her class and all the dogs that placed ahead of her were really nice Border Collies. So I can't complain...well sure I can! Darn Border Collies!!! =)

Jumpers was a very nice course by Scott Stock and Ruby placed 4th, again behind three Border Collies, earning her 8th QQ.

Sunday we had another nice run in Standard and she took 4th place. A very fun course to run, I just wish I could trust her to stay on the table in a down. She's been such a brat about it lately. A sit maybe but a down...ggrrrr!!! Her darn elbows come up & I have to babysit her so I didn't get the lead out I wanted and was a little out of position for the next obstacle. It all came out okay though and we had another nice run in Jumpers for QQ #9. We're almost halfway to her MACh! Very exciting! I just wish I could have stayed for the third day of the trial. Oh well...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Day - December 19, 2008

How we spent our snow day last Friday:

Lots of running...

Some hunting for mice while Mom shoveled...

And some good old raw bones!

We love when Mommy is home!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Cluster - December 13, 2008

I'm a little late posting this, sorry, we've been a little busy. =) Last Saturday we headed out to the Rosemont Convention Center for the annual Christmas Cluster. I entered Ruby in Rally but there was also a Conformation show going on there...uh...actually the main attraction.

Ruby and I got there a little late as when I read the Judging Program it said that walk throughs for Excellent B would be at 9:00am. Apparently the judge wasn't aware of this and didn't allow for an Excellent A walk through. She was ready to start judging us as soon as she was done with Excellent B but finally allowed us a VERY brief look at the course. It wasn't difficult by any means and it consisted of stuff that Ruby knows very well. She practiced the stations perfectly outside of the ring, however the second we stepped into the ring she became sniffy.

I snapped my fingers a couple of times and clapped my hands once earning some deductions but once I had her attention she decided to listen. She wasn't perfect however and I opted to re-do three of the stations as I knew she could perform much better and more precisely. If you choose to re-do a station it's a deduction of 3 points, much better than losing 10 points if the station is performed incorrectly. She also barked at me a few times, which I'm sure garnered another deduction of points. Brat! But she finished beautifully to pattering of applause and we headed to the last station, the Honor.

In the past she's performed the Honor perfectly. All the dog has to do is sit or down at the end of their leash and stay until the handler/dog team running the exercise is finished. The judge decides what position she wants the dogs in at the beginning of the trial. This time it was a sit and the Honor Judge started talking to me about Ruby because she has a vizsla too. All I did was take my attention from Ruby for a split second and she laid down. Prior to the new judging changes this would have NQ'd us, as it stands now it cost us 10 points. Strangely enough after signaling her back into a sit, the dog running the exercise charged right in her face and she didn't budge an inch. After all was said and done, she ended up passing and taking 4th place. I truly felt that we had a bad showing but it was enough to pass and place so I'm not going to argue! =) She now only needs one more leg for her Rally Excellent title. Yea!

Tammy and Lexi were entered too and they did very well. Lexi finished in 1st place in the Advanced A Class finishing her Rally Advanced title. Way to go girls!

Tammy and I did some shopping and watched some very gorgeous vizslas in the show ring! I think I've figured out where I'm getting my next pup! LOL!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Hounds for the Holidays - Dec. 6 - 7, 2008

Hounds for the Holidays is one of my favorite trials. One year I may actually do all four days; this year I decided to only do two for some reason though I could have done Friday & used my last vacation day. Oh's probably a good thing because I think Ruby and I are still a little tired from last weekend.

I drove up on Saturday morning in the snow. Not fun. It took at least a half an hour longer than it should have. We started with JWW and it was a great, fun course from Kimberly Reeher. Ruby ran it very well and fairly quickly though a couple dogs that she usually beats placed and she didn't. Not surprising at a trial of this size but...onto Standard and after a beautiful opening that tripped up a lot of handlers, I screwed her up by not completing a turn and staying open, causing her to back jump the jump she just went over and giving her a horrible approach to the a-frame. I pulled her off as it was just not safe.

Sunday the weather was a little better and we started with JWW again. She qualified but her time was very slow. I heard her trip after I stuffed her into the tunnel and it felt like I waited forever for her to come out. In Standard, another nice course designed by Kim, it was Ruby's turn to be naughty and she just wouldn't collect for her weave entry and then popped because she can't bark and weave at the same time. She's such a blonde! Again we handled the hard parts very nicely but she jumped sideways off the teeter and she wasn't the only dog that did that. Very strange.

I think she was just tired as was I. She'll get a two week break from trialing then we pack up for Ohio since we didn't get into the McCook trial. Don't get me started... }:-(

Monday, December 1, 2008

Capital City Canine Club - November 28 - 30

The facility is at Michigan State University in the Livestock Pavilion. Agility is run on dirt in two very nice, large rings with stadium seating and the building is climate controlled. Conformation & Obedience/Rally was held in the adjacent building and I brought River in there for a bit on Friday to get him used to a different doggie venue and to work on attention. Quite a few people stopped to pet him and ask what breed he was. A really nice obedience judge gave him the once over and she just loved his coat.

The weekend as a whole was pretty good. I got there kinda late on Friday as I forgot about the time difference, so I missed my FAST walk-thru. No biggie: I just scratched her. We had a little problem with our weaves in Standard as she popped at the tenth pole and I pulled her off the last two jumps. Oops! She had a beautiful Jumpers run though earning 11 MACH points.

On Saturday we got the send in FAST (jump a-frame tunnel) only to get called on the a-frame contact! She's about 60% from that distance so I can't always count on it. Then she took 2nd in Standard with 22 MACH points. I am very proud of that run as we were in the land of giant border collies. Then another Q in Jumpers and 10 MACH points though I was running a bit conservatively for that last QQ. =)

Sunday: FAST was definitely doable and we hit every pointed obstacle. In the send (tunnel teeter double) she got the wrong side of the tunnel but got the rest of the gamble. I was very happy with that and the way she ran the course I made up. Standard was a little tricky, tightly wheeled and had a wrap between two jumps on the course. I chose to handle it like a serpentine instead of pulling her through and it worked but I was just a little behind her and had to fix it. She was a good girl though and we Q'd but only earned 10 MACH points. Jumpers was a blast! A beautiful course with a high Q rate and we got another 13 MACH points. I love this judge (Cynthia Kean). I will def trial under her again and I liked Barbara Diaz' courses too.

I was very happy with Miss Ruby this weekend. We qualified for Nationals with 7 double Q's and 450 MACH points. She's understanding distance work; it's just my direction that we need to fine tune a bit and I'm not quite sure what to do about the a-frame issue. I'm going to start pushing for more speed from her. My foot was bothering me a bit from the surface and standing on concrete (I have a bone chip in my right heel along with some ligament damage in the same foot) but I'd like to run her faster this weekend. Run, Forest, run!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Ruby Roo!!!

My very special girl turns four today! What an incredible journey I've had with her and we've learned so much together. She is THE best dog in the whole world and I couldn't be happier or more proud that I get to share my life with her. Current standings, as of November 4th, Ruby is the Number 2 Vizsla in the country for the AKC Agility Invitational 2009.

River and I have 'pupcakes' and other yummy treats planned for her tonight. Then I have to pack for Michigan and try for that last QQ for Nationals! I actually just can't wait to run her and don't really care if we qualify or not! =)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Good luck to everyone that's doing the Merrillville trial over the weekend! Have a happy and safe holiday!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Grove City, OH - Bedlington Terrier Club Agility Trial

The Buckeye Ranch Equestrian Center is a great little place to hold an agility trial. The dirt/mulch mix was an awesome surface for the dogs to run on. Crating space was sufficient and organized and their equipment was really nice. Tons of parking is also a plus. I don't think Ruby could have been happier running anywhere else. Since I didn't have anyone available to video tape my runs, I've attached the course maps from this weekend. I hope Ruby's blog doesn't get shut down by the AKC. =)

Of the three-day trial I only entered Saturday and Sunday. I opted to do FAST on Saturday so Ruby could get used to the footing. She had a very nice run and actually got the send bonus. We had a slight bobble as she misread a front cross and just came to my opposite side as she had already locked onto a jump so we missed the points on the A-frame and an eight point jump I had planned for our course. I was afraid that we didn't have enough points as she also knocked a bar on the double worth two points but we squeaked by with 61 to get her first Excellent A FAST leg.

Standard was similar in the opening to the FAST course but the table was thrown in there where I would have sent her into the gamble area. She must have been a little confused because when I told her to "sit" on the table she offered me a 2o/2o position! I think my jaw actually dropped open as she's NEVER done that before especially on a 24" table. I had no choice but to pull her off and send her back on the table so we NQ'd at that point. The horrible thing is that the tough ending which posed lots of problems for other dogs we aced. So frustrating!

Our Jumpers run went very well; we were connected and she was very focused and fast. She came in fifth behind some very impressive dogs, earning 12 MACH points.

I had a lot of fun hanging out with Susan, Pam and Sue - who both had very impressive days: Elan got her MACh14 and Thunder, who's only been in Preferred since June, got her PAX! We had a great time at dinner Saturday night. I had a blast!

On Sunday I only entered Ruby in Standard and Jumpers, now realizing that it was a huge mistake as she sat in her crate until noon! Needless to say she was a bit of a maniac when we finally got to run. I knew when she came flying out of the chute that I was in trouble...I tried to keep her focused, using her name and an "Easy, table" as we approached the table but she veered off, spun and came back to the table earning us a refusal and an NQ at the table again! She sat immediately however and I took a small lead out to get into position for a front cross into the weaves. She nailed the tough entry only to pop after the third pole. Why? I have no idea though at that point it didn't really matter. She did however have a lovely turn off the A-frame into the tunnel.

I almost left for my long drive home but Susan convinced me that since I paid for my Jumpers run, I may as well stay for it. So I did and Ruby was great again; focused and fast though I had trouble seeing where I was going - I'd been having trouble with my contacts since Friday night. Some gross protein build-up made my vision a little blurry. She placed 4th and earned another 9 MACH points.

So no QQ's this weekend but we racked up 21 more points. We now have 3 more tries to get that last QQ for Nationals up in East Lansing, MI in two weeks. I'm starting to get a little nervous...

I hope you guys enjoy a little bit different post this week. Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 9 & 10, 2008 - Fox Valley DTC

Saturday was absolutely miserable weather. Freezing rain, cold wind and then some snow flurries. Blech! After a minor delay, Ruby, River and I met up with Aunt Hallie, Libby, Christa, Bentley and Royce at the Greene Valley Dog Park in Du Page County. The humans froze but the canines had fun running around and chasing each other. Ruby likes to get a chase game going with Libby and River just runs after them. He thinks he's a Vizsla. =) After a very short play date we all went home.

Sunday the weather was just as gross (can you tell I hate winter?) but Ruby and I had plans inside. I had entered her in a Rally trial because it was nearby; just 15 minutes away in St. Charles. I left River at home which turned out to be a good thing. The building at the Kane County Fairgrounds that the Obedience/Rally trial was being held in was packed. I could barely find room for Ruby's crate!

I wasn't expecting Ruby to do too well as our last time out in Rally we got excused from the ring because she was barking at me. It was a Provisional Judge back in June that didn't know that it's just supposed to be points off; barking isn't an excusable offense unless it's totally out of control and Ruby usually just barks at me at stationary exercises, like the 'Halt, Right Turn, Call to Heel' because I have to leave her. Though I guess that doesn't make sense because she's totally fine with the 'Honor' exercise when I have to be 5 feet away from her. I'm also happy to say that she performed her 'Moving Down' really well.

Anyway...she managed to keep her barking to a minimum, didn't break out of heel too often and she actually passed! She scored an 87 which I am very happy with and she now has one leg toward her Rally Excellent title. Yea! Now I can't wait until our next Rally trial. Maybe we'll do the Christmas Cluster next month.

We're getting packed for our trip to Ohio next weekend and it'll be good to do agility again after a week off. I think I'm becoming addicted to trialing. Do they have a self-help group for that? LOL!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Quick Update and Some Pics of River

I just found out through my friend Tammy that Ruby is currently in the Top Five for her breed for Agility. You can pull up a free report on any breed using this link: I was shocked to say the least and had to check for myself. It was really nice seeing her name there next to Penny's. =) I also checked out some other breeds and was pleased to see the Clever Dog listed under Golden Retrievers and Jersey listed under Weimaraners, as well as Spirit under the GWP's. The famous Elan and Flash are also in the Top Five list for Border Collies. Very cool seeing local dogs in the top spots. =)

After the Tibetan Terrier trial last Saturday, the pups and I went to my sister's house to take care of her dog, Sable and cat, Senor Salem von Leroy. My sister was in the hospital having a baby. Adorable! Caleb James Jendras born November 1st at 2:28pm, 8lbs 4oz.

Ruby, River and cousin Sable

Sunday at the trial I had Tammy help me with River. I need to teach him to stand for Conformation. He learned "stand" fairly quickly.

Then Tammy took over for a while since she knows what she's doing. =)

I know he's huge already! And only 5 months old...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tibetan Terrier Agility Trial - Manhattan, IL - AKA Ruby Saves My Hide

We had some great weather for an early November trial and some tricky courses to go along with it. Judge Tom Woepse designed some interesting courses with hard angles and fun serpentines. Both Jumpers courses had a fast straight run out to the finish. Awesome! =)

Saturday's Standard course had some tunnel discriminations but nothing we haven't seen before. Ruby went a little wide in one spot and spun in the wrong direction after a poorly executed rear cross but she was such a good girl. She even let me rear cross her into the weaves and I was so proud! She placed 2nd and finished her MX title.

Jumpers had an interesting serpentine beginning that Ruby read perfectly. She nailed her weave entrance and turned tightly to come back down the course. Then I called her a little late for a turn as she went wide after a rear cross and had to yell to call her off an off-course jump. She quickly corrected herself and saved a jump that any other dog would have missed. She totally saved that run and earned herself QQ #4.

After running Ruby in JWW for 2nd place, I had the honor of running my friend Alise's dob, Carly. She is a wonderfully smart, sensitive dog and though I did my best, I couldn't help her in the weaves and misdirected her. She was a blast to run and tried her heart out. I was in need of an oxygen tank though as I ran her only four dogs after Ruby. I need to get in shape!

Sunday's Standard run was a lot smoother though Ruby still won't hit her DW contact. She's just trotting through the yellow. It may be time to start marking it again at trials with an Oops! She was a very good girl and placed 3rd.

Jumpers was kinda funny because I walked that course WAY too many times. Since they weren't having separate walk-thrus for the different heights I had to wait until all the little dogs and 20" dogs had run before we went. I completely forgot my plan of action and ended up on the wrong side of the serpentine for a second. I fixed it and Ruby held up her end, doing as I asked but it was pretty sloppy and definitely didn't look very nice. Still only two 24" dogs qualified and Ruby placed 1st. She earned 62 MACH points this weekend. Yea! =)

So now that we only need one more QQ to qualify for Nationals and 37 more MACH points, I made an executive decision and pulled her from the Amherst Junction (Camp Bandy) trial. My friends have convinced me that we will get that one QQ in five attempts instead of seven. I hope they are right as I sent an email to the trial secretary asking her to pull our entry. I've heard some mixed reviews on the surface there and would rather keep her healthy and injury free. Plus she deserves some time off to play and be a dog.

I'll insert some video and add a new post with some pictures of River in the next day or so.

Monday, October 27, 2008

GLBTC Agility Trial - Manhattan, IL Oct. 25 & 26, 2008

We had a very nice weekend of trialing despite the evil wind and chilly temperatures. Some interesting courses - Saturday's Standard course in particular. The beginning was an exercise in rear crosses with NINE jumps in the opening including the broad jump. I can't say that I've EVER seen that before. We blew it at the tunnel discrimination after the a-frame. I actually left Ruby in the weaves to beat her to the end of the a-frame so I could front cross but she ran into my leg to get the wrong side of the tunnel. I can't tell on the video but I think I was too deep in the pocket and may have over-rotated just a bit.

Jumpers went very well. Ruby and I were definitely on the same wave length and I got all my front crosses where I wanted them. It was really nice having Dana come over after our run and tell me how nice it looked. =) Ruby took 4th place in her class on that run.

Sunday was crazy. We were expecting 50mph gusts of wind and we sure got them. Ruby's Standard run went very well though she got creepy on the DW. When I told her to "touch" she stopped halfway down. She's clearly not understanding the end position right now for some reason. It was a nice run however and she placed 4th in her class.

Outside was Jumpers and the wind had picked up. One jump in particular kept losing it's bars every time the wind would gust so the judge decided to rubber band the bars into the jump cups. Ruby was raring to go and the first part of our run went as planned. As we came around toward the end I had planned a front cross after the double but it was no longer there! I held up for a fraction of a second, remembering to just keep going if the jump is demolished and send your dog between the standards. I ended up doing two very sloppy rear crosses to finish the course cleanly. Surprisingly, Ruby placed 2nd and we earned QQ #3!!!

After all the Excellent dogs ran we ended up rubber banding ALL of the jump bars into the jumps for the Open dogs. I honestly have never seen anything like that. All in all, it was a fun weekend even with the cold weather and wind causing havoc.

I also REALLY need to post some pictures of River soon. He's getting so big and will be starting Puppy Agility class on November 4th. He's very excited! =)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Car-Dun-Al Obedience DTC - October 18 - 19, 2008

Some very nice runs but no QQ's. On Saturday in Jumpers we had a great run going but I called her off a jump in the pinwheel as I anticipated her taking an off-course jump. !@&#$% I can't believe I did that, so I ruined our chances for a QQ. I was feeling a bit out of sorts this weekend and it was a lot colder than I thought it would be. I guess I was just really off. Standard went very well and Ruby took 1st place in her class with 28 MACH points.

On Sunday someone left her start line a little early on me in Jumpers. She was already coming at me when I released her - so she literally got the jump on me LOL! - and she missed the weave entrance because I wasn't where I wanted to be. I tried to run the rest of the course "balls out," getting all my front crosses in and pretty much leaving her. Brat! She had a very nice run in Standard, momentarily getting distracted by a rock holding the chute open (it was VERY windy) and then I forgot to say her name so she took an off-course jump. It was still a nice run though and her contacts were good.

It was great getting to trial and hang out with Diane & Rookie, Shawna & Crush, and Cindy & Madison. Kim & Jersey joined us on Sunday. Julia & adorable Jolie finished both of her Open titles this weekend. She finished her OAJ on Saturday and had a lovely Excellent Jumpers debut on Sunday. Her Open Standard runs were fabulous and she won her class both days. Go Jolie! =)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rand Park DTC - AKA Dogs on Ice

Unfortunately, as much as I like this club I just can't put my dog through that again. They either need to change trial locations or SportZone needs to put new footing in the Jumpers ring.

Her Standard run on Saturday was GORGEOUS! I just didn't check the table when I was walking the course and she hit it hard and fast coming off the a-frame. She tried to hold onto it but slid off, so we NQ'd but it was my favorite run from the weekend. She ran it in 44.58, 182 yards, SCT was 64. Fun, fun, fun!

Jumpers was another story all together. I sprayed her feet with Show Spray to help her hang on but it really didn't help. After she had trouble with collecting from jump 2 to 3, I slowed her down a bit. She Q'd and took 1st place but only 10 MACH points and it was carnage for most of my class.

Here are two of her runs from this weekend:

On Sunday she was a bit slower in Standard, possibly because of the course design or maybe because she remembered slipping in Jumpers the day before. It felt ugly but she was clean taking 2nd place and earning 16 MACH points. I was also late on a FC because someone has decided that the DW contact doesn't need to be held at trials and she went really wide. Naughty girl! ;)

Then in Jumpers she missed her weave pole entry after barking once over each jump around the course. I think she was telling me that it was complete crap that I was making her run on that surface and that I should have my head examined. She told me off at the weaves and after four attempts finally did them after I told her that I agreed with her, that it sucked and if she just did them, she'd get lots of yummy treats. She finished the rest of the course clean. Carnage again for most of my class; only two dogs qualified: big, heavy slow dogs.

I've realized that after having no off-courses this weekend that it must have been me causing them the last two trials. I'm either opening up too much, not turning my shoulders right or plain old not doing the "turn and run" after my front crosses.

We will be at an agility trial in Belvidere, IL this coming weekend. We need QQ's so keep your fingers crossed for us! =)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

GRCI - October 3 - 5, 2008

I'm posting this a little late but it's been crazy busy lately.

First things first, River had his vet appointment on Friday, October 3rd. He weighs 16.6 lbs and is about 12" tall now at the shoulder. He's growing very well and just loves to visit everyone. A very happy boy at the vet's office. Not even a yelp when he got his shots. :)

Then onto our trial in Manhattan. We had a noon start time on Friday since it was Excellent only. FAST class was first, our little warm-up. I didn't really plan well and didn't really care but I would like Ruby to get her XF. We missed the third obstacle in the send portion again. That's four attempts now and we're messing up in the same spot, though I think if it wasn't the far side of a tunnel this time (a different obstacle) she would have gotten it. Maybe I should have taken Dana's distance workshop...

Standard went okay for the most part. Ruby took off way too early for a jump and knocked the bar. Pretty much just blasted through it with her chest. I don't know if it was the lighting in the building or her getting used to the footing in there. Then an off-course up the DW which was my fault because I didn't call her when she was IN the chute. Timing is everything...Jumpers went well but she seemed slow to me. We were clean and she placed 3rd.

Saturday & Sunday I only entered Standard and Jumpers so no more FAST until next month. Standard went pretty well on Saturday until three obstacles from the end. There was a pinwheel with a odd angled jump and an off-course triple facing it. Surprise, surprise, Ruby took that off-course triple backwards. I was thoroughly disgusted to have had a clean run going and blow it like that. She got a pretty tough weave entrance as well. Grrrrr!!!! The carnage continued for the rest of my height class with only one dog qualifying: Darby, my friend Julia's Dalmatian. A lovely run for her! I put Ruby up for auction briefly until after her Jumpers run when she redeemed herself and placed 4th.

Sunday was a rather cold and dreary day. I had to work most of the day and was working Excellent FAST when I should have been walking Excellent Standard. Somehow only walking the course three times seemed to work and she ran it beautifully taking 2nd place behind the Clever Dog. I was very proud of her! :) Jumpers was good for the most part but I didn't help her with a jump at a strange angle and she crashed right through it. I should have pushed on her line a bit more to shape her approach. Weird thing was when I walked the course (heck, I helped build that course) I couldn't figure out why something about that jump was bugging me. Now I know. She also somehow managed to jump the wing of a jump on that course and NOT knock it over. So we missed a QQ by inches. Ugh! 48 MACH points for the weekend though so not too shabby.

So as we stand now, she needs 4 more QQ's and 186 more MACH points to qualify for Nationals. We have 6 more trials before November 30 (this is assuming that we get into all of them - there's only one that I'm not sure about), that means 10, possibly 13 more attempts to get those QQ's and points. I'm not saying that we're going if she does qualify, I'd just like to have the option and be able to say that my little girl did it! :)

We have Rand Park this weekend at the SportZone and I'll update Ruby's blog next week.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stone City Kennel Club - Sept. 27 - 28, 2008

Busy weekend and I wasn't "in the mood" to do agility. Nevertheless, Ruby was and I had a hard time getting her to go where I needed her to be. Two off-course jumps on Saturday and a missed weave entrance on Sunday - well not really missed, she entered the wrong side - because she almost took an off-course then as well. I know that I needed a head-check at one point and I need to watch my shoulders/hips more now.

Seriously, what is up with taking the triple backwards? You wonder what goes through the dog's head to make them think that's a good idea. For the most part she was hell-bent on taking every jump in sight; at least she's feeling good, can't say much for myself. We were 0 for 3 going into Standard on Sunday. Really tight, ugly course and we redeemed ourselves by running it clean and for the most part, pretty tight for us. She ended up winning her class because Kris scratched the Clever Dog and Barb scratched Sheffie. Only 18 MACH points though, she ran the course in 49.03 and the judge had SCT as 59. Kris said that the judge wheeled pretty tight and I trust her opinion on that, especially since Clever is running World Team times and Kris has to keep track of all of that. Darn that .03! Probably because I held her DW contact. Oh well...

We still need 234 more MACH points and 4 more QQ's to qualify for Nationals. We'll try again this weekend in Manhattan at the Golden Retriever Club Agility Trial. We'll be doing FAST class as well on Friday. Go Ruby! =)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Puppy Graduation

What can I say, River is the smartest pup in class and I'm totally not being biased. Okay maybe a just a little. He sure was the cutest! LOL!

Look at those "earrings!"

Working on sit-stays.

Napping with Ruby

River will start in Puppy Agility class in November. He told me that he can't wait! =)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

River Puppy!

I know, I know, I've been a bad mom not posting pictures of the little man. Honestly, I've tried. Yesterday Blogger wouldn't let me. Don't know what that was about but anyway, here are some pictures of him from this weekend. He turned 15 weeks old on Sunday.

Come on, rub my belly! :)

I wuf my big sister!

Head shot

River graduates from puppy class on Thursday and he's been doing great. He's a very sweet smart little guy that is very willing to please. I couldn't be happier with him. =)

Monday, September 22, 2008

WAG Agility Trial - Ouch! I think I pulled a muscle...

Ruby's first QQ!!! On Friday she had a great Jumpers run, followed by another great Standard run, taking 4th place in both classes. She went wide on a lot of turns and I need to tighten her up a bit but she also seemed rather slow to me. In reviewing her videos it looks almost like she's over-jumping; clearing the jumps by almost a foot. So with her not jumping efficiently she's eating up time on the clock when she's in the air. Silly girl. I guess it could be worse and she'd be knocking bars, right?

Saturday was a different story. Jumpers was a really nice course and we did well on it but she popped her weaves at the tenth pole. I had my friend Shawna who is a trainer look at the video and she said that nothing in my body position changed to cause the pop. Ruby hasn't popped in a LONG time. The only thing I can figure is the photographer sitting 5 feet away from the end of the weave poles and Ruby heard the 'click.' It happened to some other dogs and, unfortunately, the photographer was only sitting there for the 24" class. Standard was a bit of a disaster because Ruby didn't hold her 2o/2o position on the DW - not even a slight pause - and I couldn't get where I wanted to be for the weave pole entry, so I walked her off the course. My fault, I'm thinking later, as I told her touch on the way up the DW instead of the way down like I usually do. Oh well...still pissed about that photographer...

Alissa = 2
Ruby = 0

Sunday was another good day however as she QQ'd again. A lovely jumpers course and Ruby was a very good girl and she knew it! After her Standard run she barked to let everyone know how great she did and dragged me back to her crate to get her special treats!

42 MACH points for the weekend even with my three-day migraine. Oh yeah and I think I pulled a groin muscle. At least the dog is healthy & fit. =)

I do have to say how amazing it is that I had such a great weekend since there was no negative influence on us. Agility is such a mental game and my poor dog has been suffering because I've been an emotional wreck. No more of that however as we're making a push to qualify for Nationals. We have six trials in as many weekends. Go Ruby Roo!

Monday, September 15, 2008

More Mud & Agility Dog Ruby - USDAA in Wilmot, WI

The forecast for the weekend was horrible but my friend Julia and I, the agility warriors that we are, headed up to Wilmot, Wisconsin for a two-day USDAA trial. Cream City Canines hosted the trial and as usual they did a great job filling in puddles with mulch to try to keep things safe for the dogs and handlers.

Ruby is still in Starters as this was only her second USDAA trial. Saturday she did great, taking 1st Place in every class (Gamblers, Snooker, Standard & Jumpers) except Pairs Relay. It wasn't our fault however, our relay partner had "a young BC" that couldn't weave (she tried four times), do the teeter or keep bars up. we were eliminated when her dog bailed off the teeter and she put him back on violating the four-paw safety rule.

Sunday the weather was worse, colder, and the rain just never let up. We started with Pairs Relay and we had great relay partners, Judy and her Giant Schnauzer, Rosie. I love when your partner actually tells you what their dogs strengths and/or weaknesses are. She told me that Rosie was having trouble keeping the double up. No problem, we took that half. Though since we were the first Relay Team to compete and they couldn't find the baton, Judy got creative and used a piece of mulch for the hand-off! Regardless we had a great run and took 1st Place also having the best time out of all the other teams.

Standard was next and Ruby took 2nd Place due to our using up about 15 seconds on the table because Ruby didn't want to down in a cold, wet puddle. Can't say I blame her though and she finished the rest of the course quickly, getting a hard weave entry and finishing her AD title.

Then we had Gamblers, Ruby took 1st Place again, and another round of Snooker, where we took 2nd but it was my fault because I forgot to run for the finish which was well away from the final jump of the closing sequence so we JUST made time. Oops! I then decided not to put myself and my dog through any more misery and scratched her from Jumpers. It just wasn't worth risking her getting hurt as the puddles were getting deeper and the rings much more slippery. Julia and I packed up the dogs and headed home at 12:30, pretty early for a USDAA trial.

To completely finish up in Starters we need one more leg of Snooker, Jumpers and Pairs Relay so I will keep her in Starters for those games and move her up to Advanced for Standard and Gamblers. I don't know when we'll be doing USDAA again however. Might not be until next April and it'll probably be indoors. :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

My name is Mud...I mean River

We had a nice weekend off and spent two days in a row at the Lake Forest Dog Park. River got to experience lots of new sights and smells and of course the lovely mud holes. We went with friends, Libby and Aunt Hallie. We also met up with Christa and her two boys, Bentley and Royce.

This feels interesting...

I'll explore further...

Mud on the belly...ahhhhh......

Uh-oh, mom looks mad...

Crazy Ruby retrieving her tennis ball.

Libby, our local Cubs fan!

And a group roll in something smelly, courtesy of Libby and River.

Next weekend there is USDAA trial in Wilmot, WI where I hope to at least get one Snooker leg with Ruby. LOL! Darn Snooker!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Lots of Stuff!

I haven't posted in a while because we've been SUPER busy! We had a three day trial in McCook two weekends ago. Ruby did pretty well just knocking some bars in Jumpers on Friday and I wasn't crazy about the Standard course so I didn't handle it well. Saturday she took 2nd place in Jumpers and we almost QQ *sigh* but I didn't help her with the weave entry in Standard class and that's where we blew it. Otherwise she had a very nice run. On Sunday again she knocked a bar in Jumpers, don't know why. She took off way too late for the jump which was strange for her but the rest of the run was nice. Standard was a mess again as my head just wasn't in it and I didn't give her a clear signal where we were going so she missed the weave entry. Oh well, something to work on, the mental game and helping her with her weave entries.

Tuesday night after class we left for Ann Braue's in Eau Claire, WI. River had Puppy Agility Camp for two days and he was phenomenal. I am very impressed with how smart he is and I have clicker training to thank for that. He was doing great with the tugging but at one point bit his tongue and wouldn't tug much at Ann's after that though he was still excited to play with me so I let him tug the sleeves on my sweatshirt. I will have to transfer that to a toy, though he was fine playing tug with me at home and at my parents. After doing the plunk and feed a few times he is already offering a 2o/2o position on the travel board. He's also a very natural jumper and I think after a few sessions of find the jump standards he will be great at that as well.

On Friday we spent the day at my parents; I did some fishing with my dad (caught two nice bass) and then we took the dogs to the lake. This was River's first time near a body of water and he was a little nervous but very curious when he saw how excited his big sister got and she jumped right in. He went out on his own swimming about 3 or 4 feet. He's a natural swimmer too. None of the panicked dog paddle here. :) He then followed me out about 6 feet and swam very well all on his own.

Unfortunately, Ruby was a little too tired for Dock Diving the next day and her best jump of the day was only 9' 4" So my fault that she was swimming so much the day before though my goal was just to get River in the water on his own and for Ruby to have just a little fun. I think she also really wore herself out at my parents. She really loves it there and would run full out for hours and get the excited zoomies too. River was also very excited to meet new people at the Dock Diving event and none of the noise bothered him in the slightest.

Sunday and Monday we had an agility trial in Manhattan. We stayed at my sister's house and dog & cat sat for her and her husband. Ruby had two very nice runs on Sunday. In Standard though I got a tiny bit behind her and she cut in front of me to take an off course jump instead of going out to the chute as I told her. I held my position and as she came around the jump she had this look on her face like, "oh, oops! That's what you meant." And she went right into the chute. The rest of the run was beautiful though it made me a little down as I'm getting tired of the "almost" runs. Her Jumpers run was also very nice but she knocked a bar though it wasn't something I did. Just a strange angle to the jump and she barely nicked it with her back toes.

On Monday she had a lovely run in Standard, winning her class and earning 16 MACH points. Only three 24" dogs qualified and she was 5 seconds faster than the 2nd place dog. I was very happy with her. Her Jumpers run was a bit pokey from the tunnel to the weaves as it was very hot and Jumpers was outside but she picked it up a little after that. She knocked a bar though I think it was because I cued her over the jump for a front cross. It was kind of strange to me because I set up that sequence when I got home and it didn't affect her at all. The most she did was rub the bar hard once but it didn't come down. Maybe she also didn't take the jump at the right distance and I probably won't know because I didn't have anyone tape our runs on Monday. It would have also been nice to have that first place Standard run on tape. :( Oh well.

Next weekend we are off and IF we get in, we'll be doing USDAA up in Wilmot, WI on the 13th and 14th. I'll post some pictures soon but in the meantime, there's some new video of Ruby and River on my YouTube account

Monday, August 18, 2008

Libby and Aunt Hallie Visit

No agility this weekend, no dock diving, nothing...kinda boring but I got caught up on most of my yard work. A little trip to Home Depot on Saturday and I cleaned out my gutters and picked up most of the sticks in the yard. Yawn!

Ruby couldn't wait for Sunday to come. I told her Libby and Aunt Hallie were coming for a visit. She checked the door every two minutes. FINALLY! They arrived!

River was also very excited. This was the first time he'd met Miss Libby and Aunt Hallie. He's never had someone come for a visit. He was so cute trying to hang with the big kids.

River, Ruby and Libby

River really thinks he's the ladies man! I got some really cute shots of the girls being silly and posing.

Libby and Ruby - BFF!

River and Ruby

After playing for hours, running around and wrestling, Hallie and Libby went home. My kids took a much needed nap.

So tired...

I'm glad we had that weekend of "nothing" as the next two weeks will be a whirlwind of activity. Next weekend we have a three-day agility trial in McCook, then we leave Tuesday night for Wisconsin. I have River in Ann Braue's Puppy Workshop for two days and we'll be staying with my parents up in Spooner. The following weekend Ruby has dock diving in Rockford and two days of agility in Manhattan. More pictures and updates to come.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Agility Ability Trial - Plano, IL

I had heard some bad things about the Plano trial site but I decided to check it out for myself. Saturday morning I packed up Ruby & River and headed out to the trial. It started off chilly with brief periods of rain & drizzle. It had stopped by the time we ran our first class - Jumpers - and Ruby did very well taking 2nd place.

Our Standard run didn't go so well however. Miss Ruby freaked herself out before our run as we were waiting on line. A tarp blew up on someones crate scaring her and I couldn't get her back and focused before our run. I got a stress yawn at the start line and a LOT of sniffing, so I had to cheer lead around the course and tell her to keep her head up. When she kept moving it didn't look like such a bad run but she missed her weave entry and popped at the tenth pole, a clear indicator to me that she was stressing. She was also very slow and lope-y.

River did great at the trial, meeting new people and a few dogs. He is even learning to be quiet in his crate. Yea!

On Sunday I took Ruby near the Standard ring to get her over her "issues" and she was fine. Our Jumpers run went great and she took 1st place. I was surprised because it felt very slow and it was, she was just faster than the other dogs somehow. Standard AGAIN didn't go so well but this time it was all me. I changed my plan of action and I shouldn't have; should have stuck to my original plan instead of being a lemming and doing what everyone else was doing. Anyway, I got lost and sent her over the wrong jump. Once I got her back the rest of her run was nice and she was working and happy, except I pulled off the weaves a little too soon and she popped at the 11th pole. Overall not a bad weekend and Ruby managed to get herself 23 MACH points.

Agility is also mental game and sometimes when your ego gets a little shove to the ground, you need to pick yourself up and just get over it. Something I really need to learn to do, both for myself and my dog. Ruby is such a great, sweet dog and is very sensitive to my moods. Most of the time when I'm running her in agility I can control things or hide how I'm feeling from her and concentrate on the job at hand. Sometimes I can't or it comes out in other ways like I get lost on course. Obviously not her fault at all. Poor Ruby, she needs a new handler. Though I still need her to cuddle with and for hugs and kisses when I'm feeling blue. :)

Playing tug with mom.

Sweet boy!

Even though he's just a silly little puppy right now and is mostly just into biting things and playing (and eating and sleeping and pooping and peeing), I have a feeling that River will be just as sweet as Ruby in that regard.

Friday, August 8, 2008


His full registered name is Cirtap's Prins L-D River van Berk. The little man is doing very well and crate training has been going great. He loves his big sister Ruby. She's been wonderful with him and VERY patient. She's such a great dog!

Yesterday we went to Wet Nose in St. Charles to pick up River's food that they special ordered for me. Everyone loves him there and he gets tons love and treats. I figured since I was there I'd use their scale to weigh River and see how he was growing. He now weighs 7.8 lbs or 3.5 kg. He's growing very quickly and last week he weighed in at 3 kg or 6.61 lbs. Did I mention that he was also the biggest puppy in the litter? Closely followed by the (not-so) little girl - she was 2.95 kg last week!

River has decided that Cougar's toys are fair game. That's a Kitty Kong hanging out of his mouth!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Kennel Cirtap's - Orby, Sweden

My search for the perfect Kooiker puppy took me to Kennel Cirtap's in Orby, Sweden and the home of Birgitta and Thomas Lindblad. Kooikerhondje (pronounced koy-ker-hond-ja) or Dutch Decoy Dog are part of the AKC FSS (Foundation Stock Services) program and are in the Sporting Group. They are considered a spaniel-type dog, particularly used for duck hunting and tolling, and were approved in January to compete in AKC companion events.

Birgitta picked me up at the Gothenberg-Landvetter Airpot in Sweden on Monday July 28th following a brief layover at Heathrow. After months of correspondence it was great to finally meet her in person. Her husband Thomas was wonderful as well; I've never met nicer people. :) They put me up in this cute little cabin on their property.

Except for the first day, which was stormy, the weather was beautiful but warm. I took the adult dogs on daily walks in the forest. It was quiet and serene, the rocky forest floor covered in moss, you almost expected to see a pack of wolves appear as dusk fell.

The pictures don't do it justice. I also saw some interesting wildlife. Huge hare almost as as big as a border collie, very large crow/raven type birds and these really cool slugs.

They're about 4 inches long and keep the forest floor clean. I took this picture with the macro function on my camera. Pretty cool, eh?

Birgitta and I went shopping on Friday in Boras. It's the textile capital of Sweden. We also saw the eclipse, it was pretty cool. There is a lot of controversy in the city about a 9 meter tall statue depicting Pinocchio by artist Jim Dine.

Now on to the important stuff...PUPPIES!!!

Birgitta and Thomas with all the pups. Note: you can't see River because he's giving her a kiss!

This is my boy! Ain't he just the cutest thing in the world??? And Ruby even likes him! No surprise there though. She's going to be a great big sister and show the kid the ropes.

This is Kelly, Cirtap's J-G Prinses Leopoldina, River's dam. She's a Nordic Champion meaning she's won & earned her Championship in at least three different countries. She's a very sweet, yet reserved bitch until she gets to know you, correct for a Kooiker Dog. She will also play fetch for hours unless you stop her!

This is Diko, Diko Iriot V.D. Cluster, River's sire. A very handsome dog with good bone and temperament. He comes from very good lines.

I was lucky enough to get to Sweden on Day 50 for the pups. Day 49 is actually the ideal day to do the Puppy Aptitude Test but we figured that one day later wouldn't hurt so much. Since I was the "stranger" I performed the testing and Birgitta got the whole thing on video. River and his brother, Aiko scored the best for a working dog, also having the best scores overall by the breeder as far as conformation. Now I had to make a choice...

Initially when Birgitta sent me the pictures of the newborn pups I already knew which one I wanted. Strange that after spending almost a whole week with the entire litter and getting to know each of them very well, it was still the same pup. The hardest thing was saying no to the others as they were all wonderful in their own way. Marvin grew on me as his personality developed and the shy one, Linux, had even taken on a special relationship with me. I became one he went to if he got scared. And they all changed so much in those few days. I think it's really important to get your pup between 7 and 8 weeks to get that socialization started and develop a bond with them, otherwise the breeder has to do that and if she has a large litter...not an easy thing for her to do. In the end, Birgitta said it's something you decide with your heart and Pup #2 became River.

Kelly went home on Tuesday evening (July 29th) so Birgitta and I drove her back to Katarina Blod's home. Check out these built in kennels; I thought they were pretty cool.

You can take the divider panel out too if you have a big dog or you want your dogs together. And just in case you're in a rear end collision, they also open on the inside.

River, Keela and Marvin destroy the wild flowers.

Aiko, Pup #1, finds his own flowers to eat.

Linux, Pup #4, sleeping in the shade.

Keela, the little girl, Pup #3

Marvin, Pup #5

River: "I have no idea what flowers you're talking about!"

On Sunday, August 3rd, River and I made our long trip back to the states. Here he is at the airport.

River is settling in nicely and we'll have more pictures and updates soon. This weekend Ruby has an agility trial in Plano, IL and she can't wait to get out there and play again.