Williamstown Fair 2014

Yes, I’m back. I have a lot to say, but one post would simply be not enough. Instead, let’s begin this return to blogging by describing our day at “Canada’s Oldest Annual Fair”,  the Williamstown Fair. We’ll leave agility training discussion for another day. 

Our agility club hosts a demo at the Williamstown Fair for a few years now. It’s a first for us, but we’re really not strangers of this sort of thing. We have done similar activities for the libraries where I’ve worked, but this event has, by far, the biggest audience.  Interested about the fair?  Here is their website.

Two demos were done, and this video is the one at 10 am. Fannie visits the spectators, but let’s be honest, that’s what people like: dogs making mistakes. They think it’s the cutest thing. My mistake was not rewarding both dogs more often.

What I liked the most? Jasmine’s little tail, showing me she was happy doing agility.

What I liked the least? I didn’t call Fannie in the tunnel, so off she went to visit.

Here is the video.….

In between demos, I strolled around, taking pictures.  Enjoy…

P'tit Ford

Jasmine giving you a good look at a Ford tractor.  1957 I think.  My father’s first tractor was this model.  He told me he loved it because it was so easy to do repairs….

Beyond 21 JasmineJasmine stiking a pose at the Beyond 21 booth.

Le 5 mai 2014 056

This is probably the closest my dogs will ever get to cows.  These are Ayreshire cows, and ours were Holstein.  Still, they both produce milk, so it’s the thought that counts.

SDG

Last but not least, Fannie getting to know a staff from our neighbouring library, SD&G County Library.

Posted in Demo, Williamstown Fair | 1 Comment

Much, much more than just a fun match

A friend of mine contacted me at the beginning of the week, letting me know that there was a fun match in Orléans today.  I hadn’t planned on attending, but since I had to cancel last week’s fun match, I quickly went online and registered.

Fannie desperately needed some practice at a new venue.  She now completes 12 weave poles at the club field, and does it fast.  Unfortunately, she’s completely ignored them at our last trial and/or K9 Kup day.   I had to introduce her to a new environment, and show her how fun it can be to do agility in new and strange places.  This had to be done soon, since we’re attending a trial next weekend.  Yikes!

In order to attend the fun match, I had to do a “no show” to our club weekly lesson.  Oh dear!

The fun match had a start time of 1:30 pm….  My kind of schedule.  ;-)  As I was driving to Orléans, I was startled by the changes in the area.  I haven’t been in this section of Ottawa for at least a year, and new houses and condos have sprouted all over the place.  Well, it was announced this week that Canada has now reached a population 35 000 000.  I guess houses are needed for all these new people.  :-)

Starters Standard Run – 1st attempt

Well, it was as I expected.  I risked a rear cross just before the jump, and Fannie headed for one of her favorite obstacle, the dogwalk.  She even ignores the toy!!  Gasp!  She visits the videographer.  Double gasp!  The rest of the run goes well, apart from her affection for the dw.  Here is the video.

Starters Standard Run – 2nd attempt

Both of us are more comfortable.  We’re following the same plan, except I asked a friend of mine to act as a ring crew to distract Fannie.  I also started with a lead-out, copying another friend’s plan.  Both worked out great!  She still slides down the dw contact zone.  I’m not sure, but I think she might be enjoying this….

Something I’m not happy with is her fly-off from the teeter.  This is a first for her, so I’ll try to get that out of her system.

Oh, her weaves… Her weaves…. = Happy….  Happy Lyne…..

The rest?  A rear cross to the tunnel, and a good contact on the A-Frame.  I’ve been working on her contacts a bit more lately, because I thought she’s been showing the tiny bit of a beginning of a crappy contact method.  My goal is for her to have a two on, two off, and this worked well for this event.

Here is the video.

Her greatest moment?  The starters gambler

I never expected for it to go so well.  Both the mini gamble and the gamble included a dark tunnel.  Although we’ve been practicing doing dark tunnels lately, and rewarding them like crazy, I wasn’t sure how it would go.  I also planned a course with weaves, which is something I never do in trials.  Jasmine takes such a long time to do obstacle equipments, that weaves are out of the question, because they take so much time to do.

Well, Fannie is not Jasmine.

Even with a wrong entry, we had time to do the whole thing, and two mini gambles.  Add the main gamble to that, and we ended with a total of 70 points.  That’s not something we’ll be able to do very often…..  :D  Yes, I’m enjoying it…..

Another video.

Rubberized obstacles

Most clubs have rubberized obstacles now, and both of my dogs have been training on them for the past 2 years.  Notice how Fannie just sliiiiiiides down the contact equipment.  Hmmmm.  Rain or shine, I’m making sure to include an agility session this week before the trial.  I have no idea what this may have caused…  Not that I’m worried that much, but I have a feeling she’ll try to put on the breaks much sooner at our next agility session.

Dark evil tunnels.

No problem there.  End of story.  :-D

Well, a very satisfactory day indeed.  I’m now looking forward to our next practice.

What about Jasmine?

Jasmine is still on sick leave.  She’s taking part in our practice sessions, as you’ll see in future posts, but I’m not subjecting her to stress just yet.  She can relax and enjoy herself as being a dog of leisure….  ;)

Why is it much more than just a fun match?

It’s also an opportunity to gain confidence as a handler, and as a team.  You find out what works, and what doesn’t.  Most importantly, you get to play with your furry friend, in a mock-trial setting.  I don’t consider myself a great handler, but if there is one advice I can offer, is that you can never have too many fun matches. You are building a working relationship with your dog, and every second is meant to be fun.

Enjoy them.

Embrace them.

For you will look back at them with nostalgia and pride once your team’s agility career is done.

and your dog will show you his unconditional love, by doing his/her job.

Play agility.

Posted in A-Frame, Teeter, tunnel, Weaves | 6 Comments

Agility Q!

Many things have happened since Michou’s passing, and I’ve been so busy, I’m a bit behind in my posts.  This one had already been written, so here it is,  a month later …  Still fun to post!

Fannie’s first Q EVER!

Jasmine kept me waiting three years before giving me a Q in agility.  In the meantime, I stopped trialing, found a new coach, and re-trained.  I appreciate each and every qualifying run that little dog does, and if she doesn’t Q, it’s mostly my fault.

With Fannie, everything is different.  Training her is so much easier, which has made it possible for me to homeschool  for a while.   Now that I have more experience, competitions don’t stress me out as much, and I can count of Fannie to follow my handling, minus a few ring crew visits.  No avoidance.  No zoomies.  Pure fun.

Hilltop Agility Trial

The goldenpoo CKC trial (Jointly offered by the The Ottawa Valley Golden Retriever Club and the Ottawa Valley Poodle Club) was being offered the same weekend as the Hilltop Agility Trial, and gasoline being the price it is, the money sign made it easy for me to choose which event to register in.  Note: I’m a member of both clubs, which is why there was a “choice” to be made…   Hilltop was held in Williamstown, a beautiful small town in Eastern Ontario known for offering “Canada’s Oldest Annual Fair” since 1812.  Fannie was entered in Starters Snooker, and two events of Starters Jumpers.

Starters Snooker

Ah well, what can I say?  Fannie had the choice of taking the ever obligatory first red jump or the tempting A-Frame not far behind.  Well, she took the A-Frame, of course.  Result?  Fannie is now a member of the snooker 0 point club.  Sigh.  I even have a video for prosperity!  Tee-hee!

Starters Jumpers

Our greatest challenge, visiting ring crews, was our downfall.  Fannie took one look at the young girl guides, and rushed over to kiss them.  Yup, we had off-courses.  Here is the video, you’ll understand what I mean.

Starters Jumpers 2

Ah!  Our glorious moment!  It may have been because of the warm weather, or Fannie was probably very tired after a long day, but we did a qualifying run.  She didn’t visit anyone, and just did her job.  Unfortunately, I didn’t ask anyone to film us, as almost everyone was busy, and I didn’t bother.

Relaxing before the actionRelaxing at the Hilltop Trial

Fannie's first Q being made officialFannie’s Q being made “official”.  Do NOT disturb official!

The official picture!

The official picture.  :D

Good moments:

-no visiting ring crews

-her speed!  Isn’t it great?

Things to work on:

-Weaves.  We’re obviously not practicing enough.

-Obstacle discrimination.

-It’s yer choice training.  We need it.

Jasmine’s new job

Since Michou’s passing, my mother is finding it difficult to cope with no furry friend in the house.  I won’t go in the details, but adopting a new dog wouldn’t be a wise decison right now.  Therefore, I’ve offered Jasmine’s company to them, and she spends short periods of time at their house.  At the wise age of 8, Jasmine is the perfect dog for them.  She’s visited and has stayed with them so often, that there is no adaptation period.  She snuggles naturally to my mum.  She asks to be picked up by my father.  My father brings her outside when he works in the yard.  She adores them, and they adore her.  On a more personal note, Fannie misses her, and so do I.

Posted in Confidence, Fannie, Jasmine, Qualifying Runs, Therapy Dog, Weaves | 4 Comments

Goodbye Michou, Goodbye

Michou, 2000-2013

Today, we say goodbye to an old and faithful friend.  Michou, who was my parents’ dog, passed away on Monday.    She was a sweet and gentle cockapoo, who quietly took a huge place in our lives, and we weren’t even aware of her most of the time.

How can I describe her?  At first, her name was Bichou, but my father couldn’t get himself to say it, so he called her Michou instead.  We all followed suit.  She was ball crazy, yet would roll it down the basement stairs when she was tired of playing with it.  She would introduce herself to guests by sitting pretty.  She was in love with all of my nephews and nieces, and in one case showed it by stealing socks when one of them would come for a visit.  Then, we would find her sleeping with said sock.  The first time we heard her growl, was when she met Jasmine yet, she quickly accepted her.

She wasn’t a sports dog, and her one trick was to sit pretty.  Even so, she had taught herself that.  She arrived in my mother’s life when she was undergoing chemo treatments for her cancer.  My mother once said to me that she didn’t have time think about her cancer, because she had to take care of Michou, who was a puppy then.

She was part of many birthday parties, smarty cakes, Christmas “réveillons” and Easter dinners by sitting patiently beside one of us for food.  She lived in a seniors’ household, yet loved kids, and was very gentle with them.  She was witness to our joys, to our sorrows, to our goodbyes, and to our beginnings.

She left us as she lived, very quietly.  She was old, and her heart simply gave out.  Lying on the floor, her breathing suddenly couldn’t be heard anymore.  She was gone.

Michou, your quiet presence helped my parents go through what was probably the most difficult time of their lives, losing their son.  You’ve earned your rest.  Sleep well.  You will be missed…

These pictures are snapshots of the actual photos.

My father his hands full of dogs. (Jasmine and Michou)

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Smile for the camera!ImageLook ma tante!   Michou sits like a human!

ImageThe boys and Jasmine are “in” the x-pen.  Michou, outside.

Image

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Fun at the K9 Kup

What a great day!  I finally decided to enter Fannie in K9 Kup this year, and we were lucky enough to have found a spot.  I didn’t post anything about the first event, which was held during a deluge of rain.  This time, I promised myself to share everything about our day.

With all the rain we’ve had this Summer as well as a heat wave which broke all records last week; our training time has been quite limited.  Fannie is doing well, but I’m certain she could be doing better if I actually worked more with her.  However, life being what it is right now, our current lack of agility training is totally normal, and I’m not beating myself over it.

We were joined today by a good friend of ours, SH, and I do say we, because she is one of the two Cornwall humans that my dogs most adore.

Oops!

I was preening with pride when I went to bed last night.  I thought I had packed everything and all I had to do was get dressed the next morning.  Ahem….  I forgot to pack the shade canopy.  I had left it spread out to dry last month in my garage, and as you all know me, I’m very lazy.  Yes, I left with the shade tent without a canopy.  Good thing I had a hat and plenty of sunscreen.

Keltic, the handsome sheltie

Helen from Helen’s world is injured, and she asked me run her handsome sheltie, Keltic.  I’ve known Keltic since he was a puppy (see the post on our 2012 camping trip) and had the chance to run him at our last fun match.  Imagine my surprise when he agreed to run with me.  He’s also quite the snuggler, as he’s sure to find a way to wiggle closer and cuddle with you, even while waiting for our turn to run.  Helen was nice enough to post the videos, so please watch them, and giggle along me.

Fannie’s runs

Fannie was about 2-3 dogs after Keltic, and she was strangely very slow this weekend.  Was it too hot outside?  Was she jealous seeing me run another dog?  We’ll see next time we do agility in a similar environment, “sans Keltic”.  Good thing SH was with us, as she helped me by holding the dogs.  Thanks Sylvia!

Steeplechase

Ah….  I am so proud of my little mini poodle.  She completed all 12, yes 12, weaves.  She’s still hesitant about tunnels, but that’s easy to correct.  She tried to charm the ring crew and the judge.  Really, who can resist a cute min poodle?  Video.

Standard

Another happy moment, Fannie is confident on the dogwalk and the teeter.  Hurray!  Our rear crosses are nothing to write home about, so this will be added to our training schedule.  Video

Snooker

Ah…  Well, we were whistled out because of a handler error, but I’m very happy with Fannie’s performance.  I couldn’t remember how many red jumps we had completed.  You can see me looking around, and I’m actually saying out loud in French : “Sh**, how many reds have we completed?”.  The judge very nicely replied, “3”.  Needless to say that is a definite no-no in a real trial, as the judge can’t say a thing.   Swearing?  That can get me expelled from the trial.   Still, this is the thing about K9 Kup, it’s for fun.  :)  Video

Training plan

  • Improve Fannie’s confidence with tunnels;
  • Increase her speed in weaves;
  • Have more “evil humans” during practices, so she gets used to the presence of ring crews;
  • Rear crosses.  Why not?
  • More handling.
Posted in Dogwalk, Fannie, Rear crosses, Uncategorized, Weaves | 1 Comment

Fannie, you never cease to amaze me!

We have a new agility home this year.  We’re members of a local agility club, and we used our new “home field” for the first time today.  Mother Nature has been quite peculiar lately, and we’ve been having non-stop rain for days.  We did have a sun break for 1.5 days, but it’s raining again this evening.

Sigh.

The new field is located on a fellow member’s land.  This is the laneway.  Beautiful isn’t it?

We park the car, and walk a short distance following this path, which looks to be an old lane giving access to the fields.

PathWe’re finally here, are new agility home!

The field

Training session

I hadn’t really planned anything, apart from familiarizing Fannie on certain obstacles.  We had practiced weaving yesterday, and so that needn’t be repeated until tomorrow or Wednesday.  The teeter, Fannie’s personal Waterloo, was certainly on the to-do list.  I couldn’t believe it!  The minute I remove her leash, off she trots to the teeter, and completes it without batting an eyelash!!!  Who is this???  Can this really be my little min poodle, who needs familiarization at every new venue she goes to?  She even does one of those textbook teeters, by rushing to the end of the plank, and lets it drop with a bang!  Fannie, you never cease to amaze me.

Weaving

Yesterday’s session was great.  A friend of mine helped us by being a “distraction”.  She first stood close to the weaves, than waved a toy around, and finally, used a squeaker toy.  Fannie did very well, and ignored her 95% of the time.  Great work Fannie!  Now, we have to work on entries with different obstacles, and not just a jump.

Handling

I tried to complete the course which had been set out for last week’s class.  Mmmm.  I thought it felt odd, but I worked on threadles, 180s, and rear crosses, nothing fancy.  She had no problem doing them.  The oddness of the course may be explained by the fact that the grass had been cut earlier in the day, and some obstacles were missing.  Ok, that explains it.

Table

Just before leaving, I sent Fannie to the table.  What can I say?  Off she went again….

Table!

Yes, she got a super duper reward for that….

Here’s a closer pic…

Fannie on table

I grew up in the countryside on a dairy farm, but our road is very busy, the price to pay for being close to a highway.  It wasn’t always this way, but the urban sprawl of Ottawa has encouraged people to move nearby and drive to the city every day.   We’re still surrounded by dairy farms, but the road?  Sheesh!  People drive by at 100 km/h.

The agility field is on a quiet country road, where the traffic isn’t busy.  Needless to say, I appreciate it.

Posted in Fannie, table, Teeter, threadle, Weaves | 2 Comments

Good Reads – Katie and the puppy next door

KatieWritten by John Himmerlman, published by Henry Holt and Company.  ISBN 9780805094848

Have you ever wondered how your dog feels when a new puppy comes for a visit?  This clever picture book how Katie deals with this new neighbor.  Beautifully illustrated, any child will be able to see herself/himself in a similar situation, but in human terms.

My rating?  4/5 Paws

Posted in Good Reads - Picture Books | Leave a comment