Summer …

Summer’s here and we’re officially on summer break – time to catch up on the blog posts. I hate running in hot weather and the girls aren’t big fans of it either, especially Raven. We’ll do an occasional indoor trial (if we can get in!), but otherwise it’s time for us all to kick back, take a break, do a little training.

Since my last post, we did 2 more AKC trials, 2 NADAC trials and a little bite-sized bit of a CPE trial. The first AKC trial we had entered 3 days of a 4 day trial (4 days is too much for all of us!) The courses were challenging, which I expected, knowing who the judges

We had a reasonably productive weekend – 1 Q in Ex B JWW and 2 Q’s in Ex A Std for Jayda, 1 Q in Nov Std and 1 Q in Ex A JWW for Raven. Considering that most of Jayda’s runs were in what I’ve come to refer to as “the cootie ring” (she’s ALWAYS spooky and distracted in that ring at that site), I was happy with that. Raven would have finished her Nov Std title if not for the chute – poor mite, she’s just not that confident about it yet :(.

One judge was thoughtful enough to post her courses :)! Here’s one of the standard courses – I did some very “dog specific” handling with Jayda between 4 and 9, which worked out well for us. Not sure how I would have gotten Raven through that section – something to try.

Thursday Ex. Standard

Here’s Friday’s Ex JWW – it was a fun course that ran nicely. Both girls Q’d on this.

Friday’s Ex JWW

The Sunday jumpers course was tough but fun – both my runs had glitches, and I was surprised that on my front cross after 15 BOTH girls ran past me into the wrong course tunnel entrance! Hmmm – that HAD to have been me, unfortunately no video .

Sunday Ex JWW”

The NADAC trial was the weekend that some folks predicted the world would end … and for a short time Saturday I thought they might be right, when Jayda made time in Open Jumpers and again in Open TNG! Raven rocked the entire weekend, and Bryce had a great run in Tunnelers on Saturday. Altogether, we started off with the possibility of finishing 7 titles – we brought home 6 of them :).

I was pleasantly surprised with Raven: Sections of the field were very soggy from a week of rain and although they tweaked the course to make it safe for the dogs, some of the handler zone footing was awfully mucky. Normally, I RUN with her, but self preservation left me gingerly tiptoeing in spots, which made things kind of “interesting”. I came away from the weekend in awe of how much she’s matured in just the past 6 months – she’s really shaping up to be a wonderful partner!

The CPE trial was two days, one run per dog each day. I avoid outdoor trials in June and the only reason I entered was to get old man Bryce’s Ch-WC. Mission accomplished.

Some pix of Bryce:

The other AKC trial was indoors and it was quite hot. I wisely left Bryce (who was a little under the weather) at home and skipped a couple of classes. Still Raven (who does not do well in the heat) got her second AXJ leg and Jayda finished her Excellent Standard title, so it was worth the trip. I had never run Jayda in a soccer stadium before and was very pleased with how relaxed she was (after she got over her initial “OMG,OMG,OMG where ARE we?”) She was relaxed enough that I was comfortable leading out on her. Leading out on Jayda in an unfamiliar place? I think that’s a first!

For All Moms of Four Legged Kids

In human terms, they have the abilities of a toddler, yet among their own kind, they’re adults in their own right.


Some of them sass back to you just like teenagers!


Sometimes the love and understanding flow easily in both directions.


Other times, the relationship is more complicated…


They may delight you with their boldness and joie de vivre.

Or they may be shy and require lots of nurturing.

Jayda as a puppy

You live in the shadow of knowing that they will probably cross over the bridge before you… And that most people won’t understand when you don’t “get over it” in a day or so.

Sally - 4 or 5 weeks old

Yet you wouldn’t trade the joy of those 13-or-so years for the world!

Happy Mothers Day to all my fellow FOUR LEGGED Moms!!!

NADAC Weekend (and videos)

Last weekend we did the SCOR NADAC trial. Cheap entry fees and close to home – how could I resist? We lucked into some beautiful weather and had a lot of fun. BTW, totally LOVED that they chose to offer “per owner” discount pricing packages. I run multiple dogs and since I don’t run any of them in all classes I usually wind up paying top dollar for my runs. Thanks SCOR, much appreciated. I wish more clubs and venues would price like this!

And we even have some video! I rarely think to ask anyone to video my runs and I really should do so more often. I’m not the most elegant handler and I usually cringe when I watch the playback (blame my parents – I NEEDED ballet lessons, I got piano lessons) but I always come away with something to work on. Anyway, huge thanks to Jane and Sue for videoing us!

Bryce likes NADAC because not only do they let Little Old Men like him jump 8″, but there are so many classes without contacts that he gets some variety too. Several people commented on how happy he looked this weekend :). Here he is in Tunnelers:

There’s no such thing as too much Bryce, so here he is in Jumpers. There’s a hill on this field and the old man wasn’t lovin’ those uphill sprints. Can’t say I blame him, by the end of the weekend my legs felt like LEAD!

Bryce had an “interesting” Hoopers run. He started out running normally … all of a sudden he sat down and started pulling at his tail hair. TOTALLY unlike him to stop mid-run, but I was pretty sure it wasn’t anything that hurt (a leaf, maybe?) so I got him moving again. Did a few more hoops, he stopped AGAIN. “Restarted” him a second time, finished the course (squeezing in just barely 1″ under time). As soon as he jumped into my arms I reached around to see what was going on back there… and tangled in his “pants” was a 6″ long pine twig! Yep – that would do it. Poor guy – he ran the course and got his Outstanding Hoopers title with a STICK stuck on his butt! How embarassing! (Sorry – no video of this.)

(I made a point of doing “inspection” before the rest of our runs!)

Raven was looking great in all weekend. When she’s “on” she’s so much fun :)! Here she is in Tunnelers. She went wide on those 180’s – that “bungee” effect you get from some fast dogs when (ahem!) the handler stops moving (I “flailed” too – ugh!) – but she isn’t as obstacle focused as my “big dogs” so if I’d taken off running I would have risked her missing the tunnel entrance altogether. See? Something to work on.

Jayda ran well all weekend, but we struggle for time in the upper levels. She’s right on the “bubble” and the least little hesitation puts us over, which kind of sucks. NADAC’s big distances between obstacles are the worst – she’s faster on more tightly-spaced courses. For those of you who don’t know Jayda, Jayda really enjoys DOING agility but she’s a VERY nervous and environmentally sensitive dog. She’s MUCH better than she was, but it’s difficult for her to let loose and RUN at a trial. However she often makes up in steadiness for what she lacks in speed. We made time on this course and finished her Elite Regular title.

Note the little look over her shoulder as she came out of the blue tunnel. Photographer was back there, I think.

Happy 7th, Jayda

A very happy birthday to my Big Princess!

Jayda - 7 yrs old

(Posing is not Jayda’s favorite thing – can you tell?)

My Clever Girls

It finally stopped snowing … I think! Flowers are blooming, outdoor agility trials are doable again. Spring? Maybe, just maybe!

Redbud Tree


At the risk of boring you with Yet Another Stupid, Boring Ribbon Photo, I’m going to post one anyway. Here are the spoils from our first 2 (one day each) AKC trials so far this year: We do pretty well in AKC … when we actually ENTER some TRIALS :). What a concept!

Jayda and Raven - AKC, Spring 2011

Jayda finished her OAP, got her first OFP Q and her first 2 Q’s in Ex B JWW. As of July 1 she will have 6 PACH points – look out world, only 744 to go :)! Seriously, I want her MJP/MXP and think a PAX is doable. I’m not ruling OUT a PACH (anything’s possible), but unless we can pick up a LOT of points in standard it could get awfully pricey chasing those points. Then again, if there’s one thing to be said about Jayda, it’s that she’s full of surprises. We’ll see.

Raven got 2 Q’s in Open JWW to finish her OAJ and join her sister in Excellent – yay! She also got her first Novice Standard Q – which was a pleasant surprise, considering I uh – only got serious about teaching her the broad jump and the chute about 2-3 weeks before the trial :)! Her 2nd attempt the chute was a little twisted – she could have gotten through it, but she didn’t THINK she could and gave up. Back to the drawing board on chutes, and mental note to check the chute before we run and call for a “chute fluffer” to fix it if necessary!

I’m starting to taper off NADAC and CPE to focus more on our goals in AKC. Not leaving either venue completely, but I’m doing NADAC mostly for Bryce these days, and CPE … I want to finish Jayda’s C-ATCH2 in the next year (9 Q’s away) and her C-ATCH3 eventually, but CPE will become purely a winter sport for us (hard to resist 4-6 trials in our own training building!). I have to say that now that my dogs are all past the green dog stage I find CPE trials a combination of exhausting, expensive, and … dare I say it … kinda boring. Might go back to USDAA one of these days or try UKI, but Jayda’s not really a USDAA kind of girl.


Dear Weather,

If I wanted to experience winter in, let’s say, Buffalo or Minnesota, I would move there. This is New Jersey.

So enough already!