Monday, October 22, 2007

film clip

very dark and you really can't see all that much, but well. Better than nothing. Uma's standard run on Sunday.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

a good weekend

Uma had a very nice agility weekend. On Saturday she had a clean A1 round for 1st place. It happened to be her third qualifying run in A1, so she is now officially in A2! I moved her up for today and she had an awesome run in A2, but the judge called a questionable dogwalk contact. I was pretty sure it was there, but then again. Oh well, next time. She was turning tight and I was handling nicely.

Malcolm was not getting his dogwalk today, so I guess it is back to basics, but he had very nice Jumpers runs. We actually had a pretty funny Jumpers situation. I first ran Malcolm, who knocked one bar (good enough for me to be satisfied with that run) and had a time of around 31 seconds. I then ran Uma who ran clean, but when I came back to check the results it turned out she had a time of 37.7. I was shocked - this was clearly a mistake, no way was she that slow, this may not have been our fastest run, but hey, she is ALWAYS at least 4 seconds faster than Mal, even if she slips, falls, whatever. It turned out that somebody had been videotaping that run and the entire movie was 27 seconds long. So I went to the office with that person's camera and showed them the film. I was granted a rerun and she turned in a 27 second run. I think she may have been a tiny bit slower the second time, but it was good enough for a second place after a WC competitor.

She got ALL her weave entries (5 out of 5) all weekend long as did Malcolm! Uma did not get her dogwalk contact on her last run, which was a bummer. However, the dogwalk was in the same spot all weekend long and it was followed by an open tunnel. So that last run... she just couldn't contain herself. The dogwalk contact has been our weakest one for a while, so now that will certainly have to be something I focus on. And there are no trials coming up for us until December (there's just nothing closer than 7 hours driving time). So that gives me 6 weeks of training before I actually have to use that contact again in competition.

Eden was being cuddled all weekend long by lots of aunties and uncles and she seemed to really enjoy it. She wasn't spooked by anything, was clearly relaxing, but was pretty responsive to me. So she was a perfect little puppy. There was a 4-month old Aussie puppy there and she was SO much bigger than Eden. It's unbelievable how quickly they grow!

It was an indoor trial on carpeting and it was pretty slippery. Malcolm seems to do a lot worse at indoor trials, because, for some strange reason, he get more excited and loses his head in a building and is a lot more laid back outdoors. Uma slows down a bit on the carpeting, which, in this case, was not such a bad thing.

Here's the A2 course we ran today:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Uma's teeter

I missed a few practice sessions with Uma because of her pad injury, but she's back to normal now. I'd been working on her independent teeter performance ever since August, when I noticed that she would wait for me at pivot point. I went back to plexi-targetting, then removed the plexi and proofed her performance by varying my position. The one thing I still need work on is the strong stop when there is HUGE speed. She will miss the position (barely, but still) if I am way ahead of her and she's coming at the teeter with increased speed (off a tunnel). Here's what it looks like at this point. I like it.

And Eden....
Well, like you guys said in the comments to my previous post, it is not particularly productive to obsess over the nature vs nurture thing, but I honestly cannot help doing it. Especially, since I own two littermates, who are as different from each other as can be in temperament, I just find myself looking for these little suggestions of what's to come. And definitely I'm negative about this - I obsess about the behaviors which may possibly turn into something bad a lot more easily than about those which might turn into something good.
It also seems that I tend to forget certain experiences very easily. I almost panicked a couple of days ago when Eden spooked on hearing dogs barking at the agility place. I complained to everybody I met that I'd broken my puppy and was doing a lousy job. And then Wanda, Jinx's owner, reminded me how all three of our pups (Uma, Malcolm, Jinx) panicked when they heard an airplane flying high high above their heads when they were about 3 months old. And this stage passed, they surely wouldn't sppok at this now.

Monday, October 15, 2007

eden's first week at home

Understandably, this was a very Eden-centered week for me. I was getting to know her better and instilling some basic household rules in the little pup, all the while trying not to neglect everybody else.

Eden is very, very nice. I guess the nicest thing about her is her almost total lack of fear for well... pretty much anything. She plays with the big dogs, she However, this very lack of fear is also something that I'm afraid may get her into trouble.

She is willing to please, she is both food and toy motivated, although, being the little puppy she is, she often loses focus. I'm doing a lot of play retrieving and just plain playing with her at this point to strengthen her drives and lengthen her focus. I am not obsessed with teaching her perfect heelwork by the time she's 6 months old or anything of the kind. Basically, I just want attention and the ability to play with me on my terms with any toy I provide.

And of course, she gets into trouble. One thing I know know very well by now. If you have the slightest suspicion that your puppy may need to go pee (but tell yourself "no way, she just peed 30 minutes ago").... your puppy NEEDS to go pee. Go with the ever so slightest suspicion or you'll be wiping dog pee off the floor. She gets her little puppy teeth on just about everything and has to either be confined or supervised. Supervising is tiring. Right now I am watching her meander between a row of binders on the lower shelf of the bookcase and her toy. And I have to get up to suggest the tug toy is a better idea...

I'm back and she's playing with the tug toy. Little puppies are cute but ..... oh so tiring. But now I'm starting to suspect she might need to go pee.

Yep, she did.

Eden had a lot of firsts (well, or so I think)this week. I took her for a tram ride and a bus ride to see how she'd cope. She did just fine. She met a very well-behaved horse and lots and lots of variously behaved dogs. We went to a pet store, several parks and visited a couple of friends' houses (for short periods of time).

The biggest mystery about having a puppy is not knowing what it will grow up to be like. I'm really not sure how much of my dogs is me, my work with them and how much is them. Even the two older sibs are total opposites of each other and, after all, they have the same genes and were basically treated the same way when they were pups. What's more, I did not guess correctly what they would be like as adults when they were pups, which is still a source of jokes among my friends and the owners of the other sibs. Maybe this is what's making me a bit apprehensive about Eden. I still have absolutely no feeling for what she'll be like as a grown up. Will the focus develop? Will the strong retrieve drive stay? Will she want to please? Will she be obnoxious? She's not now, of course, she's sweet and cuddly, but who knows. Will I catch certain bad habits in time to stop them from developing?

I remember with Uma I got this conviction that this is THE puppy who can achieve ANYTHING I want from her when she was about 4-5 months old. But then, I had Uma right from the time she was born, so maybe it will take longer with Eden. And, after all, why do I need to know this? I know she most certainly will be unique and I'll love her no matter what she's like. But I cannot stop looking for signs of things to come.

Here's a short vid of Eden targeting:

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


There are some decisions which take years to make, which you ponder on for ages, carefully weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each possibility. I've always prided myself on being that kind of person, the rational kind, who tries to do the right thing.
And then, there's a whole different breed of decisions. Decisions based on nothing more than a gut feeling. On pure instinct. Sometimes you end up regretting them, sometimes they turn out to be the best ones you made in your life. In this case, what can I say. We'll see.

Anyway, here's Eden.
Officially she's
Malpaso's To Die For at Myriad
If anything, this wasn't rational. I have two dogs under the age of three (heck, they're under the age of 30 months), should be focusing on finishing my dissertation and well, I just lost a dog that was my heart and soul. But when I saw Eden's 8-week-old pic, this one, to be precise:

I knew I was gone for good. As was Janusz, which was probably the final straw. I asked Mirjam, her breeder, to keep her for me until I was ready for a new dog. Like 6 months maybe.
She arrived in Amsterdam (thank you Anneke for chaperoning her on the plane trip) exactly one week ago and was supposed to stay with a wonderful friend, Silvia, in Germany however long I wanted. Well, I got in the car on Sunday and made the 1300 km (800 mile?) drive there and back in 30 hours.

So here she is.
I'm not quite sure what to do with her, but she most definitely has found a place in my heart.
I admit I am kind of scared, because she has found her way into my life at a tough moment. She'll never be another Mira and I am afraid there's nothing that can follow Uma with regards to ease of training and pure speed and biddability. But I think the best way to go about this is to just let her be Eden. Let her be a puppy and find out, in due time, what she's good at and what she'd like to do.

She's got an amazing personality, very bubbly and outgoing, social but not too easily distracted. I love her natural retrieve and love how easy-going and self-confident she is with my other dogs. It's like they know they were meant to be together :-)

On a side note - Uma cut her pad on some glass in the park :-( Very nasty. Thus, no agility for us this week.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Congrats Lisa & Dust!

Well, Carrie Jones didn't get an individual medals at the worlds, the Polish competitors didn't either (Magda with Mac had an absolutely awesome standard run in large with a 13th place and there were some steady but slow runs by the smaller dogs).

However.... I just got word that Lisa (whose blog is linked from links on the right-hand side of this page)WON the ASCA agility finals with Dust (Diamond Dust of Imagineer). Way to go and black dogs rule :-)

I met Lisa at the ASCA trials she put on in Ohio last year for the Buckeye Australian Shepherd Club, so basically, all the ASCA titles my dogs have are the result of Lisa's organizational skills, which are really impressive. Lisa wanted to trial in ASCA, but there were no ASCA trials in her area, so ... she organized some. And not just a couple, but I think she organizes 5 or 6 ASCA trials a year. Amazing! Our club here in Poland puts on one trial a year and I'm totally exhausted after that. So 5 or 6 is unimaginable for me.
I watched Lisa get Dust's final leg for her ATCH (a gamblers leg) and I am so glad they managed to get that darn gamble at the Nationals! (Well, I assume they did, they won the whole thing, so they must have gotten the gamble).