Monday, January 31, 2011

Snowshoeing at Clear Lake

We had a blast on Saturday snowshoeing. Both dogs were a little crazed to get out when I pulled off the highway. Leo even ran around like a bit of a nut with his sister - after they both had a potty break, of course. We ended up going to Clear Lake because there were no parking options at Mirror Lake. We'll have to try to hit that location up during the summer.
Here's a compilation of both dogs romping around in the snow right after we arrived and before we really hit the trail as well as a bit later on when we were down by the lake.
I brought alone a little dog front pack I got from my sister just in case Leo had a hard time keeping up. I didn't have any boots for him yet but didn't worry about it too much since his feet wouldn't sink into the snow (it was slightly iced over) plus he has furrier feet. I brought his coat along but didn't put it on as I figured I'd wait and see. He's usually hot and panting when the rest of us are shivering and I didn't want to make him uncomfortable.

We took a different route than we usually do at this location and had the trails all to ourselves. We never did encounter a single soul the entire day. We came across a lovely stream that gurgled through the woods. The dogs were fascinated of course.
The views were fantastic. The snow was so-so. The temperature was just right and we never got rained on - or caught in a blizzard. :-) The dogs enjoyed exploring and walking. Leo was quite the trooper trying to keep up. We did somewhere in the range of 9 miles or so; he managed to walk about 2/3 of that and rode in the front pack otherwise. I mostly put him in the pack as a means of keeping us moving along at a decent pace so we could get back to the truck and he was lagging a bit.

We were out about four hours total, walked along the lake, went off road through the woods, climbed some hills, and strangely never saw any wildlife either. I even managed to snap a picture of the three of us using the timer on my camera:
We had a good time and surprisingly Leo wasn't so worn out later. We stopped by my mom's house for a while and he even had a good time "talking" to her Yorkies. We went home a while later and he was antsy and bouncy and ornery about Vegas and I leaving a short while later - he wanted to go, too. I guess his recovery time is quicker than hers and mine.

After this trip I did decide to go ahead and order him some booties. I hope the ones I ordered are actually small enough. He's got such tiny feet. My goal is to get out a couple more times this season as long as the snow is sufficient. Will have to post pictures when they arrive or from our next trip.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Agility Update

I started teaching a foundation agility class two weeks ago. Vegas had a chiropractor appointment Wednesday so I didn't want to have her do anything on Thursday. Instead I took Leo with the intention of at least getting some time working on exercises with him in the barn. It turned out we showed up really early and nobody was using the barn. Leo and I ran a bunch of exercises, the dog walk, the a-frame, tunnels, and jumps. We did some sequences and mostly I just wanted to see him enthusiastic and get some blood pumping. Once class started I had Leo out for a bit heeling and walking around, but then he was crated most of the class until we started working on the a-frame. I used him to show contacts and he did a superb job. All of my students got a kick out of watching him charge up the a-frame He nailed and held his contact well, too. 

Then last night we had our agility class. We missed week two because of having a crazy, hectic week leading up to Rose City. Last night we did a jump sequence (two jumps from a recall), the a-frame, the chute, a straight tunnel, and the dog walk at a low level. In between our turns, I spent the entire class next to the teeter. We worked a ton just treating at the teeter, me gently bumping it on the ground, and the most exciting part was Leo was willing to step up as far as the edge of the blue to "touch" the contact plate over and over and over. We repeated this tons of times and it was very encouraging that he was even willing to step up. Too often he wouldn't go near the teeter so while he is still cautious about approaching it, when we were in that "mode" of exercise, he was quite willing. I'm starting to have hope with him and the teeter!

I'm also super excited that our friend, Jen, is giving us a teeter base. That means I'll be able to work him at home and continue the desensitization process. So exciting! I'm not quite ready to start planning Leo's debut, but it is somewhere out there on the horizon!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Rose City Classic 2011 - Sunday

Sunday dawned too early but better than Saturday. At least we didn't have to haul all of our gear into the Expo again. The same events were on our agenda for the second day with the exception of Rally Novice Team for Vegas. That was something we were entered in just Saturday.

Just like Saturday, we got there and the dogs were in and out of their crates a couple times walking with me, going potty, and waiting. Just like Saturday, after a couple hours of waiting, Vegas' Standard run was going to collide with Leo's rally run. Ugg! Wow is that stressful. Sunday was a bit worse though and while all the stewards and secretaries were willing to work with conflicts, waiting for an answer as to what to do was frustrating and more stressful. I barely got checked in at rally and they were already walking so I quickly dumped the dogs in their crates and ran back over for one quick walk through. Then I ran to the agility ring, cutting through the already forming crowd, and found out where they were at. Half a dozen dogs in the 12" class and then it was our turn to walk. Ran back to the rally ring and found out they would take people as they showed up. Ran back to my crates and grabbed Leo. I didn't even have a map at this point. I got to the ring and had to run back to my crates to get my number. Whew! Fortunately Leo was handling my craziness well, although when I finally took a minute to work him, his sits were very slow. I was hoping he would be less distracted and better working with me by the time we got in the ring. They had us all set up to go in third.
 Things started out a little nerve-wracking. I was going to try to hold my leash differently with Leo's run and thought I had it loose enough but the judge immediately told me it wasn't. Of course that gave me a case of the butterflies and, after having rushed and rushed and rushed around, it was the last thing I needed. I am pleased to say though, Leo did a bit better than the previous day and while his heeling still needs a lot of improvement, he was quite responsive except his sits. Our final score would have been 95 except I repeated one station. It was a toss-up to repeat it or figure I was "close enough" to the sign to complete it but I felt like the more accurate approach was to step back then move forward and repeat. This cost us a 10 point deduction and a final score of 85. Better than our last run! This completed Leo's Rally Novice (RN) title. I couldn't have been more pleased. This little guy came a long way and the environment was not conducive to relaxing and working together. But he pulled it off and looked happy doing it.

We went and got our picture taken a bit later on the official podium but I also took my own of my little guy, too. He's looking pretty proud.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rose City Classic 2011 - Saturday

Poor Leo, tomorrow night I'll do his blog post first. He gets the short end of the stick, no pun intended, but I'm tired and need sleep. Today was our first day of attending the Rose City Classic and, with good reason, probably the busiest day of all five. Additional details can be read on his sister's blog here, but suffice it to say, we're exhausted and I should have crashed an hour ago.
Leo was entered in rally today and rally tomorrow. My hope is that we can complete his Rally Novice (RN) title at Rose City. It'd be a really great place to get his title, and in many ways a huge compliment to him as to how well he handled the insane environment in comparison to most dog shows.

Here is our course from today:
The course was nice without anything I felt would be too tricky. The hardest part for us is really the quick downs like # 2. But, Leo did well. What I never counted on was him being concerned about the cones. Guess what I'll be picking up in the next couple days? We probably got docked a 10 point fault for repeating a station for #12 because he stopped cold and didn't want to move forward. When I couldn't get him to I stepped back a half step and then got him to move just lightly enough to go into the 270. From there we were done but that combined with not having a nice, tight heel left us with a score of 78. A Q but not what I had hoped considering the course seemed doable with him and the kind of heeling I was getting outside the ring. But then again, it's Rose City AKA chaos central.

No placement but our second leg toward Leo's RN. I was proud of my little guy for his awesome movement, his perkiness, and his quick response to sitting and downs and also not being afraid of the picket fencing around the ring. Every step is in the right direction and tomorrow we get another shot.

Here's a picture from this evening shortly after we got home - tuckered pups.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Foundation Agility, Take Two

We started foundation class again last week. Take two. Why does Leo act a little like he's never done this before? I was truly baffled. I hope the light clicks tomorrow. I think we'll do jump sequences, tunnels, and the dog walk, if memory serves.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011