Thursday, December 4, 2014

Fit dog Friday

I wanted to share a little strengthening exercise I have been trying to do with Indigo about two or three times per week. I use her kibble (Acana Pacifica at the moment) and do it in the mornings before work. I made it up so don't take my word for anything!
To start, kneel down and bend one leg up so your dog can crawl under it. Lure them under with one piece of food and then toss a second piece a bit further so they go all the way through and stand up. Show them another piece and lure them the other direction and repeat! If they don't want to go all the way through at first, just be patient and give lots of rewards for each attempt at going under further and further. Some dogs aren't comfortable with crawling under your leg like that.
I have her do about 10 repetitions back and forth and then walk around a minute and then another 10 or so.
If you have bare floors like we do I think it's nice to use a rug or a dog bed for your dog to crawl on so it's not so hard on their elbows.
I feel it strengthens her hind leg muscles.
A video:

Happy Fit dog Friday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Last AKC show of the year

Earlier in October we ran in our last AKC trial for the year. I do believe we are improving! We did three days total and came away with one qualifying Open Fast run and one Q in Excellent Standard. That Standard run didn't make it onto the video camera, sadly.

Indigo had a grand time.

She only appeared to be possessed in a few of the photos. See the drool?

Here is a just one "little" (ok, pretty large) thing Standard run that I was happy with other than how aweful she was at the start line, arguing with me about the stay. The error was taking the tunnel after the first few jumps and I am not sure how she saw that as an option!

She kept more bars up than she has in the past. And hopefully I am learning to run her better so she CAN keep the bars up!

Fat tail.

Here is a Novice Jumpers run in which I clearly called "come" in time, don't you think? We've been practicing coming sooner! She does try really hard to go the way I want her to it's just so hard when she just wants to stretch out and go as fast as she can. We almost had this one!

We get to do a Nadac trial this weekend. Can't wait to TUNNEL!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2014


Today we competed in a frisbee show. People lined both sides of the throwing area. Teams were given three throws and dogs were judged based on distance and style. We failed! I just couldn't throw straight enough for her to catch it correctly. Three throws, three non catches. It was fun though!

After we competed I threw the frisbee for her off to the side to burn off some more steam and to remind myself that I CAN throw straight when no one is watching.
Our awesome cousins took these pictures for us.


Fun day!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

a camping trip

For my birthday, my husband, brother in law and I went camping last weekend. We backpacked in about an hour to a lake called Grass Mountain Lake and stayed one night. Wish we had time to spend longer! Indigo had a little bit of fun, Rye stayed home.

On the way up the mountain Indi was partially on leash, partly off.

At one point she stopped along the trail and then dashed into the bushes. Out flew five big grouse! She was super excited about this. She really is very "birdy" she just isn't as rangy as a pointing type dog. I am used to a Vizsla hiking with me who wants to search all up and down the mountain sides for birds and squirrels. Indigo stays much closer. Like there is hardly ever a time that I have to call her to me since she is already right there. I do miss watching Amber cover ground with Rye behind her but also, this is very nice. I like having her close.

Once we got to our campsite and unpacked I got out her toy.

There was no stopping the beast.

No stopping, throw it again.

But Indigo, you MUST be tired now! I want to sit and read by the lake!

Can't have toy, guess I'll settle for wood....

and rolling around....

FINALLY wet and tired....

and ready for bed...

In the morning we played around a little before packing everything back up. She loves running from Jason to me and back again. At full speed.

Us at the lake.

Friday, July 11, 2014

like running agility with a rabid moose

Ok, I give up, we're never going to be very successful in agility! But oh, I don't think I'm ready to give up trying yet. She is just so dang fun!

We've been to several trials with not too many Qs (like one) to show for them. I think I have maybe possibly finally convinced her to stop on the yellow zone.

We still have start line stay issues. In class we work very hard on the stay, lots of rewards for staying, with me trying to be very careful to only release her while I'm standing perfectly still so as not to cue her in any other way that I"m about to release her. In the ring it's just so different. She is RABID I tell you! I am very hopeful as of the last trial since I was able to get her to stop on the contacts and wait for direction, but the start line is still not like it is in training.
Last month we traveled with a friend to Blackfoot Idaho, a town formed entirely by wind. I was cheap and dumb and suggested we camp on the agility site instead of paying for a hotel. That was two crazy nights in a tent where the wind blew non stop the whole time and the tent walls took turns blowing against each other throughout the night. Indigo was SO good and just curled up at my side after I zipped us in each night. Here we are with our spot for the weekend. I actually really really enjoyed the time spent with my dog, my friend, sharing food, exclaiming about the wind, the lightning, the adventure....

The last run of the day on Saturday (our last day in Blackfoot) was a Jumpers course. Indi knocked one bar but ran so fast and was so responsive. I figured it was something close to a 6 yards per second run. Gosh that was exciting. 

The last AKC trial of the summer for us we did have a small but thrilling success. We got our very first qualifying score on a Jumpers with Weaves course!
Oh if only they could all go this smoothly!
Here it is.

and a One Knocked Bar Excellent Standard run that I thought was pretty good and wished we could have a do over on.

I wouldn't trade my rabid moose for a whole herd of border collies with perfect start line stays! Eh, I AM a bit jealous of them :)  I know, I know, I had better get to training and stop complaining!


All photos (except for us and the big tree, that was taken by our friend Kimbra) taken by Randy Gaines, agility show photographer extraordinaire!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Rally-O in May

Yesterday Indi and I competed in our second Rally obedience trial together. It went pretty well! She wasn't 100% focused on me but I'd say she did very well overall. There were two trials in one day and we qualified in both of them earning our Rally Novice title.
The first run she was a little distracted but still payed close enough attention to me to get through. I decided to re do one station since she surged ahead when I stopped and I knew we could do better. We ended up with a score of 83 out of 100 and a second place.
My husband was nice enough to come watch and film us. At the 28 second mark you can see when Indi noticed her Daddy on the sidelines.

The second run seemed a little more together. We scored an 86 out of 100 and another second place. I debated re doing the very last station since she sat crooked in front of me and wasn't paying attention but decided to let that one go. Also, I totally didn't realize until watching these videos that on the figure 8 exercise I crossed the middle line four times instead of three, on both runs!

I have tried hard to only use force free training with her, using a tug toy, ball or food as a reward in training and I think the excitement of training together has transferred well into the ring.  The few times she decides to sniff or do her own thing instead of work with me I either start again or just stop training. I don't know how well it will work when she is off leash for Rally Advanced but we will see!

I was very proud of my dog! I love my Indigo!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Agility in February

Another trial over and done. Indi and I did two days last weekend and had lots of fun together. It wasn't the most successful of trials but I came away knowing exactly what I want to work on.
We started with Novice FAST. We didn't get the distance challenge so did not qualify but got to work the a-frame contact twice which was nice. Need to work on taking the jump out of a tunnel no matter how far away I am!
Then we ran in Open Standard and qualified meaning we got our title! It wasn't a perfect run but she did hit a really nice hard weave entry easily. We need to work on running straight to the table and getting on it without doing anything in between!
Her pretty title ribbon.

I have to laugh. We still don't have any qualifying legs in Novice Jumpers! Even so, this run was my favorite of the whole weekend. Just that one silly bar!

On Saturday we ran in Excellent Standard for our first time. Fun! Need to work on giving earlier cues so she knows she is taking THAT jump and THAT jump before she has already passed it! Oh and staying on the table.
Here is our first try at Excellent Standard, just for fun! Not really sure why the last two jumps didn't work out.

Here is a picture of our title with Judge Lavar Griffin. Fun trial!

photo by Randy Gaines

Love my baby girl!

photo by Randy Gaines

Sunday, February 16, 2014

V day and Rye's Birthday!

On Friday Rye turned 13 years old! Sadly for him it also happened to be an agility trial for Indi and I so we didn't get to plan anything fun. He did get a special dinner though!
I took these pictures earlier this week.

My sweet sweet boy. All Rye wants is to make us happy. That is all he has ever wanted. And please please don't make too much noise!

and food! Give him lots of yummy food and he is a happy boy. He may bite your fingers when taking an item from your hand but he does not feel guilty about that.

And please remember to share the toy throwing with him! He may decide after you throw whether or not he will go after it but that is ok!

I took Indi to a skate park down town for some interesting backdrops and I really like how these came out! I got these before the teenagers appeared with their skateboards and took over the park.

I feel so lucky to have my Rye dog so healthy and youthful still! What a wonderful dog you are. Love you Rye!!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

barks and recycling!

Here and there I make dog collars. I go to thrift stores and buy neat belts and then turn them into a collar. I thought it would be fun to share the process!
Here is a belt I bought recently. Man made material but still sturdy enough to last for quite a while or until I decide I want a new one!

The buckle that comes on the belt usually isn't what I want so I shop at our local leather supply store for a new one. I like the kind with the cross bar in the center. This belt actually had a buckle similar to what I like but just not very sturdy looking so I still replaced it.
First thing, measure your dog's neck and then measure the belt. It took me a few tries to get the exact length I like with enough to spare but not too much. Cut the belt to your desired length, with the end of the belt being the end of the dog collar.

Next I use a little tool I bought at the leather store to punch an oblong hole in the center, about three inches from the end of the "start" of the collar with the rubber mallet. I work on a wooden cutting board. This will be where you slip the buckle part through. Make sure to leave room for the D ring to be attached next.

Next, take your leather hole punch (also bought at the leather store) and set it on the smallest punch. Punch two holes right up near the center bar of the buckle, in line with each other. Put your rivets in place on either side of the folded belt. Set one rivet in place on top of the plate of the rivet thingy then put the rivet rod on top and using your rubber mallet, pound a few times to set the rivet. Do the same for the other rivet. I found that pounding the rivets in works best if you set the whole thing right at the edge of the cutting board or else the buckle gets in your way.

Hole punch, rivet rod and rivet plate thingy

My cat Rivet.

D rings come in many sizes of course. I always take my belt in with me to make sure I get the right size buckle and D ring.
Slide your D ring onto the collar from the end and in between the pieces of belt, right up next to the rivets you just placed. Punch two more holes on the opposite side of the D ring to secure it. Rivet that into place.

And then you're done! I usually pick belts that have a nice finished end to them, and I especially like the ones that have the eyelet pieces to protect the adjustment holes. This belt already had the eyelets. If it doesn't that is fine too and you might have to punch additional holes to fit your dog's neck just right. If the end is too long you can always cut some off and burn it but I try not to since I think it looks better before cutting it. It's easier to just make sure it is the exact right fit before starting.

The finished collar.

Hope this is useful to someone! It's a fun craft and I think my favorite part is looking through all the belts at the second hand store and picturing them as dog collars.