Thursday, October 31, 2013

LaMesa Earns Points in Dayton

I think LaMesa likes running in indoor horse arenas--the courses are larger and more spread out, which allows her to really run. She seems more comfortable running on the dirt with her style of running and jumping. I came to this conclusion at the Dayton Dog Training Club's AKC Agility Trial this weekend.

That said, we're still knocking bars. :-( She was perfect on her weaves, though, and I couldn't tell you when the last time was that LaMesa nailed her weaves the first time every time! So, that's one big positive.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any videos from LaMesa's runs on Saturday, but you know how they run from Dally's post and the course maps.

Standard LaMesa ran so well, except she took the 180 after the teeter a little too tight, thus knocking a bar. Everything else was really nice, though. In Jumpers, she knocked a couple of bars, one I think was definitely caused by me being too tight to her on a rear cross--I tend to crowd her too much some times.

Since she knocked the bars, we decided to have a little fun and she ran around the trial rocking her Minion costume. She got a lot of "How adorable!" comments, and I think she enjoyed the extra attention.

Sunday's Standard run:

Everything felt great about this run--I was able to stay with her through the whole course, I didn't make her go too tight in the 180, and she stuck those weave poles. She did start to come off the table a little too early--I figured the judge would call us on it, but he didn't, and I'm so thankful that he didn't because it was LaMesa's second Masters Standard Q with a 2nd place (narrowly getting beat by a speedy Papillon) and 28 MACH points! I was so proud of her!

Sunday's Jumpers run:

This time I wasn't thinking "This could be LaMesa's first QQ" like I did in Tennessee--I just wanted her to run clean and weave again. Unfortunately she knocked a bar towards the beginning…and again it was on a rear cross, but I don't think I was too close to her (was I?). The rest of the course was spot-on and I was proud of her!

Looking at the still photos from the trial, there were quite a few jumps where LaMesa was taking off 2-3 lengths too early, thus starting to come down from her jump arc as she's over the jump. She's literally tucking her butt under her as she's landing to try to avoid hitting the jump. We always knew she was over-jumping and some times jumping too early when she was jumping 12", but I had hoped that she would calm down at 8". Four months of jumping 8" later, she's still jumping around 16" and way too early. It amazes me to think of how fast she really could be running if we cut the extreme height on her jumps to be more efficient.

So now we're working on some jump exercises by Susan Salo that Merinda recommended. I'll do a post on those as we progress. Last night was our first set, and it was a good learning experience for LaMesa.

This weekend we're heading back to Queen City for some more chances. Dally runs so well at Queen City, but it seems to be a little harder for LaMesa. We'll see how it goes!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Double Q Dally in Dayton

This weekend, at the Dayton Dog Training Club's AKC Agility Trial, we saw the return of "Double Q Dally." Dally went 4-for-4 on the weekend, earning QQs #11 & #12 towards her PACH2 and a total of  42 PACH points to go towards qualifying for the 2014 AKC Nationals.

The courses were great--not a lot of traps, but very flowy. It was the type of course I needed to try to get lots of points with Dally, but she wasn't running as fast as I thought she would. The Standard and Jumpers courses allowed me to really work on my blind crosses with Dally. (I even heard, what I'll consider a compliment, when someone said, "There's the queen of the blind crosses." on Sunday.)



Saturday night I gave Dally half of a Traumeel in her dinner, just in case the hard ground made her a little sore (the footing was hard/tightly compact dirt with no give). She didn't show any signs of stiffness or soreness Sunday morning, especially with how cold it was Saturday and still pretty chilly Sunday. I took extra time to warm up Dally more than normal, including a warm-up jump, just to make sure everything was moving well.


I didn't get a full video of our Jumpers run, but let's just say it was rather slow--we only earned 2 points out of that run. I thought she was ready to go, warmed up well and seemed revved up enough at the start line, but then it just sputtered after the first jump. I'm not sure if it was just being sore, tired, or Dally just not feeling it--one never really knows with her.

We have two more weekends to try to get the remaining 91 points for the 2014 AKC National Agility Championships. I've found another trial at the end of November in northern Indiana that I might enter if we can't get those points, but I'm crossing my fingers that Dally's love for Queen City equals lots of points and fast runs for her.

Next up, LaMesa's weekend...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Agility Trial: Dayton Dog Training Club Oct. 26-27, 2013

This weekend the Stump Kids and I bundled up and headed north with Merinda and the Brews Brothers for the Dayton Dog Training Club's AKC Agility trial in Springfield, Ohio. The judges were husband and wife team Jim and Judy Smotrel, who also happen to be the judges Dally got her PACH on almost a year ago. The indoor horse arena's dirt was packed down solid--could make for some slides and some sore puppies. The courses were really nice and flowy, not a lot of hard challenges but a few call-offs.

Here are the courses from the weekend. Like usual, I'll follow up with reviews of Dally and LaMesa's runs on these courses later.



Friday, October 25, 2013

2013 Canine Olympics: Going for the Gold, Silver, & Bronze

This past weekend was the annual Canine Olympics to benefit the Woodford Humane Society. It's a pretty big deal in the canine community in the area because it's always a good time. We spend an entire afternoon outside with our dogs, dog friends, activities, and lots of vendors.

They offer many different events such as Dress Your Dog Dash (start on 1 side of the ring, when they say go you must dress your dog in a shirt, pants, and bandana, then sprint across with your dog wearing everything), straight line dash, frisbee catch, cookie toss, outfield catch (with treats and balls), dancing with the dog stars, agility, and Halloween costume contest.

This year I entered the Stump Kids in four events each. Dally entered the Dress Your Dog Dash 10" & Under, Outfield Catch w/Ball, Cookie Toss 10" & Under, and Agility. LaMesa was entered in Dress Your Dog Dash Over 10", Straight Line Dash Under 16", Most Creative/Homemade Halloween Costume, and Agility.

The first event was the Dress Your Dog Dash. Last year LaMesa won the event when there was only one height division, so I was excited there was two height divisions so I could enter both girls. And...both girls won! Let me tell you, Dally was not too keen on being thrown into a shirt and pants, then being "drug" across the ring. But LaMesa didn't mind it at all! It was fun to sweep the gold medals with the girls.

We went medal-less in the Straight Line Dash (LaMesa was 5th) and Outfield Catch (I did a bad toss to Dally on the second toss, such a bummer since we were silver medalists last year). With LaMesa, I was excited to bring out my Halloween costume I had been working on for a couple of weeks just for her. Matt and I always said we thought LaMesa was the perfect Minion from Despicable Me. So, some t-shirts and a pair of sweatpants later, you have my very own Swedish Minion:

She had some tight competition, with one friend dress her Duck Tolling Retriever into a Duck Dynasty character (she even held a duck call in her mouth):

And then Merinda, the Crafting Queen, with tons of imagination and creativity, came up with a great costume for Porter and Stout:

That's right...Porter and Stout were Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus (without the twerking). Genius!! For better photos of their costume, check out the Brews Brothers Blog. (Thanks to our friend, Jodi, for the above photos.)

The Duck Commander won the silver medal while the Swedish Minion got the bronze! Unfortunately, the grooming job costume you see in the background of the boys' photo won the gold and the boys were gypped out of a medal this year. I think it was maybe too controversial of a costume, or the judge had no clue who they were.

Finally, Dally won the silver in the Cookie Toss 10" & Under (eat as many cookies in 15 seconds as possible), and LaMesa won the silver in the Agility, getting barely beaten by a Border Collie! She handled things really well, considering how much activity she had done before, and how much was going on around us during.

So out of eight events, the Stump Kids brought home five medals: 2 golds, 2 silvers, and 1 bronze

And we celebrated with puppy lattes from Starbucks: 

Overall, it was a great success. The pups had fun and were exhausted by the time we got home, which meant a quiet evening for me!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Deep Dirt Isn't a Corgi's Friend

Have I mentioned that Dally's legs are really like 3-4" tall? And when you add in some deep, heavy red dirt in a horse arena, it makes for slower going than expected. And that's what I ran into with running Dally at the Greater Kingsport Kennel Club trial in White Pine, Tenn. And, of course, Saturday and Sunday was running small to tall, so Dally was the second dog on that deep dirt. While the "small dog people" were walking the Standard course, we were really trying to walk the dog's path so we could try to pack down the dirt. While it didn't seem to affect LaMesa much, it did affect Dally.

In Standard, Dally handled the course like a rock star. I tried to keep her as tight for the wraps as possible to save precious seconds. I run so much more relaxed with Dally than LaMesa, and you can tell in this run. She ended up winning this with 11 PACH points (not as much as she normally can get in Standard).

We didn't get a video of our Jumpers run (Jodi was running immediately after me with Maya as the first 8" and I didn't want her to stress about it), but we were clean. I felt like she ran it pretty well and maybe a little faster than her Standard run. However, she stopped the clock at 54.43 and the SCT was 54--a Q and first place, but no PACH points. That was a bit of a bummer. Oh well, QQ #10 for PACH2.

Sunday's Standard course was very doable for me and Dally, but I mishandled the flip off the dog walk into the first tunnel, causing her to come off and wonder where I wanted her to go next (I swear my toes and body was facing that tunnel opening). I think Laura English was thinking real hard about raising her hand...and I wish she hadn't. :-( A refusal knocked out a possible Q. But, I was proud of how I handled the double blind cross at the beginning--I'm getting more and more comfortable using those with Dally and they work.

Again in Jumpers, no video, but we attacked it with gusto--I wanted to go balls to the wall to try to get some more points. I figured we didn't have a QQ on the line, but I wanted points. I handled that tight wrap with Dally like how I handled LaMesa, with a blind and then a wrap to the triple before the weaves and it worked again. This time we came out of there with a Q and 9 points.

I went into this trial hoping for a good amount of points for AKC Nationals, so I was disappointed to only get 20 total with Dally. I know, any points and any QQs are great...I just need to cool it with my expectations. We have 133 more points to get for AKC Nationals and three weekends to do it (starting with this coming weekend), so we'll just keep plugging through, keeping those tight wraps and running for fun and speed, and see where we sit in a few weeks...

Monday, October 21, 2013

Vallhund's First MACH Points!

I'm sorry this is a week late, but I'm finally writing the wrap-up from the Greater Kingsport Kennel Club AKC Agility Trial in White Pine, Tenn., the weekend of Oct. 12-13.

We'll start with LaMesa and her exciting first day. The Standard course had it's hard parts, but was doable. I just wanted LaMesa to listen to me through the whole thing, and she did! She had a beautiful running contact on the dog walk, wrapped nicely around the jump after the A-frame, and kept up with her rhythm through the weave poles. On the third to last jump I heard her hit it and was so disappointed if she knocked the bar, but luckily I looked back after we finished the run and saw it was still up. Yay! We ended up winning the 8-inch Regular and getting our first MACH points together--23 points!

Going into our Jumpers run, I was fighting back thoughts of "Could we get our first QQ today?" That type of thinking always comes back to bite me in the butt. I just have this fear it will be years before LaMesa and I can put together two consistent, clean runs in one day.

I walked this Jumpers course different ways for LaMesa, but I felt comfortable with the opening moves. I don't know why she popped out after the tenth pole--both of our paces were even. The rest of the course was nice--I was even able to get in a blind cross! Minus the knocked triple and the missed last jump (no clue why she does that every once in a while). I twisted my ankle at the last jump, which made my movements awkward, but that was after she missed the jump.

As good as our Standard run was on Saturday, it wasn't as good on Sunday. I don't have the video, but she started off so riled up and crazy! She took the first few jumps, then the table instead of the weaves. Then she popped out of the weaves again. After that, she was good--nailed a tight flip from the dog walk into the tunnel.

Jumpers I thought we could get more points here. There was so many ways I could have handled jumps 4-6 (rear crosses, multiple fronts, ketschker, blinds) but I loved the way I handled that segment with Dally, so I did the same with LaMesa. Unfortunately, she knocked #6 from being too tight I think. But she nailed her weaves and everything else, so I had to be happy with that run. I had hoped we'd be just as lucky with that jump as we were in standard on Saturday with that jump, but, nope, it was on the ground. Oh well.

I was happy with how LaMesa handled the deep dirt on Saturday. She seems to really excel in horse arenas such as this, compared to the smaller rings at Queen City. We're still melding as a team, but I'm happy we now only have 726 MACH points (and 20 QQs) to go! Hahaha

Next time, we'll wrap up Dally's weekend through the deep red dirt...

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Agility Trial: Greater Kingsport Kennel Club AKC

This weekend the Stump Kids and I loaded up with Jodi, Dezi, and Maya and headed south for a weekend in the Great Smokey Mountains and some AKC agility!

Our judges were Laura English and Donna Dombourian and the trial took place in an indoor horse arena. Saturday the ground was very deep, and with the small dogs going first it was hard to get much speed. 

Here were our courses from the weekend: 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Stump Kids' New Kitty

Last month we adopted a cat. It happened a little earlier than we expected–Matt and I had talked about the possibility, but we figured his cat, Sean, was happier on his own. After weeks of him meowing a lot, being needy, and basically starting to act like the dogs, we figured maybe he was lonely for some feline company.
I started volunteering at the Woodford Humane Society in Versailles earlier this summer, so I was basically already scoping out all the cats. We knew we wanted to get an adult (did you know that adult/senior animals are the hardest to adopt out?), and that the cat had to be alright with playful dogs and other cats, of course. See, our two dogs definitely love to play, whether it’s with us or the cats, so the cat has to be alright with that.
So we checked the online posts to narrow down the cats we wanted to see in person, then spent an hour or so at the humane society loving on all of the finalists and trying to decide who we liked. We purposely did not bring a carrier with us because we wanted to sleep on it and come back later. If we had had the carrier then, we probably would have made a quick decision–not good.
After a couple of days of thinking and talking it over, we went back to the humane society with two possible contenders in mind. Welcome Sarabi to our family: 
Yeah....she's a happy girl.
She’s a big sweetheart with the littlest “mew” voice. Her name, Sarabi, is Swahili for “Mirage” and is also the name of the mother lion on The Lion King (I couldn’t even recall her name!).
Caught her red-pawed in Matt's drawers.
She gets along well with Sean–we’ve caught them playing every once in a while. Her favorite hiding spots are under the beds, and she loves sitting in the open windows. (We have no clue how she’ll act when we actually have to close the house back up when it gets cold.) Though she doesn’t care much for the dogs…yet. She’s not really scared of them, just tries to ignore them for the most part. She teases LaMesa a lot to get her to chase her, but then LaMesa ends up being the one in trouble. Poor dog.

This is the first animal I’ve adopted from a humane society–all of my previous animals have been barn cat rescues, or from a breeder. But we definitely feel good with our decision.

Any tips on blending new cats with the old dogs?

Friday, October 4, 2013

Fat Corgis: Do You Have One?

In late September The Daily Corgi posted a great blog post by Vicki Combs, director of the Arizona Cactus Corgi Rescue. It was on managing weight in your Corgi. And it was spot on.

I encourage you to read the blog post here: Weighty Matters: The Skinny on Fat Corgis

This strikes home with me, not only because I have a Corgi, but because I'm always battling a weight issue personally, as well as with my dogs and other loved ones. I'm fortunate enough to fully understand what excess weight can do to any animal--Corgi or human--and try my best to prevent that from happening.

I am constantly watching Dally's weight. She gets a 1/2 cup of food at night, a "small sprinkle" in the morning, and maybe one small chewie a day (though most times LaMesa steals her chewies). Treats in our house mean a little cat food first thing in the am (whatever falls to the ground when we're feeding the cats), small cookies when we leave the house, and plate licks after dinner. However, both girls are very active, with 1.5-2 mile walks every morning, maybe another walk in the evening, agility practice, and lots of play time in the house.

Walking is one of the best ways to keep your Corgi fit and trim, and you, too!
(Special appearance by another fit Corgi, Porter!)

With LaMesa, I always worry she's too skinny, so she gets about a 1/4 cup food for breakfast and a full cup for dinner. The pup just keeps going, so it's like she has a non-stop metabolism! Dally's not as lucky, and I know that, so she's always on diet watch.

If I ever feel like maybe Dally's still hungry, I'll add some canned veggies to her meal. I hadn't thought about canned pumpkin, but after reading this blog post, I will now! It took Dally a while to be OK with having something added to her food, but now I think she thinks it's a special treat.

It's always funny when people put their hands on Dally because I know she looks like she can be a little hefty, but it's mostly fluff! If you get through her thick undercoat and feel, you can feel her ribs just fine. (I tried to find a photo I've taken of Dally during a bath to show what she looks like underneath her coat, but I've deleted them all, unfortunately!) Her weight fluctuates around 24 pounds for the most part.

Multi-tasking: Lunging your horse & Corgi for exercise...

Laurie later posted a Q&A with Vicki with some of TDC's readers' questions, so definitely give it a read: Winning the Weight Game: Q & A with Vicki Combs

How do you keep your dog (Corgi or not) in shape and ready for action?

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Proud Vallhund

LaMesa poses with her AKC Agility Excellent & Agility Excellent Jumpers certificates.