Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The many faces of DJ

The last class of our 6-week class was last night. There's another session that we didn't sign up for because of the heat and the fact that I'm planning to move in mid-July. It's really hot (and buggy) but we're going to drop in on at least 2 of the 6 classes if there's space.
Deej kicked butt in class last night, he was fired up! It makes me sad to not sign up for the class when he has such a great time.

Monday, June 8, 2009


DJ had a fantastic walk Sunday morning. He was the picture of perfection walking by many dogs -- on narrow sidewalks, no less.

He had many snacks for being such a good man and looking at the approaching dogs calmly and then walking by them. There was one wiener dog, I can't spell daschund whom he did want to have words with but still was pretty low key.

This morning on the beach there was another turtle but by the time I saw it, it was like 7 and we were leaving and it was surrounded by fat people taking pictures with the flash on their little cameras.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


We had class on Monday. Though it was hot, DJ had a great time.

I realized how much he loves agility! He does get burnt out at trials though so I'll take that into account in the future. He's much more reactive by the last day of a trial, frayed nerves and not being able to really relax in his crate I'm sure.

He was thrilled to be back to class and even ignored a sheltie nearly jumping on him. Sheltie was thisclose and he just wanted to run the course. Yay!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Turtle power

I wish my camera was working (needs new battery) and that I carried it around all the time.

The dog beach we visit every morning also happens to be a turtle beach. Big sea turtles visit every spring and summer to lay their eggs, I can't remember if they are loggerhead or leatherback, I have no idea what the difference is but there's a shortage of one or the other. They usually do this in the dark but there are some stragglers who are making their exit as the light comes up. Which is also when we happen to be walking.

DJ always enjoys sniffing along the turtle tracks and sniffing around their nests, he doesn't dig or try to disturb them, just curious. So this morning I noticed some fresh tracks and a new nest as we strolled along the beach, Deej made a beeline for it.

With his tendency towards inconsolable hysterical excitement, it was with some dismay that I saw a turtle making her way back to the ocean just past a slight rise on the beach. I would have seen her sooner had it not been for this damn dune.

I ran after DJ calling him but he caught the scent of turtle and ran ahead of me, just out of grasp as usual. In these circumstances I'm always on the fence about making a diving tackle or just hoping he will remember that he has had some experience with "leave it" and "here." Obviously we need practice with super duper exciting level distractions such as rabbits and turtles…and likely any other novel wildlife…

Soooo he ran screaming up the turtle and circled her barking and lunging. I followed trying to grab him, also screaming, dodging flippers and turtle head as I chased him in a circle. We ran around for a minute and then I thought, ah ha I'll go the other way. But then he reversed course as well. We ran around the turtle for minutes, me desperately trying to grab him…finally, finally he backed off a bit and I was able to grab him and pull him, shrieking, away. I fed him some treats as he looked at the turtle but we were still too close for him to do anything but grab the treats and frantically bark.

Good times… he was pretty tired this morning after the walk and all the excitement. He was back in bed before I even finished breakfast.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Break time

We've done nooooooooooo agility-related fun for 2 weeks now.

Our Monday class is canceled this Monday due to Labor Day so it will be a whole other week before we're back to it. May pop over a couple of times after the holiday weekend to play and refresh some skills – namely contacts.

Nothing serious though, I can barely think of agility without gritting my teeth and pulling my hair. Good times.

Besides just being incredibly annoyed about our last trial, I'm a little concerned. He's not an aggressive dog, he is a bully for sure, insecure and high strung yes but not aggressive and I certainly don't want to him to have a reputation for being one, nor do I want him (or me) to be thought of as a menace.

*Prays to dog-god for Nina Plail sheltie person extraordinaire to decide to answer my puppy pleas!*

I love Deejer though, he's always interesting…I'm sure one day I'll look back on his antics and laugh and say oh that's so DJ.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Our agility season ends with a pfft

DJ will never be a sheltie. He'll never have that sweet, wanting to do a job, ready to rock attitude at all times. I just have to accept that. He will always have a place in his brain just waiting to go monkey-pants crazy at the slightest provocation when I least expect it.

Always when I least expect it, like trying to carry a bunch of stuff and walk him to the car and he'll decide that the person walking by is Up To No Good And Must Be Barked At when he hasn't batted an eye at any person, dog or thing all week.

Or, for instance, at an agility trial upon spying a wiggly golden retriever puppy just outside the ring barrier. Thank my freaking lucky stars it was the kind of plastic lattice barrier not just a strip of tape because puppies make DJ either want to kill or just go bonkers. I need some kind of dog expert to tell me why upon seeing puppies DJ wants to knock them down and nip at them. Go out of his way to do so actually…leaving an agility course we had already NQ'd on to examine the puppy through the barrier.

He was trying to find a way through the barrier and I'm sure going over was next on his agenda when I grabbed him but he has this strong objection to being picked up during agility trials. Similar to wrestling a greased pig, he wiggled out of my grasp and tried to launch him self over my head in a straight upward trajectory, much to the horror of the crowd. Luckily I caught him before he hit the ground and managed to wrestle him out the ring.

I fought the strong inclination to pack up and leave right then but dusted myself off, washed out the lacerations from his evil little claws on the inside of my arm and ran our jumpers course. It went well, we could have easily Qd but I was fried and made some dumb mistakes.

Still fried from the experience actually, between the heat and the sudden burst of craziness, just not feeling like going to our last trial this weekend.

We were signed up for a USDAA trial in Tampa but I've never been there and its 4 hours away and there are chickens and sheep at the venue. Most likely it would be fine. We'd do well, etc. But its also going to be near 90 degrees so I'm officially not going and instead will spend my birthday weekend laying out by the pool, drinking beer maybe and indulging in some candy and cookies.

By the time our next trial comes up I should be recovered.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


What else is there to say except that the A-frame continues to be the bane of my existence?

Sure I have other problems. Debt, an upcoming move…well really just those two. I'm back on a diet, not really a problem actually. Really that's a cause for celebration if I want to fit into my pants without looking like a sausage – and I do.

Back to the A-frame. Instead of leaping into the air from near the top of the A-frame as he was doing when we were trying out running contacts, DJ has now instituted a kind of 4 on the floor style-not-doing-the-right-thing.

He is more likely to touch yellow with this and I would prefer a less strenuous contact performance for the little guy than 2o2o however, his contact behavior has tended to migrate more than anything else we've ever trained or practiced. So for that reason, I have to only reinforce 2o2o, nothing close or approximating. Only one thing.
I think that's where I went wrong initially, just kind of loosey goosey standards like oh well he did touch yellow and now here we are.