Sunday, June 24, 2012

June Trials

June 30-July 1, 2012 - Forest City Trial: 
What a wonderful weekend for my two awesome Boxers.  My boy Keegan did me proud by qualifying in all 4 of his novice P runs with a 1st (std) & 2nd (JWW) on Saturday.  Sunday he got a 2nd (std) and a 1st (JWW).  He seems to be having a great time and he is so much fun to run with.  He is still pretty much a pre-novice dog and we have both have a lot to learn about running with each other but we are getting there.

Kiah is doing so much better at trials then she used to.  She is beginning to show more energy and enthusiasm and I am pleased with her progress.  Saturday she did well, no Q's but I was happy with her runs.  Sunday she qualified in both of her runs with a 3rd in std and a 2nd in JWW.  I was especially happy with her JWW run.  She is still a bit slow on her weaves but at least she is doing them, just have to make them more fun for her again.  Kiah now has 2 legs in both OpenP Std & OpenP JWW.

Our next trial will be the last weekend of July, so we will have some rest time but will continue with our training.

Kiah's videos:

Keegan's videos:

June 23, 2012 - Cudahy Trial - Novice and Open only:
Had so much fun at the Cudahy trial with Kiah and Keegan.  Kiah didn't do so well on her first run (standard), she wanted her toy so when I released her at the start line she took off to get her toy and the judge whistled us off :-(    Keegs did well for his second trial and the first time away from the club. On his standard run, he didn't do the weaves and missed a jump but got all of his contacts.  He had a great time and so did I.

Kiah did so much better on her jumpers run, she had energy and seemed to be enjoying herself more.  No dragging her head or sniffing the ground which is a big improvement for her.  Her video is posted below.

Keegs did the whole JWW course but I am not sure of his time or how many faults he had.  Cudahy only posted the dogs who qualified so I am not sure how close he came.  It was a fun run and I am so proud of him and his progress.

Here is Kiah's run:

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Positively ATTITUDE!

Dog Agility Blog Event Day - June 6, 2012; please visit all the blogs at: (

What I have learned:

Wow, so much has to do with "Attitude" so where do I start?   I guess a good place to start would be a quote; For success, attitude is equally as important as ability.” Harry F. Banks. While it is a great quote, I would change it to "For success in agility a positive attitude is essential".  It is not something which was learned recently or over a period of time, my trainers have always mentioned a positive attitude would be essential to our success as a team.  As with many things in life knowing something and practicing it can often be difficult.

When I first started to write this I had planned on going a different direction, mentioning many things you hear from trainers about keeping a positive attitude, some suggestions on keeping training fun, etc. and did leave some of it at the end of this post.  Then as I was thinking about what else to write I started thinking about all that I had learned about myself and my particular problems keeping a positive attitude.  Figured that maybe others of you had similar experiences and could relate to mine so that is how I ended up with this kind of funky and disjointed post. 

OK, I am going to bare my soul which is very difficult for me.  Please don't think this is an excuse, that I am feeling sorry for myself or don't like who I am.  In fact I do like myself, am happy with the person I have become and proud of the accomplishments in my life.  Just as with many others there are some hurdles which get in the way of staying positive in certain situations.  I am an "introvert", very introverted, probably 27 or 28 "true" responses to the 29 questions of "Are you an Introvert" ( so some things are difficult for me.  I am also a bit shy, not as shy as I was as a child and young adult but still shy in new situations.  I never really read about being an introvert until recently, I always kind of mixed up shyness with introversion and never understood why I was just so down and tired after doing a trial.  Here is a part of a definition about  having an "introvert" personality that opened my eyes and sums up how I feel.

Introverts tend to get their energy from within, so being with people is draining. After a day filled with people or activities, introverts tend to feel exhausted and empty. To recharge their batteries introverts need to be alone reading, daydreaming, painting, or gardening – any solo activity fills them up again. This doesn't mean introverts have to live alone in a cave in the hills or on Walden Pond; they just need quiet time to come back to themselves. (

This is so true for me.  Probably that drain of energy and emotion is communicated to my dogs in those types of situations.  Don't get me wrong, I love being around people especially family, close friends and agility people.  I always look forward to going to trials or would never have continued in agility.  I will admit it is often difficult at a trial to keep myself positive and up even when enjoying myself.  There has to be a lot of agility people who are introverted so if any of you other introverts out there have some tips on how you keep yourself positive please feel free to comment, any suggestions would be appreciated.  OK enough of that, just wanted to point out what I've learned about myself and something which I need to learn to overcome to be successful.

The following are some observations learned while training and helpful hints from others:
I think one of the most valuable lessons I have learned is having fun is contagious.  If I am projecting positive vibes, my boxers will perk up and have fun.  When I see them having fun it pumps me up and we end up having a wonderful time.  I try to keep training sessions short and always finish on a "positive" note.  Don't train the same thing over and over, vary what you are training so it doesn't become boring or frustrating to either of you.  Don't push your dog into something they are not ready to do, give them time to acclimate themselves to a situation before putting them into it.

Things I found I need to work at the hardest:
Stress is just as contagious as having fun; if I see Kiah becoming stressed at a trial I stress more which in turn makes her more stressed.  I have to learn to ignore that stress and just plan to have fun when we run no matter what happens.  Kiah needs a lot of positive praise when running at a trial, I find myself (and others have told me) praising her but not with the enthusiasm that gets her going.  I tend to concentrate on running the course rather than running her and having fun.

I have learned so much from working with Kiah, sadly due to making many mistakes with her.  Hopefully those mistakes will benefit future dogs with my being a more positive and happy trainer.  A trainer that learns to enjoy the experience more and doesn't over think every situation or experience.  Keegan still seems to be enjoying himself at trials although we have only done one so far, he will be doing two trials at the end of June.  Depending on how he does at these two trials will determine whether he will do any others this summer or wait to the club's trial in December.  He will go slowly and not be pushed into situations he is not prepared to handle.  

That is all I have to say for now and I hope you visit the other blogs on "Attitude" and other articles.  I am looking forward to reading them and know I will learn something from each one.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

June Classes

June 18-20, 2012 - Keegs and Kiah classes:
Didn't make it to Keegan's class, had a migraine and it was way to hot to deal with a headache.  Kiah's class was fun, we did several short sequences instead of running a whole course.  It was great for what we are trying to do with Kiah to get her back to enjoying agility more which will hopefully transition to a trial.  She got lots of praise, treat and toy rewards at the end of each sequence. 

June 17, 2012 - Practice session:
My friend met me at the club and we did some short practice sequences with Ky and Keegs.  One person at the end of a line of jumps or contact, calling with lot of praise and treats at the end. Keegs was having a blast and actually did better than Kiah with a line of jumps.  Never thought Keegs would go so fast on the A-Frame that he would miss a contact but he did so we worked on him hitting his contacts. Ran a course at the end but both were tired and hot so we quit. 

June 11 & 13, 2012 - Keegan & Kiah's classes:
With this warm weather, Keegs tires out pretty quickly but he tries and he is making progress each week.  Kiah continues to do really well in class unless I mess up on my handling.  Sometimes I forget to give her precise commands or not early enough as if she can read my mind. She amazes me sometimes and I do think she does read me really well.

June 6, 2012 - Kiah's class:
I have to say she is just awesome in class, if only I can bring just a little of that to a trial we would do so well.  I am working with a trainer on short sequences to get her excited again and I can tell she is having furn.

June 4, 2012- Keegan's class:
Good class last night, started out kind of warm in the building but the AC finally kicked in and it was cool.  Keegs did so well, he is beginning to pick up some speed doing his weaves.  We are doing some distance exercises and he did pretty good.  I am excited to see how he will do in his second trial the end of June.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Web Design

I have been working on starting a web and blog design freelance business.  I am in Information Technology and don't know why I haven't thought about doing this sooner.  It all started when a friend asked me to help update her blog and website, it had been a while since I had done any designing but decided to help her anyway.  It was so much fun and absolutely loved doing it, so much so I wanted to do some more.

My business is called "Fire Dogs Web Design"  after my two boxer's AKC  "Fire" theme names.  I have my domain and a free hosted website which I will use until I finish designing my website and get my logo created.  If you get a chance please visit my blog and website: