Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Continue to learn

Today is another Dog Agility Blog Event Day - December 3, 2014; please visit all the blogs at: (  Also please leave comments, we all enjoy hearing what you have to say.

Continuing education is a process, is it better to try new things or is is better to stay with what you know?  With all the changes in agility, obedience and rally I feel it is necessary to continue to learn.  What you learn may not work with your team but it may give some different ideas or bits of what you learn may help to make you a better team.  If you don't continue to learn you can become stagnant, not able to handle the new course layouts and possibly continue to make the same mistakes you are making as you trial.

How do you continue to learn?  Take seminars, listen to your instructors, talk to people at trials, watch and listen to others and be open to new ideas.  Some things you may want to change others maybe not.  Don't try something one time and say it doesn't work for you; you and your team mate need a chance to learn it together to truly test it.  Don't continue to jump from one new idea to another it will end up being too confusing to both you and your dog.

As I progress in my agility career what I find most important to learn about are my dogs; why they do the things they do, what motivates them and how do I best communicate to them. All three of my Boxers are so different but also alike in many ways.  I made so many mistakes with my first agility dog and do not want to repeat those.  The best way to do that is to continue to learn, understand and be the best team mate on the other side of the leash.

Thanks for visiting and please remember to visit the other blogs, I am!!!! 

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Nov. - Dec, 2014

December 27-29, 2015 (Thors 3rd AKC trail)
Had a great time at the Doberman Pincher Club of Milwaukee in Oshkosh for their 3-day trial.  Thor was silly zoomer during our T2B runs but I was using them to help settle him down, he is wild when he first gets out there.  He qualified in Std with 85 points (1 W & 2 R) but still under time for his first leg in AKC, I am so proud of him.  We had some great and not so great moments the rest of the weekend but I am so happy with how he is coming along.

December 17, 2015
This weekend Thor will be doing agility at the Tree Town Boxer Club trial, I will be working since I am a member but hope to have time to work with him before we run.  I entered him in T2B so he isn't sitting and waiting until the novice classes.  Keegs and Kiah are staying home with my great-nephew who will be house sitting for me since they are not entered.  They will have way more fun with him instead of sitting in crates all day at the trial.  Thor may be a bit lonely but he will be fine.

Tonight we go to class, our last training session before the trial.  I hope each week I get more focus than the previous week.  Eventually we will get it and become a team, just can't push him too fast and make it stressful.  We need to have fun!

December 3, 2015
Thor is in the advanced dog class, Diane Sanders & Beth Diehl are the instructors. Diane is allowing him to come to class.  I don't really have Thor's focus yet so they will be helping me with that.  We are doing partial courses so as not to be too hard and discouraging for him.  So happy, they are the best

December 1, 2014
November is gone and now it is already December.  I am so not ready for winter, the cold, snow and ice make it difficult to get to the places that are not local.  Good thing trials in this area are inside year round.

Thor had his first CPE and AKC trials during November.  CPE started out wonderfully, he got a first place in Full House but something freaked him out during our Standard run and we didn't do well at all.  In Jumpers he was still really uncomfortable so not so well in that class either.  We will be doing an AKC trial at the same place later this month and I hope he doesn't remember that he was afraid there.

The AKC trial was at the club where we train and he is very comfortable there so I got a lot of zooms, not Kiah type of zooms but lose focus and run off type of zoom.  We will be training hard on focus this month before his next trial.

I would like to do an obedience trial late January so we have to work harder on obedience too.

More later.......

Monday, September 22, 2014

Sept-Oct. 2014

It's not October yet, but so close I thought I will probably only get this post in before it's here and not much has been going on except a trial last weekend and another coming up this weekend.  Kiah and Keegs were a bit goofy during their runs at the trial most probably because we haven't been to a trial in a while and haven't been to classes in a couple of weeks.  I wasn't at my best either but we did have some great courses and lots of fun running them. 

Going to start Thor in AKC at a Match in Oct and a trial in late Nov. if he does well at the match.  I am nervous and excited to start running with him.  My biggest concern is the noise and commotion close to the start line, he get very nervous. I plan to take him up to the running area this coming weekend to see if I can get him used to it and calm him down.  More later......

October 24-26, 2014 -Kiah is retiring, she has had enough of agility trial stress so we will stick to classes, tracking and the fun things she loves.  I think Keegs is going thru his second childhood, he has a blast this weekend running around the courses doing his own thing.  Maybe it is the chillier weather but he sure is feisty.

Thor had his match on Sunday, what a fun, fun time running him. He did really well, there are things we need to work but we are beginning to read each other. It was a small match so not a lot of people or noise; Thor did so well with meeting new people and being friendly. Not a huge step but an improvement and I am so happy with it.  Pulled out of a trial with Kiah and Keegs so entered a CPE trial that weekend with Thor to give him a bit more experience before the larger AKC trial in late November.

October 12, 2014 - More training at the club today, it was a fun course that was left up from the run-thru on Friday.  Thor and I also did two runs during the run-thru, he did pretty well but not as much attention as I would prefer plus he kept going too fast and slid off the table.  Have to use "easy" with him like I did with Kiah.

Keegs and Kiah got to run at the course too on Sunday.  Kiah ran with a friend and I have asked her to run Kiah at an upcoming trial to see if I can get her out of her funk.  I think she is feeling better, hopefully the supplements are helping her with the arthritis in her ankles.

Thor pounds the a-frame when he gets on so I put a hoop to teach him to run it from the bottom.  I am hoping that will help. The club has only 1 so we ran it both ways so he can get his contact too.  Really pleased with his progress but still have a lot of work to do before we communicate really well.

October 5, 2014 - Thor and I did some training at the club today.  No course was setup but someone had setup some jumps; a line of 5 and a pinwheel with 3 jumps.  The a-frame with a tunnel underneath and the dog walk with a tunnel were still there from the Wednesday class.  There were also weaves set off by themselves.  It worked out extremely well, much better than I had expected.  Learned that I need to give Thor signals earlier for turns; he is starting to understand "go" to continue to the next obstacle and "out" to go out to a jump that is out of line.  We worked on front crosses, rear crosses and even did a "Ketschker" which he read like a pro.  I offset the jumps to make them more difficult and worked tunnel entrances.  So proud of him during the training session but still need to work with him on focus when we first start training.  Once he settles down he is great.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Hmmm! Training...not agility

Today is another Dog Agility Blog Event Day - Sept. 4, 2014, today's topic is "Outside The Ring". Please visit all the blogs at: ( the Ring/).  It would be wonderful if you made a comment on each of the blogs you read, we all enjoy hearing what you have to say.

Previous to this past year I have pretty much only done agility training except for a little obedience training here and there. With my new puppy Thor, still calling him a puppy even though he is almost 20 months old, I have been working more in obedience, teaching him tricks and also starting some core strengthening and rear end awareness exercises.  Kiah and Keegs will also be doing the core strengthening which I feel is especially important now that they are both 8 years old.

In everyday life, I suppose the other things I do is to try my best to keep them healthy, active and happy.  Good food, exercise, and a lot of love.  I try to have one-on-one time with each dog so they don't feel left out.  OK, maybe that is equating them with human emotions but that is how I think they feel so I am good with that.  There is nothing worse than the sad, poor me look of a Boxer when they feel sad. 

They learn if they finish their food early they do not get to try to eat from another bowl until that dog is finished.  They stay in a down until their food is prepared, put down and they are released.  They have to work (sit, down, do a trick) for any treats they get.  Just everyday manners that will help when around other dogs at trials.

I am looking forward to reading what others are saying,  I am sure I will learn so much, probably find some wonderful ideas to add to my things to do "Outside the ring"

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August ALREADY!!!!!!

I can't believe it is almost the middle of August already.

Kiah, Keegs, Thor and I have been keeping up classes, some agility and some obedience trails the last couple of months.  Not much to report in agility for Kiah and Keegs but we have only done a couple of trials and won't be doing more until mid-September. Thor is continuing with his classes in agility and obedience each week so he has been busy too.

Kiah and Thor have been doing a bit of obedience/rally each month. Thor has his RN title and two legs in beginner novice in obedience.  We did try RA and regular novice but he is not ready for off leash, still too distracted by what is going on outside the ring.  Kiah got her RN & RA titles but we will stick to Advanced for a while, I have to learn the different signs for Rally Excellent.  She also got her beginner novice title at Tree Town Boxer Clubs/Midwest Boxer Club Ob/Rally trial, it was a special moment for us with a beautiful Title ribbon from Midwest Boxer Club.  Thor was mesmerized by all of the Boxers.  Wonderful fun trial for all of us.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

What a day!!!!!!

I am beyond ecstatic, Thor and Kiah did so well June 15 at the North Shore Club Obedience and Rally trial in Libertyville, IL. They both got legs in their Rally classes in spite of mess ups from me.  Kiah now has 2 legs in Rally Advanced A and Thor got his 7th leg in Rally Novice.  Next trial Thor will be entered in Rally Advanced.

Now the awesome news; Thor got a 198 in Beginner Novice A for his first leg with a first place.  He was just so awesome especially the healing and figure 8.  It should be his second leg but the judge at the last trial called the second recall an NQ but I found out later that it was allowed.  I am sure he would have qualified though, it was still a good practice.  I was just so excited I was in LaLa land so when he said Kiah was second place I truly zoned out, so much so that I don't recall if he said a 197 or a 196.  Either way I was so happy.  There were only 4 dogs in the class, all qualified so everyone got a placement which was great.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Success-"What, who said we failed"

Today is another Dog Agility Blog Event Day - June 4, 2014; please visit all the blogs at: (  Also please leave comments, we all enjoy hearing what you have to say.

If success means getting a lot of Q's then I guess you can say we (Kiah, Keegs and me)  are failures. If success means we continue to learn and grow then we are becoming more successful all the time.

Each person's measurement of success will be different.  I have learned a lot from one of my instructors about mental attitude, setting obtainable goals and keeping a positive attitude. She turned me on to Lanny Bassham's "With Winning in Mind" a set of CD's that give you a program to a positive mental management system. I have been listening to these CD's a lot lately, it makes me think about how negative attitudes, negative comments I make about my performances or setting goals too high can spiral into continued failures which then become the norm. 

When I am complimented on a run, even though I am pleased at the compliment I have a tendency to mention what went wrong rather than just saying thank you. What I am doing is reinforcing negatives rather then celebrate the positives. I do compliement others on their runs and plan to do it more often which will build a positive attitude in myself and hopefully others.

Lately my goal has been to relearn how to have fun with my dogs (and them with me), not to take agility, obedience or rally so seriously and to celebrate the very small successes. Slowly but surely this is beginning to happen; I am more excited about going to trials and enjoying myself more while I am there.  If we never Q, but have a blast working as a team I will consider myself the most successful handler there. If in the process we do get a Q, it will be icing on the cake. 

I am a great handler who has fun with her dogs, brings out the best in them while they have fun. That is like me! (a part of a directive affirmation statement....).

May-June 2014

Thor and Kiah had Ob\Rally trial on May 31st.  They both did really well; Thor got another leg in Rally Novice B and almost got a leg in Beginner Novice A but I had to call him a 2nd time on the recall which was an automatic NQ.  Up until that point he did awesome.  Kiah lagged a bit in Rally Advanced A but ended up with a 94 which gave her a first place.  In beginner novice A she got her first leg (3rd) with an 189.5.  It was a wonderful day.

No agility trials in May but will be doing some Rally & Obedience with Kiah and Thor.  We are continuing agility classes. Thor and I will also be doing some private lessons with our obedience instructor to get him ready for Novice Obedience at my club (Tree Town Boxer Club) trial in early August.  In the mean time we will be doing some Beginner Novice practice at trials.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March, April 2014

April 18-20 - Greater Milwaukee Doberman Club Trial-
Another set of great courses and great judges, had a wonderful time.  Kiah did get her first Q in Master Preferred Jumper and 1 PACH point on Saturday. We are just getting together as a team after some really bad ring stress so I am extremely pleased.  Keegs was his happy goofy self and we had fun running but no Q's for him. Kiah didn't run on Sunday, jammed her toe the night before and was limping so let her rest so she could heal.

April 12-13 - Medallion Rottweiler Club Trail-
A fun trial with really great courses and judges.  We had more good things then bad but no Q's for either Keegs or Kiah.

March 29 - Lakeland Dog Training Club Rally Trial-
Kiah got her Rally Novice title and 4th place with an 89.  I lost her 10 points by forgetting a halt at one of the stations, didn't even realize it until someone told me when we finished. Doesn't matter, I know she was fabulous.

Thor got his 5th leg with a score of 88, we are still having issues with fronts and finishes, he doesn't want to turn his back on things.  Will continue to build his confidence.

March 22-23 - WAG Agility Trial - 
Keegs ran on Saturday, we had fun but no Q's.  Keegan and I need to connect more.

Kiah ran on Sunday, we qualified and Kiah got her Excellent Title in JWW.  The Standard run was not so good but we can only take baby steps to get her back on track.

Palmer's Flirting With Fire (Kiah)
    JWW-EX-PRE - 20 Inch - Judge: Christie Bowers
    Distance: 160 yards - SCT: 50 seconds
    Score: 100(Q) - Time: 45.48 seconds - 1st place

March has been a busy month, we had our club's 3-day agility trial (March 7-9).  As always it was fun but busy.  Kiah and Keegs ran, no Q's but with some good things in each run.  Friends ran Kiah on Sunday to see if we can get her to feel less stress in a trial environment.  I stress her terribly, she is so afraid she will make a mistake and does not feel that pressure when others run her.  She did zoom with Renee but came right back to her and ran the rest of the course.  When Diane ran her, Kiah did not watch her as she should have but that was the first time Diane had run her in a trial.


March 15 - Badger Dog Club Rally Trial I & II
Thor got his title with a score of 93 in the first trial.  Handler error and a nervous puppy got us a score of 81 for the second trial.

Kiah got her first leg with a score of 96 in the first trial.  Second leg in the second trial with a score of 83; 10 points off due to the handler not noticing on the last station her elbows were not touching on the down. Kiah did have fun and was not stressed, her tail was up the entire time :-)

Really proud of both of them.  Keegs hates Rally so he was cheerleader and supporter for Thor and Kiah.

March 16 - USDAA trial at Forest City.
I entered because one of my trainers, Diane Sanders said she would run Kiah for me.  Had a great time and Diane did really well with Kiah.  Here is the video of her running Kiah in Jumpers.  First place in 20" performance, 24.38 seconds. jumpers.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Puppies - So much fun???

Today is another Dog Agility Blog Event Day - March 5, 2014; please visit all the blogs at: (  Please leave comments, we all enjoy hearing what you have to say.

I am not sure there is a perfect way to begin training a puppy since each puppy will bring with them positives and challenges. It also depends on the age you get your puppy and what if anything the breeder has done with the puppy prior to picking them up. To me building a bond, socialization, basic obedience and introducing them to all kinds of sounds, environments and situations is key. Starting them slowly on equipment, not pushing them too quickly and keeping it fun is also important.  

I picked up my new puppy in late May, 2013 when he was 4.5 months old.  I had planned on getting a puppy in the fall so was looking at breeders when I met Diesel at Boxer Nationals and feel in love with him.  I renamed him Thor when he came home to live with me shortly after Boxer Nationals.  He has excellent breeding, both champions and performance dogs in his bloodlines.  I am not an expert but many have told me he is structurally sound which was very important to me as I plan to do many performance venues with him.

Shortly after he came home I realized he is extremely shy around total strangers, had a hard time with loud noises in an agility trial environment and new places.  He is slowly coming around but even now at almost 14 months he is still shy in new situations and with new people.  He does believe that every dog he sees is there to play with him and is not good at reading body language from other dogs who aren't happy with an exuberant puppy around.

So with Thor one of the most important things was to start building his confidence and desensitizing him to the things that bothered him before doing a lot in agility or obedience. I took him to agility trials, to visit family and friends, in stores where dogs were allowed and walks until the weather got too cold. 

Over the summer with the help of a trainer friend we started getting him used to agility equipment, sometimes we would train at her home where they had all of their equipment lowered for their puppy and at the club where he was comfortable.  Thor has been in obedience classes since fall, we did two Rally trials in January, so proud of him he got both legs with a 95 & a 94.  He did much better in a new environment then I expected.  In March we will be doing our first structured agility class plus he will be starting a second one with a different trainer in April.  I do not plan to enter him in an agility trial until I feel he can handle the noise and people that go along with it.  We will continue to do Rally so he can get used to smaller trial settings.  

Thor has so much potential and I will be there to support him how ever it is necessary to reach that potential.  Love this guy!


Sunday, February 02, 2014

February 2014

Feb 14: Can't believe it is already the middle of the month, time is flying.  Haven't done a whole lot of training, either the weather or work has gotten in the way of getting to some of our classes or going to the club to do extra training.  Thor and I do have an all day agility seminar tomorrow, a working spot.  It will be interesting to see how he will do in that type of situation.  We will be at the club so he should be comfortable with that but there will be a whole different atmosphere then what he is used to with just Renee and I working with him.

So far the first agility trial we entered in March we were way down on the wait list so I just pulled them.  Waiting to hear about some of the others, the draws should be soon.  We did get in our club's 3-day trial in early March, so looking forward to that.  It will be interesting to see how Kiah and Keegs will do after such a long break.  At least we have been able to make it to some classes for practice.

So disappointed that I won't be going to Nationals this year, some things with work have popped up and I don't feel comfortable spending all that money on the trip.  Will miss seeing all my agility friends, entering Thor in Rally or Obedience (not sure if he would be ready), and getting many of Thor's health tests at a discount.

Feb 2:  Looking forward to more training this month, nothing scheduled for February but we have both agility and Rally pretty much each weekend in March.

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 2014

January 25:  The Janesville-Beloit Kennel Club held two Rally trials at the local fairgrounds here in town. Thor was entered in both and boy was I nervous but we got through it.  Thor did really well for such a shy dog and I am proud of what he accomplished.  Scores 95 & 94 with a first and second place.  One more leg in Novice A and he gets his title!!!!

January 20:  Went to the club and did agility with all 3 dogs and then Renee helped me with Rally by putting out a course.  We also trained a couple of nights with the Rally signs at the local kennel club.

January 14:  Thor did well last night even though we didn't practice as much as we should have over the 4 weeks we were off.  There were new dogs and people last night and he focused pretty much on me the times we were working.  I am really proud of his accomplishments for one so young.  A friend mentioned he was in his "teen age boy" period so he really is doing well if he focuses at all.

We will be taking a beginners Rally class in town so I can get better acquainted with the signs and we can practice before our trial at the end of the month.  I am excited and nervous about it; not so much Thor messing up but me doing something really stupid.

January 13:  Thor and I start intermediate obedience classes tonight.  I also called the local kennel club to see if we can get in the Tuesday Rally class so I don't have to drive 45 minutes 3 nights a week for classes.  If the weather is bad I will still (most times) be able to get to class.  It will also be a new environment for Thor to socialize in and get used to different locations, dogs and people.  I hope they have one starting soon.

Went to the club yesterday and did some agility with the dogs.  Thor was all over the place, but finally settled down so we could do some sequencing of a few obstacles.  He did have some issues on the teeter and popping out of the weaves.  All in all after almost two months of no practicing he did pretty well.  We also went on the other side to practice some obedience too.

Kiah and Keegs did well too.  We didn't run the full course only small sequences, treated and had fun.  I did work Keegs a bit more on weaves and teeters, he is having issues with those at trials.  Kiah was great as usual but popped out of the last weave when I moved away too soon.  I don't have to be close just moving in the same direction as the weaves. Something for us to work on so she knows to finish even if I am moving to the next obstacle.