Monday, August 31, 2009

Career Highlights

For those of you who wanted to see Kaleb's titles etc, here you go :)

Kaleb is almost 7.5 years old, and I am just so appreciative of the time we have been able to share together. I know how lucky I am to have him happy, healthy and sound at his age, AND for his breed. I can't see retirement anytime in his future, and when that day comes, I am sure he will tell me, actually nevermind, he won't, that will be up to me.

Putting this list together of his "Career Highlights" really puts things in perspective, and puts makes eyes water, must be my darn contacts :) . He has accomplished so much in his years, and let me tell you it has NOT been easy. We started competing together when he was 3. He was Pete's SAR dog until that time. So it took us a while to build a good, now great relationship. For those of you who know Kaleb, you know how much work it has been, and what an ass he was (and can be :) ) but I've enjoyed the whole the journey. None of my other dogs have put me on such an emotional rollercoaster, which is why I can appreciate what he has accomplished even more.





MADC (Masters Agility Dog - earned in one weekend, 3 runs)







ATChC (Agility Trial Champion of Canada)

MSCDC (Masters Steeplechase Dog)

Bronze Award of Merit

Silver Award of Merit (25 Master Standards, 50 Games)

ExSt Bronze

EXJ Bronze

EXG Bronze

EXS Bronze

EXTr Bronze

ExSt Silver

VBA (Versatility Bronze Award)


(all but a couple runs were 1st Placements)








NADAC: (we did one trial :) )




ADPT - RL1 (1 High in Trial, two High in Classes)



CKC - CD (3 High in Classes)


WC (Working Certificate)

2 legs toward his Junior Hunter - JH (one more needed)


CKC - Canadian Champion

Other Career Highlights:

- Certified Search and Rescue Dog at one month passes hid 2nd Birthday (RCMP CSDA)

Trained by Pete, not me.

- Kaleb has placed 1st in each of his classes at the 3 FCRSC National Specialties he has attended:

FCRSC National Specialty '03 - 1st Place 15 - 18 Month Male

FCRSC National Specialty '06 - 1st Place Altered Male

FCRSC National Specialty '09 - 1st Place Veteran Male 7 - 9 Years

- He has top 10 placements at the 2 AAC National Championships he has attended

2008 7th Place 22" Specials - Sussex, New Brunswick

2009 7th Place 16" DD Vet - Ottawa, Ontario

- 2009 AAC AB/NWT 16" DD Vet Regional Champion

- (Flat-coated Retriever Society of Canada) FCRSC Versatility Award

- (Flat-coated Retriever Society of Canada) FCRSC All-Round Retriever Award

- #1 FCR in AAC 2006, 2007, 2008

- He enjoys being a hunting dog in the fall with his dad

- #1 Goofball award, 7 years running, 2002 - 2009

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Agility Demo Day!

We had a great time at the Agility demo today, I was originally not going to be able to make it as I had a hiking day planned, but things change, and I was able to participate! YAY! Amanda did all the planning, double YAY! Thanks Amanda, the courses and games were great! And thanks to everyone who helped with equipment too!

Here is Kaleb in the Weave Pole challenge, amazingly enough he placed 2nd behind Gyp who won. The other fastest contenders Tag and Wicca had bobbles, so it was anyone's game today!

I should add that we were so close to winning the Team Relay but a certain dog had to go say hi to his Grammy, I didn't even call him back, because the laughing from the crowd was worth it :)
oh Kaleb ....

Can you feel the love? It is mutual. There isn't a whole lot cuter than Aislyn and Gyp, I just can't get enough of how sweet they are together.

Gyppie waiting for her turn. I bought her a doggie Tent, and she seemed to like it.

If I close my eyes really hard, maybe I can get out. pllleeeeease!

You can see more photos of the group on the Go! Dog! Go! blog HERE

Check out the weavepole challenge Kim Made! THANKS KIM!!!
What a fun way to spend an afternoon, friends, dogs, and Agility.

life is good.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

35 Titles and counting ...

I'll have to really sit down and add them up, Kaleb got 3 more titles in the mail this week. But by my rough calculation Kaleb sits at ...

... 35 titles, in 6 disciplines.

Not bad for a goofball.

In all seriousness, I love my k-man, he always tries his hardest for me, and not one training session goes by where I am not laughing at him (or strangling him).

I am a proud mama.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Let's get down and dirty.

mud? what mud?
ok, so i'm a little dirty, just throw the wubba, would ya?

i got muddy too ... this gives you an idea ...
my feet must have weighed 10 pounds with all the mud.

OK, let's change the subject ...
Ya know how they say when people are married for a long time, they take on each others characteristics? The same must be true for dogs who live together ...

Where was Queen Jane during all of these shenanigans? She stayed cleaner than usual, I think she is still traumatized from 3 baths in 2 weeks, and didn't want a 4th.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Agility Fun Day ...

We had a nice Agility Fun Day today, our whole group came out, almost 20 dogs! We were celebrating Go!Dog!Go! turning 4 years old :) We ran a Starters and Masters course, and I knew it was going to be a gooder, because I was hearing lots of whining about it! SUCCESS!! the sign of a good course, people whining about it, then running it really well ...

After we ran the dogs ... we ate pizza .... and ate yummy homemade cookies from Judy!
We had some prizes to draw, and Acey was a great ticket picker, and prize deliverer.
They say people are like their dogs ... so are their kids, Aislyn thinks she is a Border Collie, she never gets tired of playing Agility!
Look for her in a few years running Agility. She'll hopefully be running a dog, and not doing all the equipment herself, though, she is a good weaver and she always touches the yellow :)

This is her dog, Tag, can you see the resemblance :)
When she finally did come off the contact equipment, she entertained herself with bubbles!

Oh look! Here comes Neena out of the Tunnel!
Lucy, I think you took off a little early for that jump :)
See more photos from the day on the Go!Dog!Go! Blog

... thanks to our group for coming out today, and thanks for 4 great years, here's to many more, you guys rock!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Nationals Photo Proofs

Well I got my proofs from Nationals, Kaleb's photos aren't great ... think black blob running. I wish they would have taken some of him in the overcast sky and rain, and not only photos with the sun behind him ... well atleast last year's Nats. photos of K were awesome ...

this is my favourite, but he isn't on any equipment ...

The only reason i like this one, is because Amanda and Jo are in it ...

Gyp has some GREAT photos. She has 78 to choose from, where as Kaleb had 35, all with the sun behind him ...

These are my two favourite from the Steeplechase Finals ...
I like this one, it looks like I am kicking her into the weaves :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I'll never be Susan Garrett

A bold statement you could say. Let me explain...

I have watched her dogs at a few Nationals, and it is ALWAYS impressive, without a doubt. This year was no different, really her dogs are amazing, and so is her training. There were alot of great trainers and dogs there, but I am using Susan Garrett as an example because she is one who gives us the tools to CREATE great dogs and handlers through her DVDs, Books etc. I don't care what you feel about Susan Garrett, she has done alot for the sport, that is undeniable people.

The more I learn and know Agility ... and all things dog, the more I can appreciate the training that goes into it. And like any sport, it is when people make it look easy that you know a TON of work has gone into training. How hard is it to hit a golf ball, really? Tiger Woods makes it look easy. But yet when I try to hit a golf ball it goes 40 feet, and I sprain something. I also feel I know so little at times about dog training, knowing how much work goes into making something look easy.

With each dog I have trained of my own, I get more and more confident in my abilities and understanding. And everyday, every minute, it seems methods change, they've probably changed while I wrote this, and what I am saying is now out of date. I like the science behind dog training, but I am not sure I'll ever be a "Doctor of Agility Sciences". I also tend to go with my gut instincts, and I keep things specific as I know them to be. I also try to be as consistent as possible, and try to stick to my own rules, and my dogs have learned to work within those parameters. I can't say I am 100% loyal to one "handling system", I am a believer that sometimes rules are meant to be broken, my many years of Art School, training me as a freethinker, taught me that.

I am overall really happy with my abilities and how I am able to train a dog and a person ... with the knowledge I have, and what I feel works for me. I would love to learn more about the mechanics of jumping for instance. I have had limited seminar instruction and read books, but like anything, I have the knowledge I have based on the access to information I have available to me, and my understanding of it.

I can build and train behaviours and I can train a dog to value reward, and I think I am pretty good a building drive and a good working relationship into my dogs, they sleep on my bed, on my couch and get free cuddles ... is that so bad?

Over the years I have broken many bad training habits due to my lack of understanding (flinging arms - well...) and trained many good habits, and with each dog, and student for that matter I have tried to instill good habits. But like a dog, I learn from mistakes, and try to repeat the good stuff so I can get a cookie, or a glass of wine.

I am still trying to break my pointy finger contacts habit - something I had to do with Jane (point and pray), less with Kaleb (point less, pray MORE!!), and not at all with Gyp (I trained her contacts), but I still tend to micromanage, I trained them independently dammit, trust it woman. Her contacts are great when I am more than 5' away from her, if I start crowding, she tends to start to creep, and why am I pointing, gawd.

One habit I DID break, is bad weaves. I wonder what Jane would have been like if I started training her now. She was a darn good dog in her time, but man, she would be really good if I knew now what I knew then. She is slow, but steady in the weaves, and has OK contacts at best. Goes to show the forgiveness in dogs. Dogs are amazing creatures and capable of so much in our hands.

Kaleb is a great weaver, and Gyp is even better. Again my understanding was better with K, and even better with Gyp, I use multiple methods when training weaves, and one day I'll understand the 2x2 method with 100% confidence (it'll change by then I am sure), but for now I use what I know of the method among others, and it works. Gyp can find a weave entrance with one eye closed and two feet tied together :)

I also feel I have a good eye for timing - my own, and watching others. Again, something that has developed again by training my own dogs, and training and watching others.

As wise man once told me to find my own style of training, and that Amanda and I will develop this over time. I have been thinking about this for the last few months, and I feel Amanda and I really have a style of our own, based again on what we know, the seminars we attend, the books we read, what our dogs have taught us, as well as what our students and their dogs have taught us.

Proof that crappy training with your first dog, can get you a 6th Place finish at Nationals ('05).

Gyp and one of her one-eyed, two legged weave pole entries.

The "Point and Prey" method, not to be confused with TRUE running contacts, in this instance I was unable to "Point", and had to rely on "Praying" alone - and he DID touch the yellow! Yay for Praying. And even with those questionable contacts, we have placed 7th at Nationals, two years in a row.

So I guess I'll never be Susan Garrett but as always, I will continue to admire her training. Now that I realize this, I can enjoy being me, enjoy the successes we have had, and most of all I can enjoy being bossed around by Amanda.

So if any of our students and friends read this, thank you for being on this crazy journey of learning with us, teaching US, and trusting us to teach you what we know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Best Seats in the House ...

We headed out to watch the local Parade today, it is the kick off to our local fair "Whoop-up Days".
Our first stop didn't have a great view though, so we moved on to try to find better seats ...

K had to say hi to the friendly stranger first things first....
oh, and get a butt rub from gramma ....
FInally, we found a great spot, the best seats in the house!!
We live in a small city, a small town by some standards ...
the parade is entertaining just on those merits ...

Where else would you see a dude in a bathtub? Come on.
And a Princess on a Horse?
Not sure if this guy was actually in the parade, or just strolling his 'Ass' through town ...
Even the smallest parade must have clowns. But why so many? Wouldn't one be enough.
I told Gyp not to look a the scary man.
A marching band of course.
And we saw the World's Largest Man!! how cool ...
We did pick the best spot in town, right next to a kid who ended up spilling more fruit loops than actually eating them, the dogs thought that was awesome.
Now off to the Fair, cotton candy, candy apples, deep fried mars bars ... here I come!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The many faces of K.

Any good photo of Kaleb begins with the tongue, this is a key facial feature with a mind of its own.

Crazed eyes and flying ears are also a big part of defining the perfect Kaleb photo.

Last but not least .... there is the slobber ....

Well, no matter how you define it, K-man is 100% nut job. Other commonly used terms: (clockwise, top left) spazzy-McGee, happy boy, freakin' lunatic, drool machine.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rollin' Rollin' ...

Have a great weekend everyone!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Gyp Steeplechase Run with better music?

This is Gyp's 2nd Qualifier Run at Nationals before the Finals.
She placed 2nd in the Qualifier overall.
Gyp placed 2nd in the Steeplechase Finals.
I was pretty happy with this run.
... and yes that is me...
... i do realize that sometimes i look like a 14 year old boy...

Monday, August 10, 2009

New kid on Campus.

Gyp is the new kid on the University Campus, and like any Freshman, she was out to make friends first, and hit the books later.
This guy was rather smitten with her, she liked him too.
Gyp has an uncanny ability to make friends with even the most rigid characters.

She managed to get the ball everytime, her pals didn't even try. Those are true friends.

So, who's gonna make the first move ... these guys are a little stiff.

Her new buddies have been on Campus awhile, and they've seen it all.
She's safe with this guy, he's got her back anytime.

I am not sure she ever figured out her new buddies weren't real ...
and I didn't want to break the news to her.

Gyp never skips class, and like most things she picks it up so fast, she hardly has to try. She always get her homework done on time too. She obviously doesn't follow in my class-skipping footsteps ... My little brown-noser, goodie two-socks ... that's my Gyppie girl.