Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Eukanuba - Days 7 and 8

Yesterday we started the long drive home. Popper's crate was just a little too big to fit where I wanted it to, so we had to rearrange some. Talk about a full car!

Clocked in 12 hours and just over 800 miles, landing us in Thornberg, VA.

The hotel was... interesting. It was one of those where they have a special window for late at night and won't let you into the lobby, which always makes me concerned about the area. Then when we went into the room, first thing we find is the handle for flushing the toilet detached and sitting on the toilet seat. Great. So we had to do all flushes manually (luckily that worked fine). Then the door wouldn't close properly, so we had to fight with that for a while. I'm glad we were only there for one night.

Today we hit some rain and snow, but nothing drastic. In the Arlington/DC area the signs said that the restricted lanes were open to all traffic, so I of course took them. Unfortunately I was so excited that I didn't pay attention to which road exactly they were associated with... so we went through DC instead of around it!

It turned out to be a nice adventure - got to see the Pentagon, Washington Monument and a couple other landmarks. It also took us half the time that that area did last week and we ended up where we needed to be, so all was well.

Handed off Popper in Wilkes Barre, PA and then made the last 2 hours home in good style.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Eukanuba - Days 5 and 6

Yesterday we slept in and then drove out to Flagler Beach, which allows leashed dogs on a large portion of their beach. It was gorgeous! Sunny, not too hot and we basically had the beach to ourselves. Queezle wasn't sure what she thought of the surf at first, but she got used to it and was bebopping cheerfully along with me.

The sand there is almost entirely broken bits of shell, which is really neat. There were some larger shells as well (Queezle tried to eat them...), and sedimentary rocks made up of shells. A couple sandpipers went by, and we could see a pelican off shore. It was a good day.

This morning we picked up Popper the Aussie, Tia's nephew who was competing in some of the junior competitions with his owner. She had to take a plane home, so Popper is going to ride back North with us.

There were 28 Tervs entered under judge Tom Davies. We filled up the entire ring! The Q showed very well the whole time. After a LOT of deliberation, Queezle was awarded second Award of Excellent! The third AOE went to her daughter Demi, which was very exciting.

After showing, Q and I changed into street clothes and went over to the Meet the Breeds booth, where we hung out for a little while and Queezle greeted people who were interested in the Belgians.

All in all, it has been an excellent trip.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Eukanuba - Day 4

Nothing in breed again for the Q, so we finished up our Christmas shopping and checked out the agility area, where we found some friends from home and some people with Tervs.

After that we went outside to get some photos of Queezle around the convention center. Even though it was overcast, I got some good shots with authentic Florida foliage.

After her photo shoot we packed up and headed back to the hotel to relax and enjoy our vacation. It lasted for a little while... and then people started splashing around in the pool beneath our window. Queezle did NOT approve, and watched to make sure that they didn't start any trouble.

Tomorrow we aren't showing at all, so the plan is to find a beach!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Eukanuba - Days 2 and 3

Yesterday we set off at 9:30am and an hour or so of travel brought us to South Carolina. It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and the dead plants in the sign planter made for a perfect photo opp...

This is where the plant life and scenery definitely changed - we started seeing some red dirt and a lot more tropical plants.

The Georgia rest stop was overrun by grackles. Savannah presented no traffic difficulties whatsoever, and we continued on our merry way.
Once in Florida we decided to detour around Jacksonville because it was getting toward rush hour time. Finally we turned west on Route 4, the final stretch toward Orlando.

Orlando in the early evening is quite exciting. Everyone and their mother is out driving, and people change lanes and merge without really looking. We passed several accidents, and it was a miracle we didn't get in one ourselves. Complete insanity, though it quieted down once we left the highway.

Finding the convention center was simple, but finding the correct building was a bit of a challenge. After looping around the block a couple times we finally stumbled across it. The crating area was already packed, so we set up along the back wall. They probably hadn't intended for people to crate there, but a couple other people had already set up camp, we needed a spot and it wasn't blocking anything, so we set up shop. The hotel was on the same road - I of course turned the wrong way first. Swung by Sea World and eventually got to the right place. The hotel is lovely - we have a little one bedroom suite with a pullout couch, fridge, microwave and dishwasher. Perfect place to call home for the next few days.

Today there were nine Tervs entered under Pete Dawkins. Queezle showed well but didn't do anything, so we spent the rest of the day hanging out outside and checking out the vendors (I managed not to buy anything!). Everyone thought Queezle was very cute "shopping" - really she was justchecking all of the tables for food. We then watched Groups and cheered for Lulu, who got a Group 3!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Eukanuba - Day 1

Queezle, my brother Tom and I departed Ithaca around 10am this morning, bound for Orlando, FL. Queezle was invited to the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship because she finished her Grand Championship last year. What better way to celebrate the end of finals than by taking a road trip to Florida in December?

The trip was pretty straightforward. Gas had gotten cheaper the further south we get ($3.19 in North Carolina!!!), weather stayed clear and still chilly. Harrisburg, PA was a little interesting with traffic and construction, but we got through that fine. Stopped in Maryland, Queezle posed with a sign.

Washington DC and Arlington, VA were insane. Unfortunately we hit it at rush hour and managed to miss the special commuter lanes, so it was bumper-to-bumper traffic moving on average 30mph. Took us two hours to get out of there, including a brief food and gas stop. Didn't kill anyone though, and on we went.

Hit North Carolina a little before 8pm, where we stopped again to get a picture of the Q with the Welcome to North Carolina sign and fill up the tank. I am absolutely loving the 70mph speed limit!

I called it a day at 10, having driven for 12 hours and 620+ miles. We're stopped in Smithfield, NC, which has a dog friendly Super 8 for anyone heading this way in the future. Queezle is thrilled to be on the road - she wagged her tail and smiled when we headed into the hotel, looking for all the world like a kid on Christmas morning. She is such a great dog to travel with.

On to Orlando in the morning!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Leatherstocking Cluster

On the 19th I got on a bus at 4am to drive to Philadelphia for Cornell's final football game of the season (and thus the last marching band performance of the season). It was a gorgeous day, Cornell even managed a WIN and the band, as always, was awesome. Returned home around 11pm...

...only to get up at 6 for a dog show. Sometimes I doubt my sanity. It turned out to be another good day. Queezle was first up ay 8:30. She was SO excited to be at a show - this was her first conformation show since the first weekend of July, and her first show of any sort since mid-October. After our down and back the judge asked me to slow her down - yeah right! She ended up going Best of Breed. The photo is of the Q with four of the other Tervs entered - from left to right they are Tag, Molly, Storm, Savvy and Queezle.

Next was Belle the Vizsla. She went Winners Bitch over one other entry, giving her her 8th point. She is now officially over halfway done!

I also showed Will the Shetland Sheepdog puppy. This was his third show ever and first indoor show. He still isn't thrilled about the table, but he stands solidly and is a happy camper gaiting around the ring. He won his class.

The Q was even more psyched for going into Group. Talk about fluffed, puffed and ready to roll. Her down and back was controlled, but on the go-around she took off like she thought she was running the Kentucky Derby! Maniac. At the end the judge had each dog go around one at a time, at which point Queezle gaited like a dream. We didn't end up placing, but I was quite pleased with my wicked wild dog and a handler who had been watching from outside the ring said that she is the cleanest dog coming and going that he has seen in years. Go Q!

Next up is Eukanuba. Only a few more weeks...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dog Etiquette: Puppies in Vet Clinics

Hokey has come up with cancer in his nose, so for the past few weeks he has been going in to the vet hospital at Cornell every day for radiation. To minimize driving but still avoid Hokey staying at the hospital, I have been picking him up and dropping him off every other day while my mom takes the opposite days (so he spends one night at home, one night with me, etc). He is now halfway through his treatment and doing well.

Today the waiting area was quite busy when I came in to pick him up. One of the techs came out with Hokey, and as I walked over to them a guy came in with a Border Collie puppy, probably between 3 and 4 months old. First mistake: he had it on a flexi. Not even close to appropriate for that kind of setting. Flexis are great for outdoor walks, but should never be used indoors, especially in a place where there are lots of people and dogs. Even if you put it on lock, there is still a chance that button will get knocked by accident and your dog could get into all kinds of trouble before you notice. Second mistake: he is letting the puppy go up to other dogs.

Why is this a poor decision? For one thing, he's in a VET HOSPITAL. He has no way to know why any of the other dogs/animals are in there, and by letting his puppy socialize arbitrarily he could be endangering its health. Second, he has no way to know if those other dogs are friendly! This could start a fight at any point, and considering his puppy's age, a bad experience could seriously impact its future life and behavior. Always, always ask if the other dog likes puppies before allowing your pup to go up to another dog.

Hokey does not particularly like puppies anyway, and the clinic is a stressful place for him, further lowering his tolerance. He curled his lip, which the tech couldn't see and the guy completely ignored. Luckily I got there at that point and pulled the puppy back myself, informing the guy that he should not allow his puppy to approach strange dogs. I can only hope that it sunk in.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

SOTC Agility

The SOTC fall agility trials were a couple weekends ago. Tia was the star of the weekend, qualifying both days in Excellent Jumpers! She is now well on her way to her MJP3. As for that aframe contact...

Queezle was just entered on Sunday. She was WILD and didn't qualify in either run, but ran with me, followed my directions and wasn't obnoxious, which was our goal for the weekend.

I also ran Dani in Jumpers, and she qualified on Sunday. She now only needs one more leg for her MJP!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Yesterday I said goodbye to my best and oldest friend, Flash. Ever since we picked her up from the breeder on Valentine's Day 1998, she was my partner in crime. She was a one of a kind dog, and I would not be the person or trainer that I am today without her.

Most of Flash and my exploits belonged on a bloopers reel - barking with a dumbbell in her mouth, barking so hard she fell off the pause table in agility, sailing over contacts, stealing food from kids sitting ringside, going belly-up on down stays, waving at the judge during conformation.

She was, after all, a super-attitudey Corgi paired with a seven year old kid. It's amazing we ever got anything right. But learn we did, and we soared:

- first junior handler team to earn a VCD1
- first junior handler team to earn an RAE (and with only one NQ in her entire rally career)
- Best Junior Handler at the 2007 PWCCA National Specialty
- competitor in Junior Showmanship at Westminster 2009
- 10th Pem to earn a CT, youngest handler to ever do so

There are hundreds of stories that I could tell about Flash. The time I ran into a tree while herding at the National, which ended up being Flash's best herding run ever (and I can't remember it!). The time she swam across a flooded creek to bring our sheep back to the barn. The story of her passing VST track (and the failed tracks along the way). Doing a musical freestyle routine to the Baby Elephant Walk. Marching in parades while pulling her little chariot all decked out with roses. Socializing with kids and adults of all ages. She was truly an awesome dog.

She retired from agility in October last year when she was starting to show signs of degenerative myelopathy, and since then has been in a steady decline. When she, the dog who did everything at top speed, was no longer able to move around on her own, we knew that it was time. Yesterday I went home and we sat together in the sun for a couple hours. I had her in my arms at the very end.

CT Culdi's Hearts On Fire VCD1 RAE HSAs NAP OJP OFP "Flash", November 30, 1997 - October 11, 2011. The best dog there ever was and ever will be.

August and September

College has a way of eating up my time, especially when marching band is combined with Spanish homework. Getting five hours of sleep on a Tuesday night is a major accomplishment this semester.

Queezle and I have moved into our new apartment in Collegetown, along with three roommates. Queezle absolutely loves having four people on hand to feed and adore her, and has settled in well. For my part, I am enjoying the relatively level walk to classes as well as often having company on said walk (the 11 people in the upstairs portion of the house are also band people).

Tia collected some more Excellent Jumpers legs at the Cato trials mid-August, finishing up her MJP2 and getting started on the MJP3! The Bopper is like fine wine - she just keeps getting better with age. Queezle on the other hand was once again metaphorically for sale, so on the weekend we backed off and just did mini courses for each run. She's entered one day this coming weekend so we'll see what the state of our teamwork is after a couple weeks of very low-stress training (aka next to none).

Beyond that I don't think we've really done much of anything up until the Wine Country circuit the first weekend of October. Queezle doesn't have her hair back yet, so I was just showing other dogs in conformation. Belle the Vizsla went Best of Opposite on the first day for a three-point major, which puts her up to 7 points and one major! She didn't get anything the other three days, even though she showed really well in the super muddy ring on Sunday. Then I also showed Will the Sheltie puppy, who had a grand time and looked like a pro even though it was his first time showing. He didn't get any points, but it was good experience.

Queezle did get to lure course though! When she got out of the car and saw the stationary lures she knew exactly what we were doing. She ran well all three days rain or shine, and now has her Coursing Ability title!

Go dog, go!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sheltie Trials

Just finished up four days of agility hosted by the local Sheltie club. The judges were GREAT - Scott Stock and Robert Kripaitis. Some interesting courses and lots of fun.

Tia had a wonderful weekend - two qualifying runs in Excellent B Jumpers and one in Excellent B Standard, all with first places! Her other runs only had minor errors, and she was running very well. The Bopper is quite the dog!

Queezle, on the other hand, was in the doghouse. We were having "bitssues" - she felt she should be in charge and that I was getting in her way, and I said like hell sweetheart. I pulled her off the course multiple times for obnoxiousness, because if she isn't going to work with me as a team, then she doesn't get to play. She didn't like having her runs cut short, but she also wasn't particularly willing to back down - several people commented on her attitudey walk when I was taking her back to the car. It was very frustrating for me, because at our last trial back in June I was thinking that we were really starting to run as a team. We had this problem a few years ago with the weave poles - I would say, "Weave," and Queezle would say, "Make me." This weekend she was doing the same thing at both the weave poles and some tight parts on courses. Not totally sure what brought it on, as we have been able to practice in different places pretty frequently (and last weekend we did a lot of agility during downtime). I think we'll get through this storm faster though because she has really good weaves once she shuts up and does them. It's like when a horse suddenly starts balking at a bridge they have crossed every day - she is testing me, and as long as I am consistent and don't let her get away with bad behavior she will revert to the awesome agility dog that I know and love.

Today she bounced back - we made it almost all the way through Standard before she started giving me grief, and then in Jumpers all I had to do was make her lie down when she started to bark at the weave poles and then she composed herself and we finished the run in fine style. We are entered at Cato in two weeks, so between then and now we're going to make sure we do some quick weave pole practice once or twice a day. And contacts too of course - you can never practice those too much!

I also ended up running Hokey and Dani some because my mom got mild heatstroke on Friday (she is fine now) and then she had other things going on on Saturday. Hokey and I had a nice run in Excellent Standard and the qualified in Exc Jumpers! Dani NQd in Jumpers both days but we had pretty good runs.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Some Photos from the Rodeo

I didn't get many photos, because a) it took me two days to find the camera in all the haphazardly packed bags from moving out of the apartment, and b) my battery was low and all of my replacement batteries are still in Ithaca. Oops. So here is a very limited pictorial.

Queezle in her expen, which she liked as long as I wasn't off spending time with other dogs (whenever that happened, she turned into a whiny beast).

Queezle and the coyote. She really didn't react to it much when she first saw it. Some of the dogs freaked out, and the following night one Ridgeback went postal and ripped its tail off. I told Queezle to stay away from that one.

June and Clifford doing rally. June was the rally instructor for the weekend. She is doing agility with her young boy Chance, but Clifford is a rescue who just does rally for fun now.

Clifford lounging.

And that's pretty much all I got!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

June and July... In August

On June 17th, Queezle got a Group 2 in Topsfield, MA! We then drove back home for my brother's high school graduation, returning to MA Saturday afternoon. On June 19th she was Best of Opposite.

The 23rd through 26th were the agility trials in Cato, NY. Tia earned two Excellent B Jumpers qualifying runs I believe. Queezle qualified in Open Standard to finish her OA! She is now in Excellent in all three classes. Most excitingly, Flag the Ridgeback qualified in Novice Jumpers in the pouring rain on Friday to finish his NJP! The also means he will get a versatility title from the Ridgeback club.

Next up were the Bainbridge shows. On Thursday Queezle was Select bitch. Friday she won the breed, nothing in the Group. I also showed Flint the young Rottweiler puppy, who went Reserve Winners Dog. It was his first show ever, and he had a grand time. Saturday Flint went Reserve again and Queezle was Best of Breed. Queezle had been blowing coat pretty rapidly over the weekend (the entire Terv entry was), so on Sunday we elected to stay home and went to herding practice in Caroline.

July 9 and 10 we drove up to Hamlin, NY for conformation and obedience. Queezle was entered in breed on Saturday, but severely lacking in hair so she just showed in obedience. Flint was very cute but got second in his class. Queezle's heeling in Open A obedience was not stellar, but she did everything else very well despite the very high temperatures and ended up being the only qualifier! The score was not pretty, but a green ribbon is a green ribbon. On Sunday her heeling was much worse, and we ended up failing on that. On the retrieve over the high jump she got the dumbbell, brought it back and dropped it at my feet. Since we had already failed, I told her to pick it back up. She pounced on it, laying down as she picked it up. Then she looked at me confused, and rolled over with the dumbbell in her mouth! Goofy dog. After that we drove home to Vernon for a week of doctor and dentist appointments for me (eww), plus an impromptu haircut.

On July 22nd I judged the Livingston County Fair for dog 4H. Temps were in the 90s, so we flew through the ten obedience entries and two grooming & handling kids. All of the kids put in a good effort, and there were no big disasters. The two Aussies in Grad Beginner did an especially good job. Hopefully all of them will stick with it and continue training next year! Driving home I bought ice cream for the dogs and me.

Saturday the 23rd we drove down to Binghamton for an obedience trial. Queezle put in a lovely performance in Open A, but sat up with 20 seconds left on the long down. Grad Open took forever to get started, so Tia was pretty deflated by the time we went in the ring, and then I couldn't hear half of what the judge said so we did a pretty shoddy job. Tia really perked up on the glove exercise though, which made me happy, and on the directed jumping took the jump that I told her to (which turned out to be the wrong one - I had misheard the judge - but oh well!).

Sunday the 24th was wild. I went to pick up Queezle's number, didn't see mine on the board so I assumed I had the wrong number in my head and picked up 217 instead. Bad choice. A few minutes later the real 217 came to find me and take her number back, at which point I went to the table to figure out what number I really was. I was actually 214, but since I hadn't been written on the board they put me at the end of the class. Then when Queezle and I got to the ring for our turn, the judge didn't have a sheet for us! He had to go check with the trial secretary that I really was entered, and then we finally got to go. Queezle did a wonderful job, qualifying with a 192 and second place to finish her CDX! She finished both her CD and CDX under Frank Washabaugh - I guess we'll have to watch for him when we're getting close to our UD!

Tia was awesome in Grad Open. She did the drop in the ring for the first time ever, even though it took two commands. The rest of her signals were nice. On the articles she brought back the wrong one, but she did actually bring me one, which is a step in the right direction. She brought the correct glove and did her moving stand. On the go-out, she went all the way to the gate (another first for us in a trial setting), but then instead of sitting came back to me. On the directed jumping she took the wrong jump, but the rest of it was such an improvement that I couldn't really be mad at her. We'll keep working! On the way home we picked up five ducklings for my mom. They then spent the night at my apartment and I delivered them on Monday. Initially I was calling them the Jackson 5, but they have since been renamed the Chocolates - Godiva, Toblerone, Ghirardelli, Lindt and something else that has escaped my mind. Can't really tell them apart anyway, except for Godiva who is the smallest and Toblerone who is the biggest.

Last Wednesday I moved out of Lake Street and dumped my stuff in the new apartment. Lake Street had its faults, but I did love that apartment and will miss it. Next year should be fun though, as Queezle and I will be living with a bunch of band people.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ridgeback Rodeo - Days 3 and 4

It has occurred to me that I never put the actual name of the site - Scattergun Reserve, which is an absolutely beautiful place and a paradise for people interested in hunting and shooting when it isn't overrun by Ridgebacks!

Saturday I had a full day with the Ridgies - lots of people showing up to try agility, and some repeats coming back for their dogs to get some more experience. There was only one dog the whole weekend who wanted nothing to do with agility - we were able to coax her most of the way up the aframe, but there was no way she was going to go in the tunnel and it was clear that she was only cooperating on other obstacles because her people asked her to and they were the lesser evils in her mind. Other than that every dog tried most of the obstacles, though for the ones that had trouble learning the tunnel I had them skip the chute - no need to have a scary experience before they have a chance to become more comfortable with a regular tunnel.

Dinner on Saturday was steak grilled to perfection, along with beans and salad. Afterward Eric hooked up the tractor to a hay wagon and took most of the rodeoers for a hayride. Queezle was sure that we would all die horrible deaths, but many of the dogs thought it was a good time. We followed a trail around the farmland on the property and bordering the woods.

Sunday was the fourth and final day of the Rodeo, and brought the ATTS evaluations. For the ATTS, the dogs go through a series of stations that simulate real-life situations that a dog might encounter, and the three testers evaluate whether or not the dog responds appropriately. The handler is not allowed to talk to or encourage the dog in any way. First was the neutral stranger, who approaches the handler and chats briefly, without acknowledging the dog. Queezle sniffed her but that was it. Next was the friendly stranger, who greets the dog. Queezle allowed her to pet her, looking back at me rolling her eyes (classic Queezle in public - she can't understand why strangers insist on drooling all over her, but since they are harmless she allows them to worship her).

At the third station a person shakes a bucket full of rocks while behind a blind, and then reaches out and puts the bucket on the ground. Ideally the dog will investigate and put its head in the bucket to see what's inside. Queezle looked up at the noise, and then ignored the bucket. She did eventually check it out after I made a fuss of admiring the bucket. Fourth was the gun test. A person behind a blind fires a starting pistol once, pauses, and then fires twice more. The dog is expected to startle, and should then recover. Queezle doesn't like thunder or fireworks, so I knew she would have the most trouble with this station. She startled and then plastered herself to my side. She was still a little unsettled after a few seconds, but was composed enough for the head tester to tell us to go on. At the fifth station a person opens an umbrella in front of the dog and puts it down. The dog is supposed to investigate and will ideally touch the umbrella. Queezle went right up to the umbrella and touched it, then continued on (I had to laugh at that - what with Ithaca weather Queezle is very accustomed to seeing and hearing umbrellas!).

The sixth and seventh stations test a dog's reaction to tactile stimulation. First they have to walk over a plastic tarp, and then over a wire ex-pen laid out on the ground. Queezle didn't blink about either one. I was kind of surprised that she did the ex-pen on the first try - I had figured that she would need to investigate that first. She was still keeping her ears turned toward where the gun had been though, so she may have been thinking that a wire grate was nothing compared to possibly getting shot.

The last three stations are all sort of molded together, and deal with a "weird stranger." First the person, strangely dressed, steps out from behind a blind while making noise. The stranger then turns toward the dog and handler and starts to approach while acting threatening. The testers expect dogs to react based on their breed and training (for example, a schutzhund dog would lunge at the stranger), but all dogs should register that the person is a threat. Queezle picked him up right away and moved close beside me, watching him carefully until he had turned back.

Queezle passed! The chief tester commented on how she is very aware of everything going on around her - that's a Belgian for you! The only people who know whether a dog passes are the testers and the handler, so I don't know for sure how everyone else did, but from the dogs that I watched most of them did well. It was really interesting to watch, as there were breeds other than Ridgebacks entered. The behavior and different reactions were fascinating.

After that it was time to pack up and head home. I had a great time, and maybe will be able to go back next year!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ridgeback Rodeo - Day 2

Today started out a little rougher than planned. I had set my phone to go off at 8 am... and the phone died somewhere in the middle of the night. Luckily I woke up on my own around 8:30 and was able to be ready in time for my 9 am shift in the agility ring.

As it turned out, no one showed up during the actual shift. Just as I was about to wander off, Magic the puppy came over. He had a total blast, especially with the tunnel, which he ran loops through once we showed him what it was about!

As well as Magic, there were six or seven other Ridgebacks, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, a Cane Corso and a Jack Russell (the other breeds all live with Ridgies and were getting bored hanging out). What was really interesting was that a lot of the Ridgebacks loved the aframe. We could hardly get Logan off it. A few of them didn't like the tunnels, but we got everyone to do the teeter in a calm fashion.

Queezle's main activity for the day was having a herding lesson. No big surprise - I'm the one who needs the most work. So we have a list of things to work on with that.

Tonight's dinner was fried perch with french fries and pasta salad. Someone was handing out glowsticks, so Queezle has been practicing her hold with an orange glowstick. Now she's crashed under the table. Two more days!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Ridgeback Rodeo - Day 1

Yeah yeah yeah, I'm way behind. We can do catch-ups next week. For now: The Rodeo.

From working with Flag, I was asked to be the agility event manager at the annual Ridgeback Rodeo in Pennsylvania. If you have and/or love Ridgebacks, it is the place to be at the end of July. It is held on a game farm and offers all kinds of hunt tests, lure coursing, agility, rally, tracking, etc. Plus really awesome food (I just had a salmon dinner, the salmon having come straight from Alaska. Talk about winning).

Today I just worked two and a half hours, during which time I had two Ridgeback customers and a couple of the other instructors' dogs. Ridgie #1 was Elke (pronounced Elka, but it is the Dutch version of the name). She has taken a beginner class and was really hot, but ran the entire course and did the teeter for the first time ever! Later her brother Chance came by. He is almost ready to trial, and ran the whole course great except he really loves contact obstacles. His handler is working on making the other obstacles high-value as well. They are aiming to enter the Ridgeback National in September.

When we were off duty, Queezle and I wandered the grounds, socialized and worked some. We ran the rally course, and then after picking up rocks got to try lure coursing. It was love at first sight. One look at those plastic "bunnies" running across the field, and she was off like a feral fuzzy bullet. She ran the whole course the first try, and would have gone again if I had let her, but it was pretty hot and muggy out. We will be looking for a test sometime soon!

Right now she is passed out on the couch in the AC with me. Hopefully tomorrow I will get some pictures...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

SOTC Obedience Trials

Queezle made her debut in Open A obedience and not only qualified, but scored a 191 1/2 and went 2nd place out of 29 dogs! She worked wonderfully, and Judge Bob Self couldn't say enough nice things about her. Good dog!

On day two things didn't go quite so well - it was raining very hard outside, and then something crashed a couple times in the hallway, which Queezle thought was thunder. She held herself together and did a decent job of heeling, but was clearly nervous and we eventually left. Naturally, the bad weather cleared up halfway through the class. Oh well - I'm still very pleased with how she worked on day one.

Tia was entered in Grad Open, which is sort of a stepping stone from Open to Utility. She really wasn't ready to be entered, but since it was our club's big trial we thought why not since she knew most of the exercises. Poor Tia had kind of a meltdown on Saturday when I gave her the drop command in the signal exercise, staring at me blankly. I was surprised because she usually does signals well in class, but whatever, on we went. I tried to keep her happy and "up" but she was acting very lost and confused. She did, however, pass the moving stand.

Our goal for Sunday was to keep Tia up and pass two exercises instead of just one. She was still sluggish, but much better - although she brought me the wrong glove on the directed retrieve, she did at least bring me one instead of trotting around aimlessly. Once again she passed the moving stand, and then to my immense surprise, she took the jump on directed jumping! I was very proud of her for that. Directed jumping and go outs were the two exercises that she didn't know at all when we sent in our entries, and we've been practicing for the 3 weeks since I finished up with finals. I was so pleased with her for that, and it was perfect because that way she ended on a high note.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Some Show Results

Once classes ended a few weeks ago, the dogs and I started hitting up various shows again.

First was the SOTC agility trial, where Tia had three qualifying runs in Excellent Jumpers and Flag the Ridgeback earned his second Novice Jumpers leg with a second place.

At the Alexander conformation shows, Queezle went Best of Breed both days. Belle the Vizsla showed well in the rain and mud but there was no competition for her.

Then we went to agility trials in Port Byron. Tia had another Q in Excellent Jumpers, and Queezle got her second Open standard leg!

This past weekend Queezle, Belle and I drove down to Wrightstown, PA for conformation shows. Belle went Winners Bitch the first two days, bringing her up to 3 points total. Queezle went Best of Breed every day, and on Sunday got a Herding Group 3!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Close Encounters of the Ithacan Kind

Our daily walks provide Queezle and I with an opportunity to see and sometimes interact with a wide variety of people. Here are a couple of my favorites from the past month or so.

One day in the park, a man came up to me and asked if Queezle was a Belgian Tervuren. Why yes! It isn't often that people know what a Terv is. Turns out his parents have a Terv from Tacara Kennels in Oklahoma!

Walking home from the park one day, we encountered a large family on the sidewalk. Two little boys came running up to ask if the could pet Queezle. Their first question was typical of kids who meet Queezle - Is she a wolf? Nope, sorry guys. But their next question was a surprise - How much does she shed? I don't think of that as something little boys think about! Their mother laughed and said they had been asking that about every dog they met.

After a walk on the Slope, we were crossing the road near home when a car pulled up and stopped. The guy asked what kind of dog Queezle was, and then said, "What a gorgeous coat. She'd make a great rug!" and drove off.

Today in the park one of the fishermen came over to see Queezle. Turns out he has a Gordon Setter mix and does a lot of hunting, which led to a conversation about versatile dogs, shelters, designer breeds, herding and tracking.

Never a dull moment!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Salt City Shows

Last weekend was the big Salt City Cluster at the Syracuse Fairgrounds. I was showing Tia in obedience, Flag the Rhodesian Ridgeback in agility and Belle the Vizsla in conformation.

Tia was the star of the weekend! On Thursday and Friday she showed with my mom in Open A. On Thursday she had a really nice individual but laid down in the last ten seconds of the sit stay. On Friday she put in another decent performance and qualified to earn her second leg with a score of 180 1/2! On Saturday I was able to show her. She did a lovely job (probably the best that she has ever worked for me), and qualified with a 184 to finish her CDX!

Flag had a rough start on Saturday, taking one jump and then leaving the ring to look for his owner. For Sunday we decided to have me pick him up at her house and not let him see or be anywhere near her until after his class, so that he would understand that he was stuck with me. It worked! He had a great run, and qualified with second place for his first NJP leg. Only two more to go!

This weekend was Belle's first show ever. I was really impressed with how great she was in the building - she wasn't bothered by any of the noises or the crowds. She showed like a pro both days, going Winners Bitch and Best of Opposite to earn her first point on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Maybe I DON'T Want Spring

Queezle and I were lounging peacefully on the couch doing Spanish homework when I spotted movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked up just in time to see a 3-inch long centipede race across the floor and under my couch. NOT COOL.

A hell of a lot of expletives, bug spray, furniture shifting and paper towels later, the bug is dead, I am wide awake and Queezle has taken shelter in her crate. I'm going to be a paranoid mess the rest of the night.

Friday, March 11, 2011

SOTC Agility and Ithaca Match

A couple weeks ago I drove up to Syracuse for the SOTC winter agility trials. Tia was the star of the weekend, earning her third MXP leg on Saturday with third place and a second place in Excellent Jumpers on Sunday. Her other runs and all of Queezle's were very nice, but with just one error too many to qualify. Queezle impressed me by hitting ALL of her contacts both days! Obviously our training is sticking!

This past weekend there was a match offered at the Oxley Equestrian Center. I showed Belle the Viszla in conformation for her to get some more experience - she did a really nice job! I've been working with her once a week, and he first show will be the Salt City Cluster the end of March. I also showed Queezle in Ladies' Handling, and we won! Knock on wood, but Queezle is currently undefeated in adult handling - she's won twice with me and once with my mom.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Happy 6th Birthday Queezle!

It's Queezle's birthday!

Happy Birthday Q!

Friday, February 18, 2011


How not to start your morning: slip on the ice outside while walking your dog and fall, then slide about 15 feet until you land in the remains of a snowdrift. In your pajamas.

That was how Queezle and I started our day, and though no injuries were sustained, I don't recommend it.

It is now a beautiful day in Ithaca - sunny, blue skies and 55 degrees! While exceedingly pleasant, the thaws and freezes that we've been having all week have made life on the hill a very slippery business.

Queezle and my midday walk led us to the park, along with several other people out enjoying the weather. Our outing wasn't to be a simple walk in the park though. Like everywhere else that doesn't get plowed, the park's well-packed trails have turned to ice, and in several places have also become little rivers for melting snow to head down to the creek. These conditions make it the perfect stage for an America's Funniest Home Video bloopers reel.

To get into the park, you have to go down a slope and around an old stone embankment, then up and over a ridge before you reach the level area that leads back to the waterfall. I opted to inch slowly down, picking where I put my feet and hoping the spots would hold (and shrieking and flailing my arms when they didn't). One man opted for the run-and-hope-you-make-it version, and did a 360 as he slid down! A young couple almost got to the top of the ridge, only to slide back down, and a girl came crawling up from the other side on her hands and knees, covered in snow.

Getting back out of the park was just as complicated, because the front of the park is largely blocked by the embankment, a cliff and an old foundation, with the icy entrance path as the only formal entrance. Queezle and I sort of half-climbed the embankment, grabbing onto the park bench on our way and then using the foundation for support. The young couple had parked in the lot up above, so they chose to climb over the foundation. Once clear of all that, it was a quick slide to the sidewalk and safety!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Watchdog at Work

In our apartment, the room that Queezle and I spend the most time in has two windows that face the apartment complex next door. Queezle has for the most part gotten used to people walking by our windows at all hours of the day and night, but for whatever reason, the guys who live in the apartment on the end like to make their phone calls outside. No problem right?

Wrong. Whenever one of them makes a call, he paces back and forth in front of his apartment, in full view of both my couch and the lounge chair, Queezle's two favorite spots. I can sympathize, as I myself am incapable of standing still while talking on the phone, but to Queezle, pacing is a very suspicious activity, especially where strangers are concerned. Watchdog that she is, she barks and/or growls to make sure that strange guy stays far away from her territory.

The guys probably aren't thrilled that my dog barks at them every time they try to make a phone call, but to her they look like they're planning an attack or have something wrong with them, and in either case she wants no part of it. For my part, I tell her to be quiet and consider myself lucky to have a 24-7, no-batteries-required security system.

What's out there Queezle?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Queezle and I have been watching Westminster (in lieu of studying... whoops), and while she is unimpressed, I am thrilled that the Scottish Deerhound, GCH Foxcliffe Hickory Wind, went Best In Show! What a stunning bitch, and how cool for her to go BIS over some really top dogs.

This was also supposed to be her retirement weekend - talk about going out with a bang!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Flash's Anniversary

13 years ago, I was in Connecticut picking up my very own Corgi puppy. Flash is still going pretty strong, running around barking and eating every treat she can get her paws on. I love you Flash!

And a Happy Valentine's Day from Queezle, who does not agree that Flash is the best.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Grand Champion Queezle!

Back in December, Queezle and I packed up and drove out to Cleveland with some friends for the Crown Classic dog show as soon as finals were done. We had a pretty successful weekend, taking Best of Opposite the first three days to finish Queezle's Grand Champion! On the fourth day she also took a Select.

This past weekend, we headed out to Hamburg for the Nickel City Cluster. On Friday Queezle went Best of Breed and took a Group 4! On Saturday she went Best of Breed again, and got a pull in the Group but didn't place. On Sunday she went Best of Opposite to her friend Charlie.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tia's First CDX Leg!!!

It wasn't pretty, but Tia qualified in Open A obedience today for her first CDX leg!!! Overall she did a pretty nice job, though there were a lot of no-sits. On the retrieve on the flat she dropped the dumbbell 2-3 feet away from me. The rule is that if the handler can reach the dumbbell without moving his or her feet, it counts as being close enough. So I knelt down and stretched out my arms and managed to flick it closer with me finger. Then on the the retrieve over the high jump she did a lovely front. Man was I sweating bullets all through the long sit stay! But she did it, and now we're one down, two to go!