Monday, December 28

Awful Merlin Nightmare!

I had a long nightmare about Merlin again last night... I don't know why I keep having them!

I was sitting on a building rooftop with Merlin, drawing the phases of the moon, when my brother came up, and I confessed I was terribly worried that Merlin would fall off the building. It started to rain, so I grabbed my umbrella and opened it up. This scared Merlin, and he backed away from me, right over the side of the building. My brother sort of half-chuckled, and said something like, "Well, there he goes."

I was absolutely TERRIFIED. I was sobbing, heartbroken, and the sense of loss was completely real.

A bit later in the dream, I found Merlin's body at the foot of the building, completely stiff like you see in cartoons, with his legs straight up - it looked like he landed on his head. Then all of the sudden, he started moving a bit, though clearly severely injured. I grabbed him up and drove like a maniac to MedVet.

The dream ended while I was waiting at MedVet - except suddenly Merlin was fine, and I had Popper and Roofus there with me too. There was some sort of play area for dogs, so I put those three in it. Apparently, I had driven to MedVet for my tortoise, who wasn't eating.

Completely bizarre dream. Merlin is getting lots of hugs!!!!

Monday, December 21

Wild Weavers CPE Trial

Saturday, the day after Merlin the corgi's birthday, we went to the Wild Weavers CPE Agility Trial. Merlin was entered in level 2 Fullhouse, Standard, and Snooker, as well as Level 1 Wildcard. We were both really working well together, and Merlin earned himself four Q's in four runs! He had two exceptional runs in which he got first place, one of which was Snooker (I really love snooker!).

The best part of the whole day was how well we were meshing, something that I was wondering when would start to happen. Merlin has almost totally stopped skipping obstacles, and while he can't seemingly "read my mind" yet, I can catch him before his attention starts to wander and get him back on track. His daddy managed to hide quite well for all four runs, so Merlin never did a Daddy check, which is awesome because we've lost many a Q to daddy checks!! That doesn't mean he wasn't scanning the crowd for him, because he was - but he didn't run out into the audience, nor did he run and sit at the gate searching for him. HUGE improvement!

So now all Merlin needs to complete his level 1 CPE title is Jumpers. This is his "cursed" class, because the last two times we attempted it, we didn't Q because of a single jump. The first one, Merlin ran and did a Daddy check right before the last jump and would not return. The second one, which was the last trial, I either totally forgot to have him take a certain jump, or I directed him to it and he didn't take it. The next trial, we are entering him in Jumpers both days, so hopefully we can finish it out. :)

Friday, December 18

Popper's Eye Appt and Happy Birthday Merlin

Yesterday was Popper's ophthalmology appointment at MedVet. Long story short, he does NOT have progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), thank God! He does have some small cataracts in his left eye, which the vet did not think was impairing his vision, but we have to keep an eye on. She said those were inherited, and he'd probably had them since birth. He's four years old - why hasn't a vet seen them before now? So we're going back in six months for a recheck. If nothing else, the visit was worth it to discover those.

After the dilation, she had another test to see if he truly did just have bad night vision. Not only does he not have bad night vision, he has AWESOME night vision. So his nastiness to the other dogs at nighttime is not eye related. At least now I know how to react when one of these incidents occurs... I can probably curb the being a jerk, but if it was PRA, there was nothing that could be done for him. So his agility career is still safe. :)

I've been sleeping with my fish tank light on for him, though, and he hasn't attacked Blossom when she jumps on my bed in the middle of the night. Which is weird. Maybe he's just afraid of the dark?

Today is Merlin's birthday! He turned 5 years old today. We're going to go to PetSmart to buy him a birthday treat, and maybe stop at the ice cream place too!

Wednesday, December 16

Roofus, Rally, and Popper

Monday Roofus went to a rally class at Anything Goes for Dogs. He's enrolled in the next class, next year, but she wanted to make sure that we were familiar with all level 1 signs first, because the next class focuses on level 2.

First, I was uber impressed at the new facility. SO much bigger! She even has a separate area for crating and "massage." It's like a doggie heaven! I went ahead and made a private lesson after our next class for Popper. He's ready to return to agility (Thank God!) and I really needed somewhere, supervised, to do it. A nice gentle reintroduction after his, what, seven week hiatus? It's only a half hour, which should be perfect.

Roofus was great at Rally. He really, really likes it. He is probably the most eager to please dog I've ever seen, and definitely the most ETP dog I own! Once he understands what I want, he is happy to do it. He's such a goofball. :) There were a couple new signs that we didn't know, but Roo handled them very well! We need to work on 90 degree left pivots, though. Nobody could do those - they're super hard!

Today, I set up a series of three jumps in the backyard for Popper, and ran him over them a few times. He was so, SO happy that I was letting him do agility. I thought that he was handling no agility pretty well, and then I saw how excited he was to be running again - an expression of pure bliss! We started off rocky, because he would do a jump and run straight back to me and sit, waiting for a treat. After he got comfy again, he was amazing. I'd point and tell him to go away from me (VERY hard for Popper!) and he'd zoom away like a pro. On our last run (I kept it very short since he hasn't done it in a while, and the ground is frozen solid), I threw in all kinds of crosses and directions and he was PERFECT. I can't WAIT to get back into the agility ring with him!

Monday, December 7

CPE Trial this Past Weekend!

This weekend was a BRAG CPE trial. I had originally entered Merlin AND Popper, but I pulled Popper out because of his groin pull. As a result, we had some really long wait times with Merlin on Sunday.

Saturday we had runs in Jumpers and Fullhouse. In Jumpers, either I completely missed a jump, or I had assumed Merlin jumped it and went on to the next one. So that was an NQ for us. He did very well on that run, though! Jumpers is Merlin's "cursed" class, just like Jackpot is for Popper. For some reason, we find it DEVILISHLY hard to get a Q. In Fullhouse, we had all the points we needed, and one of the tunnels ran Merlin straight at the gate. Merlin ran over because he saw Daddy, and when Daddy moved off, Merlin moved with him - right out of the ring. I called and called, and eventually the crowd shepherded him back into the ring. Well, I wasn't about to let Merlin do more agility as a reward for running out of the ring. I mean, he didn't even come back because HE wanted to, everyone pushed him back in. So I ended it. It's not a big deal, we already have a few Q's in Fullhouse, and I'd rather he learned that running out of the ring means no more agility. He really loves agility, so I think it's an effective lesson.

Sunday was the opposite, and we went 3 for 3. Snooker, then Standard, then Colors. So now we've moved up to Level 2 in Snooker, Standard, and Colors. Merlin even did the tire flawlessly, an obstacle he continues to have problems with. He also earned his first ever blue ribbon! I mean, he has blue ribbons from being the only dog that Q'd in his height class, but this is the first time he ever beat another dog. He got lots of cookies, hot dog, and we stopped for a hamburger for him on the way home. :)

In the Colors run (last run of the trial), he ran to the gate for a "daddy check," but couldn't see Daddy - and came back when I called.. eventually. That's the run we got first place on. :D

We've got another trial coming up in a few weeks, but thankfully it's just one day. This is the first time we ever did both days of a trial, and it was to try to get both dogs to finish their Level 1 titles before the end of the year. Without Jumpers, there is no way for Merlin to earn his... I'd signed him up for another Snooker and another Standard, but not the Jumpers. Oh well. :) If he gets his Wildcard at the next trial, he'll be like Popper - just waiting on that one devil of a run to finish out level one!

Monday, November 30

Cyber Monday Specials!

I've got TWO great deals for you today - but each one is ONLY good for today, in honor of Cyber Monday shopping! Traditionally, Cyber Monday is the Black Friday of online gift buying. So we made sure to round up some great deals for you and your holiday shopping.

At our Cafepress Store, you can get FREE shipping off orders of $75 or more! Just use the coupon code GO4CYBER. Our CP store URL is http://www.menageriemayhem.com

At our Zazzle Store, you can get FREE shipping on ANY size of order! Just use the coupon code FREESHIP2DAY. Our Zazzle store URL is http://www.zazzle.com/menageriemayhem*

Happy Shopping! Don't forget, in addition to fun dog agility gifts and breed specific t-shirts, we also have an awesome selection of parrot apparel, reptile gear, and ocean/aquarium gifts!

Monday, November 23

Action Packed Weekend!

Saturday, Merlin had a CPE Games Workshop held at BRAG, the local agility club. We were in for six runs: Fullhouse, Jackpot, Nontraditional Jackpot, Colors, Wildcard, and Snooker. I had taken the class last February with Popper, but desperately needed to work on handling skills with Merlin, so we signed up.

Merlin was amazing! I got compliments from many folks on his stamina (all six runs full throttle), focus, and drive. Popper didn't get a single "fake Q" when we participated previously, but Merlin Q'd in every run except the two Jackpots. The second Jackpot Q was my fault when I picked a poor path, but the first one was Merlin's obsession with the a-frame and running to it when not directed to (repeatedly), and on the Gamble, the jump bars weren't set for his run. At all. So he ran around them (he's weird like that). Oh well, no biggie. :) I was very pleased with Merlin's performance! He had some awesome entries into the weave poles, something Popper has still never pulled off in a trial-like atmosphere. It's hard for me to run Merlin because he has an extremely different running style than my other dog, Popper. Basically, everything he does is opposite - he wants a lot of distance from me, he wants to go at the speed of light, and if I'm slow to make a decision, he'll go on and perform without me. Popper likes me close, tends to not run as fast as doggly possible, and if I slow down or stop, he'll turn around and start sniffing everything. Popper also needs constant interaction, eye contact and attention throughout the run, or his attention drifts. Merlin has a great work ethic and doesn't need the "good boy, yes, great" throughout the whole run.

Popper's main action of the weekend is that he is getting crated from now on when I leave the house, even for a few minutes. I'd noticed that things I'd put on the stove would mysteriously end up on the floor. The last straw was yesterday when I took Roofus for a quick walk. I had a small bag of pumpkin muffins that I set on the back of the stove, and when I came home, there was just an empty bag shredded on the floor. He would have had to jump ONTO the stove to get those muffins! I've also noticed small doggie footprints in the dust on my piano. He apparently walks on my piano when I'm not at home. So Popper clearly cannot be trusted to be loose in the house when there is no one to supervise, so back to the crate for him. He actually really does love the crate; I stopped using it years ago because he became quite aggressive about anyone near "his" crate, whether he was in it or not. The crate is in my SO's room, and his door is always shut, so it's not a concern now.

Last night, I was cutting away a clump of fur from Roofus when I discovered that underneath it was an open wound, roughly the size and depth of a small dog tooth. After shaving the area, cleaning it, and applying antibiotics, I believe it was an injury sustained a few days ago when Merlin got super excited when Roofus ran out of the kitchen suddenly. He attacked Roofus, and Popper got into the fray as well. I'm pretty sure one of the two sunk a tooth into him (grr!). I had assumed it was another hot spot and did not put two and two together until I saw the wound. It's looking much better this morning, although Roofus is pretty sad in an e-collar.

A lot of dog action this weekend at my house! I'm counting the days until I can take Popper on a three mile trek, run Merlin in a real agility trial, and take the stupid e-collar off my poor sheepdog!

Wednesday, November 18

Popper Gets Benched

Yesterday, I received news awful enough that I wasn't able to blog about it until today. Now, with a good night's sleep and time to mull it over, I'm just happy it wasn't worse.

We believed Popper had injured himself in some way, when last Wednesday I told the lead agility instructor about his sudden refusal to do weave poles. She had me feel down his spine, and when I got to his lower back, he jerked away from me and would not allow anyone else to even look at his back. She suggested a visit to the chiropractor.

Yesterday was his appointment. As it turns out, he has pulled his groin muscle on the left side. Apparently, that's a fairly common injury in dog agility dogs, but it takes a while to heal. She suggested 6-8 weeks at least, and estimated the injury occurred a couple weeks ago. Since we've already had a week of pretty much nothing except some short little walks, I'm counting that into his recovery time and anticipating that we'll be able to return to agility class in early January. I had to pull him out of two upcoming trials, as well as the class he's currently enrolled in.

I had been trying desperately to finish his Level One title before the year is through - we had only needed a single qualifying run in Jackpot, and we were finished. After I got over being selfish, and being ashamed for being selfish, I'll wait with Popper as long as it takes for him to get back to 100%.

This 6-8 weeks of rest entails NO running whatsoever. He can't even play ball in the backyard. This, alone, may kill my dog. Watching his brother Merlin go to classes while he has to stay at home - this also, may kill my dog. Walks cannot be longer than 25 minutes or so, and that's assuming there's no running and no PULLING! It's going to be extremely rough on Popper to participate in absolutely nothing. He's an extremely active and athletic dog, and being a cattle dog mix, if he gets bored (or angry, for that matter), he starts destroying things, barking incessantly, and other bad behaviors that are normally cured with exercise. Agility has been huge - HUGE - in controlling his bad habits. To say that he enjoys it is an understatement. Therefore, if we can only manage to go to class and walk beside the obstacles, I want to do that. I certainly won't push him into doing anything he is not 100% healthy enough to do, and I'm sure come January I will make the call whether we go to class or not. He's going to go to the chiropractor with Merlin regularly now, and she will monitor his progress.

However, Popper is a very healthy, young dog, and as I intend that he will get the long rest he requires, I'm sure we'll be back in agility class for the next session, in one format or another. Even if we need to skip the first class or two.

Tuesday, November 17

Stupid Cats

It's not a big secret - I don't particularly like cats. In part, because my dogs will eat them, and cats will eat my birds. Also partly because I am deathly allergic to the buggers. If you own a cat, I can only stay in your house for a few minutes before I need my inhaler.

I'm very, very tired of cats coming into my backyard and using it as their litterbox. My dogs go outside, sometimes all day long, if I leave the back door open, and of course, they find it. And then they roll in it. I'm an avid pooper scooper - in the summer months, I'd scoop twice a day. This time of year, it's once a day. Popper has a chiropractic appointment this afternoon, and guess what he did?

Yup. Because some irresponsible fool can't keep their kitty inside, yet again, I have to give Popper a bath. And he'll arrive at the chiropractor wet. No doubt I'll attract stares for being a "mean mommy."

I've gone off on this tangent before - all cats should be indoor cats. Unless you've got this marvelous animal that you can let outside, it'll stay in your yard, potty in YOUR yard, and come back inside a few minutes later, your cat has no business being outside. If my dog pottied in your yard, I would certainly clean it up. But if you have no idea where your cat is while he's outside, you're not returning the courtesy. That's just rude. You're certainly not going to come over and bathe my dogs. Even though your cat caused the problem.

Someone told me that their indoor/outdoor cat absolutely never potties outside. I don't even think I can comment on the ridiculousness of that statement. Unless you're following the animal around 24/7, you have no idea. I can assure you the animal is using other peoples' yards as a litterbox.

Not to mention all these roadkill cats all over my neighborhood. It's a rare day that goes by when these kitties aren't found on the side of the road. How could someone let something they love so much roam around where they can easily be killed by traffic?

I've also heard that "cats aren't content to live indoors" and that "it's mean." If your cat is not happy to be an indoor cat, your cat is too feral to be a pet. It's utter nonsense. I would rather have an indoor cat than one that craps all over my neighbor's lawn, pees on their roses and sharpens its claws on their trees. Oh, and did I mention that the indoor cat lives a lot longer, since it's not smashed to death on the side of the road? Nor is it off creating more problem cats.

I think 90% of Popper's baths this year have been caused from cat poo in MY yard. I don't own a cat. I don't want a cat. Please keep your pets in your yard.

Saturday, November 14

Oh, she NEVER crosses the street!

Today, I was walking Popper around by himself to practice not pulling. He's gotten really good at it, to the point where if he starts to pull, he'll stop, turn around and look at me. We can even go on regular walks now, although I'd be lying if I didn't admit sometimes it takes us a long time to get to our destination with all the turning around we have to do. Still, he is improving dramatically, and I'm so proud of him!
We were on the last leg of our journey home, when I saw this fat boxer-thing sitting on the sidewalk, no leash - but her human was standing in his lawn. Naturally, I crossed the street to get away from her. As Popper and I were passing her on the other side of the street, the owner called out, "Don't worry - she won't cross the street." Exactly one fraction of a second later, guess who comes barreling like a bullet across the street? Yup. Strange dog. As she's approaching, the guy yells, "Don't worry - she won't be aggressive." Okay, you were wrong the first time, why should I believe you now?
Luckily, it turns out she was kind of a big baby - which is fortunate, because Popper did not appreciate that he was walking along, minding his own business, tracking bunnies, when this huge behemoth comes up full throttle out of nowhere directly into his face. He tucked his tail, showed her every single one of his teeth, and tried to bite her face.
The guy kept calling that she was friendly as he ran across the street to retrieve her. I said, "My dog is EXTREMELY insecure on walks, and he is going to hurt your dog." That, and a strange dog just suddenly appeared in his face. The dude apologized about fifty times, but honestly - I'd like it if he just kept his pooch on a leash.
This perfectly illustrates the reason why I HATE when people think they can trust their dog 100% of the time. Walking their dogs off-leash, or letting them roam the front yard off-leash. There is ALWAYS a chance your dog will take off, no matter how well trained the animal is. At least once a week, we encounter this situation. Is it any wonder that Merlin growls at strange dogs, or that Popper gets so excited when he sees a dog? Not to mention, of course, all the loose dogs that run around in our neighborhood.
Sigh. Up until that point, it was really quite a peaceful, pleasant walk - which I've never been able to have with Popper before. I'm hoping to be able to introduce one of the other dogs into the walk sometime soon - probably Merlin.

Thursday, November 12

Agility Class Recap

Gee, I really wish Merlin were in the group with the other small dogs instead of being with a border collie, wolfhound, and a big ridgeback-ish mix. Maybe then I could focus on agility instead of Merlin's aversion to large dogs. I almost think it was intentional - last night the little dog group only had 2 dogs in it, and one of them (and sometimes both) jumps the same jump height as Merlin. While it may be good for him to be forced to deal with the problem, I feel like I'm stressing out about it and it's affecting how Merlin learns and performs (and focuses). Last night he reverted back to growling and not focusing on me at ALL - like all our hard work just went down the drain. I think working that closely to these big dogs was too soon for him, and we may get thrown back to square one. And I'll have to go back to recreational agility again to de-stress.

Last week at class, we were working on weave pole entries - Popper did the set exactly once, and then would not even attempt the poles again. He normally loves the weave poles. He may skip a few poles, he may enter wrong - but he loves to weave. I figured he was just burnt out, and one of the instructors told me to take him back to channeled weaves instead. I worked on channeled weaves at home, but his work was sloppy and awful: he'd pop out a lot, and very, very rarely did I get a run-thru that was passable. I was discouraged.

Then this week, my other instructor found out about it, and feared he may have sustained some kind of strain or other injury in his back, since he just suddenly stopped weaving. She had me pat down his spine, and when I got over his very lower back, he flinched and backed away from me. She went to feel for herself, but Popper had wised on to us, and sat on my feet with his spine pressed into my legs. So, the chiropractor, who was JUST at our building the day before, and whom I had JUST seen to get Merlin's back adjusted, is being located at one of her many stops so I can make an appointment to get Popper's back possibly adjusted.

Hopefully, that's all it is. Both on the weaving front, and on the injury issue as well. We already take Merlin to get adjusted, so taking Popper too isn't a large problem (other than he is very excitable and clingy while we're there). However, if I continue to have problems with Popper's back, I may remove the weave poles entirely from his agility life and we'll just do level one forever. :) I don't anticipate this will happen, but then I never thought Popper would strain his back either. He was perfectly happy jumping, leaping, climbing, etc last night. Just would not weave. He did exactly one pole, and then ran alongside them.

Monday, November 9

Weird dream...

Last night I had a really strange dream...

I was playing paintball with some friends, but instead of a regular paintball field, we were playing above a huge indoor swimming pool. I don't think they make pools as large as this one was, LOL. There were metal railings everywhere to walk on, so footing was treacherous. As I progressed along, tagging more people, I would find my dogs, swimming in the big pool. First there was Roofus, who was pretty happily treading water, and then I found Popper.

The next dog was Merlin - but he was underwater and not moving. I started screaming, jumped in the water, and began to pull him out. Even as I did so, I realized, it wasn't Merlin, but some other corgi, a female, that had a tail. After she was free of the water, she started sputtering and moving around again. I found her mom, who was nearby, crying, and so happy I'd saved her dog.

And that was my dream.

And I've been hugging Merlin and watching him very carefully, as if he'll somehow wander into some water. In November. Inside my house.

Corgis are NOT strong swimmers (legs are too short!) so be sure to carefully supervise your pooch any time they are in or around water.

And no, I have no idea what my dream means.

Friday, November 6

It sure is cold... hey, wait a minute!

The past few nights, I've been waking up in the middle of the night, shivering. I curl into the fetal position, grab my fleece blanket I have on standby just in case, and go back to sleep. When I wake up for the day, I only have a vague recollection of being cold at some point.

Two nights ago, I figured out what's happening.

Popper is the only dog that sleeps on my bed all night long. He has super short fur, and it's kind of thin, so he usually wears a sweater in the winter. Apparently, he's been dragging my comforter off of me and nesting it into a cozy bed. Last night, I got the hint, and turned on my heating blanket before laying down for the night.

This morning, my comforter was where it was supposed to be, and I was toasty. Apparently Popper was too.

Now I just need to remember that when Popper begins stealing my blankets, it's the time of year to turn the electric blanket on!

Thursday, November 5

Rally and Agility

Roofus had a daytime rally class this morning. It went even better than the last one! He seems to be picking things up very quickly (unusual for him), which is no doubt because he is extremely eager to please. The only problem is that I have to have a treat in my hand the whole time, because he is very easily distracted at this stage. He saw we were being followed by a "judge," and proceeded to go visit her and root through her pockets looking for treats, LOL. He also doesn't like the door opening and closing at the building... He has a very strong flock guardian instinct, and he constantly has to know where everyone is. When people come or go, he feels like he needs to bark at them. I figure he's a bit annoyed that they didn't announce their plans to him beforehand.

One of the teachers told me Roofus is an awesome working dog and that he's going to do really well in Rally. I think he is too. :D In January, I'm going to sign up for Rally classes with Kym at Anything Goes for Dogs in addition to the informal classes at BRAG. She has such a positive, upbeat training style and Roofus responds really well to it!

Last night was week three of Popper and Merlin's agility classes, and they swapped good nights again. I'd love to have a good night with both of them, but apparently that's not to be. Last night was Merlin's great night. He had a crappy contact on the a-frame, but he did really, really well overall. Several instructors told me I need to trust Merlin more and give him some space. I'm really working on it, and I know I CAN trust Merlin, but I don't have quite the same relationship with Merlin that I do with Popper, so it will take some time on my part. I've also got to remember that while Popper may like me super close while he runs, Merlin would prefer I just let him do it without breathing down his neck. It's kind of hard to have dogs with such differences!

Popper's night was almost miserable. The highlight of his class was his beautiful rear crosses into tunnels. He used to be absolutely terrified of them, but I took a private lesson with Kym at Anything Goes for Dogs and we drilled them with tons of treats. I practiced big time at home, and they're just gorgeous now. He has no hesitation at all. However, that's pretty much the only time we can do a rear cross. I'd say 75% of the time, he's very scared if I try such a manuever with him. He'll stop running, put his ears down, tuck his tail, and look for all the world like I just beat my dog. Everyone tells me that with time he'll gain confidence and those reactions will fade. I sure hope so.

Popper also completely died on the weave poles. We've been having this problem, with 12 poles specifically, where he will speed up towards the end, and end up skipping poles. I've been working with him, but I can't seem to fix it. We got to class last night, and he did the poles once and absolutely refused to do them again. One of the instructors told me to reteach the weave poles, that it happens to everybody at some point. Sigh... I wish I had twelve poles of a matching set. Right now I have 2 sets of six - one is a very nice channel weave set, the other is a cheapo PVC set that doesn't channel, but bends. So I can't run 12 channeled poles at once, they have to be straight. And I think that's what I really need to do. I also wonder if having some word I can say while he is weaving would keep his spirit up and keep driving him. He has to CONSTANTLY be reassured and complimented while we run, or he loses interest and starts sniffing. Disengages. I think 12 poles may be too long for his beagley mind to go without something from me.

So, to sum up - Merlin's doing great, Popper's having some setbacks, and Roofus loves Rally. :)

Monday, October 26

Rally Class

BRAG recently started offering an informal Rally class (that's rally obedience, if you prefer), and yesterday, Roofus went to his first one. It was a bit disorganized at first - the first half hour we pretty much just stood around and watched the instructors' dogs do the signs. After that, though, they gained momentum as they fell into a stride, and we practiced several signs. The last hour was spent doing a run-through, which was a new experience for me.

Roofus did a Rally Workshop at Anything Goes for Dogs, and we loved it, but the facility was a little far away. She's now moved quite a bit closer, so we are looking into classes there for the new year. It's been a while since I've done a dog class with Roo (shame on me!), and I'd forgotten what it was like to work with a giant breed dog. While Popper may be able to spin on a dime in agility, Roofus needs quite a bit more room to turn around. Popper is at my side leaping into the air as we run, Roofus pokes my shoulder with his chin!

So it was good to get out there again and get Roofus involved. He had a really fun time (but honestly, he has an awesome time doing ANYTHING - he's an Old English Sheepdog, after all!), and I even began to hope that maybe we could compete early next year, just to see how he does. One problem we have to really work on is moving downs. He just doesn't get it. Another OES issue. Once he figures out what I want, though, he'll never forget it. Another OES thing, and thank goodness, a positive trait! :D

Thursday, September 24

OSU Demo and Classes

So yesterday, we had the OSU agility demo at the vet school. I elected to take Merlin and not Popper, because last time I took Popper, they had grills going, and it just overwhelmed his poor beagley senses. Merlin has only done one other demo, so I figured it would be good practice.

The ground was really soggy, and I guess there were all sorts of good smells coming out of it, because Merlin went nuts sniffing and pawing at the ground, and ignoring me. He never does that in agility. I was getting frustrated when Joanne, who owns Irish Wolfhounds, asked if I wanted to try some Captain Crunch. At that point, I'd try anything. It was instant success with Merlin - I gave him one, and he became fixated completely on the bag - which Joanne still had. So she gave it to me, and BOOM - instant and flawless attention. If he started to drift on a run, I just touched my pocket so the bag would crinkle, and he would switch himself back to me right away. Even later that night, when I showed it to my fiance, Merlin's eyes were large and attentive on that bag. I afterwards referred to it as the "Magic Bag of Noms."

It truly was magic - I took it to class with us, and Merlin managed to fix all the issues he's been having problems with.. He took the weave poles perfectly after other obstacles; he corrected himself when he was about to jump through the space between the tire and the frame, to go through the tire itself... I was SO PROUD of the little guy! He was awesome. I was even more proud when they told us he was cleared to go on to the next level of agility classes. Way to go, Merlin!

I kept the Magic Bag of Noms out for Popper's class too - and I was not disappointed. We were doing threadles, which were previously our downfall, and Popper ran them like a champ. I was astonished, pleased, thrilled - all those and more. Popper wasn't as obsessed with the Captain Crunch as Merlin (Popper is a hound - he just likes food, period), but I swear that bag was magic. He ran everything well, and ran the whole time, which is unusual for him because he doesn't do well in the heat/humidity normally. We had a bit of trouble with the weaves, but that was my fault because I have not been diligent in my practice at home. Popper was also promoted to the next level, which caused no end of joy for me, because we had already done that class once together, and I became so frustrated and upset with it that I had vowed to give up agility. We worked really hard, and took a recreational class to get the joy back into the sport, and that worked like charm; it was exactly what we needed to keep going strong. :)

We celebrated the awesomeness of the little boys with ice cream cones!

And yes, I have Peanut Butter Captain Crunch on my shopping list - never again will I underestimate the power of the Magic Bag of Noms!

Thursday, September 17

Saved by Leashes - Twice!

I packed up Roofus, Popper, Blossom, and Merlin, and headed over to my parents' house for a few hours of fetch and frisbee. When I was a few houses away from theirs, there was a "Road Closed" sign. Not to be deterred, I turned around and went the back way.

The back way was blocked as well, and there were all sorts of people milling about. I rolled my window down to ask a man, who happened to have a large dog, why the road was closed. "Gas leak," he said. I thanked him, and in that instant, Popper bolted from the passenger side seat, through the driver's side window. I managed to snag his leash as it trailed out the window. The next second, Merlin got it into his head to go tumbling after him, but I was prepared now, and I got him before he had two paws on my seat, and stuck him on the passenger side floor. I got Popper back into the car, and away we went.

That has never happened to me before. I am very upset at Popper for having so little self control that he felt the need to fly out my window to go visit a dog. Merlin is reactive so I am not surprised at him, although he has never tried to jump out the window before.

When we got home, I put my dogs in stays, and opened my door. I grabbed Popper's leash, when Blossom decided it was her turn to bolt out of the car, and goes running down the sidewalk. Blossom is deaf, so the only way to get Blossom back is to capture her, praying the entire time she doesn't see you, otherwise she'll RUN. I shut the door, took off with Popper after her, and stepped on her leash. Thankfully she always wears a harness, so the jolt of a sudden stop wasn't too bad.

At this point I was pretty happy to get back into my house and stuff all the dogs inside it.

Twice in one day! I don't ever have a problem with dogs in my car. I think it may be time to reintroduce Popper to the doggie seat belt, and I believe I need to get Blossom one as well, since she is deaf now and a PITA to catch if she can slip out the door. This was quite an eye opener - just because your dogs don't normally do something, or have been trained not to do something, does not mean they will not do it at some point! I always fear the off-leash dogs that are "perfectly trained," because it only takes a second for something bad to happen. We all were lucky this time.

Roofus, I will note, was an exceptionally good boy the entire time and the only one I am not annoyed with at the moment.

And my dogs are still full of energy and have not gotten their exercise yet!! :( We're going to try back later.

Friday, September 11

Agility Run-Thrus

I was super eager for BRAG's agility run-throughs tonight.... I wanted to see if Popper's attention disorder really was an outdoor-specific thing, or if he was just totally ruined at trials.

It's an outdoor thing.

It's a huge obstacle to conquer. I don't know if we can do it. We're sure going to try - at least one of the games every time Merlin does an outdoor trial. So I will focus on the indoor ones and hopefully we can finish our level 1 title before the year is out.

Merlin, on the other hand - freaking amazing. I think Popper started out amazing, too, but I can really see Merlin going all the way.

Monday, September 7

Flash Point Agility Trial Sept 6th

Both my little boys participated in Flash Point Agility's CPE trial yesterday. They both did the last one, as well, which was last month, but it was at their facility. This one was held at the Morrow County Fairgrounds in Mount Gilead.

I'm pleased to say that Merlin obtained his first ever Qs this weekend! He Q'd easily in both Jackpot and Fullhouse, and unfortunately a bit of trouble with the tire in standard caused us to be over time, so we did not Q in that one. His first run out, he was absolutely amazing, incredibly responsive and FAST. We probably could have gotten first place if I hadn't been more worried about getting the jackpot and getting to the table immediately. We had plenty of time I could have used to get more points, the whistle hadn't even sounded for the "get to the table" warning. The second run was also very, very good. The third run (standard) he kind of lost it. I think me making him do the tire correctly (took quite a bit of time) really took a lot of the fun out of it for Merlin, and his focus just got all out of whack from it. That tire is really becoming a PITA to me. I'm not sure why my dogs hate it so much.

Popper, on the other hand, was completely out of it. A lot of it, I think, has to do with being outside, and also that we were at a fair, with a LOT of livestock close by, and manure everywhere. The beagle part just takes complete control. I was so happy because it was a nontraditional jackpot, I thought Popper would finally get his elusive Q in that game. Instead, he spent his time staring out of the fence, and bounding happily wherever he felt like it. I will give him the positive that his "GO TABLE" is awesome, I can tell him that from the other side of the ring, and he will zoom full blast to it, wherever it may be.

His second run, after I couldn't get his focus back, I said, Okay, goodbye! and started walking away (not out of the ring - I can't bring myself to do that *yet*) - and guess who comes running onto the dog walk? He stopped, looked at me, wagged his tail, so I ran over and we did the dog walk. I had his focus for two more obstacles after that, and then we had to go to table. I think this is what I'm going to have to do at outdoor trials from now on, until he gets the idea that in the agility ring, he has to focus on me and the obstacles. We don't have this issue at indoor trials or in class, so it's something I have to work on entirely at a trial. I'm not made of money by any means, so whenever Merlin has an outdoor trial, I'll just enter Popper in either fullhouse or jackpot and use that time to get my point across. That way, it's not a huge financial burden to me to at least attempt to get his outdoor attention loss under control.

Tuesday, September 1

Popper's Ball Obsession


We always thought it was Merlin with the neurotic ball obsession - but he's got nothing on Popper.

Before storms, Popper will always go outside, find his ball (which has been slyly repurchased and replaced over and over again - he's rather hard on balls), and put it on my windowsill inside the house, presumably to "watch" the thunderstorm from the safety of inside.

Since it's been cool out, I've just been leaving the back door open for the dogs to trot in and out at their leisure. Popper immediately gets his ball every morning (I keep it outside because it's disgusting, and he can be ball aggressive), brings it into my bedroom, drops it on the bed, and cuddles with it the rest of the day.

Yes, in this one respect, I think Merlin is definitely the less weird dog.

Monday, August 31

New Sponge!

I went to Phishy Business on Saturday and picked up a new sponge - it's a Vase Sponge (also called a paddle sponge, mine looks more like a paddle, I guess). I figured that bright orange would look awesome in my tank, but it does seem to draw attention right at it LOL! I still need to find a permanent spot for it, it is too close to the top of the tank right now for me to do water changes. These guys can't be exposed to air or they'll die, so I need to get him somewhere lower, where he's not in range of my nastier corals, either.

If anyone is wondering what to get me as a gift for my birthday/Christmas/wedding, feel free to pick up a Phishy Business gift card. :D I have to buy my water from there anyway, I love going in, not spending any of my own money, and coming out with lots of stuff!

I also picked up this weird orange sand sifting snail, whom I have never actually seen down in the sand - he's always on the glass.

Tuesday, August 25

Cute puppy dog!


I got to baby sit this a few weeks ago. She's a beagle - pug - dachshund mix. Basically, the "puggle" but with short legs. Don't let her cuteness full you - she was absolutely full of the devil himself.

I found myself being rapidly cured of my "gotta have a puppy" illness.

Tuesday, August 18

The Alarm Clock Fish


I've got a clown loach that's decided when he wants fed, it's time for me to get up.

I've had Krusty the Klown loach for roughly 7 years or so, and he's about 6" from nose to tail tip. He lives in a 30 gallon aquarium right beside the head of my bed, and I leave the light on all night long. I woke up this morning to him making this awful noise at the surface of the water, and then staring at me to see if I was up yet. He has never made this noise when I'm not lying in my bed. I'm fairly certain he has figured out that the first thing I do when I get up each morning is turn off the aquarium light and feed the fish.

It's extremely annoying (I don't like being woken up - and sometimes he does it at 3am!) and I strongly considered selling him, since he has long eaten all the little snails that once plagued my planted tank.

However, I've been leaving the light on during the day, and off at night, and that likewise seems to have solved the problem as he can't see me anymore in the pitch black.

Unfortunately, I no longer have a nightlight. :(

Wednesday, August 12

New YouTube Videos!

I've been trying to record the boys more while we practice agility, and of course promote my sites a bit in the meantime. :)

Today we were working on "send to the tunnel," which Popper can do from a greater distance than Merlin (although Merlin will do it at a trial and Popper won't).





I hope to get some weaving videos online soon. :)

Saturday, August 1

Tips for your First Agility Trial

It was only in February that I first began participating in agility trials. I remember the first one clear as a bell - because I was completely, totally, a nervous wreck. I don't like not knowing exactly what to bring or what to expect. So I have formulated this little article with some helpful information for anyone planning on competing in their first agility trial.

What to bring
Keep in mind that this is by no means an exhaustive list, but merely suggestions on things you should plan on taking!
  1. Dog Crate or Exercise Pen (some trials do not allow X-Pens - read the premium)
  2. Water (you AND your dog) and water bowls
  3. Treats. Stinky, yummy treats to keep your dog's attention away from the ring when you're getting him out of the crate, as well as to reward when you're back at your crate after a run. Don't forget snacks for you!
  4. An extra leash and collar. Because something could happen to yours. It has to me!
  5. Crate/xpen mat. Some trials require them. Read the premium.
  6. Rule book for whatever organization you are running in. Folks are always asking me to borrow my rulebook. And it's good to make sure you know the rules before you run.
  7. Notebook and pen/pencil to record how your dog did.
  8. Poop bags
  9. Toys - either for a quick game of tug/fetch well away from the rings, or to play with in the crate.
  10. Chair - it's a long day.
  11. Blanket - for covering your dog if he's a barker, or if there is a draft in the building.
  12. Portable battery fan. Don't bother with those tiny crate fans. Get a big one that takes about $10 worth of D batteries. These are awesome for the summer.
  13. Hat/Sunglasses/Sunscreen/Hair scrunchie - must haves for outdoor trials!
  14. A book, crossword puzzles, etc. You probably won't want to sit there watching the other dogs all day long. It's good to have something else to do as well.
  15. A good attitude! No matter how you and your dog do, have fun doing it

Other Tips
It's always a little scary taking your pooch to a trial for the first time. Here are some more tips for your day!
  1. Get there as early as the club will allow you, so both you and your dog can settle in and get measured.
  2. You may be able to have your stuff already set up - some clubs allow you to help set up the night before, and workers are rewarded with setting up their gear that night.
  3. Relax. Even if you run into an obstacle, trip and fall, or misdirect your dog - everyone has seen it before. It's probably even happened to them. Laugh heartily and finish, if you can, or take a breather.
  4. Talk with some of the other folks at the trial. There is plenty of advice to be had if you want it!
  5. If someone from your home club is there, they may be willing to walk the courses with you (if the organization permits it - CPE does).
  6. Walk the course until your time is up or you feel comfortable on it. Even if you're the only person left out there walking.
  7. Your dog will probably react differently at a trial than at training class. Popper has a very nice and reliable sit stay in class. At a trial, he has no idea what that means, making lead-outs impossible. Merlin is a leisurely trotter in class, and a full-out marathon sprinter at a trial. Be prepared to react on the fly to whatever happens.
  8. If someone can video the run for you, it's always fun to have. Even if you don't like watching it to see how you did (and possibly explain why Fido went through the tunnel instead of the tire), it's a great memento to have of you and your dogs' first trial run together!
  9. The judges are generally very nice, especially to folks new to the sport.
  10. You can tell when your dog has had enough. It's probably a good idea to only enter your dog in 2 or 3 runs unless you have this energetic ball of fur that can run and run and run without ever getting tired. If you enter in too many runs, and your dog is mentally *done*, you could do more harm than good by trying to do "just one more run."
  11. Don't get upset at your dog or yourself! If this is your first trial, you're still very new to agility, and the more you compete, the more relaxed and better you will get at it. You started in agility to have fun with your dog - so go have fun, whether you Q or not!
I hope you have fun at your first trial! It was a fantastic learning experience for me, and even though they still scare me senseless (generally, right when I enter the ring, LOL) they are a lot of fun and the dogs really enjoy it!

Thursday, July 30

9 Dog Park Tips

9 Dog Park Tips from Menagerie Mayhem

1. Offer a ball to the dog park Gods.


Everyone plays with the balls just laying around at the dog park - but what happens when they're all chewed to pieces, completely mucky, or all gone? Tennis balls are super cheap, and if your dog park is free, it's all the more reason to bring a ball with you and leave it behind when you go, so others can enjoy it too!

2. Pick up after your dog.

This should go without saying, but there are always a few folks that forget. Keep an eye on your dog so you can pick up its waste. Generally dogs go potty in the first five minutes, and they'll usually run clear to the other end of the park to go. Always have a bag handy so you can focus on where your dog is - it's very easy to lose sight of the poop! If your dog digs holes, fill them in immediately, as they are not safe for running dogs, or humans.

3. Leave the choke and pinch collars at home.

Aside from the fact that every dog park I know of does not allow these collars on while in the park, they are hazardous to your dog. Many dogs love to grab their canine pal's neck in play, and they could easily injure a pooch wearing a choke collar. Prong collars have the additional danger of flipping outwards and injuring another dog. You're not going to do any training in the dog park, so leave it off your dog(s) and let them go play safely.

4. Bring water and extra bags.

If it's a dog park that has running water and an endless supply of complimentary poop bags, you probably don't have to worry about this. But some dog parks do not have water, and rely on volunteers to bring it in gallon jugs. Likewise, they may have "bag stations" but again, need folks to keep it well stocked. Even if there aren't bag stations, you should always bring a couple extra to help out that one person who inevitably forgot to bring them.

5. Don't bring aggressive or semi-aggressive dogs.

This should be a no-brainer. If your dog is the type that can't play well with others, then the dog park is not the place for him. If you are trying to train your dog to not attack other dogs on sight, the dog park is still not the place for him. Only dogs with good social manners should enter the parks.

6. Don't go inside until your dog's energy is right, and keep him/her away from the entrance once inside.

One of the biggest causes of dog fights at the dog park is new dogs entering the park. Either a dog will come in obviously overstimulated, and go nuts, lunging at all the dogs around it, or a new dog will come in and be immediately overwhelmed by twenty dog noses poking and prodding him before he's even completely in the gate. The solution is simple - if your dog is barking, salivating, lunging towards the entrance, don't go inside. Keep your dog(s) outside the park until it has calmed down sufficiently. Yes, it may cut into your dog park time. But letting a dog inside when it is overexcited will only make its excitement grow each time, until you really wish you had just left your dog at home. Once the dog(s) is inside the park, move away from the entrance/exit and make sure your dog does too.

7. Watch other dogs' body language.

Just because a dog "seems nice" does not mean the dog plays nicely, or has good doggie manners. I have noticed, particularly when playing with my dogs, that other dogs will come over and become fixated on a certain one of my pack. When this happens, I stop throwing the ball, stick, or whatever I'm doing. You don't need to get nervous or ansy, just let your dogs run around a bit instead of throwing stuff, until the dog is obviously no longer fixated, or has wandered away. You can also tell if a dog is going to play too roughly with your pooch by observing its behavior as well. Even though a lot of dogs give clear signals about how rough they want to play, the other dog may not understand or even care. It is just as important to watch the other dogs at the dog park as it is to watch your own.

8. Always be extra observant and careful around water.

If your park has a pond, you need to be even more vigilant of your dog. When water is involved, everything becomes more hazardous - the play, the surfaces. Make sure your dog is not harassing others and being a good dog park pooch. If the area is too slippery for your pet, or your dog is getting unwanted attention from another dog, it is best to just leave the pond area altogether.

9. Have FUN!

The whole point of dog parks is to have a safe, secure area for your dog(s) to run off leash and play with other dogs. Some use the area to play ball, some to throw frisbees, and some just come for their dog to run around and socialize with other dogs. Whatever you choose

Thursday, July 16

Private Agility Lesson

I had a private lesson in dog agility at Kym Jarvis's Anything Goes for Dogs yesterday morning. I was a bit sore from having a horrible stomach problem the day before (possibly an ulcer?) but I sucked it up and learned a lot!

I took both Popper and Merlin, though when I scheduled the lesson I had really intended it for just Popper. I wanted to work on distance, rear crosses, and general handling. I will tell you right now, the biggest problem for me is handling. I have two left feet and my arms just sort of wave all over the place. I am not a coordinated person and I doubt I ever will be.

It was pretty hot, so it worked out very nicely that I brought two dogs so I could trade them off. Merlin is an extremely green dog, having not trialed yet, so I wanted to give him the opportunity to perform in a different setting. At first, he was heavily distracted by everything, and I couldn't hold his attention for very long at all. But towards the end he started behaving more like the awesome agility dog that I KNOW is lurking inside him! Popper also did marvelously; he was not as distracted as Merlin, but it was too hot for him and I spent a lot of time wetting him down and trying to keep his enthusiasm up.

Kym showed me a way to start making Popper deal with rear crosses into tunnels. A horrible thing about having a separation anxiety dog, when you're doing agility, is that they don't want to let you out of their sight. Popper was particularly freaked out with me rear crossing him into a tunnel, and then being on the side he didn't expect me on. He'd go 1/3 of the way in, and pop back out to see where I was. Front crosses were fine - rear crosses were evil. Well, we worked on it, and he's improved 200%! He even seems to really like tunnels now - he started getting "sucked" into them whenever he was walking by one. :)

Overall, it was a great lesson and I'm glad I took it. I feel better prepared for the upcoming Flash Point trial, and I understand what I need to do to correct some issues we've been having.

Monday, July 13

Walking, Walking, Walking!

I've been walking so much the past week or so that my poor feet are blistered and hurty, not to mention my shin splints are screaming bloody murder. I've re-embarked (for the third time) on daily dog walks. This time with a twist - I get up an extra 45 minutes early, so we can get our walk in before the day gets too hot. So far it's worked pretty well - particularly considering that I'm by no means eager to start the day or hop out of my nice, comfortable bed.

I've been trying to take only one dog at a time. Each dog, by itself, is a rather pleasant walking experience. But when I start adding them together... well, that's when the stress comes in and it's no longer enjoyable. There are exceptions. For instance, my two larger dogs walk fairly well together, and the two little boys do decently as well. Not great - but usually tolerable. I try to do at least two miles each morning. And now my fiance has told me he'd like to start walking with me in the evenings as well! So it looks like the dogs will be plenty well exercised without me feeling guilty all the time.

The other day, I took the boys over to the middle school, where there are acres of fields to play in, far away from anyone, and set them free inside a baseball diamond. Normally, Popper is quite good off leash, but Merlin totally schooled him in obedience! Merlin could be 300ft away, I'd call him, and he'd come tearing across the field to me (and get a cookie). Popper just didn't care. In his defense, he is half beagle, and I'm pretty sure all sorts of wildlife crawls over that area. He was tracking the entire time, and a hound on a mission - they tend to have selective hearing to the extreme. I've never encountered such a blatant disregard to my calls before with Popper, and I hope I won't ever again. But it's yet another lesson, I suppose, in owning a hound. Even half a hound.

I need to get new insoles for my sneakers (or new shoes altogether) to walk this much. I'm already feeling the shin splint pain intensify, and I have an agility trial coming up that I would be VERY disappointed if I couldn't do!

Tuesday, July 7

I Can't Find Scruffy

I haven't seen Scruffy since last Thursday. I haven't see her body in the road, so I can only assume she's terrorizing somebody else now. I'm pretty sad, I was intent on catching the little beastie. :(

Not a day goes by that I don't see a dog in my neighborhood, running loose. And 9 times out of 10, it's a dog wearing a collar but NO TAGS! What's the point? In this county, it is illegal to have a dog that's not wearing a dog license. Besides that, how am I supposed to return your dog to you? It's all well and good if you have your pet microchipped, but think about it - most pet owners don't have a scanner to detect them. I certainly don't. Put your phone number at the very least on a dog tag, so I can call you to let you know I've got your pooch safe and sound in my backyard.

Merlin's being amazing with our agility training. So far, he's doing *some* work in the backyard. He'll do weave poles, and he'll teeter, and he'll do a jump or two. It's a HUGE improvement from where we were a few weeks ago, when he refused to do anything but the teeter. We even made it through a very boomy fourth of July weekend. He's doing straight-up weave poles consistently, without any problems. I started adding a jump before the poles, since that's a problem I STILL have with Popper, and he's doing marvelously. Now, how he'll perform in class is another issue entirely....

Wednesday, July 1

New Flu Vaccination for Dogs

Apparently, there's a doggie flu going around, and it kills about 5% of the dogs it infects. The dogs most at risk are the brachycephalic breeds, like pugs, pekingese, and anything else with a mashed up nose.

There's now a vaccination for it!

Read more at the New York Times.

Scruffy has a friend

Every morning on the way to work, my SO sees Scruffy playing with a yellow lab that's let into their front yard early in the day. He's spotted him three days in a row, and that's about where I look for the dog every day.

Today I packed up my leather gloves, a noose leash, and some stinky bologna. I hunted all over the neighborhood in all his usual haunts - no Scruffy. It's pretty dark out and going to rain, I can only assume he's bunkered down somewhere waiting it out. So I came home empty-handed and a little bit wet, but I did get a nice walk in before I even started work. I imagine I made my neighbors nervous, walking around wearing work gloves, carrying rope, and anxious scanning every house I passed, LOL!

Tomorrow I'm going to get up and leave the house at the same time the SO does, to see if I can catch Scruffy while he's playing with the yellow lab. And of course, I'll do my afternoon scan of the neighborhood to see if I can spot him. I'm thinking of using the corgi as bait, because Scruffy loves to come tearing out of wherever to bark at passing dogs.

Tuesday, June 30

Another Scruffy sighting...

On my way to the dentist this morning, I spotted Scruffy having a good sniff about five houses down from mine. Unfortunately, I had to head on to the dentist but noted that he's sticking close to this area.

When my SO got home from work, he told me Scruffy was out and about again, and off we went to capture him. That dog knew exactly what we were doing. We slowly stalked him in our car, and threw some Cheez-its out the window when he laid down in the shade to keep an eye on his. He got up, sniffed those, tossed his little nose up in the air at them, and proceeded to zoom down the sidewalk. I jumped out of the car and gave chase, but he was just a HAIR faster than me, so it seemed pointless to continue to run after him. We followed him around the block, but he went in someone's backyard and escaped into the woods behind it.

So there goes my "run really fast and grab him" approach. I'm too slow.

I think I'd like to sort of herd him towards my house, with my gate open, get him inside, and shut the door. At this point, I think it's the best I could hope for. I really need a few extra people to help shepherd him where I want him to go, though.

I did get close enough to him that I determined he's a poodle mix. As his name implies, he really does need groomed in a bad way.

Monday, June 29

Catching Scruffy...

Scruffy is this little black ball of matted fur that I occasionally see on my dog walks. He loves to get within a few feet of my dogs and bark ferociously at them, but is smart enough to run for the hills if anyone gets too close. He's been loose in my neighborhood for at least a year.

This past week, he's started hanging out on my street, close to my house, as opposed to a few blocks away. One day I pulled over and tried to nab him, but he took off. I am fairly confident I could overtake him because he's not very fast, but I'll have to make sure I have a blanket with me in case he's bitey.

Until that time, I've come up with a plan that will likely be affected by the millions of loose cats that run rampant in my neighborhood.

Stage 1 - set out food for Scruffy every day and watch closely for Scruffy sightings.

Stage 2 - when Scruffy seems to be coming regularly, open backyard gate at night and put dog food in it.

Stage 3 - either shut gate while Scruffy is inside, or set up the live trap and try to get him that way.

Hopefully, he's not so feral that he's an evil little SOB. He's only about 10# or so, so I wouldn't mind him in the household as it wouldn't make much difference.

World's Ugliest Dog Named

Every year, there is a contest to see who is the ugliest dog. Sometimes it is televised, and I must admit that I do watch it whenever it's on. I just can't help myself. Generally, the competition is overrun with Chinese Crested Hairless dogs, who, because of rather poor breeding, tend to become quite hideous in their older years, losing their teeth, getting clouded eyes, and in general, looking like something you would only want to touch wearing a protective suit while having a chemical bath nearby.

This year's dog isn't even that ugly. Heck, I've had a dog with an underbite and cloudy eyes before.

Do you think he's really worthy of the Ugliest Dog Crown?

Friday, June 26

My New No Soliciting Sign



I get a lot of unwanted folks knocking on my door all day long. In the spring, it is next to impossible to keep my door open for a breeze, because within ten minutes, someone will come along rapping on it and stir all my dogs into a frenzy. It's annoying!

I do have a no soliciting sign on my door, but I'm writing a new one now -

NO SOLICITING
This includes selling: magazines or subscriptions,
long distance phone service, cable television, satellite
television, religion, meat, or anything else you want to
bother us with. We may open the door for cookies and
candy bars, especially when sold by little kids, because
they are tasty. The candy bars, not the kids.
NO SURVEYS
We are not interested in taking your survey. If you
insist, we will answer every question with "your mom" or
"that's what she said."

Thank you and have a great day!

I doubt it will work though... seems these folks can't read. :(

Mommy and Roo Day

So, once a week, I try to do an activity with just Roofus and I - no other dogs are invited! The other two boys are in agility, so they get to hang out with Mom for a couple hours just by themselves once a week, not to mention all the time we spend practicing. Roofus doesn't really have a "thing," unless there's some special workshop I've signed him up for, so I like to have a time where we just do something enjoyable together without the other dogs.

Today we went to the local park (human park, not dog park). It stormed a lot yesterday, so I figured the creeks might be high enough to swim in for him. Well, they only came up to his chest since he's so large, LOL. But the first creek we went in, he flushed out a mama duck and her dozen or so babies. Roofus has taken herding classes, so I know he's okay with ducks. I let him practice herding (in the water!) for a little bit and then "that'll do," and we went on our way. Mama was getting a bit anxious because her kids were starting to get washed away downstream!

That was pretty much the norm for our time at the park. We'd do a half mile or so, then into another creek... At least half the time there were more ducks (though I did not let him bother baby ducks after his first time), so we practiced our "walk ups" and come with distractions. He did really well, though trying to herd, in a creek, on a 16 ft flexi leash is probably not ideal!

I got him back home, gave him a quickie bath, and he's happily snoozing on my bed now, no doubt dreaming of keeping those ducks all together in one bunch.

Free Shipping till the end of June!

If you visit my Zazzle store, you can get FREE shipping on orders over $25 till the end of June! That's an awesome deal, I love it when I don't have to pay for shipping.

The code is FREESHIPON25 and it expires June 30th 2009.

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The fine print:
To qualify for this free shipping offer, one or more Zazzle products must be purchased with an order subtotal of $25 or more. The coupon code FREESHIPON25 must be entered during checkout to receive the offer. Free shipping offer does not apply skateboards or photo sculptures. The free shipping offer is for standard (or economy if standard is not available) shipping. Shipping offer is for shipping to U.S. addresses only. Shipping charges will apply to oversized orders and orders being shipped on an expedited basis. Offer is valid from June 19, 2009 at 12:01am PT through June 30, 2009 at 11:59pm PT. Your order must be placed during that time to qualify for this special offer. This promotional offer does not apply to past purchases and may not be combined with any other Zazzle promotional or discount offers. Offer valid on Zazzle.com only.

Keep your dog cool!

There was an interesting post on the BRAG group about keeping your dog cool... as canine athletes our little four leggeds tend to heat up very quickly, and heat stroke is never a good thing! Apparently dogs don't cool *quite* the same way as people do. Last night, Popper had agility practice, and I put a couple of things to the test. He absolutely HATES the heat (and the cold, for that matter), and will shut down and refuse to work. He was panting rapidly before we even started doing anything, he is that sensitive to heat.

Firstly, getting your dog wet does help. I took Popper out after every run and just dosed him with a gallon of water, which I rubbed in to make sure it got down in there. I have read that you want to do that right before a run, otherwise it can actually insulate the heat IN and make them hotter.

Secondly, if you get your dog wet, don't stick them somewhere with poor air circulation. If you put your dog in a crate (which we all do at trials) then stick a huge fan right on it. The evaporation of the water is what's going to keep your dog cool. If you just crate them, chances are, you're going to see your dog's temperature rise. Those little crate fans aren't much help - go buy a huge one. They do make large ones that are battery operated or can run on your car's power.

I've also heard good things about those cooling mats, if you can get your dog to lie on it, and those reflective coats/tarps.

On the way home from agility, Popper was soaked, and I turned the air on in my car and directed a vent full blast on him. After a minute or two, he was relaxed, comfortable, and not panting - I, on the other hand, was still hot, sticky, and panting!

And, of course, all my advice comes at a "use at your own risk." Always consult a veterinarian if you are unsure about how to keep your pooch cool in the summer heat and use common sense.

Thursday, June 25

Firefighter Kills His Dogs

Okay, I am one of those people who are firmly into "eye for an eye." I believe murderers should get whatever they did to their victims, done to them. I believe child rapists should be lynched, drawn, and quartered. But today I am absolutely INFURIATED by this story, which sadly takes place in my hometown -

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090625/ap_on_re_us/us_firefighter_dog_deaths_1

Essentially, this guy killed his two mutts because he didn't want to board them while he went on vacation.

And what, you may ask, was his punishment for this completely heinous crime??

90 days in jail. 90 freaking days.

The guy was bragging to folks about how he offed his dogs (tied them to a pipe in the basement and shot them with a silencer) and they're going to let this maniac out in the streets after 90 days.

It's not right.

People like that, who have no regard for life, do not belong in society. Nor should they be a drain on society's resources - in other words, we shouldn't have to pay for Mr. Idiot to sit on his butt in prison while I have to go out and work a 9 to 5. Is he learning his lesson? I doubt it. I also firmly believe that his genes should not be passed on, either. My conclusion? Euthanasia. Now, I'm willing to compromise, don't get me wrong. While it would be pleasant to see this man tied to a pipe in a basement and likewise shot, and tossed in a garbage bin, I am fully willing to settle for less.

Castrate the bastard, tie him to a pole, shoot him in several places that won't kill him, and don't give him pain medication. I think that would be far more effective than a 90 day stint in jail. When he's sufficiently recovered, he can perform supervised volunteer work at an animal shelter. Not to have any contact with the dogs - he can clean out the kennels.

Too bad I'm not a judge.

Tuesday, June 23

General Agility Update

Weeeeell.... I took Merlin to my parents' house. Absolutely no problem doing agility there. I'm stumped. Something must have scared him in the backyard one day so that he won't do agility at my house. The only thing I can really think of is the woman next door's grandkids.. Merlin is scared of kids (we're working on it), and her grandkids HANG on our privacy fence and bark at, howl at, and make monster noises at my dogs. I chase them off of there when I see it, but I'm relatively certain the last instance is probably what did it.

If that's truly what it is, it boils my blood. Here I am trying to get this timid little corgi a little more secure and outgoing, and little asshats like that go and blow months of work in a few moments. These are people that do not interact with their dogs at all - no walks, no doggie sports, no trips to the park - they shove them outside each morning regardless of the weather, and let them back in at night and shove them into crates. They are little 20# dogs too.

So for now, we're going to work at my parents' house when possible. One of the guys at BRAG said Merlin and I could come over to work in the building one day in July before our trial, so Merlin could run a course before he has to do it for real. A FABULOUS offer, and idea! So I'm pretty happy about that.

Popper is doing really well in our fun class (and so am I!). I think I understand now what he expects out of me, and I'm trying really hard to provide it. It's just a lot to remember! He wants me to constantly keep moving, I have to let him know at least one obstacle ahead what's coming up next (and position myself appropriately), and keep in mind the little stuff, like if it's too hot for him, and rear crosses into tunnels is still a huge challenge... but we're getting there. The problem with teamwork is we each have our own mind LOL! The hardest part yet for me, though, is where my body position is. I am just not an "aware" person, so it takes a lot of effort for me to try to make it happen. I think that's why I got so frustrated in the handling classes. It's really quite foreign to me to be aware of what every single part of my body is doing at any given point. But I HAVE to get this down, Merlin is far worse than Popper about what a stray hand may be doing, or if I am leaning too far one way... :D

Thursday, June 18

Agility Woes and Yays

So, as you may have read, I'm doing a "fun" dog agility class with Popper this session instead of repeating the handling class we were in. I was having absolutely zero fun, dreaded going to class, and Popper felt my reaction and started being less cooperative and joyful in his runs. I could get maybe one run out of him, and then we were done.

This is our third week in the fun class, which is zero pressure, and after the second week I saw a huge difference. Popper works for me the entire time (although he wouldn't call it work, I'm sure!), and I'm actually sad when class is over. His response to my directions, garbled though they may be, is phenomenal. He's so amazing that I find it hard to believe we've only been doing agility for a year. At our last trial, he only went off and visited during one run instead of both of them. I think before he was getting so stressed (because I was getting so stressed) that he would run off to visit folks. He always comes back, it's just annoying when you're on a speedy course. :) I'm really glad we're taking the class, because there's no point in doing agility if it's not fun.

Merlin is in the "weaves and teeters" class. He could do a full height, ground to ground teeter before even entering the class. I just started him on upright weave poles, too. So passing the class shouldn't be a problem. The problem I am having is, right after we decided he would make his debut at an agility trial in August, he suddenly decided the backyard is an evil place to practice agility in. The inside is fine, but the backyard - no. He'll do the teeter, and anything else is like pulling teeth. He's very intent on agility in class, very aware of my body positions, very eager to do whatever obstacle I tell him to, handles everything like a more seasoned competitor - but in the backyard, he's like a lost little dog that's never seen agility equipment before. I have no idea what happened. I suppose I have to start back at square one to see if I can get anything out of him. I want to pack up some obstacles and take them over to my parents' yard to see if he'll do agility there. The trial is an outdoor one, so I really need him to work outdoors. I'm not expecting much out of him for the trial, being his first one and all, but if I try to run a dog that looks like he's terrified, well, I'll probably get kicked out of the competition. I'll keep updating what's going on with him and our progress...

Tuesday, June 16

FDA Suspends Evanger's Dog Food Permit

From the FDA Website:
http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/ucm166265.htm

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced today it was suspending the temporary Emergency Permit issued to Evanger's Dog & Cat Food Co., Inc.

Evanger's, operating in Wheeling, Illinois, deviated from the prescribed process, equipment, product shipment, and recordkeeping requirements in the production of the company's thermally processed low acid canned food (LACF) products. The deviations in their processes and documentation could result in under-processed pet foods, which can allow the survival and growth of Clostridium botulinum (C. botulinum), a bacterium that causes botulism in some animals as well as in humans.

In April 2008, Evanger’s was issued an “Order of Need for Emergency Permit” after the agency determined that the company had failed to meet the regulatory requirements to process a product that does not present a health risk. In June, 2008, FDA issued Evanger’s a temporary Emergency Permit. During inspections conducted between March 2009 and April 2009, FDA determined Evanger’s was not operating in compliance with the mandatory requirements and conditions of the Temporary Emergency Permit.

“The FDA is stopping Evanger's ability to ship pet food in interstate commerce,” said Dr. Bernadette Dunham. “Today’s enforcement action sends a strong message to manufacturers of pet food that we will take whatever action necessary to keep unsafe products from reaching consumers.”

In order for Evanger's to resume shipping in interstate commerce, the company must document that corrective actions and processing procedures have been implemented to ensure that the finished product will not present a health hazard.

Botulism is a powerful toxin that affects the nervous system and can be fatal. The disease has been documented in dogs and cats. Signs of botulism in animals are progressive muscle paralysis, disturbed vision, difficulty in chewing and swallowing, and progressive weakness to the body. Death is usually due to paralysis of the heart or the muscles used in breathing.

While FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition is responsible for regulating all human and animal LACF processing, FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine has authority over animal feed and foods. The two centers are collaborating on this enforcement action.


I buy Evanger's canned food on occasion, because my dogs love it and it's a great food. It just goes to show that nothing is safe these days - but I'm awfully glad the FDA is now keeping tabs on all these pet food companies!

Thursday, June 4

There's hope for Merlin yet!

I managed to cajole a little session out of one of the trainers (a HUGE thanks!!) and we've discovered that Merlin will perform like a pro on those teeters - as long as my hand is on his collar. So, like a daddy teaching his kid to ride a bicycle, I'll hold on for now - and then gradually let go and see how he does on his own.

We've started moving the teeter all around the yard to get him used to change (he's not really big on anything being different!) and so far, so good. I kind of wish I had a second teeter, because it would have a different pivot point than my current one, and he'd get the idea that they're all different.

But we're improving, and I'm happy that I've been shown a way for him to succeed.

I haven't decided if I'm going to take him to Popper's class tonight so we can work beforehand... he was just there yesterday and the day before...

Wednesday, June 3

Merlin Loses his Mojo

Pembroke Welsh Corgi Agility GiftsPoor merbutt. :( We started a new dog agility class last night, it's pretty much just weaves and teeters. I started Merlin on the teeter months ago, if you read his blog, because I knew it would take such a long time to teach it to him. And it did. Lots of time, lots of treats, and a heck of a lot of patience. But he's been doing a full 24" teeter ground to ground for about 3 weeks now, fairly confidently too.

When I sent him up on it in class, he ran straight off it before it hit the ground, and then was scared of it. I'm fairly certain it's because he's never done the teeter there, just the dog walk. And if I recall correctly, Popper did the exact same thing first time he did a teeter there too. We worked through it a bit, and at the end, he was much improved, but still not 100% comfortable on it.

So now I have to somehow get his confidence up to do the teeter in class, because he's still fine with ours at home. I'm just bummed we put in all that hard work, several times a day for MONTHS, and then something like that happened. :( I'm not bummed at Merlin. I feel like there's something I could have done different when we did it in class.

Monday, June 1

Dog Agility Brag!

Dog Agility T-ShirtsYesterday, Popper and I participated in the Wild Weaver's Agility Trial at the BRAG facility. It was very well run and we had a great time!

Popper ran in both Snooker Level 2 and Jumpers Level 1. We've been having issues with "fun" lately, so I was worried about Popper's performance. In our first run, Snooker, Popper had his best run EVER! He was FLYING around those jumps without a problem, not even hesitating at any of my commands. We did have a slight bobble on one weird angle, which was completely my fault because I forgot to swing him out to take it properly. Popper realized what Mom did and corrected for it. :D We got a first place for that run! (I think it may have a lot to do with the fact that I *love* snooker!)

Our second run, Jumpers, Popper did run off to visit twice. But he came back each time, and we still had fun and we still got our Q. Many folks came up afterward to tell us it looked like we were having a blast out there and what a great job we did. I am so extremely proud of Popper I think I could just burst.

We just need Fullhouse and Jackpot to finish off our Level 1 CPE title. Our next CPE trial is at Flashpoint in August.

Wednesday, May 27

Startling Discovery

I realized a week or so ago, in light of our recent loss of my beloved Pandora, that Scamp's anniversary of both his birthday and euthanasia have come around, and for the first time, I had forgotten it.

That's not to say I've forgotten Scamp, my childhood Shih Tzu who trooped along to the admirable age of 17 - no, his picture is hung right by my door so I see it every time I leave. His quilt, that I made by hand just for him, that he and only he has ever laid on, is hung over the headboard of my bed. I think about him daily. And here it is, five years later, and I completely forgot two extremely important days in my life.

And I'm thrilled.

I take the loss of every single pet extremely hard. My mom, when I was younger, told me "no more pets," simply because I become a wreck. This rule, I might add, did not stay around long. ;) Because even in the severe, heart-wrenching pain of losing an animal, you still have those years and years of joy that they have brought into your lives. I do not want to live in a world without pets. I'm sure many of you feel the same way.

I see my oversight as proof that I have finally moved on. Yes, five years later. I had Scamp from the time I was 6 years old, until I was 23. We grew up together. He knew all my secrets. He was my first baby boy, and he will always hold a very special place in my heart. Worst of all, I had to make the decision to euthanize him - quite possibly the most difficult decision I have ever, and will ever, have to make. To this day, even though he was suffering terribly, I feel as though I killed him, because, essentially, I did. For at least a year it plagued me daily what I had done to such a trusting little dog who had done nothing but offer me his entire heart without hesitation. Every year for four years on his birthday, I ached for him. He was euthanized the day after his birthday, so the next day would be even worse as I relived the visit to the vet's. Over. And over.

I still get emotional and choked up thinking about it. And to me, that's good. It means to me that he made an impression upon the world, that at least one person is sadder for him having left it. I think of my little baby boy often, and how, wherever he is now, he's moving along without pain, with perfect vision and hearing, and wondering what's holding Mom up. I hope he doesn't get too irritated with any other pets that are waiting with him, because he'll be the first one to get a great big squeeze from me. But until that day, I remember all the pets I have lost, with a tug in my heart, and the knowledge that no matter how badly their deaths may hurt, they brought me endless love and joy while they were alive.

Tragedy at Menagerie Mayhem

Last week, we suffered the loss of our long-time birdie friend and avian companion, Pandora. Pandora was a whiteface lutino cockatiel hen, an extremely endearing little bird that behaved more like her bigger cousins the cockatoo than a 'tiel. Pandora's life was long haunted by illnesses and maladies (hence her name) and at last succombed to a sudden and severe respiratory infection.

She was laid to rest in our rose garden, and no doubt is busy bossing other family members that are also resting there. She would have been 8 years old on June 3rd. She is missed terribly.

Thursday, May 7

Owning an Old English Sheepdog

Because the Old English Sheepdog isn't extremely common where I live, I get a lot of questions about what the breed is like. Now, granted, I've only ever owned one - Roofus - so I can only tell you what it's like to own Roofus. :)

It's definitely an experience! LOL

Roofus is much heavier and taller than the AKC breed standard calls for, but his size is actually not uncommon in the breed. He stands approximately 30" tall at the shoulders, whereas the breed standard is 24", IIRC. He weighs 99# in the winter, full coated (take five pounds off for the summer!), and the high end is more like 70# in the standard. So, he's pretty much a giant breed dog. So you get all the issues that come with that size of animal - the ability to drag you down the road if he sees a squirrel, nicking stuff off counters, putting his head on the table while you eat - all that. He also has a problem with his front right leg because he's so large and active. The vet believes it is arthritis, which he sees a lot in giant breed dogs.

As far as the coat goes... It's not that bad. You can keep them in a puppy cut year round, but most of us grow it out all winter and then shear them in the spring. I brush his coat once or twice a week completely in the winter, and I bathe him at least once every two weeks as well. I find a nice double rake gets out EVERYTHING in his coat (and he picks up weird stuff - once, in a bath, I found a live spider in his coat!!), but you may want to use a single rake to get all the mats out first. My Old English Sheepdog does not shed, but there are some that do, and you'll love having the rake.

Food-wise, he doesn't eat much. I give him three cups a day of Premium Edge Lamb and Rice adult. He's not a voracious eater. Sometimes he doesn't eat for a day or two at a time. When he was younger, he had a lot of digestive issues, which is common for the breed. Keep this dog crated for at LEAST the first year if you don't want your home decorated in liquid poo. He stopped having these "attacks" when he was about two years old. Pepcid helped tremendously.

Personality-wise, he has the best personality ever. I love this dog to death and with good reason. He loves EVERYBODY. Even dogs or people he doesn't care for, he still loves them. He adores children, but because of his size there is a very likely possibility of knocking them over in his enthusiasm. And here I should note that Old English Sheepdogs stay like puppies for their entire lives, until shortly before they die. They are always exhuberant, always happy, which makes it pretty easy to tell if they're ill. Roofus is a lap dog - you read that right. He lays in my lap while I'm on the sofa. I encourage it. He loves to snuggle, cuddle, spoon - anything to be close to his person.

Old English Sheepdogs are great watchdogs, too, and are wary of folks that invade their home or approach their family. This doesn't mean they're aggressive - Roofus just barks to let me know someone is around the yard or coming near. They can be quite protective of their owners and families. This is a natural sheep herding mentality, but you have to keep it under control so they don't become aggressive.

OES are also known for being stubborn and bullheaded. If Roofus thinks he knows better than you, he won't listen to a word you say. They need a strong pack leader, and honestly, I let him walk all over me a good deal of the time. They seem to be trained best with lots of love and affection rather than treats. It's quite difficult with Roofus because of his size - a gentle leader is a godsend for helping to control him, particularly on a walk when he wants to go and visit with every man, woman, child and dog. My sheepie also has a jealous streak. He doesn't like it when my SO hugs me or gets too close to me. If other people do that, he may or may not care (usually nudges me), but he does not like my SO stealing his mommy. He also is quite reactive if I see a shady character while we're out and about (I don't live in the best of neighborhoods). He gives that person the evil eye, and may even softly woof or huff if that person approaches. He goes into "protect" mode, and I have no doubt he would attack someone that was trying to injure me.

Sheepdogs aren't terribly bright, either. They're smart in their own special way, but if I had to rate their intelligence, as far as learning tricks, etc, I'd put them rather low on the scale. They're GREAT at herding - they herd with their muscle, pushing the sheep around with their shoulders. But because of that stubborn streak, you may have a heck of a time getting them to do what you want them to. They just want to go out and have a good time. That may or may not include driving the sheep where you want them.

My Roofus has done a few dog classes, included advanced obedience and rally-o. He is also great at frisbee, but remember what I said about giant breed dogs.. they are definitely not made for high-impact sports like that. He would, however, die if we did not play it occasionally, so I try to throw it low so he doesn't do his big air acrobatics.

Old English Sheepdogs are also HUGE chick magnets. I have never taken Roofus on a walk or to somewhere that there hasn't been at least two people that stop and talk to me about him. Usually it's a lot more. There's just something about them. True, he doesn't get near the admirers as when he's full coated, but if I turn around and walk, say, the corgi on the same path, I generally get no comments whatsoever. Everyone wants to pet Roofus.

Roofus also gets mistaken for other dog breeds quite often. I think two people in his whole life have correctly identified him as an Old English Sheepdog on the first try. The most common ones I've gotten are: irish wolfhound (when he's shaved, he gets this a LOT), labradoodle (when his coat begins to grow out), saint bernard (oh come on people, that one's ridiculous), bearded collie (i can see that, even though he has no tail and is much, much larger than a beardie), giant schnauzer, bouvier des flandres (seriously, you guess bouvier but don't see OES??). I'm sure there are others, but those are the most common mistaken identities.

So, to sum up, I love this breed. I'll probably always own one. They are active dogs that aren't the brightest crayon in the box, but are snuggly, adorable, and always ready to have some fun with their family!

Monday, April 20

Popper And his Insatiable Hot Dog Cravings

On Saturday, I took Popper to the BRAG Agility Demo at the OSU Vet School. It was his first time he'd been outside in an unsecured area off-leash, and I was pretty nervous. I had a TON of dog treats on me to try to keep him with me. But he was very good! We did several demos with no problems at all. It was good practice for our first outdoor USDAA trial in June.

That is, until they hauled out the grills and started cooking hamburgers and hot dogs right next to where we were. That beagle nose flipped up into the air, and he started licking his chops and looking around feverishly for the source. The first incident happened when we were practicing between demos - Popper heard a man sitting right on the edge of the grass open a bag of cookies - and off he went to beg.

The second time, Popper ran off and followed his beagle nose all the way to the nearest grill, where he promptly sat down and gave all the folks in line big puppy dog eyes like he's never had a meal in his life.

The third time didn't actually happen for a long while... we were doing relay races, with big dogs versus small, and he never ran off. He did consistently lose it for the small dog team, though, because he's not good yet with weave pole entry from another obstacle so we had to keep starting over. He's a green dog so I'm not terribly worried about it at this point. :) I should note that on the next demo, he entered and did the poles perfectly! LOL!

So at the next demo, I took Popper over to the teeter, which was kind of far out and right next to the crowd - big mistake. Everyone was sitting on the ground around the edge, with their hot dogs and hamburgers... You can imagine what happened. Bye bye, Pop pop! I yelled to everyone to cover their plates but not everyone was fast enough (or listening). At that point Popper became out of control so I snapped his leash on and that was the end of Popper's agility day.

He was so exhausted on the way home his head was hanging off the seat. And his extremely full tummy looked like it was going to explode.

Yes, it was altogether a very eventful day!