Monday, December 7, 2009

Holiday Photos...

Well, now that our competitions are mostly over for this year... we thought we'd share some of our favorite holiday photos. We hope you and your family and friends have a very merry christmas and a happy and safe new year!

September Video Competition Results

Well, the results are in - Megan & Bonnie finished their W-JFD/HTM (Junior Freestyle Dog in Heelwork To Music) title with a 1st place. Megan & Nellie finished their W-JFDX/MF (Junior Freestyle Dog Excellent in Musical Freestyle) with a 2nd place. We were really excited to receive these results, especially since little Nellie crossed over to the rainbow bridge just a few weeks after we filmed their routine. Their placements also qualified them for the first ever World Competition. So, we'll keep our fingers crossed for them.

We also qualified our pairs routine with a 2nd place - Megan dancing with Pixie and me dancing with Shelby. We entered the routine in the upcoming December video competition, so we'll be keeping our fingers crossed on that as well. This routine also qualified for the World Competition, so we'll see how that goes. I think we should get bonus points for dancing with two beagles!

I have several other routines entered in the World Competition - Roxie's ProStars MF routine, Shelby's ProStars HTM routine, Roxie & Shelby's ProStars Brace routine, and my pairs routine with Roxie and our friends Laura & Tilly. I don't anticipate we'll win any of these - but it is fun to say that we qualified and entered.

I had a really good time teaching a workshop for the Wichita Falls Obedience Club last month, and will be doing my annual visit/seminar at Jump Start Dog Sports in Yorba Linda, CA on 12/20... then I think that's it for the freestyle action this year.

After the first of the year, I'll sit down and start planning out next year's routines!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Did You Ever Have One Of Those "Doh!" Moments?

OK - so I'm at Walmart this past weekend trying to catch up on grocery shopping. On my list is laundry detergent. With 6 dogs, I do my share of laundry. Between piddle pads that I leave for the old gals while I'm at work, to dog blankets, crate pads, beds, etc... I easily do one load a day. Being single, I maybe have one or two loads on the weekends for my "stuff" (clothes and bedding, etc.).

So I'm standing there in the aisle looking at the detergent, and thinking - "wow, this stuff's expensive". I look down the line of all the brands, and I see the "Great Value" (Walmart Generic) sitting there on the shelf. I look at the Tide that I normally get because it doesn't make me itch as much as others -- as gasp, what do I see? The tide is twice the price of the generic!

Then it dawns on me!! Why, oh why, am I washing all the dog stuff in the expensive stuff? The dog stuff can just as easily be washed using the generic - at half the cost! And it is even lavender scented!

OK - I suppose it is better that I figured this out now rather than later (or never)... but really, I can just hear the "cha-chings" adding up in my head when I think about all the money I could have saved!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Dynamics Of A Spin...

A friend took this picture of Shelby spinning at our agility picnic a few weeks ago... It is probably the best picture I have of capturing favorite move of spinning. You can really see her bending to spin as tightly as possible. I've yet to figure out how she keeps from getting dizzy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

SC Freestyle Competition Results

We had a great weekend in Columbia, South Carolina for our last freestyle competition for this year. We had a wonderful time. The drive long, but it was an easy drive - especially since my friend Yvonne from Little Rock and her dog Aspen were able to make the trip with us.

The girls did very well. Roxie finished her Sassy Senior Championship on Saturday with a 1st place. This is our 25th WCFO title together. This little pup has come a long, long way. On Sunday, I bumped her up into the PDP (champion) class - and she got her first leg. I don't know if we'll continue to pursue this title or not, since you need five Q's with a 9.5 in both technical merit and artistic impression. That's a lot to ask from an older dog.

The other highlight is that Roxie & Shelby did a wonderful job on their brace - earning their first two advanced legs. We now only need to qualify their routine one more time for them to become the first brace champion team ever. It will be a challenge as it is a very hard class to qualify in - doing an advanced routine with one dog is hard enough, but trying it with two dogs at the same time is borderline crazy. I was just so happy to see Roxie having a good time again. Looks as though she's maybe moved past her worried about brace, so I'm hopeful we may be able to earn that last leg eventually. We still have a lot of work ahead of us.

Shelby did nicely and got her first two PDP legs. Her performance was not as solid as I would have liked with some focus issues at the beginning of each routine. So, we definitely know what we will be working on in practice. Seems like a good time to go back and reinforce the basics.

Pixie did a wonderful job on her Novice HTM routine. Saturday was a little shakey with a big attention break, but she still managed to squeak out a qualifying score. Sunday was probably the best I have ever seen her do this routine and it was darn near perfect for her. It's a pretty basic routine, but she's really starting to show some polish and potential.

Pixie and Shelby also did their brace routine and earned their first two Novice legs. I mostly entered to continue to get a feel for how these two work together. On Saturday, they came up with a really nice combination that we'll work to formalize. I also now have some ideas to start working a solid routine so that we can start trying to make it up as we go along. I'm hearing a circus theme in my head...

I was really excited to watch the other brace team. Melissa and her two pharoh-hound/basinji crosses did an amazing routine to "Walk Like An Egyptian". It was just wonderful and is probably one of the best brace routines I have seen.

All in all, it was a very good trip. It was also my first judging assignment, and I was very pleased that both Peggy & Cameron and Mandy & Sadie passed their proficiency tests. It was funny - judging was both easier and more difficult than I thought it would be. Doesn't make sense - but that is kind of how it felt.

I was also really excited to be able to watch my friend Yvonne and her dog Aspen finish up their championship. I met Yvonne several years ago when she and her friend Cindy came to one of my workshops. It is so exciting to see how far they've come and to know that they've also developed a passion for freestyle.

Needless to say, after such a successful weekend - our drive home was pretty easy. We even made it from Columbia all the way back to Little Rock on Sunday. Well, I guess we technically arrived on Monday morning - but who cares. We were singing and dancing in the car all the way home. I'm sure the dogs (and those who were driving past us) thought we were crazy - but isn't that part of the fun?

This is our last competition for this year, and it's been an amazing year. Lots of titles finished, and lots of awards that have been won. I'll take a little time off and then start setting our goals for next year... but for now, sleep is my top priority!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Feeling Crafty...

Well, not exactly sure what has gotten into me lately - but I have been trying to figure out something to do with the 150+ qualifying ribbons I have. I was at the horse show and saw frames wrapped with ribbons, and figured I'd try to duplicate it. I don't think mine turned out quite as nice - but they'll work, and I don't think they turned out half bad.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Collar Making

I've had several people ask me about the collars we use for our freestyle routines. They are the easiest things to make, and only cost about $3 - $5 depending on the types of ribbons you use.

You can usually find the trims at any hobby or fabric store. For the bottom trims with the beads, these are sometimes found with the upholstery supplies. For the top trims, any flat ribbon will work - there are prints, sequin trims, and beaded ribbons that all work well.

Anyway - I put together a little how-to video in case anyone is interested in making their own.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Fall...

Every now and then, we do something just for fun. Here are some pictures of the girls at the pumpkin patch.

Pixie Helping With The Harvest...

Jacquelyn & Bonnie Waiting For The Great Pumpkin...

Shelby Wagging Her Tail...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Bonnie's In A Photo Contest

I entered Bonnie in a photo contest - unfortunately, it's one of those that you have to donate to vote. Fortunately, it will go to a really good cause. If she wins, the Oklahoma Beagle Rescue will get 25% of what is raised. The other portion goes to which is an organization that helps with vet bills for families that cannot afford them. They were really great when one of the rescue dogs needed surgery and we didn't have the funds. Mindy is now healthy and in a happy forever home.

To vote (or to see Bonnie's picture and story) - go to . If you donate to voite, make sure you put "Bonnie Hurley #077" in the description so they know who you are voting for. :) Please feel free to crosspost to whomever you may know that might consider donating.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ohio Freestyle Competition Results

Well, we're back from Ohio and we had a GREAT weekend. This has always been a good show for us, and I'm glad we had the opportunity to attend once again. It was even more fun this year having another Oklahoma team along for the ride, as our friends Pam & Nike were able to travel with us.

I couldn't be happier with how the dogs did. Pixie, Shelby, and Roxie all did their best. At the end of the weekend - we Q each routine with a 1st place finish (four routines each day). Pixie finished her Novice MF and her Beginner HTM titles. Shelby & Pixie finished their Beginner Brace title. Shelby & Roxie finished their Intermediate Brace title, and Roxie picked up two legs towards her Senior Championship title.

I was very please with Pixie. I sometimes don't always give her enough credit, but this little dog has come a LONG way in the last year. This was a big weekend for her - 15 hours in the car plus two nights in a hotel before we even started the competition. Then she performed two routines each day. We have typically seen a drop in performance on the second day - most likely just not enough physical and/or mental stamina.

However, this weekend - while I could see it was harder for her, I actually think her routine on Sunday was better than Saturday's performance. At the least, it was equal which is a huge improvement for her. I think it is starting to click what this is all about.

I was also very proud of Roxie. She did a great job on her tango routine, and really tried hard on their brace routine. I haven't asked her to do brace for over a year. The last time we performed the routine in competition (in the same building, with the same music, with the same partner) she had a seizure during the routine on the first day and on the second day showed some real anxiety for performing.

I'm not sure if it is the music, the building, or having Shelby there (or a combination of all three) - but Saturday she did show some anxiousness about it, but did a very nice job. On Sunday, I could see it even more and she really did not want to do the routine. The judge was kind to us and did give us a qualifying score (which I was not expecting).

This was a big achievement as they are now only the second team to achieve an intermediate level title in brace. To date, no one has achieved a championship. I am going to re-evaluate this to see what our next step is. I have a new song picked out and we will perform in a different location if we keep up with the brace routine. I will also provide LOTS of reinforcement for working with Shelby to see if we can figure out a way to make her feel more secure about the routine. Or we may just retire from that division and be proud of what we have been able to achieve.

Earning this title qualified them to enter the ProStars competition, so we did send in a video of the routine to enter. The video was actually quite a good performance for them, so it felt good to be able to enter.

So, now it is time to reflect and decide what our next competition will be. Roxie needs one more leg to finish her Senior Championship. We've entered the video competition, but she just does not show well on video - so we'll have to maybe consider a live event.

But first, this week will be about sleeping!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

WCFO Freestyle Conference in OKC

I can't believe it has taken me so long to write about the WCFO Freestyle Conference that was here in OKC last month. It was a lot of work, but it turned out very well and it seemed that everyone had a good itme. The location was perfect - if you are in the OKC area and looking for a venue for a dog event - please check out the Bricktown Hotel & Convention Center. They were wonderful!

There is so much to write about - but the highlight of the week was that Roxie & I won the ProStars event in the musical freestyle division. This was very surprising considering all the wonderful routines that were entered, and I'm still not sure in which universe this happens. We were one of only two routines that performed live - and you never know whether that is going to be a good thing or not. While it is usually good for Roxie because the judges can really see all her energy and effort, there are no "do overs" and you are not guaranteed your best routine. Roxie was in good spirits and as we went along with the routine, everything just seemed to come together and she had probably one of her best performances ever. It was very cool to have everything come together at just the right time..
Roxie really enjoys this tango, and hopefully we can use it to finish up her Sassy Senior Championship later this year.

Shelby also placed 3rd in ProStars for Heelwork To Music - but before you get too excited, there were only three teams entered in that division. She just wasn't on that day, but she was very happy and had a good time. We may send a video fo her routine to enter the ProStars competition at the Holland event to show that she is able to perform a little better. But her tail never stopped wagging.
This was the first time WCFO had offered two full days of competition at this event, and we were thrilled with the turnout - over 45 entries each day. It was strange for me to not be every 4th or 5th routine in the ring. I didn't enter as many routine as I normally do, and most of the ones we did enter were more for fun - so it was a much more relaxed event for me.

Pixie was entered in Novice MF both days. She did a very nice job on Thursday, earning a qualifying score and 1st place. In the past, we have seen a significant drop in performance with her on the second day of competition. She did have a slight drop on Friday, but it was a pretty good performance for her. I was very pleased with the fact that she seems to be getting stronger on her second day performances and am hoping that eventually her performance levels will be about the same on both days.

Roxie was entered in pairs with our friends Laura & Tilly. Our routine qualified both days and we were able to finish our Novice Pairs title. We really enjoy our pirates routine, but we're not sure we'll be able to carry it onto Intermediate. But who knows - we may give it a try. Roxie and I were also part of a team routine which included members from OK, TX, and OR. There were 9 of us performing to Wizard of Oz. We had Dorothy, the Lion, The TinMan, the Wizard, the Good Witch, the Bad Witch, Flying Monkeys, and Roxie & I were the Scarecrow. Unfortunately, we did not Q the first day and it is unlikely our team will be together at the same competition again - but it was a lot of fun and we had a really good time.
I also entered Pixie & Shelby in a brace routine. When I entered, I figured I had a good month to practice and get the routine ready. Well, time being the way it is - it slipped by and I didn't get a chance to work the girls together until the Sunday before the competition. Needless to say, it did NOT go the way I had envisioned. I guess in my mind, I figured that with Shelby there - Pixie would work harder to keep us. Not so much... Pixie just kind of gave me the look of, "Well, Shelby's here and she can do all the work, so I'm just going to sit over here."
So, we were the fourth team in after lunch and I'm sitting at the table eating my turkey sandwich thinking, "hmm, what can we do for the brace?" As I mentioned, Pixie's stamina is not as good as it could be - and not only was this the second day of competition, but it would be her second routine of the second day. I figured there was a good chance that she'd just sit in the middle of the ring and not budge. Ah Ha! Inspiration! "I'll just use chairs int he routine. If she's just gonna sit there - she might as well sit on a chair." OK - so we won't talk about the fact that I've never actually trained Pixie to sit on a chair - but she does like to jump up on my desk chair at home, so that's close enough, right?

As we get ready for our routine, I grab two chairs out of the audience, and place them facing about 10' apart. Pixie jumps up on one. That's good. I send Shelby off to sit in the other one (a move she knows from a prevoius routine)... And we're off to a pretty decent start.

Now, don't ask me exactly what we did in that routine. But the girls seemed to work nicely and Pixie was engaged for most of it which was nice to see. The last thing I do remember is Pixie body-checking Shelby off the one chair at the end. It was pretty funny - and then she wouldn't get out of the chair... so we had to carry them off with her still sitting there. As we got to the gate, she jumped down - and that photo is the funniest thing I've ever seen... "Pixie, this is air traffic control, you are clear to land on runway K9 as soon as Shelby clears the way". We did manage to get a Q on the routine, and now I have to try to figure out what we did so we can repeat it in Ohio!

The following two days were a little bit of a blur as I was trying to work through the emotional of loosing little Nellie. But the seminar presenters were all wonderful and I heard some really nice comments about all the workshops. It was so cool to have an event of this size in Oklahoma, and hopefully everyone had a really good time.
Of course, there was the whole drama of trying to get my friend Gaby and the puppy she was taking home back to South Africa - but I'm thinking that is a whole other story.
Now - it's time to get ready for Ohio.... we leave on Thursday!
PS - The wonderful photos were all taken by Jim Poor Photography!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Flying Beagle Ears...

I'm getting the feeling that I will see these a lot if we keep doing agility! Pixie is progressing - we're actually starting to see her "run" at times during practice. Hopefully that will start transferring over to trials and other locations too.

Monday, September 14, 2009

What The Other Dogs Do...

Well, it was a rainy Sunday morning - and I was very tempted to stay home and stay in bed... but Roxie, Shelby, & Pixie and I went off to practice for our upcoming freestyle competition. I probably should have gone with my initial plan - since when we got to practice I realized that I had left the boom box at home... it's hard to do freestyle with no music! Then practice did not go as well as it could have - but we still have a couple weeks to work on things...

Anyway - when we get home, I'm a little curious as to why the dog room is so quiet. I realize I had taken most of the noisy ones with me... and when I walked into the dog room, this is what I saw - Jacquelyn and Bonnie taking a nap together on a rainy afternoon.

Aren't they cute when they sleep?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Megan & Nellie's Last Dance

We filmed this during Megan's stay with us this summer. Nellie loved dancing with her and we are so happy that they were able to have one last dance together.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Goodbye Little Nellie

This past week has been a blur. In the middle of our freestyle conference, I had to make the difficult decision to let little Nellie leave for the Rainbow Bridge. She had suffered another stroke and I could tell it was time. She was a sweet little girl and always tried her hardest. It was a joy to watch her grow from a very anxious little dog (we didn't call her "Nervous Nellie" for nothing) to where she could do freestyle routines and would cuddle with company when they came to visit.

She really enjoyed dancing with my niece Megan, and we were able to film their "last dance" when Megan was here this summer. I just copied it to DVD and we'll be sending it in for WCFO's September video competition as a tribute to little Nellie.

She will be missed...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Agility Pix...

Here are a few pictures from our first agility trial...

Shelby Jumping...
Pixie on the dog walk...

Flying beagle ears....

More flying beagle ears...

Shelby's first agility title..
Pixie's first agility Q...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Agility In The News

Here is a cute picture of Megan practising with Shelby... She had a good time "helping" me with the dogs this summer.

Monday, August 3, 2009

TDAA Agility Trial

We had a fun weekend at the TDAA agility trial in Norman. This was our first "real" trial and we had a lot of fun and really learned a lot.

Shelby did very well and ended the weekend having earned her first two agility titles! She completed her beginner title in Standard (T-BAD) and also in Games (TG1). She kind of got off to a rough start. The a-frame was very slick and as she was coming down, she was sliding - so she came off a little early and just barely missed her contacts. We'll also need to work on our downs on the table. She ended up coming off the table on her second standard run. But we haven't been working downs due to some confusion it was causing with our freestyle routines, so it was OK. All in all, she ran very nicely. I will need to continue to improve my handling, add some rear cross work, and find a solution for her fly-by's (which is probably just handling).

Pixie did very well considering she's only had a couple months of lessons and is still trying to figure out the whole learning process. The first run was touch n go, and she wasn't sure about the tunnels (they were smaller and darker than she is used to) and had a pretty big splat on the a-frame - see picture on right - which I think scared her a little. She had a clean run, but was 26 seconds over time. She Q'd in the second game - which is her first agility Q! Of course, she really only needed to do four obstacles to get the Q - but one was the tire which she just learned last Tuesday so that was still pretty good.

On the third game, she had a very nice run. We were able to stick to jumps, the dog walk, and the teeter and she actually had accumulated more points that Shelby. The whistle blew and we were on the table (the "bank" in this game) and I had a major brain fart. The whistle had blown, and everyone was clapping - so I just thought we were done and picked her up. What I totally forgot was that when the whistle blows, you were suppose to run across the finish line to stop your time. Since I had picked her up before we "finished", we were eliminated. It was kind of tough because she would have had a Q and a 1st place - but I also know that I will never make that mistake again... and I know each competition is just about what we learn to make us better for the next time.

She's no where near ready to move up levels anyway - so this will be just fine. I let my niece, Megan, run Pixie in the last game. They had a nice run going, but Pixie missed the tire (the "doubling" exercise) which caused her to loose half their points. They didn't Q, but ended up third and Megan had a really good time.

Shelby also got a Q in the second level of the Games class, so she's off to a good start.

Canine Sports Academy did a very nice job for their first trial, and hopefully they'll have more. It was nice to have a competition that was only a 45 minute drive away! I'll try to post some more pictures when I get them...

Monday, July 27, 2009

Video Competition Filming

We had a long day of filming yesterday. Unfortunately, none of the dogs seemed to really be in synch with things, so I'm not sure if we were able to get anything that will be good enough to send in.

The surprising routine of the day was Megan with Nellie. Nellie had a stroke back in January and hasn't really recovered 100%. In addition to a slight mental impact, it also has affected her physically as she has not quite regained full use of her left side. But Nellie did a great job for Megan and they had a very nice routine. We'll probably send it in and hopefully they can maybe finish up their title.

Megan tried really hard with Bonnie, but Bonnie does not always do so well in new environments. Her inability to focus as a result of her brain infection can really make things difficult. Megan was able to get her to do a couple routines that were "OK". Not sure if they will be good enough to qualify, but we may decide to go ahead and send them in after we review the tapes.

Shelby was just slightly off. She had some moments of brilliance in each go, but nothing that I was overly happy with as a whole. Roxie did pretty well, but I can tell her age is starting to catch up to her. Of course, she may not have been feeling 100%. As we were getting in the car to head home, Megan commented that Roxie didn't look right. When I looked back, I saw that she was having a seizure. It wasn't bad and she's doing fine now, but I'm sure that didn't help any.

We were able to get a couple good go's with our pairs routine. Since Bonnie was having challenges, we switched it up a little and Megan danced with Pixie and I danced with Shelby. We'll have to see how it looks on video, but it went pretty well considering the two dogs had never worked together.

I am starting to wonder why I entered brace at the upcoming competition. LOL My "test run" did not go as well as I would have hoped. I'm not sure if Pixie was just having a bad day (she was kind of slow on most things) or if she just thought that since Shelby was there, that Shelby could do all the work! We'll have to work on it some...

We have our TDAA trial next weekend, so that should be fun. I'll try to post some videos once I get through the filming and see if we have anything worth watching!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Look Pointed Toes!

I was really happy when I saw this picture to see that my toes are pointed. I think my friends and students get tired of hearing me say this, so it's nice to see that I follow my own advice!

Here is a link to another article that ran in an Omaha newspaper:
Here is a little clip of the routine - her collar was a little itchy, but that happens sometimes... :)

Competition Results

We had a great time in Omaha! This competition was a little different for us as it was a demo/competition held at a big AKC show that also had conformation, obedience, rally, and agility. We hadn't ever been to a competition where there was so much going on - so it was something new for both me and the dogs.

In addition, the competitions were scheduled for the evening - after we had several demos each day. One of the highlights is that we were included in a clip that ran on the local news on Friday night...

Megan and I arrived on Friday. We did two demos and then started getting ready for the competition. The environment was not "ideal" as the ring was much smaller than we normally have and it was a little dirty from so many demos during the day. But the demos gave us a chance to work out the tweaks that were needed for the choreography to fit in the smaller area, so other than the bits of food on the mats - it wasn't too bad.

Megan was first in on Friday and had a really nice routine with Bonnie. Bonnie is not the easiest dog to work with since she is 13 years old and does have some brain damage. They hit almost all of their moves and choreography and really had a good time.

Unfortunately, Bonnie has an attention span that barely lasts one routine... and the activity in the building and everything else during the day had already taken a bit of a toll. So, our pairs routine and Megan's routine on Saturday did not go as well as we would have liked.

By Sunday, Bonnie was just not able to focus on anything - even during the morning demo when Megan had food in her hand. Bug, Megan showed what a true competitor she really is and handled it better than some adults might have. Even though Bonnie was just not there, she kept working and never gave up or showed any frustration or disappointment. She actually was able to get Bonnie to do a couple moves which was a huge success.

I know Megan was a little disappointed that they weren't able to get their title - but they did get the awards for High Technical and High Artistic combined over Friday and Saturday for the Heelwork to Music division. They also received the Judges Award on Sunday with compliments from the judge on how well she presented herself during a difficult time.

The other girls did extremely well too. Shelby debuted her new "Mary Poppins" routine and qualifed in the advanced division both days to finish up her Championship. She also won the High Overall Technical Score and High Overall Artistic Score for the weekend. This was quite an accomplishment for us (finishing her CH by getting 3 legs in 3 tries) and I was just thrilled with how well she worked. The exciting part was to see her actually get stronger as the routine progressed and to maintain her performance levels through all the demos and the two competitions. This was a big improvement for her.

Roxie did a great job and really seems to enjoy her new tango routine. She also qualified both days which finished up her Senior Masters (intermediate level) title. She's such a fun little dog and I really enjoy working with her.

Pixie had a great time and managed to earn her first leg in Novice Freestyle. Since we were resting Bonnie in the hopes that she might be able to do something (anything?) in the competition for Megan on Saturday, I let Megan demo with Pixie. I knew this might tire her out a little, but I also knew it would be more helpful for Pixie to get out in front of some big crowds and a very busy environment for the demos at this point than it would be for her to get a leg. She is no where near being ready for Intermediate, so I was very happy with getting one leg and letting her have the chance to perform in such a unique setting to help build her confidence.

Megan did an AMAZING job with Pixie and they looked very cute together. We will film Megan & Bonnie to maybe finish up their title, but then maybe next time Megan can dance with Pixie.

All in all, it was a great weekend and we really had a good time. We had some time to visit with our freestyle friends - although it didn't seem like quite enough since I think most of the time we found ourselves either resting from one demo or getting ready for the next one... and I can't remember the last time that I changed clothes over 25 times in one weekend!

We're all pretty tired and will try to rest up this weekend... but it was a lot of fun!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Weekend Demo

Well, we had a very fun demo on Saturday at the Oklahoma City Dog Show... We had 14 routines by 6 different handlers with various dogs. I was really happy with how our routines went. Shelby's "Mary Poppins" routine is coming together quite nicely - she really likes her chimney and the crowd seemed to like her performance. Roxie did an outstanding job with her tango - she was more animated than I have seen her in a while and was even doing flips!

Pixie, as usual, was a hit with her tractor... I don't know what we're going to do for our next routine - I'm not sure she'll like freestyle if it doesn't have a tractor in it!

My niece Megan arrived from California and did a routine with Bonnie. She did a GREAT job, as Bonnie is not the easiest dog to work with... We will work with her a little more on handling, but she did really well and it was exciting to see Bonnie (at age 13) be so happy to be out there performing... or was it just the hot dogs???

We have just a little more than a week before we leave for our competition in Omaha - it should be fun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shelby Has A Chimney...

Well, after searching and searching... I think we finally found something that will work for Shelby's chimney. Her routine is to a medley from Mary Poppins, and she really likes her chimney work. Hopefully her performance will look as good as the chimney!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Pixie's Agility Graduation

Well, Pixie graduated from her first agility class last night. I have been very surprised and very pleased with how well she did. The coolest part is that she not only did pretty well, but while we were waiting our turn - she'd often "offer" behaviors. That was probably one of the biggest thrills of the class. So different than the dog that when I got her less than a year ago, would be just as likely to sit and stare at you for 25 minutes...

Pixie's favorite part of agility, aside from the fact that there are usually hot dogs involved, seems to be the teeter. I swear she just sits at home all day while I'm at work and asks Shelby what her favorite things are... and then copies her. It's actually pretty scary at times.

We were a little worried because one of her teachers had said during a class that if we weren't able to get our dogs to everything we were being taught - we wouldn't get to graduate! Well, I have yet to find someone who can figure out how to get her to lay down... So, when the "lay down on the table" game came around last night - needless to say, we didn't win... but apparently Heidi was joking. We were able to get a shoulder down on the table which is actually pretty significant progress - so it definitely wasn't due to lack of effort. Pixie went and loved on Heidi after class - even though she scared her about not graduating.

So, Pixie will continue with agility lessons as getting out and trying new things has really helped her confidence... Maybe one day she'll be an agility star!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Competition Preparation Part II

Well, I'm not sure I agree 100% - but Pixie seems to think that "competition preparation" means "take lots of naps".
I'm thinking she's going to be in for a surprise when she realizes that it means she has to practice!

Competition Preparation

Well, this year has passed me by much quicker than expected... Turns out our first competition this year will be July 10th & 11th - so we're a little behind schedule since we were thinking our first competition would be August 19th & 20th... but that's OK. The July competition will be a great warm-up for the bigger event.

We have finally settled on music - I felt a little indecisive this year, but am happy with the results. I finished editing all the music last night and we should be ready to go. Choreography is mostly planned - we'll need a few little tweaks once I really start working with the dogs to the music, but that is very normal.

So, here are our song selections for 2009:

Shelby Advanced Musical Freestyle - Mary Poppins Medley
Shelby ProStars Heelwork To Music - Once Upon A December
Roxie Intermediate Sassy Senior - Jalouise
Roxie ProStars Musical Freestyle - No Air
Pixie Novice Musical Freestyle - She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy
Pixie Beginner Heelwork To Music - Pixie Dust
Bonnie Junior Level 1 - Lovebug (with my niece Megan)
Pixie & Bonnie Beginner Pairs - Let's Get Together (with my niece Megan)
Roxie & Tilly Novice Pairs - Pirates of the Carribean (with our friend Laura)
Shelby & Pixie Beginner Brace - Hot Honey Rag
Shelby & Roxie Intermediate Brace - Riverdance
Beagle Team - Cotton Eye Joe

The costumes are done for most of them... just need to put a few finishing touches on a couple.

I'm really looking forward to having my niece Megan stay with me again this summer. She'll be going with me to the July competition and will be dancing with Bonnie. She danced with Nellie last year and had a really good time. Unfortunately, Nellie had a stroke earlier this year and isn't up to dancing anymore - so she's going to give it a shot with Bonnie. Below is a link to their practice routine...

I also managed to talk a couple of my beagle friends into doing a team routine with me - so Michael & Rose, Elizabeth & Jewel, Susan & Dash, and Me & Pixie will all be dancing to Cotton Eye Joe... We thought about doing the routine to "Hound Dog" - but that just seemed too obvious!

I'm still on the lookout for something I can use as a chimney for Shelby's routine - about 12" tall, about 20" square, that won't tip over when she jumps on it, is strong enough for her to spin on, and that I can paint to look like brick. Apparently, these are in high demand because they seem to be sold out everywhere...

But - it looks like it is shaping up to be another busy freestyle year... We'll keep you posted!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Shelby Earns Her First Agility Ribbons!

Well, since our major freestyle competition this year isn't until August, we've been taking a little time off from freestyle. To help keep us both learning, training, and working on our teamwork - we have been taking agility classes.

A couple weeks ago, Shelby and I travelled to Texas to compete in the TeaCup Dog Agility Association seminar and trial. This kind of interested me since all the equipment is to scale for small dogs - but what I also learned is the courses are to scale as well... which meant I didn't have twenty steps in between obstacles to "fix" things.

Surprisingly, Shelby measured to jump in the 8" class. She is just under 12" tall, so this was a nice surprise. I really like that this organization has the jump heights set so that dogs are never jumping higher than they are tall. I would think this would help limit the potential for injuries.

Anyway - we were mostly there just to learn and have a good time. Shelby's first run was really, really nice. Unfortunately, I didn't quite understand the rules and left the table too early. Apparently, you have to wait until the judge is FINISHED saying the word go. I left as she was just starting the "g" and not after she'd finished the "o".

Her second run was a little rough, but still very nice and we got a 3rd place and a Q.

She LOVED the games class. I wasn't too happy about the fact that we were running at 11:42pm (yep, 18 minutes before midnight!)... but she didn't seem to mind. The game was really fun - you had 45 seconds to do as many obstacles as possible. Each obstacle had a certain point value - you could double your points by going over the a-frame (one of Shelby's favorites)... We needed 40 points to Q and she ended up with 378! She also got a 1st place and a Q. Now if they only had a course that was all teeters - she'd be in heaven!

I was very, very happy with how well she did. We got lots of comments about how nicely she ran, and the fact that she "didn't even sniff once!".

We're looking forward to doing some more agility as time permits.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Shelby Is WCFO's First Beagle Champion!

Shelby finished her W-Ch.FD/HTM title in the December 2008 video competition and in doing so, we became the first beagle team to earn a championship title with WCFO!

This was also my 51st title with WCFO which was another significant milestone.

December 2008 Video Competition Results

Well, the results are in... Pixie finished her W-FD/MF title and Bonnie finished her W-FD/HTM title - both with second places. Roxie finished her W-SSFDX title with a first place, and Shelby completed her W-Ch.FD/HTM title with a second place finish.

Here is Pixie's Beginner MF routine...


Well, after I told my friend the funny story from our last competition on how I ended up in the hotel parking lot in just my jeans and my bra... she suggested that we keep a blog of our freestyle adventures. So, we'll see how this goes....