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.