Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Teddy Turns 9!

Wow, it's been ages since I've updated my blog! I didn't know it had been that long. Maybe I'll pick it back up again, or maybe I'll just stick with FB. Right now I'll just share some pictures of Teddy at his recent birthday party. JoJo was lucky enough to have a birthday during an agility trial, so he got to party with friends. Since we were out of town for the Independence Day holiday, Teddy got to have his party with our family. With the whole family in attendance, I thought I would do it up big, so Teddy got his very own "fabulous" birthday party. :)

I even made poodle cupcakes for the humans from an idea I found on this website: Here are my versions of these.
I did do a few things differently from the website. I left off the coconut shavings because I think coconut is disgusting. I also found these adorable little candy eyes in the party supply store. And for the nose, I used black gel icing. Other than that, I pretty much followed what was recommended.

There's my sweet birthday boy! And here he is playing with one of his most favorite of toys, the Dr. Pepper bottle.
And lastly, here is his real present, a racoon. 
Happy Birthday to my sweet Teddy, the one who changed the course of my life and has taught me so much! I hope this next year brings more fun and laughter!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Agility

It seems like about once a year I get philosophical about Teddy's agility career. I evaluate where we are and hope that we have finally turned a corner in our ring performance. There have been a lot of highs and lows over Teddy's 6 years when it comes to agility. I know he enjoys it and I really love it, but we have struggled in our teamwork. So, I will share with you an ultimate low and high that happened only a month apart.

Teddy and I were entered in a USDAA trial at the Memphis Showcase of Dogs. However, it was raining so badly on Friday, that I decided not to run in the rain, and we drove over on Saturday morning. In Teddy's defense, and goodness knows he needed one, it was just about the first cool, crisp weekend that we had. The field conditions were less than ideal after the weeks of endless rain. As you can see in the video, the host club put out shavings to try to firm up the field, but the mud was pretty deep. So, here are the only two runs from the weekend:

Because I did not want a repeat performance (I'm not that big of a glutton for punishment), I scratched from the rest of the weekend. And like any good female, I put my dog in his crate and went inside the main building and shopped. I was extremely frustrated. We have been doing so much better in class, and believe it or not, I worked really hard to keep Teddy's attention before we went in the ring.
On the drive home, I decided that I would retire Teddy from agility trials. I would still take him to class and train him, but we would not enter any more trials. I just didn't think that he could handle the trial stress. The only snag was that we had already entered our own club's trial, a three day event. Sure, I could have scratched him from the whole weekend, but I had already paid my money, so why not just see what happens.

I did not film Friday's runs because I assumed they would just end up on the blooper reel anyway. No one was more shocked than me at Teddy's performance all weekend. He paid attention and was trying to work with me. It was very exciting to finally feel like a team. He ran the fastest and most focused on Friday and got a little slower and a little more distracted each day. I know running three days in a row was tough on him. Here are Saturday's runs:

That was our first AKC agility Q- and a first place. It was thrilling! Our club gave out three MACH bars that weekend, and I think that run felt just as good to me. Here are Sunday's runs:

After watching these videos over and over again, it's clear to me where the holes are in our training. Obviously, weave poles are the biggest issue. Teddy is stressed out by them and lacks the confidence to take them. We also need a lot of practice on the chute, tunnels, and the tire. These are obstacles that I take for granted that Teddy knows. There are a lot of basics that I need to go back and work. I'm still not sure if Teddy is really retired, but I'm not going to be searching out trials any time soon. We will continue to find the joy in running together.
As for JoJo, I fully intended to keep my blog updated on his progress as he grows up. However, as most people know, having a new puppy in the house takes up a lot of time. We have been so busy playing, training, and going to class that I have been remiss in sharing all of the wonderful things that he has learned. He continues to amaze and surprise me at how much and how quickly he picks up on new behaviors. I can't believe that he is already 6 months old. Here is a video that I shot in the backyard this week working on our tunnel training:
So, in this time of reflection on all that we are thankful for, I am grateful for all of the progress that Teddy has made this year and all that he has accomplished and for my new baby JoJo who delights in everything that he does.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Halloween

Have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Teddy & JoJo and I on the front porch. Yes, it's a poodle on my shirt and the pumpkin!

Teddy with his skeleton costume. It's so hard to get a good picture of him, especially in a black outfit.

Below is JoJo in his panda suit. We thought he makes a pretty good panda. Although, I should have put his topknot in before dressing him.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

WCFO International Conference

Teddy and I have been training hard all summer to prepare for the World Canine Freestyle Organization's International Conference that took place this year in Oklahoma City. We had a lot of fun and learned a lot. The hotel that hosted the conference was perfect for a dog show. It had a large grassy courtyard that was completely enclosed so that we could turn the dogs loose to play.

Me & JoJo & Teddy with Michele Pouliot and Yvonne Koehler & Aspen

On Wednesday, we attended a seminar all morning and watched the Pro Stars compete in the afternoon. On Thursday and Friday, it was Teddy and I's turn to compete. We performed routines in the Beginner's B Heelwork to Music and Intermediate Musical Freestyle categories. I was very proud of Teddy, he was up and did not seem stressed on the first day. He probably did just about the best he has ever done in competition. On Thursday, we placed first in Beginner's Heelwork, earned a leg, and won a trophy for high scoring beginner dog. In Intermediate Freestyle we placed second and earned a leg.

Me & Teddy (looking adoringly at) Diane Kowalski and Yvonne Koehler & Aspen

On Friday, Teddy was much more tired and therefore stressed. When Teddy is like this he is noticeably more distracted and disconnected. We did not do as well as the day before. We missed qualifying in Intermediate Freestyle by 1/10th of a point, but still placed first. However, in Beginner's Heelwork to Music, we placed second and earned a leg, finishing our title. We also won best best collar.

Saturday and Sunday were spent in workshops and learning about training techniques from some top trainers and freestylers. I learned a lot and can't wait to start implementing some ideas. I even got to work JoJo, my then 15 week old puppy, which was fun. This was JoJo's first roadtrip, and I'm so glad that he got to tag along. The experience was priceless for him to get to be around a lot of other people and dogs. He had a blast and was so good in the hotel and crating room.

Here is our Beginner's Heelwork to Music routine.


And here is our Intermediate Musical Freestyle routine. I realized about 3 months ago that the original choreography that I had for this routine was just not working for us. I had an extra prop that was a hula hoop and moves that Teddy did not enjoy. So, I changed about 75% of the choreography. I realized that because of the camera angle, you can't really see my prop. It's a large clock face.


Here is the Arkansas group that attended the conference with our dogs and the awards that we all won:

We had a great week. It was an honor to be there and a pleasure to see so many creative and impressive teams.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Birthday Boy

Teddy is 6 today! Oh, I can't believe how fast the time goes. Is there any way to freeze him at this age? He wore his birthday scarf to work today, and I'll give him some extra time at lunch today playing with his squeaky ball. And I guess we'll have to celebrate with our freestyle class this weekend with some special treats. Here is a picture I took of him (wearing his birthday collar) 2 days ago as part of my homework for my photography class:

In case you are wondering how you send your dog and be behind the camera waiting to snap the picture all at the same time: I used a Manners' Minder machine on the other side of the tire, I set Teddy up on a wait in front of the tire, ran behind the camera on a tripod, told him to jump, took the picture, and hit the remote on the treat machine. Teddy was good to oblige me as I need several attempts to get a halfway decent shot.

So far, it's been a good year for Teddy. We have managed to finally finish our Rally Advanced Excellent title, our Graduate Novice title, and our Freestyle Dog Excellent title in musical freestyle. We are on track to finish 2 more titles before the end of the year, but we'll just keep our fingers crossed for those because anything can happen. I'm so proud of him because he is trying so hard. We are working together as a team better than ever. He even earned a pairs leg in USDAA agility a couple of weeks ago. Our gambler's runs were beautiful, but my bad timing cost us the Q's. We will continue to keep working and playing freestyle and see where the future takes us. I just hope that we have a lot of years left to keep playing together. Happy Birthday my sweet boy!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Announcing JoJo

Please welcome my new addition:

Casablanca's Get Back JoJo

Born: May 4, 2009

Arrived: June 29, 2009

Weight at Arrival: 3 lbs. 4 oz.

Breed: Coton de Tulear

JoJo is named after his parents, Jolie and Joey, as well as the Beatles' song, "Get Back". He is a fun, playful, and rambunctious little boy. He may only be a ball of white fluff, but there is a fireball underneath. We have had a ball playing with toys, and he loves to run in the yard and tug. He's a good tugger, with the cutest baby growl. Potty and crate training are coming along steadily, but it's hard not to get impatient when it comes to those issues. However, he can already sit, down, and nose touch on command.
Teddy is coping with his new little brother moving in. He is mainly just avoiding him in general. I think he'll start to come around as JoJo gets bigger. This picture will give you some idea of what's going on in my house:So for now, we will just play and have fun and wait for him to get his last round of shots so he can get out and socialize. Then comes puppy class...

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Teddy Lure Courses

Teddy had a fun Saturday. We went out to our agility instructor's house and watched some flyball. Then the dogs got to try out her new lure course. After that, all the dogs were turned loose to play and explore together.

Teddy had a ball playing with all the other dogs. He got really hyped up watching the other dogs run on the lure course. He did great the first lap around. After that, I think he was looking for a short cut. Actually, I think if they had teased him just a little bit more and kept the bag closer to him, he would have completed the second lap. Still, he had a great time. Maybe we'll try it again sometime. What a great way to spend a Saturday!