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Looking Back, and Looking Ahead- 2012-2013

Another year has almost come and gone. Since I know for a fact my work schedule is about to start getting hectic, I figure I'll toss in this post now.

My goals for 2012 were simple: RUN! Start handling more clearly, and educate myself with more dog training goodness.

I really did not trial very much this year. Whenever I did put trust in our training and run I was rewarded with a wonderful run. My past self was wise and did not leave any titling goals for the year. Thank you past self! I do not feel like I let you down.

This year I learned a lot. There was a lot of stress, so many opportunities to grow. I'd like to think I took advantage of those opportunities. Friendships were deepened, new friendships were forged. I have a better grasp on setting my priorities, I regret nothing!

Just to recap in the year of 2012 I:
-was in my first car accident
-got to show my Grandma everything I do with the dogs at a trial up north
-Met some awesome Juniors down in NC
-Lilly got some of her…

The Novice Trick Dog Games

I though a description of the games shown in our "Novice Trick Dog Games" video might be helpful. So here it is!

1. Bobbing for Hotdogs (AKA: "Weenie Bobbing")

The full game consists of using a baby pool, but we went with the "Indoors Friendly" version. You place a few hot dog slices in a bowl of water. Then release your dog to go get them!

I actually first started using this game at agility trials to trick Lilly into drinking a bit of water. She has fun with it and learned how to breath out so water doesn't go up her nose. That results in bubbles, bubbles are always amusing right?


2. The Muffin Tin Game

For this game, you place treats in an empty muffin tin and then place tennis balls over top. I use this game to get Mia to slow down while she's eating. That fuzzy thing wrapped around the tin is just a tug toy I'm using to keep the tin from moving around.



3. Roll out the Carpet

Rolling out the carpet is a fun one I hadn't heard of until I lo…

Inside the "National Dog Show" 2012

Three years ago, I went to the National Dog Show in Oaks, PA to visit my Kooikerhondje breeder for an update on my newborn pup "beans" and to catch up with the breeders. After we were done chatting my mom quickly dragged me over to the papillon section. She was still set on talking me into another pap. We spent a long time chatting with Nancy and petting her papillon Mojo.

Fast forward 3 years to 2012.Not only did I attend this year, I was competing in it.


I was there showing for all 4 days of the Philadelphia Cluster. I dragged Selina along with me on Thursday to help me with Mia. I was so stressed out with the idea of showing two dogs with such a low breed entry. On top of that... Well, honestly? I was scared to go back in the ring with Mia. Whatever connection we have on the agility course evaporates in the show ring. We had gotten to the point where she'd gait nicely for me, but was absolutely dreadful on the table. She'd try to melt into me, act absolutely terri…

Going Up

"I'm on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend." -John Green TFIOS
We are officially back on track for dog events. Starting November 11th, I have a few weekends lined up to get out and run around with my crazy crew. It feels good to be back in the game. 
Agility:
Last weekend I attended another Dream Park trial. This was one of the cases where I thought I read the schedule and decided to give myself an extra hour or two to sleep in.... Those days never go well.

I pull up, get one of my 3 dogs out of the car, and swing by to see how the rings are progressing. Much to my surprise, 12" standard is already running and Open Jumpers is walking.

At this time I have Lilly with me. Without walking either course I run back out to my car to swap dogs. I managed to watch the dog before us run so I had a general idea of what the course was. Oh boy. Mia was on FIRE! NQ due to skipping the last pole, but wowza. She pulled in a 4.35 yps run even with all the wide turns she h…

Determination

Another soul crushing day of AKC conformation.

...Does that sound depressing? Down cast? Perhaps like the speaker of such words is teetering on the end of an "I give up"?

Fear not! I don't really believe in giving up these days. I used to get really discouraged upon leaving the AKC conformation ring without any points won. Key word there. Did you see it? I "used" to get really discouraged. Past tense. Now I take it more as a challenge.

Note: I'm typing this a good 12 hours after the show. I'd by lying if I said I wasn't a little disappointed when it happened. I tend to go through a whole whirlwind of emotions after leaving the ring with a loss. First I'm almost embarrassed, I feel a wave of "Why do I even try!" as I pack up all my belongings. As I leave the show grounds I usually move into denial, "The other dogs could barely even gait on a lead! insert other BS conformation complaints here."

And then, when I finally settle d…

All in a Day's Work: New UKC Champion

On Sunday, September 23rd, Knight-man and I drove out to Carlisle, PA for a UKC show. This would be Knight's second day of showing at a UKC event and his 3rd and 4th show through UKC.

We walked into the weekend needing 50 breed points, and 1 win with competition. Knight walked away with 50 points and 2 more wins with competition. We didn't have any breed competition, but there were 5 breeds in the companion group ring. That means Knight's Group 4th and Group 3rd placements from Sunday counted as wins with competition.

UKC certainly is quite the confidence booster, for both of us. The judges have all been very friendly, Knight shamelessly did a little happy dance for both of them when he received his ribbons.

We're taking a break from Conformation like things next weekend, and will be doing a one day AKC Agility trial! As much as conformation is starting to grow on me, I'm itching to get back in the agility ring. Our last trial was way back in... March I think? Way…

That Dog Nerd VS. The Grooming Marathon!

Man! I am still playing catch up with this blog. I took way too many pictures for this day not to turn into a post though. Without any further ado, I present to you:

That Dog Nerd vs. The Grooming Marathon

I took advantage of my friend Sarah's fantastic grooming shop for 2 whole glorious days. Thanks to my hectic work schedule this summer, I did not get to do anything close to "regular grooming" on any of the dogs for months. Day 1 in the grooming shop mostly consisted of giving everyone a good brush out. 

Day 2 of my grooming marathon was a very full day of bathing. Wash, rinse, blow out, and repeat. With 5 papillons to play with, I can confidently say I got plenty of practice with my blowing-out technique.

 My hectic work schedule was done for the summer, text books had been purchased for the fall semester, a new chapter of my life was unfolding. 

 I ended Friday, August 24th, with 5 clean papillons and one very sore back.Saturday, August 25th, I'd be heading back …

Tori Self Seminar: Advanced Handling 2012

As previously mentioned in my post "Recharging the Soul" I managed to drag myself away from work for a few days in August to attend one of Tori Self's handling seminars. It was a really fun seminar, Rev was super cute, and Tori didn't object to me creepily asking if I could take of picture of Twister, Rev, and Knight together.

Here's all the video clips I pulled off my cellphone from the seminar. I apologize for the low quality. The iPhone footage combined with me uploading it straight from nero to youtube resulted in a bit of a quality suck.


I walked away with a few things to keep in mind with my handling. I figured I'd share them, mostly as a reminder to myself.

Watch Your Shoulders 
 Not literally, but be mindful of them. Tori reminded me of this while I was running Knight, but it's something important I can use with the whole gang. All my dogs are now confident enough in the ring that if I'm not giving them enough input as to where we're going n…

How The Summer Was Spent

Now that we are well into September it's time to do some catching up. This summer flew by in a long blur. Work became the priority in my life. I was working a full time job 5-7 days a week, and a much lighter part-time job between shifts 3 days a week.

Days ran together. My life was the kennel. Thanks to Selina I managed not to work myself to death. We were out of the house for over 12 hours for a few rocky days. There were many days when rolling out of bed was a battle, and finding time for my own dogs seemed impossible. It wasn't all bad though, I certainly walked away with a ton of hands on experience of running a kennel. I'd like to say my phone skills with clients improved a bit, that's not to say there's plenty of more room for improvement though haha.

In June, before the insanity at work kicked off, I entered Lilly, Knight, an Mia in an AKC conformation and rally-o event. The Friday night before the show I got a grooming lesson from Selina. This occurred af…

Recharging the Soul

For the first time all summer, I managed to sneak away from the kennel for two whole, glorious, and refreshing days. Words cannot express just how much I needed this break. It was such a breath of fresh air.

I was mentally and physically recharged, right down to my very soul. 

So much, yet so little, has happened since my last update. I've been working too much probably, but I don't really want to talk about that. It's become a bit of a vortex that's overwhelmed my life. I waste too many moments dwelling on it. Instead, I want to talk about adventures up north. 
Selina and I took the boys, Knight and Twister, up to New Hampshire for one of Tori Self's seminars.


The above is just a glimpse of the footage that was taken. When I have my next day off I'll take all the video off my phone and put a proper youtube video together. 
The seminar ran from 9 till 5, Tori was fantastic, Rev was adorable, and Knight-man was a rock star for me. It felt so good to just get out…

Gotta Try: Enjoying the Ride

I know, again with the Watsky songs?! When I snapped this picture of Lil today I couldn't help it. She deserves a more triumphant picture after that "Failure" one I posted. 
I have a lot of exciting things going on this summer. All sorts of opportunities keep popping up in my life, some of them might dwindle to "just a cool offer", but for now I'm basking in the bright light of possibility. 
After all, you never know what will come of an opportunity if you don't give it a try. Even if you only have a fool's chance, isn't it better to just take a stab at it instead of dwelling on the "what if I would of.."s later in life? 
On a less vague note, I entered Knight and Lilly in two days of Rally-O, and Knight-man in two days of AKC conformation for the first weekend of June. I'm keeping up my conformation streak, lots of learning to do! 
**ps- How do you guys feel about these more frequent updates? It's like I actually use a blog n…

Dark Knight FTW

I'm happy to say that our UKC debut was a success! After getting some strange looks from the equestrian people, I found the dog rings and got settled in.

I've heard it again and again how much more laid back UKC is compared to AKC, but never really quite absorbed that little nugget of information till today.  It really felt exactly like an AKC match. There was no stress and no pressure. I walked into the ring confidently, and kept up that state of mind throughout both shows.

There are a few things I, as a handler, need to work on. The biggest being how I set Knight up on the table. When it's just us in the class the judge is watching the entire time and usually walks closer before I'm done getting him just right. I'd like to smooth out and speed up my table stacking process before we hit the AKC rings again.

That being said, when we actually have competition Knight shows wonderfully! Both groups were SO much fun!

Long story short, I only got 4 hours of sleep last…

Failure

I've been listening to a lot of Watsky again. Those two lines in particular caught my attention.

Conformation has been an ongoing mental battle for me. I get all excited with the show prep, training, grooming, final ring prep, and always end up walking away with a sour taste in my mouth.

 I find myself thanking the judge, then quickly escaping the scene. Handing a few half-hearted treats to whoever I'm showing while tossing them into their crate and getting out of there. Embarrassed that another show has past with no points, another class win with no competition, or a reserve out of two. Frustrated that my dog was the only one to keep it's feet on the ground for gaiting, and still walked away with nothing.

I don't peg our losses as a total "failure". I usually walk away with something more to work on, or some new notes as to what that particular judge is looking for. That doesn't make the awkward shuffle leaving the ring feel much better in the moment th…

Agility, Avengers, Adventurific!

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that last week actually happened. It flew past in a blur of adventures with the paps, movie outings, and agility.

  I woke up around 5 am Monday morning, only to be greeted by a violent thunder storm. I took advantage of said storm and snoozed for a half hour longer before loading the paps to the papmobile and starting our 12 hour drive.

 I listened to EVE 6's new album "Speak In Code" the entire drive. It was rainy and windy until we hit WV, and then smooth sailing from there on out.

 When I arrived we took out the paps and went on a trial around the property. Lilly wasted no time at all finding the nastiest pond on the entire property and promptly flopped right in. She came out covered in algae up to her chest. To say she was enjoying herself would be a major understatement.

 Thursday/Friday, was the craziest day I've had in a LONG time, and it was FANTASTIC. In prep for the Avengers premier, we had decided to…

Not Dead Yet

It's late and my brain is totally fried, so I apologize in advance for the dreadful quality of the writing in this post.

Another holiday has come and gone. Passing in a bit of a blur thanks to the insanity that is working full time at the kennel, but all in all a very enjoyable week.

Tonight was the first night of the 3 weeks of Masters agility classes I signed Knight up for.

The little dude had some FANTASTIC weaves tonight! With the courses Barb set up we had a few chances to  play around with really pulling away from the weaves.


All in all, super proud of the little man!

The handler.... needs to learn to control her flailing haha. Did get some nice timing on a few front crosses though!

Be Confident

"Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to other and wishing to be something we aren't. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses and it is only when you accept everything you are- and aren't- that you will truly succeed." -Unknown Author 

Thanks to the small size of my dogs and a bit of creative packing, I loaded up the Malibu and made my way up to Boston for our first agility trial in New England.

My Grandmother used to trial her Goldens in AKC obedience, and is an avid watcher of the Westminster Kennel Club Show, so I thought it'd be fun for her to what I do with my guys.

All in all the trial was an awesome experience. Our Q rate wasn't the highest because I officially tossed fixing my handling mistakes out the window with this one. I feel like Knight is still at a fragile point with his speed at trials, any missed jumps were due to my not cueing properly so I decided his speed was much more important to me than a Q. It was sooo r…

Death of the Papmobile

So thanks to some prodding from Mica I have returned to the land of blogspot. Let's do this.


Although not directly training/trialing related. In February, the Papmobile was almost laid to rest. As I was driving my sister home from crew one night, I was rear ended in the horrible stop-and-go traffic that plagues one route home.

A wave of dread swept over me as I heard the dreadful sound of crunched metal and shattered plastic. As the Papmobile is not officially mine, my first thought was "Oh shit, dad is going to kill me." which quickly changed to "Oh shit! I actually have no idea what I'm supposed to do!"

As naturally as one can, I asked the driver that hit me to hold on one moment while I called dad. The whole thing went over much more smoothly than I would of previously imagined possible. My dad is without a doubt, the best person to call in my family during any sort of state of emergency. After confirming that my sister and I were okay, he told me exact…

The Completed Fortress Of Solitude

After sleeping on the air mattress for 4 days I was ready to knock off the rest of the work that needed to be done.

Ta-da!







I know the black wall looks sad and lonely, but I plan on ordering some pictures to hang up there... eventually.  Right now there's Lilly's MX and MXJ certificates with her picture. Then Knight's OA and OAJ certificates, soon to be a picture of him at a trial between them.

But yes! There it is! Lots more space for training/crate space when friends come over. Not gonna lie, kind of love it :)

The First Trial of 2012

The Fortress of Solitude makeover went on hold for 3 days while I took the paps to a CPE trial at one of our favorite sites. This year was our first time in the new building, the dogs liked it just as much as the old building, and we got the added bonus of not freezing our feet off.

Saturday was spent time with Sarah and Blake, two fantastic young handlers with some amazing dogs! If you haven't already you should absolutely check them out.

I had Lilly entered in 5 runs each day, Knight in 3, and Mia in 2 a day.

Our last trial had been a Friday night trial, it consisted of a handful of handlers, 2 runs per dog. It was a perfect first trial for Mia, and a low stress environment for me to be able to just focus on getting Knight running. Both of them blew me away, Mia acted like she'd been doing this for a while, and Knight-man was back to the ball of enthusiasm that he was when he first started trialing.

This trial was the next level, a small step up before we dive back into AKC …

Extreme Makeover: FOS- Part 2

Look at that, dividing posts into "parts" so it looks like I actually update on a regular basis! Very Clever, I know.

After 2011 added two more dogs to my trialing adventure, I came to realize that my walls simply cannot stand to hold all the ribbons anymore. Only our bigger ribbons will remain (Lilly's MX, MXJ, and perhaps CPE level completions?) while the rest are retired to drawers in my closet.


Ribbons came down, taping began. The girls "helped" as I worked.


The following morning a few more preparations were made, and then the painting began! 



Extreme Makeover: Fortress Of Solitude Edition

As more and more variables get tossed into the puzzle that is the next year of my life I've tossed myself into yet another project. I find some degree of physical and creative labor can usually help clear my mind from all the "what if"s.  This time, I've thrown myself into redoing my bedroom, or "Fortress of Solitude" as my younger siblings like to call it.

It might be a little silly to redo it now, as I probably won't be living here primarily next year. But paint isn't too pricey, and I needed a project, so this is what it boiled down to.

The Before





I apologize for the mess, kind of realized I wanted to take before and after pictures half way through "organizing" everything.


Here goes nothing, good bye green- Hello something new.