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Showing posts from 2013

The Struggle Is Real

I do feel a bit bad, jumping in with another angsty post after so many wonderful things have happened since my last post. (Like Knight qualifying for Nationals and Mia earning her 2nd AX Leg!!!!)  

But alas, dark days always beckon me to write. So here I am. 

Lilly qualified for Nationals. 

This news does not come on the silver platter I had always imagined it would. It's a bittersweet victory. 

Lilly made me fight for every millisecond of her attention this weekend. We ran wide. We were sloppy. Corners were sniffed for potential crumbs and ring crews were visited. We scraped by with a Q in standard each day, each run a blur of me stumbling around trying to keep Lilly's head. Saturday's jumpers resulted in Lilly taking every jump possible and checking in with me just a time or two. 

Sunday's jumpers was painful. I thought maybe my frantic handling in attempts to keep her attention was messing her up, so, even though I couldn't feel her with me on the line, I decided to …

Finding Solid Ground

I had a brilliant short weave session with the Paps Saturday evening that left me feeling so much better after my disappointment with Mia in the morning. We spent the better part of an hour running around just playing fetch and chased away the bitter aftertaste the morning had left in my mouth.

As the day drew to a close, I felt recharged. I had successfully moved on, I was ready to face the new day.
I had the whole crew with me this past Sunday morning and I was ready to bring it.

Knight had the best opening speed at a trial so far for jumpers! Usually it takes him a few jumps to settle into his full run, not this time! He was kicking and nearly screaming to go as soon as I stepped into the ring. He's really starting to feel at home out there, he's showing some sass and getting a little bossy. I absolutely love it! 
He listened to me like a very good boy in standard, but I sent him right past a jump we were supposed to take. I could see a flicker of doubt pass over his eyes when…

Pause. Reflect. And Move On.

Sometimes, you are going to have a bad day. A day where your one step forward suddenly feels like a somersault down three flights of stairs.  All the progress you've managed to make suddenly evaporates, and you feel like you're about five  squares behind square one. Today was one of those days.

For the past few trials Mia has been a little off. She's started to stress down instead of up, dragging her feet around the ring, and she worries constantly about the people milling around the ring. I decided that I'd try entering Mia in one day where it's just her so I could give her my full attention.

Our runs were far from spectacular. That's not to say they didn't have their highlights. I've been through enough ring stress problems with Lilly that I can always get my dogs running by the end of the course. So Mia finished strong in a lovely full extension stride that I got to cheer on and heavily reinforce.

But I'm only human. I get frustrated. I KNOW how …

The Horizon is my Home

It's tradition for me to spend at least one weekend up in New Hampshire before the summer is over. Growing up, I spent my summers attending an all girls summer camp on Newfound Lake. Since I stopped attending as a camper I always find myself drifting back up there. Last year I took Knight up for a Tori Self seminar, this year I took the girls up for some hiking! 

 I had all of Saturday up in NH, so I took on Mt. Moosilauke. It's roughly a 10 mile round trip with a beautiful view at the summit. Mia and Lilly owned it! I cannot tell you how many comments I got on how small my dogs are... Multiple people asked me if I had to carry them up the mountain at all. Yeah... no. My papillons are bad asses.

 It felt so good to get away from all the kennel stress. To finally be in the mountains again. My biggest concern was which mountain I'd be hiking the next morning, and it felt amazing. Really, how can you not be madly in love with views like this? 

After Moosilauke, I visited …

The Trials of June

Wow, I have seriously neglected this blog all summer. Last post was on Papillon Nationals? Yikes.

Since then, I did manage to squeeze in 2 one-day agility trials. Went out to the Bella Vista site for our first AKC trial there. I've always avoided that site because of the rubber mulch, but they just switched over to some VERY NICE turf.  I got some nice times out of all of my guys with no slipping around on the turf. Mia is usually spinning out all over the place, so this was extremely exciting.

At Bella Vista Lil brought home QQ #3. This was after she ate an ENTIRE hotdog that was stolen out of my bag. You just have to love that girl, she really keeps me on my toes. She had a wonderful Jumpers run and followed it up with the most thrilling standard run we've ever had at a trial. It was 80% turns, and we nailed every single one beautifully. She had so much speed going into the table she slid into a 2o2o and promptly yanked her front feet back onto the table. I almost didn't…

Adventurific 2013: Papillon Nationals!

Last year I went down to KY for a week, during which we attended a full day of Marvel Marathoning that led up to the midnight premier of the Avengers. Many walks where taken, many movies attended, agility at a ring rental, and many adventures were had.

This year, straight after ITC, I made my way back down to KY to Selina's farm for another week. This year, it was for the Papillon Club of America's National Specialty.

Agility overlapped with ITC, so I did not get to attend it this year. I promise you, one year I WILL do agility at PCA. It has alluded me at both Nationals I've attended. I came down for the second Regional Specialty, Rally-O, the National, and the third Regional Specialty.

For those not involved in breed, one's National Specialty is kind of a big deal. All the big breeders come together to show off and compare their stock. My goal was to go with my friend, Selina, and have a blast. Placing in a class would be a HUGE plus, but I was not going in with any…

Growing: The Instructor Training Course- 2013!

May 15-19th, I had the amazing opportunity to attend Dogs of Course's Instructor Training Course in Accord, NY.

If you boil it all down, the course was divided into 3 parts. Lectures, Student Teaching, and Training your Shelter dog.

Throughout the week you were assigned a Shelter dog with a partner. My dog was a fantastic little Feist, only 5 months old, named Biscuit.

I am so grateful that I was paired with this little dog. "Easy" is the only word I have to describe him. Everything came so easily with him! When it was time to work, he was right there with me. He LOVES to play, so we worked on a verbal "out" cue to release his tug. He mastered that by the end of the week too! His crate manners were perfect, granted he was pretty tired by the end of the day, not a single peep from him all night. He pottied promptly for me outside, and had no complaints about calmly hanging out with me during my downtime. That allowed me to focus on teaching, something I've …

Taking the First Step

"A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step." -Lao Tsu

That first step is always the hardest.Why is that? In theory it's easy. Just a single step.

 But when the time comes to take that single step it suddenly feels like a leap over a bottomless pit. Days and weeks, months and years have been poured into this moment, this first single step. This single step could kick off the dreams you've been reaching for! So why the sudden stutter step? Why the sudden lack of drive? Where has your motivation gone? Have you let Doubt creep in and drain it all away?

Doubt is an ugly beast. It sneaks up into your dreams and whispers only the worst possible outcomes. It lulls you sweetly into believe that your dreams have been shot down before you even took aim.

I'm ready to admit it. I've been struggling with the first step. I've been given an awesome opportunity by my mentor, a trainer whose methods I highly admire, to start up an agility foundation clas…

May The 4th Be With You

This past weekend we hit the show ring on Friday and Saturday, then switched gears over to agility on Sunday.

Friday was the Toy Specialty at Mercer County Park. This show is a special one, exactly 3 years ago Knight and I stepped into the show ring for the very first time. Since that day my relationship with conformation has consisted of a long string of ups and downs, but it sure felt like a whole lot of downs.

We've been at the lowest rungs of the conformation ladder. My whole demeanor was clouded with self doubt, I had lost the class before I even stepped into the ring. I was letting it beat me, letting myself feel disappointed.  Things are different now. I've changed my attitude about the show ring, I've armed myself with knowledge, and I'm letting myself be PROUD of the beautiful teammates I get to show off. We're on a roller coaster that only goes up!

On Friday Knight showed beautifully for me! He was all attitude, he owned the ring. He's really startin…

Finding Footholds

I have started finding footholds out of this dark pit I've considered conformation. I'm getting more confident in my motions, more confident in my grooming, and I'm allowing myself to be proud of my dogs. I'm fully aware of their faults, but I'm not letting them cloud my thoughts with doubt.

I made huge progress on my attitude with the conformation ring this weekend. I stopped treating it as a chore, and started treating it like a sport. Like agility. We did our warm up tricks before we went in, and strutted in with a, "Are you ready bud?!"

Knight won his Open class over one other dog on Friday and I was thrilled. He's been the reserve king most of the time, this is the first time he's won his Open dog class. He ended up taking Winners Dog over two puppies for his very first point!

Mia was the only class bitch on Friday, so she took Winners Bitch for no points. Sarah lent me a hand for the B.O.B. ring. I fumbled around a bit in B.O.B. and mumbled…

Double Qs and Blues Times Two

Achievement Unlocked!!! Knight-man has all his Double Qs for the 2014 AKC Agility Nationals now!!!!

We're just over half way on points and Master Qs now, so still some work to do, but one requirement has been checked off the list!

This past weekend we had a two day AKC Agility trial. Saturday morning was like a dream. Excellent/Master JWW 4-8"  was the first class of the morning. I'm usually a nut case for the first run of the day so I did not have any expectations in mind. Lilly was the 3rd dog in the ring and...... WOW. She just took my breath away. She broke 5 YPS for the first time at a trial in a FLAWLESS jumpers run. 
10 dogs later I was back in the ring with Mia. I was brimming with confidence after a flawless run with Lilly and Mia just ate it up. She not only ran it beautifully, she ran it a full second faster than Lilly for her first AXJ leg. Two for two first thing in the morning? I was on cloud nine. 
Knight's run was up next. I had just had two of the bes…

Seeing Double

Another fantastic day of trailing. I was blown away by the confidence and speed I saw in all three paps on Sunday. Not just the paps though, I've started to feel so much more confident in my abilities as a handler too. There's less baby sitting and more running. Progress is being made!

I've always heard handlers say, "You never know when your last run with your dog will be; So run each run like it could be your last." But it never really sunk in until recently. Having to rush Lilly to the emergency clinic last month really snapped everything into perspective for me. I've always tried to make sure my dogs never know I've made a handling mistake at a trial, the primary goal each run was just to have fun. Now I'm chasing that down with new enthusiasm. Every time I stepped onto the start line with Lilly or Knight (still working on this mentality with Mia) I was prepared to make this the best run ever. We weren't just going to have fun, we were going …

Cheer Team

Today we got to visit my good friend Jessica (who runs Focused K9) and her GSD boy, Riot, as they hopped back into the Obedience Ring for their 3rd CD leg.

He was so awesome all day. Riot only NQ'd after another dog flopped over onto his feet during his long stay. Seems like an odd call to me, but I'm an agility person, what do I know about the ways of obedience judging?  That being said, they really did look great out there!

It was absolutely beautiful outside, so we took the dogs for nice walk in the park after. Saturday well spent :)