11 August 2019

UKI West Coast Cup with Banksy the amazing and happy birthday Gustavo!

So much fun! Great competition from all over, and Banksy back to jumping 20" again!

Banksy came in 2nd overall for the Masters Series, and won a bye to the US Open finals in Jacksonville Florida! That was with one bar in the Jumpers part, and a beautiful standard run.

That's a pretty long drive. And there are alligators there. We would go if not for things like work, if we had all the time the world we would drive there and find an alligator farm and see all the things on the way, I think New Orleans is near there, Georgia is near there, and Marfa is on the way. We could even visit Tallahassee and see a swamp.

Maybe someday, things like this, driving across the country for agility. In a camper!

For now, big fun events like this will do.

Banksy did not put a foot wrong all weekend, she just put her feet in front of another as fast as she could go and tried her hardest to do the things I pointed to, just like we practice, simple as that.

There were some amazing runs with amazing time, there were some bars, there were 2 handling errors on Sunday that cost me Es in 2 classes, and made me see how perfect Banksy is. She follows my every move and does exactly what I show her every single time! So I learned some things, such as use a decel at jump 5 instead of blasting her at top speed towards the wrong end of the tunnel screaming "INININININ!" in the 2nd round of Speedstakes.

I just wanted to win. Just use the decel! Maybe I would have won with it, maybe not. But the wrong side of the threadle tunnel was a popular E, so at least I was in good company.

The dabbling I did earlier this year with 1 arm threadle apparently took and caused a wrong bypass when I used that cue by mistake, costing us our Biathlon Jumpers run! Oops. I am very glad I have video to see the amazing dog that Banksy is, who does every single thing I've taught her.

She missed 1 rdw exit. But hit all the rest quite nicely!

I still make mistakes. But so many great, fast runs, Banksy is a dog of a lifetime. She's napping now. Otterpop, too. Gustavo hung out at the score table and ate treats and helped set bars. He thought that was great. I missed his birthday, I forgot it was the same day as mine and he's now 13 years old! Happy Birthday, have some pollo!

05 August 2019

Gifts from friends.

Sunday evening, 6:30pm

Me and some other toe dragging, shuffling zombies are slowly shoving three days of agility trial back into a cargo trailer. Masters Jumpers has just ended, we just want to go home. Nobody much is talking, everyone is thinking some version of the same thing. Traffic. Thai food. Work tomorrow. Beer mixed with grapefruit soda.

Donna and I look at each other for a moment, I’m trying to gather up an armload of jump standards, she’s lugging a tunnel. I know for that instant we had the same thought of, didn’t this used to seem easier? Like arms could carry more stuff and it didn’t pull so much on my back to bend over and move the tunnel bags?

“We’re not getting any younger.”


We’re not even that good of friends. We don’t hang out together, I forget her husband’s name. Maybe I never knew it. But I can rattle off all of her dog’s names, and remember when they died and remember exactly what they looked like running. I know most of one of her dog’s puppies and grand puppies, and their people. I don't know what she knows about me. I take the trash to the dumpsters and make the t-shirts and used to have all those little black dogs.

That kind of friends.

Saturday morning, 6:30am

“Any day we’re vertical is a good day,” says the lady who owns the bakery, where I’m stopping for another mug of coffee, because i was awake from 2am-5am, retrieving Otterpop when she bashes into a wall, trying to stop her from climbing up something she’ll just leap off of a moment later.

“Yeah. I’m gonna remember that. Vertical.” Self righteous bitch, I think, her and her overpriced muffins. She probably has signs that say Believe in the Journey and BREATHE painted in lavender script on barn wood in her den.

Except I'm working on having a positive attitude. “Vertical!” I answer back, a little more chipper this time, and salute her with my mug. Maybe I'll scrawl be vertical on my ceiling in black glitter and dryer lint when I get home.

I’ve known the bakery lady since before she was the mayor, when she used to live in her old house that was around the corner from my old house, then she moved to her new house right before I moved to a new house around the corner from hers. I moved in 1997. We don’t ever hang out, she doesn’t seem that friendly, and I’m not really either. She threw dogs at the beach under the bus when she was the mayor. She probably likes jazz and has a cat.

My last cat lived to 19, she faded slowly away into a bag of dusty, dry bones, and died one traumatic morning on my lap. My dogs haven't vaporized slowly over time like that. They get sick, we beat back serious illness until fatal, or they get dementia just like people. Some of them it’s fairly benign, some pacing and woofing, and for some of them, they’re escaping and leaping and screaming and bashing. Otterpop, not surprisingly, is the dramatic, manic head bashing one.

When I first started agility, I could run really fast without even trying. I had slippy skateboarding shoes and tiny little shorts shorts. I didn’t need a sports bra, there wasn’t enough going on to jiggle. I thought I had a fat roll around my stomach, except now I know, that wasn’t a fat roll, that was like a piece of gum. Don’t talk to me about rolls. The Y2k had happened, we didn’t turn into exploding robots, and I found extreme pleasure in sending my dog through a tunnel. Stranger things have happened. It really seemed like just running around and pointing worked out pretty well. Although, I was out there on the fringe. Everybody else was better. We taught weave poles by dangling a hot dog through the poles, threading the dog in and out in the hopes of grabbing a bite. Contacts were sort of this thing kind of stopping but mostly vaguely pointing at the yellow calling something out. Not sure what. It changed. It was vague.

My dogs went everywhere with me. Does that count as adulting? I couldn’t breathe without my dogs. I bought little fans for them, to blow cool air over them on those long, hot days. Never got around to having a baby. Spent a lot of time getting perfect weave poles instead.

Otterpop was such a jerk. She bit. She howled. She rolled in whatever stank the worst. She grabbed a stick and off she went. She was obsessed with me, and only me. Now she spends her evenings hobbling as fast as she can go around our living room, peeing by the back door and tracking it through the house til I can capture her. Most of the time she smells like pee.

Sunday morning, 10am

That’s my friend Rob, giving a nod across the field. He taught me how to serp, he's one of those friends that is happy to talk about dogs or happy to talk about politics or happy to talk about most anything else. We like a lot of the same songs, and he used to let me run one of his dogs. Lately the topic is, retirement. We’ve been friends for fifteen years? Sixteen years? Longer? I can’t even remember now. I haven’t seen him in months, we only see each other at trials. He misses some to do other things, I miss some for work, or for when my dog’s been injured. But there he is, I sure do hope he gets to retire.

Next time I see him, I have to remember to ask him, does all this time spent at agility count as pissing our lives away, or living life to it’s fullest? He’s one of the smartest people I know. Maybe he knows the answer to that one.

Sunday morning, 3:30am

Otterpop and I go way back. She wasn’t supposed to be a friend. She was a complete asshat of a stray, just one of those dogs you collect by mistake. I took her home from the lady that owned the ranch down the road from where I worked because she looked like Ruby and played ball with me on her lawn. I tried to pawn her off on a family with a red haired devil child but before I handed her off realized, my god this dog is going to bite someone and everyone if she doesn’t die first from bolting out the door trying to chase down a truck to bite it. I liked her, she climbed on my chest and bit my face, but in a nice way. She wanted to keep me. So I kept her. Not for agility, just because something told me I had to.

We’ve been everywhere together. Literally. We are joined at the hips. She has god awful separation anxiety and was always happier in a dog tote bag than being left at home. Howling would happen either place, but much easier to just shake her out of the bag and have her do some of her party tricks. Shooting a dog with your pointy finger in the middle of an airport elicits applause from the travelers as opposed to leaving a howling dog at home that the neighbors can hear clear as a bell through the windows. So that’s what we did, for all our years. Me and Otterpop, she would have done anything for me.

Except sleep at night. She's crazy and demented, and when the sun goes down, her brain explodes till it comes back up again. Hear that? That's the sound of flailing feet where she's stuck behind the chair, bashing herself into the wall.

Sunday afternoon, 1:36pm

One of my agility friends died without warning. She lived in Canada. I only ever saw her once or twice a year, does that count as a friend, still? We would say funny things to each other on facebook sometimes, and she was a good person. Maybe the funniest person I’ve ever met, not someone that had lived enough time. Unfathomable that she could be here one day, then gone the next. Unthinkable that there could be such short time to do things with dogs.

Monday morning, 9:30am

This new lady came the other day for a lesson. She came tearing down the drive in a forest green vintage Mercedes with peeling paint. As she flew past the parking spots, almost launching off the overhang at the bottom, which would plummet her down to a soft wood chip pile, the shady ringside tent and a huge old log, I ran out screaming, “STOP STOP STOP STOP what are you doing?!?”

She laughed maniacally. “HELLO!”

I told her she was about to get her car stuck in not one but three ways, could she just back up and park over here? I pointed to the marked parking spaces.

“Oh Sure!” she cackled. And threw the car into reverse, and flew all the way back up the drive. Somehow avoiding a water line, tree, fence, and shed.

I ran up the steep drive. “What are you DOING?” I yelled, waving my arms to get her attention. She was about to back into an electrical box in the owner’s front yard. If she hits that thing, KA is going to be beyond pissed off, I am going to be in huge effing trouble, and I am so kicked out of here, my only lifeline to agility in town.

“You said to park up here!” she called happily.

“Down here!” I call back, pointing to the parking spots. Where I’d pointed before.

She ground that Mercedes back into drive, and burned rubber back down the hill. Parked, and unleashed a doodle out of the passenger seat. Who ran over to the field and pee’ed on a tunnel bag.

I can’t say she was old, because now I’m old too. This lady’s older than me, probably the same age as my mom, who would definitely not be Evil Kneivling an old car down a hill on a mountain to run a dog around an obstacle course.

She just wants to run around on the field and point at stuff and is thrilled if her dog makes it over something. Anything. She totally made it up when she told me on the phone that she already knows how to do agility. She cackles like a 2nd grader. She’s crazy as a loon. She clearly loves this dog, a doodle who just wants to pee on stuff and chase his ball. She really just wanted him to watch me do some agility with my dog, and then for him to run around doing it all on his own.

I’m horrified, and instantly all crabby up on my high horse. It’s my mission to try and explain to you exactly how important this nose touch thing will be for getting your dog’s feet to touch the yellow, and for using the right arms to do the right things. It’s against dog code not to show you how to do it right. I stay up late after my other job to teach dog agility, I get up early on my days off to teach dog agility, I scream out of work early some days to teach dog agility. Dedication to my craft! My old agility dog doesn't sleep anymore at night and I had important agility business to attend to all weekend, running my young dog in a trial. So many ways for dog agility to make you tired. My patience is pretty much shot in this exact moment in time.

I tell her all the things she’ll have to learn before she can run the course. She’s not convinced. Foundations? Clickers? Wrapping cones and learning to put two dog feet on a box? Who has TIME for that? She only has so much time left.

That lady just wants to run feral with her dog.

Tuesday morning, 4:15am

Otterpop slams into a wall. This week I’m trying different drugs for her, a quarter tab in the evening, then get up at midnight for another one, when I carry her out the front door and down the stairs to potty. Then maybe I sleep on the couch for a while so I can hear her if she bashes into a wall if the drugs don’t kick in. Every night it’s a little different, some nights there's sleep, some nights there's not. If I could just find the right set of magic pills?

Her vet and I have a lot of talks. Quality of life, for her and me both. But every time I’m about to pick up the phone to call, to make the appointment, you know, THAT appointment, I start to cry and I can’t do it.

So I don’t sleep again, another night, just carry her back into the house, and think about all she ever did for me. Every single time she came running back with her frisbee. Every single gambler’s run she aced. How many of thousands of walks in the woods, how many walks around the pasture in the morning, putting out the horses, how many walks around the barn at night, putting on the blankets. How many bike rides, sitting in her basket up front, how many tennis balls tossed into the pond. How many times she was just right there, no matter where we were, how many time sitting on that grassy knoll in the park, where we sit in the shade on a hot day and do nothing.

Every single time she walked to the line, maybe even when she didn’t want to, and ran with me.

Because that’s what friends do.

14 May 2019

Adventure walks for Banksy.

We're tired of walks around the neighborhood. We've done every street, every direction, for so many years. So branching out somewhere different every day. Maybe not somewhere new, but somewhere else, in a different hood.

Blocked Entrance/HomeUnilvvr/AMT Walk
How about the alley behind the taqueria? Right by where they're building the very large new motel.

Or the path that used to be the big marine lab fields, now a boring leash path, but how super to have a new one! With it's own bus stop!

Props Walk
If you go back behind the winery, they even offer a chair. Now fenced for your convenience for no access to the tracks.

12 May 2019

Dog agility, not just the new black but a lucrative lifestyle for the rich and famous.

Business plan mission statement number 4.

Red black red black red black red black. Have a weak cocktail in a plastic cup and throw your chips down.

Business plan mission statement number 5.

Dog Agility Judge: You get some airplane tickets and a modest motel paid for, usually sharing a rental car with others; traveling somewhere you probably wouldn't go otherwise, and standing in the ring for 8-12 hours for a couple of days waving arms and yelling. You have to buy your own whistle. I believe it to pay approximately $200. Oh, and they take you out to dinner. Actually fits perfect with my business plan.  Even better is the grueling course design marathon to nest courses of appropriate level with the correct amount of tunnels and the expensive a travelsome class you have to pass first located in Texas next week. Even better!

10 May 2019

Joyfullness absorbers.

I got them to listen to all your fantastic news so I don't have to. Congratulations!

09 May 2019

Trying to clicker train the trick "Newly Minted Billionaire."

If you don't have the knack, you just might not have the knack. Some people are better at this than others. Keep trying to shape it in small increments, perhaps in the end you'll get it. Or perhaps not.

Weepy weepy weepy.

We are not singing any of those songs anymore. No weeping around here. At least not for stuff like that.

Also, Otterpop doesn't sing anymore. I drew this a while ago.

New song titles we're working on, more EDM beats:

Hey it's not so scary to lay down in front of our corner store while I go buy ice cream at 10pm!

Wow we're brushing out a whole lot of fur during necklace time!

Don't shake Gustavo's bed!

Nobody, NOBODY can get on the couch now, ha HA!
(This one has intricate dance moves involving wrapping the x-pen around the chair while singing)

No more dog beds in the house if yer gonna shake shake shake shake them!
(More disco than EDM)

Furry pants furry pants furry pants furry pants furry pants!

07 May 2019

Sing the star spangled whatever whatever for Banksy.

Here is Banksy's win on spot at the World Team Tryouts, held at the indoor soccer and fun with roller hockey and children games park on turf in a San Jose office park!

Many people flew and drove here from all across the country to run two standard two jumpers to try to WIN their way on to the World Team, the big cheese of dog agility, where they will all put on ugly red white and blue track suits and carry matching tote bags to fly to Finland for more dog agility in September. They will eat unusual foods that may have roasted reindeer meat tossed in and they will either win or get their asses horribly beat by Fins and Swedes and Germans and Russians and fly home. They will be extra devastated if their dogs do something weird or if they cause an off course but extra elated if they get through the run clean. Everyone will sing and dance and wave flags for them if they win a medal.

Forever after they are referred to as Former World Team members when they are gossiped about behind their backs. If they actually won a medal then hopefully are able to use this clout for things like sending in late trial entries or whatever other dog agility perks are needed for the rest of their lifetimes. It's a good time for them to go teach some seminars or start an online class because it's actually pretty hard to beat those Swedes and so forth so they have some skills if they've just won a medal and they are probably out of money from flying a dog so far and wanting to pick up some souvenirs along the way.

Usually people who win their spots on continue to make World Teams in the future. This is probably because they are actually very, very good at dog agility and work very, very hard at it. People who are just pretty good and work pretty hard at it use them as role models of how to get very, very good and take their online classes or try to move their arms about just like them but most of the time fail at this.

So probably you figured out by now we didn't win a spot on. We are in the second group.

Also this would have been really hard since Banksy was sitting at home doing things like Not Doing Anything.

This list includes:
Not running
Not walking very fast
Not walking very far
Any walking is on a leash
Not playing with toys
Not playing in the house
Not playing in the garden
Not shaking dog beds or blankets even if it's your special blanket shaking blanket
Not sitting or climbing on any furniture
Not sitting in your special window spot where you look for my car to come home
Not having any fun at all whatsoever at all.

She is allowed to wear the stupid $300 necklace. That's what it's supposed to be doing with it's molecules and binding and growth factors. In my obsessive, frantic, wild eyed polling of every single person I know who was at the World Team Tryouts who had to hear about Banksy's weird limping and ended up ending the conversation by backing away slowly or saying, Oh I have to go get my Dog, some of them think such things are complete bullshit. And some of them think they are amazing and why didn't I think of earlier? And some of them think I should have sprung for the $600 dog bed version of this. Some of them think I should fly her across the country to a better doctor right away or at least try the one 3 hours away. Some of them think if I believe, the necklace will actually work and she will heal but it won't work if I don't believe.

We seem to be having the belief results currently as Banksy is off and on limping again. Mostly I grouch around and drive my husband crazy saying things like "Well, I would just rather she be a normal dog with a slight limp forever and get to run around the park and go to the beach than try to keep her sound for agility so I am probably going to quit agility with her forever and just be over it and blah blah blah blah blah."

Usually when I say stuff like this he just ignores me and keeps watching the basketball playoffs. If I really want to be mopey I do it at the exciting end when the Warriors are almost going to get that last basket or home run or what have you because then no one can hear my whining.

If an agility lady cries during the home run and no one hears it is she actually crying? Consider that, grasshoppers.

Gustavo is all, he's cool, let's walk slowly on leashes around the block again! He's game for anything.

Otterpop has no idea what's going on and is stuck in the orange dog car for our trip around the block. She may or may not poop in the orange dog car so it's a good day if she doesn't.

The trip around the block is usually between .78 and .85 miles and takes a variety of time depending on how long I let everyone sniff things at the vacant lot. I know the exact amount now because my bestie, a Former World Team member by the way so make sure to let her enter trials late without giving her a bad time as she does not teach seminars or hold online classes, gave me her old fitbit watch that also explodes with joy when I walk ten thousand steps in a day. Which is pretty funny because I normally walk like five million so not sure why it's so excited. I programmed it so when I put it on it says Hi BANKSY!!!! But it's perfect because I can see exactly how far Banksy can walk without limping or exactly how far she walks before she limps so that's pretty cool to have more exact scientific data to go along with the molecules. Also maybe it could talk to the necklace because it talks to my phone.

"Make Banksy better", I yell at my fitbit. It says my heart rate is 53 then the screen goes black.

Banksy is not excited. She is depressed and has no idea why I'm so mean and making her life so boring and stupid. She would like to do agility. She would like to shake her blanket. She's grouchy and paranoid and stares at me from across the floor where she has to lay on the ugly Costco throw rugs I've brought back out from the garage since god forbid her legs slip when she walks on the hardwood floors and she has no beds anymore because of the shaking.

So sing her some star spangled banner. Hit the high notes with some flair. Congrats if you made the team and give it another go next year if you didn't. Red white and blue  probably clash with my hair and skin tones, so that's cool. We'll cheer from the livestream view.

04 May 2019

Three Hundred Dollar Electro Magnetic Dog Necklace.

photo by Sarah Hitzman from back in the day like last month when Banksy could do agility.

Banksy visited the fancy canine rehab specialist last week at the fancy pet hospital with Valet Parking. It's located in Silicon Valley. I drove there in a traffic jam. All the cars in the parking lot are clean.

We walked out with a diagnosis of hurt neck, a bunch of exercises, and a $300 electro magnetic dog necklace. Yes. A Three Hundred Dollar Electro Magnetic Dog Necklace. It looks a bit like what you'd wear to a rave, turn on the green flashing lights and off you go.

I don't know. I put it on her. We do the exercises. Her head currently doesn't turn left very well. Her regular vet had said, Neck is Fine. This vet said, Neck isn't Fine. This one is fancier. I like her other one a lot. I liked this vet pretty good. I'm honestly not convinced this is what it is but I'm going with it for now because it's better than no idea.

We'll see. Doing what we were already doing, leash walk, no jumping on the furniture, no running in the house. We had started some off leash walking NOT RUNNING BANKSY, but that had a couple slip ups of short runs, and the limp came back a little bit so we're being vigilant. On the leash. Don't play fun things. Walk, border collie, walk. The exercises are fun tricks for Banksy so we'll do more of those. We go back to the valet parking hospital in three weeks.

And now Banksy owns a really, really, really nice necklace.

22 April 2019

Otterpop, blurry.

I found this photo, I have thousands of photos of Otterpop. Otterpop who would stand anywhere like a statue, balancing on whatever it was I needed her to balance on. This is 5 yrs ago, Otterpop on a tennis chair, I drove by it, thought she'd look nice there, popped out of the car, climbed her up this tall chair on a bleary morning, shot the photo and off we went.

She's not doing well. There's definitely no balancing or standing still watching the camera lens. She wakes up like a bomb went off between her ears at 2am, manic and crazy and ready to run around the house, flinging herself off furniture, into walls, barking and screaming if she's contained behind a door or in a pen or a crate.

Her front feet paddle fast, her hind feet drag slow, she looks like hell but then decides to play with the other dogs or chase a ball across the yard. She falls down sometimes. I'm going to try sedation for anxiety, to see if the manic can wear off in the middle of the night. She said she wanted to go on a walk this morning, then two houses down the row said she can't walk. She's all over the place, yes she is. She can't make it down a stair, but at 3am can fling herself up on the couch and launch off the side and across the house at speeding bullet trajectory.

I don't even know how to find the thousands of photos, of drawings of Otterpop. Tens of thousands? So many. They're somewhere, maybe in an old computer, maybe a box under the bed. Her vet talks about quality of life, I walked out with a bottle of trazadone. She comes to work and sleeps in the car, she sleeps on the couch, I carry her around. I throw a handful of food down and watch her go, like a little machine. I see her normal Otterpop self, just really old. It's in there, along with the demon self that maybe the trazadone can tamp down just enough for some quiet more days.

21 April 2019

Yelp Reviews for Dog Agility

Dog agility is actually fairly casual, but could work for a special date night or other special occasion as well. Sometimes the dogs were slow and sometimes they were fast. Prefer the fast kind myself. Found some of the social interactions with others a bit awkward, they kept wanting to tell me about their dog’s run and I was not always interested to hear this yet they did not stop talking until I disengaged eye contact and said, “Oh shoot, I have to go get my dog,” which seemed to work quite well.
Steve C, Houston


Have been going to dog agility for years. Feel treated like family, the runs are amazing and the atmosphere is wonderful. If you want a somewhat dirty yet amazing experience with your dogs, this is it, totally worth the wait even if it's more than 20 minutes. Make sure to apply sunscreen first, though. I always look forward to dog agility, if you enjoy dog agility, this place is for you!
Lizzie S, Salt Lake City

Dog Agility Response:
Thanks so much for your review. We are so glad you enjoy Dog Agility and look forward to seeing you again.


My experience at Dog Agility lasted just a few minutes.
First of all, the parking was not convenient and there was quite a lot of mud surrounding my vehicle.
Nextly, there were a lot of dogs everywhere and this made my dog way too excited and being a rescue, she can’t help this and it was not very easy to get from the muddy car parking to the dog agility.
Ambiance was somewhat rustic, the restroom was a porta potty which was located quite far from the parking area, while reasonably sanitary, there was a can of spider spray on the floor which really did not help me feel welcome. Not sure if the classic rock being played over a loud speaker near the competition rings was appropriate, but I was willing to still give it a try. One of the songs was Aqualung and I find the flute work in that song to be excessive. I just played my Zumba playlist from my phone to drown it out.
I would say not to be avoided at all costs but but you should just know experience may not be as authentic as at some other Dog Agility locales.
Paige N, Springfield


Spent a weekend at dog agility recently and found it somewhat bland. Probably won’t go back, seems to be overrated. Did not bring a dog however, do not recommend for cats.
Eric H, Laramie


We had to drive quite far from the freeway to a large covered arena in an agricultural locale, various cows and horses were located nearby. The dirt was soft in some places and hard in some places, prefer my dirt a bit more juicy. Meh. It would seem with all the tractors in such a homespun environment one could be driven over the dirt to make it more fluffy? Many people there were older adults. It is my belief that even if one is old, they should be helping out in the rings. I had to keep going in and setting bars and have you ever set bars with a bunch of old people out there? The ring steward would yell out “Sixteen INCHES!” and nobody could hear him and they would just shamble around out there like a bunch of zombies and set things at the wrong height and then look up and be all, “WHAT?” and someone would yell, “ Sixteen INCHES!” again and this just kept happening over and over and it took way too long to set the bars. It was brought to my attention that the payment was in raffle tickets to win prizes such as bully sticks, however, so that may explain the slow pace. Two stars.
Cliff P, Brooklyn


Hope they improve the footing. I helped set bars even though I got there late.
Shannon F, Canada


It’s official, I will never go to this dog agility again. A lot of people there were young and sporty, I think this is called hipsters? Since when are hipsters allowed at agility trials? Many of the females were wearing tights or yoga style trousers, hate seeing their long lanky legs running around so fast. Snack table served snacks from Costco containing hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup, even in the so called “healthy snacks” which were dry and unappetizing. I did notice that the ribbons were colorful, with bountiful, flowing streamers, especially the ones used for champion titles when the person getting one ran around on a long lap after their run with their dog, waving a jump bar over their head. Unfortunately this took quite a long time and held up the trial. It’s a pity, weather was great and grass was stunning. Won’t return.
Pat R, Las Vegas

Dog Agility Response:
Thanks so much for your review. We hope you will come back again and give Dog Agility another try.


There was a coffee truck that served espresso drinks ALL DAY LONG! My dog loved it! Hope to come every week. Five stars.
Laura H, Santa Cruz


This place is a joke. Gritty locals were lurking nearby at the trial, they may be pleasant people but seemed off putting with all their eyes watching us. Judge did nothing to chase them off. Did not get any Qs as my dog was scared of judge and the so called spectators. Not a good value, as each run cost $13 and we spent $78 and did not receive a ribbon.
CJ, Jacksonville


Pros: The judge is one of the best judges around. He wore festive cool outfits and helped build courses.
Cons: I did not Q in Jumpers, did not like how he set numbers 2-17 on the course.
Jenny T., San Diego


Not great, only tried this place because it was in my neighborhood, so close by. Hated the lady judging. Wore the ugliest sweater without irony. Will not trial under her again. Unless she’s judging nearby. Challenging course, way too open with backsides that were difficult, there were little flowers mixed in with the grass and very distracting. I have been to a lot of dog agility previously and did find the score table staff to be more helpful here than at some of the other places, (shout out to YOU, Karey and Raymond!) so three stars.
Maria C., Columbus

Dog Agility Response:
Thanks so much for your review. We hope you will come back again and give Dog Agility another try.


Found it not flavorful. My dog is distracted by the trees nearby, I believe there to be squirrels residing in them. Would try it again if squirrels could be removed. Feels unprofessional, as if staffed by a team of all volunteers who only work on weekends. Service quite slow.
Greg A, Auburn


My son hit a large pot hole on the way to dog agility while delivering pizzas for them at dinner time. Since this time he has not been able to use his car for delivering pizzas, going to his college classes, or anything else. We have left messages for dog agility and no one is returning the calls. He has also tried and no one has gotten back to him. Do not go here for dog agility!
Courtney W, San Jose


I came to this class with the simple request to do dog agility. Teacher wanted us to use a clicker and feed our dogs treats to do things like hop on boxes with back feet and stay. If I wanted my dog to learn to stay, I would take a dog training class. Did not let us climb up on the teeter totter thing or let the dogs play together on the field at the end. Probably won’t return.
Sarah Z, Latrobe


Teacher had a large bag of toys. I think that there may have been some pornographic things in there. We were supposed to “Play with our dog?” Certainly never going back there, seems to be a hotbed of unhealthy perversion. Do not recommend.
Jose R, Phoenix


Brought my dog to a class called Foundations Agility, teacher talked quite a lot and very fast. However we were allowed to let our dogs run through the “Tunnel” and give them a “Treat” and my dog found this to be very enriching so we will return, am buying a “Clicker” on the instructor’s recommendation and will cut up a hot dog into smaller pieces next time. My dog gives it 5 stars.
Elizabeth P, Moorpark

Dog Agility Response:
Thanks so much for your review. String cheese also works well. We look forward to seeing you again.


My dog is perfectly trained as long as she is wearing a pinch collar. Came to this class, said No Pinch Collars allowed on the sign up sheet but assumed they would make an exception for my dog as she’s perfectly trained. First thing was they did not let us lead our dogs over the blue rubbery bridge thing. My dog knows perfectly well how to use a bridge as I’ve seen this on tv! Also wanted us to give treats to our dogs, which I would never do as she’s already quite fat.
Theresa J, Perry

Dog Agility Response:
Thanks so much for your review. Shaping behavior without a pinch collar helps your dog learn that they can control their circumstance with purpose and enthusiasm, we hope you will come back again and give Dog Agility another try.


I wish I could give zero stars. I emailed them about my dog and they emailed back about joining a class. I didn’t want to join a class, I wanted advice about dog agility that I could do on my own. They did email back several times with some ideas but I wasn’t able to get my dog to do the agility with their advice, also we need to use the course equipment. Kept suggesting to try a class. I am flabbergasted! Tried to call the number but the teacher did not pick up after our first phone conversation. I have now tried to call and email several times a day for TWO SOLID WEEKS to get more advice to do the agility and NO RESPONSE! Totally unprofessional.
Hanna F, Murfeesboro


Shout out to my dog agility teacher, forget her name but she is AWESOME! She does tell me I’m quite late on occasion but she showed me how to get my dog to run really fast with a special start line and a toy. I’m supposed to use more quiet voice when I say tunneltunneltunnel (sort of weird, but it works) and my dog can now run whole courses really fast and stop on all the contacts. Five stars.
Richard D, Scotts Valley

Dog Agility Response:
Thanks so much for your review. We are so glad you enjoy Dog Agility and look forward to seeing you again.


This may appear to be your average dog agility, but it is even better as the lunch was macaroni and cheese with really big pasta, not the little tiny macaronis! WOWEE! Also it would seem that there were several types of cheese used as opposed to just orange cheese from a box. Getting this lunch was a wonderfully refreshing and thrilling surprise! Thanks Roger for making this lunch! Other dog agility lunches pale in comparison, dare I say pathetic? Also very green, soft grass for my dog to run in and I enjoyed the courses, except for Snooker. The heck with Snooker. Will go back.
Trudy M., Jacksonville


Worst dog agility. Gate person was rude, hoping they did not get paid for that performance, running all over, shouting my name, acted as if she was “worried” I would miss my run. Hoping they notify corporate to get things more on track, that will certainly be my next email! Avoid this dog agility til they clean up their act.
Rick B, Indianapolis


Makes me tired.
Rob M, Salinas

Dog Agility Response:
Thanks so much for your review. We hope you’re less tired soon, Dog Agility looks forward to seeing you again.


What a happy experience! Dog agility is the best kept secret around, looks and smells GREAT! My favorite toy is a round bungee with a ball on it, and it’s BLUE! We like ALL THE THINGS. We will definitely be coming back. Thanks, Dog Agility, you’re the best!
Banksy, Santa Cruz

Dog Agility Response:
Thanks so much for your review. We are so glad you enjoy Dog Agility and look forward to seeing you again.

A dog song for easter.

Not just one but two, count em two, Otterpops. Because, Otterpop.

12 April 2019

Silly left front leg.

Old friend teeter just a couple weeks ago.

The good news is that Banksy can put weight on her left front! The bad news is she's still lame on it. She did go to the vet, and the vet's new office and it's slippery floors and different things were much more upsetting than any leg pulling her vet did.

Prognosis is maybe shoulder/biceps maybe somewhere strained, inflamed, somewhat pained. No MRI or ultrasound for now, keep her in the pen, keep shoveling in the meds, keep her from doing anything at all fun. Stay in the x-pen, Banksy!

Banksy is definitely feeling better and this plan totally sucks. She wanted to be on the van to Utah this morning and instead she went to a fancy new hospital with slippery floors, at least her old friend dr. Tammy was there waiting for her.

So same old Banksy story, weird injury, not sure, don't bring her back to early, keep her quiet, keep her resting, let it heal, and then back to fun at some later date in the future.

We're used to it. Life goes on.

11 April 2019

Something about April.

April's historically been a hard month.

Two Aprils ago, was the sandwich between Banksy's crash and injury, and Ruby's rapid demise.
Last April, Banksy's stroke and Gustavo's coyote near death experience.

This April would be different! We are having a big adventure of some big events, some travel and some fun! Heading this weekend to Utah for the Rocky Mountain UKI Classic, a road trip with friends to an exciting event of great courses near the Great Salt Lake. Been conditioning to get ready for some Regionals, some classics, some upcoming months of the good stuff kind of agility!

And being April, Banksy came up dead stinking three legged lame Tuesday night.

She's sitting in an x-pen to see if it's going away, with meds on board. No such luck. It happened at agility, but we saw no slip, no fall, no crash, no burn, no twist, no nothing. I thought I saw a funny step walking on to the field, but one of all the steps it takes to get to the field, all right, so much paranoia in my eyes.

We'd had three runs, all quite nice! I walked the course wrong on one, so went back and did that section. Missed a weave pole entry on another, Nancy said, well that was a silly way to run that, try on this side, and I did and it was fabulous. Nice dog walks, nice frames, nice teeters, all the things so nice! Us both running fast! My goal of class was get some confidence of no mistakes and it was going so great!

And walked on the field for the next run, and thought, did I just see that funny step left front? One step out of all of them, no, phew, didn't see nothing there. I'm always on the look out, can't help that. Glad I didn't see what I thought I saw. So I set her out and three jumps with soft right turns and she was off to the races then blammo. Stops dead in her tracks, refuses the tunnel, looks at me like deer in the headlights and her left front leg doesn't work anymore.

At first barely noticeable, I saw it, Nancy saw it, leashed her up and took a walk and checked all her fingers and toes and they were there and seemed ok. She gets so very scared when she's hurt, I had her hang out a bit while we walked another course to unscare her, play with her toy, she just wanted to hide.

And way lamer.

Drove her home. Way lamer.

And now is way lame. Three legged dead stinking kind. I can't find where it is.

No roadtrip, no Classic. She's stuck in the living room x-pen, vet tomorrow.

April's not our month.

08 April 2019

Things Otterpop Likes.

Things Otterpop Likes:

Sleeping on the couch near me.
Eating in her bed.
Walking around the trees where I park my car at work.
Standing still under a tree on the knoll at the park.

Things Otterpop Doesn't Like:

Walking around the block.
Using stairs.
Sleeping at night time.
Staying home.
Going places.
Riding in the orange dog car.
Walking around the park.
Horses' noses.
The beach.
Sitting on the couch.
The backyard.

Otterpop doesn't like many things these days.

18 March 2019

Santa Rosa March USDAA

Steeplechase! Always Banksy's favorite.

Gooey ran Steeplechase too! Drive-by weave poles, drive-by broad jump, drive-by second to the last jump. Amazing fast running and one thousand percent enthusiasm, when he found out he was having a turn, holy smokes did he turn on the fire and run to that ring. Gooey was the happiest Gooey, and I am going to try and get him more turns sometimes. Drive-bys are perfectly fine if that's what he wants to do.

Also many things in gamblers for Banksy with a very beautiful stopped teeter totter in the gamble! Also a Grand Prix run with some miscommunications, at the second wide turn I decided to fix-and-go to declare moratorium on the wide turn. I almost didn't run this, the dirt felt hard and rocky. I had visions of Banksy landing on a rock, and I was hearing a thud each time she landed off a jump, paranoia isn't a good way to run. So instead of staying for the rest of the day, we drove the pretty way home and stopped at the beach halfway there.

Otterpop hated the beach. The pretty way home is the long way home, extra long because the whole Bay Area decided to head over to the mountain in the sun to the beach. So many cars slowly following each other over the mountain, so may cars at the beach. Like Christmas parking at the mall.

Otterpop can never go off her leash ever, especially at the beach, she has crazy dementia and zero hearing and while sometimes she follows along, other times she looks at the air and bolts in unpredictable directions. So she tottered along the beach a bit, blinking in the sun, sometimes I carried her.

Otterpop sometimes has a happy life, a lot of times she doesn't. She wakes up in the middle of the night and wants to run around the living room at top speeds bashing into things. She hates stairs and flings herself off furniture. She hates most walks and when she hates a walk she tries to bolt and flings herself against the leash. She doesn't take many walks now, but she hates being left alone. She hates riding in the orange dog car. She hates trying to walk on days her back legs don't work right. She hates food in puzzle toys. She hates sleeping at night. She hated walking around the park grounds where the dog show was. She hates a lot of things.

She does like sleeping on the couch with me sitting next to her! And eating food in a bowl sitting in a dog bed. And going to our regular park when the sun isn't bright or when it's not raining. I think that's it. So we try to do those things as much as we can.

06 March 2019

Things I learned via Sweden.

We have a new friend from Sweden hanging out in town right now, she gave me a lesson the other day. Some more international learnings for us!

The first thing she asked me was why does Banksy not like tunnels and sometimes run slow? These questions made my eyes but out with wonder as I think of Banksy as loving tunnels so much that I've been working for two years to teach her to not always take them, and I thought that she runs very fast! Just not as fast as four other dogs we compete against.

I told her that. She just looked at me and said, "Hmm. She doesn't seem that fast."

Game on.

Some things we learned:

Banksy does not like spins. Me either.

Try to get the blind.

Drive in to the tunnel a bit more. Ha HA! Who woulda thunk this?

Leave earlier and run faster. Make sure Banksy runs faster, so that she runs faster than those four other dogs.

I can in-in-in the other way if I tap-tap-tap it.

Try to get the blind.

Throw the toy, not so much come to hand. Whereas via Slovenia, so much, SO MUCH working on come to hand not throwing the toy. Apparently it worked, see the running faster issue.

Try to get the blind.

Push-push-push should have straight facing shoulders not turning ones.

Try to get the blind.

03 March 2019

Morgan Hill SMART USDAA in March

Banksy back in her natural habitat after a long weekend of a trial. What a relief to go run around in the swamp!

There was a lot of mud this weekend, which made her happy. Luckily we ran in a giant covered arena since we have become a land of rain and rain and more rain. A lot of car sitting and patience, but a lot of really fun runs. Otterpop came with her, Gooey stayed home and slept in.

Some of the highlights were her Grand Prix and Biathlon wins. Actually my other favorite highlight had an off course tunnel, but it was one of my favorite runs. Steeplechase had a long, long line from jump to straight tunnel to jump to another tunnel but not the fun side the other side. Banksy had that look in her eye that no in-in-in would pull off and I had to restart and go. We had no time because of the E, but had we, it would have been FAST! Only 2 bars for the whole weekend!

She missed one dogwalk hit all weekend, my undoing as I was so far ahead I pulled her off early on a turn. The rest, no problem and there were a couple of hard exits. One amazing table, one table that I just left her there to work out for herself how to settle down and not topple off. 25 seconds worth of leaving her there for a standard run with 2 seconds of time faults! The rest of it was lovely, though, and I think it's good for her to have to hang out there and figure out how to settle herself into a nice down stay while I lead out as far as I can and she has to deal with. That's our only tough love these days with stays. Every run I start right now with a Whoopsiedoodle, I believe they're called, instead of leading out. We both like them and they work just fine.

She picked up a whole rack of Qs, not sure what to do with those but she gets them. She won other things too, I think some jumpers and perhaps a gamblers and a snooker. Our other favorite run was a gamblers opening that I designed just to make her happy with huge open loops and dog walks and frames and tunnels. That was her treat for being so good with the hard dog walk exit in the stupid table standard.

I didn't video. I should video. Some day I am going to wish I had video of these runs. Thanks Banks, for being such a good girl!

24 February 2019


There are times when I feel a little bit lost in life, and I need to detective sniff out that thing that’s going to let me be more than who I am. It’s gone missing, and isn’t that kind of tricky to go on a search for a thing that you don’t even know what it is? And then instead of searching I just want to get on the couch and hide under the warmest blankets with the smallest dogs. Could I get one of those surveillance internet speak robots with a girl’s name and set it up by my couch and yell at it from under the blanket to find this missing elusive thing?

“Alexa, play some David Bowie, stop global warming and homelessness and fix my agility too while you’re at it?”

Except those robot surveillance things, do we even want those to know what we need? They might deliver it from Amazon really fast and play a movie on Netflix, but wow. Just makes me burrow even deeper under my duvet.

In agility, the elusive finding is sometimes sought out in seminars. A new lift to the saggy bits, a bolder way to wave an arm, kind of like the promise of ordering a custom made leash with your dog’s name emblazoned the collar. Hope stems from the new and shiny. I resisted the seminar pull with Banksy for a long time, but not the fancy new leashes. We were chugging along on our steam from my methodical training, didn’t want to muck it up because I got confused by a new direction. Couldn’t find the time, didn’t want to shell out the extra money, didn’t want to look dumb. Seminars could be calling out a lot of holes. I resisted. Not just the call of the seminar, but instead of courting minimalism and sparking the joy of tidying up, I kept adding on colorful dog leashes to the dog hooks out back.

Eventually, my inner hoarder realized that way too many leashes that didn’t spark any joy other than potential fire hazard of too much stuff. So much for shiny and new. If not fleece, then about those seminars? This was how I came to sign up Banksy for her very first seminar with two distinguished stateswomen of agility. They arrived from Canada in warm hats and mittens, use a handling style that’s similar to how I do, and had seemingly endless patience with my mistakes.

Seminar day was a lot like being in our agility class, taking turns with my friends running hard on big international style lines. I made a lot of handling errors and Banksy and I both had very tired legs at the end of two days. It was definitely fun and we did get called out on some things that I know are things. So many tunnels, and so many tunnels to run by and not take. Who doesn’t want to learn a magic quick fix to all our dog woes, in a quick 3.5 hour block, for $180? A chance to fling that $40 leash down into the dirt over and over again.

For an agility instructor, seminars aren’t a bad way to keep paying the bills to keep doing the agility. For this, they endure lengthy airplane rides with complicated schedules, unknown freeways, overnight storage in hotel rooms, all day talking to people expecting tidbits of true wisdom. The seminarian carries the weight of knowing there is a room full of eager learners out there, who are counting on them to help. Not make it worse. Not do nothing. Help them, hopefully in that life changing unicorn magic perfect way. A burden to carry, knowing what’s expected.

I'm not an official seminarian, but I’ve recently played one now three times. The third held recently in the far off land of Ohio. When I was initially invited, I assumed it was a mistake, she got the wrong Laura, there are quite a few of us in my part of the country, the others all more highly skilled than I. She pressed on. I didn’t need to be a medal winning superstar. Didn’t need to be a famous coach or a world team member. The audience would be handlers trying to help their dogs gain more confidence, she thought I was exactly the person for the job. I asked if it snowed there, she said yes. I thought how marvelous, to go to a far off land of ice and snow to teach, and, holy grail of agility grails, to make some actual money for doing this.

And so how I ended up heading to our nation's fair state of Ohio during polar vortex month.

Days before leaving, I began to understand the reality of the snow thing. My agility students fixed this by bringing a selection of long underwear to class. I arrived two hours early to our balmy California airport rolled up in long underwear, three shirts, a sweatshirt, a sweater, a down vest, a warm jacket, plus heavy rain coat. And a scarf. And a hat. And mittens. Maybe you always wear this, you people in midwestern locales where below zero is just an everyday thing. For me, completely uncharted waters. I sweated in the airport sea of well groomed short haired guys in fleece vests with embroidered technology logos, all of us jockeying for wall socket space to plug in our devices. Me, the bulkiest business traveler of all, feeling smug that their roller bags probably weren’t crammed full of dog toys like mine was. We’re all on business trip, but my business is helping dogs feel happy, take that, Computer Guy. The one I’m squeezed next to on the plane glances at me and immediately puts his noise cancelling Bose earphones for the duration of our flight, probably quickly identifying the “Let me tell you about happy dogs” look on my face.

It’s strangely relaxing, traveling minus a dog. I read my book on the plane instead of worrying about my dog asphyxiating under the seat. I only needed to find a place for me to potty, muddy feet were irrelevant so I stayed in a really nice hotel with all white bedding and non contaminated rugs. I did have momentary panic attacks all weekend that I’d left a dog somewhere, but the lovely dog trainer who shuttled me around Ohio continually assured me that I arrived dogless. I felt very at home in her van, crammed full of crates and weave poles and leashes and jackets and dogs. She was always on time and knows exactly where the sandwiches were easily located, and bought me choices in fruits to enjoy and my fizzies. It was like being treated like a queen, which made me even more worried that when the seminar actually started I’ll be exposed for having no idea what I’m doing and off with my head.

All the agility in Ohio happens indoors, my headquarters for the weekend was a massive, windowless warehouse on the edge of town, conveniently located to all kinds of coffee. There was heat blasting inside, and snow falling outside. The students filed in first thing in the morning, they all looked pretty much like the agility people from California. Phew.

We went around the room. The aussie, he shuts down. The scruffy little dog hates start lines. The border collie gets the zoomies. The giant dog named Phoebe doesn’t like to break out of the trot and is overcoming her fear of tunnels.

I dumped out my dog toys on the floor, greatly relieved the airline didn’t lose my bag when it was whisked out of my hands on the overbooked connecting flight. The first handler to wave a toy in her scared dog’s face ended up on the floor with me, sprawled in a pile of squeakies, and found herself snuggling her dog on her lap. I start rambling on about Elton John. I look up to blank stares from the participants. These Californians, maybe they’re thinking, they do things differently out there. I tried not to panic.

“Does he like scritchies?” I ask. The little cattle dog flops onto his back for a tummy rub. Which might not look like agility, per se, but sure looks a lot better than the quaking and shaking dog who didn’t want to play with his toy.

Everyone complies to odd requests. I may be new to seminar teaching, but I know sad dogs when I see them and my mission in life is No Sad Dogs. Agility should be happy and if it’s made any dogs sad, it’s my duty to help the people unsad them. I think that snuggles and mousey games and cookies in tupperwares frequently help. Not always. Sometimes we get more creative. Squeakies in the tupperware. Flinging cookies around. Running across the room dragging all the toys tied into a knot.

I try to stay focused all weekend, but occasionally run outside to take moody still life photos of piles of snow in the parking lot and make snowballs.

“Snowballs! Who here needs a snowball?” This snow thing is amazing. There was a reason I borrowed that long underwear. I learned don't throw snowballs around indoors. The students aren’t impressed, the dogs just stop running and lick up their meltiness. Snow for them is like our sun. I guess if I was in a seminar and the teacher ran outdoors and grabbed a leaf and tried to get me to reward with it, I’d pass. So hits and misses, for sure.

I tried to memorize everyone’s names. I failed. I tried to remember if on your last turn your dog liked the fuzzy thing tied on to the furry thing. Oh yeah, she liked your treat tossing jig and your dog is a girl and I called her a boy. Double oops. I thought the lab was ready for the reward to be behind her instead of in front and she wasn’t and ran away. Oops again. But I did remember she was a girl and not a boy. I’m not a pro yet, I still mess up. The agility instructor there asks hard questions where I sometimes scratch my head and go, “Hmmm. I think actually, I don’t put it on cue. We just run fast and yell, GO GET THE COOKIES, is that like a cue?” and she doesn’t look impressed. I worry I don’t use enough dog training science words. I let the dogs jump up on my chest. I tell another lady to channel a yoga vibe. Blank stare.

People are on their phones and devices. I assume they’re bored out of their wits and texting all their friends about this about getting ripped off by an overdressed Californian agility teacher who keeps running out the door and making snowballs. She didn’t let them use the contact equipment hardly at all. She wants the dogs to snuggle. But it turns out they're taking notes. Of things I say! This is a good sign.

As the day went on, this is the kind of thing that started happening. The little black and white dog comes out and on each turn he’s grabbing the toy more. He started out on high alert, tail erect and paranoia eyes peering at every nook and cranny. By his last turn, he’s flying over the jump and through the tunnel and he’s running to a little squeaky ball. Actually, that’s his second to last turn. On his last turn, his person asks can she just bring him out and play with the squeakies, instead of running the sequence? End on a short and sweet note instead of over doing it for her sensitive dog? My heart goes pitter patter. Later she told me this is the first time he’s ever been able to play like that in front of other dogs and that normally he just trots around the agility, never galloping down the line like that or asking to engage with a game with her. He got a lot of scritchies from her and she always waited until he told her he was ready.

At the end of the day, one of the students comes up and asks, but do we HAVE to teach our dogs to jump on us? She has a massive young German Shepherd with feet the size of salad bowls. I try to sound like a Yoda Life Coach. Not everybody has to follow the same path, you and your dog are on your own journey. Also, I mention to her that all my dogs are small. Hers is the size of a pony. Maybe he can lay down instead.

I’ve been invited back, so it must have gone all right. I’ll venture to Ohio again some day, maybe some day someone would invite me to a whole other state. Maybe one with mosquitoes or alligators or open carry gun laws. Agility teaching is an adventure!

Would I go back to a seminar with Banksy to learn again as a student? I would. I’d make sure I wasn’t out of Advil though before hand. Did anything get fixed? I guess fix isn’t the right word. Changed. We’re looking for some change. So yes. And no robot surveillance unit necessary.

18 February 2019

Justine day at the Seminar.

My legs are very tired, I suspect that Banksy's are too. I would say I'm glad I'm not trying to qualify for any world teams this year, I would need a personal trainer to get my legs in much better shape and running much faster. It is a sad fact that my house is out of Advil and my legs are too tired to go to the store right now, luckily the couch is very soft. Which is probably how the legs are so out of shape in the first place.

I think my take home is that my handling is far from perfect, but Banksy is a genuinely awesome dog. I guess I already knew this, for far less money than I spent to have my Jessica and Justine lessons! But I am glad they are making money being able to help people get better at agility, so I think that's a worthy cause to support.

Would I go to another seminar with them? For sure! If I had the money. The people who go to so many seminars, yikes! That is a whole months worth of food! Including stops at the expensive bakery on the way to work. But running these courses with some good eyeballs to tell me when to not call so much and pull my arm back earlier seems like a good investment in a happy life. I hope I get the chance to Jessica and Justine again!

17 February 2019

Seminarniamania and Happy Birthday Banksy!

Last weekend I gave the seminar (more on that soon, I taught all weekend in Columbus, Ohio) this Sunday I got to take the seminar!

Today was Jessica day in International Skills and Drills. Thank god for the drills as I need more skills, I don't think I got through a single drill without having to go back and try some part of it again. We had a great time, I learned a lot that, even if I'm a lost cause, will help me teach better, and Banksy held it together through all my mistakes.

Tomorrow is Justine. Me and Banksy are both horribly out of shape, just what we needed to shape up!

A hard weave pole entry that we've missed training apparently, some sloppy things, some off course tunnels, a wide turn here and there. Banksy is amazing, and we'll call this her birthday party as she's just turned FIVE YEARS OLD! This was her very first time in a seminar, and she had loads of fun. Even when I messed up.

It was pretty much just like being in class. Take a turn, mess up, do it again, don't mess up. I threw a lot of toys for Banksy. Justine is very low key, no judgement on my start line, had good ideas to find nice lines and didn't always know the answers to things that I didn't know the answers to either.

Finally some agility to take a break from our very wet and muddy life at the moment! And more tomorrow! We're very lucky!

12 January 2019

Confidence Building for Agility Seminar in Ohio!

I've never been to a winter that wasn't in California. I've seen photos, and seen on tv, that other parts of the country have snow, and now I'm going to see it for myself, in Columbus, Ohio!

If you are near Columbus, and you need some confidence building in agility, maybe I can help. Or maybe not. No guarantees on that, but I sure will try. The super nice people at PosiDog in Columbus are bringing me out to teach a seminar the weekend of February 9 and 10.


I'm planning some fun sessions, and taking an airplane to get there and staying in a hotel. And going somewhere WITHOUT A DOG! I will bring all my jackets, every single one. And mittens. And two pairs of socks I guess? I wear three jackets at work usually, and I think it's been around 54 degrees...so I am thinking this is an adventure?

If you know anyone in Ohio that seems like they would like this, let them know! The agility is inside a building, that has heat! How crazy is that? This is my third seminar I've ever taught in my life and the other ones had my friends Tammy and Heather also teaching, and Tammy made us gift bags and lunches, so this one is a whole other thing...hopefully it goes well. Yikes.

31 December 2018

A pretty ok way to wrap up a year.

We spent the weekend at the Morgan Hill USDAA trial. I have no video. I wish I did, because I would have seen some of the best runs that Banksy and I had thrown down together. Hopefully this is just the start of how all our runs will be in 2019.

They weren't all this good, she had 2 bars in Steeplechase, with one of the fastest times in the show. And on the last day I made a few mistakes and twice used my fix and go option. But over the course of the weekend she had smoking fast wins in Grand Prix and Biathlon, and a selection of the titling classes. Banksy is winning with either the fastest or nearly fastest time of all the dogs at the trial.

She also had her first time faults ever! We had a showdown over laying on the table in standard, I just left it up to her and led out quite far across the ring. To her credit, she did lay down fast on the table, this isn't a problem anymore. I've stopped boycotting standard and retrained her table, it works good now for the most part. But when I led out on one of the standard runs, she fell off because the new way she lays on the table is hanging off the side. I just kept leading out, she flopped herself back on but had to hovercraft for quite a while till she laid herself back down while I just stood there laughing. The judge was either laughing or wishing I would hurry up.

Some of the runs were the best team work we've ever had, it's a feeling I don't think I can explain, and I haven't felt this before, except maybe with Otterpop when she used to read my mind on runs, Banksy though is reading my handling and I'm reading hers and it's pretty amazing how I can set fast tight lines and keep her on them. She is my dream dog, I can't believe I have a dog like Banksy.

Also she hit all her dog walks with PERFECT hits, two of them with hard exits, only one miss that was straight into a wall with a man sitting in a chair against it. One of my friend's dogs got that one though, that was an impressive sight. We just did a fix and go and worked on other things.

This was the year Banksy and Gustavo almost died. This was the year that Otterpop lost her mind. This was the year where some things went down at work. This was the year that's' been a hard one. Except most of the bad turned out ok. We hope that our luck holds up this year, welcome in advance, 2019.

22 December 2018

Shortest day, then the next day.

It was the shortest day yesterday, but I ditched out at work just before the sun went down and the dogs ran at the park while the almost full moon went up on one side, the sun went down into red and gold on the other, and we remembered that the days get longer starting now. It's tiny progress towards the sun but a progress nonetheless.

Otterpop marked the solstice by teaching us both that she doesn't want to be sedated when she has a night time dementia freakout. Maybe there's better drugs for her. She woke up at 3am from the Xanax that her vet had her try, and went full blown manic for a couple hours, running full steam and flipping out if captured and contained. We might not try that again.

Banksy played with her ball. Gustavo did his thing. We went to a party, the dogs slept. Christmas is coming, a few days off in a row, maybe not too much fun for the dogs though, a lot of busy and a lot of dog containing. Everyone will survive.

Happy Holidays to all.

02 December 2018

Santa Rosa USDAA in December.

This is a giant lemon trailer. It was so lemony!

There were 100% zero start lines this weekend. This affected things!

Second in Steeplechase, starting on a collection turn equals some time. Very nice fast run, very just ok time for Banksy. Because of the start, as I was hustling and her lines were spot on. Drat. Enough speed to come in second, enough to get some cash, but those precious seconds count!

Grand Prix, I did a fix and go. Because I caused a spin at the tunnel, which was an easy thing and the third thing but because of how I started, a spin, and I CANNOT HAVE A SPIN! I guess it wouldn't have been a refusal and I could have gone on for a Q, but I hate spins and can have but no spins due to my late and confusing information. So I stopped fixed and go'ed and we had a beautiful, flawless run for an E. Much happier for me and Banksy too. She doesn't know I just E'ed her, she just knows I ran her good after that.

Standard, not always my favorite because of the stupid table. A beautiful run with a weirdly fast table, I think because we arrived there together and she did the table like we do in practice. Amazing! And a tunnel for a start line to a dog walk, best way to start a course EVER! And then something went wrong on the timer, as I know we should have had a much, much faster time than was recorded. Such is life. The timer gods giveth and they taketh away. Banksy and I know it was a really good, really fast run.

Pairs. Very nice! Very rear crossy since not even attempting a start line now. Partner messed up. Pairs is short and dumb but we're there, might as well do it. I just sign up as a draw now and go with the flow.

Snooker. Disaster! Bail out! I should know by now, to not wait for last class of the day when far away, and I am so tired. Banksy isn't, but I am, and I know I want to be in the car driving home. And I made a poor choice with my very bold fast running plan and then a snowball effect of trying to save the shit storm till we just bailed out when Banksy said, I'll take this yellow jump over here, if that helps. Out we go.

Otterpop came with us and thrashed around in her crate every traffic jam. She didn't really enjoy nice walks around the Santa Rosa fairgrounds, which the rest of us enjoy. She currently decides lets get up at 2am! And if I try to lock her out of the bedroom due to my love of sleeping at 2am, runs around the house and howls. Poor Otterpop. She didn't want to sit on the lemon with Banksy, just run in circles on her leash while I stood still taking Banksy's photo. Gooey stayed home and ate pancakes.