19 January 2015

Father John Misty sings the song of running dogwalks.

Father John Misty started off his latest tour playing a show in a humble redwood hall at our little local steam train station the other night. Whether you think he's an artist deconstructing hipsterism from the performative position of a 30-something shamanic, white guy indie rocker, or just a douchebag, depends on how you look at things.

I like Father John Misty. I always like to look at things by tearing them up at the seams a little bit, and always trying to peek backstage. This is what artists are supposed to do. Even from a little redwood hall up in the mountains.

Backstage at that show was a cold patio, where you could hear a lot of frogs. That was it. There was nothing there. The band stood outside in the cold, having a smoke, because there's always a backstage. Even if there isn't. I spent the show leaning against the wall, just next to the door to the frog patio.

I laid down in an MRI tube recently. Have you ever done this? It's pretty awesome. A big plastic donut with a giant GE logo floating over your head. Something about protons and magnetic radio waves, courtesy of GENERAL ELECTRIC. That giant, happy, scripty logo beaming down at your skull. You're strapped in and for 30 minutes you hear these amazing sounds from the protons and the magnets and they bounce around and take a 3-D picture of somewhere in your body. It's mindblowing and soothing at the same time, like LCD Soundsystem stripped down to just James Murphy and a little tin bucket, trapped inside a white plastic spaceship that shrinks you down to the size of a Monsanto and flies you away into an atom.

These are the sounds I hear when I slow-mo our running dogwalk homeworks. Banksy runs like the wind with her legs driving for her ball, and the sound detritus on the movies I make for Silvia are like nothing else. Demonic and rhythmical all at once. I could listen to these movies, and watch them all day long. Turning the little switch and slowing down the time. If you slowed down the loungey voice of Father John Misty, at one of his most diva moments, I think it would make the best soundtrack to running dogwalk videos, and you could slow down his dancing and play it over the dogwalk planks.

I had a dream that Banksy, the person, not Banksy the puppy, was a short, older lady with red Sally Jesse Raphael glasses hanging off her neck on a beaded chain. I wasn't supposed to discover this, but one of my friends was one of her people and I stumbled onto the secret of who was Banksy. Me and Banksy, the puppy, not the person, are just now learning who each other are, and how to mold ourselves into agility partners. I think she likes doing agility with me exactly as much as I like doing it with her. It's going to take a long time to have perfect togetherness, the kind of connection that Father John Misty croons how you both hate all the same things. There's a lot of ups and downs, and there's never enough time to do everything, and there's no time for anything other than her, and we have a long, magnificent trip ahead of us.

We could train together all day, me and her, if only time was more on our side.

If we're not practicing at Kathleen's field, Banksy wishes we could run together in the forest for hours, not just 45 minutes. That when we take the tennis ball out to the bluffs to work on Waits while we're walking, I wouldn't have to send her off into the bush so much to sniff things and collect mud for her fur, because we would have all day out there in the dew. She likes it after practice, we go with our friends for a little loop in the forest, which happens to be on the same land as the steam train, just above the little redwood hall with the crappy sound system and beer in plastic cups, the last place you'd ever expect L.A. rockdivas to show up on a Friday night. Loads of border collies and not border collies run up and down the banks. Although I think she wants to head back up the field straight after and have some more goes on the dogwalk planks.

Banksy will turn one year old next month. Ready for more training! Weave poles will start and moving up the jump heights will start and we'll get going on that teeter totter again and the dogwalk will start turns and we'll add an a-frame in and the sequences will get even harder.

The only glitch is, the MRI says I have a knee surgery right after her birthday. It's a bit of a stop gap, to suck out a bunch of bone chips that are floating around in the joint. All my bones turned really old this year, far older than me, and it's gotten very hard to run and walk. It hurts. Hopefully this helps me get a little more life out of that knee. Before they fill me with bionics. My future is to become a cyborg, a rattling robot with metallic joints.

So there will be crutches and no walking. No running once there is walking. No running fast once there is running. Then the hope is, one day some fast running again. I haven' t yet explained this to Banksy. I'm trying to look at it a little bit more upside down and sideways, there are far worse things in life than surgeries on one's knees. Months aren't all that long. Didn't I have a tiny little puppy just a month or two ago? Silvia says I can keep training her dogwalk from a couch. Banksy the artist probably has loads of help climbing up walls, especially if he is a short, blonde lady with ugly glasses.

And Father John Misty would probably laugh at the irony, of such a fine, first world "problem". And he would use big ass airquotes, taller than a full size dogwalk. I'm making some of them now, high above my head. Maybe you can see my arms waving from google maps on your phone. Then he'd snort a line of horse antihistimine off of a raggedy old frisbee, and move on to better venues.

11 January 2015

Morgan Hill USDAA, Jan 2015

Morgan Hill is where Cynosports was this year. Sometimes we have trials there, at the roping arena. It's a good place. Not too far away, lots of space with a roof, and the dogs can sit in the car in the breeze. Mt. Madonna's on the way home for a nice steep walk up the oak tree hill to the redwoods.

There's Otterpop on  Smarty the Plastic Ropin' Cow. You can visit the real ones out back. Banksy is very just say no to cows.

Gustavo ran real good. Not perfect. Plenty fast. Some Q's, some runs with 5 faults. All teeter totters all the time, albeit one with a flyoff. He was super into perky little startline stays, and walking to the line without his leash on. And running right to me at the end of the run to get his leash on. Those are new ones. He's become kind of easy these days.

Not that there wasn't one run like this. But it cracked me up. So I needed to see it. It's just so Gustavo. This is the one with the teeter flyoff. It's cool. If he goes up it, I'm good.

Banksy was like a trained dog. She was able to keep it together near the agility. Holy smokes! She could hang out ringside during Starters classes while the little dogs were running, and within reasonable distance of the Masters rings with border collies and tervs running. Oh the barking of the tervs! We worked on 2 skills that I think will be useful - tugging while I'm standing up, and laying quietly while I sat in a chair. I was impressed.

I was way too afraid to ever let her off her leash, though. A work in progress. But it was very exciting to have 100% Zero of Apeshits and the ability to walk around, like we just walk around dog agility all the time, calmly on a leash. Or with a tuggy in the mouth.

Also there was some cake.

OK, and also I mucked up my biathalon Q at the second to the last jump. Life goes on! Banksy laying in the dirt quietly! And a hike at the end of the day. Not a bad weekend at all.

08 January 2015

Banksy is 11 months old.

Let me tell you an important skill Banksy's learning, maybe the one I'm most proud of right now.
Called: Laying Quietly on the Deck at Work while Horse are in the Arena Cantering and Jumping. Attached to a longline for just in case.

We have been working hard on this, called the patience. Having the patience. Having the Patience! Even when things are moving really fast. Patience happens at home too. You lay on that boring rug in the kitchen and you don't stare at dust and you don't get up and you just lay there til it's time to not lay there.

It's really not that bad. Patience.

There is more and more falling asleep by my feet on a quiet evening in the house. There's a clear understanding now of what is contraband of dog chewing.

There have been some personality conflicts and pushing of boundaries, and I have had to SHUT SOME OF THAT SHIT DOWN. I will say that, sometimes now, Otterpop has to be on a leash attached to me in the house, a leash which I like to call the happy good energy string of excellent vibes and white light, and when she is on that string, all dogs in the house have lovely and harmonious namaste together.

Yeah. Otterpop hates that hippie shit. Tough luck, Otterpop. We are training this puppy right. No bad karma.

There is the tennis ball brain. Tennis balls are kind of like OK WOW BRAIN OF WHAAATT?? for Banksy, so when we can work through tennis ball, right on. Otterpop and Banksy are sisters of the tennis ball, that's for sure. They have a little routine that is weird but they use cooperation and even if it means Banksy retrieves tennis balls to Otterpop when we're at the beach, I'll take it.

Every day, there has to be these things between Banksy and the Evil Witch:

Some brushing of the magnificentageddon fur explosion of magnificence. Because whoa. The hair.

There is some nail dremelling. Every f&*king day because this is how you get morning food from the Evil Witch. Every little bit counts.

There is some running at the field with everybody then there is some special just Banksy and Evil Witch time of stays and circle works and releases and listening and not running off to play with the damn labradoodle that wears the jacket and has the tennis ball launching thing by the guy with the dapper cap.

There is some staying in the quiet special Banksy pen at work and not howling. There are bones there. There is some walks and patience having on the deck. There is heeling. There is more staying in the pen. Or the car if there is howling.

There is enough time for somewhere nice of fast running after work because there is a little bit of light at the end of the day which is useful for some excellent running. There is some more circles and toy controls and stops and stays and gos and waits. All this stuff is disguised as fast running games of fun so nobody thinks that it sucks to be doing some stays. There are dog races. Ruby sits in the car when it's dog race time.

If it's an extra lucky day, there are agilities. Banksy loves agility. How much does Banksy love agility? She loves it the most. The agility is the LOVE. The Evil Witch holds the keys to the agility.

Every night now, Banksy loves the Evil Witch enough to follow her to bed and sleep at her feet on a blanket at the foot of the bed, right next to Ruby.

The patience, it's a work in progress. The apeshits of apeshit during the agilities, has it's ups and downs. There's a little bit of improvement. Banksy has to endure a dog show this weekend, the last one was Cynosports and that pretty much dialed the apeshits up to 11. I'm hoping this one is a lot more chill and there can be a lot more good dog moments.

Most of the time Banksy is a floppy, goofy, fluffy doofball of manic excitement of joyous frenzy. Except for when she isn't. Like I said. Some times have happened of shutting that shit down. In her heart, Banksy wants to be a really good girl. Her nature is to be super duper sweet and all squiggle wiggle of love bug. There are lapses, but they are fewer and farther between.

11 months. That's almost a year. A lot of things are coming together, although I scratch my head and think, how did we get here? She keeps me on my toes. She changes the rules a lot, and she can change them fast. Good thing I have a lot of toes. I am gonna need them.

05 January 2015

Where we go and what we do.

I had no intentions of becoming good at making videos. This whole video thing just kind of happened. Now that I've learned how, my computer is sick and tired and full. Computerized dog agility, young dog and old computer.

This is kind of the whole deal right now. I am obsessed. Banksy says MORE MORE MORE! If she could do agility every minute, I think I'd have a very happy dog. We actually don't get to do a lot, so every second counts!

We're very lucky to have our training pals. Kathleen has an amazing facility, without it we would have no agility as we've no garden and Banksy's far outgrown our little spot at work. How did I do this before with the other dogs? We're hoping our puppies keep progressing together and we can keep raising our dogwalk heights together. Channan drives an hour for our practices, me about 30 minutes. It's hard to find the whens. But when we have one, we're there. Channan has the really good video and the best ideas.

All I bring to the table is the puppy that has to sit behind the bush.  I am lucky to have such good puppy friends.

Running contact class is starting tomorrow.  Yikes. This is going to be interesting. Banksy is a way faster runner than me, and I'm not sure a running dogwalk was such a good idea. But we're having so much fun training it, how could I stop?

We haven't done much with poles, just fly through open channels with a ball. In a couple of months, the real weave pole training can start. Another yikes. Teeter has just been getting a fast drive and the beginnings of a crouchy slide. We're training a stop on a box right now and then we'll mashup the 2 together eventually.

The agility takes a short time. The planning and the videos, a long time. The watching of videos and deciding where to go and when and what to do, watching the friends do it, the friends here and the new ones in the internet, a lot! A lot of time!

Here's where I've been and what I've been doing.

01 January 2015

Feral soothsayers for trying to bring in the new year just loud enough.

How does it work with soothsayers? Do you have to pay them to hear the future, or is clairvoyance a gift and one glance into a crystal ball lays out the plan in store?

We walked in the forest, first thing of the new year morning. Not exactly first thing. It was cold. We waited for the sun to a little ways up, melt the frost and make a few shining light patches. I was thinking this was the walk where I would hear a plan, the ghost of christmas new years would light a bomb between my ears and I would know what we were supposed to do.

Twenty Fifteen. This could be some year. There are some things about it already that feel like they could pop open if I could just find the key. Every time I close my eyes I look for it. Where's the freakin' KEY?

I've never been one to find any missing keys, let alone a metaphorical one. Didn't happen. No vision quest. We still had a nice walk. Although I think the guy who lives out there and parks his white car near mine has been shitting close in near one of our paths.

We did some agilities. Banksy's Auntie Wendy helped rev up our teeter totter, and Kathleen's dirt engineering put us back on track again with new and improved non tippy planks of running dogwalk. This was happy. Agility with Banksy is a thing now. Game on. There was some more forest walking. I wished my foot would stop hurting.

We walked on the bluffs later in the day. Even Ruby. Banksy joyfully leaped into the arms of a drunk party guy on the edge of the cliff, she loves her some drunk guys, public glasses of wine sloshing with gusto. Gustavo got covered in mud. I tried to stay quiet in case the fortune telling message was coming in on my radar, although I did kindly give excellent directions to the damp city guys who got caught by a high tide and had a long hike back to their car.

By dark, I had a comatose border collie. Sleeping small black dogs. But I never got the memo.

I've got to keep looking, I think if I stay just feral enough, maybe it will appear in the lines across my palm. Or maybe that's how I'm supposed to be. The one that's always crawling around, lifting up logs, and peering underneath. Usually not finding anything. Chaser of wild geese. Wandering aimlessly about, listening very carefully for just the right words. This is the year, though, that I very much want to find them.

Good luck on your 2015. Stay feral.

31 December 2014

This year, we dunno, so we are going to go to sleep.

We could only think of 7 things to be a top ten of 2014. Sleater-Kinney was one of them. Is that so bad? That we couldn't even count all the way to 10? And one of our things was recycled from the 90's? Maybe tomorrow we can count higher and fresher and newer, when 2015 comes scampering in and we've taken a holiday from work.

Ruby proved to us that we're all still alive. That's a pretty big deal, just to make it one more year.

Otterpop says, SCREW YOU, old year. Although she's looking at the new year the exact same way.

Gustavo is all, Yay! Hola! Yikes. Fireworks. Then he's under the bed. That's how he greets every new year at midnight, shaking like a leaf. It's cool. Because he'll be our leader in the forest when he wakes up.

Banksy was born in 2014. 2015 is a big year for her, a lot of first times for a lot of things. She celebrated tonight by laying quietly on a rug when I ate dinner.

See you in 2015. xox, yer pal, laura & teamsmalldog.

29 December 2014

Tonya and Nancy, the original frenemies of agility practice.

It's so nice to have our agility practice buddies.

We have a little dog practice, then we go for a little forest walk. The dogs are all, frolic frolic frolic after they learn to serp, threadle, and push. Outside of agility, Banksy loves everyone. She is a freaking rainbow unicorn of lovebugs outside of agility.

Banksy is not a good sport at practice though. She doesn't like to wait her turn, and pretty much she wants to go apeshit when the other puppies are running. They other puppies are well behaved and patient. Just MY puppy is the apeshit one.

Why are some dogs so complicated?

She sounds awful and horrible and mean during the apeshitting. And she goes from being a sharing, carebear of toys and sticks to an evil guardy monster when it is the agility. Big stink eye at the water bowl. The agility brings out her inner Tonya Hardingbeast.

So she does tricks behind the bush. When it's not her turn, she has to stay behind the bush. If she goes apeshit there, then it's back in the crate. Where she makes horrible sounds. Did Tonya have to sit behind bushes way back when she was a skate puppy in Portland, way before any Olympic star spangled tutu dresses and dreams of gold medals?

It is getting better. Slowly. We work on this a lot. I will never give Otterpop a bat. My goals are modest at this point in our agility career trajectory. Someday I dream of watching my friends practice from not behind a bush. That would be awesome.

26 December 2014

A Muthaflickin Story of Xmas, as explained by Otterpop.

Here is what it looks like at Christmas. For Christmas, there were 5 tennis balls and 2 dogs. Sometimes 3 dogs. But, ha HA HA HA! Gustavo and Ruby did not GET CHRISTMAS! Or any TENNIS BALLS! They had to stay at home with a housesitter and go to work and only Banksy and Otterpop got Christmas!

This is the evil dictator that Otterpop arranged this with. Otterpop's special Santa. She whispered in his ear that she was super good this year and should get arms and munitions and giant spiders in her stocking.

Otterpop let Banksy get some of the tennis balls but not too many. Otterpop says sorry if there was snow at your Christmas, because, HA HA! Jokes on you!!! We didn't even have sweaters at ours. Did she mention Ruby and Gustavo still had to go to work on Christmas and take stupid boring walks with leashes!!! Ha HA HAAAA!

This may have been one of the times with only 1 tennis ball. But don't worry. Otterpop made sure to train Gary to not let Banksy have too many turns. Banksy is always all, TENNIS BALL TENNIS BALL and it's easy for Otterpop to be shrewd and crafty because border collies are pretty much just robots of tennis ball and Banksy is only 10 months old and doesn't even know what a Christmas is.

Don't worry! Otterpop got the tennis ball! Otterpop got ALL THE TENNIS BALLS! Do you know how many tennis balls there were at the Christmas??? ALL THE TENNIS BALLS!!!!

The kids kind of prefer Banksy due to the rule DON'T PET OTTERPOP!

This is where Otterpop tried to sell Banksy to a guy she thought was Santa because Banksy would possibly be useful moving reindeers around and then you know who could have all the tennis balls. Joke's on you, Otterpop. Santa doesn't wear flip flops and a hawaiian shirt and drive a BMW x-whatever mini SUV. That's just what all the guys in Santa Barbara look like and they rarely carry that much arms or munitions or tennis balls on them.

Otterpop's happy place. Otterpop hopes your Christmas was as good as hers. HA HA! No she DOESN'T! Otterpop hopes your Christmas had spiders and one hundred percent ZERO TENNIS BALLS. Ho ho ho.

23 December 2014

Ho ho ho, then the plank tipped.

We've had our first running dogwalk disaster, the plank tipped! Oh my. We'll pick that up and dust off after the holidays. And Banksy just ate something related to present wrapping. Not sure what. She is Buddy the elf who eats cotton balls. She's exactly this. That's her ho ho ho.

We're looking forward to a new year. I think we are.

Who would like to see teamsmalldog the blog rise again?

Raise your hand. Are blogs still relevant? We're not sure. Don't see many hands raised out there.

I think that 2015 may be the year of something. SOMETHING. Something new. Let's find out.

16 December 2014

Getting ready for Christmas, swamp style.

Here we are, finally doing some Christmas shopping. We got to the mall pretty early and Banksy is good at finding parking spots. I think Otterpop was in line at Starbucks already, they have those nice red holiday cups this time of year. I believe that this was a good shopping day. You know what they say. Red sky at morning, you have the best chance of making it out of the car park alive.

This is about as close as we've gotten to Christmas decorations this year. We're using a lot of water and mud. It's been too warm for icicles. The halls are looking pretty decked and the stocking are hung near the dryer. Remember to turn your Christmas boots upside down to drain, unless you want soggy reindeer socks.

Oh look! Eggnog and Elf on the Shelf! Good morning and what's your favorite color? Here are two of Santa's fluffiest little elves after knocking back their Starbucks at the mall. Don't feed elves caffeine. They prefer cotton balls and shredded fish bodies that the giant white stork birds drop in the swamp. When they take flight I release the elves to herd them from the ground, Santa says this is a great way to cross train them for pulling the sled.

11 December 2014

Banksy is 10 months old, doesn't that sound old?

Ten Months Old. We have plans. They involve the running dogwalk. And not going apeshit during the agilities of others. And not jumping up on people when they give her luvvies. Those are the big plans this month. They are unwieldy. Running dogwalks when you don't have a dogwalk or a place to put one! A great amount of apeshit to undo! And the luvvies. Everyone loves Banksy, except for people that don't like big fluffy muddy paws jumping up to express her manic and insane love for them.

Impulse control is a thing that we are not excellent at here. I should have done 100 more hours of crate games. So much fluffiness, and so little time. I can clip and dremel her nails though, with her laying upside down in a flippy flop, and brush that tail with a mind of it's own. She can go into the vet's office and have happy fits to visit there now. So minor victories and everything is a constant work in progress.

Banksy is the most happy about the weather. She's a rain dog. Flash flood warnings are her thing. So rain jacket on and off we go. Every day there is a forest or a field or a beach. If you have a border collie, I think every day at least once there needs to be some running and jumping and climbing up hills and into creeks and splashing in waves. Border collies need trees and grasses and mud and slopey hills with rocks and stumps that look like one armed slashers in the dark. They need drainage ditches that plug up and rise up waist high, they need flocks of birds flying off into the breeze, they need high winds that blow the ball higher and further and faster. Border collies want some weather.

Today was a rain that wouldn't stop, just like the old days, when decoupage was a thing and people wore suede a lot. She's not allowed to run loose at the ranch, ever since the truck chasing incident, which is very much a Thing, but she stays in her dry pen in the hayroom. The rain pounds loud on the ceiling there and then she came out for a while to help me deal with some flooding. Rain is just a big pond everywhere for her and she's happiest when she's wet and muddy and running, add a tennis ball and that's a happy dog. I have tall green rain boots and a new rain coat. Me and Otterpop, we go out with Banksy.

How did we not have a border collie before this? Everyone here loves Banksy, even though she can drive us all crazy sometimes. She wants to stare at dust and eat sofa pillows and 16x20 black and white gelatin silver prints and she can make Otterpop VERY mad with her big fluffy love face. She stayed loose in the house with Gustavo and Ruby the other night while we were out. Otterpop comes with me, she's like the meanest little tote bag dog now and has lost a lot of privileges such as staying home with everybody else. We came home to nothing eaten and quiet dogs laying around. This is a big deal of ten months old.

We're very structured agility practicers these days. I'm lucky to have friends to practice with, our puppies are all at about the same level and we are all mad for Silvia. We cik and tap and serp, and we have just started pushing and threadling. We are teetering and 2o2offing, we are running thru wide open channels and coming to hand. We are staying everywhere and on everything. We could do this all day. We wish we could do this all day. Every little practice is a gift, so much to do and so hardly any time to do it in. The running dogwalk part of practicing, of the future, commuting to a dogwalk, with all the slow-mo video and obsessing over feet, that part is coming next, and it's a little bit exciting.

I sure am lucky to have a Banksy. Not sure what did did without one, before.

03 December 2014

Continuing Ed Norton and having zero of unhelpful unlearning.

Hola. This is Laura speaking. Here's what I look like in the rain and without my wrinkles photoshopped out.

Here's my puppy. She's 9 months old and like many, many people who are super irritating but I just smile anyways because, that's what I do, like to remind me, I am one of those people who goes-to-the-dark-side-had-a-little-slow-dog-wants-to-do-better-in-agility-she's-so-clueless-gets-a-border collie.

If I was to hashtag that, it would look like this:


Now I'm really tweeting. Fly away, little birdies.

Judgers, judge away. Haters, hate away. Because a number one thing in my continuing ed, special ed, muthaflicking Ed Norton Education of dog agility is first of all, I don't care what you think.

Like Ed Norton told us in Fight Club, "What happens in dog agility, stays in dog agility, because stays come from crate games and this is the foundation of dog agility."

Michael Keaton could have done this in Birdman but instead he did something else. That's cool.

I might for a minute think I care what you think, then I don't anymore. This was a really good lesson that helped me learn more. And then we go work on some more stays.

You used to know me as teamsmalldog. That's what a teamsmalldog looks like.

If I was to hashtag, #teamsmalldog.

Done hashtagging. That was plenty.

Now teamsmalldog looks like this. I don't know if you know me anymore as teamsmalldog. But still teamsmalldog. With addition of a border collie puppy. She's pretty small as border collies go. I don't know how small. I am asked this a lot. Sometimes by people who tell me I am one of those people who goes-to-the-dark-side-had-a-little-slow-dog-wants-to-do-better-in-agility-so-clueless-so-gets-a-border-collie.

Before I got a border collie puppy, I spent about 2 years deciding should I get a puppy. My brain looked like this all the time.

Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy. Get a puppy. Don't get a puppy.

Good thing I'm not doing hashtags anymore. That would clog up the hashtag part of the internet. Like going tweettweettweettweettweettweettweettweettweettweettweettweettweet. Then I would break the internet.

Because I am good at breaking things! Especially in dog training! Because all the dogs I've had for agility, namely and exactly, teamsmalldog, came to me as rescues with some weird problems and in my fixing of the weird problems and teaching of the agilities, I ended up breaking a lot of things good for agility. Because I started with weird problems, alrighty, this is confusing to know if this stuff was stuff I taught them.

For example, Ruby started out weird and feral and chased all things that moved and hated being on a leash. That got fixed but in agility she had weird jumping problems and always got hurt and sometimes would shut down and other times go too fast and zoom around and then her eyes didn't work and then she retired. I think I am demonstrating a non teeter fly-off here. She did have a VERY FAST teeter totter.

For example, Otterpop started out chasing trucks, hating all people except for 6 of them, hating all dogs except for 6 of them, getting really good at agility, then having bad legs, then starting to shut down in the ring, then becoming a superstar of gamblers, then becoming a number one top ten dog, then having sore legs, then shutting down in the ring, then she retired. Here I am demonstrating some weave pole proofing via hulahoop gamblers.

For example Gustavo started out being super cute but sort of a weirdo and hard to train, then doing pretty good in agility except having problems with complex things such as agility and hallucinating and seizures, then he felt better, then I changed how we did our agility, then he got better at agility if I pretended to be Slovenian and never, ever let him have meat. He isn't retired. Here is us demonstrating some nice fast running.

I got better at teaching my dogs the more I did agility, but many times agility got the better of me. Darn you, agilities! I have had a lot of help along the ways for improvement. For some reason, I am pretty much obsessed with getting better and better at agility. I have had the opportunity to run some amazing dogs that were way better at agility than I was and have had a lot of amazing instruction.

Um, so where was I?

So long story short and many future puppies of many breeds later, I got a puppy. A border collie puppy.

And now I'm training my puppy. She came to me as a puppy! Not a weird dog with weird problems! She is completely awesome and she has some challenging problems, maybe due to lady who just had little slow dogs going to the darkside and getting a border collie because she wants to do better in agility and starting out by breaking things! Or else she's just a border collie and I keep getting used to things they do. Here we are demonstrating some turn and burn.

She has not eaten a couch!

We are working on all the challenges! We are trying to learn! We love to be around people who help us learn, not people who unhelp us unlearn! I have NO TIME anymore for unhelpful unlearning. I have no time for hardly anything so unhelpful unlearning is the last thing I have time for.

I have some of the best teachers in the world helping us, too. Nancy Gyes helps us with USA type things. Silvia Trkman helps us with Slovenian type things. Sometimes Susan Garrett helps us with Canadian things and Jaako and Janita help us with Finnish things and they don't even know it! I have Oregonian and Washingtonian and Floridan and all kinds of other state-ians helping me with all kinds of stuff in the internet.

Plus I have a long list of California practice buddies and friends and classmates who are some of the best agility champs around who are secretly teaching me Californian things by just being good friends and sometimes mentioning things like, Um, Don't You Think You Should Just Start Again Because You Just Rewarded That Huge Gigantic Error You Just Made? Or just because they did it right and I saw what they did or they did it wrong and I saw what they did.

Or they casually throw out, Use Your Other Hand. It's sometimes as easy as that.

So my education is continuing. With a puppy, many days it still feels like it's just starting and I do feel clueless a lot of the time. Although anyone other than me mentioning this or tsk tsk tsking it on the sidelines just has bad manners. I don't actually think I'm clueless, by the way. I think it's just that wanting to do better thing. My puppy loves agility and she loves hiking and she loves the beach and she loves playing and she loves doing tricks so we're probably doing ok.

We can do better. I am always trying to do better. So when you see something we're doing that looks like a trainwreck, Yep. I know. And we're working on it. I am really trying not to untrain my puppy with unhelpful unlearning. I want to get this right!

Here's a photo direct from my brain of how I learn agility. I am a continuing ed and I probably always will be. I think some of us  are never gonna be super champs. But you know what? We might still be trying. Yeah, we have not perfected crate games, Susan Garrett! And while I'm writing this my puppy is staring at the dust again, unhelpful unlearning DARN YOU! Some things I'll never learn. So yes. Continuing Education. And now I gotta go train my puppy.

For more agility blogs on continuing education, find 'em here, thanks Steve!
http://dogagilityblogevents. wordpress.com/continuing- education/

26 November 2014

A Thanksgiving poem about Banksy who I am super most thankful for even though totally shallow to be thankful for your puppy but very social norm for a dog lady.

Tis the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house
I already ate the pumpkin pie and
can't decide how to teach Banksy contacts.
Not a creature is stirring not even Banksy
because we got done at work early
and there was a long walk and many super fun stays.
Stays are fun! We have a million and ten ways to stay!
There are no stockings hung because damn we have way more
shopping days til Christmas
and also sometimes Banksy eats socks.
When up through the something or other there arose such a clatter.
That's the sound that sometimes happens
when Gary falls over the driveway xpen in the dark.
It might make him curse. Hopefully he didn't drop the other pie.
Because it's the night before Thanksgiving and I haven't even gone to
the store yet. Or even decided what to make. Someone gave me that
damn pie and it's half et already.
We are gonna need that other pie.
Thank you giant turkey for granting me a Banksy.
And would a free running a-frame be too much to ask for too?
The end.

24 November 2014

Big fluffy weirdo.

Banksy is a big fluffy weirdo. That photo says it all. She is a crazy goofball. You turn on her serious side, and my god, the intensity. A very intense work ethic that can go to a darkside of manic obsession, aka I drag my puppy away sometimes. But when she's off duty, it's just all floppy, furry, flippy, floppy unicorn loving, princess dress chompin' love muffin.

So yes. We do this a lot. Darkness be damned. We do go down to the beach in the dark, I figure, what the hell. Nothing to run into. No wild beach animals to eat us. You can't see the sandy wetness climbing into the car so much in the dark. So there's enough running. Just running in the dark. Never with scissors.

Otterpop is the weak link of our family is what I've figured out. She does not always have privileges anymore. She does get to go everywhere with me, the evil one is my sidekick and when she's being a sidekick, no evilness. Sometimes she does some agility. My god. Her agility. It only gets better. Maybe she can do gamblers in a trial again someday. We will do the whole course as a gamble and I'll sit in a chair. She mostly just wants to ride on the tractor. I let her do this. Everybody needs an evil sidekick.

Gooey is just a good dog all the time. Him and Ruby, I feel a little bad for sometimes. They're just so good and easy. So sometimes they get forgot about. Otterpop is DEMANDING and Banksy is LEARNING and Gustavo and Ruby are sitting there on the couch hoping they get to do something nice today. Gooey comes out and does some agility and he knocks it out of the park. Yet sometimes can't get across the ring at a trial. We have a great time playing Slovenians in class though.

This kiddo. Wow. Just wow. When she's being wow, wow. Yeah, there's still weird staring some of the time. And when she goes over threshold of over the top, happy white Jesus's birthday. She gets dragged out to the car. I try to shove a toy in that mouth like a cork but it only works some of the time. It's just at agility. Because she LOVES the agility TOO much of NO CONTROL. We work on this a lot. It's embarrassing and what good is an agility dog who can't go to agility because she has on naughty pants all over her head? Have I mentioned we work on this a lot? A lot.

I am currently in contact quandry land. So I'm teaching the basics of running dogwalk, slowly, since I don't have a good way to this in the comfort of my own home. And working on a blazing nose touch on little boxes and stuff. I am head in the sand procrastinating what to do with contacts. A long, flat grass patch of my own and my own dogwalk would make this an easier decision. So for now we just waffle around in contactless limbo. She is only 9 months. There is time. We are having fun! Very, very much fun. Currently I'm answering all my questions with, What Would Silvia Do? And off we go.