Aug 252014
 

by Doranna

The dogs are far from bored around here.  We’re getting ready for an obedience trial next weekend, so just went to an obedience match this past weekend.  After that comes an agility weekend.  In the meantime, we’re training for the December VST test, without any real assurance that Dart will be ready.  He’s got the nose, he’s got the understanding, but he works so intensely that he uses himself up about halfway through and turns into a puddle of goo.

So naturally, it’s time to introduce a little chaos into their lives by way of Mickey Cat. Continue reading »

Aug 182014
 

by Doranna

This year, with the varmint invasion at an all time high–from rabbits to squirrels to pack rats to mice to gophers–we put into action tentative plan to acquire a barn cat–a cat of such nature so as not to be a viable adoptable indoor pet.

We have an agility friend with connections in high places at our awesome localish (in the city) shelter, Animal Humane. Okay, very high places. She runs the thing and is also a talented animal yenta. She hooked us up with a reclusive 7-year-old named Calypso whose ability to cope with humanity deteriorated daily during her stay there…and during her transition period here. She fled upon release, disappearing into the arroyo. No one was truly surprised, but it was hard all the same.

In short order, another kitty opportunity cropped up: a fourteen-week old little guy who had made clear his hatred of being handled. Continue reading »

Jun 042014
 

by Doranna

cb.dogwalkbay.crop.0058Qualifying!  Winning!  Titles!  W00t!  Rah!

Because hey, that stuff is fun.  It’s lots of fun.  The green Q ribbon is a revered thing.  Add a bit of placement ribbon color and…you know…

W00t!

But if it was the only marker of success, I can’t imagine many of us would keep training, keep entering…keep running.  Keep on with our little public humility lessons.  Because with some dogs, those placement ribbons never come, and with others, the Q ribbons are a rarity, and with still others, the lessons in humility are ongoing. Continue reading »

May 212014
 

We take a lot of photos of my dogs when I’m competing.  Partly for the same reason one takes photos of anything–keepsakes, bragging rights, and (these days) Facebook shares.

But in large part, it’s a great way to figure out exactly what happened in the ring—things that seem inexplicable in the moment, but become all too clear with a series of photos or a bit of digital recording.

paw.916The thing is, it’s easy to blame a dog for what happens in the ring.  And it’s true, sometimes Dart simply “gives me the paw.” But more often it’s worth digging down for deeper understanding, because more often it’s about subtle things that humans don’t take into account because it doesn’t bother them.

The weekend before last, we went to our area’s biggest yearly AKC obedience and rally trial.  It’s a regional qualifier with a huge draw, and it’s held inside (unusual for this area).  The building is a thing of unceasing chaotic din even when humans and dogs alike are using their indoor voices. Continue reading »

May 062014
 

yymm.dd.dart.storycover.28.NOT.SMDart, as usual, is teaching me lessons.

All three of the dogs stay pretty active, like little elementary school kids with a stack of play dates.  However, Connery is a mature boy with lots of seasoning who never did need a ton of proofing, while Rena is on a hiatus from most things (another story altogether.)

Meanwhile, Dart is a spark-bright boy who lives intensely, notices everything, out-thinks himself at every turn, and needs extensive proofing in all possible circumstances.  He needs to do, not to practice doing.

But there are only so many opportunities to do, especially in this area.  So when they come along, we make the most of them. Continue reading »

Apr 222014
 

by Doranna

Connery is a breedist Beagle. 

cb.MACH.bawhBEWARE!” he bays, if a problem breed comes into his orbit.  “DO NOT WANT!”

If he spots such an individual while we’re running an agility course, I can be pretty sure he’s going to bring down a bar or pop a weave, because he just can’t think beyond the worrisome presence of that dog.  He tries so hard that it’s palpable but he just.  Can.  Not.

To be fair to Connery, he has reasons.  Good ones.  Like his objection to Boxers?  The first dog who attacked him was a Mastiff—a huge creature with a head the size of Connery’s whole body.  A big fawn dog with black points and a big squoosh face: close enough to a Boxer, if you’re Connery.

Obviously, if that Mastiff had closed his jaws around Connery, it would have killed him.  But I screamed, and Connery screamed, and he fled a desperate circle at the end of his leash.  Will I ever forget the sight of those massive jaws snapping closed against his tucked butt? Continue reading »

Apr 072014
 

by Doranna

THE GOOD:

Agility milestones for Connery Beagle!  Now that he’s earned a MACH3, Connery is running in Preferred classes (that is, jumping four inches lower).  He was always the shortest and heaviest dog in his jump height…Beagles are meant to be sturdy little things.  And he likes it Very Much!

He’s qualified in eleven of his twelve runs since then, and taken first place each time.  At ten years old there’s no telling how long he’ll have this much joy in running, but right now we’re having a blast with it!

connery_DSC6958-(ZF-1106-69731-1-002).SM Continue reading »

Mar 252014
 
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by Doranna

On the doing of things…

Sometimes life piles up so fast it’s hard to keep up–and it’s hard to remember why you’re doing what in the first place.

cb.bone..506I started this blog while listening to the grind of merry little hound teeth on a Nylabone, while the hound in question (Connery) happily sprawled over the world’s ugliest hotel carpet.

Not kidding. World’s UGLIEST. Continue reading »

Mar 102014
 

by Doranna

In the last tracking blog, in the wake of a difficult experience in El Paso, I was getting ready for another tracking test on the 3rd.  I muttered about some of the challenges of getting tracking tests–finding the tests, dealing with the luck factor, maintaining the focus, blah blah blah.

So, on the third, we took the test, along with five other teams.  This is what we all woke up to:

Ooh.  Look.  Clouds caught up on the Sandias.  Cannot bode well for us.

Ooh. Look. Clouds caught up on the Sandias. Cannot bode well for us.

Continue reading »

Mar 052014
 

A Blue Hound Beagles Blog

(A Dog Agility Blog Event: Starting your puppy)

0405.31.connery.bone.19Talk about awesome reinforcement timing!  This past month, in some weird universal coincidence, big lots of people (okay, a couple) asked me exactly this–when did I start training?  How?  And now here we are, officially chatting about it for the Blog Event!

So here’s my easy answer:  I start my puppies the moment they come home.

Now, anyone who’s gasping, “She puts her puppies over jumps/on the a-frame/dogwalk/WHUTEVER” should just slap their own heads.   Just pause right now and take care of that little chore for me.
Continue reading »