Tuesday, November 24, 2009

24 Hours

The puppies have crossed 24 hours, and they seem to be doing well. Each has gained over an ounce from their birth weight (I'm so tired, I spelled that "wait" and had to go back and fix it- haa). So I'm hopeful that for now, they will continue to be OK. I'm seeing the slightest fuzz of fur on their toes and muzzles now. The red boy is a bit slow in the eating department, so I'm supplementing him a bit. Thankfully he took right to the bottle (I am now the proud owner of every brand of baby bottle Walmart carries in the baby section). The Playtex bottle worked like a charm, and everyone is happy! I just keep watching and waiting for some sign that the puppies are either out of the woods, or taking a bad turn. Right now, they are looking healthy.

I want to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers for the boys and Syd, and for the puppies who were lost before they ever got started. Yesterday was tough for me, and the events were so quick it was surreal (until about the second time my alarm went off at the 2-hour increments). I'm so happy to have the two boys, and relieved that Sydney is OK. I also feel thiankful that if the other puppies were not able to make it, they didn't linger on and struggle.

Syd has taken to motherhood quite nicely, and I might even call her an over-achiever to the point where I have to tell her to knock it off on occasion. She'd really rather lay on my bed and have me deliver her puppies to her there for nursing, but we're going to have a talk about that one. Stay tuned for Sydney's bedtime story that she tells the two baby boys.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Early Delivery

Syd's puppies are here. Yes, they are here 5 days early. Like 58 days after ovulation. Syd's temp dropped last night, and this morning (sparing you the reason I took her to the vet) she had an emergency c-section. She was carrying six puppies (5 dogs, 1 bitch), but one was not alive from the start. Five were 'breathing' and we got three to cry. Two were trying hard to keep breathing, but they were just too early. In the end, by the time I left the vet, I have two boys, and I'm going to do my best to keep them going strong.

It was not a good morning when I was carrying Syd to the back for surgery, and Dr. Becker said, "We just have to hope for the best" when he's usually so optimistic and reassuring. After all was said and done, he thinks it's very lucky that two puppies are doing as well as these boys are.

Basically, in a nutshell, Dr. B says that one of the puppies was trying to abort, and in doing so, it detached all the pups (? it was really stressful, so I might have butchered that explanation).

Syd is doing OK, she's still very groggy, but she's let the boys nurse twice, and she did sniff one when I held it up to her. Her eyes got really wide, and I have no idea what she thinks it is, but she was not growling or trying to get away from it (yet!).

So keep these two baby boys in your thoughts and prayers, I don't think they are by any means out of the woods yet. Nothing like worst case scenario, damned if you get them out, damned if you don't for the first litter.

Friday, October 23, 2009

It's Official!

As long as everything continues to go well, we WILL be hearing the pitter patter of Sydney-Mick puppy feet the day after Thanksgiving!!!
I was such a wreck at the vet today, I made Dr. Becker write it down and fold it up for me. I didn't watch his face as he palpated, and he really played it up, asking how many days from first or last breeding, etc. I was really discouraged, but he's quite the actor, because I got out to the car, and unfolded the paper to a big YES!!! written across it.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Slow It Down

How do you slow down a Cardigan who usually moves at the speed of light? Easy. Put a diaper on her and her back legs are suddenly rendered useless.

I never would have guessed

-that Sydney has such an affinity for Vall-pups! She's not exactly "best friend" material for the most part. It takes her a while to warm up to new dogs, and even then, she is pretty bossy about how the playtime games are run, etc. When Hawklet arrived, I put him in an Xpen in the living room, and Syd was nearly wiggling her body in half on the other side of the pen. This morning I was holding the Hawklet and let her sniff. She had zero concerns, so I put him down and they were instantly off and running. Amazing to me, especially since Vallhunds are very vocal in play.
Um, did anyone notice Syd let the Hawklet flip her??? Who knew she was such a Vallhund groupie???
And yes, I'm aware that it looks like a tornado came through the living room. For some reason, Vallhund puppies like to drag dog blankets, beds, toys, etc. all into one pile. Both the Vall-pups in residence do this. The tan blanket? Well, that was dragged from Nick's kennel, around the corner from the kitchen, through a baby gate doorway, and into the living room. Oh well, it makes for a cushy play zone!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Good Girl, Sydney

Sydney with all her goodies from the NADAC trial this weekend. NINE events entered, SEVEN Qs, TWO new titles (TN-N and NAC), one Jumpers leg, one 1st place, five 2nd place, one 3rd place. The rest of the photos (Kevin Devine Photography) can be viewed here: http://hurrikanecardigans.shutterfly.com/1566

And now, for the newest method of Weave Pole Training, the "Weave and Woo"

First we have the WEAVE portion:

Then we finish it with the WOOOO portion:

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sydney's Rules for Play

I will admit, I really have absolutely no idea why Sydney and Darby are so compatible. Not because of Darby, but because of my little "angel" Sydney. Syd desperately wants someone to play with her, but she plays SO rough, the other dogs just cringe and run away after a body slam or two. And Syd is *very* persnickety about play. "OK, now you will run to the left corner, then I'll chase you and knock you over, and then you get up and chase me back to the other side of the yard, and then you spin around and I'll tackle you." She organizes and runs the show when it comes to play time. And oh, if you DARE to not follow Syd's rules of play, well, then there is heck to pay.

One of the KEY rules to Sydney play is "You will not flip the Sydney on her back." If anyone dares to play and Syd flips over for some reason, she will get up as her evil twin and grab whoever it is by the face and tell them they'd better not do that EVER again.

In nutshell, Syd has some play issues.

1. She plays WAY too rough for the other dogs in the house.
2. She must make all the rules, and those who don't follow will catch heck.
3. She isn't really much on other girls. Period.
4. No flipping Syd on her back, EVER.
5. No flipping Syd on her back, EVER.
6. No flipping Syd on her back, EVER.

So, when Darby came along, I was very watchful and never let Syd and Darby into direct contact for quite a while. Darby is so amicable I was afraid she would walk into a Sydney Play Trap and get herself chewed up and spit out. So we did gradual introduction, through the fence of the dog yard, then with Darby on leash with me and Syd running around, then both loose and me with the rake (I felt like I was at a herding lesson), and then finally I let them play for a few minutes at a time, then put someone in the dog yard so that every session ended on a good note. I wasn't sure how Syd would be because Darby is a girl, but I was hoping that maybe being a puppy would work in Darby's favor.

Nowadays, I can put Syd and Darby outside together for hours, and there are no problems. Syd is so happy, and Darby is smart enough to handle Syd. When Syd gets really wound up, Darby will still engage in play, but she uses the A-frame, or under the deck to put some space between them for just a split second, then she pounces out and tackles Syd. Yes, you heard it right, Darby can tackle Syd. The first time I saw Syd flip over on her back while playing with Darby, I sucked in a breath and prepared to go save Darby from a real discipline session. But when Darby let Syd get up (yes, you read that right), Syd just did a play bow and took off running for another chase. I'm sure my heart stopped beating for a moment.

I even have it on video, because those who know Syd best would never, ever believe that she and Darby are the unlikely best friends, and this clip even catches (gasp) Syd, flipped on her back! I wouldn't believe it either, if I didn't see it myself every day!

Friday, August 21, 2009

This Is How I Roll

and slop, and run, and splash.

Ugh. THIS dog really doesn't even remotely resemble my pretty girl in the photo to the right on the blog, or the Redemption photo from a couple of weeks ago. Syd is never happier than when she's sloshing around getting dirty. And for some reason, with the torrential rain we've had over the last week, the mud has a different consistency, more like paint than mud, and it seems to be sticky, too. But how can I get mad at that happy face?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Stupid Human

Some days it doesn't take any imagination to know exactly what my dogs are telling me. This morning was one of those days!

Because Sydney needs lots of structure and lots of activities to work on impulse control, one very simple exercise we do is at feeding time. When I have time, I ask Syd to work for food, and I feed her by hand. Most mornings, though, that doesn't happen! So, instead, we work on our start line stays that will hopefully help in agility. I put Syd in the hall, I stand at the doorway, and I ask her to BACK up, at least 5 feet, and then DOWN. I set the food bowl down, and then I walk away from her, back toward her, turn my back, feed another dog, etc. All that time, she has to stay where she is, in a down. Then at some point, I give her the, "All done, Good girl" release, and she jumps up to snarf down her breakfast.

This morning, I went through the routine, and was already picking up some of the dog bowls in the kitchen, when I heard, "Bark, Bark, Bark" from Syd. I thought that was strange, she should be in the middle of inhaling her breakfast. I walked out of the kitchen and around to the hallway and realized that WOOPS, I never did give the release word, and Syd was still plastered to the floor in her signature SPLAT down, just staring at her food bowl 5 feet away. So, I guess we can all translate the Bark Bark Bark, your version probably isn't very far off from mine!

Telling Secrets

Have I ever mentioned how much I love this dog? The sweetest moment of our adventure to the Lake of the Ozarks last Saturday, Kane telling secrets to my friend's daughter, Ashley, resting his chin on her shoulder, just checking to make sure she was OK. Of course, Ashley was up to no good, that orange tube is a water blaster, and she was parked at the edge of the dock, blasting her dad, brother and sister in the head with water! But she looks sweet in the photo, if you don't know what she's up to. :-)

I'm sure this sweet face would never be up to any trouble! And what you can't see in this photo is Gizmo cruising the edge of the dock, because Ashley had, um, a bit of "casting trouble" and her hot dog bait was flopping off the hook and onto the edge of the deck 9 times out of 10. Never fear, Gizmo was always available for clean-up duties. No hot dog went to waste!

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Just to show that Syd doesn't always look like a mud-puppy. :-) Freshly bathed, hardly brushed because I wanted her to have more than two sticks of hair for the photo shoot yesterday. By this time next week, Syd will look nothing like this. She'll be all long neck and ears, and there will be no evidence of her pretty pants fluff.
P.S. Hey Garrett, could you go over and mow Lori's yard? She laughed when I asked her (pre-photo shoot) how tall her grass was. Well, now she knows why I asked. Hello, no legs!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Can I Come In?

Come on mom, I'm ready to come inside. I know you said if I did't come in before the rain I was going to be a big mess. But now I want to come in and snuggle with you. Darby and I did lots of wrestling and chasing through the mud, and now I'm tired. Please mom, I promise I won't get mud anywhere...

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Smart Girl!

There is one air-conditioning vent in the living room. One guess where it is??? Nice touch that she dragged her soft lamb toy over to rest her chin... Don't worry, the rest of us don't mind sweltering in the heat!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Carly and Denise

Everything in one place, toys, tugs, bones, and new mom Denise.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Carly's Leaving, from Syd's perspective-And Tigger, Too!

From Syd: You know, I can't lie (well, I can and I do, but in this case, I won't lie), I don't love my sisters. So tonight, half of my Master Plan will be successfully accomplished. My pesky baby sister Carly is going to move to her new house. Now I just have to find a way to send stupid Breezy away. I know mom would be mad cuz she says Breezy is the sugar and I'm the spice. Pahtooey, who needs sugar.

For anyone who likes my baby sister, her new moms have already got Carly blogging over here:

I'm just glad I won't have to keep claiming all MY toys and wiping HER slobber off them. If I want it, it's mine. If I don't want it, you can't have it. It's a lot of work trying to make BOTH my sisters miserable.

Wuv, Syd
Tigger Sez:
Oh, are you still here??? Someone let me know when she's gone, please...

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Here's Syd with Miss Jacque, and the judge, Gayle Garvin, at the Three Trails specialty. Too bad Syd was still half-nekkid, but she still showed well, and I'm proud of her. :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

No Talk-y, No Text-y

Oh dear, Syd. I know I said I need to take the phone in to have it looked at, but did you have to take it in your own hands today? Even another few weeks and I could simply "upgrade." sigh. All day with no talk, no text. I'm in withdrawl! Syd is going to have to do some extra work around the house to pay for the new phone. Sadly, because it's a PDA device, the insurance deductible is still pretty high.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sydney and Specialties

Sydney only got to participate in conformation at the CWCCA specialty last week. She came in season early, so she had to cancel out of agility. She had to get a doctor's note and everything...

A few pix of Syd from the Sunday Three Trails CWC Club of KC specialty.

I think she was a bit over the whole show scene, especially the waiting around part. But then Miss Jacque showed up with a box of crackers to share, and that made it all better!
You may have read over at the Hurrikane Chronicles that Syd won an Award of Merit at the Sunday Three Trails specialty. I was very proud of her, especially knowing that she had a long week of travel and being away from home. I showed her twice last week, once in the Megan (where she made it to the cut of the final 5 in brindle bitches- THANK you Garrett and Joanne for the pre-show wine!), and once in BOB (where she didn't do nothin'). She behaved herself in the ring and did not stress about anything. Especially when another exhibitor, in a show of stellar sportsmanship, let her dog turn and look at Syd and bark at Syd's face the entire time we waited in line. The funny thing is that Syd didn't care a bit. The only thing I heard commented about afterwards from spectators was that the only attention drawn during that round of judging was to the exhibitor who didn't seem able to control her dog. The behavior definitely got attention from people, but not from me and not from Syd.
So, on to Sunday's Three Trails specialty... Since I had shown Sydney twice that week, and I was worried she was getting tired, I wanted to give her Sunday off and call it a GREAT week. I was vetoed by Syd's "other mother" and so I handed the leash off and went and watched my dog show. I know people love to show their own dogs, but I have to say that I love watching my dog show. Whether she's the best Cardigan out there or not, it always makes me smile to see her expressions change subtly, like the "working" expression after the down and back when you say "Let's Go!" and she starts to move it out. So, I watched Jacque show Syd expertly on Sunday, and the two of them worked hard and were rewarded with an Award of Merit.

BIGGG stretch to get warmed up!

Completely focused on Miss Jacque

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Syd's Agility Trials, Continued

Syd was entered in two days of trials after her fun time at Wentzville a few weeks ago. Friday, in a cold and windy Iowa, her jumpers run was going well, but when we got to the weaves, I lost her attention, and she had a Reactive Moment. This arena uses the open , tubular steel cattle fencing. There is no visual barrier between the ring and the very crowded crating area, and the fencing is large enough for dogs to crawl through. Someone was walking down the narrow aisle next to the Jumpers ring with a GSD, and when I lost Syd's attention, she went over to the fence, stood back about 3 feet, and barked 5 or 6 times at the GSD. The judge whistled, and I was on my dog with a very insistent DOWN. Thankfully, Syd dropped instantly and responded very well, and I escorted her out of the ring. She was not overdone or having a panic attack, but this was definitely a worthwhile experience that showed me that Syd still has a stress reaction and we have to keep working hard.

Next up was the Standard course. Syd was amazing, and SOOO fast. She did not seem to remember her stress on the Jumpers course, and she paid no attention to anything outside of the ring. It was a SIT on the table, and Syd did get a nice giggle from the judge when her sit began with a "sit pretty" but thankfully turned into a regular sit. :-) We had only the chute and tire to go, and Syd just blatantly ran behind me and over to the teeter. She's had some trouble getting up speed on the teeter, so it gets great reward at practice. Perhaps she thought she should try it again during the trial! It was just too late, she was on the teeter before I could really figure out where she was headed, so an NQ. But I have no complaints, she ran with me, and she had fun and tried her best.

Fast forward to Sunday, and a town south of Kansas City... Kane and Syd were entered in just Jumpers (we have to get better about early entries for agility!). Kane, well, you might have read on the HurrikaneChronicles that Kane was 20 seconds over course time. Syd was on fire on that jumpers course, but she got ahead of herself and popped out of the weaves at the end. We wasted a lot of time at the weave poles. But she was a speed demon and almost literally got "Wound up" on the 5 through 8 pinwheel combination! The dirt was flying for the rest of the course. The jump from 11 to 12 (course map below) was a tight turn, and it turns out that Syd just doesn't have the experience yet to correct herself. She came flying, but got a foot caught in the jump and took the jump and herself down. I hate seeing the dogs land on their chest and chin, but thankfully Syd was up in an instant and back on the course. She finished a full 8.5 seconds under course time, and that includes the seconds we burned at the weaves! Syd got lots of applause at the trial, and people came up to me to tell me how great she ran, and what a neat dog she is. That really made me feel good, like Syd is on the right track, and we've come a long way in the last 18 months. I really can't explain how proud I am of my girl, and how glad I am that she's found her love in agility.

Here's the course map from the Carthage, MO Jumpers run, where Syd took a spill between 11 and 12, but otherwise ran an amazing run.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Good and Normal

huh? I know, not two words I usually associate with my little angel, Sydney. But, today she got lots of mail. Her agility height card came today so she'll be spared all the measuring at trials from now on. But more importantly, her OFA results came back for her hips and elbows. I'm quite happy and relieved to have the results of OFA Hips: Good, and OFA Elbows: Normal. Yay Syd!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Updated! First Trial, First Q!!!

I found someone with a camera to take our photo and email it to me. :-) Not very clear, but still a photo! And, course map at the end of the post for agility enthusiasts.
The dogs (all of them) and I left Kansas City with the snow right on our heels. Syd was entered in her first agility trial for jumpers and standard. We started out early this morning with jumpers. Believe it or not, syd qualified with 100 points and ZERO faults. I couldn't believe it. Of course I have no camera because I never expected syd to quify. Shoot, I just taught her weaves last week!!! We now officially love the 2x2 weave training!!! Now we wait forever for the standard run and if Syd takes the Aframe I will call this a wonderfully successful day.

News from the Standard Run. Almost 6 hours after our Jumpers run yesterday (and exactly 12 hours after we left the house that morning), Syd and I were on task for the Standard Run. I did say that if Syd performed the Aframe, I would be thrilled and call it a successful day. Well, it's a good thing I had it in writing to remind myself of what I considered success. :-P
We got to the Standard run, and I was concerned that Syd was tired and not quite so excited at the start line. She ran the first four obstacles beautifully, great speed, and she turned without me even directing her verbally, and she shot up and over the Aframe like a champion. Contacts at the bottom; a wildly successful attempt at an obstacle that's been a confidence issue for Syd.

After the Aframe was the table, and Syd ran over without her usual table-gusto, and hopped up on the table. When she lifted her head up and turned my way, I knew instantly by her expression that Syd was utterly and completely disconnected from me. She just stood on the table, not actively avoiding me, just locked in a far away gaze, in her own world. I tried to reconnect with her and get her to go to the next obstacle, but she seemed stuck. Somehow, she did get off the table, and she went and stood behind a tunnel. Very odd. So, I motioned to the judge to whistle us off, and that was that. It toook what seemed forever to get her to come to me and get off the course. I think about it over and over to try and figure out what happened. At this point, I think I have to chalk it up to a very green dog, a long day, and maybe even a bit of a shock to herself that she flew over the Aframe so fast! Who knows, but at the end of the day, Syd got great experience, a completely unanticipated first Jumpers leg, and she met lots of new friends who thought she was just as cute as can be on the course. And, as Cardigan Addie's mom Carrie said after I got Syd off the course in Standard, "Wow, she's got a lot of speed, doesn't she?" I think the fact that Syd finished the jumpers course at least three jumps ahead of me is an indication that she needs a faster handler!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Movin' On Up

Syd was a rock star at agility class tonight (at least in her own mind!). This was our last class of the current session. Tonight was the evaluation period to determine who stays in "Advanced Sequencing" and who moves up to the "Competition" class. The course was a bugger for green dogs, but it really did test our handling skills with plenty of opportunity for the novice dog and novice handler to go off-course. Rear and front crosses, calling the dog over the back of jumps, angled entrance to the weaves, etc. Lots of fun, and really enlightening to see how Syd interpreted my body language. The first run through, she went from jump 6 to the dog walk (16). I had too much forward motion, and forgot which dog I was running (Kane would never dare to be even 1/2 a step ahead of me)! One step too far forward, and Syd was off like a shot to the dogwalk. The next time through, I pulled her around much earlier, and she came right back over the correct jump. Good girl, Syd!

I'm thrilled to say that Sydney did fantastic, and our instructor asked me if Syd would like to move up to the Competition class. YAY! I can't believe this is the same dog I started training last year. :-) Oh, and here's the course, for agility nuts!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jeri asked, "Do Corgis Shed?"

Oh, I dunno, maybe it's not so bad

Syd is blowing coat. Thankfully she's just like clockwork, and I was expecting her to start blowing coat last week. Saturday I decided she needed a bath to get all the hair out. So, she had a good bath, and a power dry. The tub was a disaster, and thankfully I used the little drain cover to keep the drain hair-free!

Later that evening, I decided to keep brushing to work all the old hair out. This is after a massive coat-dropping warm bath and blow dry the same morning...

That was Saturday evening. Last night, I brought out the Furminator. I figured if she was going to blow coat, I might as well get it all out!

Of course, I am thrilled that Syd is finally blowing coat. First, we have an agility trial in Lake St. Louis this Saturday, and Syd will be measured. At her first trial, she measured 11 1/2 inches, and maybe, just maybe she'll be able to measure lower now that she has no hair! Second, it means that Syd should be back in coat by mid-April, and she shouldn't come in season until the very end of the specialty. Since she's entered in agility at the specialty, I'd really appreciate her holding off until the following week!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sister Blogger

UPDATED!!! Mom finally took time to upload the two little video clips of Carly playing with her peeps...

Bonding with Big Nick. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ST1C_a3Ph4M

And running with sister Breezy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X86kRSk5UoY

Syd begrudgingly allowed sister Carly to post on her blog... mostly because it puts Carly in a not so angelic light. ;-)

Carly sez: "What? I'm WAY too cute to be in trouble for chewing the living room carpet..."

First Agility Trials

Syd ran in her first-ever agility trials on Valentine's Day weekend. Because I am trying to get a not-quite-ready dog ready for the CWCCA national specialty, Syd and I have been working really hard to try and get our act together! She's not really trial-ready, but I need her to get trial experience in new settings as much as possible before the April specialty. So, these trials are just my idea of really expensive fun-runs...

Because Syd's confidence and anxiety is something I always have to consider first and foremost, I decided to enter her in the FAST class for our first trials. I didn't know if she would flip out in the new environment, with all the barking dogs and high energy levels. Would she stay with me? Would she try to leave the ring? I thought that entering FAST would be a good opportunity to test the waters without fear of being whistled off-course at any time. I thought that if I could get Syd to work with me even for a few obstacles, or get her attention back if she was stressing, then I could try to make it a good experience, and then just leave the course once I felt she was overcoming any stress.

As it turned out, I didn't have to deal with any of that. Syd was definitely more comfortable in her crate when we were at the show site. She felt safe in there, and Kane was her buddy to keep her calm. But when it was time to line up for our run, Syd was really good. I took her to the practice jump area, and she was 100% focused on me, never even looking at another dog or person. I was so pleased with this start, I was optimistic that Syd might be able to stick with me on the real course.

Syd got her favorite cheek and ear massage as we waited for the few dogs ahead of us to run. She gave me the "sleepy eyes" look several times, and I was amazed at her level of calm. In hindsight, it kind of makes me feel badly that I had such low expectations for her first trial! Maybe I was remembering Big Nick's first agility trial (something I'll have to post about later, when I can handle remembering that experience!).

At the start line, the only sign of trouble was that I told Syd to Down, and she could not hear me. She was looking intently at the jump ahead of her. Her ears and neck were forward, and she would not make eye contact. OK, so there was no chance of a lead-out. Great. Slow mom, Fast dog. not a pretty combination! I got myself ready, and when I let go of the collar, Syd was off. Surprisingly, she did not zoom ahead and make up her own course. I was able to get her attention from that first jump and direct her around the course. She missed the Send Bonus because she took the panel jump and then came to check in with me *outside* the box before going back to take the tire jump. Well, this adventure wasn't meant to test our distance work, so it didn't much matter if she qualified.

Syd has had a confidence issue with the A-frame, something that has gotten much better since our very own A-frame appeared in the back yard. But, with the stress of the new environment, I wanted to see what she would do. Well, she wouldn't take the A-frame. No way, no how. She did run up the teeter, and for some reason she bailed just above the contact zone. That was new. But she tried it, and did not seem stressed, I think that was just more a reaction to the excitement of running the course.

When our run was over (12 points after all of our time faults, thank you very much!), I played with Syd and she got to have some really good treats! I was so happy that she made the attempt, and more importantly that she trusted me and she didn't freak out even for a second.

The second day was much better. Syd still didn't get the Send Bonus, this time totally my fault as I stopped moving altogether, duh. But, she ended up with 29 points and a nice run, a run that would have qualified her if she'd done the last jump in the bonus and gotten the Send Bonus. Oh well. She ran great, but again, once I knew she wasn't going to qualify, I tried the A-frame several times, concentrating only on the A=frame. Not gonna happen. sigh. So we went on to the triple jump, and she was delighted to soar over that and finish her run.

This week, we've been to our agility building for lots of practice. Syd's been working on the A-frame, and I can definitely see an improvement in her confidence, and I notice that she really puts more speed into her approach, which says to me that she's more committed to doing the obstacle. Last night, she even took the A-frame when I was at least 6 feet away from it and her. Normally I have to practically scrape the side of the thing when she takes it. So I am optimistic that Syd will be able to overcome this little confidence issue.

More than anything, I'm pleased with her overall confidence at the trial, no eyes darting back and forth watching to see if other dogs were "out to get her" and the confidence with the individual obstacles will come with practice and experience.

We head to the St. Louis area next weekend for another day of agility fun, so we'll hope that every new adventure builds on the last. :-)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

She did it! Good Girl, Syd

Sydney was a good girl this weekend. And her mother didn't pass out, either! This weekend was the St. Joseph cluster, close to home. I entered Syd so that we could get back in the ring together. I have not shown Syd myself for a long time, and I just needed to do it and get over my own fears.

I'm happy to say that Syd behaved and was comfortable this weekend, and neither of us had a meltdown! I could not be more proud of her, knowing how hard she's worked to overcome her fear and most importantly, to trust me. She was calm in the ring, and she never even turned around to see the dogs behind her. By the second day, she did try to point her ears back a bit to hear what was behind her, but otherwise, she was perfect. :-)

We were entered three days, but after two days of a happy show dog, and one tired mom, we opted to call it quits and take today off. I didn't see any sense in pushing Syd an extra day and possibly undoing the progress from the previous two days. Hawk got a couple of days of practice in this weekend, too, before we head to NYC. He did not complain when I told him he could skip the bath this morning and go roll in the dirt outside!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Mud Puppy and her Sheep

Syd went for another herding lesson Monday afternoon, and she thought it was fantastic.

When we ran the sheep on Saturday, there was about 1/2 inch of snow on the frozen ground, and things were relatively "clean." Yesterday, well, the temps got up to about 40 degrees, and the snow melted and created nice, thick mud in the pen. My dog was basically camouflaged in the mud. And no need to worry about her mis-matched front leg colors, all four of her legs were a matched Muddy Brown set! The lesson was nice, it was relaxed, and mostly our instructor wanted Syd to continue to be motivated and interested. Cathy commented that Syd does some things a little more like a dog working cattle. That doesn't mean much to me, but it had something to do with Syd moving into the middle of the group (not splitting them) at times, and trying to get one sheep to do something in particular. I have a lot to learn, and most things look about the same to me.

I think Syd has some potential, so we'll see. I asked about the breed of sheep, and Cathy said something about Katadan (not sure on the spelling) and Dorper. I don't remember if some are crosses of the two, or if she has both breeds. She stayed interested the entire lesson, and she even inadvertently "penned" the sheep. I thought that was pretty funny, since the "pen" was a gate leaning up against the fence.

Syd was quite pleased and happy when we left the herding pen. She took a few minutes to roll around and get herself good and stinky. What she didn't know was that I was going to get the last laugh. I knew we were off to conformation class later that night, so little stinky was getting a bath! Thankfully, she cleans up well, and went from the herding pen to the show ring in less than 2 hours. My bathtub, on the other hand, was not looking so great when the bath was over!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Baaaa-ck to the Sheep

Yesterday Syd started back to herding. We have a new instructor, and after a break of several months, Syd was reintroduced to sheep. I don't remember what kind of sheep Kathy has, and I need to ask her tomorrow when we go for our next lesson. These sheep are smaller than Bridget's Horned Dorsets, and they are definitely a bit lighter. One thing I really liked about them is that they did not challenge Syd. When she went to head the sheep off, they turned and respected her. I hope that will give her confidence. It was a nice, sunny but cold morning, and Syd had a good run. Kathy was pleased with her interest and her ability to work from both sides. We'll go tomorrow afternoon for a second lesson and see how it goes. No photos from yesterday, it was pretty cold and windy, and things were moving pretty fast, so I had no chance of being coordinated enough to manage the dog, the sheep, and the camera! Maybe tomorrow...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Now Accepting Applications

Position: Agility Handler for Dark-legged Cardigan (capable of running course and carrying her own treats and toys while doing so)

Description: Individual needed to handle Dark-legged Cardi girl in agility, practice and trials. Relocation to Kansas City a must.

Qualifications: Any interested applicant must be capable of keeping track of quick Cardigan, own feet, and various agility obstacles that might present a hazard if run into or tripped over. Must possess ability to cue dog to correct obstacle, and speak correct name of correct obstacle at same time. Applicant must be able to perform all aforementioned tasks at the same time, while sprinting. Current handler unable to walk and chew gum at the same time.

Salary: Ha, really? Don't quit your day job.
**In-person interview with Dark-legged Cardigan required.**

Seriously, Syd is coming along really well in agility. She is getting better at taking my cues, and we are running some pretty complicated excellent courses at our class, broken down into two or three parts. We have lots of work ahead of us, but I'm really thrilled with her progress, and the confidence that she has gained from agility. Sometimes when our classmates clap and cheer for her after a run, I think she looks pretty proud of herself, all smiles and wags. :-)