Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Agility Our 2x2 experience

I am a totally dorky student. I'm the student who sits in the front row with my clip board, pen, pencil and highlighter. I also have no qualms about asking questions for clarification. Even if the topic doesn't pertain to my dog, if I don't understand I'll still ask. I always expect a pop quiz and I fear I won't be prepared.

This means prior to any training class I have my dog walker walk her during the day and I make sure Marley has a brief walk before class. This means when class starts Marley is ready to learn, in essence she has her highlighter ready to note anything important.

Our trainer has only seen us when we are both calm and ready to learn. She has recently discovered our hidden slacker. Yes, we totally dropped the ball.

I took a private lesson to figure out why we were not getting the 2x2 weave method. Our trainer watched us for 2 tries and then told me I had to "get Marley excited" about the activity. So she offers to show me and I hand her our toy. She is getting Marley excited and then she says, "GO."

Marley takes off missing the poles and runs circles around us for about 4 laps, while my trainer's face becomes more and more horror stricken. She finally asks in a small voice, "Does Marley do this often?"

My face is trying to look horrified and smirk at the same time, I'm sure this isn't a good look for anybody. I indicate yes, Marley does have a tendency to run circles around me when she is excited. Around Marley's fifth lap I call her back and we work at a more sedate pace.

It seems our cover is blown and she'll probably never call Marley a great little dog with a ton of agility potential. On the positive note I did learn we can't work the 2x2 method until I learn how to throw a toy.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Party Time

Wow, I didn't realize I knew so many people with July Birthdays. At least we got smart and had one party for everybody. Happy Birthday to Barbara, Bret, Kellie, Lynn and Roger. Wow, can that many Leos really be friends?

The party was started with a Pomeranian convention.

It seems they had a disagreement about something only a Pomeranian finds important and Gizmo expressed his opinion.

Marley thinks her mom is lame for making her wear a life vest by the pool. It seems none of the other dogs had to wear a life vest and she was mad.

After the swimming "experience" she decided to go hang with the Muppet (her real name is dolly, but doesn't she just look like a Muppet?).

After the a busy day of swimming, running, playing and scrounging for food, Marley was tired and ready to nap.

The party was fabulous and we all had a great time. Thank you to Marilyn and Margie for organizing such a fun event.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I just read the funniest article which provides Tips for the Perfect Staycation with Your Dog. It indicates travel may be stressful when accompanied by a dog and it offers some options:
  • Take a hike
  • Picnic in the Park
  • Become a Beach Bum
  • House Parties
This sounds like a typical week for Marley. We walk everyday and a couple of times a week we do a new urban hike. We picnic in the park every Sunday when our local park hosts free music. We attend a couple of parties during the summer. She is becoming a pool bum, does that count?

We attend a wide variety of dog friendly events in the area. I would also include group walks and fun training. Such as learning a new activity or brushing up on an old favorite. We play a lot of bubble games and soccer.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Dogs do need jobs!

Marley's BF Henry has always had a fascination with the hose. This fascination translates to a fascination of sprinkler heads. His parent's have had to replace multiple sprinkler heads due to Henry's need to play with water. Who knew Henry was auditioning for a job as Water Manger?

I recently discovered how easy it is to stop your dog from destroying your expensive irrigation system. The ladies at the Blue Thumb Blog posted a brilliant solution. Irrigation should occur at night while dogs are sleeping. Unfortunately for Henry, they also indicated he is just not qualified to be a Water Manger; he'll have to continue his current career as vicious skunk hunter.

They also discuss the dangers of allowing a dog to ingest too much water during play.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Party Time

Marley is going to fire her photojournalist. We attended the first party of the summer and most of my photos were horrible, either I'm a bit out of practice or I should lay off the margaritas.

I think Marley should teach a networking seminar, upon arrival she works the room. Afterwards she may rest a bit in she shade, while planning her next move.

Working the room involves determining who are the people most likely to provide handouts or drop bits of food. Marley believes children and men are more likely to share than women.

Bruiser waiting for food to drop.

Cleo the ultimate Diva.
Some of Marley's friends believe they are divas and spend time lounging and looking cool while surveying the party.

Cool Bo.

Dogs working the party.
Marley discovered 8 year old girls love to share zucchini and they won't snitch about the extra food Marley is receiving.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Smallest Big Dog

Marley's fabulous dog walker is simply amazed at Marley's ability to keep up with larger dogs. He keeps calling her Little Miss Big Stuff. He has not realized Marley does not know she is a little dog. As far as she is concerned if something is going on she must be involved and nothing will slow her down.

Is that a dog or a shadow?


Sandwich, where?
I'll beat these ginormous dogs to the food!

All photos in this post taken by James McKellips.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Agility Update

We took a brief agility break and we both feel refreshed and excited to be back in class. Um, let me rephrase that, I'm excited to be in class while Marley wants to be inside where it is cool.

Our first activity was jumping in a circular pattern leading to a tunnel. No problem, I thought we like jumps. I failed to take into account these specific jumps all had wings. Yes, I crashed into each and every wing.

I regrouped and settled Marley at the first jump and I lead out a bit. Upon releasing her I noticed she looked at me and took off to her crate. It seems she was totally embarrassed by my klutzy behavior. I suspect she wants a new handler.

I've discovered if I spend some time thinking about what our results should be and I notify my feet and shoulders we do great.

We've started training the weave poles using the 2x2 method. So far we are progressing nicely.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Cool Day Today

Today was a refreshing 99 degrees...yep it is still sweltering outside.

To combat the heat we do a variety of activities such as practicing our 2x2s. Playing chase or find the Bob. My favorite is "Find the Frisbee!"
Marley is warming up to this game. She seems to feel it is mean of me to make her retrieve something that is almost her size.

Stay cool and hydrated!

Why is it I seem to have pvc in every indoor picture?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Desperately Seeking Cool

It was a sweltering 80 degrees during our morning walk. We did some agility practice in the park and by the time we were done it was hoovering around 91 degrees. Marley and I do not enjoy the heat. We rushed home around 11 a.m. and started drinking cold water while contemplating the long day ahead.

We've decided to spend the day indoors with some trick training in the afternoon and an evening trip to the park. I've tried taking Marley to the park in the late afternoon and she will walk from shade to shade where she proceeds to stretch out and give me the "crazy human" look.

During the hot weather we follow some of the advice provided by the ASPCA.
  • The majority of our outdoor activities occur in the early morning or late afternoon.
  • Marley no longer accompanies me on errands around town.
  • I make sure our walks are on natural surfaces, such as grass, gravel or dirt. I believe asphalt and concrete retain heat for a long time and is therefore not safe for Marley's paws.
  • I'm also spending some time preparing her for any Fourth of July noise we may encounter.
Finally, I'm compiling a list of any friends and acuqintances with a dog friendly pool. I'll bring chocolate cake if we can go swimming.