Tuesday, August 3, 2010

First place!

Last weekend (July 23-25th) was the Reliant Dog show, and the pups and I were there all 3 days. Duke was doing frisbee demos, Coral was doing Rally, and I was their chauffer and buyer of treats.

Duke was scheduled for one demo on Friday, and two each on Saturday and Sunday. That's 5 demos in 3 days for my lazy beast! The Friday demo went great! He did awesome, and wasn't distracted by the crowds or noise at all. Saturday morning, he landed weird a couple times. We think it was just carpet burn on his precious little toes, because we checked him afterwards, and nothing seemed to be injured. Either way, I pulled him from the afternoon demo just to let him rest. On Sunday, I could tell he was holding back a bit, so I kept the throws REALLY short, and slowed down the pace a bit. His paw may have still been bothering him, or he could have just been tired. The Reliant dog show is crazy, lots of noise and commotion, dogs everywhere, people everywhere, and my pups were there from 8:30 until almost 5 all 3 days. The poor pups were tired!

Coral was entered in Rally Novice on Friday and Sunday. I had actually taken her to Reliant on Wednesday so I could get my crate there, and let Coral check the place out a little. I never take Coral to places as crazy or with as many dogs as Reliant, so I knew she'd be overwhelmed, so I thought I'd give her a chance to see the area before the craziness started. I grabbed my treats, and we practiced right by our ring, and she did great. During the actual competition, treats aren't allowed, but you can train and practice with treats right up until you enter.

On Friday, Rally started at 11:30, but I knew we had 80 dogs in Rally Excellent and Rally Advanced before us, so I knew we wouldn't be going for a while. What I didn't realize, was that "a while" would be 5 hours. I took Coral out of the crate several times throughout the day to practice, and she did great each time. Until it was her time to compete. She was tired by then. And since she hadn't actually been in the ring before, she wanted to sniff and check everything out. For the first few signs, she didn't pay attention to me, and just wanted to sniff everything. I did get her refocused on me, and she did great the rest of the run. We pulled off a 90/100, which was sufficient to qualify for her first leg. (You need a 70/100 to qualify. Once you get 3 legs, you get your Rally Novice title.) Not bad for her first Rally run ever. Especially since I didn't get serious about practicing until 2 weeks before the show.

Coral got a break on Sat, she wasn't entered in the competition, but I brought her to Reliant anyway to practice. Good thing I hadn't entered her! She was SO distracted! And I got frustrated with her, which only made her shut down more. Oy vey.

Sunday was a fresh start. A very stressful fresh start. Duke's second demo and Coral's rally run were going to be almost at the same time. I kept running back and forth between the two areas so check how things were going. I ended up running outside to let the dogs potty, changing clothes really quick, grabbing Coral to practice for a couple minutes before her run, doing Coral's run, running back to the frisbee area to crate her and grab Duke, doing Duke's demo, throwing him back in the crate, and then running back to the Rally area to see how Coral scored. A very out of breath, but excited me was practically flipping cartwheels when I saw that Coral got a 96/100, and that no other dog had even scored a 90! My puppyface got first place! One more leg, and she gets letters after her name, yay Coral! Not a perfect run, and I definitely see where I messed up (I gave her the wrong command to back out of my way on inside turns!) but overall, I'm superhappy with how we did.

Her prize for her awesomeness? A stuffed pink elephant squeaky toy. She was so happy!

And I got her a first place cookie. Since Duke is spoiled too, he got a watermelon cookie.
Oh! And to make things even more exciting, guess who was sitting RIGHT in front of the Rally ring? Coral's foster mom, Cathy! Cathy is all sorts of knowledgeable about Danes, Agility, Rally, and Conformation, so I was all sorts of nervous to have her watching. She teased me about being so loud, but hey, my puppyface was paying attention. I think part of the reason the other dogs didn't so well was because earlier in the day, someone ran a dog in heat, and there were drops of blood in the ring, which really distracted a lot of dogs. Especially male dogs. Especially the intact male dogs. But not my spayed female puppyface with the really loud handler! :)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Agility dog fail.

My special snowflake...

Friday, May 28, 2010

My puppyface finally got her CGC!

At 6 years old.

Ok, so maybe this post should really be titled "I finally got off my lazy tush and tested my puppyface for her CGC." But that's entirely too long and unwieldy.

I had actually been working on getting Heidi ready for the CGC, but she was adopted a week before the test, so I figured I'd bring Coral to class and test her. The CGC isn't a terribly difficult test, they just want dogs to be under the owner's control and tolerant of handling. I think it's a good idea for dog owners to work on the CGC, just because it's a basic, attainable goal that will make their own lives easier.

The part of the test that I was worried about was the last part, supervised separation. From the CGC website:

"Test 10: Supervised separation
This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright")."

Coral has some mild separation anxiety, and whines when I'm she's away from me. A LOT. When I left the room, she whined briefly, but by the time I came back, she had decided to lay down, with her weight shifted to the side. Which was a HUGE breakthrough for her. Stressed dogs don't lay down.

Coral wasn't perfect, there are definitely things I could still work on with her, and that I do want to work on if I want to do some Obedience or Rally trials, but I'm still incredibly happy with her, and that she's learning to relax without me.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Duke got mail!

Duke got a package the other day!

Duke has been participating in a Paws for Reading program at a local elementary school, where kids are encouraged to read by reading to therapy dogs. At the end of the year, our Paws coordinator went to the school to pick up our supplies, and found over a hundred thank you cards from the kiddos. She mailed a handful to us, and they were adorable. Some of the kids reminded us of the books they read, some drew pictures of the therapy dogs, some told us about their own pets. How stinking cute are these?!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Bad hair day

Good hair day

Bad hair day

Wet rat

Really bad hair day

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Eight kajillion toys to choose from...

and this is what she wants to play with.

Those are the remnants of my mango tree, which I thought died from the cold this winter, but it's putting up some new leaves from the base, so it's trying.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tired Heidi

Wanna see how a tired Heidi acts? This is after 2 obedience classes, one hour of puppy playschool (free puppy playtime/socialization), an hour of teacup agility, and two hours of random running around and playing.

She did this for about 45 minutes today before she got tired and laid down.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Heidi and her food

Heidi. With her food. That whole 20 lb bag is for her. And it'll last her 3 months. Little 6.5 lb Heidi, who eats almost 1 cup of food a day. Being BSC burns lots of calories.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Heidi doing what she does best

It's not quite the same without audio, you don't get to hear Duke and Heidi going "rawrawrawr" at each other, but cute nonetheless. This is what mornings are like at my house.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Bluebonnet Cruise

This weekend was the Houston Mustang Club's annual Bluebonnet cruise. 30ish Mustangs met up and took a scenic drive to Brenham. Tim and his dad have recently started working on their '66 Mustang, and this was the first major trip that Tim's driven it. They attempted to go on the last Brenham cruise in the fall, but the Mustang wasn't having it, and overheated. The menfolk replaced the radiator on Friday night, test drove it, and then prayed for the best on Saturday. It was a bit dreary in Saturday morning, with some light rain. On the plus side, that meant we didn't have to worry about the car overheating in the morning. It also meant a smaller turnout on the cruise, since none of the other classic Mustangs came out to play.

Bluebonnets are the Texas state flower, and apparently all the cool kids get pictures taken in them. Along the highway, we saw lots of fields of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes, so I made Tim stop to take a few pictures of Duke on the way home.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Paws in the Park, Part III - Coral Lure Coursing

Last year, Coral and I discovered a new (to us) sport called lure coursing. It's typically done by sighthounds, but since Coral has a high prey drive, I thought she'd enjoy it. And did she enjoy it. She sucked at it, but she had a blast. So when I found out they'd have lure coursing at Paws in the Park, I knew I was bringing Coral. This course was set up differently as last time, the path was bordered by 2 foot tall plastic orange fencing. Which does not bode well for my sweet Coral, who doesn't exactly turn well. One of the turns was a sharp 90 degrees. When she got to it, Coral sailed right over the fencing, and then couldn't get back in. We tried a couple more times, but she jumped at the same point every time. And got confused about how to get back in each time (I told you she was dumb).

One of the teenage volunteers offered to try to block her from jumping, but when I said she could try, but Coral can't turn, so 80 lb Coral might slam into her, she opted not to block her. Can't say I blame her.

Amazingly enough though, her best time was about 17 seconds. At the time, the time to beat was 13.5 seconds. My 6 year old lazy lab/dane mix did pretty good, considering she lost time by getting stuck outside of the course each time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Paws in the Park, Part II - Flyball. ur doing it wrong

At the park this weekend, there was a flyball group doing a demo. But when I walked by, I thought it was completely unfair that one competitor didn't have to do the jumps! And as I watched, I realized they were even giving that competitor a HUGE head start. And the little black and white border collie still managed to win.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Paws in the Park, Part I - She's pretty. Pretty special.

This weekend, the pups and I attended a frisbee tournament in Pearland. They had a number of other competitions and demos, including DockDogs, agility, flyball, and Coral's beloved lure coursing. I just brought Coral and Heidi on Saturday, but the whole herd on Sunday. I opened the back of the Jeep, and we kind of camped out there most of the day. Doesn't it look cozy?

At one point, I told Heidi "ok" to come out of her crate, and Coral apparently thought I meant she should hop out of the Jeep. (My fault, I use the same release work for all dogs--from now on, I'm teaching each dog their own release word.) I asked her what she was doing out of the Jeep, and she hopped back in. Into Heidi's crate. Somehow she had enough room to jump in and turn around.

Monday, March 22, 2010

How I know it's feeding time at the zoo

This is how most of a day in the life of Coral and Duke is spent. It's a rough life, isn't it? And yes, they prefer a mountain of bed, so when they get piled up when I vacuum, sometimes it stays like that for days.

This is in the evenings, when their internal clocks tell them it's feeding time.

Creepy, aren't they? Duke likes to remind me that he hasn't been fed yet, just in case I forgot. He comes and sits right in front of me, and roos at me briefly. Usually I stifle a giggle and ignore him, so he sighs loudly and lays down, defeated. But sometimes he flops his big head in my lap to remind me how cute he is.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Long sit/stays

I had Miss Heidi doing some long sit/stays earlier today, and was cracking up because she was starting to fall asleep sitting up--slouching, closing her eyes, head bobs, swaying side to side.

So, by request, here is a video of Miss Heidi about 3 minutes into a long sit/stay. Not very exciting because well...she's in a stay, but still funny to me.

We normally want a more active stay, with the pup making eye contact with us, but Heidi had been working on stays for close to 2 hours at the point.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Maybe she is a dog after all...

After three months, Duke is finally getting used to Heidi. First he would just run away from her. Then he'd give me a sad "make it stop!" face as she bounced around, pawing and licking at his face. And now he's just given up, and started playing.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Pi day!

And how does one celebrate pi day? With pie, of course!

It's been a busy week, so I wanted a quick and easy recipe, and it really doesn't get much easier than this simple chocolate truffle pie from Paula Deen. I wanted to decorate the pie with nerdy goodness in whipped cream on top, but since I was taking the pie somewhere, and the chocolate filling already mounded pretty high, the whipped cream didn't happen. But that's ok, the pie was ridiculously rich as it was. I was afraid bittersweet chocolate would be too much for me, so I used semisweet instead.

I didn't feel like cranking up the stove, so I heated everything in the microwave. Nuke 2/3 cup cream until it's boiling, add to 6 oz chocolate, let sit 1 minute, then stir, stir, stir. For the whipped chocolate filling, I added the chocolate and cream in a bowl, and microwaved for just 30 seconds. Stir well, then microwaved in 15 second increments. Be careful heating chocolate, so it doesn't scorch.

Next time I make this pie, I'd probably skip the chocolate ganache on the bottom, and just do the whipped chocolate filling and whipped cream. Blasphemy, I know. But seriously, this pie is that rich. The whipped filling is also just heavy cream and chocolate, but since it's whipped, it's deceptively "light."

Truffle Pie

Source: Paula Deen

Truffle Filling:
* 2/3 cup heavy cream
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
* 1 (9-inch) prepared graham cracker crust

Whipped Chocolate Filling:
* 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips
* 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whipped Cream Topping:
* 1 cup heavy cream
* 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

* 1 1/2 ounces milk chocolate
* 1 1/2 ounces white chocolate
* 1 1/2 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate

For the truffle filling, in a saucepan, bring 2/3 cup cream to a simmer. Place the 6 ounces chocolate chips in a bowl and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1 minute, then gently whisk until smooth. Spread truffle filling over the bottom of the prepared piecrust. Freeze for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the whipped chocolate filling, in a double boiler or a microwave set on low power, heat the 6 ounces chocolate chips with 1/2 cup of the cream until the chocolate is just melted, stirring often. Let cool to room temperature. In a chilled bowl, beat the chocolate mixture, remaining 1 cup of cream and the vanilla until soft peaks form (tips curl). Spread the whipped chocolate mixture over the truffle filling in the crust. Refrigerate overnight.

For the topping, just before serving, beat 1 cup cream on medium speed of an electric mixer until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners' sugar and whip until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight). Spread the whipped cream over the top of the pie. Using a grater or vegetable peeler, make pieces or shavings of milk chocolate, white chocolate, and semisweet or dark chocolate. Garnish pie with chocolate pieces. Serve immediately.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Beating up pit bulls and walking babies

We let Heidi play with some puppies this weekend, and of course, she picks the biggest one of the bunch to pick on. She was a bit overwhelmed at first, because she's not used to other dogs acting as crazy as she does--Coral plays nicely, or plays chase, and Duke just runs away from her.

Baby was "walking" a tape measure, which we immediately took away from him because babies+sharp objects aren't the greatest combination. So I traded him the tape measure for Heidi. By the time I grabbed my camera, baby got bored with walking Heidi. But it was really cute while it lasted, I promise.