Monthly Archives: May 2012

Wordless Wednesday – A Lesson on water

One week to go!

Next weekend CB and I will be heading up to Edmonton to compete in our first Agility trial. I’m feeling pretty calm about the whole thing which is good because I was pretty anxious before our first Rally trial last year. The big difference here is that we are really well prepared, we weren’t so much for Rally. There are some obstacles that could be better (teeter, chute) but those will have more impact on our time than anything.

A few weeks ago I attended a speed seminar with Shannen to learn ways to motivate CB and to encourage him to run as fast as I know he can. This seminar was super helpful and I’ve seen some significant improvement with CB’s speed since I started implementing the conditioning exercises she recommended and I’ve also started running intervals with him. I think we are now fast enough to make standard course time.

CB pumping iron on the physio ball

I’ve also been studying any course map I can find and spent time dissecting them so I can understand the lay-out and envision how to handle them. That’s been a big gap for me, understanding the course – seeing it in my mind and just doing the course.  If all goes well we may end up with a Q or two.

If we don’t, that is totally fine. There are a lot of factors that can affect how we may do as the trial is outdoors and the location and equipment will be unfamiliar. To mitigate some of this we have practiced at 4 different places. including a couple of times outside on grass. What we haven’t done is practice in bad weather, hopefully that won’t come and bite me in the ass.

Either way, this trial will be a good start in Agility for us. I’ve also submitted entries for the AKC agility trial (CKC) and the Calgary Agility Association’s June trial (AAC), and I’m planning on entering a couple more that are happening over the summer. Fingers crossed that we’ll be able to compete in some of these since the trials are all limited entry and some of them fill up really fast.

Wordless Wednesday – things you can find in the woods

Dog Day Fundraiser

I’ll be the first to admit that I love photo fundraisers; they are a great way to get pet photo’s and support a local charity. We’ve been to several and have some cute photo’s with Santa and in Cowboy hats for Stampede.

I’d say the best photo’s we have though are from last year, when we took CB to a fundraiser at a local dog daycare (we didn’t have Kona yet) and the photographer (Sean Phillips of Riverwood photography) took some really great pictures in support of Oops-a-Dazy rescue. I was really hoping that Sean would schedule another fundraiser this year so we could get some equally nice photo’s of Kona taken. I’ve lamented on a few occasions how hard he is for me to photograph.

While CB and I were out at the tracking seminar with Donna Brinkworth in mid-April, the dear husband took Kona to the photo shoot, this year in support of PALS. Apparently Kona was totally working the camera and posing a la Zoolander. The outcome was some pretty cute photos. This year Sean also had a new product available – metal prints – they are so cool, and since he had also taken CB’s photo’s last year we ordered a metal print for each pup. They arrived the other day and we couldn’t be happier with how they look.

Kona’s is a little hard to photograph (ironically just like he is) as it is so dark it’s reflective – but I think you can get the idea of what it looks like. And am I not right – his look is definitely Magnum from Zoolander!

Pet Expo Fun

It’s been a crazy week. From last weekends Pet Expo to this weekend with an agility seminar and all kinds of things in between.

The Pet Expo was mostly what I expected it to be (rescues and dog food/treat reps) and things that I didn’t (reptile and Earthdog displays). There were some great vendors of items that I’d not ever seen anywhere else and some of the usual show suspects so I was able to get Kona a larger version of the collar I bought him last year that barely fits him anymore.

I was really looking forward to getting some use out of my new lens at dock dogs but I didn’t realize that my back-up camera battery was dead and when the battery I had in my camera died on my first shot I was pretty much SOL. That’s okay though – the hubby took some pictures with his camera which is good in natural light but so-so indoors.

The dock dogs was pretty interesting and was open to all dogs. We mostly caught first-timers and it was interesting how few dogs were actually interested in jumping into the water. The folks with Dock Dogs were great and really wanted the newbies to have a good experience especially when the dogs did not want to jump.

In terms of vendors the one that really caught our eye was the Buddy Rider. Last summer I spent piles of time looking for a bike basket or something else I could put on my bike for pup transportation. I was disappointed to find out that pretty much every on the market was  handlebar mounted and most of the designs out there sucked. The Buddy Rider is different as it’s mounted between the seat post and handlebar stem and is meant to transport dogs up to 30 pounds.  We didn’t get one at the show because my frame is uber small and we had to measure it to make sure it would fit my bike – you need 19inches of space to use this. I do have a bike basket that is okay to use Kona in, and even though CB is only 7 pounds his weight impacts my bike handling as the basket I have is handlebar mounted. The one I have has a stiff bottom but others I saw online didn’t and most reviewers complained of the basket resting on the front tire. The buddy rider doesn’t have these issues as it is mounted above the top tube. It’s not as pretty as some of the baskets I’ve seen but otherwise I think it is a better option for those who want to travel by bike and bring their small or toy dog along for the ride.

The other display that was really fascinating was on earthdog activities. So cool – as I understood it, it is tracking underground to find various “vermin” and it’s competitive through the CKC for Dachshunds (mini and standard sized) and terrier breeds – except Yorkies because they are 1- in the toy dog group and 2- even though they are considered terriers, it doesn’t seem they were used to rat underground from what I read on Wiki. The display and the ladies explaining Earthdog were so interesting that we forgot to take pictures, but there is more info on earthdog here. If I had a mini-dachsy or a terrier I would so be doing this!

Other than that this week has been full of agility training as we have 20 days of training left before CB debuts at his first Agility trial.

Wordless Wednesday

Taken with my new telephoto lens.

A couple of busy days

It was quite a busy weekend. And strange weather to go with it. Friday evening was so lovely we went on a walk thru the trails of the Edworthy dog park and saw that the Crocus’ were in bloom with a rampage. Unfortunately I had no camera along and so I planned to go back to the park on Saturday with my Canon Rebel and my small set of lenses to take some detail photos. As is typical here it can change before you know it and Saturday brought with it an ugly snow-shower,  I’ve seen it snow every month of the year here so why should I be surprised.

The crocuses were a little worse for wear from the snow but still pretty. I didn’t end up using my macro lenses and just used the macro setting on my Rebel and my husband took some photos with his point and shoot Panasonic Lumix which actually takes decent photos in low light.

photo take with the Lumix – Auto setting

photo taken with the Canon Rebel XTi – macro-setting, factory lens.

A few weeks a go I mentioned that I was interested in checking out the new Nikon 1 camera. After spending some time playing with the camera at my favorite camera store I decided it was a little gimmicky and that my 6 year old SLR takes way better pictures. In the end I purchased a telephoto lens (an EF 70-300mm) as what I really wanted was more zoom, and if I decide to upgrade my Canon I can still use this lens. I still want a point and shoot to have something small and pocket size but it’s going to have to be something other than the Nikon 1. I don’t want to give it a review here but in my opinion it’s pretty big for a point and shoot and pretty pricy for the quality of photos. So I ended playing with my new telephoto lens instead of using my macro-lenses for close-ups – I love this new lens, it’s bigger than what I thought I’d get but so worth the extra weight.

Weatherwise – today it was like yesterday didn’t happen. This morning it was sunny, warm and we went to another drop-in Patience class, this time with both CB and Kona and since I had out all of my camera gear yesterday I thought I should get out my Lensbaby set (I have the Composer and the Wide Angle/Telephoto kit). I haven’t used these in a long time and I quite like the effect I get even though I had to relearn how to use them and had some exposure issues and forgot to bring the aperature kit along with me today (one of the big reasons I had issues with exposure).

Kona down-stay – taken with the Composer and Wide-Angle lens (F4)

Totally over-exposed photo as I had the wrong aperture disc with me – still ended up with a pretty neat effect and I enhanced the photo iPhoto. Taken using the Composer with the Wide Angle lens (F4).

While the pups re-covered from their busy morning we went and checked out the Pet Expo over at Canada Olympic Park and watched the Dock Dogs for a bit and then wandered the show visiting with the rescue groups and checking out dog stuff in general.

So since my photos didn’t turn out how I’d hoped this morning I was pretty keen (maybe a little OCD) to work with my Lensbaby a bit more and I played with the aperatures and the wide-angle lens some more. Below is a photo of Rocky (our cat) taken just with the Composer.

CB and Kona were then subjected to another walk looking for some good evening lighting on the Crocuses but we were maybe a little late. I used my light meter to figure out my aperature setting  – swapped out my lens to the composer and played around with my shutter speed until I got the exposure I wanted. Took a pile of photos that didn’t turn out all that well but I do like a couple of these.

It’s been so long since I’ve used these lenses that I need to go back to basics with them and just work with the Composer. Somehow I also managed to fit in some Agility practice with CB (rear crosses and the chute) in our back yard, some housework and this post.

A sure sign of Spring

What more can be said about this — just lovely.

Agility Update

Time for a nap

It’s been just over a month since CB and I attended the Kathy Keats Seminar — we’ve been going to weekly classes with Shannen since Mid-Januaru, and there has been a lot of improvement, for both us in that time.

My handling has really improved. Some classes it doesn’t seem that way because Shannen makes these really hard and challenging courses for us and last nights was a doozy. CB has also picked up speed which has made keeping my eye on him and paying attention to where I’m going harder. I’ve also noticed a few times that I stop and watch him — he’s digging in to run through tunnels and over the A-frame – It’s just so neat to watch him running. This little dog never ceases to amaze me – he’s so cool. He’s also starting to like some obstacles he didn’t before — the chute has really been a challenge — and he’s starting to go into it on his own. He’s still slow going through but I no longer have to hold it open.

Back in mid-January when we ran a course, CB would be right beside me like  Velcro, and now he’s looking around and I have to be quick and certain in my handling (which I’m not because I’m too busy watching him) or he’ll take off on me and take the closest obstacle and with last night’s course being quite tricky – well, there were a lot of booby traps on the course and it was hard keeping him with me. But we have done a couple of easier courses and they were much smoother for both of us. We still need more work with the chute and to smooth up his weaves a little bit but we’re ready to start trialing and with that in mind, I entered a trial thats in June so CB and I have a month to get ready.