Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Jumping Bean

Before the snow, freezing rain, ice storm and deep freeze ...

Back in November (one of the warmest Novembers on record), we took full advantage of the great weather by working on agility foundation exercises. I worked my way up to my full jump height of 24" and worked on focus exercises in the midst of freshly fallen leaves. The jumps in the following videos vary in height from 18" to 24".

Working out a good cue/body position to signal when to go between 2 jumps rather than just taking the second jump/repeating the previous sequence.

Warming up my muscles before a jumping session.
(Always need to keep track of the camera!)

(I sometimes like to keep my rear paws at the back
of the tread which causes that squeaking noise.)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Bohemian

Miska: "Now this is how it should be!"

"Matchy matchy is so passé."
 "I am a free-thinking Bohemian."
"Let there be colour and disarray!"
"Is that Martha Stewart?"

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wednesday's Work

January 11, 2014

Nickel City Cluster

Beginner Novice
Obedience Title

The blizzard that hit parts of Buffalo ended on Tuesday and the roads were cleared on Wednesday (there had been a driving ban) so we headed out first thing Thursday morning. Wow, we crossed the border into a sea of white. Route 5 runs along Lake Erie and as far as the eye could see the lake was ice and snow! 

Shortly after we arrived at the Nickel City Cluster, I passed my very first attempt at Beginner Novice Obedience (BN) with a score of 187.5/200. Several hours later, I earned my second Rally-O leg with a score of 93/100 (my first and only other AKC Rally-O run was way back in April 2012).  

Since the weather was co-operative, we drove home Thursday night and returned Friday morning (a very slushy drive). Very shortly after arriving at the venue, I earned my second BN leg with a score of 187. After more than 6 hours of waiting around, it was Rally-O time. Or NOT! Yep, my Achilles heel got the better of me, again. Two-thirds through the run came the "Sit-Down" station and I gave into temptation BIG TIME!!! Although, I started to "down",  it was my tongue that hit the floor and not my elbows. Up until then, it was a passing run. From that station on, it was a dismal fail. Oh, well.

The Saturday morning drive was a bit slow with slippery conditions here and there. Once over the border, we encountered a road closure on Route 5 due to flooding and had to take a detour which nearly made us late for my BN run. In spite of our hurried entrance into the building, I earned my third BN leg with a score of 191 and my first AKC Obedience title.

Had we known it was going to be a 7 hour wait until our Rally-O run, we would have gone home at noon. As we entered the ring, it was apparent that my focus was more on the mats than on the work, so Mom made the decision to keep the leash short and taut so as to not allow me to reach the mats with my nose or tongue! This decision caused us to NQ. Oh, well. Better an NQ with my head in the air than an NQ due to a repeat performance of "lick the mats". 

It's safe to say that most, if not all, of the marks lost were due to the lure of the mats. That being said, in my defence, I have not been in a group class of any kind since last March, only managed to squeeze in a couple of private lessons in the summer and only one drop-in Rally-O class in December. So, all in all, I did a spectacular job of working in the midst of the distractions of the crowd, the other dogs outside the ring and the activities in the other ring. If only the mats had not been so intoxicatingly calling my name...

Not quite the "clean sweep" I had in the conformation ring at last year's Nickel City Cluster BUT a very successful outing nonetheless. Everyone is very proud of my earning my Beginner Novice title in 3 straight runs.

The snow was piled so high that I could almost see the
racehorses practicing on the other side of the high fence.

Thanks to Judges Ted Leslie and Catherine Thompson and all the volunteers of the Kennel Club of Niagara Falls and the Kennel Club of Buffalo.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Polar Vortex? Frost Quakes?

Ice storms and Polar Vortexes and Frost Quakes? Oh, My!!!!!
"The Abominable Snowvizsla here with
Wednesday's Wacky Weather Report"

These branches provided a fun play fort until the Polar Vortex plunged us into the deep freeze.

During the power outage we went shopping to warm up. Here I am checking out the sleeping bags.

Since we didn't purchase a sleeping bag, I continued to camp out under a ton of blankets.

Thankfully, there were a few days of warmer temps that melted the ice off of the trees and power lines before we were plunged into the deep freeze known as the Polar Vortex! While trapped in the Polar Vortex, we were immensely grateful to have power and heat. With temps in the -20s and windchills in the range of -30 to -40 (risk of frostbite within 5 minutes) , I had to wear booties just to go outside for a minute or two. (Any longer than a couple of minutes and I would have needed my heavy-duty coat rather than my lumberjack shirt.) 

"Do I really have to wear these things in public?"

The arctic temps have been causing the phenomenon known as Frost Quakes - sudden, loud booms!

Here's a one minute explanation of a Polar Vortex courtesy of CNN and a brief explanation of Frost Quakes ("cryoseisms") with a cool photo of a steaming Lake Ontario courtesy of the Daily Mail UK.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year!

FUN to watch Kathy Griffin make
Anderson Cooper Giggle!
Goodbye 2013!
Welcome 2014!

Wishing Everyone a Happy, Healthy & Spectacular 2014!