Thursday, September 23, 2010

Saving the Cute for Last


Apparently I hadn't dumped the camera for a while, as this is a much littler Magnum flopped in my lap. Yes, those are frogs on my pajamas. Yes, they're purple. Yes, they're wearing nightcaps. No, I don't know either. My mother bought them for me. Don't judge.

Can you even stand the widdle paw under his widdle face?

This is what happens when you leave both the camera and your mother unattended in the hotel room. Clearly Magnum was stressed and traumatized by his first dog show/hotel experience.

So, you know how, when kids are little, they can be uber-embarassing? And you find yourself praying for the day when childhood turns to adolescence, when suddenly the tables turn, and your children suffer profound mortification just by virtue of the fact that they HAVE parents?

Yeah, that doesn't so much work for dogs. But if it did, behold Exhibit Number One in the blackmailing of Magnum:

Yes, I'm going to hell.

Pool Time Antics

So it's not the Ritz-Carlton of dogdom. More like the Motel 6 version. But at least the dogs have a pool to jump in and cool off.

Three corgis, one Kong. You do the math.

Magnum may have the pool to himself, but Ian still has the Kong. And, also: Can I take a kiddie pool into the show ring to self-stack my dog?

Screw apples. We bob for Kongs.

"Ugh! That water is WET!!"

Instant Crazy -- just add water! Psycho Magnum, turning on the Manson lamps.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand, they're off!

How to have a good roll

Ah, the things you find when you finally dump the contents of your camera's memory card...

How to have a good roll in the grass:

First, you drop the Kong and throw yourself onto your side;

Then you drive the top of your head into the ground and arch your back as much as you can;

Then you roll the other way -- and notice the silly person sitting on the ground and pointing the camera at you.

After that, you right yourself and feel somewhat sheepish that your antics were caught on film/digital media.

Finally, you gather your dignity about you like a cloak and gaze intently at the woodline, pretending to guard the yard from the predations of squirrels and wild turkeys.

Photos from Macungie

Beauty treatment, dog show style

Kathy Schwabe's Morgan, looking very dignified and stoic. The watermelon on top of Ella's crate was well-travelled and, alas, was not destined to be eaten at Saturday's luncheon either.

Uno, wondering why Tiffany is messing with his tail

Magnum, waiting for his turn at the spa. That's Kate's Ella on top, focusing her cyborg eye on Uno with laser precision. Ah, blue love, forbidden love.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Majors and x-rays and training, oh my!

Magnum and I had a terrific weekend in Macungie, PA. Gorgeous weather and great friends. The park made for a nice show site (though the parking was a little cramped), and there were way more vendors than I expected (shopping!!). Best of all, Magnum picked up his second major, as well as another major Reserve. I am psyched that he is doing so well from the 6-9 month class. His next set of shows will be in Springfield in October, where he will graduate from kindergarten and move up to the 9-12 month class, that weekend marking his 9-month birthday. Go, little blue man!!

Also in October, Elli and Magnum will be headed to Dr. Davis in Augusta, ME, for hip x-rays. Dr. Davis has been recommended to me by several breeders, and I am delighted to find that he does not anesthetize to do the films. Fingers crossed that all goes well and that I have four nice-looking hips.

Aaaaaaaand, pending those results, I may have spring litter plans to announce. Stay tuned!!

As for training, I need to set some goals for everyone. Ian is the easiest: he will be shown one more time in conformation this October, and then, regardless of the outcome, he will go in for the Big Snip. I love him to death, but I have no plans to breed him, and I don't want to chance a whoops between him and his sister. I will schedule that for this winter. In the meantime, I need to get him out and practice practice practice his Open obedience exercises. He earned one CDX leg last November (we won't talk about his score), and I would like to enter him at the Thanksgiving shows again this year to see if we can pick up another. I'd love it if he picked up both, but hey, let's not get crazy here. When and if he finishes his CDX, I hope to find someone local to help me start training him for tracking. I don't think he's going to have what it takes to make it through Utility, much as I would love to complete a UD on someone so that I can work toward the qualifications for becoming an AKC obedience judge.

Which leads into training plans for Elli. I really want to see her earn an AKC agility title. I know she has the ability, in spades. I'm not so sure that I have it, however. My trainer has offered to work with her and put the title on her when he starts attending AKC trials with his Aussie, so I may consider that if I don't feel my own skills have come up to snuff. I feel like the poor dog is "handler-capped." Either way, trialing will wait until after motherhood duties, assuming that I'm going to proceed with a breeding.

I also have high hopes for Elli in the obedience ring. We have not done much formal training since we've been focused on agility with her, but unlike her brother, Elli WANTS to work. Even in her basic puppy obedience class she showed much greater focus and precision that Ian. I think she has great potential if I don't screw her up, and she DOES have the ability to earn a UD. Time to start working on heeling and stays!

And Magnum: For now, the blue boy gets to play the "dumb breed dog" for a while, meaning we'll hold off on formal obedience training until after he finishes his championship. If the stars align and he finishes out of the puppy classes, then we'll start training after that, with an eye toward maybe a CD while he matures into what I hope will be a Specials dog down the line. With his outgoing and goofy personality, he has great potential to be Highly Entertaining in the obedience ring, so keep an eye out for his version of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, coming to a ring gate near you next summer or fall.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fool's Gold

I grew up with Golden Retrievers. My first introduction to the breed were Ginger and Holly, who belonged to a wonderful lady by the name of Maxine. Every day we saw her walk her two golden dogs, both of whom heeled well, happily accepted pets from strangers and children, wagged their tails at other dogs, and would walk easily even with a little kid holding the leash. Of course, these dogs were both UD and TDX dogs, but that meant nothing to me then.

The first Golden our family owned was Ryan. Ryan did not heel well; he was the original poster child for the bouncing-off-the-wall style of Golden. But he was friendly with everyone, and the only dog he ever had a tiff with was the Chihuahua-Terrier mix that we owned. I suspect it had far more to do with the mix's temperament than Ryan's. Ryan did actually earn a CD, even had a high-in-trial, I believe, but he never really did calm down. Still, he was a big old love of a thing.

Then came Chance, who was both innately more obedient and better-trained, my mom having cut her teeth, so to speak, on Ryan. A little softer than Ryan, Chance was friendly with people and dogs. She earned a CDX and a TD, and had that lovely Golden temperament.

Our next Golden arrived from the Yankee Golden Retriever Rescue. Roxy was an adult when she came to live with us, and despite whatever her former circumstances were, she again was lovely with people and dogs. Competitive obedience proved not to so much be her thing, not because she wasn't smart, but because she clearly prefered to play with her toys and lie across my dad's lap in his recliner. She would even take her front paw and softly pet his face. She was just a lovely family dog.

The fourth and final Golden was Jinx, so named for the minor fender bender Mom and Maxine had in the process of picking her up from the airport. Jinx was softer than the other three, and a little timid. She was socialized enough that she could go to shows and not have an issue with people or dogs, and she earned her CDX. She was shy around children, especially those who wanted to rush up to her on the street, but she was not aggressive. Not quite the "Golden" temperament, but a decent dog.

Unfortunately, my experience with the breed of late is a far cry from the dogs I knew in the past. I wrote of my experience earlier in the year when Elli was rushed by a Golden while we were out for our walk. This dog came flying out of its yard and crossed the street to go after Elli, who was leashed and on a public sidewalk. The Golden was not leashed and clearly not under voice control, and had no reason to come after us, as we were not even on its property. My only explanation is that it was clearly dog aggressive.

And then there was last night. There were four dogs at agility class: Elli; Pip, a Border Collie; Rosie, a Parson Russell Terrier; and Daisy, a Golden Retriever whom I hadn't seen at Thom's before. Thom had set up two sets of weave poles, one on either side of the room, and had us split up to practice on them, the taller dogs on one side and the shorter dogs on the other. Elli and Rosie were alternating turns on our set of weaves, and as Elli took a pass through, the Golden rushed her from the other side of the room.

This was not a Golden who wanted to play. She chased Elli, tried to go after her, and didn't ease up even when Elli cowered down and yelped. Thom was able to grab Elli up and away from the Golden before I could, and before the woman who owned the Golden managed to come and grab her dog.

Fortunately, Elli was able to get back down and go back to the weaves, so hopefully this won't become an issue for her on that particular piece of equipment.

But, WTF?

So: Dear Golden Retrievers of the World: I am very, very sorry that the puppy millers and backyard breeders have given you bad hips, sent cancer running rampant through your breed, and destroyed the lovely temperaments that you used to be known for. However, my corgi is not responsible for any of that, so please stop attacking her. By all means, feel free to bite said puppy millers and backyard breeders. They deserve it.

And, Dear Owners of Dog-Aggressive Dogs of the World: When you are working your dog in a room where multiple dogs are working, please do not take your aggressive dog off leash. It's dangerous, it's irresponsible, and it's rude. The next time your dog comes after mine, I will kick it in the head. Hard. And then I will kick YOUR dim-witted ass.

That is all.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My hubby is awesome!

...because, among many other reasons, he built me this equipment rack to house all of my dog equipment:

No more shuffling things all over the garage. No more pawing through stacks of things to find what I want. No more tripping over this or that while trying to reach over a three foot high stack of other crap. Now I can just back the car up to the garage door, grab what I need out of the rack, and pack it in. Heaven!!
Even better? Knowing everything has a spot when I come home from a weekend of shows, so it will all be ready to go the next time I need it.
Hubbies rock!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I think he has a toy fetish.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New visuals of the Mag-Man

For once, I actually remembered to take my camera to handling class (I know, right?), which was fortuitous, since I was the only one who showed up. My friend and instructor Donna played paparazzi to get some shots of Magnum, photo and video. Here is Himself, at 7 and a half months.

And, links to the videos on Youtube, since Blogger is apparently going to take roughly 523.87 years to load and embed the video in the post.

This is what Magnum thinks of all the red carpet treatment:

Friday, September 3, 2010

More brags on Magnum

Just checked Joanna's blog, and apparently I don't brag fast enough, so allow me to rectify that right now. :-)

Magnum went WD/BOW/BOS yesterday for two points to add to the 3-point major he has. He picked up another Reserve today, so that's two wins and two Reserves in 5 shows. Not bad for a guy who's only 7 months old!

Magnum also received an invitation from Paula O'Donnell to be my Plus One at her gathering later this month (or maybe I'm his Plus One. Hmm.) I hope to have her go over him and give me her opinion. I know she's tough on dogs so I'll be shaking in my shoes, but I'm pleased as punch with him right now.

A humongous thanks to Joanna for letting me run away with this Magnum-ificent blue boy!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hamster on wheel = My brain

So, I finally sat and watched some of the DVDs from Nationals this past weekend, including the Am. Bred class that Elli was in. I rarely get to see how my dogs are moving, being on the other end of the leash and all, so this allowed me to see what she looks like in the ring.

And now, I'm majorly stressing myself out.

What I know: I don't like her front movement. What I don't know: What is throwing it off. Shoulder layback (or lack of same)? Short upper arm? Round rib cage that pushes the elbows out? I'm enough of a newb that I can't say for certain where exactly the problem lies. I'll be taking her along for the ride when I go to Macungie and will have an experienced breeder look at her there. I've also sent photos and video (and will be trying to take better video) to another breeder to see if she can share any insight with me.

But these questions lead to larger ones for me. I know there is no such thing as a perfect dog, and all of them will have some fault or another. My biggest question is where to draw the line when it comes to breeding? I mean, obviously I would look for a dog who would be most likely to correct her faults without introducing new ones that I don't already have. But there has to be a point where you say I'm not going to try to correct all this; let's go a different way.

I just don't know where that point is. My little hamster-in-the-wheel brain keeps spinning and spinning. Do I breed her? To this dog or that dog? Can I realistically expect to improve on her? Will anyone buy one of the puppies? Will other exhibitors point and say, "Look at her, she bred that bitch that she couldn't even put points on!" And yeah, what other people are going to say and a collection of ribbons (or lack thereof) shouldn't be the driving force behind my decision making, and it isn't, but I know how the dog show world works well enough to know that there may be at least some of that.

Or, if I decide not to breed her, where do I go from here? Buy another bitch puppy from a promising litter? Look to buy an older puppy so I have a better idea of what I'm getting? Lease a bitch? Pay for the stud-fee and co-breed a litter with someone who has a bitch I like? Wait to see how Magnum turns out and hope that someone wants to breed to him and take a puppy back? And if I do that, do I try to title Elli in agility myself, or place her in a performance home with someone who is way better at or more committed to agility and herding than I am?

I know, I know, we all have to start somewhere. Most people don't start with a Nationals-winning bitch, and I don't expect to be the exception. But I DO take breeding seriously, and I want to make sure I'm doing it in a way that produces sound, healthy, quality dogs, and in a way that is up front and can be respected by my peers. That's the only way to build a solid foundation for the future.

*spin spin spin whirl whirl whirl*

Gah! Thoughts? Comments? Observations? Am I just being a total spaz who needs to calm the eff down and stop worrying and over-analyzing everything to death? Someone throw me a bone!