Thursday, September 30, 2010

Bat Buck and bunny torture (not real bunnies!)

Starbuck and I are volunteering to go to a Howl-o-ween pet parade to represent our therapy dog organization so I decided to find her bat wings for the parade. I think she looks pretty cute in them, although they are kind of hard to see in the picture:

The girls had another exciting evening of checking out the neighbors who walked past our house, which is one of Nari's favorite activities:

Starbuck 'won' this crazy blue squeaky bunny toy at the flyball workshop. And by 'won' I mean that everyone got a ticket for the raffle and everyone's ticket was pulled out of a bag. Alpha and Nari decided to fight over the bunny. 

During the vicious tug above, Nari managed to rip off an ear. She was quite proud of herself and was posing with it on the bed. 

After the bunny battle, the girls got some dinner. There is definitely a pack order in our house - as you can see there is always a line formed for meals. Nari is the alpha dog in our house, followed by Alpha and Starbuck. 

Starbuck was pretty tired this evening, she had a really intense flyball practice last night. They set up a regulation length course and she LOVED it. She had a lot more enthusiasm when she saw all of the jumps and was pulling at the start line. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Friday fight night

Friday was fight night at our house. The girls decided to have their very own wrestling match. Everyone was in on this fight. 

Alpha and Starbuck start off the fight:

Nari joins in one the fun:

Nari pins Alpha down by the ear:

Alpha and Starbuck are back at it:

Nari sneaks up behind Alpha to get in on the fight:

The girls then unite to protect the house from the neighbors, of course Nari takes the lead on the guarding duties: 

Starbuck's Bucktastic week!

Starbuck had quite a busy week! On Tuesday she went to daycare - she loves daycare and daycare loves her. She gets super excited when we turn off the freeway and then has a huge smile when we show up. The guy always tells us stories about what Starbuck does during the day. On Tuesday there was also a full size black and white husky there with blue eyes. When the husky's owners showed up to pick up their dog they brought out Starbuck and said that they accidentally put her in the drier. Our friends bring their dogs in on Tuesday as well and he was telling everyone that story. I'm glad that they are happy to have Starbuck there so I don't have to worry about her.

Wednesday is always Starbuck's busiest day of the week. As soon as I got home, I grabbed Starbuck and headed to the assisted living facility so that she could hand out with all of her friends for a while. She loves everyone who lives and works there. She just really loves meeting new people and getting lots of petting. After her therapy dog visit, we went to flyball practice for an hour and a half. By the end of practice Starbuck was tired!

Here are some pictures of Starbuck hanging out on Thursday:

On Saturday we went to a flyball workshop in Chattanooga - Starbuck had an awesome time because she got to meet a bunch of new people and dogs so she was super happy the whole time. At one point the instructor took Starbuck from me and carried her around like a baby while she gave out tips to everyone. Starbuck just laid in her arms with a huge smile on her face and gave her kisses. Starbuck did pretty well during her workshop, her only problem right now is that she needs to understand that she has to grab the ball while doing her box turn. Maybe someday she'll figure it out but for now she's having a blast. 

Here is a picture of Starbuck taking a break during the workshop, she was definitely a happy girl! 

One of the guys from the Big Orange Blast took pictures so I'll hopefully get those soon. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nari is making nests!

About two weeks ago I noticed that Nari had burrowed her way in a blanket that was on the couch - she had never done anything like that before! Then, when we were staying at a hotel last weekend she decided to make a little nest out of a pile of pillows:

She's also been digging at her beds and I noticed today that she was digging in the bed so that she could wedge herself between the bed and the pillow, making another little nest!

She's also made nests out of several blankets around the house. I have no idea where this is coming from but she does look pretty cute in all of her nests.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nari's agility weekend in Huntsville, AL

Well, the last time I was in Huntsville, AL was for Space Camp a long time ago - never thought I would be back here for an agility trial!! Didn't have a chance to check out the Space Center, though. This trial marks 6 months since we started competing in USDAA and Nari just turned 2 - I'm so proud at how well she's been doing!

Nari and I got there on Friday afternoon so we could set up our crate area - it was HOT - like high 90's HOT! Since this trial was indoors I thought I wouldn't need to bring the fan along. It was kind of hot in the building and I wish I would have brought the fan. But I still had Nari's cool coat so we were okay and I wore as little clothing as possible. 

When we got the the livestock building that the trial was in, there was what looked like an abandoned planter with random trucks with horses in front. So of course I threw Nari in the box and took a picture of her surrounded by trunks! What is up with those two horses on that truck thingy? 

We got to the hotel and Nari was super happy, she loves hotels! This room was huge. Here is she - happy to be at the hotel. You can see her favorite toy in the background, it's a squeeky curly lamb toy - she LOVES those things! 

Didn't get any videos of this trial, but we do have some pictures so I made a short video with them:

I thought the trial went really well! It was our first time in Masters and we got two Masters Snooker Q's, a Q in Advanced Jumpers and finished our Advanced Jumpers tile!! Didn't Q in Masters Standard - those are hard because they fault you for refusals (not sure how many in our first go, but we got one in our second run) and I think we dropped a bar. But I still thought we did awesome anyway and it was so much fun! We totally bombed in Advanced Pairs Relay - our first partner was a really cute Jack Russell terrier mix, he was fast but also LOVED going in tunnels. It was quite cute, he must have went in the same tunnel 3 times in a row. I also volunteered to run a second time but we had to go immediately after the first and I sent Nari the wrong way into a tunnel. Even with all of the craziness we still had a blast, you really have to relax on those pair relays because you never know what is going to happen, but it's always fun. 

I just love watching the Masters ring, we have several former/current world team members in our area so it is awesome to watch them run. We shared our crate space with this adorable corgi named Eve, she's won the USDAA Grand Prix at Nationals and has been on the world team - her and her handler are simply amazing!! Nari felt like being needy at this trial for some reason (she was crazier than normal) so I felt bad that she would start to squeak when I would leave her, but everyone around us was pretty nice about it at least. 

Nari still has some issues - mainly start lines (she had an awesome start line on the first run, but then we slowly loose them), still some teeter uncertainty and I think she only missed one running contact but that was on a Gamblers course where I sometimes get lazy about verbally enforcing them and maintaining eye contact. Oh yeah, and I still have a long way to go with my handling 'skills'. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

An evening in the life of Starbuck and Nari

On Monday night I took Starbuck and Nari out to Ace's for some agility practice. They love it there - he has about 6 acres of fenced in land and a ton of agility equipment. Part of the fence is shared with the kennel, so the girls like to go over there to check out the kennel dogs and bark at them. Here are Starbuck and Nari saying hello to some dogs staying at the kennel. 

Since Aaron didn't come with me, I couldn't get any pictures of them actually doing agility so I just took some cute ones of them hanging out in the field. Here are some of Nari after practice - look how happy that girl is! She just loves agility and gets super excited when we turn off the interstate to head to Ace's. I love her little doggie smile :) 

Here are some happy Starbuck pictures! She is starting to enjoy agility more, I think it helps that it is finally starting to cool off down here. Starbuck has the thickest coat so the heat really gets to her. I love that crazy tongue of hers in the picture of her on the table. 

We had a fun practice and the girls were pretty tired at the end of the day! 

Monday, September 13, 2010

A day in the life of Alpha

Before I post pictures of Alpha, here is one of the girls guarding our house. One of their favorite activities is to monitor our front yard. In this picture you can see Nari talking to the dog that is out there. 

Now, onto the Alpha pictures. At Nari's last trial, we went to Petsmart to check out the toy selection and that is when I found this toy called a 'squido'. Hmmm... not really sure what they were thinking when they came up with this one-eyed creature with teeth, but Alpha really enjoyed it. 

What we were really looking for were curlys (any type of toy with curly hair) because the girls LOVE those things for some reason. Alpha decided to round up the curlys and lay in the bed with them. Of course Starbuck decided that she really wanted to take those curlys!

Finally, Alpha got mad at me because I found Starbuck's old raincoat and made her model it for me. Alpha refused to do anything but stand and not look at me - she usually always looks at the camera. 

I originally got this raincoat because Starbuck refused to go outside in the rain and wouldn't stay under the umbrella. Of course, the raincoat didn't help but she still looked cute in it. Now I have 3 dogs who all hate the rain. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Nari's Labor Day weekend

We had another USDAA trial this weekend. I came down with something on Monday and was freaking out that I would be too sick to do the trial. I started taking massive amounts of vitamin C and when that didn't work the doctor gave me some strong antibiotics on Thursday - I ended up feeling well enough to make the 6 hour drive to NC on Friday. I was still feeling a little out of it for most of the trial but we ended up getting 11 Q's and 4 titles!! It was our first time doing the Advanced classes and we ended up getting two Advanced titles and we are only one away from getting our Advanced Jumpers title!! Didn't get any video or trial photos this time, but here are just a couple from the weekend. 

Nari posing with all of her ribbons: 

The red ribbon that she's kind of wearing is for taking 2nd place in the Grand Prix. She's wearing her cool coat in that picture. Some people came up to us and said she looked like a little super hero with it on during her practice jumps. It does kind of look like a little cape :) 

Nari taking a very short break between runs - she's such a happy girl during trial weekends, always smiling. 

Here she is relaxing in bed after a long day. She loves to lay up against the pillows. 

Everyone loved watching Nari's Snooker runs because she is so sassy! She hates the slower speed we run for Snooker so she literally yells at me the entire time going 'Ahhh!', 'Ahhh!', 'Ahhh!' over and over and over... Makes me laugh every time, I love it. It was a pretty awesome trial, I love USDAA trials and I love watching the Masters Ring. Stuart Mah was there this time so I got to watch him run his BCs - he is so amazing! The judges liked Nari and one even told me that he was researching them online after I told him Nari's breed.

Here are some of the details:

Advanced Standard - 1st and Q - this was our first time in Advanced Regular :)
Advanced Jumpers - NQ Nari got faulted for a dropped bar - I was still feeling a little dizzy from being sick so I gave her a late cue.
Advanced Snooker - 2nd and Q - this was our first time in Advanced Snooker :)
Starters Pairs Relay - 1st and Q and completed her SR title!
Grand Prix - 2nd and NQ - We were so close to getting a Q in the Grand Prix - they judge this with Masters rules and we got a fault because Nari paused to sniff the ground (I should have cued the jump sooner but I was pretty out of energy by then and careless with some cues) before doing one of the last jumps! So close!!
Starters Gamblers - 2nd and NQ - we totally missed the dogwalk - tunnel discrimination

Steeplechase, Round 1 - 2nd and Q!! I was so excited about this one because this was Nari's first tournament Q!!!! I thought we weren't going to Q because she knocked a bar but we were fast enough that even with the knocked bar we made time!
Advanced Snooker - 1st and Q
Advanced Jumpers - 1st and Q
Advanced Standard - 1st and Q
Starters Gamblers - 1st and Q! The Joker had a tunnel-A-frame discrimination, similar to the one on Saturday. I took Aces advice and told myself that she could do it and just trusted that she would understand and she didn't even hesitate to do it! I was just so excited that she got another Gamblers Q :)

Steeplechase, Round 2 - E - I was not feeling that great in the morning and gave Nari a late cue and she went off course.
Advanced Snooker 1st - Q and she completed her AS title!
Advanced Standard 2nd - Q and she completed her ASA title!
Starters Gamblers 2nd - Q and she completed her SG title!
Advanced Jumpers - 1st and NQ - we had to do this run about 2 minutes after finishing our Gamblers and we were both pretty much out of it and couldn't focus. Nari started out slow but I got her going and gave a late cue and she went off course into a tunnel. I couldn't really blame her because it was in the 90's by then and that tunnel looked nice and shady.