Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Argus Ranch

There's a place down past Auburn called Argus Ranch. It's not really a ranch though -- it's doggie nirvana.

On the 6th, Grete and I made the trek down there for a fun run. We aren't quite ready for all the sorts of equipment there, so we just watched. FWIW, Grete has not yet been introduced to the A-Frame, the teeter, or the dog walk -- but soon she will meet all three as our class advances to a bigger location out in Woodinville. I can't wait.

Anyway... Back to our visit to Argus Ranch.... Grete loved it. She took it all in, standing on her hind legs, looking over the short wall onto the course as other dogs ran. Every once in a while, she looked back at me as if to say, "When do I get to try that??"

Sadly, the barn is very, very dark. I got a handful of blurry pictures of Jen and Gigi, and one shot of Grete looking excited. Maybe next time I'll bring the SLR and try a high ISO HD video. Here's the set.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Grete in the snow

Tennis ball or snow ball? Grete isn't so sure... (She loves catching snowballs. She loves catching snowballs. She doesn't really love catching tennis balls covered in snow.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Meta-Grete

On Thursday, I stumbled across what my friend Jeff would call "a glitch in the matrix."

Through random googling, I found a reference to a ship called the Meta-Grete. Shipping Database record for the Meta-Grete. At first I thought it was a bug in the Shipping Database site. Perhaps they had a bad webcrawler that found Grete's blog. (I know... I have such little faith in technology sometimes.)

However, I then turned to Google Image Search and found the most amazing Picasa album.

A man known only to me as Captain273 actually has pictures of the Meta-Grete. Turns out he was started his sailing career on the Meta-Grete.

View Captain273's entire album of the Meta-Grete here.

Small World.

the zoomies

Grete @ Marymoor

if only there was an agility obstacle made out of soft dirt, mulch, or sand....

ever since she was a puppy, grete has had a soft spot in her heart for hills, and she's had a soft spot in her heart for soft surfaces like dirt and mulch.

she had already had the zoomies at least 3 times at Marymoor last weekend when we stumbled across 3 hills of mulch. grete totally lost it and had her fourth or fifth case of The Zoomies.

just in case you didn't know, the zoomies is the technical term for when your dog starts zipping around uncontrollably, having the time of their lives. it's usually a good thing. (as long as you're not training agility at the time. ;-))

Grete @ Marymoor

grete was clearly having the time of her life... and so was i. :-)

we love marymoor.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

seattle dog walkers

A while back, we looked into a doggie daycare. It just wasn't right for us. I'm too much of a germaphobe, and I also don't like the dogs are left to entertain themselves with each other. (I also hate dog walkers at dog parks with a passion -- too many dogs (with someone OTHER than their owner) for too few people.)

Believe it or not, I would prefer someone come to the house in the middle of the day and just take Grete for a good long walk. It's cleaner and safer, and it's guaranteed 1-on-1 attention.

I keep meaning to look into Seattle dog walkers so that I have that as a fall-back plan if I can't take Grete to work. (Doctor's appointments and job changes do happen after all. :P)

Here's my first cut at a list. Any thoughts? Additions? Subtractions?

Rain City Pets
1/2 hour rates:
2 walks a week: $20 per walk
3-4 walks a week: $19 per walk
5 walks a week: $18 per walk

Dawg Dayz
1/2 hour rates:

Little Furry Things
1/2 hour rates:
1 dog $18
1 dog, 5 days a week, $85
1 hour rates:
1 to 2 dogs $33
1 to 2 dogs, 5 days a week, $155

Waggy Dogs
30min- $19/dog, $3/exra dog
1hour - $29/dog, $5/extra dog

Seattle Green Dogs
Private Walks/Hikes
$35 for an hour walk in your neighborhood.

Monday, November 10, 2008


For a blog that is supposed to be about dog training and a dog that is learning agility, I seem to be dropping the ball these days -- both on the blog and at home. I just went back and reviewed my old TODO list post, and I have to say that our evening training has distilled down to working on Two-On Two-Off contact position and the jump -- and not much else. We do informal flat work with the tennis ball as a reward at work.

For better or worse, we've dropped a bunch of things off our training list. For example, we no longer work with the box. It's not actually an agility obstacle. I think the point of the box was to have a non-agility obstacle that you could cheaply have two of so that you could work on left-side vs right-side obstacle discrimination.

We also don't work with the target plate anymore. I think this might come back to bite us, but for now, since we're working on simply shaping the Two-On Two-Off contact position, I'm not sure the target plate is all that necessary. We'll see about that.

I think a revised version of our Training TODO list would look something like this:

Flat Work
left side almost stationary flat work
right side almost stationary flat work
left side faster flat work
right side faster flat work
pull turn left
pull turn right
push turn left
push turn right
left-hand front cross (right->left)
right-hand front cross (left->right)
break (drive forward to take something)
ok (release)
jumping up to get something (getting excited)
regular down
down on an incline
down at my side
sit and STAY (distraction and duration)
down and STAY (distraction and duration)
play (fetch)
play (tug)
distracted recall

hoop (need to work on distance)
tunnel (straight; curved; s curve)
1 weave pole gate (full circle of approaches)
2 hoops (left side; right side)
4 paws on wobble board
make wobble board move (banging it down)
sequencing more than 3-5 obstacles
** new ** 2 weave pole gates together (rotating second gate)
** new ** the jump (staying close to the jump)
** new ** the jump (sending her out, up, and around the jump)

I think I'm getting sloppy. We're definitely progressing, but I liked our teamwork better when I was more methodical about working through the todo list. I think I might have to make a more formal version and start taking notes in class again.

In other dog agility related news, we might be going to a fun match (for exposure - not for real trial or real competing) in December. Stay tuned!

I'm looking at you.

Despite my best efforts at the dog park on Sunday, Jason still takes better pictures. Here's one of my latest favorites of Grete.


Jason took this picture. I can tell because it actually pans with the dog that was zooming around the park. I'm not that good with the camera yet. :-)

Sing, Paco! Sing!

Paco is another friend we made at Golden Gardens this past Sunday. His owners -- a father with a baby strapped to his chest and a precocious little girl -- seemed pretty nice, but Paco soon got in the way of Grete's fetching. Paco didn't really sing for the ball -- but it certainly looked like he might. We eventually ditched poor Paco and his family after he got a little anxious about Grete coming back up the hill toward his owners.

Dog Park Friends! Sunday @ Golden Gardens

After having a couple bad experiences at the Woodlawn / Green Lake dog park, we decided to hit the Golden Gardens dog park this weekend. There were a couple growly dogs that kept picking play-fights in the mud at the bottom, but otherwise it was a pretty pleasant experience. We also saw some pretty cute and friendly dogs. Sadly, I forget this plump little Boston's name...

be teh rok...

see more puppies

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Grete in her cyberpunk puppy costume (and other Halloween pictures) can be seen here: 2008 Halloween.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

grete... aloof.

we got a new camera today. it's the nikon d90. grete has been subjected to cameras since she was a puppy. even though i turned the flash off, grete still expected it -- giving me her most aloof look.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Jump

Dog training and/or dog agility folks are a little weird. They (we) like to make videos of our dogs doing stuff, even if it is fairly mundane stuff. Dog agility folks like to put these videos to music.

Grete and I have been working on the jump for over a month now. Here's our current progress. FYI, it's my job to be a treat dispenser and not much else. I'm throwing kibble on the floor so that she looks down when she lands. It's all about Grete learning what works for her when it comes to jumping 20" in the air.

(The song, if you're curious, is from the KEXP Song of the Day. It's "Lonesome Hearts" by Pela remixed by Cassettes Won't Listen. You can get it here.)


In other news... More Clickriver randomness.

I've turned my Clickriver ads back on. However, I think because I have one ad in "Appealed," my most recent ad is in pending. I've been blacklisted! I'm a troublemaker! A rebel without a cause!

Here's the pending ad.
love dog agility?
meta grete - a blog about a dog
sometimes we talk about training :)

Here's the appealed ad.
a blog about a dog
meta grete - chatter about agility,
treats, and a dog's life...

And here are the two ads that have snuck past them...
Meta Grete
A blog about a dog
Reviews, Agility shop talk, etc

Meta Grete
Tips on dog agility, dog training,
Reviews of dog treats, dog products

baby legs -- the bank robber reprise

We tried adding a nylon knee-high to the mix today. The results weren't a complete success, but in our walk around the block, we only had to put it back on from scratch once. (Compared to 3-4 times with other methods.)

The nylon helps keep the bag narrow. Part of the problem with the baggie is that it is so wide at the bottom that she keeps stepping on it. Unfortunately, the baggies still sag and so gradually her Smurf foot grows and grows as we walk.

We also tried rolling the baggie into the nylon and then using the baby leg to hold the roll up. That's what got us all the way back into the building --- but the whole mess was still sliding down. I think the only real answer is suspenders.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Damn you, Baby Legs.

I'm sad to report the baby legs, although bad ass and punk and cute all at the same time, are a complete failure at keeping the baggie over the dewclaw.

So... a quick recap.

On Wednesday the 15th, Grete ripped her left dewclaw right in half. Read more about that here.

On Monday, she had her bandage removed. That was supposed to be a good thing. However, now we're tasked with keeping the dewclaw dry as it heals. In Seattle, this is turning out to be a huge freeeekin' pain in the ass.

We tried small hair bands yesterday, but they kept slipping down. It was painful getting them on and off, not only for me but for Grete as well. She would get all wide eyed and stare off into space and pant from the stress. I would start to curse and get more and more frustrated as we tried to make it around the block. Stopping every 10-20 feet to put the damn things back on. Not a good scene.

A friend had the idea of using baby tights. We settled on "Baby Legs" because they were 1 day Amazon Prime shippable and cool. They arrived this morning. This picture was taken before they made their maiden voyage around the block at work.

It was almost as much of a failure as the rubber bands. The baggies are just too damn slippery. The leg warmers can stay on, and she'll step on the baggie and rip it right out from under the leg warmers. They also slide down, despite being hooked around her elbow.

We're going to resort to medical tape soon. What we really need is a baggie that has garter straps of some kind that we can hook to her harness. 9 more days of this.... The vet techs were somewhat (but not really) sympathetic.

Life isn't going so well right now. I just need to be able to frolic with my dog, and I can't.

Damn you, Baby Legs. Damn you.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Clickriver -- Part II

We managed to muster 1 whole click on Clickriver. However, that winning campaign was then rejected. The reason given?
Category relevance
* Your advertised service does not match your selected category.
Your ad is "about a blog site which is not providing any pet services" - but your category selection is Pet Services - General

I've appealed it. I pointed out that they listed "Pet animal information resources" under "Pet Services - General" and I believe Grete's blog points to "pet animal information resources." For example... We've pointed out where she got her tunnel. We've chatted about her training methods on more than one occasion. We've used and reviewed the wisdom panel. We've pointed to other useful dog blogs. We've reviewed local dog parks as well as recent dog training literature. And who could forget the shots of Grete and the Doggles. Anyway... I think they're being too strict. We'll see what they say. I also asked if they could suggest another category.

(To be honest, I was just trying it out for work-related reasons, but now I'm a bit offended by their rejection! :P)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Perking up!

Grete is perking up. Look at that happy face!

We haven't tried the jump with the bandage yet, but the vet said it should be safe to try the jump at agility class tomorrow.

Also, I'm going to attempt to make some chicken and peas treats for Grete for tomorrow's practice. I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow. I haven't cooked meat in ages. The plan is to defrost it tonight, boil it tomorrow, cut it up while its still warm, and throw in some frozen peas to make it last longer.


We're trying out advertising via Clickriver. If you happen to see an ad on Amazon for Meta Grete, can you let me know via a comment and/or an email? (A screenshot would really make our day.)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

poor pup

grete is SOOO pathetic right now.

Grete Update

Yesterday, Grete ripped her left front dewclaw. I'm still not sure how. My only theory is that when she jumped, she caught it on her collar on the way down. The claw was at a right angle to her leg, and there was blood. I rushed her to the vet, and $372 later, she's resting comfortably on her blankie at work. We have a check-up at 9:20 on Monday. She'll be fine though. It doesn't seem to be bothering her too much.

Time Warp!!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Dog park woes... Kona @ Greenlake @ 5:30 pm

Today, Jason, Grete and I went to the Greenlake dog park to play fetch. It was super crowded. First, we tried doing fetch off the "cliff" to toward the stairs. Since I was worried about Grete jumping off and landing wrong, we eventually went to the back stretch along the fence. As we were coming back up from the back stretch along the fence to give Grete a break and a drink, a chow mix named Kona started growling at me. I've never had a dog growl at me before. Not in this way. Well... I take that back. Dogs on the other side of fences growl that way. It was the classic, "I'm guarding my turft" growl, and I assumed it was because we were "invading" her turf by climbing up the hill to get to the water bowls. Jason didn't take well to a dog growling at his fiance in that way, and he may have moved the Chuck-It in the dogs general direction. To be honest, I was looking down at the dog trying to figure out if I should turn my back (which is what I would do with most puppies and jumpy dogs) or if I should try to calm the dog with my voice or what... I was kinda at a loss since, as I said, the only time dogs growl at me in that menacing way is when they're on the other side of the fence. I'll be honest. I was SCARED.

In any event, we passed by, but the alpha male owner wearing a grey UW sweatshirt said to Jason, "You weren't going to hit my dog with your Chuck-It." To which, Jason replied, "I would if your dog bit my girlfriend."

At this point, the dog was still growling at me. I was moving around the dog, and I pointed out to the couple that I'd never been growled at by a dog before. "Why is your dog growling at me? I don't have the Chuck-It. My hands are in my pockets." I believe that was a close paraphrase of my words.

The woman with dark brown hair standing next to alpha male UW sweatshirt said, "She just growls at some people." At this point, I was starting to lose it with these people. "Why do you bring your dog to the dog park if she growls at people?" They defend themselves and say they come to the dog park every morning... (I think to myself... If you come every morning, why are you here at 5:30 pm? If you come here to this dog park every day, it doesn't give you any more rights than I have.)

It's a bit of a blur... Eventually, I manage to join Jason and Grete by the "cliff" where we've resumed playing fetch. We're _minding_our_own_business_ playing fetch with our dogs on the opposite side of the hill, and Kona comes over and starts growling at me AGAIN.

"Can you please call your dog back?" I think I repeated that at least twice.

They called Kona back.

I looked at the other folks at the top of the hill and shrugged. A couple shrugged back in what I hope was a mutual understanding of "These people are tools."

Then... This annoying same couple's OTHER dog gets in a fight with another dog. Two aggressive dogs! We should have figured.

At that point, while they were calling their OTHER problematic dog off another dog, Jason and I left the hill to play a little more fetch at the bottom of the hill.

I was pretty shaken up from the whole ordeal. First, the dog scared me. I'm still working out what I wish I could have done differently with the dog.

Second, I HATE confrontation like that with those sorts of people. My adrenaline was pumping. Their dog was threatening ME. Don't they know how many freeeeeekin' dog training classes I've taken and how many books I've read on dog behavior. Don't they realize that when I say their dog might not belong at the dog park, they should take ME seriously. Yes. I know this internal dialog is useless on them, but I just wish I could have made them see that they needed to manage the situation better. I just wish they knew how fast a dog can snap. I just wish they freekin' apologized for their dogs behavior.

The only take away I have from the whole thing is a strong urge to buy some Halt! or Direct Stop. *sigh*

Monday, October 6, 2008

Gesso takes the jump

Grete's getting a run for her money. Gesso has taken up agility as well. *wink*wink*

Friday, October 3, 2008

Got Mutt? Want DNA?

Thinking about getting a Wisdom Panel for your mutt? If you are, you can get $10 off by entering the code 'WISEGUYZ' in their order pipeline here.

Hen = The Bailout; Puppy = You and me?

Correction: Rooster != Hen (2:25 pm)
Switching this because I don't think roosters really sit on eggs/chicks... Do they?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Still in the tunnel

Grete loves her tunnel so much. She's been sleeping in it.

Grete's New Tunnel

Grete's tunnel from NTI arrived at work today. Damn! It's HEAVY! I totally should have skimped and gone for the 6" pitch instead of the 4" competition pitch. Oh well... We're that much closer to have an USDAA sanctioned agility trial in the halls of now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Grete is no longer amused by the "party hat"

I think Jason is right. She was no longer amused by the "party hat" -- or by the whole bathing experience. The funny thing is... When she was a puppy, she didn't seem to mind baths quite as much. I think that I fell out of practice (and thus she forgot about them being an ok thing) and I think her trip to the groomers put the fear of shower-heads into her. Don't get me wrong. The groomers we went to -- top notch. She just seemed a little more ... timid ... about baths after her professional salon experience a couple months back. I haven't quite had the heart to take her back there.

In any event, so many good photos were taken tonight. You should check the rest of them out in Jason's flickr.

And with that... we bid you goodnight!

So Pretty

I love how perfect her nose looks in this photo.

Babushka Grete

Subject line says it all.

ahh... toweling.

See? She's happy. Sort-of.

Bad Touch!

Seriously -- she loves being dried. I had no idea she was making this face at the time. Jason just took the photo, reviewed it, and snickered. Told me I would have to see them on the computer or some such nonsense. I believe him when he says there was chicken licking involved -- but still -- you would think he would have warned me I was in imminent danger of face biting. :P

Butt dryer

Grete loves the towel -- but mostly on her face. She grows impatient as I dry her massive butt dreadlocks.

Just like when she was a puppy

Enough ACTION SHOTS of agility. Let's move on to the ultra-super-nitro-cute bath pictures!!

Seriously... I melt when I see this photo. It's almost as good as her shelter puppy shot.


I have to face it. Neither of the hoop action shots turns out as well as I initially thought. However, you should totally imagine us RUSHING through them at light speed. That explains the blur - our break-neck speed!


I won't say it took forever to make the box fun -- but it took longer than it should. I kept trying to be a purist about shaping it. BTW, I'm totally a cheater now when it comes to shaping. I have been known to bait or lure to get her going.

Enough confessions... This is probably the best ACTION SHOT we're ever going to get out of the "box" command. Yay, Jason!

Backyard agility training

One last ACTION SHOT of the weaves before we move on to something else. This doesn't look like a great shot - but check out the leg swoosh on the right. Also note the complete lack of head because she's already bent to the left. That's awesome. Headless dogs == all good.

Beginning weave-poles training

Here's another ACTION SHOT of the weave pole method we're using. I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of my right foot forward - throw with right hand pose in this shot. It's just like I "bowled" my dog forward (a word that both my instructors have used to describe handling the dog.) Too bad the odds are good that she started on my left side -- not my right. Oh well. It's a great shot and it even shows how I'm throwing the ball to her left to get her to bend around the pole. She's a wiggle butt who can bend almost in half, and she's gonna have great weaves. I hope.

Backyard agility training

I know... I know... All this talk of training... Boring mundane lists of training tasks... I know you hate it. I know all you really want is ACTION SHOTS!

Thanks to Jason, I can now oblige.

Here's a great shot of Grete doing a single gate of a weave pole. She's building up some speed because I've been using the tennis ball almost exclusively. I bet that's causing some weird leaping habit that I'll need to correct later, but for now... it's all about having fun going through.

We're using the Susan Garrett 2x2 method to teach her the weaves. I like it a lot because it doesn't involve guide wires or angled sets or lots and lots of pvc.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

More on training... The todo list grows...

We have a brief break from classes this weekend. Next Saturday we'll have the first of our third block of classes. (They come in blocks of 6.)

We've still got a long, long way before we can even think about going to trial. I knew this would be the case, but I still want to go faster. I don't think we're necessarily to the point where private lessons would be worth it. I know we need to practice more regularly, and to prove it to myself, here's a quick list of things that we should be training and a quick estimation of how often we do them.

(current score 0-10) [twice per day] [once per day] [2-3 times per week] [once per week] [ less than once per week or only at class]
(3) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] target plate
(3) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] left side almost stationary flat work
(3) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] right side almost stationary flat work
(1) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] pull turn left
(1) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] pull turn right
(2) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] push turn left
(2) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] push turn right
(2) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] left-hand front cross (right->left)
(2) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] right-hand front cross (left->right)
(4) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] single box (close; 5 feet and under)
(6) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] single hoop (close; 5 feet and under)
(3) [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] single box (send to; far; 6 feet and up)
(4) [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] single hoop (send to; far; 6 feet and up)
(6) [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] break (drive forward to take something)
(6) [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] ok (release)
(3) [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] tunnel (straight)
(3) [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] tunnel (single curve)
(3) [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] tunnel (s curve)
(3) [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] jumping up to get something
(6) [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] regular down
(?) [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] down on an incline
(4) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] down at my side
(3) [ ] [ ] [x] [x] [ ] 1 weave pole gate perpendicular to path
(3) [ ] [ ] [x] [x] [ ] 1 weave pole gate angled to path
(1) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] 1 weave pole gate parallel to path
(3) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] 2 boxes
(4) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] 2 hoops
(2) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] flat wobble board
(1) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] 2 paws on wobble board
(1) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] 4 paws on wobble board
(0) [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] make wobble board move
(2) [ ] [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] sequencing more than 2 obstacles
(5) [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] sit and STAY and come (easy)
(5) [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] down and STAY and come (easy)
(3) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] sit and STAY (distraction and duration)
(4) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] down and STAY (distraction and duration)
(8) [x] [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] play (fetch)
(6) [x] [x] [ ] [ ] [ ] play (tug)
(4) [ ] [ ] [x] [ ] [ ] distracted recall

Proof that we're peas in a pod

According to Dogster's quiz, I'm a border collie too!

What dog breed are you? I'm a Border Collie! Find out at

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wait, wait... Don't tell me.

So we're not going to have agility class this Saturday because we'll be in Portland living large at the Hotel Monaco with Art. This is all fine and good and super wonderful, but here's the catch...

Last Saturday, I told our instructor that we were going to be gone just as we were hopping in the car. Not smart on my part. I can't quite remember all the things she said we should work on. I'll just keep adding to the list...

Here's what I have in my notes from that class session:

Front Cross
Parallel work
Adding vertical / horizontal distance from the hoop
Adding the "Hoop" cue

We've been sorta working on front crosses with the tennis ball as a lure. She's finally gotten over her urge to spin left when she's on my left side. (Having the ball in the right hand before the turn helps, but I fear I might be adding an unintentional body cue there.)

I really do need to work on feeding Grete more for being parallel. There's been a little bit of progress on getting her parallel before throwing the ball though. That's good, I think.

Unfortunately, we haven't been working outside as much, so it's hard to add distance from the hoop in the basement.

We've mostly been trying to make the box fun. She gets in. I try to do a clicker jack pot to make it exciting, but all the spinning around to find treats in the bottom seems to annoy her more than anything. I think the right thing is to work on "catch" with treats so she doesn't have to spin in the box. In the end, neither Grete nor I RUN to the box. I need to work on that. I'm afraid to add the cue for "box" until it is as exciting as "Kennel" or even "Hoop" to her.

I've also noticed that her "touch" is degrading so we'll have to work on that. The close target plate work is going well, I think.

What else... I wish I had taken better notes in the parking lot!

Sunday, July 27, 2008


In other news, agility is going quite well. Now that things have settled down with the house, we found time to practice with equipment at the house 4 times last week. I'm going to keep better track of our practices soon, but I'm excited that I'm finally getting better about keeping them short (less than 30 min) and productive. It helps to have a variety of tasks to practice so that neither Grete nor I get bored.

Here's a typical session:

* Get out the hoop. Run through it for a minute or two. Tossing treats or toys.
* Get out the HP computer box that Grete's big butt fits in. Shape for 1-2 minutes.
* Get out her old rug. Let her do something super easy like "go to your rug" and relax
* Do some "play" with the toy -- practice her new release word "Break" which means -- go ATTACK whatever it is ahead of you. Not just "ok" go get it -- but ATTACK. ZOOM!! "Ok" is still her normal "go be a dog" release word, but "break" will be more of her agility release word.
* Get out the hoop again for fun.
* Get out the weaves but only practice the first one. (We're only to gates -- i.e. 2 poles, so I need to tweak the next set initially.)
* Do some "touch" because it, again, is easy and fun.
* Do some "jump" to get the toy.

After we do these various things for about 20-30 minutes, I call it quits, and without fail, Grete stands at the bottom of the stairs refusing to come in. She loves it and wants more, more, more...

We also do some "practice" at work. We generally work on "break" with the tennis ball. I'm sorta sloppy, and I've been sorta working on "right here" to mean get to by my side so I can hold you back from the ball. (Opposition reflex stuff.)

However, I should get more militant about that. No tossing the ball unless she's parallel. I think that will really help, but it's an idea I haven't run past our trainer yet. I kinda like the idea of "nothing good comes to you unless you're paying attention to me and right at my side with your long butt in line."

Lastly, with the ball and fetch, we're still working on "left" (spin) and "right" (spin) as a holdover from our first classes. This is finally exciting because she's finally got "left" on a verbal. "Right" is still confusing.

However... this might have to be put on hold as this is polluting our ability to do front crosses. [ Another reference: Agility Nerd] When she's at my left side, she wants to do "left" so she'll do what's called a rear-cross instead. I get this feeling this is "No Good." (tm)

In any event, I think my biggest homework for the next two weeks will be working on parallel flat work: one or two steps forward while staying perfectly parallel, the push and pull turns (as my trainer calls them) and the very slow "front cross" that we're working on. We'll just have to sneak in a lot of parallel work at our little backyard practice sessions, when we're playing fetch, and on our walks around the neighborhood. Also, the one step forward practice should help with Grete's terrible heeling. Maybe. I can always hope.


Sorry we've been so quiet lately. It's been hella-busy with getting my old house ready for sale and getting an offer. The good news is that Grete loves our new home. She always has - even since she was a little puppy and the idea of me moving in with Jason was just a twinkle in Grete's eye.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Grete's butt at the BBQ

Sadly, neither Jason nor I thought to take pictures at the BBQ, and thus this is the only proof of Grete's participation in said BBQ. In fact, this isn't proof at all since this sort of photo could have happened any day. She loves her sticks, and she doesn't so much love the camera. FWIW, we have no pictures of Mia, the last of the three dogs that came to visit our little backyard.
Photo credit goes to Maggi:


Congee or Kanji or however it was said / pronounced / spelled was one of the dogs that came to the BBQ. He was the youngest.
Photo credit goes to Maggi:

Jaeger (and Divya)

Jaeger was one of the three dogs that came to the BBQ.
Photo credit goes to Maggi:


yesterday was a huge day for grete. there were a total of 3 new dogs in her backyard yesterday for the bbq. as a result of all that excitement, she's been downright tuckered all day. here she is... not watching rick steves on pbs. the very thought of taking a train through germany exhausts her to no end.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Like an old married couple

It's official. Grete, Gesso, and I have moved in with Jason. This weekend, Mike and his crew at Budget Moving moved all my stuff including my fridge, washer, and dryer to Jason's house. The most important item of the move -- Grete's kiddie pool -- was put to immediate use in the backyard because of the 80-90 degree heat. Gesso, on the other hand, was content to climb towers of cardboard boxes in the relatively cool basement.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Great Pyrenees! Wire Fox Terrier!!

Two adult Pyrenean Mountain DogsImage via WikipediaSorry about holding back on the results. I wanted to wait until I could use the little Wisdom Panel blog badge on the right and that takes 48 hours from registration.

And the winner is...
Grete's ancestry contains some Border Collie and also includes distant traces of German Shepherd Dog, Great Pyrenees and Wire Fox Terrier.
And as I've noted many time in disbelief... She has neither Australian Shepherd nor Labrador Retriever as the shelter originally claimed.
Zemanta Pixie

Monday, June 23, 2008

The results are in!

Grete's Wisdom Panel DNA test results are in! You'll never guess what she has trace amounts of!

Remember when I said the report had different levels of detection?

She has nothing in the "should see traits from" or significant amount field.

She has one breed in the "may see traits from" or medium amount field.

And she has THREE breeds in the "chance of seeing traits from" or trace amount field.

Can you guess now?

I bet you can't!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Baby Needs a New Pair of Shoes

Grete needs a new collar. Her current collar is cute, but we need more.

And the ones at Amazon tend to annoy me with their graphic designs.

Here are the top selling ones..

All are as lame as this carousel widget... *sigh*

Now these... these aren't so bad.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Agility Class Day #2

I've been meaning to say...

Our second agility class went much better than our first. Grete loved every minute of it, especially the part at the end when she got to play with Cloudine. (I wish I had a video camera for that. It was adorable to watch my dog play with a professional player.) Also, I got complemented on my "tugging" - which made me feel good. (I'm like a dog. I respond much better to positive comments than negative. :-) )

Not an Aussie or a Collie, but....

Today's Petfinder dog of the day is a special guy.

Because he's such a smart and trainable boy, Caspian is in foster at Great Dog Daycare. You can read his blog here - Caspian's Blog - and find out what new tricks he learns each day!

Any shelter dog that gets a blog is super special, that's for sure!

Monday, June 9, 2008

The Results Are In!

My official time was 34:28.

I came in 90th in the 30-39 Female group (out of 241.)

If I hadn't stopped for ~3 minutes for the wardrobe change I probably would have come in around the 50s for that division.

Not too bad for my first 5K. :-)

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Team Grete's Gang!

Almost to the finish line...