Thursday, December 31, 2009
I seldom fully participate in blog awards, but I think that this one is really special because there is strong meaning and purpose behind it. Sue over at the Portuguese Water Blog awarded this to me the other day.
I've always liked writing, especially about the topics that are near and dear to my heart. MargeBlog is the perfect blend of these factors for me - I get to write casually about what is arguably my favorite topic in the world, all the while sharing ideas and stories with others who hold similar interests. For that reason, I am honored to have been named a Superior Scribbler.
Mango and Dexter are obviously the faces of this great blog, but I know there is another person behind the scenes who is responsible for the hilarious content of this blog. "Mango Momma" has helped to give Mango and Dexter such unique voices on their blog. I sometimes catch myself saying things like "Most Excellent!" just the way the Mango himself would exclaim.
- Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most deserving Bloggy Friends.
- Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author and the name of the blog from whom she/he has received The Award.
- Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on her/his blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
- Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit This Post and add her/his name to the Mr Linky List. That way,we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
- Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on her/his blog.
Posted by Sam at 4:11 PM
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
I'm very proud of my girl for the way she handled herself last night (Monday). A longtime and very good friend of mine, who we'll call B, stopped by for a visit, when - long story short - plans went awry and he was in the neighborhood and left with no where to go (that's what happens when all of our friends are home from college and plans don't get finalized 'til the last minute).
Posted by Sam at 3:21 AM
Monday, December 28, 2009
Though I originally planned for a massive setup with 8 jumps, 12 weaves, a tunnel and a dog walk, I decided to make things a little more simple and work on some skills-type stuff with less equipment.
I had the most fun with this course. We didn't work on it long at all - I think we ran it clean on the first try. Off side tunnel entries and offside weave entries didn't present a problem at all. The ending was nice and flowy, so it was fun for Marge.
By far, this was the hardest sequence of the night. Well, at least 6-7-8-9 was, because I gave up on it. My problem was that I was trying to beat Marge down the line to jump 7 (as I whined about in the video) and sort of will her into the tunnel even though I knew she wouldn't go on her own. In retrospect, front crossing to keep her on my left as she came over jump 6 probably would have helped some. I may have tried it, but it's not on tape so I'm not sure.
This course really opened up my eyes as to how important lateral motion is. The first few times, I was in Marge's path for the weaves and she was SO not getting them. Then, since she was tired, she was doing all sorts of wacky stuff like skipping poles or starting on the wrong side (thus the bent poles). I was afraid of Marge blowing by the weaves if I pulled too hard to the right, but it didn't happen and she found her entry perfectly. The final 180 was pretty tricky. I think because of slight differences in how I had everything set up, I could NOT front cross the weaves and get her over 8 and 9. Fading from the weaves and pulling hard worked just fine for us.
Posted by Sam at 12:24 AM
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I had a whole post planned, talking about the snowy hike we went on in a brand new park yesterday and expressing surprise that it's already Christmas, but forgot that I had these adorable videos of my silly dog from last week.
Posted by Sam at 11:29 PM
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Agility class didn't go as well this week as it did last week. I had to go by myself, which set the stage for Marge having to be put in new situations - without any one to hold her leash and due to her aversion to going in crates while at the hall, she had to stay in the room with us during equipment set up. I tried to get her to do a sit stay or a down stay in a corner somewhere, but she wouldn't have any of it and kept getting up.
- dog walk contacts were good; no A-Frame out this week to worry about (we still haven't started working on our new contact criteria for the frame)
- worked diagonal/far side tunnel entrances, and I think we did well
- weaves were spectacular, I think she found her entry all but one time (and that time it was my fault due to my positioning)
- teeter was okay; it's a VERY slippery and squeaky teeter, so for Marge to perform it fully was a big deal. One of the other dogs had trouble with it.
- we worked a threadle for the first time - it was very hard to handle, especially given the tight quarters!
- we worked "soft backs," where the jumps are set up down a line but not in a straight line, and I had to switch sides two or three times in a row. Her backs are really nice and solid - I attribute it to all the flatwork we did in the beginning.
Posted by Sam at 2:15 AM
Sunday, December 20, 2009
It didn't officially reach blizzard conditions here in New York, but it sure did feel like one! I had to wake up at 6AM to trudge down three blocks and deliver heavy Sunday newspapers to 100 waiting customers with my sister. Normally, we get some help from our mother, with the car, but because of how bad the side roads were, we did a lot more walking than usual in a foot of snow, sometimes two or three feet in places that the wind had distorted it. If I may be honest, it was dreadful - better than what I expected, since many people had already begun cleaning their properties, but still very cold, wet, and tedious work. Let's just hope that the Christmas tips this year make it worth it.
True to my nature as an obsessive and impulsive picture taker of all things dog, here is a short video of the fun:
One more snow-covered shot. Marge looks like Harry Potter with the obnoxious trail of snow scarring her forehead.
In one of the clearer areas, she performed her "up" trick instead of the "beg" that I asked for. I don't think she wanted to sit in the snow.
In the wake of our failed snowman, this snow drift became a makeshift igloo where Marge crawled in to to retrieve a couple of treats. The picture doesn't show it well, but it was a couple of feet long underneath the snow! Good thing it didn't fall on her.
...Only to go back out, on our second walk of the day! It took us to one of our favorite places. I don't know how I made it there in snow-caked pajama pant and unsatisfactory boots, but yes, we walked down to the beach.
Marge was happy to hit the familiar sand, but was slightly bothered by the sounds of a loud and large pack of kids at the other end of the beach.
Still, she was willing to navigate around the snow and rocks with me (it's hard knowing where to step when everything is covered in white!) to take in the gorgeous view.
The return trip beckoned, and it was time to head home. Marge began to joyfully hop over the mounds of snow again, but I opted to just watch and laugh and smile instead of take many photos. She was having a grand time.
Once off of the beach, we clung to the guard rails near the field and connected road, where nature had laid out a perfect and easy walkway for us. Snow drifts can be good, sometimes!
Suffice to say, I am POOPED. Marge will not be getting her night walk today; I'm tired, cold, and even after a hot shower, still feel the tingly feeling of snow of my feet and legs. Marge is curled up in a corner, snoozing the evening away. I can't blame her - and let's hope her nap lasts for a few more hours!
Posted by Sam at 5:58 PM
Saturday, December 19, 2009
The snow began this afternoon and promises to continue through out the night. At the first sign of snowfall, we headed outside. The ground was still clear, and only flecks of white began to dot Marge's ears and face.
She started running around and play bowing. She gets really playful in the snow. I'm the only person in my house who's happy to see it add up for that reason.
Here she is before going inside. Understandably, she doesn't like it getting in her face. Hopefully, the wind will die down and we can go out and have some fun tomorrow.
Posted by Sam at 5:57 PM
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I recorded this the other night. Marge was antsy and looking for something to do. She went over to Layla and play bowed, but got swatted at (as is usually the case). Then, she came over to me seeking a solution.
Posted by Sam at 6:09 PM
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
After a stretch of not a whole lot of training stuff going on, we've actually had a few new developments this past week. I'll try to keep it brief since I have lots to talk about from yesterday's agility class, but, to sum up the big stuff:
- Led out two jumps to help her into the tunnel. Absolutely no obstacle discrimination problem there.
- Back cross to the teeter - we practice backs on the flat all the time, so this was no big deal at all. Marisa emphasized that we cross after the dog gets it head out of the tunnel so as to not confuse the dog and cause them to look all over the place to see where they have to go when they come out.
- The teeter itself - she did it, albeit cautiously. I was expecting a MUCH more fearful response from her. I'm actually excited for Marge and the teeter this winter, since I think it'll be available to us during private practices.
- Teeter to jump to A-Frame was self-exaplanatory.
- A-Frame contact - looks like we're going with a running. I told Marisa my concerns about Marge jamming herself on the A-Frame in attempt to get into the 2o2o position. She said running will be fine, and that because she has some idea of the 2o2o, it shouldn't be too hard to teach her where she's got to go.
- There were quite a few options on how to handle the jump-jump-weave. During my first run, I tried a landing side front as she came over the first jump and back crossed into the weaves. Not a problem. This time, she told me to do a rear cross over the first jump. Worked fine, too, though it kind of caused Marge to ask, "What? Where do I have to go next?"
- Her weave poles were the best I've seen in quite some time. I can't explain it - she had a stretch of pitiful weave poles and now it looks like they're shaping up again. This is the set from our outdoor agility classes and not the set from our indoor practice runs, so it may be an issue of spacing.
- Triple to tunnel - we did have one problem with this because I didn't turn enough to direct Marge into the tunnel. I corrected it, though, as you can see in this run.
- There were also multiple ways to handle the ending, but I did the landing side front seen in this video every single time because it worked well for me.
Posted by Sam at 2:35 AM
Monday, December 14, 2009
I've caught up with almost everyone's blogs, but I promise to get to the remainder of them by tomorrow. My agility update also won't come until tomorrow - heading off to class pretty soon.
Posted by Sam at 2:54 PM
Friday, December 11, 2009
Just minutes later, we reached the sand. It was so dry compared to our last few visits after rain storms that it almost reminded me of a desert. Marge was anxious to round the bend and run across the long strip of beach beyond that grass, but I always rein her in first and make sure that no one is there. It's a popular spot for offleash dogs.
We reached the field just a few minutes later, en route to our house. Her ears stood straight up as I called her to me.
One more shot before we crossed the street for home.
Posted by Sam at 6:13 PM
A rescue from Georgia bounced around from shelter to shelter and state to state with her siblings, Marge did not have the luxury of living in a home - my home - until just past her first birthday. A life behind bars had taken its toll on Marge, whose obvious fear of people, noise, and city life in general left a lot for her to learn about how to get by in New York.
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