Sunday, November 6, 2011

Time Marches On

This summer flew by in a whirlwind of white fur, yellow tennis balls, grey highway, and green grass. With all that has happened around here is dawned on me I have been negligent in my updates. The puppies have grown and are gone, we have travelled to and from Ontario for Canadian Nationals, and the 2011 flyball season wrapped up with some incredible stories. I guess then I will start at the beginning and finish at the end.


Our Inseguire Calliope x Dig It Obsession litter turned out to be everything we could have hoped for and more. All the puppies seem to have inherited their mother's drive, their father's charm, and good looks from both sides of the pedigree. The little boy, Inseguire Nate, has gone off to Ontario to live with a wonderful young couple. One of the colorful girls, girl #2 now Inseguire Thalia, moved to BC to live in the mountains and keep her new parents company in their retirement. The biggest girl, Inseguire Strike-A-Pose, went off to the USA and a life of dog shows and couch cuddling and the tiny little girl, Inseguire Lokasenna who was girl #1, has stayed here for further evaluation. Some days I still miss them but thanks to facebook and the internet I often get peeks at how they are doing in their new homes.


When the puppies were just 9 weeks old we travelled to Ontario with the entire white-coated crew to compete at the JRTCC Nationals. Thalia flew off to BC the morning we left and Nate and Striker made the trek with us to be delivered to their new families. Everyone travelled well and the trip was surprisingly quiet for having 9 JRTs in tow. We arrived a couple of days before the show and spent some time with family and getting the puppies socialized with all kinds of new people, places, and things. Saturday was bitter sweet for me. Kiwi racing incredibly well making the finials in both flats and hurdles and placing third and second respectively. Sadie showed very well in the veteran class, and Cali had an absolutely wonderful time on the trailing and locating course. At the end of the day however I had to say good-bye to both Nate and Striker who headed home with their new families to being their new and wonderful lives. It is always difficult for me to say good-bye to our puppies but I can not help but smile when I think of all the fun they will have and the joy they will bring their new people.

Sunday morning was another early one for us as while racing was over for the weekend Mazel Tov had her agility classes. This was her debut in AAC type agility and she did very well. At the end of the day she walked away with a first in gamblers, a second in jumpers, and a third in regular agility - well worth the early morning wake-up call! Over in conformation Kiwi took a solid second in a lovely class of bred by exhibitor bitches. This is always a very competitive class as breeders showcase their very best efforts here and I was very proud to be standing on the other end of the leash from this beautiful little girl. I also had the opportunity to show Robert's brother Quick for Gaye Redpath in the family class and he took both the Stud Dog and Get class and a little while later the Family Championship. Between events I had Sadie and Cali entered in some performance classes, Sadie in Brush Hunt and Cali in Lure Coursing. Sadie always enjoys finding and marking quarry so to keep her happy and enthusiastic we always do one "find a rat" event at trials. She was right on today however and found the rat in short course with a time that was enough to earn her a second place in veterans division of that event! Not bad really for an old hunting dog who never really "schools" those kinds of things. Because Cali was not quite back to form after having her puppies I kept her out of the conformation ring for the weekend and focused her efforts on performance. I had never done anything other than a little trailing and locating with her and some spectacular reinventions of go-to-ground which involved her hitting the end of the tunnel, realizing she is blocked and finding another way to get to the rat. Let's just say once Cali is focused on doing something there is nothing that can stop her and with her diminutive size she is very hard to get a handle on sometimes. After the second chase through the trial grounds while she fiercely guarded her new found rat-in-a-cage we stopped doing that particular event. I had not however really tried her in any running type events. I knew from flyball

Apart form the ribbons and awards we had a great time. I got to see a bunch of my Eastern friends and see a bunch of new and beautiful terriers. I always enjoy the trials but it is so nice to be get to enjoy my friends on Canadian soil every once in a while as well.

The final update of the summer season comes from the world of flyball but so much happened in the 2011 season I think the recap deserves a post of it's own so stay tuned - it will be coming soon!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

10 Simple Principles that all Jack Russells Live By

I hear all the time how difficult JRTs are to train and yet I find them one of the simplest and uncomplicated dogs I have every worked with. They function on a couple of basic and unwavering principles and once a person understands these principles it makes training them an enjoyable, all be it entertaining, experience.

1) Jack Russells are fun loving dogs. They are ruled by their inner Freudian "Id" so to speak and want to be doing whatever is most fun. To convince them to do what you want all you have to do in convince them that it is the most fun activity in the world and only lucky lucky dogs get to engage in it. And, well, wouldn't luck have it you are looking for a dog to do it with right then and there!

2) Jack Russells want to be with you, they NEED to be with you. They can be social creatures who will learn to tolerate, and even enjoy, the company of other pets but what they really want, above all else, is to be with you. Once bonded they live by the mantra "if it's good enough for you it's good enough for me".

3) Principle #2 makes Principle #1 much easier to teach as whatever you are doing is, by default, possibly the most interesting thing in the world so if you look like you are having a great time doing it they will likely want to join you and there is your window of opportunity to engage them.

4) Jack Russells are sensitive. You may not notice it under their bristly, some times stand offish, exterior but if you punish them, discipline them too harshly or at the wrong time, or simply are not aware of the effort they are making to please you they will stop working for you. Period.

5) They have an amazing sense of fairness. Be fair in your requests, expectations, and corrections and they will respect you for it.

6) Jack Russells do not do delayed gratification. When they want something they want it now. Make sure you do not delay rewarding them or they will start to loose interest.

7) They work on a simple value system, they will happily give you any item you would like if you provide them with an item of higher value. Similarly, if they are doing something fun and you are doing something more fun, they will want to do that thing with you - every time.

8) Learn to laugh. These are happy, intuitive, dogs by nature and if they sense you are angry or frustrated (with them or anything else) they will also become angry or frustrated. If you have FUN, they will have fun and keep working for you and with you.

9) "Mistakes" happen, don't dwell on them and neither will they.

10) And possibly the most important principle I can think of. Jack Russell are like a mirror and will reflect back at you exactly how you are interacting with them. All dogs are like this to some degree but Jack Russells take it to the extreme so be very aware of exactly how you are feeling when you are working with them - if you do everything with them out of love and respect for them they will do everything out of love and respect for you.

I understand that not everyone who has a JRT had the luxury of getting them from a good breeder who instilled proper foundations but most of these puppy games will work in one modified version or another for any age of terrier.

When we start teaching our puppies as early as 3 weeks old we start ingraining all the important things we feel are necessary to having a happy balanced and highly trainable terrier. By keep my interactions with the puppies 100% positive and super fun (doesn't matter if they just bit me with razor sharp puppy teeth or not) I am starting to build the foundation of "people are fun to work with". When my puppies hear me come into the whelping room they start calling for me, and as soon as I step into their area they are crawling on me and under me, leaping up to give kisses and looking for attention and interaction. Every time I am with them we have fun, and lots of it.

As they age (around 4 weeks) I start working on recall. We teach them that and that while exploring and going off on your own is interesting, what ever I am doing when I call you is going to be WAY more fun. I always call them over in a very happy tone and play, snuggle, wrestle, and reward coming back to me. We reinforce this as they age by having treats or special toys and calling puppies in groups and as individuals for rewards. While this may seem like a basic, and easily trained command, to some JRTs are notorious for having poor recall and more often than not these early games help to produce the end result of an adult terrier that possesses excellent recall skills because it truly believes that whatever people are doing just HAS to be more fun than what they were doing.

We also play tug and exchange games. Playing with one toy, dropping it, switching to the next, dropping it, and then switching back. Doing this shows them that while toys are fun, toys attached to people are AMAZING. All my terriers when I am playing with them if I drop a toy will pick it up and try to shove it back in my hand (or face depending on how close they are to eye-level) to get me to continue the game. If I don't they will often abandon that toy and follow me around to see what fun thing I might be up to next.

We start trade games. If a puppy has a toy (never food as it is too high value), we trade them for a yummy yummy cookie by sitting down 2-3 feet away and calling them over. If they bring the toy with them that is fine, they will have to drop it to eat the cookie and then you can distract them by moving excitedly away from the toy. I never take the toy, or even bother to pick it up really at this stage, I just want them to leave what they are doing and come check out what I am doing. As they get a little older I start going over to where they are playing and putting my hand, palm up with cookies in it, on the thing they are playing with. At this stage most of my terriers will abandon the toy in search of more food which they are sure I have. Some will want to take the food and them steal the toy and run away at which point I follow them, slowly, and once I get to them I drop some cookies right in front of their nose. If they eat the cookies I will drop a few more an inch or so away, then a few more inches, and so on until we are about 2' from where we started. By this point they have often left the toy behind and are focused on the new trailing game. One of the ways you can use a puppy's short attention span to your advantage.

I always make sure to work with my puppies individually and with their litter mates or other dogs around. I want them to learn that I am the most fun thing in the world. I want them to truly believe I play all the best games and know where all the best toys and cookies are stashed. I want them to remain playing and engaged with me even as their sibling try to steal them away. I keep sessions short, fun, and sweet. While I may allow a litter mate or other dog to come over while I am playing with one puppy I will move them off when they got too close so the puppy I am playing with does not feel they need to drop what they are doing and tell them to "back off" themselves.

I protect my puppies at all costs. As young puppies they will naturally turn to me for security when they are scared or uncertain. A puppy who hears a strange loud noise in the yard will run over to me and then cock it's head, or bark, in the direction of the noise from the security of my lap. When I see one is getting picked on by a litter mate or other dog I will call them over and then "shoo" the other dog away. I teach them early that when you are with me you are safe and if you are in my 2' bubble of protection I will fight all your battles for you. This not only builds a bond that lasts the life time of these terriers but also curbs any aggression issues related to insecurity that a terrier may be prone to develop in it's future. Now this is not to say I allow my puppies to run over to me and pick on their litter mates from "high ground" on my lap, I set those puppies down beside me and move away. If they continue to jump on me it tells me that what looks like bullying is really insecurity so I pick them up and take them to do something else with just that puppy and I. Usually by the time we return whatever situation that made them so uncomfortable has passed and they are happy to go on being fun, social, puppies.

These are just a few examples of the things we do during the first 9 weeks of life with our puppies. I am sure that there are many many more I have forgotten to list but for me these are some of the core ones that address the most common problems people seem to have with these little white dogs. While I am adamant that these are most certainly not a dog for everyone I also hope that everyone who finds themselves living with a Jack Russell, for one reason or another, can learn to enjoy and experience the breed the way we have been so very fortunate to.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

One more checkmark on the Bucket List

It has always been a dream of mine to one day perform with my dogs in one of the world famous "Superdog" shows. Having grown up watching them as a child I was always in awe of the amazing canine athletes and as I aged I was even more in awe of the amazing people who handle and train them. Over the years I have kept an ear to the ground waiting to learn how I could get an opportunity to audition and this year everything just seemed to come together. I discovered that a long-time flyball friend of mine got her start in the sport due to Superdogs and was an integral part of their operation. I told her about my life-long admiration of this show and she worked her magic and facilitated an audition during the Saskatoon Exhibition shows this year.

Although we have a number of dogs that would be suitable for the show I chose Kiwi as my partner. Anyone who has met her and fallen, spellbound, for her enchanting ways will understand why. She has a presence, an energy, that far exceeds her athletic abilities and is impossible to ignore. Before the audition she only had the most basic of agility and disc training but her self confidence and trainability made me confident in my decision.

We arrived on the first day, Kiwi excited to be out in such a public venue and me a little nervous as to what was in store. It did not take long however for us to settle in and the familiar faces of my friends Courtney and Sam turned the nerves to excitement as I prepared to fulfill a life-long dream and check one more thing off my "bucket list". The whole week went by too quickly in a blur of people, dogs, new friends and laughter but some highlights stand out above all else:

The first time Kiwi did "Pat and Chat" after the show and I watched over a dozen people swarm around her, hands outstretched and petting every inch of her body. Even I felt a little claustrophobic in that setting but Kiwi, ever the social butterfly, soaked it all up and looked for more. The 8 more sessions of this to follow over the next 3 days did nothing to dissuade her of her notion that all people were put on this earth to love her.

The first time I asked her to run an obstacle course, complete with tunnels (an object she had never seen before) and she executed it with few errors - all of which could have been easily corrected with better handling.

Bringing Brynne on Thursday to expose him to the atmosphere and doing the final Pat and Chat of the day with him. He laid down on the podium and accepted all the attention like he was born into it, even handing out the occasional "kiss" on request to squealing and delighted children.

Stepping out onto the stage for my first show in front of 2500 people with Kiwi, looking out into the crowd and having only a brief moment to reflect before Kiwi hit her tug at full force and brought me back to reality.

Performing in my first Superdog relay event with Tov, my wonder puppy, and having her perform flawlessly - focused and unfazed by the large crowd. Time and time again I marvel at this little dog who was never supposed to be.

Making so many new friends who share similar passions to my own and meeting so many amazing trainers who skills and experience I will be drawing on for years to come.

It was a whirlwind and thoroughly exhausting week but I left on Friday happy and fulfilled and so very very proud of my dogs. I hope that there will be more opportunities in the future for us to perform with this amazing cast of canines and trainers but if "now" is the only time we have we certainly made every moment of it count and I would not trade in a single second.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cali & Co.

After a long wait Cali's puppies finally arrived the evening of Thursday the 21st. Her temperature dropped on Wednesday and she started to nest a little and show a few signs of discomfort so I stayed up with her all night and watched her as she slept peacefully beside my bed, blissfully unaware. By the next afternoon when there were still no puppies I was starting to get a little stressed but Cali was calm, cool, and collected so I waited. Around 7pm, almost 24 hours from the initial temperature drop, her water broke and minutes later we had our first puppy, a colorful little girl. The next one came 16 minutes later, a little boy with a half mask and a small spot on his bum. Cali was thrilled with them and continued to feed, clean, and dote on them for the next hour until the next one arrived at 8:06pm, another colorful little girl. We knew there was one more puppy to be had as we had done xrays and after waiting almost an hour and a half with no signs of any further contraction I was once again getting anxious. Cali however had a handle on the situation and gave birth to a beautiful, large, girl at 9:39pm. She was breech and had a slight purple tint to her back legs, a tell tale sign that she had been waiting a little too long to come, but she pinked up quickly and went right to nursing so I knew she would be fine. The final count was 3 girls and 1 boy, all healthy, happy and thriving, and Cali is in her glory being a mother. I am not sure I have ever seen her this content or at peace, it is like she was born to this job and I am sure she will enjoy these puppies even more once they get a little older and can play with her the way Sadie's last litter did. I myself can not wait to watch them grow and see what they blossom into as I think they are just beautiful but I am, after all, a little biased as I think their mother is just about the cutest litter terrors I have ever seen.

Fun from another angle

This past weekend our dog sport club was proud to be host to the first disc (frisbee) seminar in Saskatoon. This has become my new addiction and while I still adore playing flyball with the Inseguire gang disc offers some new and exciting challenges for both the dogs and myself. It was a hot, hot, weekend and we spent the better part of Saturday working on our throwing skills without the dogs. Most dogs will catch a frisbee quite readily once they turn on to it, but they can only be successful if the disc is thrown correctly to them and that is what Saturday was all about. We threw hundreds of discs with different spin, angles, and grips, and only once we felt confident we could offer our dogs "nice" throws did we pull them out into the heat. All the morning work paid off when we did a mock "Distance and Accuracy" event where longest, successful, catch wins. The dogs were running out and for the most part able to catch at least a few of our throws.  Sadie has always really enjoyed this aspect of the game and happily tracks the discs wherever I throw them. Once I can reliably hit a target Kiwi's speed should be an asset to her but she lacks the tracking skills of her mother so I will really need to up my game for her to be successful. We took a short brake for an early pot-luck BBQ dinner and then were back out in the field, again without the dogs for our own "D&A" event which consisted of throwing a disc between the standards of a flyball jump at 10 and 20 meters then running to the other side and throwing it back, into the wind, between a jump placed at 10 meters. It was a lot harder than it sounds as it is a very small target to hit but our group did well and we could really start to see the progress we were all making especially in the areas of disc control.

Thankfully Sunday was a little cooler and we switched gears to freestyle tricks for the second day. This is where my real interest lies. I love the flashy freestyle routines performed at disc events and demos and the girls love working on their aerials and tricks. Up to this point Sadie had not been too keen on jumping up for discs, she has always been quite content to track them and snatch them up as the reach eye level but she has left the flashier leaps to the younger dogs. I was more than a little surprised, but quite pleased, when she readily vaulted off my leg and left 5+ feet into the air after a disc. After that there was no slowing her down, she worked on back stalls, foot stalls (standing on my feet) and vaulting with an enthusiasm I have not seen in her in years. It was really wonderful to see her turn back the clock half a decade and out jump her much younger daughter on multiple occasions. Now Kiwi is no slouch, her vaulting is impressive and her back stalls are really improving but she has always been a careful and thoughtful terrier and add to that the fact that she is still easily distracted and she is much more of a challenge to work. I have to constantly keep her moving - catching, tugging, jumping - and I need to make sure she is successful as nothing disengages her more than too many missed throws in a row. Like everything else at this point, all she needs is a little more time in the sport and a little more maturity and I think she will have a bright future.
Tov attended the seminar as well as she has been showing a keen interest in discs and a natural ability to catch them from all angles. This little girl never ceases to amaze me and wowed everyone with her drive and athleticism all weekend excelling in not only D&A but also in the freestyle tricks as well. She is such a fun little dog.
All in all it was a fun weekend. We learnt a ton, spent 2 beautiful days outside with friends, and I got to enjoy a weekend doing something new and different with my girls. Now to sit at home for the next week and watch Cali as she gets ready to whelp, I did however promise her that once the puppies were out mommy had some great new games to play with her - hopefully that speeds along the process!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Inseguire Keepsake and Ruffwinds Riddock
Reserve Open Terrier and Open Terrier Champion Respectively

Once again the Inseguire gang headed down to Nebraska at the end of June for the MAWTA Trial. The two-day trip is always well worth it as this is a fantastic trial in a beautiful location. The surrounding areas are rich with quarry and the dogs and I spent the Friday before the trial and the Monday after hunting with friends. Unfortunately we did not get into anything exciting on either excursion but I suppose that is why they call it "hunting" and not "finding". The trial that happened in between turned out to be the highlight of the weekend. Saturday started off well with Kiwi coming in second in flat racing and winning the hurdles in her division (over females). She was in serious contention in the final against some large, fast, older males when she misjudged the height of the last hurdle and nicked it with her back legs. How she did not crash into a somersault I will never fully understand but her athleticism and determination helped her do a hand-walk for a few strides and get right back into the race. Unfortunately for her it happened so near the finish she did not have a chance to place competitively. Thankfully though she did not injure herself and went on to help her mom win the family class later that day.

Sunday came early and we were back at the track, fresh and ready for another shot at the boys. Kiwi had her game face on and won both the flat and hurdle legs of her division handily. Being her first trial over high hurdles (puppies jump lower) she had to learn to adjust her stride and jump a little higher. You could tell in the steeplechase race she was jumping very deliberately and paying close attention to her take offs and landings and it paid off. She ran hard in the championship race and just got nosed out by a more experienced dog, but she beat everyone else so she won the Reserve Championship! We had a little time before conformation started so I ran Sadie through the barn hunt and she found her mark in less than twenty seconds, good enough for 3rd when all was said and done. I also took Robert over to run the lure and burn off a little energy. He loved it and placed 4th overall. By this time conformation was starting and with so many dogs in open conformation this year things were a little hectic for me. I asked one of the young terrier men, Ross, if he would be so kind as to pull out Kiwi for me and hold her the ring gate as there were no classes between her's and Cali's. As I walked out the ring with Cali and was about to exchange dogs Patti, the trial organizer and his mother suggested I let Ross take her in as they had been warming up really nicely together and he has loved Kiwi since he first saw her as a 6 month old puppy. I agreed as Kiwi obviously enjoyed his company as well and I would have the novel experience of getting to watch once of my dogs compete.  They were a dynamic pair and won their class and then went on to win the Open Bitch Championship! Unbeknownst to me Ross ran out of bait at this point but kept his cool and showed her like a pro as the judge spent 20 minutes going over her and the winner of the Males class. Now Kiwi is not an easy dog to show, she does not like to stand still and she gets distracted very easily. Part of it is her youth and inexperience and part of it is who she is and what makes her so irresistibly charming so Ross did an amazing job keeping her on task and semi-still all that time to win the Reserve Open Terrier Championship. Not to shabby when the dog in front of her is the reigning 2010 National Champion! I could not have been more proud of my little hooligan, and the young man at the end of her leash.

Patton and Sadie did not disappoint either with Patton taking the Reserve Colored Terrier Championship both days to a striking red Fell, and Sadie once again winning the family championship with Kiwi and Cali at her side. Even though Cali ballooned up in the car on the way down and really started to show her pregnancy I put her in the ring anyway and she did quite well never missing the ribbons even though she was getting a little thick around the middle.

All in all it was a great weekend of sunshine, terriers, and good friends. The hunting was a great time to catch up with some people I don't see nearly often enough and I learnt a lot from one of the UK judges who is a professional terrierman on how to dig a better hole and how to keep after a groundhog as they dig away. This weekend marks the end of our terrier trial season until Nationals as I will now be home with Cali and her puppies and just enjoying the next generation of Inseguire Terriers.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Matter of Trust

We just got home from a week-long trip to Nebraska and while I have many highlights and stories to share I wanted take a minute to first address one particular event before I sort my thoughts on the rest of the weekend. It was Sunday night after the trial, the car was packed to come home complete with dogs and it was a cool evening so I made the choice to leave them crated in their familiar car rather than bring them back to the hotel and crate the in a strange place. Everyone was quiet and tired from a long day so I rolled down the windows a little and left them sleeping peacefully. A little while later as we were ordering dinner I lifted my head in reflex to visually confirm my car was still there and nothing looked amiss. I could see nothing. Literally nothing beyond the window of the restaurant for the rain that was sheeting down from the sky. I then heard the siren, the signal that a questionable storm was on it's way. Not thinking much beyond needing to see my dogs and rolling up the windows of my car which I was sure would be flooded at this point I ran out the door and was soaked instantly. When I got to the car, a mere 15 feet from the door, the dogs were howling, Sadie was hiding under some gear in the back and everyone was generally uneasy. I started the car, rolled up the windows, and turned on the radio to damper the sounds of the insistent siren. I then let my dogs loose and they instantly piled on my lap. A few soft kisses, a wary look or two outside, and they fell asleep content, feeling nothing but secure and completely safe now that "mommy" was here. It was one of those moments in life that really made me realize the bond that is shared between us. My dogs and I have always been close and have shared an eerie kinship that not many people can understand but in that moment it was made clear to me just how deep that bond goes. When I sat down in that car and they heard my voice the whole atmosphere changed. They went from stressed and scared to relaxed and secure, in an instant they believed with every fiber of their being that when I am present nothing bad could ever happen to them. I sat there with them for twenty minutes as 80mph winds rocked the vehicle. I watched the sky for signs of a funnel cloud and prepared myself for a potential mad-dash to the restaurant door with 5 dogs in tow. Thankfully the sky cleared and all went back to as it was withing the span of a half hour but the whole experience for me was deeply moving. It once again served to reminded me of the awesome responsibility we assume when we accept guardianship of an animal, and that true love is a matter of trust, a trust that is beyond merely taking a leap of faith, or doing something despite initial hesitation. Trust in a deeper, purified sense. A trust that does not waiver, or question, but truly believes that no matter the circumstance and no matter the cause that which you value most deeply will be protected and endure. This is the kind of trust we, regrettably, find so rarely in our human world. It is a trust that must be earned through our actions and fortified over time through reliability and dependence. It requires a benefactor free of misgiving and a recipient who will recognize and respect that which has been bestowed upon them. While I know beyond question that I am a better person for having my dogs it is nice to once and a while be reminded that their lives are better for having me as well.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Moose Jaw Mania

We spent last weekend in Moose Jaw helping to host our "home" tournament. Even though we live 2hrs away we love our teammates and can not imagine playing with anyone else. The tournament was held in the same building as we practice and Friday night set up went smoothly and most of it was done by the time we got there from Saskatoon. We arrived in time to set up our crates and help with a few last minute details before heading off to a teammates house for the night.

Saturday morning came all too early, as it always does, but the excitement of the racing erases the fog quickly. Kiwi's team got off to a bang running in the 17s right off the bat. This is our fastest team, our Div 1 contenders, and Kiwi filled the big shoes left by her sister Cali with ease. Every time I race this little dog I am amazed. Cali works hard to do the 4.6s and 4.7s she posts but Kiwi easily ticks off 4.6s and a few in the 4.5 range. By the last race on Sunday, a little worn from the weekend, she still managed to post a new personal best of 4.5 flat meaning 4.4s and better are not too far off! Sadie was a trooper all weekend and earned her FMX (10,000 pts) which is half way to her ONYX title, a major honor in flyball. Tov was, as always now, super consistent and ran a number of 4.9s with a pass. That little girl runs her heart out every time and gives you everything she's got, I could not ask for a more honest little dogs! By the end of the weekend Kiwi had her FDCh-G, Sadie her FMX, Riley his FM (not bad for a dog who was never supposed to run!), and Tov was only 100pts off her FDCH-G too. Kiwi's team also set a new club record mid Sunday of 17.095 - 16s are just around the corner for that group! It was a great weekend, but I have to say I missed my little Cali. Flyball is her thing and it was a little weird to be playing without her. Oh well, soon enough I will have her back in the lanes with me and hopefully a new little daughter who can watch and learn from mommy.

Friday, May 20, 2011

St Croix Terrier Trial

Event 2 of this past month involves the always exciting first trial of our JRTCA season. This year we chose to kick off a little early and attend the St Croix Terrier Trials in Lake Elmo MN. Structured a little differently than your typical terrier trial it was a JRTCA sanctioned trial on Saturday and an AWTA (American Working Terrier Association) trial on Sunday. The drive down was long but thankfully uneventful and we met up with old friends immediately upon our arrival. Being isolated up here in the "Great White North" I miss my American and Canadian terrier friends dearly over the winter and as such I am always very happy to have the opportunity to catch up with them. Friday evenings dinner was one of stories, cocktails, and good food - all the things a meeting of good terrier men and women should entail. Afterwards I unpacked the dogs, settled into the hotel, and was in bed at a shockingly reasonable hour.
With Kiwi now an adult I did not have to be at the racetrack quite as early as I had last year but for someone used to not having to have dogs ready to go until afternoon when conformation starts anything before 10am seems torturous. The weather as well was not entirely with us on Saturday as a little drizzle made for a damp start. Kiwi of course did not mind one bit, so long as there is a lure and a track she is happy to run in any conditions. She made her adult debut in style and won the Over Bitches flat race and then went on to take the hurdles race as well securing her a spot in the championship race. As an adult the initial races are separated by gender so the winner of the flat and hurdle races for boys and girls compete in the final. Like Kiwi the same dog won both the flat and hurdles so it was just the two of them for the Championship. It was a thrilling race to say the least as they ran neck and neck down the course, hit the hole together (an event that always makes me catch my breath) and ended in a dead heat! A rerun saw Kiwi come out victorious but I think that close match let her know the "big boys" will not be easy to outrun. We spent the rest of the day over at conformation where Kiwi and Robert took respectable thirds in their Open Conformation divisions and Robert won his suitability to Raccoon/Badger class. Sadie was the Veteran Terrier Champion and Patton took the Colored Terrier Championship.
There was no racing on Sunday so we were able to fall back into our old routine of sleeping in a little and taking our time arriving at the trial site. The day was much more inviting with near perfect temperatures and enough wind to keep any bugs that had been thinking about coming out away. While we waited for conformation to start I ran Robert through the Go-to-Ground tunnel and it did not take him long to figure out what he was supposed to be doing there. Cali and Patton both did a little trailing and locating work as I am hoping that Patton will take over as my tracking dog this summer once Cali has been bred. He did quite well on the scent trail, despite high winds, and as he matures a little more I think he will become a handy terrier to have around.
A cup of coffee and a little lunch later and conformation was ready to start. Cali was first in the ring and impressed me immensely taking the win in her class over some nice littler terriers and going on to take Reserve Champion Open Bitch. Robert repeated her performance in a little while later and took Reserve Champion Open Dog. We had a little fun and entered Cali, Kiwi, and Robert in the "Tool Box" class which they eventually won over some pretty handy competition.
All in all it was a great weekend filled with friends, of both the old and new variety, dogs, and pretty colored ribbons. What more could a girl want from life?

Warmen Flyball

As I have been a little negligent in my blogging I have 2 posts, from 2 different weekends, that each deserve separate billing. Here is the first. Mother's Day weekend, May 7th and 8th, saw us close to home in Warmen SK for the annual River Runner's flyball tournament. This year was a little extra special as it also marked our 1 year anniversary with Furry Flash. All our teams ran very well all weekend but there were a few special highlight moments that certainly stand out. Tov came back from a month break (due to a spay surgery) to run full time as the sole height dog on her team. She was solid all weekend and earned enough points to achiever her FDCh-S title. Kiwi ran part time with KAOS, a team from Regina, and never posted a time over 5 seconds. Her box turn seems to be coming along better and I am hopeful she will be ready to run in a more regular position soon. Sadie was great running full time once again and she even helped one of the younger handler in our club earn her Junior Handler pin for running her an entire race. Cali was once again my star of the weekend as she posted a new personal best of 4.65s on Sunday morning and then went on the achieve her FMX (10, 000 pts) title that afternoon. Considering she has only been running flyball for not quite a year and a half I am beyond proud of her. I will very much miss running her this summer once she has been bred as her enthusiasm and love of the game is infectious and always brings a smile to my face.