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Utility Game
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
the hairy blue terror and the sheep
Jessie, my kerry blue terrier, has found a new calling -- chasing, er, I mean, herding sheep. I took him to his first ever sheep herding lesson last night. Biggest challenge was getting him into the enclosure with two sheep and a goat. He had to walk in calmly, paying at least some attention to me, and not pulling on the leash. This took about 7 minutes of starting and stopping. Every time he pulled and started scrambling and barking like a maniac, I would just stop. When he calmed down and looked at me, I'd start towards the sheep again. Eventually he figured out if he wanted to get to the sheep, he had to walk there like a gentleman.

Once in the enclosure, the instructor, Jean, gave me a plastic rake. I used this to keep his body and head straight as we walked on a loose leash around the enclosure with the sheep moving out of our way. Jessie did pretty good at this, quickly realizing that he just had to walk calmly with me. Then Jean had me drop the leash when he wasn't paying attention to me, and walk over to the sheep.

The exercise we did was that I had the sheep behind me, right close to me. I kept Jessie back and in front of me with the rake. Once he stopped fighting this and calmed down, I would just use my body and the rake to gently bring him around to move the sheep. He'd run the sheep around in a big circle until they were back behind me, and then I'd stop him with the rake and we'd do the same thing.

It is amazing to do something like this after years of obedience and agility. There were no need for treats, or commands, or anything like that. Jessie knew what to do and wanted to do it (move the sheep). My only job was to start and stop the action. I would guess a dog either does it or doesn't do it. I can't imagine, like in obedience, trying to "train" a dog to do this.

That said, it was also a lot of work! Both of use were completely exhausted after two fifteen minute sessions. Jessie seemed just a touch sore this morning, but not bad for an almost 8 year old kerry!

Posted by enoj at 9:31 AM EDT
Sunday, July 31, 2005
World's 5th UDX Kerry!
I had an absolutely wonderful, exciting weekend at the Lackawanna Kennel Club shows on Friday and Saturday. After getting his first UDX leg at Mt. Nittany in June of 2004, one year and one month later, Jessie finished his UDX with two legs in one weekend. He is now, officially, Primrose Jessie James UDX NAJ!

In case you haven't been there, the Lackawanna Kennel Club holds a show on Friday and Saturday only in the rolling hills of PA. The setting is absolutely beautiful. Definately a show to camp at, or if you stay, book a room at the Comfort Inn of Wysox nice and early since it is always full and enjoy their free breakfast of homemade waffles.

The weather this year was perfect -- cool mornings heating up to a nice, toasty, but not too hot summer day. No rain at all. It was Jessie's kind of weather. The obedience is in a big farm building, the rings completely separated. The only thing that distracted dogs at all were some low ceilings.

On Friday, much to Jessie's fury, the morning was all about my shih tzu, Bailey. He showed in Open A for the very first time, and trooper like he is, he picked up his first leg with a score of 190.5 and a fourth place ribbon. That set the bar for Jessie! He was raring to get out of his crate as the day progressed. When I eventually got him out, he was almost bouncing off the walls in excitement, tearing around the rings with his tail up and full of joy. First we showed in Utility under Evelyn VanUnden. She gave us a qualifying score of 191 starting the day right. Then we went into Open and showed for Janet Lewis, always a tough but fair judge. Once again, he was full of energy and comments (too many barks!) and got a 195. I was glad to know the down stay was first, so after the sit stay he got his treats and party, setting him up right for Saturday.

On Saturday Jessie was luck enough to be in both his classes earlier in the day. First we did Open under judge Ed Whitney. Most of you probably know him as both an obedience judge and a breeder of Kerry Blue Terriers and P Water Dogs. He was very enthusiastic about having a kerry in his Open class and encouraging, telling me he thought Jessie was a very nice working dog. Jessie pulled a 195.5 and one 4th place after a 3 way run-off! Good boy!

Then we had a long wait for Utility. I kept him up with a steady supply of some yummy dog treats and we practiced our moving stand with a number of people to help steady him on this difficult (for him) exercise (why make the judge walk to you when you can walk to the judge?). He then showed for Janet Lewis again, scoring a 191.5! I don't know how I held my nerves together! It was very hard to concintrate. When he brought back that last scent article in the last exercise, all my friends were there yelling.

But I had almost no time to celebrate, and had to run over and do the Open sit stays with my shih tzu, As I came in the ring I told judge Ed Whitney I'd just gotten the UDX. As I returned from the sits, Bailey was down, and I have to admit I still had a grin on my face. There will be so many more times in the ring with Bailey, and I'd gotten that UDX!

What an adventure! Now I'll have to sit back and think of new goals. Maybe Open titles in agility? Who knows! Right now I'm just happy to have seen this through to the end.

Posted by enoj at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, July 24, 2005
more agility fun
Well I'm so glad I tried this agility stuff with my kerry. We had a fun day yesterday at another agility trial. I am not going back today, since there is a jazz/wine festival in at a local winery and that sounded like too much fun to miss. The dogs can stay home and sleep in the heat.

Jessie did really wonderful, although no legs. It's nice not to feel the preassure of NQing that those UDX legs make me feel (I'll be returning to the obed ring next friday). I can sympathize with the people trying to get MACH points and MX legs, but right now, I just don't feel that preasure, thank goodness!

First class was Open Jumpers -- Jessie rocked! He ran the course exactly like I wanted him to do it. It was so cool to see him zipping around in the way I'd planned. No idea if it was a good plan, but at least it was my plan and it actually got us around the course almost clean. The only issue he had was missing weave poles. It took us three tries to get them right -- but 3rd try was magic and we did the rest of the course correctly. I'm guessing the more we run, the more we'll get the weaves poles correct. Or at least I'm hoping!

Later in the day, as it got hotter and hotter, we had our Novice Standard course. He did great in there too. He did everything just right, although slowly, except the A-Frame. I think he felt with the heat and all he just didn't have the momentum to get over it. He ran up, placed his front feet on it and gave me this look like, "no way mom". I sent him again, same thing. I brought him way back, tried again, no go. So I said, "Ok, let's go," and we just went around it and ran the rest of the course. He's no spring chicken and it was danged hot out there, so if he doesn't feel safe, I'm not going push him.

But I'm happy about another thing. After we got home, I wanted to practice obedience with the shih tzu. Jessie just threw a fit -- he wanted to work too. So after running agility all day, Jessie also did obedience and did it really well. I really think it's figuring out his diet problems. Raw diet (he has horrible stomach problems) has at last given him energy and stanima.

Great trial, by the way. I'll have to send a thank you to the club. It was very fun, nice location, and just had a great feel to it. It was in Albion, NY and run by the Double Q Club (the Double NQ Club for me that day, lol). Kodus to the club!

Posted by enoj at 12:01 AM EDT
Monday, July 11, 2005
First Agility Title!
We went to our second agility trial this weekend and actually managed to get a title. It was very fun and Jessie was way too excited about the idea of running agility again. The trial was the SOTC indoor trial. We haven't really done indoor agility before, so I was a little nervous, but Jessie didn't seem at all bothered. The rings were set up on indoor soccor fields, with artifical turf, which was very cool. The courses were challenging, but fun.

On Saturday we ran in Novice Jumpers With Weaves and Jessie flew through the course without any errors. Better yet, I managed to direct him with out errors, so we Qd, finished our Novice Jumpers title, and got a 2nd place! I was so happy with him. In standard, later that day, he once again did a great job, staying right with me and got his first Q in that class and a 3rd place.

I desided to be brave on Sunday, and bumped him up to Open Jumpers even though we haven't practice 12 weave poles. I was so proud of him. We did an awesome run. He even did his weaves the 2nd try. The first try he got a little stuck and missed a pole right in the middle, so I just pulled him out and sent him again and he carefully made his way through all 12. We ended up with one refusal and 22 time faults, which meant no Q, but so close!

But by the time we got to standard late that afternoon, Jessie was TOO excited. He barrelled out onto that course like a maniac -- I knew I was in trouble when I was setting him up, he just had that wild look in his eyes. Still, he managed the first half of the course, even hitting his contact on the A-Frame. But then we got to the teeter and he didn't wait for it to hit the ground before he flew off. So at that point I knew I had to reign him in and calm him down. I sent him onto the Dog Walk and told him easy. Then I made him do a couple of "waits" along the down side. That calmed him down and he managed to finish the rest of the course without crashing jumps or anything silly like that.

There were TONS of terriers at the trial, including a Glenn of Imaal that everyone wanted to steal and take home. He was definate favorite and crowd pleaser. He just had a twinkle in his eye and he had the best temperment -- very friendly and self assurred. What a cool dog! My friends, Sue and Kerry, picked up some legs on their boarder terriers as well along with placements. There were also tons of norfolks running in the upper level classes and some really fast JRTs and staffies.

Posted by enoj at 12:01 AM EDT
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Agility Vrs. THE POND -- 6/26/05
If you asked Jessie what he did this weekend, he'd tell you he swam in a pond, TWICE! There were lots of border collies, labs, and goldens all jumping into the pond and retrieving things. Jessie was the retrieve police. He would jump into the pond after them then announce, loudly, their doings until they had retrieved the bumper and gotten it out of the pond. Nothing else of interest happened all weekend. Just THE POND.

The human in the picture (me) actually felt we had a very successful weekend of running agility. On Saturday we missed a contact in Novice Standard Agility, but besides that had a nice, clean round. Then we got an 86 (two refusals plus 4 time faults) to get a 2nd place and our first JWW leg. Considering the temperatures had jumped from the 70s to 94 in a day, I was pretty impressed with how Jessie did.

On Sunday we had a very funny run in Standard. Determined not to miss the contact again, I had Jessie creep down the A-Frame slowly. But he kinda got mentally stuck at one point and I though he'd just stand there forever. Eventually he got moving again and had a beautiful run, except he knocked down a bar. I was very happy. Then in the heat of day, high noon again and in 90s, we ran Jumpers With Weaves. It was very fun. He ran exactly the way I had pictured it in mind when I walked the course, which I thought was very fun. So we got a perfect score and under time and 1st place. Very fun indeed, despite the muddy pond that his now covering my kerry, lol.

The setting for the Ruff Riders Cato, NY agility trial was very nice. It was on a little farm and the Novice ring was completely inclosed so those young dogs that got the sillies and raced around were safe. The courses designed by Jennifer McGrane (the judge) were lots of fun, in my opinion, but I don't know too much about agility.

It was just a very fun weekend and a nice break from my attempts at UDX legs. I am looking forward to trying again at the SOTC trial.

Posted by enoj at 4:11 PM EDT
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
2 UDX Legs in One Weekend!
I had a great weekend showing Jessie. We actually got 2 UDX legs in one weekend, and 3 placements. This brings us up to 8 UDX legs!!! On Saturday we drove the 5 hours down to Mt. Nittany PA to compete in their obedience trials. Under Evie VanUden (one of my favorite judges), we got a 194.5 in Utility with a 4th place ribbon. Then under Pat Scully we got a 195.5 in Open B and took 3rd place after a 3-way run-off. She was very interested in Jessie -- very pleased to see a kerry blue terrier in obedience. She made a point of finding me after the trial to complement Jessie and Kerry Blues in general. I really enjoyed showing under both these judges -- they are both nice, helpful, and consistant in their scoring.

On Sunday we returned to show under Pat Scully in Utility B, and got a 189.5 and 4th place. Then in Open B we scored a 194, but no placement. Both days the down stay was first, so I was particularly pleased Jessie did his sit stay. A female golden retriever told him off right before the stays on Saturday for getting too close to her toy, so we were joking around that it woke him (and her) up enough to do their stays (both the golden and Jessie did their stays perfectly).

What a nice trial!!! We had lots of terriers show up -- a wonderful little bedlington and norfolk in Novice B, a kerry blue qd both days in Rally Excellent B (Gaylic Saxony I Am I SAid CD RA), and a westie. I had so much fun watching them all! The trial is in a big building with three large rings and lots of crating. We were done early in the afternoon both days. Mark this trial on your calendar for next year -- this is my 2nd year going and I really loved it both times (they offer not only HIT and HC, but 2nd HIT and 2nd HC).

Posted by enoj at 1:46 PM EDT
UDX Leg 6!
Well at long last Jessie and I put it together and got UDX leg number 6 (4 more to go) at the Westmoreland trial. All the re-training and doggie bootcamp paid off. No more Mrs. Nice Gal for Jessie -- I know now he needs a little more pressure to do well.

On both days his problem exercises in utility, the go-outs and the moving stand showed massive improvement. He went dead-straight and even galloped on his go-outs, only loosing points for barking while taking the jumps, a no-front, and walking in before sitting on one. But that's still improvement, so I am happy. We can work on the finner details later. His moving stands were perfert -- yahoo! No more walking in to meet the judge halfway. He did release himself several times, but the judges missed that -- but I didn't, so that's something else to work on. He scored a 191 on Saturday and a 188.5 on Sunday, not his best scores, but the judges (Squires and Leverson) have very sharp eyes, so I am happy with them.

Open was beautiful both days. He scored a 191 on Saturday, loosing a few points on a no front, and I stuttered and couldn't get my down command out until he'd traveled so that was another 3 points off. On Sunday, he went from a 3 point deduction to 0 off on the drop on recall -- yahoo! He would have had a 196 on Sunday, but he pulled his short down, long down instead of a long sit and long down. Oh well! It was a learning experience -- I snuck in a subtle correction and figure that made it worth loosing the UDX leg.

In all, I just felt we were working together again like he haven't for a while. It's nice to have it rewared with a UDX leg and a beautiful trophey for High Scoring Terrier, but even without that it would have been a nice weekend. I enjoyed the trial a great deal. Good food, airconditioned building, friendly people. Only problem is that it is crowded so if you go, get there Friday night to set up a crate. Be prepared to move your dog through the crate area with caution -- there is no personal space for anyone. Jessie was fine about that, thank goodness. He had his little shih tzu, Bailey, with him which always makes him more relaxed.

Posted by enoj at 1:46 PM EDT
Thursday, April 14, 2005
returning dog -- the ultimate humiliation 4/14/05
Ok, after 7 years of living with and loving him, I've at last decided my kerry, Primrose Jessie James UD, has to be returned to his breeder as being defective. When he peed on his articles at the Hatboro Trial, I merely tied him to the bumper of my car made him trot home. Some how he survived, so I forgave him and kept him. When the golden retriever beat him up, I looked at it this way, the golden was bigger, meaner, and younger. Ok, I can live with that. But this is the ultimate humiliation and I'm not sure I can live with it. I might have to move out of my neighborhood.

A female Chihuahuas kicked his butt this morning! It was like something from a movie, a bad one, where I am the comic relief. I'm walking my big, bad, dog aggressive, male Kerry Blue Terrier down the street. His little Shih Tzu is by his side. We're in charge of the neighborhood. He growls at a Rottweiler he spies across the street. Big, bad, tough kerry.

Then we see a new neighbor with her little female Chihuahuas walking up. She says her dog is friendly, so I let my two say hello. The Shih Tzu, Maddi, and the Chi quickly make friends. Jessie tries to join in a say hello with a butt sniff. The Chi goes postal and attacks. Poor Jessie tries to retaliate with a bark and an airsnap. The Chi is unrelenting and continues the assult. Poor Jessie is running in circles, tail tucked, trying to excape. Thank goodness his little sister, the Shih Tzu, steps inbetween to stop the assult. Maddi talks to the Chi, explains they should all be friends, and then the Chi calms down and lets the humbled kerry live and stand QUIETLY next to her (no butt sniffing please, she says).

I crawl home, completely humiliated. How will I live with this??? My kerry got his butt kicked by a Chihuahuas. Life doesn't get worse then that.

Posted by enoj at 2:19 PM EDT
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
UDX Quest ? Dang Dog Doesn?t Sit! -- April 9th & 10th
What a very disappointing weekend!! I took Jessie to a local trial, in a building he trains at all the time. Seemed like the perfect place to pick up a UDX leg, but no luck at all. Jessie took a nap during both the sit stays! I was so mad at him. He’s done three passing sit stays in a row at trials, so going down twice really disappointed me.

Saturday he NQd in Utility as well. When I sent him for the go-out, he ran over to the high jump and gave it a good look. The judge, a wonderful woman named Carol Mett, teased me that he was checking the height. The 2nd go-out he started to do the same thing, but I caught him in time and gave him the go-out command again. The rest of the Utility run was great. Open was also just lovely, showing for Jon Mett, Carol’s husband, like he really knew what he was doing.

The second day we had two more beautiful runs. His score in Utility would have been the sort you write home about, except his first go-out he went to the corner. The FAR corner, away from the jump he needed to take. I have him the signal for the jump and to my amazement he crossed all way along the back of the ring and took the right jump. When the judge said, “Exercise Finished” we had a big party and he got lots of kisses. That seemed to break the spell and his next go-out was flawless.

Well, another show in two weeks. Hopefully he’ll do his sit stays and his Directed Jumping. Of course, being a Kerry, I’m sure he can think of some other naughty thing to do. He’s pretty good at coming up with new ways to do old exercise!

Posted by enoj at 9:03 AM EDT
Monday, April 4, 2005
UDX attempt with a sick dog 4/2-4/3/05
Jessie’s stomach issues have gotten me again! You never really know your dog’s weaknesses until you try something like a UDX. I’m sure specialing a dog in breed competition is very similar. Showing a couple times a year just doesn’t bring out the weaknesses like showing a couple times a month.

We headed out to Syracuse for their spring cluster this weekend. After our last trial, I had high hopes we would pick up another UDX leg. The drive down my hopes were crushed as Jessie threw-up twice. I had made the mistake of switching brand of vitamin B complex on Friday night, and I believe that is what set off his IBS and sensitive stomach. The smell of dog throw-up really didn’t make the trip pleasant. Unfortunately, he threw-up while I was on a part of I-90 where I really didn’t feel safe to pull over, then he laid down in it. So not only did my car smell of vomit, but so did my dog.

Since the ride is about an hour and half, I thought turning right around would be hard on him. He didn’t feel well, but I knew he wasn’t sick with anything he could pass on – I’ve been through this too many times with him. So I brushed him off best I could and brought him into the show to hang out and let his stomach settle before the ride home.

He seemed to perk up, and even after about an hour was interested in eating some treats. So I thought I’d show him in Open. The performance was lack-luster, but passing with a 191. I should have taken my green ribbon and gone home, but it is so hard to leave with half a UDX leg, so I stayed. Utility was starting right about the same time they were finishing up Open, so it didn’t seem like that bad of a thing to do – I had to stay for the end of my one class anyway.

Utility was worse then Open. He was obviously uncomfortable and I felt horribly guilty for dragging him in, particularly since he actually tried very hard not making his usual mistakes. The only exercise he failed was the Signal Exercise. As he started to do his drop, he suddenly popped back up, as if he had a pain in his side, which was probably true. The rest of the class he was looking at his butt, stretching half down, and acting like things didn’t feel right. As soon as we were out of the ring, I packed him up and took him home. I should have done it earlier. He threw-up two more times on the way home and I felt like a bad owner.

The next day we slept in with no plans to show. I wanted to go back and pick up my crate (I’d left it there) and watch my friends in their classes. As I got ready to leave, Jessie plastered himself to the door to let me know he wanted to go to, so I took him. We were too late for Open when we arrived, but were there for Utility. This time he went in much happier and did one of his silly acts in the ring. Everything but the Directed Jumping actually got scored really well, loosing only 4 points over all. But on the Directed Jumping he just couldn’t resist taking the high jump twice, skipping the bar jump completely. I didn’t mind the NQ – at least he was happy, playful, and had a wagging tail.

Posted by enoj at 9:11 AM EDT

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