Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What to Do

when it's too cold outside?

Minus 25 C - outside without the wind chill.
Play tug-o-war indoors with your brother.

According to the National Weather Service , exposed skin can freeze in five minutes at these temperatures. We're staying in today!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Ceilidh Remembered

Today, marks what would have been Ceilidh's 10th birthday. She's been gone over two years now and I still find that I miss her, some days just terribly. Maybe it's because her life was cut short or maybe because I just miss her quiet presence.

As quiet as she was (most of the time anyway), she was a little firecracker in the agility ring. She gave me some of my most memorable runs and not necessarily for the Q's but for the energy she brought to the game. My most memorable run was her first Masters Jumpers run which was her first Masters Q. I felt throughout the run that I was seeing it a split second before it happened, it was like watching a movie, but at the same time I felt we were connected by a band from my chest to hers, every little move I made was reflected in her movement.  The last three jumps of the run were straight down one side of the ring and there this connection ended and I watched her fly away from me to clear those last three jumps. I never told anyone for months about how the run had felt to me, I thought that they would think me crazy or something.  It was the most exhilarating feeling; every run since then has been to see if I could once again be so in sync with my canine partner and feel that way again. Ceilidh's last Q, a fantastic Snooker run gave me very nearly the same feeling; maybe she wanted to leave me with that wonderful feeling once again.

Ceilidh - 2007 AAC Ontario Regionals

Ceilidh - 2009 AAC Nationals
Ceilidh - 2009 AAC Ontario Regionals
Ceilidh and I were lucky enough to qualify for Nationals before she passed away. She even managed a 7th place finish in one event at Nationals, surprisingly in Gamblers the one event in which she never got a Masters Q. There's a lot to be said for no refusals in the Main Gamble.

This year Beckett surpassed her on the AAC Top Dogs list and that made me a little sad, not because he had passed her but because SHE wasn't still running the agility game. I'm sure she would have been an awesome little veteran dog, who may have even finally achieved her ATChC (darn those stupid Gamblers); but in any case she still is the Champion of my Heart.

Ceilidh was not one who liked to be picked up and hugged, her idea of a cuddle was to rest her muzzle on my thigh and let me scratch her gently behind the ears, besides running in the agility ring with her, I think I miss that the most. I dreamt of Ceilidh last week but in my dream her name was Joy; that's pretty fitting though as she was a joy to me.

I'm sure she'll be waiting for me at the Bridge but today I hope she's having a wonderful party to celebrate her 10th birthday.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The Year in Review

Yup, that pretty much says it all. Beckett got his Masters Jumpers Dog of Canada (MJDC), Masters Steeplechase Dog of Canada (MSCDC) and Masters Agility Dog of Canada (MADC) in 2012.  While no where near the top of the list for the AAC Top Dogs, I was very happy with his 25 Q's and 3 titles this year.

I'm looking forward to our 2013 agility season, hopefully we'll be more successful in Gamblers.  It would be really nice to get his Agility Trial Champion title this year, only 5 more Q's to go, two Snooker and 3 stupid Gamblers. I'm also hoping to experience the Canada Cup with him this year since Agility Nationals are again too far west for us to drive.

Also looking forward to fun matches with Keltic and to begin trialing with him in the fall. He's doing fairly well in class. He seems to like jumping and loves the dog walk and the tunnel but the table is going to be our nemesis.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Double the Fun

On several occasions, Beckett has crashed into the second bar of a double jump. I think it's because, unlike with the spread jump, he doesn't get any cues that he has to jump further to make it over. I've been using the same verbal cue for all the jumps except for the tire. I decided to invest in a double jump for the back yard but after researching several jumps decided to make one myself.

The Agility Nerd has a great blog entry on building a double jump including some tips on avoiding what, I would think, would be quite common mistakes.  The jump cup frames come from J & J Dog Supplies, they weren't inexpensive once shipping was added in, but all in all I think building the jump myself did save a bit of money.  It sure was a good thing I had found the Agility Nerd's blog as what I thought were instructions in the box with the jump cup frames was just an instruction on how to measure and fasten the jump cup frames to the standard; there were no instructions on how to build your jump standard.  The specialty PVC fittings I got from Formufit; as unfortunately other than straight lengths of PVC, those fittings are hard to find here in Canada, well at least in Ottawa.

I ordered everything to make the jump some months ago but just got around to building it this week. I went to cut the PVC on Wednesday afternoon and I found out that the size of the cutter is measured by the outside diameter of the tubing while the size of the tubing is measured on the inside opening; so it was off to Lowe's to get another cutter. Needless to say that I didn't get the jump built on Wednesday.

Thursday, I was just going to cut the PVC for one standard but then decided to cut all the pieces for both standards.  My hands were some sore after cutting the PVC; I really need to have a bench vice grip or something to hold the PVC while I turn the cutter.  It's pretty hard to get the pieces cut to exactly the same length and as a result one standard is a bit taller but that's okay since you measure from the ground to fasten the jump cup strips.

All the PVC parts for our double jump
After I got all the pieces cut, I decided to go ahead and dry fit the standards; I found as the Agility Nerd mentioned in his blog that the fit was so tight no PVC glue was required.  The assembly went so well that I went ahead and fastened the jump cup strips to the frames. Again, thanks to the Agility Nerd I knew to start measuring how the holes of the frame would sit on the PVC standards before tightly fitting the standards. If you had made the standard too small it would have been quite hard to pull it apart again.

One double jump standard assembled.
Even though it was past supper time, I went ahead and finished the other jump standard since the assembly had gone so smoothly. The hardest thing was putting some of the end caps on the feet, boy were they tight. Today, I got my rubber mallet out of the camping gear and pounded the taller standard down just a bit, now they look almost the same height.

Both jump standards
I have some lengths of 3/4" PVC in the garage that I bought to make a "Hit It" box; they've been there for about a year (or more). I may use that PVC to make the jump bars or I could just use the bars from the jumps that are already in the basement.

I hope by retraining Beckett on the double jump; I plan on using a different verbal cue that he will begin to realize that he has to jump farther to clear the double and the days of crashing on the second bar will be over.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fun in Sun

No, we didn't go to the beach but when the temperatures are reasonable and the sun is shining you just have to get outdoors and enjoy the snow.

Keltic plowing through the snow to help Beckett with the Frisbee.

I want it. No, I want it. No, you can't have it. Oh, yes, I can!

Abominable Beckett

Whirlygig Keltic

White-headed sable Sheltie?

We played outside until the boys were chewing at their paws and my fingers were freezing. Today it's cloudy and the temperature has dropped so there won't be any outdoor games, have to find things to inside to amuse ourselves.