Saturday, June 18, 2011

4 Exciting New Things...

In an effort to catch up on my blogging, I am combining posts today by sharing 4 brand-spanking new events and 1 update all rolled into one blog!

1. New Agility Class!
On June 8th, Gilda and I started our new agility session at Agility Underground. We now have a new class time and new classmates: Marilyn and her Rat Terrier, Henry and Linda and her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Jax. I am thrilled with this new class! We seem to be at similar levels of experience and ability and the class feels calm and most of all fun. I notice a huge decrease in Gilda's stress level which is a blessing on many levels.

There was a time when it was very difficult to pay attention or even listen to the instructor because I was so busy trying to keep Gilda engaged, quiet, calm, etc when it wasn't her turn. It was truly exhausting and frustrating. Now, her "episodes" are minimal and it is exhilarating!

We are working on foundation skills and we are also using fun games (both for the dogs and handlers) to apply the foundation skills. In the first class, Linda had one of us choose any 2 obstacles and perform them with our dog. At the end of the second obstacle, that person would put their dog in a sit/stay or a down/stay. The next person would do the same 2 obstacles followed by 2 obstacles of their choosing and then sit or down their dog nearby while the 3rd person took a turn using the first 4 obstacles and 2 more. Next, we all took turns running the 6 obstacle course.

This was an awesome way to keep things light and happy while working on important skills. I am excited about this class and sorry that we'll miss next week.

2. New Jessica Sessions!
We have made arrangements to meet with Jessica for a few private lessons to focus on some problem areas. As I have told many people, Jessica will have Gilda weaving 12 closed poles with around-the-clock entries in 10 minutes! I haven't told Gilda about these yet but trust me, she will be thrilled!

3. Dog Camp!
Thanks to Linda's AgilityUnderground List Serve, Gilda and I have been "hired" as Camp Nurse and Camp Nurse Dog for the Ohio 4H Teen Dog Experience. We will spend 4 days at Houston's Country Dream Agility Facility with 14 campers (ages 13-18) and their dogs. Karin, the camp director has this to say:


The kids participate in a variety of activities throughout the day, including agility, rally obedience, tracking, showmanship, obedience, flyball, health activities, training games and lots more. You would be more then welcome to watch any of the sessions and use the building at any time that we are not using it.  There are also fields and a small pond at camp that you would be more than welcome to explore. Camp is at the Houston's Country Dream Resort near Marietta Ohio (http://www.dogagility.org/).  Half of our kids are returning campers, the other half are new kids. They do not all necessarily come from a positive training background, but all of our curriculum is based on clicker training and TAGteach. Our focus is on teaching science based training in a supportive environment, and of course making dog training fun. Kristen, Abigail and I all have our TAGteach Level one certification, Megan has her primary certification. Kristen is also a KPA certified training partner.
I am so excited about this adventure as kids and dogs are two of my favorite things in the world! I'm sure I'll have lots to blog about by the end of camp too and maybe even some blog-worthy photos and video...

4. A New Dog!
Lastly, we have decided to add a new dog to our family. Actually, we (okay, I) decided that this would be a good idea months ago. After an exhaustive search and the help of many of my dog friends, we have decided to adopt this little guy:

{Gilda's New Brother, Pico}

I definitely did not set out to adopt a chihuahua and it almost didn't happen at all. I filled out an adoption application because I was interested in a 12 lb. cattle dog mix named 'Allie'. Jane, the rescue owner, called me to say that 'Allie' had been adopted but she felt that 'Skippy' would be a good match for us. When she told me he was a chihuahua, I told her I was not interested. She was very persistent about the fact that he was a really cool dog so I reluctantly agreed to a meeting.  I kept telling myself "you don't want a chihuahua. Just cancel so you don't waste anyone's time." But I never made the call. Wednesday arrived and we went to Agility Class. I was excited about meeting a new dog but kept thinking, "I've got to make the meeting quick." After waiting 15 minutes, I figured that Skippy wasn't coming and we got into the car. I was just ready to pull out of the parking lot when Jane's car appeared. I backed in to a parking spot to check the little guy out. He was instantly likeable and even cuter than his photo. And that is how I ended up being super excited about adopting a chihuahua!!
 I call this guy the un-chihuahua. At maybe 8 pounds, he neither shivers nor yaps. He has long legs and a long snout. I think his eyes are even less buggy than Gilda's! His ears however, are awesomely huge and very chihuahua.  Most importantly, he is well-adjusted and was excited to meet me and Gilda.
We had a 45 minute meet & greet in the agility parking lot and you would have thought this little guy was in his own living room he was so comfortable! He and Gilda spent time playing together and just hanging together. He doesn't pull on the leash and he seems as easygoing as Gilda when it comes to other dogs. He doesn't seem hyper but he does jump straight up into the air at times! Hmm... could we turn that into a bar jump?
We will bring him home (and consider names) when we return from Dog Camp and I can't wait to see how it all goes.

5. Doggie Brigade Update!
We attended the Annual Kids Are Number 1 Run at Akron Children's on June 5th. The weather was beautiful and Gilda did really well. There were 350 dogs registered for the 1 mile Paws For a Cause race so the turnout was better than ever. It is really wild to see all the dogs and people taking off down the streets of Akron.
Gilda continues to do very well with her hospital visits. In stark contrast to her guarding of our front door, at the hospital she is a happy, tail-wagging girl who is calm and sweet with the kids she visits.
On Tuesday evening, we will hopefully have our (rescheduled) group photo taken with all or most of the 95 dogs and handlers that make up the Doggie Brigade! (of course they are calling for more rain so we'll see!)

So many exciting things coming up! I've got a lot to do in a little time!

1 comment:

gotspots said...

Aww, I'm so excited to see that you are adding in a new member of the family. He's adorable. I hope I can meet him one day. :-D Sounds like you're going to have a blast in the upcoming weeks/months.