Monthly Archives: June 2013

Its Not Always About Socialization

Lately I find myself more and more frustrated when dealing with other dog owners in public settings.  Maybe it’s the dog park/ doggie daycare culture, but it seems like the new expectation is that all “good” dogs should not only tolerate, but enjoy, absolutely anything any other dog choses to do.  Any gathering of dogs is treated as a free for all where the dogs are primarily engaging with each other, rather than the humans, who may not even be paying attention.

I absolutely understand the importance of dog to dog relationships.  As pack hounds, I think that PBGVs can sometimes form stronger bonds with each other than the people in their lives, which is something I actively try to avoid with my dogs.  They live as a pack and are expected to coexist peacefully, even though some are better friends than others.  We are regularly visited by service dogs in training, so my dogs also spend time with socially appropriate large dogs.  However, in order to form a working relationship, I need my hounds to be able to tune out other dogs and focus on me.  When we are in group training  sessions, I don’t allow my dogs to visit with other dogs and ask other dog owners to keep their dogs at a reasonable distance.  Not only is this important for training reasons, but it also keeps my dogs from being intimidated by another dog when they are on leash and unable to get away.

Until recently, this policy has never been a problem, as most people came to training to work their own dogs and they wanted to keep their dog’s focus on them as much as I did.  Lately it seems like people are equating training time with doggy playtime and they are much less respectful of my wishes.  Even worse, many of these less experienced dog owners are oblivious to inappropriate behavior between dogs.

Two situations lately have concerned me to the point where I am considering eliminating activities with the dogs.  One is a new dog in our pet therapy group who stares and looms over smaller dogs constantly.  Poor Muse spent the last visit to the nursing home crawling on her belly each time this dog looked her way.  This wasn’t a good experience for her and distracted her from the people she was supposed to be visiting.  I have spoken to the dog’s owner in the past about the fact that dogs actually don’t like it when her dog does this and she seems to finally be getting it, but I’m not sure about bringing my dogs on visits if they are going to be subjected to this type of stress.

The more frustrating dilemma is C.C.’s beginner agility class.  My last 2 agility dogs have been home schooled because the class available locally is held outside in an unfenced area complete with rabbits and not ideal for young hounds.  C.C. has a lot of handler focus and I’ve done a lot of foundation work with her already, so I decided to take the class to teach her the equipment.  She is handling the environment well, but is the smallest dog in class by at least 20 pounds.  Most of the dogs and handlers are great, but one handler in particular is completely unable to manage her large breed dog.  She seems to find this entertaining, like there’s a prize for having the worst dog in class.  (Marley and Me didn’t do the world any favors.)  Every week the dog drags her to C.C. and I ask her to remove him.  Last night the dog was allowed to chase C.C. through the weave poles.  Being jumped by a dog on course like this was exactly what ended Rory’s agility career several years ago.  C.C. is fast and has a lot of potential for agility, but she is also an environmentally sensitive dog and I am working hard to keep agility safe and happy for her.  Chili and Salsa are both really challenging to manage and shut down easily because of this sensitivity and I really don’t want this to happen to C.C..  I would like to keep her in class, but not if it means risking physical or psychological damage.  I’m going to start crating her between exercises, but if a dog comes after her on course again I will probably go back to home schooling.  The instructors feel that I am over reacting, but C.C.’s future as an agility dog is more important to me than preserving a pet owners “fun time” with her dog.SONY DSC

New Site

OK, so I went to update the website and discovered that it had vanished.  Really frustrating, but I decided to use this opportunity to combine the blog and website into one.  Rebuilding will take some time, but I’ll get there eventually.  Meanwhile, I’ve moved my previous blog posts here. _MG_3728-Edit-(ZF-5802-57031-1-001)

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Catching Up

Its been a few weeks since I sat down to blog, so this post probably be all over the place.  Bear with me- we’ve been busy.
The first weekend of the month we traveled to Indiana for a PBGVCA hunt test.  It was the first PBGV hunt held at this site.  The committee did a great job and rabbits were plentiful, so the dogs had a great time.  The grounds were challenging to judge on, as they were heavily wooded and divided by a creek, so the dogs could get to many places that the humans couldn’t.  It got pretty warm the first day, which made it really evident how important it is to keep the hounds in good physical condition.  Many of the dogs who were overweight had a really hard time keeping up for the whole hour.  Our pack had some good runs, earning 11 Qs over the two days.  Maya finished her Parent Club Master Hunter Excellent title and Wally finished his Parent Club Junior Hunter.
The following weekend we attended an agility trial in Delaware.  Maya had come into season and couldn’t play and Salsa and Juno didn’t have the best weekend.  Chili however ran better than she has in several months.  She had slowed down to the point that I was considering a move to preferred.  It turned out that in my attempt to take weight off of her to gain speed, she had started loosing muscle.  She has gained a few pounds back and had back to back QQs with 47 points- that’s a lot for her to get in 2 days.
Things have been busy around the house this month too.  Maya has been bred to Wally, so hopefully we will have puppies later in the summer.  The garden is planted, mostly in the form of containers in every sunny spot I could find.  The hens are giving us 3-4 eggs each day and the bunnies have lost their winter coats, so there is plenty of angora fiber waiting to become yarn.
Today we attended the Skycastle French Hounds annual picnic.  We got to see many of Wally’s relatives and he got to play in the pack dog show.  This was a lot of fun and a chance to see a very different group of PBGVs.
I’ll end this with the hard part.  Yesterday, Tigger passed away in her sleep.  She had a couple bad days earlier in the weekend and I knew it was almost time to say goodbye.  We had done a lot together and she even gets some of the credit for introducing me to Dave, by running out of the agility ring to greet him in her younger days.  Tigger wasn’t as accurate on the agility course as some of my dogs, but I’ve never had an agility partner with more love for the game.

Ch. MACH ClancyBihar Eye of the Tiger CDX RAE MXG AXP MJG AJP NF HC
12/5/98- 5/18/13
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  • May
    2

    Muse came into heat during our trip to Texas and Missouri, so Wally hasn’t been exactly at his best the past couple weeks.  Juggling intact dogs of both sexes is tricky, especially since the dogs all live in the house.  Since Wally has shown he can be persistent and creative, we have a “two degrees of separation” rule when one of the girls is in season.  This means careful use of crates and baby gates and a lot of supervision, while still making sure both dogs get enough attention and activity not to be completely stir crazy.
    More than once during this process, I have questioned the decision to keep a male dog in a household with so many girls.  For years, I would never consider a male puppy, feeling that it makes more sense for a small scale breeder to keep only bitches.  The problem is, it seemed like most everyone in PBGVs felt the same way.  In the last year there have been quite a few young males at the shows in our area, but for several years before that the class entries were almost always female.  Yes, keeping boys can be a headache.  However, genetic diversity is really important, especially in a relatively rare breed.  If only a small number of male dogs contribute to the gene pool, the affect on the breed as a whole could be devastating.
    In the fall of 2011, Wally was offered to me as a puppy.  My initial reaction was no way- why would I complicate my life with a boy dog?  Then I started thinking about how difficult it can be to select a stud dog when so many PBGVs are so closely related.  I realized that if everyone rules out the option of keeping males, that the choices would be even smaller.
    So Wally joined the pack.  When he isn’t trying to seduce the girls, he really is a great guy.  He’s more laid back than my girls and can be sweet and cuddly.  Also, maybe its silly, but I really think the pack sounds better with a deep male voice joining in when they are on a rabbit.

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  • Well, maybe not agility itself.  I love training my dogs to do challenging courses and I love how excited they get to run (although no one gets as excited as Tigger used to).  What has become really hard is the trial environment itself.  When I first got involved in agility in 1995, it was very much a dog training activity.  My Novice A dog Teddy wasn’t anyone’s dream dog, but I got a lot of support when training and eventually trialling with him, much more support than I ever felt in obedience.  Later on came Tigger, who had enough love for the game to get anyone hooked.
    Over the years, agility has become more of an athletic event than a dog training activity.  Many of the high level competitors have never done dog activities other than agility and I seriously question if some of them even like dogs as anything other than the tool they need for their sport.  The courses have gotten more challenging, which makes for fun training opportunities, but somewhere along the way the sport became more about speed than anything else.  Fast flashy dogs can run a course with many faults, but will often get more applause than a slower dog who runs clean.  In fact, I frequently hear people laughing at my dogs if they run slowly.  I don’t think it would go over well if I started laughing at the fast Border Collies when they knock bars, but it’s tempting.
    So, the thing is, I really like agility but have no desire to compete with anything other than PBGVs (well, and Juno the GBGV who snuck into the pack).  Futhermore, as a breeder factors like health, breed type, and hunting ability are more important to me than yards per second.  I’ve had success at the highest levels of agility with my dogs and have a better than average Q rate with most of them, so why shouldn’t we get to play?
    We live in a really competitive area.  3 ring trials are the norm and most fill on opening day.  Agility is a really serious thing and there is an expectation that to be taken seriously you should have the right dog and train with the right trainer.  Since I do neither, I am definitely not taken seriously and often feel like the official scapegoat.  Dogs are barking?  Oh, it must be the people with the 25 PBGVs.  (Aparently agility people don’t count well, since the most I have ever had was 8).  Hearing too much generator noise?  Make them turn it off, even if 14 year old shaved down Tigger has to spend the night without heat.  (Everyone else’s generators can stay on.) Conflict?  Too bad.  What’s worse, when I try to stand up for myself things get more difficult.    This weekend, the exhibitor running before Chili finished her MACH.  Instead of taking her victory lap at the appropriate time, she waited until Chili had done the first 2 jumps to barge out into the ring and stop my run.  This was a big stressor for Chili, who is a very sensitive and fearful dog who shuts down easily.  The exhibitor’s response to my objection to this was to openly mock me for the rest of the weekend, which continued into cyber-bullying this morning.
    I guess when you are young and people tell you it’s ok to be different, they are lying.
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  • Well I had good intentions of posting during nationals but never quite got to it. We left for Houston 2 weeks ago today and I’ll finally get home tomorrow, after seeing 15 states in 15 days.
    On the drive to Houston, Dave was with me so we shared driving. This allowed for a lot of knitting time and some finished projects. We traveled along the gulf coast and had a great dinner of crawfish from a little place off the highway.
    I had been really worried about it being hot for agility in Houston, but it was cool and drizzly so the dogs ran well. Unfortunately I had a bad cold and didn’t run as well as they did. Salsa Qd on all 3 runs at the regional and was high in trial. Chili was high in trial at the national and Qd in standard both days. We got to reap the benefit of PBGV only Time to Beat, picking up 20 points with Salsa an 10 with Maya. Someone (probably Maya) ate a pound of candy the night before agility. Maya ran faster than ever at the trial- too bad I can’t get her on a sugar high all the time.
    The baby dogs did okay in rally- they need work but CC picked up 2 advanced legs, Wally 2 novice legs, and Muse 1 novice leg.  We had some placements in conformation and Maya won the hunt class at the national.
    After Houston Dave flew home and the dogs and I headed to Purina farms for the Penn Working Dog Center Conference. This was a great event at a beautiful facility. I was able to do working spots in the Fit to Work classes with Chili and Salsa and picked up some good exercises to do with the hounds.
    On Wednesday night I was reminded why I don’t enjoy spring in the mid west when a tornado warning came up on my phone. I was alone in the RV with 7 dogs, including Muse who is in season and 2 males, so I couldn’t exactly take everyone into the building and I wasn’t about to leave anyone behind. We waited out the storm together in the RV and luckily didn’t end up in Oz.
    The drive home was more exciting than I needed with a dead battery and 2 blown out tires on the RV. We finally got back to the area around 9:30 last night, but there wasn’t time to go home before leaving for this weekend’s agility trial, so Dave met us here last night. It will be good to finally get home tomorrow.

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  • This time next week we will be on the way to Texas for the PBGVCA national specialty. It will be a long trip.  After the show ends in Houston, Dave is flying home and the dogs and I will be heading on to Purina Farms in Missouri for the Penn Working Dog Center’s annual conference, making this a 2 week trip in the RV. Juno, Tigger, and the Aussies will stay home with a pet sitter to give me a few less dogs to care for.
    Mostly I feel pretty ready for the trip, but Salsa had a set back this week. There must have been a (very quiet) squabble in the yard Tuesday morning and she is now missing a chunk of her right ear:(. Her stitches come out on Wednesday and she should be ok for agility in Houston, but it doesn’t look pretty.
    This weekend Maya helped man the local dog training club booth at the Reading Pet Expo, which gave us a very distracting place to practice obedience.

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  • In January and February I participated in the Knit Spin Farm Podcast’s Rare Breed Spin and Knit a Long.  The idea was to support farmers who are raising less popular breeds of sheep by purchasing and using their fiber.  My project was a pair of socks made from Baby Doll Southdown that I spun myself.
    Preserving genetic diversity in domestic animals makes a lot of sense to me.  While this breed of sheep may not be as commerically successful as others, the fiber was very soft and fun to spin and the resulting socks are very cozy.  What a shame it would be to lose such a great breed.
    A similar area very close to my heart is maintaining diversity in the domestic species that has evolved along with humans throughout most of our history- the dog.  The huge variety of breeds in existence today is a result of this long common history betwen our two species.  Unfortunately, in modern times it has become less socially acceptable to chose a dog based on breed rather than only considering a rescue dog.  While there are many humane groups out there doing a terrific job and are certainly many great dogs deserving of forever homes, I would hate to see a world where carefully raised dogs from responsible breeders are not available.  Not every dog is right for every person, but the diversity of breeds available gives prospective dog owners many more choices than would be available if the only choice was a randomly bred mix of a few popular breeds.
    On the last 2 weekends, I got to spend time watching my favorite breed (and definitely a not so common one) doing what it was originally intended to do at PBGVCA hunt tests.  While no one in attendance was relying on the dogs to find a rabbit for dinner, it was exciting to see how many dogs could have done just that if it was needed.  Many of the dogs at the hunts were also show champions and virtually all were pampered housepets, but when given the chance they were happy to crawl into the brush and follow their noses in pursuit of bunnies.

    Our pack had some good success at the hunts.  The younger dogs are still learning from the older girls, but each managed to pick up a Junior Hunter leg.  Chili and Salsa both finished their Parent Club Master Hunter Excellent titles, the highest PBGVCA hunt title.  Maya finished her Parent Club Senior Hunter Excellent.

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  • As I write this, the PBGVCA national specialty is about 6 weeks out.  I have a good idea of who I will be entering, but feel like we still need some work in a few areas/
    Agility- mostly I feel pretty good about how the 3 girls are running. Speed is our biggest problem.   The challenge could be if the weather is very warm, since it’s still winter here and we are not acclimated to heat at all.  I’ll be packing the fans and cool coats and hoping for a cold spell.
    Obedience-  Maya will be the only dog I show in obedience this year.  I was hoping to be ready for Open A, but she isn’t as confident as I would like on the retrieves and is whining badly on the out of sight stays.  Instead, we’ll try graduate novice to have a little less pressure.  There is still a 3 minute out of sight down, so I’ll keep working on building her time to be quiet.  Ignoring the whining didn’t work, but neither did going back and correcting it.  The current plan is to go back and reward often when she is quiet and to have someone else gently correct when she whines.
    Rally-  C.C. will be doing Advanced rally.  She stays with me pretty well off leash, so we’re mostly working on some one the more challenging advanced signs.  Wally and Muse will be in novice rally.  Neither has terrific heeling, but they will generally keep the leash loose and are getting steadier on the stationary signs.
    Conformation- At the Meadowlands specialties I was a bit discouraged with Wally and Muse, especially Wally.  As the day went on he really shut down, dropped his tail, and wouldn’t take food (not even filet mignon).  It was a long day and I realized that he hadn’t been shown much indoors, but I will have to be careful to manage his stress level.  He’ll only be in one class per day in Houston, which should help.  Both Wally and Muse are very resistent to being stacked on the ground and don’t hold position as long as they will need for larger classes.  I have ordered a set of stacking blocks to work on getting them more comfortable, so hopefully they can build up more tolerance.  I also have work to do on Maya’s coat, so she looks more like a show dog and less like a Jim Henson charactor.
    The next 2 weekends are hunt tests in NC and NJ, so I should have a pack of very happy hounds!
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  • Right now I have a lot of young dogs, at least for me, at the same time.  CC is 18 months, Wally 16 months, and Muse 10 months.  Trying to give all of them the time and training they need has been  juggling act.  For the show ring, I think it’s easier to have multiple dogs to show at the same time.  PBGVs are a fairly uncommon breed and bringing 2 or more to a show means that there will at least be a chance of earning points.  Training mulitple dogs for performance events isn’t so easy.
    Because of my work schedule, its hard to get to evening classes with the dogs that aren’t close to home.  This means I have access to one hour of class time each week, to split between the three puppies.  Spliting the class three ways doesn’t give them enough time to settle, so I’ve been taking 2 dogs each week which means they get to go to class 2 out of every three weeks.  Of course we are always working at home, but getting out around distractions is really important.
    The last 2 weekends have been focused on activities for the young dogs.  Last week we went to the shows in Maryland, where there were major entries in PBGVs.  CC needed one major to finish, which she got by going Winners Bitch on Friday.  She ended up finishing in style, as she was also Best of Breed over a top special.  Ironically, I hadn’t entered Wally because I thought it would be next to impossible to win breed at these shows:)  CC is the first dog I have finished completely from Bred By.  Now that she has her championship, I’ll start training her more seriously for agility and obedience.  She’s on the small end of the breed standard, so I don’t plan to special her.  Muse also had a good day last weekend on Saturday and got a major from the puppy class.
    This weekend we attended a large match show to do obedience and rally.  This event has show like conditions, so it’s a good place to test out whether a dog is really ready to show in a particular class.  I decided to enter the classes I was hoping to do at the PBGV national in April to see if we might be ready.
    The three young dogs did rally.  CC is in advanced because she got her novice title last spring.  It was her first time performing off lead in public and she did okay.  Her heeling and attention are good, but she’s been stressing about even simple stay exercises lately.  She had a qualifying score and a 4th place, so we’ll probably be entering Advanced in Houston.  Wally and Muse were both in novice.  Rally Novice is really pretty easy as long as the handler knows how to do the signs.  Muse’s heeling was less than stellar (actually, it was not so much heeling as kind of following along and sniffing), but she did the stationary signs well.  Wally was much more attentive, but had some trouble on the walk around signs.  Both dogs qualified.  I have some work to do with them, but it looks like I have some rally dogs for Houston.
    In regular obedience I had Maya entered in Open A and CC in Beginner Novice.  Again, CC heeled pretty well, but there are a lot of sit stays in Beginner Novice, so that problem needs to be resolved before she will be ready to show in that class.  Maya is getting much more confident on the open exercises.  Unfortunately, she has been whining through the out of sight stays.  This was a problem in novice that resolved after a while when I ignored the whining.  It’s a stress thing, so fussing at her for whining makes it worse.  I think I’m going to try using a Thundershirt during training to try to take the edge off of her excitement and hopefully break the habit.
    Next weekend we finally get to play agility again!
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  • Jan
    16

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  • Training multiple dogs for different events while working full time and ensuring that all 10 dogs are living together peacefully takes a bit of juggling.  I find that most of my training is done in very short (like 2 minutes or less) sessions throughout the day.  Here’s an example of a normal week.

    6 am                      Wake up.  4 dogs (Tigger, Salsa, Chili, Razzi) sleep in the bedroom, the others in crates.  Everyone goes out for a few minutes.
    6:15 am                Dogs come in.  Puppies go in crates, adult dogs practice group sit or down stay while breakfast is prepared.  Everyone has to sit for their breakfast.
    6:30 am                One dog comes upstairs to hang out while we shower and dress and do a few minutes of obedience practice.
    7 am                      Dogs back out.
    8 am                      Meg leaves for work.  One nice days, two of the hounds come along and go for a long walk at lunch time.  The other dogs spend the day in ex-pens or dog safe rooms indoors in compatible groups if no one is home.
    4 pm                      Dave gets home and lets dogs out.
    6 pm                      Meg gets home.  Each evening one dog is groomed or bathed.  Everyone is groomed about once weekly (brush and comb, grind nails, clean ears, scale teeth, trimming/ stripping as needed) and bathed once a month.
    7 pm                      Dogs have dinner, sitting for the bowl to be delivered.  One dog hangs out in the kitchen while we eat and practices obedience or body awareness exercises for a few minutes.  If we are going out for the evening, most dogs are fed dinner in a Kong Wobbler or puzzle toy.
    Monday evening:  Handling class or tracking practice (when daylight allows) with Muse, Wally, and CC
    Tuesday evening:  Agility practice (daylight permitting) with Chili, Salsa, Maya, Juno, and Aussies.  This winter Maya has advanced obedience (open and utility) class on Tuesday nights.
    Wednesday evening:  Balance ball work with all dogs.  One Wednesday a month three of the dogs do pet therapy at the local nursing home.  Everyone but Chili enjoys going so they take turns.
    Thursday evening:  In winter, obedience class or member match at the local dog training club with Wally, CC, Muse, or Maya.  In summer, obedience practice at home.
    8 pm                      Dogs hang out with us while we watch TV.
    10 pm                    Bedtime.  All dogs must down for their bedtime biscuit.
    Weekends          We are usually at shows or trials, staying in the motorhome.  All of the dogs go with us.  They go for long walks and play in ex pens.  Trials are a good place to practice training with lots of distractions with the younger dogs who aren’t competing yet.
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  • This will be a quiet winter for us, with not a lot of trials or shows planned.  It’s harder to trial in the winter because we can’t use the motorhome (a frozen water tank is a bad thing) and we have too many dogs to stay in a hotel.  We’ll do some local trials, but getting up a 4 am on the weekends just doesn’t appeal to me that much so we stay close to home.
    The dogs did really well in 2012, with the older dogs earning lots of points and titles and the younger ones growing up and learning to be civilized.  We currently have 3 PBGVs under 18 months in the household, so the next year is going to include a lot of foundation work.  I don’t really expect the hounds to be ready for competitive obedience or agility until they are around 3, but in the meantime we will do some rally and tracking and start learning the agility obstacles.
    Chili is running well and has remained really consistent in agility.  Mostly, my goal with her to is to keep running as long as she can.  We have more than enough QQs for the next MACH (and almost enough for the one after that), so we’ll try to get as many points as we can in 2013.  I would love for her to qualify for the 2014 agility nationals, but AKC has raised the point requirement from 400 to 500, which may put that goal out of reach for us.
    Salsa is about halfway to her MACH.  She’s had a lot of breaks from agility for seasons and maternity leave, but this year we will be able to focus totally on agility.  Salsa is faster than Chili, but not consistently so.  I hope to build her confidence and speed on course this year.  Again, I’d love to qualify her for nationals but don’t know if we can get enough points.
    Maya is running well in preferred.  She’s not fast, so I think we’re trying for a PAX rather than a PACH.  I plan to breed her to Wally later this year, but we’ll be doing agility and getting ready to show in open obedience in the meantime.
    Juno did a lot in 2012, including becoming the first GBGV to earn Rally Advanced Excellent and Versatile Companion Dog titles.  I’m trying to keep that in perspective when she frustrates me in the agility ring, but I hope things will improve this year.  The winter will be hard because we have so little access to equipment for training.  This year I hope to get Juno in Masters for standard and JWW and to earn some PACH points before the end of June so she can represent Grands at the Agility Invitational.
    C.C. needs one major for her championship.  After that, we will start training for agility and obedience more seriously.  I hope to do rally advanced and maybe beginner novice obedience with her this spring.  She has some uncertainty about surfaces under her feet, so we’ll be taking obstacle training for agility slowly, but C.C. is pretty focused and I think she’ll be a good little worker when she grows up.
    Wally finished his championship earlier in the fall.  I’ve been giving him some time to grow up and fill out (he’s 16 months old), but plan to try for his Grand Championship in 2013.  He’s doing well in hunt tests and has 2 JH legs already.  We’ll probably work on rally novice and tracking this year also.
    Baby Muse is 9 months old.  She has a couple points in the breed ring and a JH leg already.  We’ll be doing mostly breed shows for a while, but I’ll be working on rally and tracking with her also.
    We had a nice holiday.  Christmas eve dinner included omelets and homemade eggnog with eggs from our chickens.  This year’s holiday picture is one I’ve been wanting to take for a while- four generations of homebred PBGVs.  From left to right they are Tigger (14), Chili (8), Salsa (5), and C.C. (1).

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  • This week we traveled to Orlando, Florida for the AKC Agility Invitational. This is my favorite agility event because it is a celebration of agility as an all breed sport. The top 5 dogs of all breeds are invited, so the less typical breeds (and the handlers who may to to work harder to get them to excellent level) get a chance to shine. I’ve been to agility nationals, but prefer the diversity of the invitational.
    Chili and Salsa attended this year as the number 3 and 4 PBGVs. I was glad that they both got to go because I think they were happier traveling together than either would have been alone. We drove down in the Fit (38 MPG) and stayed in a hotel because it wasn’t cost effective to take the motor home. The girls got to be extra spoiled this way too, which they deserved.
    Friday afternoon we ran Time 2 Beat. This was a warm up run which didn’t count toward the Invitational scoring, but did count towards T2B titles. The girls started the weekend off well, both qualifying. Salsa got 5 points and Chili got 3, which was actually more than we get at a lot of local trials despite the great competition here.
    Round 1 on Saturday was a nice standard course. Chili had a clean, fast run. Salsa had some bobbles but was fast and happy, which is something I can’t take for granted. At last year’s invitational she was intimidated by the noise and ran pretty slow, so it was nice to see her feeling more comfortable.
    Round 2 was not our kind of JWW course.  It was very technical and not very motivating, but was also short with a tight course time. This is always hard for us, because both girls get faster as the run goes on, so longer courses are better for us. I also like to see some tunnels in jumpers, but I know the giant breed people would disagree on that. Salsa was clean but a little over time on this one and Chili unfortunately had a refusal.
    Round 3 was really early Sunday morning. It was an international style jumpers course, complete with broad jump and chute. This course had some challenges that you don’t usually see, but the girls did well on it, especially Salsa who had her best run of the weekend.
    Round 4 was a hybrid class, similar to what you might see in T2B, but with a tighter course time. Chili did really well on this one, despite a delay on the start line that might have caused her to shut down in the past. I’ve tried to work on conditioning and building her stamina.  Seeing her run so well at the end of a tiring weekend was great. Salsa started her run well and then had a hound moment and started eating the sod halfway through the weaves. I restarted,  but when she got stuck at the same place again, I decided to go on with the course. This meant an elimination, but I wanted to end the weekend on a good note and not fighting with her to do the weaves.
    Now we are sitting waiting for the finals to start. We will start the drive home tomorrow and then do marathon holiday preparations.
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  • This weekend we did the Oriole DTC agility trial. The site is nice and even has a craft show on the grounds on Saturday, which was great since I am way behind with anything holiday related. Saturday was a great day. The 3 PBGV girls (Chili, Salsa, and Maya) all got QQs and points. Salsa was the fastest of the 3, but they all had nice runs.
    Today Salsa got another QQ. This was number 10, but we aren’t quite halfway to a MACH on points. Chili overstrided her dog walk, but Qd in jumpers. Maya wasn’t entered.
    Juno still isn’t qualifying, but finished all 4 courses without running out of the ring. I know I need to appreciate the small victories, but sometimes I feel like I solve one issue with her and three others develop.
    I feel really good about heading to the agility invitational on Wednesday with Chili and Salsa. Chili will never be fast, but she is reliable and that can go a long way with the tournament style scoring at the Invitational.  Salsa is starting to show me her potential. She’s been in excellent B for 2 years, but she’s had 3 maternity leaves (with only one successful litter) during that time. In the summer when I accepted her invitation she was in the process of recovering from a C section and I got some flack for not declining her invite. After this weekend I am glad we are going and I hope she will show what she can do.
    Next year I hope Juno will be representing GBGVs at the Invitational, but I’m glad not to have the pressure of taking her this year.
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          Labels: agility GBGV PBGV
  • This weekend we traveled a bit farther than usual for the Skyline agility club’s one ring trial. We hadn’t gotten into the larger trial closer to home and I was concerned about Chili and Salsa getting too rusty before the Invitational, as we don’t really have a lot of practice opportunity at this time of year. It’s dark when I get home from work and the agility yard is covered in light snow and a lot of leaves from Sandy, so it’s not too useful right now.  Trialing without a lot of training time is risky, but the reliable PBGV girls handle it ok.  With a less experienced dog like Juno it’s definitely not ideal.
    The trial was held in a horse barn, so it was more than a little cold and there were critter smells to make life interesting.  Chili likes to run when it’s cold and had a perfect weekend- I hope she can continue that trend.  Salsa has never been great running on dirt and was slower than she can be, but managed 2 standard Qs and some MACH points.  Maya moved to 8 inch preferred earlier this fall and is running better than ever. She’ll probably never be fast, but she’s consistent and enjoys the game. She only ran on Saturday and got a standard Q.  I think I want to run Maya more often, but its expensive to run 4 dogs. Juno the GBGV is still a work in progress. She had really nice (but alas, not qualifying) runs in jumpers both days, which was encouraging. Unfortunately, she also ran out of the ring after just a few obstacles in standard both days which was not. Her turning radius is much wider than the PBs and she is quick to shut down, so I have no room for error; which I get. What’s hard to accept is that sometimes she just chooses not to play for no apparent reason.  I think she has potential, but getting her to be consistent may take a while.
    One nice thing about the weekend was getting out of our local area, where agility is really intense and more and more people are not welcoming to those of us with the “wrong” kind of dog. One frustrating thing was that the girls (well, mostly Salsa) figured out how to escape from their portable x pen so now I may have to go back to hauling heavy crates. I’m hoping that when she’s crated in the main area instead of alone in a stall she might be more likely to stay put.
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          Labels: agility GBGV PBGV
  • Welcome to the Clancy BGV blog. This will be mostly a dog training blog with a lot of chat about our pack of PBGVs (plus one GBGV and 2 Aussies), but some knitting, homesteading and other news might find its way here also.
    This weekend was the PBGV hunt test in Elmer, NJ. The hounds don’t get to hunt very often since the world just isn’t safe to hunt rabbits off lead and we only have access to fenced Beagle club grounds a few times a year. The securely fenced, very large grounds are stocked with wild rabbits who are not harmed in the course of the hunts, but a weekend in the hunt field makes agility look really tame. The hunt test dogs run for up to an hour and spend most of the time in really thick cover with lots of briars and thorns.  Mostly the PBGV coats protect them from the terrain, but bloody ears and tongues are part of the sport.
    This was the first hunt since Rory’s death in October. Hunting was his favorite thing to do and the pack doesn’t sound the same without his deep, loud voice when he got on a trail.
    Friday we did practice runs in the morning and had field time for GBGV demo runs in the afternoon. Two packs of grands ran, which was exciting to see since there aren’t any official GBGV hunts in the US at this time. The bigger hounds seem to have more trouble getting into deep cover than the petits, but this makes sense as they were bred primarily got larger game than rabbits.  That being said, I don’t see myself going wild boar hunting anytime soon, so I hope Juno can be satisfied with rabbits.
    Saturday I ran a pack of 4 PBGVs in the hunt test.  Chili, Salsa, and Maya are pretty experienced and did a nice job, but I was excited to see 15 month old Wally have his “light bulb” moment when he saw a rabbit and realized what he was doing on the field. Pack hounds learn a lot about hunting from each other, and the girls did a good job of training Wally today.  Before entering a hunt test, the dogs have to pass an instinct test, which Muse did. I moved her up to let her run with the pack on Sunday.
    For today I decided to run a pack of 4 and let