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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Agility in a Pink Tutu? All for a Cause!

Agility in a Pink Tutu? All for a Cause!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fashionable Agility Cut

Fashionable Agility Cut

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Trainer or A Coach?

Well, today's lessons were plentiful. Let me start with the non-dog related and I promise to quickly move to the doggy stuff after that.

I wanted to take a quick moment to acknowledge that they found the body of the boyfriend of one of my young students. He'd gone missing over a week ago. He was a straight A student and while I'd never met him, the fact that he chose 'her' as a girlfriend shows he had smarts, talent and was an amazing person. Out of respect for everyone, I'm keeping names to myself, but suffice to say that all involved were beautiful people. I still can't believe that tragic things happen to good people. It just seems so unfair...

Okay, let's talk about dog training now because I have some good thoughts today!

While in the course of training, a great question came up. Of course this question turned into a dog training philosophical moment and I wanted to share. Here's the scenario - there is someone who uses the words "all right" as their release word. Another person asked "Shouldn't they use a word they don't use in daily conversation?" Now that is a very fair question and after years of experience, I personally agree that in a perfect world, they should. Heck, that is why I now use the word 'free' (instead of okay). HOWEVER, that's MY personal choice and I recognize that may not be a good fit for everyone.

As I see it, my job as a trainer isn't to force onto others what works for me. Instead, it is my job to make them successful, to capitalize on their strong points and to embrace them for who they are. At the same time I  also need to develop and guiding them on THEIR journey.

In the case of the person using the term 'all right', we've had some indepth conversations on the subject. I've noted that there are some drawbacks to their choice of words and I've pointed out that if their dog breaks during the course of a normal conversation (because the handler used the words 'all right)', that they could not (in all fairness) get upset with their dog. They get it. They understand the drawbacks.  They understand the potential pitfalls. 

However, their mind still draws them to the term 'all right'. So 'all right' it is! As a trainer, I have to work with what is natural for my students and not with what comes natural to me. Sure, there are times I guide them down a certain path because I know what's best, but their word choices are completely up to them. They have to manage it, train it and ultimately be responsible for the outcome. As for my opinion, the old saying 'choose your battles' is a perfect analogy for this scenario.

It's important to work with your students. While I may not personally chose to do everything that they do, as long as I've informed them of the good, the bad and the ugly, I've done my job. Later, my job is to help them remain consistent and fair given their choices. 

That's what makes a good trainer a great coach.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Power of Dog - Ryder (aka Boo)

Every day is a lesson. Sometimes they are good lessons and sometimes they are heartbreaking.

Today my friend’s, Katie and Andy, lost their young Golden Retriever to a blood-type of disorder. For the average human reading this, some may wonder how the loss of a dog is blog-worthy. For those of us who are into dog sports, they understand without another word. But regardless of which side of the fence you’re from, this blog subject is worth the read because it talks about the power of love and the power of dog.

It’s no surprise that dog folks often equate their 4-legged kids with 2-legged human children. Today it dawned on me why this analogy is so correct!

When people have human babies, they put time, energy and a part of themselves into that little life. They teach them, shape them, impart information, create their world, oversee the life lessons that are a part of growing up and open the deepest parts of their soul to share a vulnerable side reserved only for special individuals. Human parents do all of this with care, thoughtfulness and with a relish for this labor of love.

It may be hard to imagine, but dog parents do the same for their 4-legged youngsters. While we don’t give birth to our chosen young, just like those who adopt, we look into that little sweet face and fall in love. A maternal/paternal instinct kicks in. Maybe it’s the want to care for the innocent or maybe it’s just the need to develop a bond with something warm, interactive and emotionally stimulating. Whatever the reason, the 4-legged surrogate children worm their way into our hearts and become members of the family.

This brings me back to Katie and Andy. Today they lost one of their kids and at the moment there is a place in their heart that is aching, empty and pleading for their beloved Boo to come back to them. While this is the hard side of loving and loosing, we have to remind ourselves to never lose sight of how it felt while our dogs are with us. Forgetting the time together would an injustice to the one who touched our heart and it would negate the love they brought into our lives.

In the case of Boo (also known as Ryder), he was amazing. I didn’t get to see him on a daily basis, but what I noticed immediately was that he brought pure joy to Katie and Andy’s life. He made them smile. He worked the two of them by pouring on the puppy love, adding a full-bodied tail wag and a look that said “I love you so much”. They couldn’t help but shower him with kisses, hugs and smiles. From my vantage point, I’m certain these warm feelings poured over into their marriage and that it brought the two of them closer as a couple. They smiled and laughed together over Boo and his antics and those happy feelings overflowed and was shared among their friends.

Boo’s reach was far beyond his immediate family. While judging him in agility, I couldn’t help but smile and root him on. He gave his all in each agility performance and was a force of good that swept through the course. Nobody could resist the happiness watching him brought!

But what I’ll remember most was the whirl of energy Boo and his handler (it didn’t matter if it was Katie or Andy) produced. They were like a micro-burst of fun on the agility course. It started the moment they came to the line and the impact continued even after they were gone. Dan (my hubby) and I would see them hours later and smiles would still be plastered on all of their faces (humans and dogs alike). It was infectious and a feeling that sucked us in. That's how we became friends with them, in part, thanks to Boo.

So while Katie and Andy work through their grief, I wanted to salute Boo for having touched so many lives in such an amazingly positive way. He did touch many hearts and he brought joy to everyone who watched. He was amazing to see, lovable to all and so very special. I know that we are all better humans for having known that 4-legged little fuzz ball of joy.

Thank you Boo for sharing your gift with all of us and our hearts are with Katie and Andy during this time.

With Love,

Lisa & Dan

Friday, September 24, 2010

Test Drive the Dogs!

When I was younger and well before driving age, my parents would let me go out and start the car so it could warm up before they headed off to work. Even though it was 10 below zero, I loved that moment behind the wheel. It was a thrill, a job I had proven I was capable of handling and for just that one moment, a glimpse into my future.

Later, my role evolved and I was allowed to back the car down the driveway and not long after that, my Dad let me drive his truck around the property. All of these skills prepared me for real driving on real roads.

Training a dog in agility is much the same thing. We start our puppies/dogs off by instilling the safety rules of agility skills. Next we let them sit behind the wheel by sharing the keys of handling and soon they’re backing down the driveway of sequencing. Before we know it, they’re driving courses in the safety of our property…all in preparation for real driving on real agility courses.

This analogy came to mind when I recently took Zulu out for a little test drive in agility class. I have to say, it was a thrill! First, his contacts were amazing. As I pushed, he gave me 2on-2off contacts that were fast, confident and accurate. The timing couldn't have been better as my 2on2off DVD will be available via download next week and soon available for shipping. It was a nice reminder that the training is GREAT and dogs just love it!

But back to my Zulu test, he sequenced with relish and was clearly enjoying himself while working with gusto. I couldn’t help but be proud of his skills and I have to say, it was fun to get a glimpse of our agility future together.

You may remember when a few months ago I took Rouge out for a few test drives on the open road at an agility trial and again at the Stacy Peardot-Goudy seminar. Those times gave me confidence that her visitation days were behind us.

It also means that it’s really time to start driving her like the little race car she is and to see exactly what’s under that sporty hood of hers. So I grabbed my best treats and off we went to race around the agility training course. To my surprise, she was just as hyped about the experience as I was. It seems the more I pushed, the more she gave. Pretty soon I was giggling, she had a smile on her face and we both learned how to burn a little rubber!

The lesson I'm reminded is that there reaches a point in each dog’s training where it’s time to buckle up, hit the road and see what’s under the hood 'cause it’s time for a real test drive. Relish that moment. You're sure to have some great moments and if you're lucky, you'll walk away with a few specific items to work on. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Judging - UKI Trial, Wilsonville, OR (Sunday)

 Today was Day 2 of the UKI trial and today was GREAT!

First, we got the whole jump height movement thing worked out and it was so nice and orderly! My feet were so happy

Better yet, today we had AWESOME courses (thanks to my hubby Dan) and we added Gamblers to the mix.

Oh and did I mention the weather was sunny?!?!

Yes, it was a great UKI trial and something worth checking out.

Enjoy the attached courses.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Judging - UKI Trial, Wilsonville, OR

Today I judged my first UKI Trial.

UKI is a new agility organization that is geared to be more European in course design.

Here are the pros and cons of my first experience with UKI:

* Love the courses. The main thing that attracted me to UKI was the difference in course design. I like a bit of challenge since I think this creates better handlers and more experienced dogs.
* I love how Novice-friendly UKI is. There is a nursery class and even better, you can call "Not For Competition" or NFC, which means you can use a toy during your training time and you're not judged on performance. It's a great way to get ring experience.

* I love a good strategy game and UKI provides those. Today we had Snakes and Ladders and tomorrow we'll have Gamblers.
* Thanks to nesting, easy course changes.
* Love the relaxed environment.

* Well, it's a new organization and they have a few bugs to work out. For example, the Snakes & Ladders written guidelines are missing a few important details. (The good news is the exhibitors were all easy going and we figured it out)
* Holy cow, with all of the classes running similar courses I think we were changing jump heights continuously! I'm positive I put more miles on doing this than actual judging.
* I felt like a lump of coal when handlers called NFC since my sole job was to stand there and be sure handlers weren't mean to their dogs. Ah yeah, since they were coming in with toys to play, that wasn't an issue (an nobody beat their dog with an udder toy ).

Overall, it was a positive experience and I would definitely consider entering a trial with my own dog.

Enjoy the courses everyone!


Thursday, September 16, 2010

2on-2off DVD - Where are we at?

My last several weeks have been devoted to my 2on-2off DVD, which has definitely been a labor of love.

As I'm quickly figuring out, the challenge with a DVD is that it lacks the instant feedback a personal lesson has to offer. But at the same time, it's imparting a huge piece of informative knowledge on the overall direction.

The 2on-2off concept is simple and straight forward, but it does require an eye for understanding what is happening and the direction the training should be heading toward.

While trying to share all of this factual and intuitive knowledge, my concern is that the video will appear too detailed or worse yet, not detailed enough. Trying to decide where to start and stop the knowledge has been a challenge and I'm going to have to come to terms with the fact that some subjects (i.e. training a release) really need to be left as a topic all of their own to be discussed on another day.

At any rate, the DVD is coming along great and I'm very proud of the product so far. Just 2 more chapters to go and it will be available for download as well as being sent off to have professional DVDs made.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Technology and Dog Poop, Not a Suggested Combo

Long ago I decided that challenging situation are best looked at as future stories to share and laugh over with friends. Today was certainly no exception!

I've been working hard to finish up editing my 2on-2off Contact DVD and the last two days have been priceless. Clearly my time in the Alaskan brush did me some good and I came back refreshed and surging with energy. I stayed up late last night and then got up early to finish up the project. Then the Windows update hit and dang if it didn't just wig out my computer...and my DVD file (and back ups), which magically reverted back to copies dated Aug 27th.

Ah yeah, that means the last week of work is GONE! I've been on the phone with almost everyone and have come to the conclusion that my beautiful DVD now needs to be recreated.  The good news is I have all of the little pieces and know which order they go in, so off to work I go...again!

But that's no the funny part. The funny part is that as I'm calmly trying to figure out which limb I can sell/offer/sacrifice in hopes that my beloved file will magically appear, I blindly plunk myself on the couch to ponder my options.

It wasn't but a few moments later I realize that I was sitting on something hard. Assuming it is a dog bone (this does happen often in my home), I go to grab it and alarmingly realize it's a turd. Yeah, the kind that falls out of my old dog's butt more and more often these days. Just when I'm thinking the situation couldn't get worse, I have to face the reality that I'm sitting in doggy poop. 

Looking back, I guess my first clue to the hidden land mine was when I thought "Oh goody! There's an open spot on the couch for me!" With five dogs, that's a rarity and I now realize the dogs were avoiding the area (In my defense, the turd was hidden in a multi-colored blanket).

So, the moral of the story is that it was going to be a sh*t day, no matter what! Oh, and always check the blanket before sitting down.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dear Blog...I've Been Unfaithful To You

Yes, I feel like I've been cheating on my blog by not being there to write and I've fallen into the category of dead beat blogger! Life's been beyond hectic and I've found myself stretched to the gills the last month. But the last week or so has me getting refocused, energized and working toward getting back on track.

First, I had Stacy Peardot-Goudy in for a week conducting seminars. I always come away from working with Stacy feeling motivated, with a ton of new ideas and of course encouraged by the progress I've made with my dogs.

In February I wrote about how Rouge's social calendar was overtaking her ability to think clearly in agility and so it is with great pride that I write that in this seminar she never once went to visit and consistently worked with me.

I also had an opportunity to work little Zulu and discovered a few things. First, he has now gained the ability to quickly focus. Second, that he jumps way better at 24" and third, he's going to be a ton of fun!

The next step in my busy schedule has me in Kenai, Alaska judging. One of the best parts about being in the middle of nowhere? The lack of cell phone and internet service. Amazingly, I've happily survived the last 4 days without the pressure of phone calls, e-mails and text messages. Of course the beautiful scenery and wonderful people have made this trip memorable as well.

Colorful Fungus
It seems each time I take pictures a theme emerges. This time the theme is mushrooms! I felt very lilliputian (small in size) next to the gigantic varieties found here in Alaska. Here are just a few pictures of the fungus among-us.

Ugly, but BIG fungus!

Bowl-like Fungus

More Fungus
Frilly Fungus

Alaska has a lot more to offer and here are just a few additional pictures

Fly Fishing in the Kenai River

Kenia Fjords

Lake at the Cross Roads in Alaska
Dan & Lisa at Exit Glacier in Seward, Alaska

Up Close to Exit Glacier
Blue Ice is COLD Ice!

Monday, August 9, 2010

I've had some amazing agility dreams for several years and thanks to some great people in my life, I'm going to move forward with them.

It all started out with the 2on-2off Contact Training DVD that is in full-swing and going very, very well.

From there, my 'team' pushed me to create  Not only will SpotOn produce my agility DVD's, videos, audios and e-books, but it will also offer specialized agility training, topic discussions and more.

My goal is to have on-line agility training solutions that are flexible, compatible and complimentary with all types of training and handling options.

Besides the 2on-2off Contact Training DVD, my next several projects will include a page designed for Novice Handlers and other agility training materials specific to front crosses, rear crosses and more.

While we're still in development, I wanted to share our new logo.

Stay tuned for more to come!


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Star Trek Photo Shoot

Tonight Dan and I got to spend some time playing with the digital camera. He's a great teacher on the mechanics of the camera and I'm more creative so it works well together. While playing with the various shutter, aperture and other settings, the images above are what we came up with. 

The moon was so bright that the camera couldn't pick it up (image on the left). However, we ended up with a unique mirror image (on the right) that is actually clearer than the actual moon.

I think we should submit them to Star Trek for consideration! I love the creative outlet the camera provides.

Tonight's photo shoot was just the icing on the cake. Ever have a day where you think WOW! Well, I've had two days like that and planning to make it three (tomorrow).

Dan's work schedule recently changed and he's working 4-10 hour days so  Friday through Sunday he's at home. It's a bonus day with him each week and we've been really enjoying it!

Each day we've picked a manageable project to work on and then spent the remainder of the day doing fun things. I'm feeling very spoiled at the moment.

We've had amazing weather the last few days as well. Sunny, warm with a nice breeze and the yard looks really good this year. Having a peaceful place for me and the dogs to hang is simply wonderful. You can see in the way the dogs play how happy they are and that brings a huge smile to my face.

Also, filming for my contact DVD is going amazing. Everyone involved in the training/filming is happy, their dogs are having success and at the moment, everything is clicking along great. I'm feeling blessed in every part of my life.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Sunday!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Stopping to smell the roses...literally

It's a busy place in my household right now. With the 2o2o Contact DVD in production, judging, my dogs, hubby/family time and the usual day-to-day obligations, it would be easy to miss the small, but enjoyable details around my house.

Flowers have always fascinated me and I have hundreds of photos in my personal album. So when my new rose tree started to bloom, it's not surprising that the first thing I did was grab my camera for a little break of creativity time.

I'm definitely taking the age-old saying 'stop and smell the roses' literally.

In the next couple of photos I used natural direct sunlight and added a bit of water for an unexpected dewy glow.

I was also lucky enough to have another bud opening at the same time so I was able to include that in my creativity time as well.

So not only did I get the welcome break of enjoying some of the beautiful landscaping in my yard, I also had the opportunity to express my creativity via the camera to capture natures beauty.

Well, I'm heading back to work as I have a large project plan that needs to make its way onto paper.

Enjoy the pictures everyone and don't forget to stop and enjoy the roses in your garden of life.


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Mile High Golden Ret Club of Denver - Sun Exc Std

Attached is my Sunday Excellent Standard course.

After setting it up, I was a little worried it would be viewed as too technical, especially when compared with yesterday's jumpers course that had quite a few straight running lines on it. However, once it got going, I really enjoyed it and had quite a few compliments on the course.

The course started with a tunnel and surprisingly, a few dogs had trouble with this. If I had to guess why, I think handlers assumed the dogs would go for the entrance and they took it for granted.

The course path ensured I had no problems judging the dog walk and there were no close calls with wandering handlers. Very few dogs went straight into the off-course tunnel, however several handlers had to fight to keep their dog on track and heading toward the jump.

My favorite handler path was when exhibitors would go to the landing side of the #5 jump so they were calling the dog over the jump to them and the dog would approach the a-frame while they were on the left side of the handler. It was a beautiful line and set up the next sequence nicely.

The a-frame, double jump to the chute posed no problems and barely a handful of dogs went into the #1 off-course tunnel. Several handlers were able to stay on the landing side of the #10 jump and there was some really nice maneuvering to call the dog over the #10 jump toward them and then work the dog on their left heading up the teeter.

After the table, the #13 jump to the weaves was a challenge. Quite a few bars were knocked at this jump as handlers were afraid to allow too much extension for fear the off-course tunnel would work it's sucking magic. Some dogs just had to have the tunnel no matter how hard their handler called them.

The closing sequence had some handlers working hard to push their dogs out to the tire and triple and the best handler path I saw was a front cross between #15 & 16. Most people were able to leave their dogs in the weaves so they were able to get up in to place very nicely. Another challenge for handlers who kept their dogs on their right through the closing sequence was that they had to be sure to pull their dog over the #16 jump toward them or the dog would simply by-pass this obstacle.

Again, another great day in Colorado and we're on the plan just about ready to start our descent. I love having WiFi on board! Any way, thank you for a wonderful trial and for such a fun time.


Mile High Golden Ret Club of Denver - Sat Exc JWW

Here's my Excellent JWW course from Saturday. I LOVED this course!

My favorite part was from jump #10 all the way down to #14 tunnel. Dogs were cruising and it was neat to watch handlers work 1) around the weave poles and 2) to push their dog into the correct end of the tunnel.

Let me back up for just a moment, I really have to compliment this crowd on how easily they made #5 through the #8 weaves look.

There were a couple of ways handlers maneuvered #8-10. The majority of people did either a rear or front cross at the front side of the poles so their dog was on their right side through this sequence. However, a handful of folks kept their dogs on their left while they did the poles and then very successfully sent their dog out to #9 & 10 which worked well in helping them to be down toward the tunnel entrance.

I also loved the line from #15 to 16 and wanted to note that only 1 dog ran past the run-out plane of the #16 jump.  Those handlers that shaped their dog over #15 so they were already heading to #16 had a beautiful line for the closing. Some handlers even went so far as to do a front cross on the front side of #17 so they had a nice tight turn from #16 down to #18.

There were a TON of qualifiers and it was a very fun course to watch. Thanks for great runs everyone!

On to non-trial things, we were in Castle Rock, CO and I wanted to recommend a wonderful restaurant the club took us to for dinner. The place is called Sienna and it was AMAZING! It's in the heart of town and the food was absolutely wonderful. I was pretty tired after dinner and was asleep by 8:00 p.m.  Too much fun I guess!

Mile High Golden Ret Club of Denver - Fri Exc Std

It's been awhile since I last blogged and it certainly hasn't been due to a lack of topics! Life is busy and Dan and I flew off to Colorado for the weekend to judge for the Mile High Golden Retriever Club.

We were really excited to be back in Colorado. Lots of good friends and lots of great dogs to visit with. Oh and the weather was great too!

As for course review, let's start with my Excellent Standard course from Friday.

I started this course with a chute, which I'll admit, I do like to do. As with all chutes, handlers really need to be sure they're supporting this obstacle all the way down to the end. If they don't, it gives the dog permission to curl in toward the handler even more than normal. That was the case with a few dogs here and once they curled in, dogs generally had a less than optimal approach to the triple jump. In this case, it wasn't the angle that was the concern, but instead the shorter distance/notice for the spread jump.

The next area that was a challenge was from midway up the dog walk to the landing side of the teeter. Now let me clarify, it was a challenge for ME as the judge! All was going well for the first 175 dogs and then we hit the 20" dogs. Once we got to this group, I was left guessing if the handler was going to follow the dog down to the end of the dog walk contact or were they going to do a surprise peel-off down to the landing side of the tire. I have to say, it really messed with my judging path and I just about required each person to complete a flight path before their run.

The next area that caught quite a few handlers was the line from the teeter to the weave poles. It didn't seem to matter which side of the teeter handlers were on as dogs were squarely facing the off-course jump rather than turning toward the weaves. Ironically, after the handler path guessing game from the dog walk, the 20" class consistently handled this line the best.

The next area was the off-set serpentine from #7-9. In my humble opinion, this area simply looks different and it's more of a mental challenge. Those who worked to keep their dog in tight to take the jumps at an angle were more efficient than those folks who allowed their dogs to take the jumps straight-on which resulted in a much wider path and a few more call-offs.

Oddly, quite a few dogs knocked a bar at the double. It's possible the tunnel on the landing side was a big attraction or simply that handlers started to open up and run again heading into this sequence. As expected, a few dogs took the wrong side of the #11 tunnel.

After the a-frame and on their way to the table, a few dogs headed toward the teeter, but most didn't bother.

After the table we have the reverse serpentine with a pull into the #17 tunnel. the same issues with this serpentine and very few dogs had a problem with the correct tunnel entrance.

Friday evening was a lovely night and after a little shopping at the very nice outlet mall across from our hotel, we picked up Outback, grabbed a blanket and headed out to sit on the grass and enjoy the meal. Several exhibitors joined us and it was a fun evening.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Does This Magazine Make Me Look Fat?

Today was not my day for beauty and no amount of inner glow was going to make me feel better about the hair that was stuck to my head.

I had a little snafu yesterday in what should have been a simple color touch-up. For those that know me, I love to play with hair color. Sometimes a little touch of red, sometimes a few blonde highlights. Just depends on what the mood is.

It's summer and I've decided to move lighter in the shades and found a color with highlights I just love. While multi-tasking yesterday, I inadvertently grabbed my winter hair color. No problem, after it was done I just grabbed my summer hair color and then did the highlights. But thanks to the varying base colors now in my hair, the highlights didn't turn out like they should have. So I thought I could just start over with the lighter base color.

As I've now found out, the more color you add (even lighter colors), the darker your hair becomes. By morning, my hair was just about jet black and definitely NOT what I was hoping for. So off to the salon I head so I can pay someone to get me into the hair color I had when I woke up yesterday morning.

So when I entered the salon in my baggy pants, loose t-shirt, zero make-up and hair that I wasn't feeling the love for, I wasn't feeling all pretty-like. Hell, I couldn't have faked it if my life depended on it! To make matters worse, while waiting for my hair-savior (stylist) I opened up one of those hip fashion magazines. There staring back at me were tall, skinny, young models with perfectly colored hair, beautiful spiked heals and wearing the latest and greatest in clothing that is well-above the Kohl's price range I normally shop in.

To add insult to injury, they didn't have a single piece of dog hair weaved into their fancy clothing (in contrast to my life-style which means I'm always accompanied by dog hair of all colors).

In my hair-weakened state, I found myself thinking "I want to be that skinny", "I want my hair done up like that", "oh those dreamy shoes" and all kinds of envious stuff. Even the Venus razor ad with her beautiful legs had me turning green.

And then I found myself mentally calculating all of my flaws. I hadn't shaved my legs since Saturday. There was no way my practical feet were going to stand 20 minutes in those 5" heels. The hair was a completely lost cause and this 5'2" vertically challenged girl was never going to have long, tall, lean legs no matter how hard I worked out or how long I stayed on a stretching rack.

Now tell me again why we have these magazines that feature fake people, shown in borrowed homes, wearing clothing with price tags that add up to a house payment, in hairstyles that require 10 pounds of hair product and a small monthly loan just to afford them?

Dang it, I almost fell for the marketing machine techniques which tell me that if I buy Product X, Y and Z, I'll have everything I never knew I was missing. Luckily I put the magazine down. I confidently walked over to my SuperCuts salon gal who is a treasure (Yes, I'll admit that I used to go to a top-notch salon and pay almost $200 for a cut & color). My gal worked her magic and by the time I walked out of there (with a brow wax to boot!), I was feeling pretty, pretty, pretty! Hell, I even came home and threw on a little make-up to go teach my dog classes.

As an added bonus to my now normal base color, I have some wicked blonde highlights that lighten up my mood as well as my hair. I have to say, I'm feeling the spark again and I've vowed NOT to open up one of the damned magazines again! Those things are BAD for your health!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gearing Up For Colorado

I've had a small bit of time at home to re-energize and focus on several of the fun projects evolving in my life.

First is the Spot-On 2-on-2-off contact DVD which is coming along nicely. I'm working with 5 new people at varying skill levels and dogs from puppy hood up to retraining an Excellent level dog.

We're a couple of weeks into filming and I'm currently working on written material to accompany the video portion.

But more importantly, I've been spending great quality time at home in the garden, taking pictures and with my pups.
All of the dogs have been so happy and actively playing with each other when they're not hanging with Dan and I.

Rylee's agility training is coming along great. She's a unique character in that she really needs to think something is her own idea. So in keeping with her wishes, I haven't pushed her to do anything. In return, she offers me a heck of a lot more each time we work together.

Rouge has made it a daily habit to offer me toys to entice me to play. Today it was a large piece of wood from the yard that she brought into the house. I have to laugh because she was so proud of herself! As I write, she's sleeping next to me.

Zulu just celebrated 1 year with us. I can't believe how fast time has gone! His latest thing is that he has made it his place to lay on the back of my chair to look out the window or place his head on my shoulder to sleep. I love the fact that I can smother him with kisses and he comfortably lays there and then returns a few when I'm done. Yes, he is a Momma's boy!

Well, Dan and I leave for Colorado in a few days for a judging assignment. I always miss my dogs when we're gone and I'm hoping to use my plane/hotel time to catch up on some courses that are do in a few months.

Oh, I have peaked at my courses for this weekend and I'm excited to see them run! As is typical, there is a challenging part on each and I'm very interested to see how handlers work through it. While I'd like to go into more detail, sorry, there won't be any hints : )

Colorado, we'll see you soon!