Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Road Trip - New Mexico to Arizona

We woke up really early the second morning. Mom and dad wanted to get a head start, so they could spend as much time as they could with the family. So I got popped back into my crate, and off we went. The family wanted to take a trip to Sedona, and offered to wait for us to
arrive. But mom's been there tons of times (she used to live in AZ), and dad was too tired to even think about sight seeing. So they passed on the offer, and the family went without them.

We got to Flagstaff, and found our hotel. We stayed at La Quinta's the whole way, and mom was very impressed with their customer service. When we arrived, we went to the room (that the family already was staying in) and the room wasn't made up. So they hunted down a maid and she immediately made the bed and finished cleaning. Then the front desk called to check that the room was good to go, and that the maid had done a good job. We were happy to say she had.

We all decided to take a quick nap, and as these things happen, the family arrived about 5 minutes later. LOL

Everybody spent time catching up, then we wandered into downtown Flagstaff. It's right on the historic Route 66, and has tons of fun restaurants, bars and shops.

First stop - dinner. They went to an Irish Pub. Dad spotted it, and knowing mom loves her some Guinness, he made a beeline to the front door. After corned beef and cabbage, burgers and some salad, and LOTS of beer, they decided to walk around town. Dad went to get me out of the car and I got to walk around town. Downtown Flagstaff is hopping on Saturday night, and all the shops stay open

Retail therapy with dad

We tried to find an outdoor place to have a few more drinks, but none of them allowed dogs. Just as we were walking back to the car, a pizza guy grabbed us and yelled "your dog can hang out on OUR patio. Come and get some pizza!" We were full of food, but settled in for a few more beers and some garlic bread. And I was the center of attention to all the folks walking by.

Giving the fans what they want - ME!

People stopped to pet me, and talk to me, and give me food. Dad said no to the food, but yes to everything else. He did cave and give me some garlic bread when nobody was looking.

Nom, nom, nom

His sister was horrified that I ate people food, but hey, I'm a people (in my mind, anyway.)

She wouldn't give me food, but gave me lots of attention

Then we went back to the hotel, and talked some MORE. Then we hit the hay.

That's me and dad chillin'

Tomorrow: Back to where we started.

Road Trip - Texas to New Mexico

There WAS a purpose to our road trip. It wasn't just recreational. When we moved to Texas last fall, we sold dad's truck and were going to tow mom's van. When dad was renting the moving truck and dolly, the guy told him that the van was too wide to tow that way. What!!!! So we went with Plan B, which was to borrow his mom's small car, then drive back to meet his mom halfway to switch cars when we got settled.

That's dad towing the little car last fall.

That time was now. So the plans were made to meet up in Flagstaff, Arizona. Dad's mom and sister were meeting us there, and he was pretty excited to see them.

Day 1 - dad works nights, so mom took the day off and got the packing done. They weren't going to take any dogs, but mom couldn't stand the thought of leaving me behind, so she talked dad into taking me along. KIDDING - I'm dad's buddy, so he was all over that idea.

When dad got home, we hit the road. Traveled through Texas, up into the panhandle, then on to New Mexico. Twelve looooong hours later we were in Santa Rosa, NM and the first stretch was done.

Along the way, we got to see lots of cool things. We didn't stop anywhere, because it was just too hot. But it was the same route we took on our way to Texas, but then mom and dad were too busy driving to look around. Now they could gawk to their heart's content. We saw beautiful rocks, miles of desert, deer, cows and horses. I checked lots of peemail, and met all kinds of dogs at the rest stops.

Mom and dad were bushed that night, but I was rested. So mom played fetch and tug with me, to get my energy out. Then I sacked out on the big fluffy bed.

Tomorrow - I get my kicks on Route 66.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Road Trip - Just a Taste

I have lots to share about my adventure, but mom is REALLY tired. So I'm going to just give you a taste of what happened this weekend.

Here's a hint:

Yup, that's me on a hotel bed. Just me. No Arnie, Puck, Snap or Levi. Just ME!

I promise I'll fill you all in tomorrow.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Adventure Time

Mom and dad are going on a big adventure, and they decided to take me with them. Woohooo!

I'm bathed, packed and rested. Now we're just waiting for dad to get home from work, and the adventure starts. I'll let you know all about it next week.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

New Pug Agility Design

Mom's been ramping up the creative flow lately.
Here's just a taste of one of her designs.
It'll be up on her shop once it's finalized.

Check out her shop at www.cafepress.com/pugbox

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Last of the CPE agility videos

Mom keeps forgetting to finish recapping the last 2 runs we ran at our CPE trial a few weeks ago.

Here's Arnie's Fullhouse run.

The object of Fullhouse is to accumulate a certain collection of obstacles, until the whistle blows. You need 3 singles (jumps), 2 circles (tunnels and tires), and 1 big ticket item (contacts and weaves). You can do more obstacles for more points, but you need at least those to qualify. Arnie qualified, by the skin of his teeth. It was sooooo hot for him, and just didn't want to jump much.

And.....drumroll please.....last but not least, my Wildcard run.

The object of Wildcard is to correctly take one of two choices in the sequence. There are 3 places where you have to make that choice, and depending on your level, you might have to pick 2 easy and 1 hard choice, or 1 easy and 2 hard. I'm in the level where I have to pick 2 hard and 1 easy. In this run, my first choice was between the aframe (hard) and tunnel (easy). The next was between the tire (easy) and weave poles (hard). The last was between the tunnel (easy) and 4 jumps (hard). I qualified, no problem, and except for my bad habit of going a little rogue on the second obstacle, I did pretty good.

Hope you've enjoyed watching my runs as much as I enjoyed running them.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Play Ball

Mom and dad had an adventure last night. It was without me, but since mom had so much fun, I guess it was OK that they went solo for once.

First stop was dinner at this place:

They heard about it first when they were watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It looked delicious, and since it was on their way last night, they checked it out. The food was as good as they'd hoped, and the portions were HUGE!

Where did they go? To a Rangers game!!! Mom LOVES baseball, and hasn't lived near a major league team in about 20 years. When they moved to Fort Worth, she knew they had to go see the Rangers play. The game was great. The Rangers won. And the beer was cold.

The ballpark is really cool. It's new, but looks like an old-time stadium. Behind center field are a bunch of businesses that have balconies that look out over the field. How cool is that?

Right next door is Cowboy Stadium. Mom took a picture of the dome from the ballpark.

Not sure when they'll get back to a game. But it's pretty handy to have all kinds of sporting opportunities about 15 minutes from home.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Standard CPE Runs

I've uploaded some more video of my CPE runs. This is me in Standard. I'm in Level 3. It's the full on, everything in the ring, kind of run. There's tunnels, jumps, aframe, weave poles - the works. It was a pretty good run, but it was HOT. So mom was a little out of sinc with me. In spite of our glitches, I Q'd and got a second place.

My Standard run:

Arnie ran Standard also. He's in Level 4, and he Q'd too, with a second place. The heat really affected his run. He was NOT on his game for this. Notice his "pug moment" when he visits the judge in the middle of his run. He is a goofball.

Arnie's Standard run:

There's a few more video (dad was there, and taped most of our runs). I'll put those up tomorrow.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

CPE Agility Videos

As promised, a recap of our agility weekend, complete with video for your viewing pleasure.

First up: Snooker. I'm in Level 3, and this run finished my title.

Snooker explained - there are 2 parts to Snooker; the opening and the closing. All the equipment is on the course, and they have different colored/numbered flags on them. There are 4 jumps that have red/number 1 flags on them.

For the Opening, you must take a red/1, then a numbered obstacle. Then another red/1 (different from the first), then a numbered obstacle (can be the same as your first). Then another red/1 (different), then a numbered obstacle. Now you're ready for your Closing.

For the Closing, you take obstacle number 2, then 3, then 4, then 5, until you finish or the whistle blows, whichever comes first. Then you run to the table, and that stops the clock.

You qualify based on how many points you get. You get points for every obstacle you take, and the point you get is whatever number is on that flag. If you take an obstacle that is not the correct one in your sequence, the whistle blows and you must leave.

Here's my run:

Here's the tabulation for my run:
Red/1 - jump
Obstacle/4 - tunnel
Red/1 - jump
Obstacle/6 - aframe
Red/1 - jump
Obstacle/6 - aframe

Now on to the Closing. The hard part is NOT taking any obstacles that I'm running past, until I get to number 2.

Obstacle/2 - jump
Obstacle/3 - double jump
Obstacle/4 - tunnel
Obstacle/5 - weave poles
Obstacle/6 - aframe
Obstacle/7 - combination jumps

I didn't cross the last jump in the #7 combination, so I didn't get the points for that obstacle. But I had enough points to qualify, even without that obstacle, mostly because we did two #6 obstacles (the aframe) that gave us a lot of points. I ended up with 39 points (I needed 32 to qualify). I also got first place!

Arnie ran the same sequence that I did, but he jumped over obstacle 7 before the whistle blew, so he got 46 points. He's in Level 4, and also got first place!

Arnie's run:

Hope this made sense. And if you have any questions about agility or snooker, let me know.

Tomorrow: Arnie's Fullhouse run, and my Standard run.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weekend Update

And that will include the near-death experience. But more on that later.

We went to a CPE trial last weekend, the first in a year. I had to get measured (or so we thought), so we figured we get there early. Dad went with us, and we stayed in a hotel on Friday night. We haven't been in a hotel in YEARS and it was as awesome as I remember. Big bed to lounge on, lots of toys and chewies strewn around - heaven. Mom brought our deer antler chews, so Arnie and I went to town.

Bright and early on Saturday, we were at the trial. A little background - in CA, there are usually 350 runs a day at CPE trials. That means people and dogs are crammed into every square inch. So we got there early and..........we were the first ones there. We went early to measure me, too, and it turns out I didn't need that. Even though my confirmation said I needed a measurement. Oh well, good practice on getting measured, I guess. We waited and waited for folks to show up, and at 9:00, when the show started, there were only about 25 people there. The trial was tiny!!! Mom couldn't believe it. All that worrying about getting a good spot, and we practically had the place to ourselves.

Mom ended up working a lot, because she knows the CPE ropes. But we ran a bunch of runs, and did pretty good. I did a lot better than Arnie. He really had a hard time with the hot weather. There's a lot to tell about the actual runs, complete with video, so mom is going to cover that this weekend. Suffice it to say, I rocked.

The good news was there was a kick butt photographer there, and he took lots of pictures. We're really running low on glamor agility shots around here, so it was a welcome addition to the weekend. The photographer kept coming up to mom and showing her the awesome shots he got of me. I was a star.

Now to the near-death experience. After my first run on Sunday, I did an awesome job. We had played tug with my bait bag before our run, and my treats were crumbled in the pocket. So after the run, mom let me eat out of the treat bag. We finished, and as we were walking along - I FAINTED. She saw me start to wobble, and knew right away what was going on. I had inhaled my treat crumbs, literally, and they were stuck in my throat. I couldn't breath, and down I went. Mom sprung into action, lifted me up, tipped me butt-end into the air, and gave me a squeeze on my tummy. Then she kept me there, and whacked me a few times. I started sucking air, and was fine. In fact, as soon as she put me down, I started twirling and begging for more food. She was rattled, dad was COMPLETELY freaked, and the new rule is: no more eating straight out of the bait bag. Because I'm a pig.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Success, Close-ups, and a Near-Death Experience

But first, as promised, the "S" in DASH.

So far, we've got Desire. As in "I can't wait to train". And we have Accuracy. As in "I'm very carefully executing the behavior".

The next step is to add some Speed to the mix. In any behavior, performing it quickly is usually what you want. From waving your paw, to fetching a toy, to weaving the poles, it's all about doing it quickly.

Once I'm doing my behavior pretty reliably, mom starts rewarding only if I do it fast. Depending on the behavior, that might mean a little faster each time. Or "do it fast or you won't get a treat." Usually, with confidence, comes speed. Remember the car driving example? Kind of like that. As you're muscle memory kicks in, and you get used to the behavior, you start to speed it up. But if mom only rewarded the slower version, I'd never know that faster is better.

It's important for mom to remember to ONLY reward fast, once I've got it down. It's pretty black and white - no gray area. Kind of fast, once I've done it fast, just won't cut it. And if I really kick it into high gear, I get a jackpot.

We went to an agility trial this weekend, and there's a lot to tell you about. But that will have to wait until I finish H tomorrow.......HABITAT.