Monday, June 27, 2011

Volunteering in Agility

Volunteering in Agility

Why/when/how I choose to volunteer:
If I have a dog that won't stress out if I work.
If I don't have to travel far (get up at 4am, or will get home at 10pm).
If the class that I would work is small (I wouldn't be in the ring for hours)

Why/when/how I choose NOT to volunteer:
If my dog(s) would stress if I work.
If the club sticks people in spots, and leaves them there for hours at a time.
If they don't tell me before the morning of the trial if I have to work. If I'm staying until 3pm for Novice, I don't want to get there at 8am just in case I have to work. Give me a schedule and I'll stick to it. But communicate.

The impact of volunteers:
Trials can't be run without them.

How can clubs make it easy/fun/rewarding for people to volunteer:
Workers raffles are good, but make it stuff I might like (not just garage sale stuff).

I LOVE getting money off of lunch or a future trial. It can be a token amount for each class (one club gives $2 per class). I can choose to get a cheaper entry next time, or buy a bag of chips.

Don't just yell "who wants to set poles". Know your exhibitors, and ask them personally to help. Everyone loves to be thought of as the person for the job.

Use a white board so I can sign up when I get to a trial, see how my dogs are doing, and how the schedule is going. I can also remember what I signed up to do.

How not to alienate those who don't want to volunteer:
Do not threaten to stop the trial until you get enough workers. You don't know why I'm not working, so don't stress me out about it.

Jobs you like to do:
I love to gate steward.
I will scribe or time, set poles, run leashes, or scribe run.
I will NOT work the score table or build courses. I suck at both jobs. Which leads me to:

What has dis/encouraged you to volunteer:
I was once put at the score table, telling the person in charge that I would be terrible. Only be told that it was easy. Then that person spent the whole time barking at me to work faster, and mocked my errors. Not only will I not work the score table again, I will NEVER volunteer for that club again.

Working at a national championship event, from first dog on the line to last dog on the line, for 2 straight days. Being told that I would not be getting lunch (only people on a list would be getting lunch.) I was never told this in my confirmation for working. I was not running a dog at all, so I was getting nothing out of this event. And there were no restaurants close by. I never worked or entered another of their trials.

I've been competing in agility for 17 years. I've worked from day 1. In fact, I got started in agility because a client at the vet I worked for asked me to work a trial before I knew much about agility (I showed in obedience.) I've worked every job. I've rarely flaked on an assignment. I never freak out about missing a walk through because I'm working. My dogs have blown runs because I was busy working. I stay late a LOT to work the last class on Sunday, if the trial is close to home. I've chaired All-Breed Agility Trials (for 10 years straight) and Specialty Trials (3 times, with a 4th coming up).

But right now, I'm trialing 2 dogs. One of them is weird in new places, and since we just moved to this area, they're ALL new places. Both dogs are in Excellent, and I'm not used to having 2 dogs in that class. So I'm taking a break from working for awhile. People that don't know me might get mad because they see me not working. I've paid my dues, people. I've worked a lot more than most volunteers at trials over 17 years. So I'm taking a break. I'll work again, but only when I'm comfortable doing so, with the dogs I'm showing.

That's my two cents about volunteering at agility trials.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Thank you ALL!

Your good luck wishes did the trick. Two weeks ago, I was zero for six. But this weekend I managed to get two qualifying ribbons. And they were both first place ribbons.

My best class is turning out to be Standard. That's the one that has the dogwalk, aframe, teeter, etc. I've managed to conquer my demons: the teeter, table and weave poles. They were spot on this weekend.

We're still struggling in Jumpers with Weaves. I have the weaves part down, but the "jump" part is proving to be a challenge. Mom's handling has to be just right (hahahaha) or I make a mistake. She tries hard, but she's never had a speed demon like me. On both days I jumped wrong and hit the bar on a jump. The first day, it really rattled me. I started walking around jumps, my ears were flat and my tail was droopy. It affected me more than mom thought it would. On the second day, I hit a bar, but mom kept on running and told me to "shake it off". So I did, and managed to finish in style. I even did a really hard weave pole entry and it was perfection.

I know my good runs were because of all the good luck "shout outs" I got last week. Thank you all so much.

There was a photographer there this weekend. When I get some photos, I'll put them up. In the meantime, I've recapped a prior run for your viewing pleasure.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Agility Weekend Ahead

Whoa....the week sure got away from me. I went to class last night, and was TERRIBLE. Mom was tripping over me, I ran by jumps, and would NOT stay on the table.

Not a good sign, since we're showing this weekend. Wish us luck. We'll need it.

Monday, June 20, 2011

House Inspection Today

One step closer to getting into a real house. Mom and dad had the inspection today, and were able to snap a few shots of the place.The house was built in 1951, so it has lots of charm. Translation: it will need work to be updated. LOL But we're getting it because is has a nice big yard. Mom and dad can fix the place up, no problem.

Real hardwood floors. A big bright window.

Yes, a dishwasher. Our rental doesn't have one, so mom's VERY excited about no more washing dishes by hand.

Dad likes a flat-top stove. Easier to clean. And a real dining room.
Right now, they're eating off of trays in the living room.

Interesting tile. Dad thinks it wasn't put up correctly. So it might come down pretty quick. He's been watching too much Holmes on Homes.

Mom was careful to wish for an inside laundry NOT in the kitchen. The rental has washer and dryer next to the stove and fridge. Very noisy.

The reason we're getting this place: the awesome yard.

Plenty of room for our junk, er, stuff.

Our own yard straight off a dog room.
With a giant tree for Puck and Levi to pee on.

We almost bought the house next door. But they took another offer.
The house we got has a double lot - SWEET!

I'll keep you posted on how things go.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

New designs

Mom's been on a tear lately, designing new and funny pug agility designs for her Cafepress shop.

Here's her latest. One in fawn:

And one in black:

If you want to check out her stuff, go to

In the meantime, we're trying to stay cool, pack some stuff, and get ready for another agility trial next weekend.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Not quite wordless Wednesday

I was going to be silent today, but got some exciting news this morning, and have to share.

We bought a house! Big yard, quiet street, close to mom and dad's work, move-in ready.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blog Takeover

I'm letting Arnie write the blog today. Well, mom is making me. And I have to tell you why before he starts bragging.

This is us in our crate at the show. Indoors and air conditioned. Sweet!

We went to a 3 day agility trial this weekend. I went alone on Friday. And on our first run, I was SCREAMING through the course. I hit the weave poles, back and forth, fast. Then I stopped short.....and POOPED. In the weave poles. I just couldn't help it. Mom was NOT happy. The rest of our runs this weekend were poop-free, but I made a mistake in every run. So I was pretty much zero for 6. NOT impressive. And will never live the poop thing down. Ever.

So anyway, here's Arnie:

Thank you for letting me share my success this weekend. I only went for 2 days, and haven't shown in agility for awhile. I also had surgery 2 weeks ago, and have been laying low since then. So mom didn't have high hopes for my runs.

A view of our Standard course

But I shocked both of us by going 3 for 4 on my runs. With perfect scores in 2 runs. And 2 blue ribbons. And I was the only qualifier in 2 classes (there were about 10-12 dogs in the class). I did the best in Standard, and as she was walking, mom realized I haven't done AKC Standard since April of 2010. And I rocked that class.

Mom's been concentrating on Gracie lately, but I proved that I'm as good, if not better than she is. So I'm going to be entered in more shows in the future. Yeehaa!

Gracie here: he is NOT better. He's not, he's not, he's not.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

3 Days of Agility

And I only have to share 2 days with Arnie. And it's about 30 minutes from home. And it's in air conditioning.

Life is good.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Warning to DIVA's

I know I'm all about being well trained. But I do have my Diva moments. And that attitude got me into some hot water this morning. So for everyone's well being, I'm going to give you a DIVA Warning.

1. Do not bust past the baby gate in the hallway. Especially when mom's already yelled at you a million times for doing that. As the parents say: it's there for a reason.

2. Do not shove open the bedroom door. Even if you've figured out how to do it. Especially when mom's already yelled at you a million times for doing that. As the parents say: it's closed for a reason.

3. Do not jump onto the bed for a nap. Even if you do it quietly, and snuggle in quickly so nobody can see you. Especially when mom's already yelled at you a million times for doing that. As the parents say: it's not your personal bed.

4. Do NOT growl at mom when she comes to lift you off the bed. Even if you were comfy and cozy, and she gave you ample warning to leave. It will only get you thrown into doggie jail (the crate) with no treats. And a stern warning.

Will I learn my lesson. HA - doubtful. I am a DIVA after all.

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Road Home...

....was NOT exciting at all. We left early on Sunday, and drove to Amarillo, Texas. The whole ride was terribly windy. Mom didn't get her camera out because she was paranoid that it would get dirt inside it. At one rest stop, we almost leaned sideways into the wind, it was so bad.

On Sunday night, as mom came back from getting dinner, she noticed that a lot of cars in the hotel lot had that "agility vehicle" look to them. The next morning, as I was going out to pee, we ran into an agility friend from Fort Worth! Mom knows about 5 people in all of Texas, and she runs into one of them in a hotel, 350 miles from home, just at the time she was getting ice. They both laughed about it, and were disappointed we weren't the to go the show. But we'll see her in a few weeks, at another show.

On Monday, we drove back home. Mom and dad were wiped out. But they couldn't really rest. Arnie had an abscessed anal gland, so mom worried about him until she could get him to the vet the next day. He's good now, but he irritated everybody with his cone all week.

Best part about the weekend? We have the van back!!!!!!!

We love the van

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bad blogger

Mom's been slacking on the blogging this week. She's tired from the trip, caught a cold, and Arnie got an abcess and is wearing a cone (more on that later).

She'll be back full force soon.