Posts Tagged ‘Agility’

At Dog School, Graduates are Champions

Friday, October 5th, 2012

After a month of back to school for the children, it is possible your family dog will be a little lonely.  Non-family dogs have been watching the children come and go through the window.   Where are they going?  What are they doing?  Can’t I go somewhere important too?

Cy has returned to school to get in shape for his upcoming Championship events.

There are so many things dogs can learn in dog school.  Obedience is just the beginning of the skills set.  There is agility, rally, flyball, Frisbee, dock diving, lure coursing, nose work and the much appreciated therapy categories that include hospital visitor and reading helper.  Not only are there lots of classes for dogs, but also Raja and I must share with you that we have never seen a dog who is unwilling to go to school. Oh sure, some dogs learn faster than others and some are more suited for
different courses than others, but all dogs always have fun.

Raja’s friend Cy has returned to school and to competition after a few months down time healing from the neck trouble that took him out of the Canine Performance Event Nationals in Altamont, New York.  Some people might say Cy’s career should have been over, but, as we humans know about ourselves, exercise is good for the body and exercise helps prevent injuries from becoming entrenched.  Cy’s slipped neck disk could have happened jumping off the couch while turning his head toward the side, or in any number of ways.  There’s no reason why Cy’s days of glory and Olympic dreams (read: days of fun and sense of pride) should be cut short.  That doggy’s too busy to be shut down; he’ll only get in trouble from being bored.

Cy and CT share some downtime with Carolyn between events.

For his rehab, Carolyn took him to Arf Animal Rehab in Dexter, Michigan, an animal sports and injury reconditioning facility for an evaluation and training program.  Working in conjunction with his vet and the specialists, Cy was prescribed a personalized exercise regime that stretched his range of muscles in his neck and strengthened his core, some of them using a ball similar to the way humans use a ball to strengthen the center.  Since Cy’s a social snacker, he took readily to the exercises as long as treats and human attention were the main part of the process.

Cy returned to private classes with his trainer before competing at Think Pawsitive in New Berlin, Wisconsin  for a weekend of fun in which he earned three qualifications towards his

Cy taking the high road in his little white socks.

championship in the categories of Wildcard, Snooker and Jumpers. Still doing fine, Cy recently competed in Williamston, MI, Capital City Canine Club to earn 2 more Qualifications towards his championship.  And now, Cy has only 5 more Q’s to earn.  4 of them will be the hardest Q’s for him ever as he competes in an agility event called Jackpot.  In Jackpot, the dog and his human are far apart, so Cy has to run away from Carolyn to do his challenges.  Cy likes it best when he’s got Carolyn close.  But we have confidence that he’ll get the job done.  Carolyn and Cy are saving the bet Q for last- one final Q in Jumpers because Cy is he best in that challenge.  And next time you readers hear about Cy, he’ll be Champion Cy to you and me.

After Championing, what next for Cy?  Carolyn and Cy will decide, but I will share with you that National Champions can compete Internationally, and if Cy chooses to fly overseas to compete, you can bet Raja and I will be on the same plane.

So back to back to school… Dogs love school because dogs love to interact with their humans, make new friends and learn new ways to be companionable and important to humans in daily life.  If your dog seems like a schooldog to you, google “CPE” for your area and learn how you two can get started.  Your little scholar might amaze you by graduating to be a Champion too.

Picture Your Pet: Innovative photographs make for fun!

Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

When Raja and I were at the CPE Agility Nationals in Lake Elmo, Minnesota, everybody was talking about getting the “Commemorative Picture”… so what could that be?  I assumed it would be a shot with the judges and a collection of ribbons.  Kinda dull… but not so…….. 

The “Commemorative Picture” was a formal, posed shot in a theatrical little stage in the vendors’ building.  Crystal Image Pet Photography had assembled a gorgeous little studio set that idealized the Minnesota Lake District …  cattails and water grass, ducks and a stalking crane, a pine tree, stones and the pale blue of the prairie sky.  Your canine champion got to sit on the tape X and pose for the camera.  A custom label on the canoe oar makes the shot official. 

Raja and the innovative photographer at Crystal Image.

What a lovely keepsake for our Shih Tzu Wall of Glory (aka the living room wall). 

Now, you do know, you could have some fun doing this yourself at home.  Even taking the set style to a lesser degree… Take your outdoors dog into the rough and pose him on a fallen log with a hatchet, a make believe camp fire site with iron cook pot, a rustic and faded bandanna, crumpled sepia tone map, spyglass and an old canvas backpack.  Instant Lewis and Clark.    Get toddler fairy wings, enormous artificial flowers and have a friend blow bubbles toward the scene as you pose and snap your puppy princess as a flower fairy.  Yes it’s all big silly fun, but, seriously, doesn’t “big silly fun” characterize much of what you do with your dog, or is it only me?  You know you’ll love the shot after you did it and if you don’t, you might kind of wish you had. 

Can’t wait to collect the next “Commemorative Picture” from Crystal Image at Nationals next year! We want to collect all 50 states!