Friday, June 14, 2019

My AKC agility debut

Me going over a jump while looking at mom
Selene’s diary: I had my AKC agility debut in March and it was my second agility show. The first one was in last November when I was little and I jumped 16 inches. This time is for real!

My first run was in novice FAST (Fifteen and send time), which is a distance handling run. I Qed and mom was very excited. I finished the weekend with a novice FAST title, one Q in novice standard and one Q in jumpers.

Me going over a broad jump
I think I really love agility. I got lots of treats, and we always go to McDonald’s afterwards. And most of all, we all get to go, and I do not have to stay home. My biggest challenge right now is I cannot pee in unfamiliar territory, so mom said I have to learn, since I have to be able to pee outside our home. I look forward to my next competition.

Me and my ribbons

My first AKC agility run 

The AKC Champion Tracker title: My journey

Me tracking on a non-vegetation surface
Spencer’s diary: I started tracking when I was very little. Mom took me out to the field and play games with me. We play in water puddles and we go through bushes and forests. Mom first entered me in a Variable Surface Test (VST) the year I passed the Tracking Dog Excellent (TDX). I don’t think I was totally prepared but I got a lot of experience. VST is very different, there are lots of people around, I do not even know if they are watching me. I find it very hard to perform under pressure, so I had a hard time picking up the scent at the start. I have stage-fright.

I went to University of Houston twice and I had a hard time with people looking at me, then mom took me to Tulsa and I made the wrong turn. So a year had now passed. Mom took me back to Houston again, and I panicked when all the people were looking at me.

Mom started taking me to the college close to our house, and there are usually people and students walking around. I usually stop and look at them and mom told me it is ok to work. Mom also take me to the parking lot of a cafeteria style restaurant. The traffic was crazy, there were kids screaming and tons of people look at me and I was very scared in the beginning, but eventually I just look at them and mom said it is ok to keep working.

Three months have gone by, and mom took me back to Tulsa. We stopped by Dad’s parents in Oklahoma City and stayed the night, and mom drove up to Tulsa in the morning. We parked at a McDonald’s parking lot and that caught my attention. When it was our turn to track, mom told me today is the day.

The start of my VST track was difficult. I had to go towards the direction of a neighborhood with chainlink fence and multiple dogs barking at me. Mom kept telling me it was ok. So I was able to get started. After the second article, a stork flying over the “moment of truth” turn (MOT: a turn on non-vegetative surface), a rabbit jumped out before the third article, and then I had difficulty with the last turn, I got to my final article and then everybody cheered. Mom cried and hugged me.

Me finding the final article
I got 2 hard boiled eggs, my favorite, and of course McDonald’s. Mom was so happy she called Aunt Deb (a tracking judge who certified me before I got my TD- tracking dog novice title). I think Aunt Deb is proud of me, and I do not have to sit for my night night cookie anymore, just like Sophie.

My champion tracker picture with the judges and tracklayer

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Preferred Excellent Agility (PAX) title: My journey

Me on artificial turf
Spencer’s diary: This had been a long journey, and not an easy one for me. I fell off the dog walk in class when I was 10 months old and I had been scared for a long time. I did not even get on a teeter until I was over 2 years old. I started competing in jumpers first because mom wants me to get the ring experience and not wait for me to master the teeter. I got my novice title 3 shows in a row when I was 3 years old, and got the VCD1 title. I was in open class when I got on the table, the table tilted and I fell off. I was then scared of the table for a long time, then I was scared of the teeter, a-frame, and dog walk for almost a whole year. It took a lot of courage and I finally got my open title when I turned 4 years old.

Mom said I did not have enough confidence, that I can really do it, I just need to focus, and not look at the judge or other people. I finally got my excellent standard title summer of last year. I got my first double Q (qualifying score) in December of last year. Dad gave me some incentives, if I get 2 double Q in one weekend, I will get rib eye steak for dinner. I tried hard and mom tried to build up my self confidence.

I finally got my 20th double Q at the end of the summer. It was hot and I tried my best. I ran clean on 5 runs but only Qed 3 because I did not make time on the other 2. Mom said she is proud of me. It sure is a milestone for me.

Mom said I still have to continue to work hard, since I still need a lot of points to qualify for the PACH (Preferred agility champion), but for now, I got to enjoy my steaks. I will continue to work hard for trips to the Golden Arches.

My PAX trophy bar

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

The Companion Dog title: My journey

My beginner novice obedience title at 11 months old
Selene’s diary: The first time in the obedience ring, I was 11 months old. It was a local show, so I got to come home every night. It was big and noisy. Mom took me there the day before to practice showed me around. The exercises were not difficult if I pay attention and the judges are not scary like Sophie said. They just barely touched my head. I got my obedience title with a 195.5/3rd plac, 196/2nd place and a 197/1st place.

Mom and I continued to go to clas and practiced at petswest on Fridays. I like going to petswest since mom will usually pick up some pig ears for us.

A month or so passed by, and we went to Abilene. It was scary, I had never been there, and no practice, we went into the ring. Right after the stand for exam exercise, I was so scared that I ran out of the ring and back into my crate. I felt better on Saturday and I got a Q (qualifying score). Mom told me a long as I pay attention, I can do it. I almost Qed Sunday but I lied down on the sit exercise. I was very tired and ready to go home. This is also the first time I stayed at a hotel with mom without Sophie and Spencer.

We continued to practice and another month passed. This time we went to Oklahoma City and stayed with dad’s parents. They have a big yard for me to run around. The also have a cat who wants to run me off. We got to the show site the day before, and we practiced and mom showed me around, telling me not to run out of the ring again. Our ring was next to a ring with dogs chasing rats (barn hunt) and it was very interesting and there were people walking around with food. I was distracted and only got one Q.

A 3rd plac score in Abilene 
Then mom said, we need to work harder to get me out of novice so we can learn more new things. She said I need to pay more attention and not look around. Another month or so have passed by. This time we went to Leander. This place is very packed and small. But we got there the day before and I got to practice some. Mom said I just need to do the same thing the next day.

We got there on the morning, and mom kept saying to me that I need to pay attention. I finally got my last Q needed and got my Companion Dog title. I could have gotten first place but I sat up during the long down just a tad too soon. Mom said this is my obedience goal for this year, and we celebrated going to the Golden Arches.

2nd place and CD title. 

Monday, August 20, 2018

My first AKC “real” title

I was tracking to get my certification from Judge Deb

Selene’s diary: Ever since I came to live with mom, I have been learning new things. I passed the Canine good citizen and the Trick Dog Novice titles last fall. But mom said I am supposed to have a good nose, and I need to work harder. When the weather started to cool off after we came back from the German Shepherd Club Nationals last year, mom took me tracking a lot. We went to different places, and when I get to the end, I would sit and mom would give me a treat. Afterwards, mom would take me to McDonald’s for breakfast. 

Aunt Roxanna came for Christmas, and this was the first time I met her. One morning, mom, Aunt Roxanna and I got into the car, and mom told me we are going to see Judge Deb. Mom said I need to behave and pass my certification. 

We got there, and Judge Deb was very friendly and I jumped on her and wanted hugs and kisses, and mom told me to stop that. Well, I started to sniff and pretty soon, I got to the end and found the glove. Deb’s place is full of scent, it was really a nose opener for me. 

We stopped for food on the way home and I was very happy. Mom and I continued to practice tracking for the next 1 1/2 months. February came, and mom and dad went on vacation to see Aunt Roxanna. I came in heat for the first time. I did not know what to do so I kept licking. 

Mom came home and she made me wear a diaper panty. I took it off as soon as she went to work.

The day of the test came, mom and I woke up early, she cooked me breakfast and we went to the test site. I had tracked there several times before, but I really wanted to take my panties off. When it was my turn to track, mom took my panties off, and I had to lick myself clean. I saw a bunch of people looking at me, so I barked at them.  Mom said don’t bark at the judges, so I continued to lick. I could not help it but lick, and mom said if I don’t get my act together, we are going to fail, and no McDonald’s! 

What do you mean no McDonald’s? I heard right. Mom just positioned me and told me to go find it. She already knew where the direction is, I just have to keep going. So I started to sniff and it was pretty easy,  it I had to check things out, when I got to the turns I double sniff to make sure. Mom kept saying “find it”. I heard her! We got to the last turn and it had a big puddle of rainwater and I stopped to get a drink. All the judges and people were looking at us. Mom kept asking me where is it, so I was like, calm down, let me finish my drink first. I then went straight to the glove and sat. Mom came over and picked the glove up. Mom kept telling me good girl and the judges came over. I jumped up reminding mom that we need to go to McDonald’s. I am only interested in food, so off we went. 

So I earned my first AKC title: Tracking Dog. I thought, not bad for a 9 month old. I know mom is proud of me. 

My passing TD picture. 

Monday, December 25, 2017

The German Shepherd Dog Club of America Nationals

Sophie's diary: Mom packed the car full and we left on a Sunday morning to Missouri. We have not taken a trip that far, but mom promised we will have lots of food and McDonald's. We stopped for lunch at McDonald's and we got to pee and got gas. Then we stopped again before we went on the Oklahoma turnpike. Mom said if we needed to pee we got to go. There we were going on the turnpike, we got to stop to pay, and Spencer thought it was a drive thru window and thought we were getting food again, he cracked me up. He was so disappointed. I had gone on the turnpike before going to Tulsa 3 times for the TDX test. Anyways, we got to St. Clair, Missouri that Sunday night and mom unloaded all our luggage and food. We had pork chops and veggies and rice for dinner.

Monday and Tuesday Spencer competed in agility, he only got one Q. We got to walk around a bit, and run a little in the fenced in area at the hotel.

Spencer doing the weaves
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday was obedience, Spencer did not Q but mom said he got a lot of ring experience. We got lots of food, and snacks from McDonald's. Selene is a good traveler, no matter if it is 2 miles or 200 miles, she naps as soon as mom started driving. She sits in the front with mom and once we get to McDonald's she wakes up.
Spencer doing Utility A exercise: directed retrieve 
Spencer and I also got the German Shepherd Club of America Performance Award of Merir. We got very nice ribbons and plaques.

Spencer and I with the ribbons
We stopped by Chris' parents in Oklahoma on our way back and we had some nice good runs in the yard. We were all tired and ready to get back. Selene is still a baby at 5 months old and she learned a lot from this trip. She got to pee and poop while she is on a leash, she knows what a hotel is now, she likes to sleep with mom on the bed. I am glad to be home after a week.

Me, Spencer and Selene at almost 5 months old. 

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Our new sister

Our new sister Selene
Sophie's diary: A year flew by, Sunny had been gone for a year. I miss Sunny since he was a good house watcher. Mom told us that our new sister will be here soon, and there she was, on July 8. She is a spunky little girl, she screams when she is hungry, and she pees all over. Mom warned me that if she sees me pee inside the house, I will not be getting any food. I really do not mean to pee inside, sometimes I am afraid of the thunder, and of course, the mosquito zapper outside. Oh well, she also warned me that I cannot be blocking the dog door, so Selene can go out. How do I watch the house if I do not sit by the door?

The first few meals we had, Selene tried to get our food, and Spencer growled at her, and she screamed and ran to mom. She is learning that we all eat the same food. She is a fast learner, mom said if we do not sit, she is not putting our food bowl down. I really want to growl at her when she goes after my food, but mom said no growling, so now Selene eats with a leash on her collar so mom does not have to keep running and picking her up
Spencer, Selene and me

Selene figures things around the house pretty quickly, she learned how to run inside the house through the dog door because she does not like the heat. She figured how to go up the stairs by the third day, she does not like to be carried upstairs when we are ready to go night night. It took her another 2 days to figure how to go downstairs. And of course she figured out Spencer's toy box. She takes everything out and scatter all over the kitchen. Also, all she does is chew. She chews Spencer's toys and mom's leg.

She is learning some basic obedience commands, but we both have to do it with her. Mom said I have to set a good example. She also bites our ankles a lot, and everytime she does that, I quickly run back into my room.

Mom is on half day vacations since she came, and we all have lunch when mom comes home. It reminded me of last summer when mom worked from home and we all had nice lunches. It is so
Selene the day she came, she is a happy pup 
hot outside, but since Selene is non stop action, it is hard for Spencer and I to take a nap. We have been so tired and we cannot wait to go to bed at night, Selene screams at 4 am since she has to pee, and we all will wake up. But Spencer and I are so tired we cannot even get up, mom has to drag us downstairs, telling us to hurry up if we want our breakfast and our walk.

When Spencer was little, mom would give him a cookie, and Sidney, Sunny and I would run with mom to the door, quickly go out before Spencer finish his cookie. Well, we are doing it all over again. Mom said go, go, go, and Spencer and I run to the door, and we all try to get out before Selene finish her cookie. Sometimes Spencer stayed there looking at mom since he wants the cookie too, and I told him,  let's go go go. We did that to you when you were
little. Hahaha.

Selene is getting bigger, and she wants to play with us all the time. Mom keep yelling don't trample her. Sometimes she runs under my belly I do not even see her. Well, I cannot wait for her to grow up and play with us. Spencer thinks she is great,  because he is getting another leftover dinner bowl. All Spencer thinks about is food. I think she is great because now I am riding in the back row of the car where I used to be. Sharing a row with Spencer in the car means he can take up a lot of room when he is tired. So it is nice to have my little spot.

Selene at 7 weeks old

Friday, July 21, 2017

The VCD2 and TDX titles: My journey

My agility ribbons including the Open standard title to fulfill VCD2
Spencer's diary: The teeter has always been my problem, mom said. Last year, when I fell off the table when the table tilted, I never made it back on the table, the dog walk, the A-frame, and of course the teeter. That was a year ago in February. Mom always reminded me because my birthday is in February.

I got my open level title in obedience last summer and mom kept saying that I need my open level title in standard agility in order to get my VCD2 title. Sidney and Sophie both got VCD1 and mom was hoping that I would get to level 2. Dad bought me a competition teeter last summer and mom and  I spent countless hours training on the teeter, sometimes I do not get dinner unless I do the teeter. 

I was feeling more confident in the winter, but sometimes I was not sure and mom said I have to do it right the first time. She said at the open level, I can only pause one time on one obstacle, if not I
Me coming down the A-frame
would not qualify. I really try very hard. Mom also reminded me that if I try my best, we would go to McDonald's after the show. Since Sophie is retired, all the burden is on me to get the ribbons, if not, Sophie would be disappointed too.

My birthday came and gone, and mom reminded me that I am now 4 years old. Time to get my act together, so on February 25, I got my last Q in open standard agility and got my title, and fulfilled the requirements of Versatile Companion Dog title 2 (VCD2). Mom was really happy.

The day after my agility success, I was in for a tracking test. Of course I did not know it at the time. Sophie and I went with mom and I thought it was just a regular training session. I have not tracked in a month because of all the agility trials and I could not wait to get out, it was a cold and windy Sunday, and my second attempt at the TDX test. It was an interesting track since I have to go into all the bushes and trees. Mom and I have been practicing that since I was 6 months old. I really did not like it because the branches get into my eyes, but mom told me to close
My TDX glove and ribbon
my eyes since all I need is my nose. Well, it worked great. It really was an uneventful event except I could not find my 3rd article, it turned
out it was blown away 100 feet away, mom said the judges gave me credit, but it sure took me back and forth sniffing for it.

I knew it was a test when the judges came up and congratulated us. Also, I got a McDonald's sausage mcmufin and later got another hamburger at lunch. I normally only get one food item. Since Sophie was there with me, she got to eat all that with me too. She was very happy. Mom said there are so many things that I now need to work on. But for now, I need a break and a good nap!

My TDX picture 

I am retired

Me doing the weaves
Sophie's diary: I am officially retired from competition in January. I ring into the new year with 2 spanking new titles and 2 double Qs in the same weekend. My last official competition was on January 22, 2017 and I finished my Masters standard agility and my Masters jumpers. Mom said I will still be going to the shows with Spencer, and eat all the McDonald's I can eat plus stay in a hotel. Mom is really proud of me. She also said that I had fulfilled all the requirements of the Performance Award Merit (PAM) required by the German Shepherd Club of America. She said we will be taking a week of vacation in October and we will be going to Missouri to get the award.

Me going over a triple jump
Mom said I will still be going to agility class with Spencer since I need to exercise my body and my mind. I am very glad because we usually get to go get ice cream after agility class and I really do not want to miss out on that. 

Mom also started teaching me new obedience stuff, she said I need to think sometimes and not run wild barking outside, I thought I am just guarding the house. 

I am still going to obedience class with Spencer because mom does not want me at home alone, and since it is difficult to guard both the outside of the house and the inside, a lot of times when I am outside barking, my feline siblings would go outside and mom has to go look for them outside when she comes home. I told her that I cannot be watching all that. I miss Sunny since he usually guards the inside. I cannot believe Sunny had gone to heaven for more than 6 months, mom said I will get to be a big sister again this year, I wonder what this year will bring. 

My ribbons along with Spencer's from my retirement weekend

Saturday, January 7, 2017

2016 : That's a wrap!

Spencer and me
Sophie's diary: 2016 was a whirlwind year. We started off the year with a bunch of agility Qs. Spencer went on the teeter 3 times and got his novice agility title as well as his VCD1 (Versatile Companion Dog 1). But then he fell off the table when the table tilted and he was scared of anything that is wood. I tried to help him as much as possible and he was just a whiner baby. Mom was very upset. But I could tell he truly was scared. Not long after that, mom had a knee injury and we were not doing well in the summer trials.

Spencer going over the triple
Spencer continued to move on in his obedience and got his open level obedience title in June.

Mom worked from home in the summer for 2 months because of her knee injury. At the same time, my older brother Sunny was not doing well. He turned 18 years old on May 15, and about a month of so before that, he could not get up on his own. Mom was very worried and she stayed home a lot. Sunny passed away on June 28th and mom was very sad. It was just me and Spencer and Sunny no longer sat by the pet door and watch the house. I worked harder in watching the house but I could not watch the house and our feline siblings at the same time. Without Sunny watching, they like to go outside. I was tired all the time and was ready for bed before the sun set. I also lost 3 pounds.

Mom had knee surgery 2 weeks after Sunny passed away and we did not do anything for 2 weeks. We were very bored and we could not wait for mom to get well.
Sunny a month before his 18th birthday

We also started back on our morning walk a couple weeks after mom's surgery. It was fun and although it was early in the morning, it was still hot. Mom went back to work the beginning of August and the lunches were over. Spencer and I looked forward to mom coming home in the evenings. Classes continued and we all missed Sunny. Storm had always been a big fan of Sunny and he used to lean on Sunny and rubbed him. He was sad too. Storm had been hanging out with us more and more, he got braver and finally went out the dog door on his own. Mom always tell me that I got to watch out for him, and I got to use my herding skills, a lot of times I had to run him back into the house.

Our agility trials continued in the fall and I got half of what is needed for me to get my Master agility standard and jumpers titles. Mom was a little disappointed when I had a great run one time and got out
Me going over a triple
of the ring, and although I came back in when she called me, the judge had already disqualified me. She was crushed. I finished this year without an agility title. She told me that I have to work harder since I am getting older and will not be able to jump regular height for very long.

In the mean time, mom was trying to make sure that I can qualify for the German Shepherd Dog Club of America Performance Award Merit. I had already fulfilled all the qualifications but that was before she became a member, so they told her I had to get another title no matter what. She was worried that I will not be able to get my Master agility titles so we went to Louisiana in November so I could get my Beginner's novice title. Spencer also picked up one Graduate Open Q. We had a good time eating all the food mom brought and we got to stay in a hotel for 2 nights.
Spencer and mom performing the
 heel free exercise

Spencer and I continued to enjoy each other's company. Mom brought us wherever she went. We had a few fun trips to the dog park and we also went to a couple water park closeouts. We did went to the lake a couple times this year and all in all, I miss the lake and the water. Mom said she would make it up to us.

Thanksgiving came and we had turkey and we went to  an agility trial that weekend. It was a new venue and we had to stay at a hotel. Spencer was still scared o the teeter but he did well on the dogwalk and the A-frame. Our agility trials were finally over by December and I could not wait for the holidays.

Aunt Roxanna came a few days before christmas and Mom packed our bags and we thought we were going to another dog show. But I was surprised that Aunt Roxanna came along and it turned out that we were all going on vacation.
Me and Spencer along the
Padre Island National

We stopped in Austin and we went to this dog park with trails that lead to a lake. It was a cold day and I just wanted to swim so bad. I went on a large piece of rock and I just jumped into the water. Spencer followed me after and we had a blast.

We then stopped in San Antonio at the Alamo since Aunt Roxanna wants to see it. She was there about 25 years ago and she did not remember what was inside. We then went on the Riverwalk and had lunch. The people were very nice, they even brought us 2 buckets of ice cold water.

We continued our adventure onto Corpus Christi and arrived in North Padre Island early afternoon. Mom said that we are only stopping briefly because it was late and the sun was going to set. I had never seen the ocean and Spencer and I had a blast.

Spencer and I along the shore of
the Gulf of Mexico
We spent the next day going to different beaches along the Padre Island National Seashore. Since I had never seen the ocean, I did not know that the water was salty, and so did Spencer. We drank like we did in the lake. And one night, Spencer woke mom up at 2 am while we were sleeping, and he had to pee. Mom got me up too and when we were done, we went back to our room and Spencer had to go again. I was so tired of all the swimming and running I went back to bed and mom had to take him out again. We were both so tired on our way back home and it took us a few days for us to recuperate. That's a wrap for 2016, and I look forward to all the adventures with Spencer in 2017.

Our agility ribbons in 2016
Our obedience ribbons
in 2016