Tuesday, July 14, 2020

My first year in agility

Selene’s diary: I love agility. I started in agility competition in March of 2019 in novice class. I made it to Master class in mid-July of the same year. I love going to classes, and I love staying at hotels, and love going to trials, which means lots of McDonald’s.

Me coming out of the tunnel
I started off this year with 7 double Qs and 440 points, 16 Qs in Master jumpers and 15 Qs in Master standard. We went to Belton in January twice and it was cold, so I ran fast and got some good points. By the end of January I had 9 double Qs and 559 points.

Me going over a triple jump
We stayed at home during February and March and went to quite a few trials. The first weekend in March marked my 1st year competition in agility. I got my jumpers bronze and master bronze titles (25 Qs each), and ended up with 14 double Qs and 754 points. Which means, I already have the points for a Preferred Agility Champion, but still need 6 more double Qs.

A week or so later, COVID pandemic hit. We stopped going to class, we did not go tracking and the state went into lockdown. Mom stayed home and work and we went walking each day after dinner. Mom was doing some small exercises with me while Spencer was only interested in lunch. Yes, the good thing about mom working from home is lunch. Spencer and I would stay around her desk in the living room since we do not want to miss any food opportunities. All our trials have been cancelled. And I really miss our drive thru burgers and chicken nuggets. Mom said she really cannot wait for my  6 double Qs.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019: That’s a wrap

Sophie’s diary: 2019 sure is a good year for Spencer and Selene. Spencer got 2 performance champions and made top 20 GSD in preferred agility (20” jump height). We had a lot of fun, we went swimming several times in the summer, and we went to Chris’ parents in Oklahoma in the fall.

Spencer, Selene and I swimming at the dog park

Spencer, Selene and I at Chris’ parents’ house in Oklahoma, with Chris and Mom
2019 is also a sad year, my legs are not doing too good and I can only walk on grass, and not on concrete. Mom said that if I drag my leg on concrete I might scrap my foot and will bleed. Mom started giving me all sorts of supplements but I can still walk around, a little wobbly though.

Sammy, our feline brother passed away at the end of the summer. Mom and Chris were very sad. They were in tears for a long time. Sammy had been sick, and Mom started bottle feeding him in April, and that was when we stopped walking in the morning. 

Sammy in his younger days
Selene also did well in agility but she did not seem to be working hard enough for her obedience title. She went to shows all year and got only 1 Q in Open A level (intermediate). Mom was very stressed. We all had to practice along with her. All I have to do is stay and I get treats so that was good.

Our July 4th picture

Our Halloween picture
Our Christmas picture 
I look forward to 2020, more treats, more trips, more McDonald’s and cannot wait to see what’s next. Mom said 2020 is going to be great.

The AKC TDX title: My journey

Selene’s diary: I started tracking when I was little. I did not like it. I was 8 weeks old and it was hot. I was not even interested in Vienna sausages. I thought I was going to die in the heat. Mom said to me that I am living in Texas although I was conceived in Germany. She said 80 degrees is not hot. As I grew older, it was better as we got into the fall. I got my TD (tracking dog title - novice) when I was 9 months old on my first attempt.

That was a year and a half ago. During that time, Mom worked hard with me and we go to different places to track anytime we do not go to a show. Spencer and I love to track. Mom was tracking with Spencer a lot but when Spencer got his Champion Tracker, Mom started spending a lot of time with me. It was just me and Mom and I loved it. When Mom has more time, we would all go and it was just like the old times. Sophie loves going with us and we would go to McDonald’s after that.

But when Mom does not have enough time, it would just be Mom and me. Mom always tell me not to tell Spencer that we went to McDonald’s but I think he can smell me. He is usually very upset.

My TDX picture with the judges and tracklayer
The day of the test came, I knew we were going somewhere because Mom told me to go into the garage. Spencer was upset that he did not get to go. It was a nice sunny day, not too cold and very little wind. Mom told me that I better pay attention and not bark at the judges. This is my first attempt at the TDX.

I got out of the car and there were tons of people, I got to bark. I was afraid that they were going to attack Mom! Then Mom led me to the flag and I said to myself, I know what I am doing! So I turn around and bark at the judges and spectators some more before I started. The track was very uneventful until I got to almost the end and found a half eaten snake. Mom kept telling me where is it? But I got to find out what this snake is, I have never smell this before. Mom said you need to go “find it”. Do you want to go to McDonald’s? Now there, she caught my attention. So there, I went to show her the glove and everybody clapped. So now, we need to get to McDonald’s but we still have to pose for a picture? I began to worry about my McDonald’s.

So Mom said don’t worry, we will get to McDonald’s. And then we had to stop and pose for more pictures. I was very impatient at that point. More pictures?

My TDX picture with Mom

So we finally got to go to McDonald’s and Mom got me a quarter pounder. She said there is more meat in it and told me to eat slowly. I was very happy.

Top 20 German Shepherds in agility: My journey

Spencer’s diary: After I got my PACH, Mom said that I got to work on getting some more points so we can get to the nationals. Well it finally happened. I am #15 German shepherd in preferred agility in the country! How exciting! Mom said we are going to Colorado!
Sophie, Selene and I all ready and buckled up for Colorado

It is October, and the time has come for me to go to the GSD nationals to get my award. We were very excited. Going on a trip means lots of food, lots of McDonald’s and staying at a hotel. We also get lots of walks because Mom has to let us pee and poop. Sometimes we walk and walk and hold our pee and poop so we can walk longer. Mom always said we need to hurry up!

Me next to my crate wearing my neck rosette

Sophie, Selene and I had a good time. We had barbecue chicken and pork every night in addition to the dinner that Mom brought along. The altitude in Loveland, Colorado made it difficult for me to run fast, but Selene did not have a problem. Mom was also out of breath sometimes. We earned a lot of ribbons and Mom was proud.

Me with my rosettes and prizes
Selene definitely beat me in rosettes and prizes

Top 20 agility dogs who made it to the 2019 GSD Nationals in Loveland, Colorado

I love agility

Selene’s diary: I started showing in novice agility in March, I love doing it. Sometimes, I am so excited I see all those jumps I just jump, without listening to what Mom tells me to do. Mom said I was jumping the wrong jump, that I have to pay more attention. It was very hard for me to sit and wait at the start line, and sometimes when Mom turns around and walk I had to jump, then I did not know what the next jump is.

Me jumping over a triple on turf
Mom did a lot of exercises with me telling me to wait and stay. She even made me stay for my dinner. I cannot get to the bowl until she said it is ok. I get the idea, but sometimes it is very hard. Mom said that now that I am 2 years old, I need to work harder.

My birthday “cake” made of ground turkey
So finally on July 14th, after 4 months, 9 shows and 9 titles, I am officially competing in the master class division, earning my first master Q and first 18 championship points.

Ribbons from the weekend I made into Master.

The Preferred Agility Champion (PACH) title: My journey

Spencer’s diary: I got my 20 double Qs back in September, and I had been working hard to earn points to qualify for my PACH. Mom always cheered me on in the ring, but I seemed to have a hard time weaving fast when people are looking at me. Sometimes I run a good run but I did not make time. I have had some bad shows where I came home with only single digit points.

Me going over a triple on turf
I got my Champion Tracker title in March, and I was still short of 50 points for my PACH. Mom said I was doing good and gave me a lot of incentive. First since I became Champion, I do not have to sit for a treat anymore. But mom keep reminding me that I still need to get those points. A couple of agility weekends went by and I was still short until THE weekend came. I was very tired already having competitions every weekend and I was not running very fast. Mom tried her best to cheer me on, I needed 5 more points and I got 6 points on a Sunday afternoon running a standard run.

My PACH picture with the judges
Look how smart I look with the neck rosette
Dad got us steaks to celebrate, and Mom was very proud of me. She said I did well and I deserve a well-earned time off for a while. Mom said that I still need to focus for a couple more months to try to make top 20 German Shepherds so we can go to the nationals.

My victory run after I got my PACH, with a nod to me always afraid of the teeter!

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.