Sunday, September 27, 2009

D&S Jumpers Trial

The D&S Jumpers Trial was held this weekend in Saskatoon. Romeo and I participated and it was a lot of fun! Great turn out, I think they said that this was the biggest AAC agility trial (apart from Nationals) held in the province EVER! Very cool, and a great way to celebrate D&S's 10 year anniversary (congrats Shirley and Diane!).

Romeo had a rockin' Starters Jumpers run on Saturday, taking his first Q and 1st place! Our Starters Standard round on Saturday was less than stellar. Romeo did great, but I wound up pulling him off a tunnel by turning too soon. It was all downhill from there. But these things happen, right? He did really well for the first half of the course, so we will take that success.

Today, Sunday, we were entered in two Starters Jumpers rounds. No Q's again, but Romeo pulled off some really nice stuff, nonetheless. The first Jumpers of the day would have been glorious, but again more tunnel woes. We are definitely going to be working on tunnel value over the winter!! Unlike most dogs we run into at agility, Romeo is not a tunnel sucker. Good in some cases, but very bad in others. I can easily pull him back out of a tunnel with just the slightest movement, and he will happily choose a jump or a contact over the tunnel, as happened in the second Jumpers round on Sunday and our Standard round on Saturday. Not cool. So we are going to work value value value over the winter!

I've heard rumors in the past about Saskatchewan having the nicest agility folks around, and I definitely saw proof of that this weekend! I'm lucky in that I know a lot of people there from other dog sport venues, but all of the new people I met were so helpful and friendly, fun to joke around with, and just really great to spend a weekend with. The weather SUCKED on Sunday, very very gusty and cold, but all of the participants were cheery and upbeat despite the frigid temps and winds that sent jumps, pylons, and plastic chairs flying across the ring at inopportune times.

All in all, Romeo took two 1st place ribbons and a 2nd place ribbon, with one qualifying round out of four. Not bad for our second weekend out! Definitely a lot of successes to be proud of, and a great trial to introduce us to the world of competitive agility! Thanks to everyone for helping us out, explaining what the heck Gamblers is all about, showing me tips on teaching directional cues, cheering and clapping after our runs ...

... and especially to Mike who took these BEAUTIFUL pictures of my boy!

A very fluffy SPREAD!
Another SPREAD!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Holy Flyin' Furball

A friend, Rebecca, caught some pictures of Romeo at a recent agility class. We were practicing jump work, so she really caught the fur flying!

Beautiful pictures, Rebecca! Thanks for sharing them with me.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Romeo's 1st Agility Trial

Today Romeo and I were entered in our first AAC agility trial! The club that we train with offers an annual Starters Trial, with only Starters rounds, to encourage new dog and handlers to get started competing in an environment that is somewhat less intimidating. No crazy Advanced or Masters dogs around to make us feel like fools!

I had Romeo entered in two runs, a Standard and a Jumpers. I knew going into this trial that whether we qualified or not would be completely in my hands. If Romeo were in charge, we would definitely qualify, no problems. But I hold the handicap in this team, and my handler skills are seriously lacking. Sure enough, Romeo did beautifully in the Standard round, but I was in the wrong place with the cue for a tunnel and Romeo ended up trying to take the dog walk instead. He went exactly where my body language was telling him to go. So I can't fault the boy. In the Standard round, everything Romeo did was awesome! He nailed all his contacts, took the teeter like a champ, and even got his weave pole perfect on the first attempt! The teeter and weave entries are our sticky point at the moment. We ended up taking 5 faults for the tunnel-dog walk snafu, but wound up placing 2nd in our division!

The Jumpers round wasn't quite as nice, but again Romeo held up his end of the bargain admirably. I wound up pulling him off the tunnel ... TWICE ... by starting my turn before he was completely committed. We took 15 faults, but it was good enough to get us 3rd in the division!

To make it all even better, Romeo pulled off these great debut performances in the most nasty weather! It rained all day long, not enough to reduce visibility or safety enough to warrant me pulling him from the trial, but just enough to soak you through to the bone. Add the frigid temperatures and wind on top of it and it was a nasty NASTY day! We've been home and in dry clothes for an hour how, and I am still shivering.

Despite the horrible weather that made me into a whining, grumbling she-beast, it was a lot of fun and a very positive first adventure in agility trialing! Now, we get to rest up and do it all again next weekend at a huge Jumpers trial! We'll be aiming for qualifying scores this time.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

You Are My Sunshine ...

Just one of those days where all you want to do is find a nice patch of sunlight and have a nap!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Beatrice's New Friend

Meet Gertrude!

Gertrude was originally Guinness. Guinness had a piggy friend that passed away recently. Then her owners had to move to a condo that didn't have enough room for Guinness and her paraphernalia, so Guinness was rehomed to a friend of mine that teaches grade 5. Guinness was to be a classroom pet, and was renamed Bugsy. But one of kids in the class had horrible allergies, so Bugsy had to go. My friend knew that I had Beatrice and asked if I was planning on getting Bea a friend. I was, have been talking to a local lady that does small animal rescue and rehoming, and have been waiting on a good match for Beatrice to become available. So Guiness aka Bugsy came to me this afternoon and became Gertrude.

Gertrude is about 3 years old ... and has a bit of a weight problem. She was loved ... really really loved in the way that guinea pigs appreciate most, through food. But her super long coat is in great condition and her nails are nice and short, so I know she was doted on before an unfortunate series of events lead her to me. Gertrude will go on a bit of a diet now, if that is even possible. I guess portioned and measured feedings? Though with two guinea pigs in one cage, I don't know how I will monitor who eats what. And I have a feeling that Gertrude is going to hog all the food for herself. Might end up being Beatrice that goes on the diet!

The piggies had some floor time and a nice treat of mixed greens while we introduced ourselves. Gio and Romeo are perfectly fine with the guinea pigs, and Gertrude took the introductions like a champ. At least Romeo isn't terrified of Gertrude like he was with Beatrice in the beginning. The Shelties have just accepted that I am insane and take the new additions in stride.

In their cage, Gertrude and Beatrice aren't getting along swimmingly just yet. They were happy to eat together on the floor, but in the cage they are trading off teeth chatters and whining. And, so the interweb tells me, these noises are noises of unhappy piggies. Apparently a little bit of animosity is normal with introductions, so hopefully they will sort it all out between them soon. They are currently both resting in their individual hidey-holes, but Gertrude keeps venturing out to check that the food supply is adequate. That draws Beatrice out, and the chattering and whining begins. It has escalated to Gertrude chasing Beatrice around the cage a couple times, but nothing more than that. I have hope for them!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Victoria Beckham Hairstyles

Victoria Beckham's hairstyles always make the headlines- especially if she has changed her look.

Victoria has changed her style over the last 5 years many times. She started out with long curly hair - that she got from wearing hair extensions. This was a crazy stage for awhile where everyone wanted to get extensions to look like Victoria.

Then she shattered all ideas about hairstyle by getting all her hair cut off short. She started with a long version of the inverted bob hairstyle. Her hair was longer in the front and shorter in the back with tons of layers and height in the crown area.

The inverted aka shattered bob then morphed into a short pixie hairstyle, much like that of Halle Berry. It does look cute, but the longer styles seem to make her small features look better. She is so tiny and skinny that the pixie hairstyle doesn't do her any favors. Check out the latest Victoria Beckham Hairstyles

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Red Fish, Blue Fish ...

I would like to address this to all dog owners, dog enthusiasts, people that work in the dog industry, or volunteer their services to dog-related support and aid.

Following is a brief educational explanation (ie. rant) of basic dog color. Specifically brown versus red. There are two basic forms of pigmentation that a dog can make: Eumelanin (black) and phaeomelanin (red). Each pigment can be altered, made more dilute or more intense, but the base pigment type is always the same. So red can become yellow, gold, cream, or tan, while black can become brown, grey, or blue.

Let me focus for a moment on "brown". Brown is controlled by the Tyrosinase Related Protein 1 gene and is inherited in a recessive fashion. That means that two copies of a mutated form of the gene must be present in order for an effect to be seen. That effect is the dilution of black pigment to a brown color. "Brown" only affects eumelanin pigment, and when two copies of the mutation are present, will effect ALL eumelanin pigment on the dog's body. This includes hair pigment and leather pigment (nose, paw pads, eye rims, lips, etc.). To that effect, since ALL black pigment is changed to brown, it is IMPOSSIBLE for a dog to express BOTH black AND brown at the same time. Think about that for a minute ... a dog CANNOT be "black and brown". Impossible, not gonna happen, try again!

Here are some examples of BROWN dogs ...

(Everyone together now ... "awwwwww!")

And now for some dogs that are commonly called "black and brown", but are NOT BROWN! Pay attention now, see if you can notice what separates these NOT BROWN dogs from the brown dogs above.
Genetically, this dog is "fawn sable". Caused by the ay allele of Agouti. Red with a black mask.
Everyone is familiar with "black and tan", like in Doberman Pinschers, Rottweilers, etc. "Tan" is a form of red. So technically this dog is black and red. Another form of "sable". Red and black.In some breeds, this is called "wheaton". Again, a pale red and black.I'll give this one to you, the light parts on this dog LOOK like they could be brown. But notice all the black ... she cannot be brown and black. Brindle dogs, like this one, are always stripes of eumelanin and phaeomelanin, in this case it is black and red.Another brindle. Red and black.This Great Dane is what is sometimes referred to as "fawnequin". Harlequin is the more well known color, the same pattern on a black dog. This is the harlequin pattern on a fawn dog. Red and black.Doberman Pinschers and Rottweilers are not the only black and tan dogs. Add white to the mix, and you can get "tri-color" dogs like this Jack Russel. Again, red and black, this time with white.This Sheltie pup is sable. Sable is RED, not brown. I suspect this handsome fellow is recessive red. Not sable like some of the above dogs. But still, no brown.And yet another "sable" dog. Red and black, no brown.

So, did you see the difference between the brown dogs and the not-brown dogs? Go back and look again, I'll give you a minute.

Did you see it now?


Brown dogs will ALWAYS have a brown nose. If the nose is black, then the dog CANNOT be brown! Go look again, I'm not lying to you.

Now here are some tricky ones ...

This dog is "saddle tan", which is a red dog with a dark patch of eumelanin on their back, sort of like a horse's saddle. In this case, the dog is also brown! So all of the black that would normally be on her saddle area, ears, and face has been changed to brown. So she is red and brown, instead of red and black.
This is a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever. They are all this color, which is recessive red caused by a mutation in the Melanocortin 1 Receptor gene. That mutation means that it is impossible for the dog to produce any black pigment in their hair. Normally, the dog would be able to produce black "leather" pigment, so their nose and paw pads would be black. But in this case, in addition to being recessive red, the dog is also brown. So his body coat is all red, while his leather is brown in color.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Yorkton Show Picture

My pictures finally arrived! At the Rally-O trial in Yorkton a couple of weekends ago, I had some professional pictures taken of me and the boys. I had a picture done when they finished their CKC Novice and Advanced Rally-O titles, so thought I should round it all off nicely when they got their Excellent titles as well.

Odd, though, as I don't believe they checked the order before they popped everything in the mail to me.

The carbon copy of the order form that was placed in the envelope with my order clearly has the option for "One show photo (8x10 or CD)" selected, with a great bit circle around the "or CD" part. I have no use for hard copy pictures. But I do like an electronic copy for posting on the blog and sending to friends and family. However, in the envelope with the order form, (you know, the one that clearly has "or CD" circled) are included TWO 8x10 hardcopy photographs. Not one photograph. Not a CD with one image on it. Rather TWO photographs.


Very odd.

I'll have to make sure and check my credit card statement to be sure they only charged me for one (one photograph is the same price as one CD image).

But whatever. The picture is really nice. The dogs look great, instead of their usual goofball expressions. And I don't look half bad either, considering that I am highly allergic to cameras. Oh, you didn't realize that people could be allergic to cameras? Yes, it is true! A surprisingly large number of people are dangerously allergic to them. The key symptom is extreme puffiness, especially around the midsection, face, and upper arms. Deadly!

Anyways, seeing as I did not get an electronic copy of the picture, you will all have to make due with a picture of a picture. Not too bad ... slightly warped looking because the original has a bit of a curve to the paper and I couldn't get it to lay flat properly. But you get the idea!

What Hair Color do you use?

I used to go to the salon every 4-6 weeks to get my hair colored. As time and money constraints kick in, these regular visits to the salon are not feasible.

I have experimented with just about every hair color brand on the market today. I would buy the ones that were on sale, the ones I had a coupon for, etc.

But the only brand that I get consistent results with is Preference by L'Oreal. I have used a natural version of the hair color and achieved very good results month after month.

What hair color product do you use? Have you used the same one for years? Leave your comments below.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Medium Hairstyles

When you are looking for a new hairstyle, it is a good idea to browse online and various magazines to find examples of hairstyles that you like.

Bringing a photo example of how you want your hair cut is the best way to get good results. For example, if you tell your hair stylist that you want bangs. There are so many different types of bangs available today-- short, choppy, long, layered, regular, straight, wispy, side swept and fringe. Your idea of bangs and your stylists' idea may be totally different.

Be prepared, bring a photo of the hairstyle you want.

Back to the point of this post--medium hairstyles. The medium length really is the most versatile option. You can still wear a ponytail, yet have other options that short hair does not.

Bobs, layers, bangs--check out all the latest medium hairstyles at Hair Resources and our newest Hairstyles Blog