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Sorting Through a Few Problems

Posted on 07/10/09 14 Comments

I was away for a few days and since I was gone we had a bit of a Twitter-gone-mad problem here on the blog. It is all fixed now so everyone should be able to read this post without an issue.

Okay, so I got a new phone a couple of weeks ago. I can make calls and get onto a couple of websites (not my own, not Facebook) but that is about it.   I don’t even know what “kind” of blackberry it is, so I am including a picture. It really isn’t a very intuitive piece of electronics.

My new blackberry
My new blackberry

As pathetic as it sounds,  I can’t even turn the ringer up! Any of you that may have tried to call me and I missed your call, it is because unless I am holding it in my hand I don’t hear the whisper-like ringer!  By the way, my cell number has changed so those of you that previously had it you will have to contact me for the new one as I don’t think posting it here for the two thousand plus people that pop by each day is a very prudent idea. I think I need to go to Blackberry school. Since I bought the phone in the US on an American provider (Verizon) I assume I will have to wait until I go back down south to solve some of my issues.

Any of you that have cyber blackberry lessons please let me know (or at least send on your best Blackberry tips, that would be awesome!).

So I packed all four dogs into the RV and went away for three days, leaving John some peace and quiet at home. I have been at a fundraiser agility trail, aimed at raising money for the FCI Canadian World Team. We didn’t have the knockout  turn out I had hoped, but it sure was an enthusiastic group! Thanks to the organizers (Linda Barton & Danielle Levangie) for coming up with the idea and to all that generously donated their time like; the judges (give it up for Carol Cote and Mike Bita) the CKC (donated all of their fees back to the team!) and to all of the others that came out and volunteered.

My goal for the two days of trailing was to work on my team work with Encore (which continues to be super) and to take back control of Feature’s contact performance. While in Washington Feature took great liberties with her end position on the dogwalk in particular, to the point where her stop and nose touch at the end was present only in the visualizations in my mind before the run.  At the risk of sounding like one of my students I will state “I don’t know where that came from, she has never done that before at home!”

The video evidence of the Grand Prix finals clearly shows she barely hesitated before she left the board and dove into the tunnel. I can honestly say this is the first time since the mid 90’s that any dog has ever done that with me (it was Twister). But alas, Feature isn’t like any of my other dogs. She definitely is “different.” She is a dog that must constantly push the boundaries of any criteria, especially that of control behaviours. She is unique, no doubt about it.  I have trained a total of 8 Border Collies in my lifetime. Some were my own, others were sent to me to train. All were a little different, with their own personal quirks, but none were like

Feature as captured by Ken Kennedy.
Feature as captured by Ken Kennedy.


Looking back at videos of trailing with Featchy this year (I have videos of almost every run she had done) it is clear that this contact performance did not just “happen” it certainly has evolved. She started her career in January of this year where she often would weight shift into contact position but would also drive to the end and then rock back before her nose targets.  On occasion she would over shoot her proper position completely and then step back and start her nose targeting. It did improve slightly but it all lead up to her performance in the GP in Washington (you can see a video of the run in a previous post).

So now I have identified my training issue I will let you sit with it until my next post when I identify my training program that helped me to turn it around.

Today I am grateful for my youngster Feature. Her uniqueness is a big part of her attraction. She challenges me as a trainer, but more importantly cracks me up daily as my family pet. I love her like crazy.


  1. Mary says:
    Monday, July 13, 2009 at 9:56pm

    Feature is DARLING and beautiful!!!


  2. denise says:
    Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 11:12pm

    Love this post. It’s great to hear that Feature has pushed her contact behaviour to something that you’re not happy with. I don’t mean that in a nasty way at all. It’s just my own dog has done the same thing. She used to have great contacts and then “all of a sudden” in a trial they were gone. In hindsight, it certainly wasn’t “all of a sudden”. It was a subtle creeping of criteria. She gently pushing, me naively unobservant until one day in a trial it was blatantly obvious that her understanding of the contact behaviour was in odds with my understanding of it :). Thanks for sharing.


  3. Trudie says:
    Sunday, July 12, 2009 at 4:02am

    Frankly: blackberry, apple, banana… I guess fruit makes a phone sound so luscious.. Then there’s “i”… dream, magic… but wouldn’t the most fun phone, and one that is easiest to use, be an “agility” phone !! (in yellow) a “weavers” (in blue), and a “dogwalk” (in red)


  4. Ben says:
    Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 2:18pm

    Hey Susan, check this link out for how to fix your ringer volume:


    The second post by Chaz should give you an idea of how to get to the volume for the ring tones. Most of the Blackberrys use the same software, if this doesnt work for your model number feel free to send me an Email with the model number and I can show you exactly how to do it on your phone.

    Hope this helped 🙂


  5. Kathryn says:
    Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 11:29am

    I look forward to recommendations for navigating Blackberryland. I got mine at the end of March and, because I haven’t learned to do so, haven’t used it much at all. Thus far, what I’ve spent on it relative to the amount I’ve used it works out to about $92 per call. I think I’m a little afraid of its vast powers.

    Hmm…come to think of it, the same could be said about my dogs…


  6. Emily S says:
    Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 10:33am

    For Blackberry help check out BB suppliers to see if they have “teachers” who come in for lessons. My mom (who barely uses a desk top computer, was the owner of an very very old cell phone and doesn’t know how to turn on an iPod) went for lessons and she can now text, BBmessage, take pictures, use the calender etc. We went through Telus, but they may be able to hook you up someone who can guide you! They are great once you figure out all of the little bits.


  7. Barbara Currier says:
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 8:59pm

    Hi Susan,

    My husband works for Verizon Wireless and has the same phone so if you have specific questions he can probably answer them for you.


  8. Kathy Smith says:
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 4:57pm

    HA!! Rotten ears ruin everything (LOL)… Jag has been ever so slightly cheating on his teeter release at 2 1/2 and I know that I used reinforcement too much off of it and not on. REALLY looking forward to your “fix” on the DW with Feature and the post on the blog. Of course, Feature’s ears are an indication of amazing talent too… I am just slightly biased! Your GP runs were amazing!!


  9. Kathy Smith says:
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 3:44pm

    HA!! Well I fell in love with her in Vancouver when you were running Encore in a demo and she stood at the top of the frame “killing” her squirrel Frisbee and vocalizing a million things that all meant “Let me show you how!!”. You were not even aware that she was up there at first, LOL. It was a wonderful crowd-pleaser. She has SO much personality! She is one of those dogs that you can’t look at without knowing she has a great sense of humor and in that beautiful doggy way is totally self-serving! Gotta be those ears…


    • Susan says:
      Friday, July 10, 2009 at 4:33pm

      Well Kathy I am beginning to wonder myself, placing the blame on those ears would take me off the hook for so much dog training!


  10. Teri says:
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 11:23am

    For several reasons, I recently got a Blackberry Storm from Verizon, rather than the iPhone I really kind of wanted to go with my Mac. I am not unhappy with my Storm. Downloads is where I find AppWorld which if you download you can get apps for your Blackberry, including Facebook. It’s easy. Go to pocketmac.com to download free software to sync your Blackberry with your Macbook Pro. It was not a simple as having Macs talk, but with a little research in the toubleshooting pages, I now have it working. Good luck!


  11. JoAnna says:
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 11:12am

    Here are a bunch of shortcuts:


    I use T (get back to the top of an e-mail or web page) and B (get to the bottom of an e-mail or web page) the most. P (previous) & N (next) for getting through a progression of messages is useful too.

    I’ve been able to get to Facebook via the browser without downloading the Facebook application. The Gmail application if you have a Gmail e-mail account is great. There is also a Google Maps application which is free. I use it as a backup to my Garmin GPS (which I specifically bought to include maps of Canada for Say Yes trips!) and it has definitely saved us when Garmin didn’t know where we were! Seems to happen when going to agiltiy trials in the “middle of nowhere”!!! I’ve been told you can also use Google Maps to find the closest gas station or restaurant (by name).



  12. Jen says:
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 9:34am

    Great Post Susan! It is nice to hear that a dog of Feature’s caliber pushes criteria. Sometimes I think I’m the only one who constantly has to go back to basics. One of my older dogs CONSTANTLY pushes his training criteria and even boundaries at home. He is a constant worry but of all my dogs he is the biggest clown and the most fun to train!


  13. Amy says:
    Friday, July 10, 2009 at 9:07am

    You should have bought an IPhone.
    You will have to install the Facebook for Blackberry application.


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