Ramblings from the Weekend

Posted on 02/08/10 6 Comments

Just a few thoughts from the three day seminar I just wrapped up here in Florida.

I passed by this little tricket in the grass every day and I just had to take a snapshot of it on my last day. Yes I know it is just the squeeky out of a dog toy, but every time I walked by it I laughed out loud as it reminded me of the Man-of-War from the beach last week. I half expected Jill to pop out from behind the bushes and burst at any moment asking me to do wind sprints around the field.

Not a dangerous beach hazard.

Definitely NOT a dog toy.

Okay maybe it was just me. But it still made me laugh.

It was Encore’s birthday yesterday, she turned six. I can’t believe she is already six years old!

Six year old Missy En and her two year old sista Feature, waiting for their turn to demo.

It was Encore’s birthday but Buzzy got the special surprise, or maybe it was the participants. Just for a treat 13 1/2 year old Buzzy did a tunnel serpentine demo for yesterday. He slept like a baby last night and is totally whipped today.

Buzzy, very proud of himself to be "demo" dog once again.

Always inspiring, I had Donna Rock back as a student. I just had to share¬†some of these pics of Donna and her handsome Border Collie “Roller.” We did hand-target-start-line-set-ups, which is one of the games I played with the Springer to help with the start line stay in the last workshop. By having a “routine” at the start line you make your lead out transition more efficient, thus more effective.

Of course with Donna not having any hands, her hand-touch-start-line set up took a slightly different twist. Here Donna is getting Roller to nose touch to her outstretched foot before they set up at the start line.

Donna and Roller foot touching

Donna is an awesome student. She never complains or asks for special compensation and she has the greatest sense of humor. I tell you, I did feel a bit foolish when I took her dog Roller to do a demo part way through day two. As I do with all dogs before I work them, I did some relationship building first. So I tugged with Roller and then before I sent him to his first jump I tried to do a hand touch. He completely disengaged from me and just stared at me like I was some sort of weird-o. I tried two more times before I burst out laughing and said; “Donna . . . he thinks I am a freak.” Of course he wasn’t going to hand touch for me, he was looking at me as if to say “would you please get that thing out of my face !” We all had a good laugh, but I think Donna laugh the hardest!

Donna and Roller tugging, do NOT try this with your own toes at home, the girl IS a professional!

It was a great group of people. This is a shot of one of the two hot Portuguese Water Dogs that worked with us. Lucy was just c-r-a-z-y! my kind of dog, growled her way around sequences, she was a real crack up!

Lucy ready to go!
Lucy, loaded and ready to go.

What a great way to wrap up my four camps here in Florida. Thanks to everyone for a terrific weekend.

Today I am grateful to John and Jinny Courtney for their amazing hospitality over the last couple of weekend workshops.


  1. Rose Barham says:
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 1:32am

    Thank you so much for your blog which I just came to as I woke earlier than normal today.
    I have been following you for sometime but quietly in the back ground as I don’t feel I can contribute much as I’m in the UK and an am obedience trainer, not agility.

    I do though relate big time to your methods and train my obedience very much as you do your agility.

    I am at the moment helping a new handler with a huge GSD crossbreed and have found it very difficult as he only has one arm, imagine how encouraging I found reading about Donna in your blog. Thank you so much for including it and big thanks to Donna for being an inspiration to enable me to help Peter and his dog.

    I am still working on the control with all my dogs but I’ll get there.

    Woody & Aasta (Brother & Sister of 13 1/2 years)
    Phoenix (Aussie Cross BC)
    Inca (Australian Working Kelpie)
    Tally (Blue Merle BC gift from Breeder friend)
    Axel (Lurcher type rescue)
    Plus 6 cats & Kittens


  2. Marlene Nicewander says:
    Tuesday, February 9, 2010 at 11:40am

    Working with Susan was both inspiraitonal and humbing. My take aways are many, including but not limited to the understanding that I need to build value and crate games need to be woven into the taperstry of life with our fur kids.

    Bliss showed off by playing demo dog this morning for her canine siblings. We practiced touches and I “tried” to remember not to say touch, touch my hip before feeing and count to five treats – thank God Susan suggests a number that is limited to one hand. So very simple “when” you get it right.

    Thank you Susan for a truly wonderful seminar – great people and dogs, lovely weather and so much learned.



  3. Trudie says:
    Monday, February 8, 2010 at 4:42pm

    I would appreciate if you could briefly describe the essential points of your “touch” ritual at the start line.

    This is a very classy blog, starting with the “bionic” squeaker !

    Something weird happened to me yesterday. I opened your blog thinking I wonder what Susan is going to write today. I had a strange feeling that I would find something with significance to my own life. “Lessons in gratitude”. Actually I was feeling all upset because someone “did” something to me. It was not easy to figure out how to turn it into something positive! But I did it. I had to admit to my own faults. I focused on the things I admire in the other person. We worked it out and I feel much better. Thanks!


  4. Melissa Myers says:
    Monday, February 8, 2010 at 1:17pm

    I will NEVER forget being at Skills camp with Treo and we were getting our crate games tested. Not only did you all toss out about 100 tennis balls (felt like 100), but you released Buzz to run amok, screaming as only he can do. I FREAKED out, and was rewarding Treo for holding his position – I think he ate a side of beef during that exercise – I felt like I was in a combat zone. Buzz enjoyed every single second of it! It’s great that everyone gets included at “Teacher Dog”. As you said, Buzz slept like a baby that night knowing he did a good job. I think he probably slept like a baby the night he tested our Crate Games too, maybe with a little smile on his lips reflecting on the look in Treo’s eyes that day…makes me laugh thinking of it too.


  5. Christine says:
    Monday, February 8, 2010 at 1:00pm

    I smiled after reading about Buzz getting his special turn. I imagine he was pretty happy showing off his stuff!


  6. Suzanne Wesley says:
    Monday, February 8, 2010 at 12:34pm

    Donna Rock is such an amazing inspiration and a down right NICE person. We are lucky to have her in our trial area and I get to see her and Roller compete. It’s great to have and watch someone that uses the same handling system!


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