Weave Poles and Sheep


Atlas:  Those new weave poles are kind of nice, but I don’t quite get the point of them.

Mozzie:  You are supposed to weave through them.  When Mom says, “Weave, here, weave, here, weave, here,” you are supposed to go around the poles in order.

Atlas:  Oh.  I thought maybe she was just not sure what she wanted me to do.

Mozzie:  I have some ideas of things you could do.

Rico:  Be careful Mozzie, Mom loves Short-stack, too.

Atlas:  She loves me a LOT!

Mozzie:  She’s got a big heart.

Atlas:  So when do the sheep get here?

Rico:  We are NOT getting sheep.

Mozzie:  If we were, I would know.

Atlas:  I am pretty sure.

Rico:  Why?

Atlas:  When Mozzie was doing on-leash work, he got a fancy leash.

Mozzie:  True.

Atlas:  And when you were practicing for Rally, you got toys to practice the “leave” command.

Rico:  I remember this.

Atlas:  And when you were working to learn to retrieve, you got a dumbbell.

Mozzie:  You moved in a long time before that.

Atlas:  Hey, now!  That’s kind of mean.

Mozzie:  Sorry.  Yes, I did get a dumbbell.

Atlas:  And when you were practicing for agility and Open Obedience, you got a jump.

Rico:  He does LOVE to jump.

Atlas:  And you are working on weave poles in agility, and the weave poles are here now.

Mozzie:  Yes.  It’s good to practice them at home.

Atlas:  So you did the herding instinct test and passed.

Mozzie:  Yes, I am that awesome!

Atlas:  So the sheep must be coming soon.

Rico:  I think even for the Golden Child, getting sheep would be too much.

Atlas:  Are you sure?

Mozzie:  Yes, but maybe we could get you a sheep costume, and I could just chase you.

Rico:  I’d donate a Bully Stick to see that!

Atlas:  Never mind.

Feeling Sheepish

ca. 2004, New Zealand, Pacific --- Flock of sheep, New Zealand, Pacific --- Image by © Mula Eshet/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis

It’s Sunday, and it’s usually a very slow day around here.  Today, though, Mom put on her magic shoes AND got her keys.  Usually this means agility, but we do that on Thursday, so I wasn’t sure what was going on today.

We hopped in the car, and Dad came along, so that was even more confusing.  Of course we stopped at Dutch Brothers for coffee, and I declined the Milk Bone they offered.  I don’t like to be rude to those nice people in the drive through, but I don’t eat Milk Bones.  I eat alligator treats, sweet potatoes, and other yummy things, but not those common things that any old dog will eat.  I save them for Atlas though because he’ll eat anything.

Anyway, we did drive up to the agility place, and Dad looked at the weave poles Mom had told him about.  He determined that they would not quite fit in the car, so he will have to borrow a truck or something to get them home.  Mom did get the pole part though, and she paid for them, so I know she bought them for me!

I saw my girlfriend Luna there with her mom, Jillian.  Luna likes to swim which seems crazy to me, so I went over and watched her for a second, then I got to sniff, sniff, sniff.  I wasn’t quite sure what was going on, but before long, Nola was in a pen with what I thought might be strange looking dogs.  I got to go in there with Mom, and then I got to be off-leash.  I LOVE being off-leash.  At first I just sniffed a little, and then I noticed those creatures were moving.  I looked up and realized they were SHEEP!

SHEEP!  Yes, SHEEP!  I knew what I had to do.  I looked at Mom, and she said it was okay, so I sort of chased the sheep.  I only went as fast as Mom said was okay, and she made me slow down sometimes.  I wasn’t really chasing them, but I just knew in my heart I needed them to move, so I made them.  I had to run a little to get them to go where Mom said to go, but that was okay.  It was kind of fun.  Okay, it was a LOT of fun.  Those sheep knew I was telling them where to go.  I wasn’t allowed to get too close, and I don’t like to bark, so I just chased them until they were where they were supposed to be.  Mom called this “driving.”

After a little while, Nola said I passed.  I didn’t even know I was taking a test.  Mom said it was an instinct test.  She said some dogs were just born with an understanding that sheep need to be told what to do, and others dogs don’t know that they are supposed to be in charge of sheep.  I’m a leader, and I can drive.  Nola said I’d have to learn how to “gather” sheep, but as long as I still get to drive them, I’m happy to learn about gathering them.

I’m excited that there’s a new thing Mom and I can do together!


Barrels Aren’t Just for Wine


Everyone knows I love agility and that Mom loves wine (and me, but not in that order).  The last couple of weeks at agility, there’s been a new obstacle.  It’s a barrel!  I think maybe they don’t use wine barrels because it would be too distracting to Mom.  They use some kind of plastic barrel.

The barrel isn’t for peeing on or anything.  I figured since it was on the course, it would be a no-no to send pee-mail there.  Mom told me to run around the barrel and come back to her.  I’m not sure what the purpose of that is.  It’s not like a tunnel or a jump which is just fun.  At first I wasn’t sure what the point was, but then I figured out I could run around it, and that is fun after all.

I also had to learn a new thing called “around.”  On one of the courses, I came zooming out of a tunnel and Mom stood in the way of the jump and told me “around.”  I went to the opposite side and then came back over the jump to where Mom was.  That was also kind of fun.

I like agility.  It’s nice to get to learn a few new things.  I’m doing pretty well on that evil teeter.  I can do those weave poles, too, but I sometimes lose count when there are 12 instead of 6.  Mom is thinking about buying some so I can practice at home.  I’d rather have my own tunnel, but Mom says I’m already really good at that part, so I guess I won’t be getting a tunnel.  I’ll settle for weave poles because at least it’s something I get to do with Mom.  Maybe one day she’ll try to weave, and she’ll see how hard it is.  That would be extra fun.


Vallejo 9/11/2015


Another day, another leg toward my Rally Advanced Excellent Title (RAE).  Mom took me (and short-stack) to Vallejo for another dog show today.  I knew she wanted me to do Rally Excellent and Rally Advanced, and I was okay with that.

Mom entered Atlas in Rally Advanced for the first time to see how he’d do.  More on that later.

The Excellent course had some tough signs (like Down While Heeling, walk around; back up 3 steps; figure 8 WITH distractions — toys and food).  Oh, it also had the send to jump where Mom told me to go jump when it was still 10 feet away, and then I had to come back to her in heel position before she was allowed to walk past the jump.

It was really hard not to sniff a lot.  I mean, really, there was FOOD in a dish on the course.  The toy wasn’t that interesting to me, but I did see one of the dogs who went through earlier had picked it up and tried to leave with it.  I got a 90!  We would have been in fourth place, but Mom didn’t go fast enough so the other person who also got a 90 got the 4th place ribbon.  That’s okay with me because those ribbons don’t even smell good.

Next it was time for Advanced.  That FOOD was STILL there.  The judge was also kind of tricky because on the last part as we were getting close to the exit, we had to go FAST.  I thought about running out of the ring because, hey, the exit was RIGHT THERE, but Mom put her hand right in front of me while we were running and said, “Don’t even think about it.”  So I stopped thinking about it.  Anyway, I got a 93 which was third place, so I got an extra ribbon for that.  Now I’m halfway through my RAE title.  That’s pretty great.

Now for Atlas….there was a Papillon in Rally Advanced.  He was pretty good at the course, and after it was his turn, there was one more dog, then Atlas.  I *knew* this was going to be trouble, and I told Mom, but she said Atlas deserved a chance to prove himself.

She took him out of his kennel, and when they went toward the ring, Atlas was facing backward, looking at the Papillon (aka Treat with Feet, TWF).  Mom had to drag him around to face the ring.  I did not have a good feeling.  Once they were in the ring, they went to the start line, and the judge said, “Good Luck!”  I think she must have seen Atlas before.  Mom says the judge said that to everyone, but I think her TONE was different with Atlas.

The first obstacle was a serpentine where you have to weave through cones.  The judge asked, “Are you ready?”  Atlas was looking over his shoulder at the TWF.  Mom told him to look at her, and he did, so Mom told the judge, “We’re ready!”  They took about three steps to the first cone, and Atlas turned around and RAN out of the ring toward the TWF as if he were a possum.

I pretended to not know him when one of the other people there grabbed him to stop him and the owner of the TWF picked him up.

As a result, tomorrow I get to go by myself!  Mom said Atlas doesn’t get another chance to do that again tomorrow.  He will have to practice lots more before he gets to try again.

And all of this, my readers, is why *I* am the Golden Child.  It’s good to be me.