Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It's a Dog, Not a Toaster

As I mentioned earlier, Jedi and I are going for our Beginner Novice title. I'm not exactly sure when, but it's "on the list." Why Beginner Novice? Because it was designed for people just like me -- super green and scared as hell. Beginner Novice is a cross between regular obedience and rally, and a good jumping off point for either route. There are rally signs and it's not as rigid (read "intimidating") as regular obedience. It actually looks doable. Please note: I DID NOT say easy. Bless his heart, Jedi doesn't do "easy."

So, once I made up my mind I needed a plan. I went to my obedience club and asked when the next beginner rally and/or beginner foundations class was being offered. I couldn't get a straight answer -- maybe June, possibly during the day, not sure which day but definitely not on Fridays . . . Grrr.

My next stop was Amazon. There's not a whole lot of material available on competitive obedience. (Seriously, where are people learning this stuff?!) I couldn't find any DVD tutorials, but did find a couple books that sounded interesting. The first was It's a Dog Not a Toaster by Diana Kerew-Shaw. The book is a fun, quick read but doesn't have the nuts and bolts that I was looking for. Instead, it's a hodgepodge of the history of competitive obedience,  personal stories, tips and fun photos.

Meanwhile, I signed up for an online Rally Skillbuilding class with the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. Class starts tomorrow. I'm super excited! I'll let you know how it goes. TTFN, -- K

Monday, May 30, 2016

UKC Nosework News

The UKC may be slow, but they send you certificates for everything. (This is very encouraging for insecure handlers like me!) These came in the mail today:

They certify that Jedi passed both the birch and anise tests last month and can now compete in novice and advanced UKC nosework trials. YEA!

Rumor has it there will be trials right here in Florida in October. I'm trying to convince a group of friends to join me, turning the trials into a couple of fun-filled dog, women and wine weekends. Not to brag, but you'd be a fool to turn down such an invitation!

Unfortunately, the UKC doesn't hand out information as freely as they do certificates. I'll have to ferret out details before the girls will say yes. So, this post is for them as much as it is for my blogging buddies. (BTW, Blogging Buddies are always welcome to crash the party!)

The upcoming UKC Nosework trials are Individual Element Classes, similar to the NACSW Specialty trials. (This is different from the NW1 title that my friends got earlier this month.)

To title, a dog must get two legs (qualifying scores) in each of the four elements -- interior, exterior, container vehicle -- for a particular scent. The October trials are set up so we can get Vehicles and Exteriors one weekend (Ocala), Containers and Interiors the following weekend (St. Petersburg). The clubs are running morning and afternoon trials of the same element each day. If we pass both we're good to go. If we only get one leg, it’ll carry over to another trial.

My friend had these car stickers made
for the entire nosework group!
UKC will accept the NACSW ORT for a particular odor. Good thing because most of my friends have ORTs. Those of us that don't can take Pre-Trials before the morning trials each day. However, I don’t think a dog can trial on that odor until the afternoon (we'll have to double check this). All five odors will be available for pre-trial testing at Ocala. We should test on everything while we have the chance. (NACSW doesn't offer vetiver and myrrh, so we should definitely knock those out!)

Like NACSW, birch is the first level. Passing these will earn us an NN (novice nosework) title. My trainer said the area of the interior search for birch would be about the size of the bathroom at her facility. We train in areas larger than that!

One tricky thing: UKC requires you to enter under A or B trial (like obedience). A is for the true novice (no titles anywhere). However, you can’t enter multiple A trials in the same event, regardless. Trainer says there’s no real difference between A and B, so to play it safe we should enter all B trials.

Also, there's a limit to how many people can enter a trial. Unlike NACSW which picks participants by lottery, UKC is first come, first served. Therefore, the sooner we enter, the better! I've emailed the St. Petersburg club asking for a premium. I will share when I get something. Trainer says she’ll get a premium for the Ocala shows to me as soon as possible too.

So, who's with me? I'm calling out Blondie, Red and Pittsburgh. And if RK can get her pup up to speed, we'll have a wine glass for her too. Anybody else? -- K

Sunday, May 29, 2016

More Silly Sunday Signs

It's Sunday. While most everybody else is halfway through a holiday weekend, I'm stuck at work. Tomorrow too. Ugh.

Right now things are slow. I'm in between beach patrols, all animals in the kennel have been tended to and I can't finish my bite reports because the victims aren't returning calls. (They're probably at some fun BBQ. I'm so jealous!) To amuse myself I'm scrolling through the latest set of silly dog-themed memes my friends have tag me in. Wanna see my favorites so far?

I hope these memes amused you on this Silly Sunday. Click around below and see what other silliness people are sharing today. Do you have something silly to share? Link up! As always, thanks Sandee at Comedy Plus for putting this together every week. Later, -- K

P.S. I hope you are enjoying your holiday. Be safe, because some people "enjoy" too much. And please take a few minutes to remember the reason for this holiday. Photo to the right is from the United States War Dogs Association FB page.

P.P.S. Don't tell my boss I'm blogging at work. Shhh . . .

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Nosework Trials in Jacksonville!

Two years of hard work came to fruition earlier this month. K-9 Obedience Club of Jacksonville held their very first NACSW sanctioned nosework trial. Since Jedi and I bombed the ORT back in January (grrr) we weren't able to compete. So I volunteered to work the trial instead -- and boy did I learn a lot! For example:

You need a large group of people to run a trial. We had:
  • Judges
  • A certifying official
  • Timekeepers
  • Videographers
  • Parking lot attendants
  • Check-in desk attendants
  • A scorekeeper
  • Score runners
  • Gatekeepers
  • Hot box people (only they can touch boxes with the odor)
  • Cold box people (they clean off/reposition odor-free containers)
  • Hosting club representatives
  • . . . and more.
I'm sure I've missed somebody. I was overwhelmed by how many people were behind the scenes that weekend.

I also learned that you need lots of space to run a trial. Things to consider:
  • You need places to hide the four elements -- interior, exterior, containers and vehicles.
  • Each element needs a pre-staging area.
  • There has to be separate entry and exit routes for each area so competitors don't run into each other (and to keep the traffic flowing).
  • Competitors need a place to park.
  • NACSW requires a separate area for reactive dogs to hang out.
  • Dogs need a designated potty area.
  • PEOPLE need a place to potty.
  • Volunteers need a place to gather, eat, keep their stuff and receive instructions.
  • The scorekeeper needs a secluded area to tally numbers.
  • Competitors need an area to receive instructions and hold awards ceremony.
As an added challenge, the location should be easy to get to and have affordable lodging nearby for out-of-town competitors. That's a lot to ask. Our club was fortunate to find an ophthalmic equipment and supply company willing to rent us their property for the weekend. I have no idea who found it or how much it cost. Lucky for us, it turned out to be a really nice location.

I picked up a lot of miscellaneous stuff that weekend. I should have written it down. What I remember most is:
  • No matter how hard you train, sometimes things "just happen." I saw experienced dog/handler teams make some very sad mistakes.
  • Nerves get to everybody -- even dogs.
  • Three minutes is a long time, so breathe!
  • DON'T BLOCK YOUR DOG! I watched handers come into the search area and position themselves in a way that prevented their dogs from finding the odor.
  • Keep eyes on your dog. I saw some handlers miss signals from their dogs. Some even pulled their dogs off the odor to search somewhere else!
Competing is nerve-wracking. My heart ached for everybody who didn't pass. I'm not going to sit here at nit-pick the mistakes of others. But I will take everything I saw others do -- both good and bad -- and try to use it to help Jedi and me.

NACSW is weird about pictures. No cameras were allowed except for the official videographer. Competitors can purchase a picture later if they want. To that I say "BOO!" It's bad enough that NACSW charges an annual member fee to compete on top of the $90+ entry fee, plus any travel expenses . . .

On a happier note, I had several friends compete. Three of them earned their NW1 title and took an unofficial picture afterwards. I'm going to share it, NACSW be damned. (Who knew I was such a rebel?!)

Great photo, hunh? The dog lying down is Semi. He and Jedi took the ORT in West Palm together. (Semi passed; Jedi did not.) The dog in the middle is Jedi's brother, Dozer. The dog on the far right is Aksel. He lives with Ayko, who takes classes with Jedi on Thursdays. And the women on either side are trainers who worked very hard to make this trial happen. They deserve cookies and belly rubs for sure!

So, yea for my friends. I was thrilled to be able to watch them pass. Hopefully Jedi and I will have one of those ribbons soon. I will definitely let you know! -- K

Friday, May 27, 2016

Hello Again!

Oh My! It's been almost two weeks since my last post. Bet you thought I forgot all about you, hunh? I didn't! I've been so busy with dogs, dog club stuff, nosework and work stuff that I haven't had the time to sit down and type. I think things are slowing a bit, so I'm going to try to get details out over the next week (or two). But here's the Reader's Digest version:


Ever since the April Shows, I can't get the idea of Obedience out of my head. I saw the beginner novice trials and something in my said "You can do that." Was that my meds talking? Am I having delusions of grandeur? I don't know. All I know is that I. Want. It. Now I'm on a mission! I can't find a beginner class, so I've taken to books and the internet. I've read several books (I will share reviews later) and have signed up for an online class with Fenzi Dog Sports Academy. The class starts on June 1st. I will definitely tell you all about it!


My first year as president of the German Shepherd Dog Club of North Florida is coming to an end. Whew, it's been quite the year! And it's a lot more work than I had imagined. I agreed to do one more year (I've got a few more ideas), but then I'm stepping down. I want to get another show puppy and try again with conformation.

The Club has had some great outings this year, but we've decided to stop for the summer. It just gets too hot for the dogs. (And me!) Our last dog-friendly event was a free intro to nosework workshop. We had nine dogs come and try it out. It was a lot of fun. Pictures and details later!

For the most part, club members are tired. We're still reeling from our April shows -- that was a lot of work! -- and our bylaws stipulate a bunch of things around election time. As president, I have to make sure committees are formed and audits done. It's tedious. To make things a little more challenging, our regular meeting place closed down (RIP Village Inn) and we're trying out new places. Wish us luck.


My other dog club, K-9 Obedience Club of Jacksonville, held their first nosework trial this month. I couldn't compete, but I did volunteer. It was great! I'll tell you all about it soon. Promise.

Jedi and I are still working hard on our nosework training. We're now doing exterior and vehicle searches. It's a whole other game for Jedi. You'd think he had never sniffed before. Trainer says not to be frustrated -- but I am.

NOSEWORK NEWS: There are back-to-back UKC trials in October -- one in Ocala and one in St. Petersburg. I want Jedi and me to be ready. If done right, we could come back with a title. I'm also trying to make it an all girls road trip. Sound fun to you?


The weather is warming and the school year is ending. The beaches are packed and there are often dogs off leash accompanying beach goers. I spend waaay too much time on the beach. We're in the middle of kitten season right now. (I'm fostering a mom and three kittens as we speak.) Bites also increase this time of year, as well as dogs locked in hot cars. I've been a busy little ACO.

Additional challenges this year include the construction of a new police building (finally!) and yet another partner change. New Girl took a job at a neighboring city for more money. Of course, so did the three partners before her. You'd think the City would get a clue . . . (Trust me, there will be a rant about this later. get your popcorn ready!)

Well, that's it in a nutshell. I'll elaborate on things later. Thanks for stopping by! -- K

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Silly Beach People

Well, it's that time of year again. As the weather warms up the weirdos come out. (Who am I kidding? This is Florida! Freaks and roaches live year 'round here.)

I've given you Freaks on the Beach stories before. And last December I shared the extreme grooming competition from AKC Eukanuba National Championship. Today, I saw a little bit of both. While on routine beach patrol I came upon this:

No, it's not a lion. It's a labradoodle. For real!

How's that for a Silly Sunday post? Want more silliness? Click around below and see what others are sharing today. Thanks to Sandee at Comedy Plus for putting this together for everybody. Later, -- K

Thursday, May 5, 2016

My Head Hurts!

NOT one of the 13 photos. Too bad,
because this one's cute!
File this one under WTF. Last month my office got the strangest email accompanied by 13 unimpressive pictures of a pit bull mix. Thirteen! I can't begin to describe the email, so I'll just post it right here. Verbatim. Normally I change or redact names and addresses when sharing work-related things. (You know, to protect my ass.) However, "Cookie" didn't leave any real contact information. The only thing I have is a strange email address. And since all my emails are considered public record, I figured there was no harm in sharing this.
Subject: neglect and abuse

Dear Animal Control,

My name is Cookie, I am a three year old terrier mix. my mom adopted me from the humane society after some bad guy put me and my brother and sister in a box and threw us over a fence. I am special, I don't hear very well and I don't know how to bark. I cry when my mommy or sister leave , but I am so lucky my sister is not working so she sits out side with me in the afternoon and when mommy comes home I get to play outside again. about three weeks ago it got sunny and the temperature was comfortable enough so I could hang outside all day. I kinda dig holes and break collars so mom keeps me on my chain and in my kennel when nobody is outside with me. I wont be outside too long though it will soon be too hot. I have a chip in my ear if I get lost, I am fixed and my mom takes me to the wallgreens pet bus for all my shots.I really love my mom. on Friday a mean person complained about me and mommy who suffers from PTSD and a heart mermer kinda freaked out , you see she loves me so much she was terrified some bad guys would come take me away. she asked all her church family and friends to help. i went to visit grandma while mommy tries to get in tough with you guys but you never answer your phone, I wanted to help so I let my Mommy take lots of pictures and video so you guys might not scare my mommy and might not take me away.
I KNOW! My first thought was "What kind of meds are you taking?!" (According to HR I'm not allowed to ask that. Stupid HR.) I spent 20 minutes writing, deleting and rewriting my response because sarcasm is frowned upon as well. (Seriously, HR takes the fun out of everything!) I ended up sending a short, humorless message stating:
It would be helpful if you told us who you are (the human) and where you live. Also, please tell us the exact nature of your concern/complaint. Are you asking about tying your dog outside? About keeping your dog outside in warmer temperatures? About your dog digging out and getting loose? Did you receive barking complaint? I have attached a copy of the ordinances. Maybe they can answer your questions. Please call if you’d like to discuss this further. Unfortunately, things didn’t translate well through email. Please leave a message and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
See, no sarcasm whatsoever. (That was tough!) To be honest, what I wanted to write was something along the lines of:
Dear Cookie,
I am very impressed that you can use email. However, your spelling and punctuation make your message difficult to read. Also, you seem to have a hard time staying on topic. I realize that short attention spans are common among dogs. Please have your mommy proofread your email before sending.
Two weeks went by without any contact so I assumed that Cookie's mom found the answer she was looking for. I. WAS. WRONG. We got another email yesterday. You know what? I should have stuck with Cookie! Who would have guessed that the dog was the brains of the group?

The second email was written from the human but it made no sense at all. Still no name or a specific concern. However, there were three paragraphs about us not knowing and her not giving us an address. I won't even repeat the derogatory insults. What's a girl to do? Forward it to my boss with a gentle reminder that he makes the "big bucks" to handle the difficult issues -- and then quote Lethal Weapon. I identify with Murtaugh more and more every year.

Ruckus the American Eskimo Dog Blog

It's Thoughtless Thursday! And if you define thoughtless as "devoid of the capacity or faculty of thinking or reasoning" then Cookie's mom definitely qualifies! Click around below and see what others are thinking -- or NOT thinking -- about today. Thanks to Ruckus and friends for hosting
this weekly hop. -- K

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Bark in the Park

The Jacksonville Suns are a minor league baseball team here in town. A couple times a year they offer a special event called Bark in the Park. On these days fans can bring in their dogs to enjoy the game. We went Monday night and had a blast!

Me and Jedi before the game

Jedi posing in front of our official club shirt
With Southpaw, the team mascot

What's a baseball game without a hot dog?

We had a blast! It's always fun to spend time with friends (and dogs). You know what? It's Wordless Wednesday! Hop around below and see what others are sharing today. -- K

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Silly Star Wars

Last week I admitted that I'm a little silly when it comes to dogs and dog shows. This week I'm sharing another (not-so) secret thing about me. I'm silly about Star Wars. As such, we celebrate May 4 every year in my house -- as in "May the Fourth Be With You." Here are a couple holiday pictures from years past.

I named my dog Zente's Jedi Mind Trick -- so that might be a clue to my zeal. Here Jedi models his Yoda ears and sand colored padawan robe.

I love Jedi's Han Solo smirk in this picture. If you look closely, you can see Jedi is wearing one of his many Star Wars collars.

Not to be outdone by the dog, Drogo, the World Famous Bearded Dragon* has a couple Star Wars photos too.

Here Drogo pretends to be a dewback on Tatooine. (If you don't get the reference, that's OK. Just be impressed that I got the lizard to hold two plastic storm troopers on his back.)

And here's Drogo, R2-D2 and the Millennium Falcon. Yep, I'm a bit silly when it comes to Star Wars.

How's this for a Silly Sunday? Hope it made you giggle a little. Click around below and see if anybody else can elicit a snicker or two. Thanks Sandee for putting this together. Catch you later, perhaps in a galaxy far, far away . . . -- K

*Drogo's fame may be a little exaggerated.