Moe Speaks: A Most Wonderful Saturday Surprise

IMG_4613 Completely out of the blue Saturday morning, Mom put my leash on and we got in the car.  We didn't go very far, but when we got to where we were going I was so excited!  Little white dogs...the faint smell of rats...we were going to do some earthdoggin'!  

(Note from Mom: This weekend was the Heartland Jack Russell Club's spring trial, which is held each year here in Lawrence.  Although it's primarily for Jack Russell's, they usually have a few unofficial "colored terrier" classes in which Moe and I sometimes go play.)
First, I got to do the "barn hunt".  Mom took me to this place that looked like a barn and told me to "find the rats".  Oh. My. Goodness.  I couldn't even contain myself.  I could smell them, I could smell those little beady eyed rats right away!  But finding them was a bit trickier--the smell was just everywhere!  Finally, I tracked them down--too late for Mom's liking I think, but she still let me bark and bite at them for a minute, so that was fun.  

(Mom: Scatterbrains!  He would do very well if he could just calm down and think.)

Then we went inside and did the actual go-to-ground with tunnels.  If I do say so myself, I'm kind of a rockstar at go-to-ground.  It took me about two tries to figure out the game the first time I did it, but I've been blowing through the tunnels ever since.  Saturday's time was about 7 seconds flat--admittedly not as good as some of the Jack Russells, but not bad considering that they're short enough to almost run through the tunnels and I have to shimmy through on my belly.

Mom said I won first place of the "colored terriers", and I got this pretty blue collar that I can wear in the shower even!

(Mom: Not sure yet how many "colored terriers" were actually entered but I think he did better than at least two or three others.  And I so love it when they do practical prizes instead of silly ribbons!)

Five Things I Wanna Do Very Soon and One Request for Good Vibes for a Certain Welsh Terrier

  1. Take some pictures inspired by these.  Just need to find some bits of flowers, and perhaps some skinny vases.
  2. Make this Christmas tree.  Isn't it so bright and cheery?  I have a spare table top tree, and I think I have enough spare yarn around for the ornaments.  I also stole six toothpicks from an Indian restaurant the other day to make the star, so now I have to make the tree because otherwise the bad karma will be all for naught.
  3. Work on my gingerbread house design for the local contest.  I think I'm going to do something like this, as I have a spare globe-y thing and it looks fairly easy?  (I hope?)
  4. Knit like a madwoman.  It's addictive, this making things from string and sticks.  In addition to working on a pair o' mittens for myself, I want to get a wee toboggan hat (like this--scroll down) and some slippers (anyone have an easy pattern?) done before Christmas.  Then maybe a blanket.  *Sigh*  So much to knit, so little time!
  5. Catch up on my library books.  I have thirteen sitting on my night stand that are overdue!  But I want to finish them before I send them back.  I'm so lucky my wonderful library doesn't charge late fees!

In other news, we're trying out a new doggie daycare for Moe tomorrow.  Nice Owner (who is Moe's groomer also) said he would be willing to work with Moe on playing nice with others.  Any good vibes, nice thoughts, prayers, or whatever it is you do, would be most welcome.  I'm really hoping this will help at least a little....

Terrier Play

Dsc06922In addition to our scooter-buying and parade-going, Moses and I spent part of the weekend at the Heartland Spring Terrier Trial.

Yesterday, we did some go-to-ground and a barn hunt.  Moe got through the GTG in 6 seconds, which was good enough for second place. 

He probably would have placed in the barn hunt as well, had I not screwed up.  The point of the barn hunt is to see how well you communicate with your terrier.  A rat is hidden in one of several tubes in a barn-like area, and the dog has to sniff around and find it.  When you think your dog is acting like he's found the tube with the rat in it, you say so.  The idea is to both pick the right tube, and to do it quickly.

When I released Moe he went straight to the correct tube, but he didn't indicate as strongly as he usually does, so I encouraged him to check out the other tubes.  He still didn't seem too excited about any of them--and after a minute of wandering around the barn stall, I was totally stumped--so when he went back to the first one I decided to just pick it.  Wouldn't you know it, that was the right one!  If I had just trusted him, we probably would have done really well.  I'm going to try hard to remember that next time!

278982426_ydof6m_2Today he won first and second place in his two races, and (for the very first time ever) was able to figure out the super go-to-ground!  Super GTG is a more complicated version of regular GTG--the tunnel has multiple entrances and exits, and has some uphill and downhill parts.  I've entered Moe at every Jack Russell trial we've been to, but he just gets so excited when he knows we're doing earthdog that sometimes he has trouble engaging his brain.  He's never been able to even get to the rats before. 

Today he ran into the obvious entrance like gangbusters as usual, but--when he realized that wasn't going to get him to the rats--he really stopped and thought about it and used his nose to sniff out the right entrance instead.  He found the rats in just over a minute, which was good enough for fourth place.  I'm hoping this is a sign that he's maturing a little bit.

All in all, not a bad trial for us.  :)

A Bad Day Earthdoging...

We got up early this morning and drove to Iowa for the Central Iowa Dachshund Club's fall trial.  To make a long story short, Moe got disqualified...for fighting.  It was almost the same thing that happened in California (except this time the other dog was completely innocent).  Moe had his head inside the false den, the other dog tried to squeeze in beside him, and Moe turned and snapped and snarled.  It got broken up quickly, but as it was definitely more than just a "hey back off". 

I spent most of the drive home psychoanalyzing.  I wouldn't call Moe an aggressive dog.  He's great with people--even kiddos--but even I have to admit he's developing a real problem with other dogs.  He doesn't seek fights, but if he's already excited (doing earthdog, playing fetch) and another dog goes after something he wants, watch out! 

He hasn't always been this way though--when we did his early obedience classes he did well with other dogs--which really has me trying to think about when exactly it started.  Was it because of what happened at the last trial?  Bad habits learned at doggie daycare?  Bad habits learned from squabbling over toys with Porter?  Just him growing up and into a more dominant dog?  All of the above?

But in the end, I guess it doesn't really matter.  Regardless of the cause of the problem, we have some serious socialization and obedience work to do before Mr. Moe gets to play at earthdog again.

The Heartland Harvest Hunt

Img_4123Our first frost was glittering on the ground early this morning, as Moe and I headed out for the Heartland Working Jack Russell Terrier Club's "Heartland Harvest Hunt".  We've only been to this trial twice now, but both times it's really been very nice.  As the only Welshie for miles Moe is pretty recognizable, but several of the club members remembered my name too and I'm incredibly more nondescript!

We started the day with a little racing.  Last year Moe raced in the novice class, and--due to his lovely long legged-ness--won pretty decidedly.  This year he was bumped up to the regular adult class and didn't have such an easy time.  He stayed with the pack well enough to come in fourth in both the flat race and the hurdles, but in comparison to the front runners it looked like Moe was moving in slow motion.  (I was a little glad.  Don't get me wrong, I like to win, but it's better when it's a little more hard fought.)

Next we did some go-to-ground.  Moe had a try at the super go-to-ground (which is an extra complicated go-to-ground maze) but couldn't quite figure it out.  He busted through the regular tunnel though--it took him 6.6 seconds to get to the rats, which was a good enough time to earn first place in the open adult class.

All in all it was a lovely day, more pictures here.  Stay tuned for the conclusion of Moe's 2007 earthdog season next weekend in Iowa!