Monday, December 24, 2012

2012 In Review

Well, you may have noticed I have not been actively posting since the summer time. That's because I have just been too darn busy! School, work, meetings, homework. Since you don't know everything that has transpired let's take a quick recap.

Abbey won her first Steeplechase competition back in February at the Free Spirit agility trial. We also attended an easter egg hunt later on in April. Which was heaps of fun and excitement along with continental breakfast for human and doggie. After that, Abbey and I spent the summer fostering some dogs, swimming in the lake and doing some rehabilitation exercises. The February trial was our only trial of the year. Now, by the time fall started so did school which ate up 100% of my time. I went five days a week, and then worked on the weekends. Abbey went through a good three months of neglect aside from the occasional tennis ball through, poor dear.

Abbey's eighth birthday rolled around approximately 1 week and a half ago and I decided I would take her to the agility field so that I could have some fun with her there. Just me and my dog. Well, she proved that 3-4 months of being a complete couch potato had no adverse effects on her natural agility talent. For those who have yet to see the video, clickedy click on the link below. As for 2013, I am predicting many more trials, finally heading to the chiropractor, and perhaps an AKC trial or two. Abbey has proven so many things to me over the years and every time we step into the ring it's like she gets better and better. Aging like the most amazing fine wine. Even at time when I haven't been the best handler, she has been the most perfect and incredible dog RIGHT after my own heart.

2013, The Amazing Team!

Abbey's Birthday Celebration

Saturday, June 30, 2012

It's a Skipper!

What's this? Someone new? Is it permanent? Well, no, not really. It's my foster dog, Skipper. Skipper is a Pomeranian Mix from Paws4You Rescue here in South Florida. When I went to go pick him up, I had the option of choosing from a terrier mix, who had just been returned, and him, who hasn't even been adopted out yet. When I got him home I honestly couldn't understand what the issue was. The dog, aside from a few minor marking incidents, is completely housebroken and knows how to behave inside the house (i.e. no chewing, no racing around the coffee table, etc.). Due to all his "goodness" my dad almost became a foster failure. Now, I have nothing against Skipper, he's amazing...BUT I have a special slot available for my next dog and I know what I want it to be. So, here I am molding senor Skip into an upstanding citizen that no one can possibly resist. So far, we have been working on fairly basic stuff like "it's yer choice", no counter surfing, offering a sit before meal time, multiple dog "name game", calming behaviours, and some basic obedience. Now, he really does pass with flying colours on most of this stuff. He is very food motivated and attentive. He is energetic, but not with so many demanding needs that a family would have to worry about him causing destruction. He sleeps well in his ex-pen at night too! It's obvious that this dog deserves a loving and wonderful home with a great family who can give him love and attention. If anyone in the South Florida area knows of someone who'd like an awesome dog like Skipper please comment below! Also, if anyone has any suggestions on how to promote your foster dog...please don't hesitate to give me some!. 

All American Team...over and out ;-).

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Super Spy...Canine Style

Abbey 007. The Air Up There, Spy Extraordinaire.


Friday, June 8, 2012


Well, I've finally done it to a degree where it will become permanent. The dogs have gone RAW. Not just raw, but prey-model raw. I have been switching between a BARF diet and high quality kibble/canned food since Abbey was a puppy, but I have decided to become dedicated and join the raw-volution. So, after I picked up my check today, I went to the natural pet store and picked up 2 packages (one raw ground bone, organ, and beef and the other Venison meat) to bring home and mix. All that being taken care of, I have packaged perfect portions and put them in the freezer. I think tomorrow I might make my way to Winn Dixie across the street to get some yogurt to supplement it with, but other than that...PICTURE TIME!

All packaged and separated in the freezer

Abbey Portion

Bella Portion

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Best of both worlds!

Ladies and gentlemen, I give to you, the tennis ball dispenser. 

I was seriously wondering what to use as a training tool this year to improve Abbey's speed. I needed something motivating and rewarding. Now, my dog likes toys, plays with them all the time, thinks they are great...but she LOVES food. I find it more irritating to train a running contact with a food reward, though. Also speed and independence when working with food doesn't seem to turn out exactly how I want it. So, I figured, what if I blend the two? Now, I'll have you know I have tried all manner of treat-holding toys, I have used tugging as a catalyst for the food...but it still wasn't quite getting her driven enough. I wanted her to damn near come out her skin for a toy. So, going back into my mental archives, Abbey's favourite toy is a ball. On any given day a ball will win...even better, a tennis ball. If it bounces, rolls, has little feet on it, squeaks, and can fit easily in her mouth, she loves it. I have seen Abbey play with Cuz balls, tennis balls, kong balls, airhog squeakers, superballs from out of the vending machine. The dog is nuts for balls. So, I decided I would meld her favourite toy reward with her favourite reward overall. 

I got down to business cutting a hole in my tennis ball large enough to stick treats in, but not too large as she would be able to get the treats out herself. Then, I put that baby to the test. I haven't seen Abbey run that fast since she was about a year and half. I knew that speed was still in there somewhere, I just had to find the right motivational tool. One I could chuck away from me to improve our distance and independence work. What makes this goody all the more interesting? It only comes out in agility. Oh yeah. So far so wonderful, this girlie gets the picture. We worked in the yard today AND we will be renting our indoor training center hopefully next week. Stay tuned!

~All American Team

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dog is my Co-Pilot

I might have mentioned this in a previous post a long time ago, but Abbey had started becoming exceedingly stressed while riding in the car. So, since I didn't want that behaviour to stick, I started working on her overall association to riding in the car from what was making her feel uncomfortable to things I knew she was frightened of. She started getting better but today we decided to up the anti and ask her to keep calm in the car while it was raining. To any other dog, whatever, but to Abbey? SCARY. Rain pelting a metal roof, water sloshing in the tires, grinding gears, and those funky looking windshield wipers...She is not a fan. I also didn't bring food in the car today. The reward wasn't given until we got home. Well, what a champ! She rode in that car on the seat, not trying to dig her way to China fruitlessly. No fervent shaking and teeth clenching for her, just some mild panting here and there. I was very impressed on the drive back when she didn't have a crazy "the world is ending right now mommy I need to run" reaction as a car came by and splashed water onto the side of mine, which normally would have sent her into a tizzy. I was also pleased by her initiative to relieve her own stress..."here, let me yawn, that usually helps." GOOD GIRL! Since she did so brilliantly and was pretty much unaffected by the car ride, even traversing the highway, I decided to test her "waiting skills." Park the car, take off my seat belt, turn off the ignition, open the door, step out aaaand OKAY! Mind you I did have to continually say "sit, wait, wait wait, wait there, sit" but that's okie dokie for now. It's a great feeling to know that Abbey can once again be my trusty co-pilot, let's go on a car ride.

PHOTO OP: (iPhone 3Gs Quality...can't wait for 4s) 

Our lovely Miami Summer Rain

Lying down calmly in the passenger's seat

the YAWN up and coming

Whazzat?! When the water splashed. Alert, but not Mankey Eyed. DOG IS MY CO-PILOT!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dog Park Fun

Dog Park Day, Time for a Swim!

They love swimming, especially Abbey

once again, there she goes!

And what's a day at the dog park without familiar friends.

Sorry for the poor photo quality, these were taken with the iPhone because I forgot my camera.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Ball Breakthrough and Stretches

As promised, Abbey has been going on the exercise ball even on my busiest days. I come home from school, grab my treats, grab the ball and we have at it. What's absolutely great is that Abbey is always SO amped and excited to do her ball work, and I think I have become so obsessed with this style of therapy that I might just get a disc too. Now, we did our usual routine yesterday and today, but YESTERDAY we had a major breakthrough...Abbey knows how to orient her position so that she does not fall off the ball. That's a major step for great balance and better coordination. The ball got loose at one point while Abbey was standing on it and it started rolling and instead of jumping off (the reaction that I expected) she kept moving and moving repositioning herself so that she was always on top of the ball and she was STANDING at the same time. Well, well girlie...VERY impressive. I quickly grabbed the ball so that she didn't start looking like a circus monkey, she jumped off and I gave her plenty of praise and cookies. She is also able to perform her "sit pretty" without assistance...although from time to time she still demands some if she isn't in the right spot on the ball.

I usually massage Abbey gently after ball work and do a couple of stretches, this time we did a couple organized stretches and skipped the massage part. Hind leg stretches, back stretches, we also stretch her neck. She is actually quite flexie with those back stretches and she enjoyed doing those as well. Perhaps it's because she gets cookies. I wanted to thank Pam from Pam's Dog Academy for posting the video on constructive stretches to do with the dog to prevent a sport injury.

That's all for now! Thanks for keeping up with us, there's much more to come!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What A Workout!

This morning, after I came from the Doctor (follow-up post surgery), Abbey and I did some exercise on the ball. We previously had only 2 sessions and that was more to get Abbey used to jumping on the ball and orienting herself into different positions. Today we officially did a work-out. I had her jump onto the ball and do a series on sits, downs, stands, and sit prettys. Currently her sit pretty is a bit off-balance and she grasps at my arm for support, but that's alright in my opinion. As she becomes more and more comfortable and finds her "footing" she'll be able to perform that position independently. Funny enough, as we were working Abbey came up with a rather clever position...performing her handstand on the ball. I thought this was great for working on her hind end awareness and also strength and balance.

After all that work, which went for about 5 minutes maybe 8, we decided to take some pictures so that everyone could see. What better way to express the taxing effect of the workout than the dog, the ball, and a relaxed pose. Yes, my friends, the photo is a pose/trick of Abbey's called "on your side". I love this shot of her next to the ball, because in the beginning she was a bit wary of it and now not only is she overjoyed to work on it, but also comfortable enough to lie against it. We'll be doing sessions like this every day from now until the beginning of May, and then move to only 3-4 times a week. As she lays at my feet while I'm typing this blog all I can think is man WHAT A WORKOUT!

We'll be headed to the Dog Park this afternoon. Keep following us, there is more progress and pictures to come!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

I failed.

Okay, so if it wasn't obvious enough, I completely failed on the 52 weeks challenge. I will try to make an attempt again next year or restart this summer. Summer to summer seems like a good record of 52 weeks to keep, right?!

Alright, I also haven't been writing much lately either. There's been plenty of unwanted DRAMA that occured at the beginning of this year, and it took up the majority of my time and thoughts. The good ol' boyfriend dumped me for reasons that should be chucked in a fire and burned to ashes, and then those ashes should be thrown into Mount Doom to further become incinerated and never seen again. Long story short...the depression got to me tenfold and Abbey was spending most of her time licking away my tears or acting like a class clown to put that non-existant smile back on my face.

After many moons of cursing the man to hell and back just so that I could curse him back to hell again, I realized he just wasn't worth any of my bloody time or thoughts. So, naturally, BACK to my amazing doggie. I am unsure as to whether I mentioned this previously, but Abbey has gone into rehab for the rest of the trial season and won't be back on the circuit again until the season upkicks in the fall. Why? Well, no she hasn't suffered any injuries, but she did get beat up a little bit at our last trial...WHICH WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL A steeplechase win and 2 more Masters Jumpers legs. I tell you this girlie is near flawless. But she fell off the Aframe once and also flew off the teeter. Since the beginning of her career, this dog has never had an adjustment (a chiropractic adjustment)...and well, I have to say NAUGHTY MOMMY. Abbey, in both training and trial, has fallen off dog-walks, aframes, teeters, banged herself into some weavepoles and what-not. The poor baby MUST need SEVERAL adjustments with all of the abuse her joints have been through. Please forgive me, I learn bit by bit and I never really had the money to just go and have my dog massaged or adjusted. I'm not a COMPLETE failure though! I did give her "minor" massages myself when I felt she needed them.

So, since I have just started babbling all over the place about how Abbey is amazing and I need to be better...LIKE ALWAYS...let me actually give you all a heads up as to what is going to be happening. I was gifted with an exercise ball, so that's part of this deal as well.

1. Work on the exercise ball
2.Go to the rehab center in Davie at least once a month
3.South Florida summers are getting near the lake, beach, and pools are going to be frequented both for cooling off and for getting exercise and conditioning for those joints.
4.Joint supplement...yeah talk about me slacking on the job
5.Contacts and weaves training!!

Now...The best news of all...I AM EMPLOYED! Thank goodness because it was getting RUFF. Wish Abbey and I luck and we will also try to implement some photos and videos for your viewing pleasure. Who just wants to read a lot of words all the time, right?

All American Team, Over and out!

Monday, January 16, 2012

2/52 for 52 Weeks of Abbey

Lazy Sundays and a Sleepy Abbey

Thursday, January 12, 2012

1/52 52 Weeks of Abbey

Abbey's first shot in 52 weeks of Abbey. 52 Weeks Challenge!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Adventures, Amazement, and Awww!!

Today, it was a beautiful Saturday morning with the temperature topping out at about 65 degrees and the skies an ever beautiful blue. Abbey and I had a date with the Dog Scouts to go hiking in Matheson Hammock park, right across the street from Fairchild Botanical Gardens. We were joined by our fellow scouts...or, I should say our fellow current scouts. The group has changed lately since I last talked about the Troupe. We now have 2 big black labs, Oso and Rookie, and a Golden Retriever, Daisy. Of course, my wonderful Abbey wasn't phased by that! She loves her new large friends! So there we went, hiking through the bust and taking a dip in the pond. Afterward it was time for class. Time to work on the important pet parent, being a better dog scout, making sure our dogs are the best behaved pooches out there...yeah yeah, that stuff.

Abbey, the wonderful and perfect, was tested to her wits end with...SUPERVISED SEPARATION!! Well, we have been trying to work on this but I only had one session so far. I wasn't expecting fireworks, trust me. I really had been expecting her to go completely APE actually. So I left her in the hands of my friend and told her to sit and I walked away to go and hide behind a tree. Silence...WHaaa?! I peaked from behind the tree. There was my little girl staring off into the spot where Mommy left, being quiet and waiting hopefully for me to get back. WOW!! No barking, whining, screaming...was this my dog?! I came back sooner than expected because I thought to reward her for the amazing behaviour. Afterward, I walked away again. Yes, again. I went farther away this time and hid under another tree where I was sure she wouldn't see me. Once again, WOW!! She sat there quietly again, staring off into the distance just waiting for mommy to come back. Nice and quiet, nice and calm. GOOD GIRL, Abbey, we may just be on our way to that CGC.

The "Awww" moment. When we were discussing Dog Scout duties in the grass and all the dogs started rolling over in the grass for belly rubs. =)

That's all for NOW!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

And Now We Run!

Running Contacts Practice

Graduating to the NEXT LEVEL!

First we cut up the tasty treats!
Then we put them in a bowl!
And then we did some focus exercises with the treats on my lap. (Toy retrieve)

Mmmm...and then we put them on the floor with no way for the handler to deny the access. And that's HAM!!

Were we successful in maintaining handler and obstacle focus?! YOU BETCHA! The first couple times she did "consider" the food. She sniffed it and ran by in our first rep. This continued for 2 reps and then she began to ignore the food. If at any point Abbey goes all out for the food I do interupt her. Why? Because Abbey is an outright beast when it comes to the consumption of food. One second it's there and the next second you might as well slap yourself because it's gone.

Here is the video of Abbey and our 3rd session. All of the videos Abbey and I are making ARE unlisted so if you want to see any of the training prior to the big results video at the end, you will NEED to read the blog. THANK YOU!