Tuesday, September 8, 2009

on the hill

You may recall some photos last fall of the dogs on a giant pile of dirt. This 'mountain' was the result of digging the pond. Finally - this dirt is leaving our property! But before it is totally gone, I decided to shoot some new photos of Cash and Sophie on the hill - which makes for a mostly sky back drop.
First image - we have the boy we all know and love looking goofy as usual...
However, the young man can occasionally put on a more serious demeanor to appear regal and handsome...
Really love this one - so peaceful and dreamy...

However - the silly puppy comes back quickly for a roll in the grass :)

Now, Sophie on the other hand, had one mindset while on the hill - freaked out. There were very few shots of her that didn't make her look like a total crack head. Here's two that weren't terrible...

I like the angles on this one - its a bit French Vogue - ha ha!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cash-man WEAVES!!!

Mr. Cash is now a weaving fool!

This was his very first set of 12 closed poles :)

I started the official weave training on August 12. And on August 29, Cash was weaving 12 closed poles with nice footwork! 17 days may not be impressive to the "professionals" who manage to train poles in one week, but for me, its huge! Jesse took several months to figure out the poles and Sophie and I spent over a year butting heads on this skill - and still butt heads to this day over the poles!

I trained the poles a bit different with Cash. With the girls I kept the poles totally isolated from all other things in the agility world. This created trouble when it was time to add the poles to a sequence. So for Cash, I started adding 'stuff' to the poles from day one. As soon as he realized his job was to go through the channel, I added jumps, contacts, tunnels, front crosses, rear crosses and distance to the poles. Cash accepted all of these challenges and continued to do his job - go through the channel. I gradually closed the poles - a 1/2 inch or so a day - but EVERY day, the poles closed. It was really interesting to watch him learn to collect as he entered the poles - regardless of how far open they were - because of the previous obstacle. Collection is something that causes Sophie and I trouble - so its very cool to see him getting it at this early stage of training.

What's more exciting to me than the time in which he learned this tricky skill is the attitude he brings to training it! When I release him into the agility yard, he runs straight to the poles and offers them on his own! He appears to enjoy this obstacle and really tries his hardest!

and yes - I'm training him in a skirt... I had a willing videographer and didn't want to miss the opportunity to tape this monumental day!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Afternoon at the pond

Our summer started out really cool here in Jersey. No humidity, temps in the 70's, breezes galore and minimal storms. Well, those days are over and now its 90+ daily, HUMID and it storms almost every night! YUCK! The dogs aren't thrilled with this change in the weather because it means less fun time outside for them. So I decided it was time to make use of the pond and let them cool off a bit. Here's Cash's version of the day...

"Woman, PLEEEEEZE! Do you really expect me to look at the camera when there is an entire flock of geese behind me in the pond??? Sorry, just can't do it!

"Now that's better. Throw this bumpy again when I get out, K? I love my bumpy!"

"Hang on a sec, I gotta shake it!"

"Woman, just because I'm wet does not mean that I will now LOOK at you! Camera's are so stupid and you really need to recognize that. THROW the DAMN BUMPY!"

"Ahhhh... Thank you Momma!"
"OK, I'll look at you now."

"But I prefer the profile shots cause then I can still see what's going on out on the pond."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Posing Pups with Pansies

OK - so the flowers aren't pansies... but it made for a cute title!

The Kids - Left to Right -

Jesse, Cash, Sophie

My girlie-girl, Sophie, LOOKS so pretty with the flowers even though she is the toughest thing in my house.

My uncooperative girl, Jesse, says "I will not look at your face with that thing in front of it." She hates the camera some days...

ALL boy - Mr. Cash says NO WAY to posing with flowers! He much prefers the shrubs!

Very handsome boy - as he alerts to the chainsaw noise in the distance...

Then, off to Allentown, to see the C.W. Corgi Princess - Miss Summer!

I am so glad I got this shot - I wanted a 'sniffing' shot all day with my kids and they wouldn't cooperate!And peaking - how cute is that puppy???
HEY! Those might be PANSIES!

Friday, July 10, 2009


Our agility drought is OVER - or at the very least, temporarily drizzled upon! Sophie Q'd today in Open Jumpers at SOJAC - a Q with second place! This is leg #2 toward our OAJ.

Very nice judge for not calling a refusal on jump #3 if I do say so myself...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

OT - there's amazing wildlife living among us...

So before this post gets started, let me apologize for the image quality... It appears that the 75-300 lens is not gonna cut it when shooting wildlife.

Ok - so wildlife...

There is a crane of some sort (Great Blue Heron?) living in the area. A few days ago, Mr. Cash saw it perched upon our agility yard fence - he stalked it like he was some sort of pointing border collie freak. Good boy that he is, he didn't bark at it and scare it away.

I've also seen it flying in and around the pond. But the other day, I saw it with a partner - a mate maybe? Hope so, cause that would be too cool!

Anyway - I did some stalking of my own and got a few shots of this amazing creature - which stands a minimum of four feet tall - and who knows how big the wing span is! Enjoy - and I'll try to be a better stalker next time!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

one day late...

Better late than never...
Happy 4th of July!

And Mr. Cash says ...

I'll take any extra picnic food that is left over - I'm ready with my bib!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Cash looks like a dog

He's SO not a puppy anymore!
All the goofy stuff is coming together nicely ...
well, sort of...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

School's Out for Summer

As this is my first day free from school, I thought it was time to make this introduction...
Drum roll please... the newest member of my extended canine family....

Xtacee's School's Out for Summer - "Summer"

Summer is an adorable Cardigan Welsh Corgi born March 16, 2009. She belongs to Mike's Mom (and Dad - though I am pretty sure she will be Mom's dog!). I went to visit her today as this is my first day off for 'summer vacation'. We had a little lunch, took a little walk, and played for a while during my visit. Summer is so cute - and actually quite likable for a non-golden! And even though she's short, she's really cool!

All kidding aside, Summer is a great little dog and I look forward to getting to know her as she grows up :)

This picture is really funny when you get the story... We attempted to 'tape' her ears last weekend...

This was taken prior to the taping, and should have been a warning to us not to bother! As you saw from the top image, the tape didn't last. I think, in time, her ears will do what they are supposed to do all by themselves..

Monday, June 1, 2009

Congrats to the Cash-Man!

Mr. Cash would like to announce that he is no longer just a 'dog'.
He is now (drum roll please....)
an official Canine Good Citizen of the American Kennel Club!
He passed the test with flying colors on Sunday, May 31st at the Bayshore Companion Dog Club agility trials in Freehold, NJ. I truly believe that Cash KNOWS he is special now and that his behaviour should reflect that specialness... why you ask? Well, I fell asleep on the couch last night with him loose and (gasp!) shoes on the floor! I woke up and he too was asleep and (gasp again!) DIDN'T EAT THE SHOES!!!
Congratulations Mr. Cash - you're growing up!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Happy 6th Birthday to the SOFA DOG!!!

Sophie turned 6 today! Here are some silly pictures of her running a bit of agility in the birthday bandanna :)

I LOVE her ears when she jumps :)
That's a happy birthday girl if I ever saw one!
Here's to many more happy, healthy years for the little red-dog!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Lenape Specialty & Trenton Kennel Club News

The Lenape Golden Retriever Club Specialty is held in Mercer County Park - about 15 minutes from home. I try to enter this show yearly because it is a Golden Specialty and because its CLOSE! This year, I entered Jesse in Rally Novice B in hopes of getting her second leg. And, on a total whim, I entered Cash in Rally Novice B - in hopes of him not totally embarrassing me and to support the club! If Cash's entry comes as a surprise to you, GOOD! I didn't tell anyone about Mr. Cash being entered in a show for the first time because I really didn't know what would happen!

So - its a lovely Friday in May, drizzle, cool, grey and blah. Not a fun day to be out and about with the dogs. I got to the show site and prepped the kids for the ring. They both seamed uninterested in the entire thing...JOY!

Cash was first to go. He was so happy and bright it was ODD. I'm not used to a dog that 'up' in obedience settings. It was very cool. He was not perfect and did a few silly things, but all in all, he held it together and we made it through. The judge even complemented us on our heeling - and I promptly informed her that he was just 1 year and 1 week old! She was impressed :)

A very few dogs later, Jesse got her shot. She also did very nicely and cooperated fully - even on the dreaded DOWN. She was as bright and happy as the J-dog can be.

At ribbon time, Jesse was awarded 3rd place with a score of 93. Cash scored a 90 - which was 5th place. I was very impressed with Jesse's score - I do not train this dog at all anymore and her idea of fun is the couch. Cash pulled off a nice score as well for a very young dog who has never been in a ring with Rally signs or done half the stuff you have to do in Rally! Add that to the fact that he is really just learning to heel and WOW - 90 is a great score for a baby-dog!

Jesse's picture from the show...

Mr. Cash's picture from the show...

Photographs by Asheby Photography of Gilbert, PA

On Sunday, Jesse and I returned to Mercer County Park in the torrential rain to compete in Rally once again. We entered the Trenton Kennel Club Show in hopes of completing the RN title in 3 shows. Jesse is a bit of a princess, like her Momma, and did not think much of the wet grass and disgusting weather. Despite Mother Nature's attempts to foil our plan, Jesse managed to qualify in Rally Novice B again, completing her RN! I am not too proud to admit that this was a miserable, slightly mortifying experience, as Jesse refused to do the majority of the exercises and earned a score of 70 (which is the minimum score you must obtain to qualify). Oh well, it's Jesse, the dog I don't train, the dog who doesn't like to 'work' and the dog who was never expected to compete in anything again - let alone earn a single ribbon - after the doctors at Penn sealed her fate with their reports on ALL her joints. She did more for me in earning those 3 Rally legs than I ever hoped for. Thank you Jesse for being my partner for those three entries! You don't have to ever leave the couch again!

Thank you Momma - I like the couch much better than I like competing :)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

My boy turns 1!

Here is my boy - about a year ago - when he went by "Wally"...
Photo taken by Gerry Clinchy - I think :)
and here is my boy on his first birthday!
Wishing Mr. Cash a VERY happy first birthday - a few days late :)

He's such a lucky boy! On his birthday we went swimming and played with his presents - a big mallard duck dokken and a bunch of new bumpers - big boy sized bumpers! No special treats, as his guts are still weird from time to time, but a great first birthday for a boy!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Oh what a weekend!

Sing the title of this post like you would the song "Oh what a night"! This was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time - it was ALL about the puppies!
To start off the excitement - Karen Hocker (http://www.karenhocker.com/), Kristen Hocker, Nikon (Cash's uncle), Snapshot (Cash's half-sister), and Trey (Cash's 'little' brother) came down on Friday night. They spent the entire weekend with us! Karen and Nikon were signed up to participate in the Lorie Jolly (http://www.rosehillretrievers.com/) Seminar being held on my property on Saturday. The seminar was hosted by New Jersey Pine Barrens Golden Retriever Club.

The seminar started fairly early Saturday morning - but this was no big deal because all we had to do was walk out the back door to attend! Lorie was instructing the seminarians on 'transitioning from Junior to Senior and Master Hunter work' - WAY above my head, but very interesting none the less! It was very interesting to watch these talented dog and handler teams work. I learned a great deal - and was able to see the connections between what I already train for obedience/agility and how they would apply to field work. Very cool! The only down side was the weather - it was cloudy, on the cold side and WINDY! Karen and I almost blew away a few times! Exhaustion and windburn followed the day of fun in the field!

On Sunday morning we started the day with a good breakfast and some agility. Karen had offered to teach me some of the skills she uses to take her amazing photographs and Kristen ran the dogs so I could practice shooting. The Hockers also helped me to practice taking more posed shots - stacked poses, seated poses and head shots using Nikon, Snapshot and Trey. And lastly we did a little field work with the young boys and Sophie - both on land and in the water. Oh how the boys love the birdies! Karen was nice enough to take some shots of Jesse, Sophie and Cash doing some agility, field stuff and posed shots as well. I can't wait to see what she got!

My photos were better than what I've taken in the past. Karen taught me so much - I just need to practice now and get the timing right! Here's some of the best shots from the day... focus isn't always 'on' - but I'm a green to doing this the right way, so give me a break and in time, my shots will ROCK! Or at least I hope they will :)
This is Nikon jumping the double - and he's not quite in focus...
Here's Trey jumping - again, not quite in focus and the composition is poor...

Here's another shot of Trey jumping - better focus and composition (better, not GOOD!), but POOR TIMING! Way too early with those dangling feets!

This is a shot of half of Snapshot on the bottom of the teeter. Of all the teeter shots, it was the only one where the dog was in focus.

This is Trey - stacked - looking like a big boy - but he's SOOO the 'little' brother compared to my MOOSE - Mr. Cash! I like this image though and there's not too much for me to complain about :)

Uncle Nikon stacked - and his face isn't quite in focus...

I think this image needed that reflector thing to eliminate the shadow on Nikon's right side (left side of image), but other than that, its an OK shot I guess...

Trey was the last of the Hocker dogs to pose for portraits, so all of his are nicer, in my opinion! This one just looks cute and dignified :)

Then there's Snapshot's head shot... Do you see her PINK nose? At first we all thought the poor baby had sunburn - she has a very light nose. But nope - she rubbed it raw trying to escape her crate in the house! Silly Girl!

This is the best shot of the day - Trey is a handsome young man!

However, this is my FAVORITE shot of the day! Its so TREY!