Sunday, December 4, 2011

What's in the tree?

The other day, I noticed that Mia seemed particularly interested in a tree in the backyard.  I didn't think much of it...until I watched her go up on her hind legs.  I still don't know what's got her so intrigued, but she likes checking it out.  So today while I was working in the yard, I decided to take my camera and get a few pictures of my goofy girl:)

Checking it out

Mama, do you smell that??
Back to check it out again
I'm exhausted now...investigating is hard work!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mia's Thanksgiving Visitors

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Mia had some visitors staying at our house.  My aunt, who comes down every year from Virginia, had 3 doberman puppies she didn't want to leave with the dog sitter.  Mia did an amazing job with them (even my aunt was impressed with how well she did).  They tried to nurse on Mia a few times and Mia let them know there wouldn't be any of that.  She then redirected them and invited them to play instead.  Good girl, Mia!

 It was really interesting to watch the puppies over several days.  Even at a young age, you can really see personality differences.  They were very good house guests (or sun room guests)...but I think Mia was pretty worn out by the end of the week and was happy to have her yard back to herself:)

Don't worry, I won't be getting a puppy anytime soon.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Show-N-Go

Retrieve over the high jump
We participated in the Azalea Dog Training Club's Fall Show-N-Go at a nearby park.  A show-n-go is like a practice competition. I entered Mia in Open Obedience and Novice Agility Jumpers.  I don't have any pictures of the agility runs but Mia did pretty well and improved with each run.  Her drive and enthusiasm is quadrupled in a trial/show atmosphere (practice or not) so it will probably be a while until we trial.  We both have to learn to control all of that energy:)  Mia did really well in her obedience run.  Since we NQ'd on a down stay at the Simpsonville shows, I was ready to correct her if she moved too much.  Sometimes in practice, dogs don't make the mistakes that they make at trials so you don't get the chance to correct them.  Mia did move a little on her down stay so I did get the chance to correct her.  We still have some work to do but overall, I was very pleased with how she did.

Drop on recall - I purposely waited to drop her, because you never know when the judge will signal

Figure 8
Retrieve on the flat - I'm trying to get her to straighten her front

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Run on the Beach

A great start to the weekend!


Monday, October 24, 2011

Mia's First CDX leg!

We traveled to Simpsonville, SC this past weekend to compete in Open Obedience.  Mia had a nice run on Saturday and qualified for her first CDX leg with a 4th place.  We competed on Sunday and even though Mia had a beautiful run that would have earned us a 194.5/200, we NQ'd on the 5 minute out of sight down stay.  Apparently, the princess had a hard time getting comfortable and shifted around too much. Even though we didn't qualify, it was great to have such a nice performance.  1 leg down, 2 to go!

Requirements for Open Obedience:
  • Heel off leash (including a figure 8)
  • Drop on recall
  • Retrieve on the flat
  • Retrieve over the high jump
  • Broad Jump
  • 3 minute out of sight sit stay
  • 5 minute out of sight down stay
To qualify, the dog and handler team must earn at least 170 points out of 200 and at least 50% of the points on each exercise.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Novice Retrieving Dog

I just wanted to share some pictures from the ratings practice and test last weekend.  The first 2 are from the practice and the others are from the actual test.

Mia has a really nice retrieve and delivers the bird to hand every time - which is not required in novice but something that I've come to expect from her

 For the RDX test, I was asked to throw the second bird (a dead pigeon) and fire the blank pistol.  In the picture above, I'm getting a lesson from Mary Ann Hall on proper throwing techniques.  In the picture below, I think I'm telling Debbie (who was taking the picture) that 2 years ago, I never would have believed that one day, I would be carrying a bag of pigeons while holding a dead one and a blank how life has changed!

 Getting ready to send Mia on the land retrieve

 Mia bringing the pigeon back (with a lot of enthusiasm)

 Water retrieve

 Delivering the bird to this point, I knew we had passed and was *so* proud of my girl!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mia gets her NRD!

Mia in practice Saturday
I am thrilled that Mia earned her NRD today (Novice Retrieving Dog)!  She had 2 beautiful retrieves, both on land and in the water.  This makes her now...Ch Grayhart's Special Request, CD, RA, NSD, NRD, V.  Since she has so much retrieving drive and did such a great job this weekend, I'm planning to compete in the retriever hunt tests which are now allowed by the AKC.  Hopefully, she'll be ready for senior hunter next spring. 

Debbie took this picture on her phone Saturday.  The picture was taken from a good distance away so we zoomed in as much as possible, which is why it's a little fuzzy.

We also want to congratulate Debbie Moody and Sky, Grayhart Lightfoot Early Morning Rain, RN, JH, TD, NSD, NRD, V for qualifying today in NRD as well.

And if that's not enough, Mia's brother Mason, Grayhart's Daily Special finished his bench championship on Friday and Mia's sister Trudy, Grayhart's Special Reserve, went WB Friday for 2 points and then went on to win a 3 point major today!  She now just needs 3 singles to finish her bench championship!  It was a grayt weekend for team Grayhart!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mia retrieves her first pigeon

We traveled to Clayton, NC to practice for the retrieving ratings tomorrow.  I felt confident that Mia would pass the NRD test but wanted to make sure she would carry a pigeon.  She had no problem at all!  I actually ran her in practice at the RD level (retrieving dog) and she did really well.  She had an awesome double on land but did struggle with the water retrieve.  The RD test requires the dog to complete a double retrieve with decoys in the water.  She did great with the first bird but got a little confused with the decoys.  We were able to work through it and I was so proud of my girl, especially because she had never worked with decoys before.  She is also a little out of control at the start because she's so excited.  In NRD, you an hold the dog's collar but you can't in RD.  Even though she is steady in training with bumpers, it's hard for her to contain herself when she's working birds.  We will stick with NRD tomorrow but I know we'll eventually get that RD and even RDX.

 If working Mia on birds wasn't enough fun, I also got to play with 5 week old puppies, thanks to Betta Brehaus.  They were so adorable and I even had 7 asleep in my lap at one point.  Miss Pink was the first to crawl into my lap (which I find fitting, since Mia was a Miss Pink).

Friday, September 23, 2011

Back to retrieving practice

We've had a very busy September and since I've been back at work, I haven't had much time to update the blog.  Plus, we haven't really done any traveling.  No worries though - October is going to be packed full of fun stuff - I have plans to enter Mia in the retrieving ratings, obedience trial, and the local show here in Wilmington.  We are also going to do some field training to get ready for the upcoming hunt tests.  We did a lot of work over the summer with our retrieving practice and Mia made a lot of progress.  We haven't really done any water work in the last month so it was great to get back out there today.  I took Mia to the pond nearby just to do some fun retrieves and she did an awesome job!.  The time off hasn't set her back at all.  We have the ratings next Sunday and our fingers are crossed that Mia will qualify for her NRD (novice retrieving dog).

Last Friday, I did get to meet up with Diane to work Mia on duck and she did a really nice job.  Diane even did some work with her before I got there.  I was thrilled to see Mia's drive, especially when she realized there was a bird out there.  She also showed a ton of drive today when we practiced with the bumper.

On her way to get the bumper

Too bad I have to work everyday...if not, I would definitely spend as much time as I could with Mia...doing all these things we love:)

Good Girl!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Mia's official Champion win picture

CH Grayhart's Special Request, CD, RA, NSD, V
Winners Bitch and Best of Winners
Carolina Kennel Club
August 14, 2011

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Champion Mia...and a new Versatile rating!!!

I am beyond thrilled to announce that Mia is now...

CHAMPION Grayhart's Special Request, CD, RA, NSD, V

Mia went winners bitch and best of winners today for 2 points at the Carolina Kennel Club Show in Greensboro, NC under judge Karin Ashe to finish her bench championship.  This win also gives Mia her WCA versatile rating.  Mia was owner handled to all of her points, including her majors.  I am so proud of us both!!!  The above picture is Mia waiting patiently to go pick out a toy from one of the vendors.  And because I was in SUCH a good mood - I bought her 2 toys:):)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sunday Evening Hike

It was great to get out this afternoon for a nice hike at the Carolina Beach State Park.  Mia has been in season so she's been stuck at home and hasn't really gotten a chance to run.  I haven't been to this park in a while mainly because it's been too hot.  On the days when the heat wasn't too bad, it's usually packed full of people.  Fortunately today, the weather wasn't as bad and there weren't many people on the trails.  Mia had a blast running wild and spent a good deal of time hunting...for what, I'm not sure but it'll be nice to get her started back on birds this fall.
One of the things I love about this park is that part of the trail runs along the Intercoastal Waterway.  Of course, Mia didn't miss the chance to take a swim and cool off.

Pure joy!