Da Sky Flies

I never knew this but da Sky can fly. You learn somethin’ new efurry day. 

I didn’t feel like flying, it’s too hot (above 84° F when we tried this amateur stint, pfff) and the yummies were not too yummy (I think da Sky ate them all), so I said thanks but no thanks. Sometimes you gotta pick and choose. In two days time, I will go to professional agility training. There are bound to be better yummies (shhh, don’t tell da Sky). Hope you get to do something fun this weekend with lots of yummies on the horizon and bright skies.

Da Sky is da limit,

Benji

Up-Close

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As a real pro, action photos were taken of my agility runs by a real photographer (T&C Pet Photography). Apparently, that is the thing to do, so we bought some. Next time we hope to get them for free, like a real pro.

DC5_5043cWe like the first one the best. It almost looks like I’m stepping into another dimension. Which photo do you like the most?DC5_2831c.jpg

Benji

 

Tour d’Agility

Finally, we got around to the best part of my life: AGILITY! There were two big events. One far, far away in South Florida. The other one was just across the border in Georgia. We had our own chauffeur/ lift boy/ dog walker/ photographer/ support/ you-name-it guy for both occasions. Even Ms. Zulu went with us in our dog-mobile. The dog-mobile was a bit overloaded but we safely made it to the other end without a scratch.

The first event was a team effort in which teams that consisted of 9 dogs +9 handlers competed with other teams. There were over 450 dogs + their handlers competing so we can honestly say that it was a bit crowded! But we had loads of fun. We even stayed in a real Dogtel. That was a first for both Ms. Zulu and me.

In South Florida, I used my time efficiently. I started strong with running around in circles and greeting all the volunteers in the field. I know you’re not supposed to touch the obstacles so I made sure to stay WAY clear of them. M kept waving at me and I kept waving my tail back at her from a distance. I even barked at the judge, twice.  I learned later that that’s a no-no in agility land. OOPS. In my defense, the judge kept staring at me. That’s just rude man.

The second event was just a bit north of headquarters. It was a lot smaller than the one in South Florida. Probably around 50 dogs and their handlers were competing individually. By this time, I knew not to bark at the judge. My new Superdog collar seemed to give me superpower (unfortunately I was not allowed to take my S-SD so I had to make do). I flew over jumps and crawled through dark pesky tunnels. There were some out of control garbage cans while I was running my last run but I gave it the Superdog eye and got back on track. It was one satisfying happy day. Once at home Ms. Zulu and I were able to recharge without any problems.

 Benji

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of my fans asked me what I’ve been up to lately.  Well, besides going to therapy events I’ve been practicing my agility jumps a lot since practice makes pur-fect. One of these days we’re hoping to be ready for a formal agility event. I’m now up to 23 inches. I’m supposed to jump 24. That’s only one more inch to go!

Ms. Zulu would like to practice too but the humans are afraid that she hurts herself. Unfortunately, her response time is not what it was. She seems to be happy to supervise so maybe it’s all for the best. Tonight we plan to join our CCI buddies on an outing. Let’s hope the weatherman is wrong again and the outing won’t be canceled due to rain.

Have a fun-tastic week,

Benji and team

More Fun!

Hi, you-all! Hope you’re enjoying your Saturday. I had another fun run today. I went flying with Mach 2+ over and through 18! obstacles. This included the BANG device. I think I got the BANG beast tamed now without ending up in an alternate universe. The tough part was that all of this had to happen with an empty tummy that couldn’t be refilled until I was off the agility field!

Photo credit: Zeil16

The first run was over with before I knew it, with 30 seconds to spare. That run was too easy peasy. On the second run, I decided to be smarter. I mean if I can’t have yummies while running I might as well take detours and greet people (tip: you never know what they might have in their pockets). I’ve also heard that you need to warm up before strenuous exercise so I gave myself enough playtime on the field before going all Mach 2+ and showing off my awesome jumps.

Benji

Happy Howlidays

Guess what we got for Christmas; a DIY seesaw that works! When I saw it installed in the backyard, I had to try it. I approached the beast like you would any unfamiliar animal: with caution and one paw at a time. Once I knew I could trust the thing, I climbed on its back to the top of the world. I can tell you, the view is amazing. Experience has taught me that its great to try new things. It expands your mind and you always end up with lots of delicious yummies in your tummy. I think that’s how I solved the riddle of alternate realities. I discovered that when you climb the seesaw beast fast enough, you come down with a Big Bang. They say that without a Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, you and I wouldn’t be woofing to each other now. It’s now my theory that all new Big Bangs create new realities. Next time when I climb the seesaw mountain I need to set my mind on creating a new reality with an endless supply of yummies. That’s definitely food for thought.

We are wishing everyone from here to all the way around the world, happiness and full tummies fur-ever and ever. Hugs and a gazillion doggie kisses from the ZAB team.

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Happy Howlidays

Fun Stuff

Yesterday M and I went to our first agility competition. It was loads of fun. Our agility trainer had organized it to raise money for VOCAL (Voices of Chance Animal League). Its mission is to improve the lives of dogs without a voice. They provide free fencing, shelter, and medical resources for dogs that are forced to live their lives at the end of a chain. We came totally prepared, ahum, and showed up with one small bag with all my necessities: yummies and water. This was in contrast to others who seemed to have hauled their entire house to the event. Maybe they like to lift weights. Fancy crates, chairs, and even tents showed up on the sidelines.

During my run, I had to conquer 20 obstacles. Since M had never watched or participated in an agility event, I took charge as soon as she unhooked my leash. I started with a Mach 2+ victory lap. I got a lotta of applause for that one. Why save the best for last, right?  Still, time was ticking and we had only 90 seconds to complete the whole thing.  Not a problem for me but M is always lagging behind, so I knew I had to come up with something good. Instead of jumping over obstacles in numerical order, I just skipped the first obstacle, the tire. The second obstacle was the weave. To save even more time I pretzeled around only 4 of the 6 poles. Onwards to number three: a jump. From there I went straight to number eight, the A-frame. I ran that thing twice; it’s too much fun to only run once.  At some point, after more jumps and the boardwalk, and of course thanks to my pawbulous ingenuity, we made it to number 20. I didn’t have time for another victory run, so my instinct to do that first was a good one.

There was a raffle at the end of the event. I saw some great dog toys displayed that I would have liked to get my paws on. Unfortunately, I didn’t win them. Maybe next time.  All in all, it was a grand day. I made a lotta new fur-iends and friends and got hugs from many people. I can’t wait to go again.

Always listen to your gut,

Benji

P.S. Tomorrow we are expecting a furry important package by super express delivery. Stay tuned.  

Joy is…

Jumping up

High in the air

With ears flapping

Wishing you a wagnificent weekend with lots of treats and cuddles,

Benji

Cool Hot Summer Fun: 7

As you know, I love agility training. However, sometimes it’s raining or just too hot to do any agility training outside. That’s when the Ultra-Movable-Agility aka UMA set comes in handy. What you need? One human and one chair. You could even use a table. Really that’s all. How? Here it comes:

1. Under
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Instructions: put the human on a chair, look at one or both leg(s) and think “extend”. Crawl under the leg(s). Done! It’s that easy. The same can be done with a chair and even a table. So you really don’t need the human but I think that it is way more fun with one. They are also good for yummies in the tummy.

2. Over 
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Instructions: put the human on a chair, look at the leg(s) and think “extend”. Jump over the leg(s). Again, the same can be done with a chair or table. Whatever takes your fancy.

3. Up
armsc.jpgInstructions: Put the human in a stand. Make sure you grab a sturdy human and not a wobbly one. Pick an arm. Look at it and think “extend”. Jump up on said arm. This can also be done with a chair or even kitchen counter. Personally, I like the latter the best but I can’t even take a peek before the doggie police starts to bark.

Sorry for the not so clear illustration here. We experienced some technical difficulties. Something to do with not having enough arm to take the photograph. At least you can see how careful I’m about not digging any of my nails in the arm. After all, it’s very important to be gentle with your agility equipment. Sometimes I am “up in arms” too. That’s when I jump up high on my human and she wraps her arms around me. Oh, and before I forget, always get official approval with stamps and an inifinite number of carbon copies for any of these exercises. Especially if you want to be(come) a therapy dog.

Have fun,

Benji

A Wagging Day

Another pawbulous day today as I graduated from Agility Training I.  I successfully jumped through hoops and over many obstacles in the last two months. Not sure why humans complain so much about all the obstacles and hoops in their lifes. Just get on with it and over it. Next on my agenda is Advanced Agility Training. It should start in July. That’s when “the sparrows fall from the roof” as they say in Holland. Rest assured, we will be early birds to avoid the falling from the roof problem. I know, I know, every obstacle will be higher in Advanced Agility Training, but I’m sure I’m not gonna jump off the roof. No sirree.

You know what else we celebrated today? I seem to have attracted more than 300 followers with my woofanigans.  Not bad for an ex-shelter dog, heh?

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Two wagnificent followers on my tail

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The tire sure makes me tired 

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Crashed again once we got home

Try to stay out of trouble this week, I will try to do the same
Benji

Tactical Training: Update

Today is normally our offsite-agility training but since I graduated from the basic class we have to wait until next weekend before we can start with the next series. In the meantime, I registered myself as an All American Dog at the American Kennel Club (AKC). We didn’t know this but since 2009 you can list mixed breed canine partners with AKC. Normally we wouldn’t have bothered to sign up but once you are listed you can compete in AKC Agility, Obedience and Rally events. And we are interested in agility. We are not ready yet but never say never.

Anyhowls, I am getting off track here. I wanted to show you the tactical training course that was built under Ms. Zulu and my supervision at headquarters. The course requires a lot of jumping through hoops. Life is a bit like that, I’ve heard. We also have tunnels, not the ones I dig, for some reason they get covered up when I’m not looking. I know it’s a waste but what are you gonna do, hey? And no, I did not rip said tunnel. That’s one of M’s concoctions. It now looks kind of like a ruptured colon. I have to say though, all of a sudden I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and breeze through it without a problem. So maybe a ruptured colon is not always a bad thing.

In addition to the tunnel, we have another very “expensive” crawl-station. That station turns into a funny looking tent on cold winter days to protect the Forbidden Fruit tree that I showed you yesterday. Plus, the crawl-station is an excellent device to practice high jumps. Tree logs are helpful too to practice high jumps but we mainly practice our prepositions on them. Of course, y’all know those already, so there is not much to explain there.

Wishing you a Sunny Day; may the sun shine brightly wherever you are,
Benji

Graduation

It’s another day in paradise as my neighbor says. Today I graduated from Basic Agility Training! Before I even graduated I enrolled myself in the class “Agility Training 1”. I’m looking forward to it. I love the A-frame the best. The jumps and boardwalk are easy peasy.

During the previous training session, I had a blast racing through the tunnel. That was not so smart on my part as I discovered that it tends to result in fewer treats. Today I used my brains and pretended to hesitate before walking through the curved! tunnel. It worked and I ended up with way more treats. Proof that I’ve learned a ton of stuff and earned my badge.

Wishing you a great week and make sure you get rewarded for the work you do,

Benji

Agility = Fun++

Hope your Sunnyday was as sunny as mine. Mine was packed with fun as I went to agility training! The event with the inedibles did not repeat itself. I did look but the thing was nowhere to be found.  That may have been a good thing.

The trainer said that I’m very fast on my feet and a quick study. This time, all the obstacles we had practiced in previous sessions were spread out over the training field. M said the course was hard work but I can’t imagine why as she never jumped/ ran/ crawled through/ over tunnels, hurdles, boardwalks, or A-frames. Us canines did the hard work. The Ms and Ds only had to point fingers to direct us while they walked on the inside of the course. To be fair the Ms and Ds did have to give us treats. That is an important if not the most important part of the game.

What the agility course looks like? Well, I had to start on the boardwalk, then jump through the tire, turn sharply and jump over a hurdle, go to the platform and stand/ sit on it,  jump over another hurdle,  crawl through a tunnel, and then run over the A-frame. That was so much fun, I could do it over and over again.  Not sure if you noticed but the tunnel is now a piece of cake.  Yes, it did help that there were crumbs of some sort of cake all over it.

Two weeks from now will be my last basic training session and the trainer asked if we want to continue with Agility Training 1 in May. Of course, who would not want that?!

Have a great week and don’t forget: jumping through hoops can be fun,

Benji

 

 

Oops

sunday.JPGSunday was an oopsy kind of day. What happened? Well, it started out with one of my favorite activities: agility training. I was happily running from one obstacle to the next with Mach 3+ speed until we got to the tunnel. That tunnel was waayyy too small for me. Treats were inside the tunnel but pretty much in the middle. So I ran from one side to the other to get to the treats all the while trying not to get stuck in that tiny obstacle. Next thing I know the trainer is teasing me to enter the tunnel by swinging a great looking furry feathery thing in front of me. The thing looked like a cross between a rabbit and a squirrel. I decided to catch it and run away so I could check it out. Supposedly, that was not the idea and I was offered a tiny treat in exchange for the thing. That didn’t seem fair so I took the treat and swallowed the crossbreed as well. It turned out to be non-edible. Oops. You should have seen the look on the trainer’s and M’s face when they registered what had happened. All I can say is hey, I’m part retriever. I heard from my retriever fur-iends that you ain’t a retriever if you don’t have at least one foreign object in your stomach.

Anyhowls, out of thin air a brown bottle that said “hydrogen peroxide solution” showed up and before I could say “no sirree”, a tablespoon of said stuff was put in my throat. Yikes, that didn’t taste good. But like any good soldier, I swallowed that too.  M and the trainer were waiting for something, not sure what, but when it didn’t come the vet was consulted and I was spoonfed more of the stuff. I can tell you the second time was less fun and the third time it was just gross. And then all of a sudden I was down on my stomach and throwing up everything. Yes, that meant my breakfast, treats, and prize! M and the trainer were dancing and partying when that happened. And I was thinking “hey I am not having so much fun right here; can you pul-lease stop the racket”.

Once at home all was well; meaning no more liquidity stuff was put in my mouth. Ms. Zulu checked me out and we are now back to my regular meals and treat schedule. I even played some with my stuffed friends. This was after they had barely survived an unannounced security check. They all had to line up and were threatened with scissors or even the dump. This was not the first time either. Everyone that looks raggedy has to surrender in those instances. That’s just wrong. I thought it didn’t matter what my friends looked like but somehow it does. I like them all and care for them. Especially the shabby ones; I nibble passionately on their tattered parts. I don’t even hesitate to do heart surgery on them when needed. Lately, they have been quite healthy so there have not been any recent surgery attempts.

Have a great week, stay out of trouble and I will try to do the same,

Benji

Agility & Mach 2+

I was able to fit in one more agility training before the Mach 2+ event in France. And boy, am I glad I did. The A-frame was a piece of cake with icing on the cake, a.k.a. delicious treats. I surprised everybody by running up and down the thing without any effort. This will come in handy since there is this barrier thing that I have to tackle during the Mach 2+ event. After my agility session, I had a blast with my new friends as we could run around without restrictions.

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Ta-da!

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Sniff! Someone left lots of cake crumbs!

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Run! It’s fun!

Only a couple more days till Mach 2+…,

Benji

Mach 2+ test: update

ATTENTIONE!

attention.JPGSOF leader Da Phenny has an update on the Mach 2+ test, see: WEIM-WEDNESDAY. Stay tuned and make sure that you are in position with all your gear ready; there is bound to be a big bang and it may be over before you know it. The question is will any barriers be broken? unnamed (4)

A Park Day

It’s a sunny Sunday so M and I went out to the park today. But first, we had to drop off donations for a local wildlife rescue organization. Two volunteers, a lady and her daughter, helped us unload the car. Once the car was empty, we started talking about rescuing wildlife and animal therapy with shelter dogs. Not sure how the two go together but one thing led to another. The lady told us how she had a house full of ducks, rabbits, dogs, and other animals that needed rescuing. It sounded like a wonderful place to live.

Once in the park, we used the agility equipment. It’s getting easier to jump on the equipment now that I’m taller and more experienced. The high seas don’t seem so high anymore. I also met a ninja woman. She was walking on a slackline. She even let me sniff out her new equipment: a ninja line with knotted tug ropes. It looked like a great training device for me too.

  Happy Sunnyday! Exercise but leave time for naps,

B

 

Busy, Busy, Busy…

So far I have had a busy week. I guess no rest for the wicked! Besides my regular tactical training, I had my first official agility training on Sunday. I’ve been at different sites to test out some equipment before, but last Sunday was my first organized training as a real Dogtor.

There were all kinds of equipment varying from what they call an A-frame to elaborate tunnels and jumps. The seesaw was a different kind of animal. It’s a strange device. It felt like walking the plank, for real. If you ask me, I honestly believe that somebody needs more carpentry training. You would think that they would know by now how to fabricate a steady boardwalk. Oh well, I guess we just have to make do. Luckily there was excellent food on the premises, so life was good after all. At the end of the session my belly was full and while my chauffeur drove me back to headquarters, I was able to get some well-deserved rest.

In order to be able to train more intensively, we also started building our own track at headquarters. It will look a lot more like what I am likely to encounter in the field. Hopefully, the installer has some decent carpentry skills. M supervises the effort so we should be good. It’s all hush, hush right now, so we don’t have photos yet. More on that later. First I need to rest some more so that I can show up in good shape for the next training session.

B