Monthly Archives: February 2013

Hogan’s First Agility Trial

On Sunday, February 24, we packed up Hogan, our portable crate, a cooked (rare) steak, and travelled an hour and a half north to the Red Barn in Barrie to our first Agility Association of Canada agility trial.

I was so nervous I’d had very little sleep the night before. Cool cat Hogan, though, didn’t seem nervous at all!

Things were bustling when we arrived. There were shoes, boots, people, and dogs everywhere (we had to remove wet boots at the door). We left Hogan in the car while we scoped out the place and found our trainer, who had just had a good run with one of her many Cavalier King Charles spaniels. I confirmed Hogan’s information and tracked down a map of the course we would run less than two hours from then. This was his course:

Hogan's agility trial course

Once we got our bearings, we went to the car to collect Hogan, his crate, and the all-important steak bits. This was the first nerve-racking part. Hogan is not exactly aggressive with other dogs, but he can be reactive when on-leash, so I carried him in to ensure no surprise greetings. Once he got comfortable in the room and saw other humans he knew, I decided to let him walk around, but I didn’t encourage any sniffing of other dogs, just in case one rubbed him the wrong way. Hogan was fantastic! He looked around but stayed focused on us.

Between two different events, Hogan was measured by the judge and determined to be above 10 inches, meaning he would be jumping in the “10-inch Specials” category, which is what I’d signed him up for (it turns out he was the only one in this category), although I was hoping he’d be deemed to be short enough to jump 10 inches as his standard. Once he was measured, we settled him into his crate so that I could focus on watching others compete in order to—I’d hoped—alleviate my nervousness.

Some of those dogs were so fast! And although I saw a few even in the advanced category run off on sniffing journeys (which I half-expected Hogan to do), none peed in the ring (which I most feared Hogan would do!). All I really wanted was for Hogan to get from A to B (or Jump 1 to Jump 15), missing a jump or tunnel here or there, just for the experience of it. Get this first trial out of the way and plan for the next one!

While Hogan was waiting for his turn, we got to watch some of our friends from K9 Central (formerly SuperDog Central) do their runs. Unfortunately, I was too worked up to think of taking pictures! Adorable Condor did a good run but skirted around a couple of jumps. Super-well-trained beagle mixes Horton and Muggs went like lightning and did great but each bypassed one jump. Ty, a fun-loving Shar-Pei/pug mix, had a great run, too, but I think he missed one jump. All of these dogs did so much better than Hogan in class, so seeing them have really good, fast runs but not earn Qs (qualifications) reinforced to me that all I could hope for was that Hogan not pee. (And to that end, we did take him out for pee breaks several times before his run!)

When our turn came (we were third-last), the room had cleared out a lot, which made me a little less nervous. I rubbed that rare steak all over my hand (we’re not allowed treats in the ring, and Hogan has never run without a treat in my hand), grabbed a tiny piece of it, which I fed Hogan just before going into the ring, and gave another piece to my husband for at the end of the run. Hogan sat before his run (which he seldom does), and we were off. Here’s what he did:

He had a perfect run, and he did it in 34.35 seconds, well under the time he needed! This was the last expectation I had of this day. I was so proud of my Hogie bear for earning his first Q and two ribbons! (His first-place ribbon, not in this picture, was for winning his category, of which he was the only member.)

Hogan's agility win 007

It was such fun, and there was a great energy about the whole thing! (What’s not to love about being in a roomful of happy dogs?) I can’t wait for our next agility trial!

Our First Attempt at Fostering

As regular readers of my blog know, I’m a big advocate of rescue. I volunteer as much as time allows, but I always wish I could do more….

Noelle 009 (2)Since we first adopted Cora and Dusty, my husband and I have mulled over the idea of fostering. We have a great, very smooth routine with our three, and we think we could offer a homeless dog the benefit of that routine and, in turn, a sense of security. We figured one day, when the time was right, we’d offer our home as a foster home.

Then, on January 19, at the TAGS dog park, I met a little Jack Russell terrier mix named Noelle. (I have a weakness for JRTs.) She’s only a year old, and I saw that she was a firecracker but also really affectionate. Plus, she and Dusty played really well together, as you can see in this video:

So when Noelle’s foster mom took in a third foster dog, we offered to foster Noelle.

Well, things didn’t go as we had hoped. Noelle was a little too much for our three, wanting to play nonstop and, much more of a challenge, asserting dominance over Dusty and Hogan. Interestingly, timid Cora growled (and even barked!) at Noelle, and Noelle backed off from her, giving her space from then on. But she wouldn’t back down from a growling Hogan, instead climbing on his back to try to be the boss. They ended up having a few fights, and because we didn’t want to see the pack order (and the peace) in our house changed, we intervened rather than letting Hogan and Noelle sort things out themselves.Noelle 013

Ultimately, after only 54 hours, we sent Noelle back to her previous foster mom.

Noelle is going to be a GREAT dog for someone. She’s supersmart and will learn her commands really easily if she doesn’t have the distraction of other dogs. She’s also a really cuddly sweetheart, but she wants 100 percent of a human’s attention, so I think the best home for her will be one in which she’s the only dog and in which she will get a lot of playtime. In fact, I think Noelle would be a fantastic competitor in agility or flyball! And she’d be great fun to train…if she were the only dog in the house.

I really hope that perfect home for Noelle comes along soon. She is truly deserving of the happiness a loving family can give her!

And as for fostering, it’s out of the question for now, while we try to get Hogan back to his old self (he’s more reactive now than he was pre-Noelle), but we hope that down the road, we can give a less dominant homeless dog that initial sense of security and love that every dog deserves.

Hogan’s Last Agility Class before His Big Day

On Sunday, Hogan attended his last agility class before his first trials, and he did great in class. But, boy, am I ever nervous about the trials! Our trainer, Liz, asked what my goal for the trials is: I just want Hogan not to pee in the ring! That will be success. Of course, I’d really love him to finish the course without missing an obstacle (he’s not typically fast, so I don’t expect speed), but I’d be happy with no peeing.

Last week, Hogan got his Agility Association of Canada ID card in the mail, and he will get his official measurement on February 24, at the trials. I hope his jump height will be 10 inches so that he can participate in the “regular” category rather than the “specials,” but regardless, he will be jumping 10 inches.

Of course, I’ll post his results after his competition, but in the meantime, here’s a short video of how he’s doing in class:

Wordless Wednesday…Just for the Heck of It!

0010220492013 Jan 17_3 in window (2)

Hogan’s Adorable Mix Revealed!

When I told people about Dusty’s DNA test results, many had the same reaction we did: “That can’t be right! Do those DNA tests really work?”

But where'd he get those ears?!

But where’d he get those ears?!

Nevertheless, we bought another test—this one for Hogan and from a different lab, a lab that tested for the breeds of terrier we thought Hogan might be…none of which he is.

Whereas the DNA My Dog test told us what percentage of each breed exists in Dusty and Cora (for example, Cora is at least 81% beagle), the Wisdom Panel test told us about Hogan’s ancestry. And like something out of a Jane Austen love story, it appears Hogan’s parents came from very different social classes. One parent was a purebred going back three generations; the other was a mutt born of mutts. One great-grandparent on the mutt side, though, was a purebred.

So, Hogan, it turns out, is 50% miniature Schnauzer (on the “pure side”), and has evidence of the following six breeds on the other side: Pekingese (with a purebred great-grandparent), petit basset Griffon Vendéen, French bulldog, standard poodle, border terrier, and Japanese chin. Surprisingly (considering his coat), border terrier makes up only 5.48% of Hogan’s mutt side.

Once we got the results and looked at Hogie with that knowledge in hand, we suddenly saw Schnauzer in his eyes and eyebrows. His fur length and wiriness could come from the petit basset Griffon Vendéen, and his colouring, most certainly, from the border terrier. I really don’t see any of the snub-nosed Pekingese, Frenchie, or Japanese chin breeds in him; however, Pekingese are known to be intimidated by other dogs and to engage in defensive barking, and those are definitely Hogan traits.

DSCF5167I’ve always wondered where Hogan got his curly tail from, and it turns out pretty much all of his breeds have tails that curl to differing degrees when not cropped. His super-cute, mismatched ears, though, don’t make any sense. They don’t fold over like a mini Schnauzer’s uncropped ears do, yet they’re not freakishly large like the Frenchie’s pointed ears (no offence intended to any French bulldogs reading this). All of Hogan’s other breeds have floppy ears. Hm.

So there we have it. Hogan’s breeds demystified…or so we will assume.

As for the contest, several people guessed border terrier (the giveaway), but no one got two of Hogan’s mutt-side breeds. However, one person did guess Hogan’s purebred mini Schnauzer side correctly—Julie, the wonderful woman who took Hogan in and fostered him for Rat Terrier Rescue Canada when he arrived in Canada from Mexico (via the Humane Society of Cozumel Island). Congratulations, Julie!  Thanks to everyone who took a shot at guessing Hogan’s breeds!

hogan's dna

Graphic by Adrienn Tordai (thanks, Adrienn!).