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Archive for May, 2009

Or, Cooper gets his bird…052509_Coop's Co-op Coup

On this beautiful Memorial Day, we decided to take a drive up I-5 and along the Columbia River. We took the turn-off to Winlock, and drove a bit along some country roads. Crossing through town, we came across the Washington Egg & Poultry Co-operative Association building, with its 5′ rooster.

On the other side of the road, out of the picture, is an equally giant egg. Cooper has little interest in eggs, unless they’re already broken, cooked with butter, and put into his bowl. Although, now that I think of it, I haven’t tried throwing an egg… That might get his attention.

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I can’t decide if Cooper looks more like a zombie or a land shark. What do you think?

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In Cooper’s first real dock diving event (Northwest Challenge Xtreme Air Dogs Competition during the Multnomah County Fair), he jumped his best recorded distance: 14.6 feet. As I had predicted, the real limitation is still my throws. I really need to give the chase toy a bit more loft, make it go straighter, and a little farther out. I also have to absolutely insist that Cooper WAIT at the start of the dock until I tell him it’s okay to run. He gets so excited that he cheats, and I get so rattled that I let him. Bad handler!

Tammy and Steve came out to the fair with Russ and me. Tammy took Cooper on a couple of jumps, so I could watch a master at work. Meanwhile, Steve and Russ both took some great photos.

Athlete and coach conferring

Athlete and Coach Tammy conferring

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And my favorite photo of the day, taken by Steve:

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Cooper comes from a long tradition of hunting excellence. His mom, Nova (CH Realta’s Supernova CD RN MH), is titled as an AKC Master Hunter. She competed in last year’s Master Nationals. This is a competition in which all the retrievers are already Master Hunters and are competing for the top title. In that competition, there were mostly Labs and two Irish Water Spaniels: Nova and Nova’s sister, Nike (Ch Realta’s Just Do It, CDX, MH, TD, RA).

Today, Nike flawlessly passed the Sauvie Island Retriever Hunting Test. Because Nike is already a Master Hunter, the test she takes is the most difficult. The test consists of three scenarios over two days. For each scenario, the dog has to find and retrieve three ducks. Sometimes the dog can see where the duck is located, and sometimes the dog has to follow the handler’s directions to find the duck.

NIke bringing back her duck

Nike bringing back the first of three ducks

Passing this test adds one more leg to Nike’s test roster for this year. She needs to pass 5 out of 7 tests this year to qualify for the 2009 Master Nationals in Texas.

I should add, too, that Cooper’s brother, Tiki, earned his Senior Hunter title earlier this month.

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The X-Fidos Flyball Club gave a rousing demo of flyball at the Multnomah County Fair at Oaks Park. Eager dogs and orange team shirts really radiated energy in the bright sunny day. We alternated on the field with a local dog agility team, both of us giving demonstrations of the fun you can have with your dog. We even staged a race, dog team vs. kids’ team. Of course the kids won.

Kristine Gunter, dog photographer, writer, trainer, and fellow X-Fido, took this photo of Cooper and me. Cooper looks very attentive. I was patting my chest, inviting him to jump up on me. What dogs don’t like jumping up on their people?

(c) 2009 Kristine Gunter

(c) 2009 Kristine Gunter

In between heats, Cooper and I went down the Willamette River to cool off. As far as Cooper is concerned, everything always goes better with swimming. And even better, we found the Northwest Air Dogs dock diving pool. Guess I know where we’re going tomorrow!

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It was hot and sunny today, perfect for washing the deck. Of course Cooper wanted to help. Take a look:

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051709_hose houndpsd

051709_Hose hound 2

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Today, Cooper and I went out to the pond to practice dock diving with the Cascade Dock Dogs club. It was a very warm, sunny day — unseasonably so for the Portland area. I was sure that everyone would be out there, but happily, it wasn’t too crowded.

Cooper got lots of jumps and a lot of swimming. All morning, I don’t think I was ever more than 7th in line (although Cooper still does not understand the concept of “line” or “turns”), and for every turn we had 3 jumps. Then in the afternoon, we had an informal competition, and Cooper got 17.5′ — definitely an improvement. (Cooper does great — It’s me who needs to improve my throwing.)

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All the way home Cooper slept in the back seat of the car, and then late this afternoon, we both napped for an hour. Then it was time for our evening walk.

And here’s the thing. Cooper walked behind me, at the end of the leash, almost all the way. It was amazing. It was like walking our old dearly departed Cleo, who never saw any reason to go faster than a leisurely stroll.

So when the  trainers tell you that a tired dog is a good dog, they must also mean that a really tired dog is an excellent dog.

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