Posted by: Adrienne | January 31, 2011


Emma and I are really turning into an actual team.   I am becoming much more clear and consistent in my handling.  And she is becoming much more confident and responsive therefore.  Due to some issues with the teeter (more on that later) we are not doing full runs on anything except Jumpers courses.  As the name implies, Jumpers courses are all jumps with an occasional tunnel.  Course times are fast and any mistake will cost you the run.  Jumpers is the ultimate test of handling skill.  There is no equipment to throw anything off.  You either showed your dog where to go or you didn’t.

It has always been my favorite class.  The runs are a high speed ballet, uninterrupted and flowing.  I’m proud to say that my little girl and I earned our first Elite title this weekend.  In Jumpers of course.  We went three for three so we have a leg towards our next title.

Sometimes I hear folks who train their dog to run a whole course without them, using only verbal directionals.  I used to wonder myself why this wasn’t how agility was done.    But I can honestly say, it’s not how I would do it now.  Oh sure, I’d love to learn some distance work.  But for me, the sheerest joy in running agility is the partnership and dance with my dog.

You can’t get that standing still!

Posted by: Adrienne | January 26, 2011

I bloggeth not

Oh me-o my-o. I haven’t done anything on this in quite some time!

I’m not going to bother trying to fill in the gaps.  While the intricacies of my life are certainly of interest to me, I fear they might be a snoring bore to some.

The car is running great.  Business is good, so darn good I have to hire at least one other person.  And yowza the headache figuring out how to do the paperwork and legalities for that is!   The seven-year fundraising for our new church premises is nearing completion (yay!)  And I continue to do agility with Emma.

And there’s been snow.  Lots and lots of snow.

That's a six foot fence.

What’s new with you?
Posted by: Adrienne | November 6, 2010

Still shopping…

Well to day I was hoping to be able to post a really cool shot of my NEW (to me at least) car!  Exciting!  But, as you can see from the title, this was not to be.  I believe I have spent over ten solid hours in the interwebz doing searches, refining searches, printing out canidates and in general, shopping.

The really, really exciting part is that I got the loan pre-aproved!  After some youthful indescretions with credit, some medical bills, and then falling behind in general, I had gotten my credit royally screwed up.  I’ve spent the last several years getting it cleaned up.  My ’93 Acura Integra, supposed to last me for two years, has been stretched to five.  And the last two have been a struggle to keep it running.  When it started overheating again I finally had it checked since I wasn’t able to get it to cool down even with fluids.  Yep, blown head gasket and ruptured trannie line.   That was the capper, the nail in the coffin for my little Integra.   I’m really going to miss having a sporty little car, but my vehicular needs are a bit different now.

Where was I?  Oh yes, credit!  Last year when the radiator blew up and I thought I would have to replace the car I went in search of some way to get a loan.  No dice, still had the negatives on my credit.  This time I knew I had the negatives off, but I haven’t had time to re-establish anything.  Sure enough, when I went to the bank I got “Insufficient credit”.  I was not amused.  Banking is no longer based on the person in front of you.  The fact that I have been with the bank for three years and had worked with the bankers that whole time getting my finances in better shape had absolutely zero bearing on their decision. 

Luckily someone suggested a local credit union.  I got an appointment, was told to bring all sorts of paperwork.  I almost didn’t go.  I was so scared of going over all my financials and still being rejected.  I didn’t think I could deal with it.  But I went anyways.  And found a bank that actually deals in people!  They looked at what I had, heard what I had been doing, heard my business plans and within thirty minutes I was approved for a car loan!  I almost cried. 

I barely slept last night, I was so excited.  It was the night before Christmas feeling!  Of course it didn’t help today that I was so bleary eyed.  And I struck out on every car I looked at. <sigh>  The rest of the day was hours more searching of the interwebz.  Hopefully my next canidates will pan out better.  We’ll know Monday!

Posted by: Adrienne | October 28, 2010


Every so often something makes me pause, and take stock of just how far my little dog and I have come.

Her first night home.

When Emma arrived home with me, she was an unconfident, freakishly reactive, unsocialized sweetheart.  She didn’t know how to walk on a leash.  She didn’t know how to come, sit, wait, be quiet, not kill another dog (or sound like she wanted to).  Our first foray into formal training was in classes designed for those who wished to compete in Obedience.  Heck, I just wanted a normal dog.

I started her in agility training to give her something to do, because it looked cooler than anything else I had ever seen and because this dog liked to run.  I had a vague idea that it would help with her confidence but it wasn’t my biggest motivation.  And in all honesty, I have no idea why the instructor didn’t chuck us out the door the first month.   My little nightmare loved to learn with me, but any other dog working by her either caused her to stress out and shut down — this translated to sniffing and more sniffing — or throw a fit, often zooming towards the other dog and barking her fool head off in a panic.

My two dogs growing up were a Miniature Poodle and later a Standard Poodle.  Both energetic but essentially laid-back dogs.  I never learned how to “train” them.  But I taught both of them basic life skills without thinking too much about it.

With Emma I had inherited a firecracker with a lit fuse.  And I was totally unprepared.  A terrier-Sheltie cross.  Complete with all the drives of each breed, and no groundwork at all had been done with her.  She was a year and a half when I got her.  Quite the combination of green handler with crazy dog.  But oh did I love her!  Still do…

She is now five or six.  She still has a few issues but is much closer to being a well-rounded dog than I ever dreamed in that first month I had her.  We compete in agility successfully.  My biggest worry nowadays is keeping her running well and happy at shows.  And making sure all my directions to her are clear.  So unlike the days when just having her run in a public place with other dogs around, and do it happily, was a huge, huge milestone, to heck with the obstacles!

It’s amazing to think how much I learned because of this dog.  Each challenge she threw at me prompted me to look further and further for answers.  And it led me into a whole ‘nother world.  Without having gotten Emma, I never would have learned so much about dogs.  I never would have questioned how I learn things and learned how to evaluate who I’m learning them from.  I never would have met the wonderful people of the dog community here in Minnesota.

My life would have been so much different, possibly so much more barren.  Certainly less interesting!  All because of this little dog.  My spaz, my sweetpea, my Emma.

Posted by: Adrienne | October 12, 2010



This was a sight that met us on a recent trip up to Duluth.  We were a bit startled I can tell you!

Posted by: Adrienne | October 8, 2010

Shadow Dog

Posted by: Adrienne | September 29, 2010

Fleece explosion

Yes, there are two dogs in there.

This is what my living room looked like for a while there.  In the flurry to make up leashes to sell at shows I was paying little attention to the niceties of orderly piles.  The girls didn’t seem to mind.  They were more than pleased at the extra bedding I provided.

It is now all sorted and in bins.  This was an event I called “The Taming of the Fleece”.  Now it all sits quiescent in the middle of my living room floor.

Tony has agreed to add a few walls to the basement.  I hope to have my workshop integrated with my office and dis-integrated from my living-dining room within a few weeks.

Posted by: Adrienne | September 14, 2010


I have a new favorite word.  “Scrummy”

As in, “Look at all those scrummy to-may-tos that Shreve grew!”  Or, “Raspberry tarts are scrummy!”

Definitely not a Midwest term.  Definitely going to be using it!

Posted by: Adrienne | September 6, 2010

Keeping busy…

Business is entering the “serious” start up phase now.  A couple of large orders, shows to go to, the website is purchased and awaits only many hours of back-lines admin work to make it functional for orders.

My free-time has been almost non-existant.  The poor pups see me a lot but I haven’t had enough time to work on teaching games with them.  All in all I would say it’s a good thing I didn’t end up with a pup from the litter.  I would have to choose between business and the puppy and either way would be a bad call.

In the long run this is going to be excellent.  In the short run, well, there’s a lot more work to do than hours in the day.

Posted by: Adrienne | August 22, 2010


Nice collar, yes?  This has been my ongoing obsession for the past few months now.  I have been making collars and cultivating contacts and in general getting a business started.  It hasn’t left me much “free time”.  And it’s only beginning.

There isn’t a web page up, yet.  Just the domain name staked out: 

I do have a facebook page if you want to see more fun collars:  (I know, I know — shameless advertising.)

Hopefully this takes off in earnest in time for the Christmas rush.  It beats the snot out of cleaning houses for a living.

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