Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Name Game: Round 3

We've had lots of positive feedback on our "Name Game" posts--everyone is enjoying reading about how all of our four-legged family members got their names, so keep the stories coming and we'll post them! Here are a few more stories behind the names of Lindsay Schuler's Abby and Rascal, and Caroline Hunt's Magnus.

Rascal and Abby Schuler

Abby Schuler

Both my dogs are rescues and came with names which we did not change. Instead I will talk about their nicknames which are numerous. Abby's main nicknames are "Little Thing" and "A.Lo". Little Thing is for when she is being a brat which is often. A.Lo comes from Jennifer Lopez's nickname "J.Lo" because Abby has a big booty like J.Lo. 

Rascal Schuler

We call Rascal "Roo" and "Bunny". Roo is because we used to call him Rascally Roo and that just got shortened. Bunny is because he likes to jump on his hind legs like a bunny when he wants through a closed door.


Magnus Hunt

Bodacious Moon over Magnus
Magnus (Bodacious Moon over Magnus CDX GN GO RAE2 OA NAJ OF THD CGC) was named after a saint--an obviously ironic start to his career. The Catholic Encyclopedia warns, “The history of St. Magnus is shrouded in obscurity.” How true. The official St. Magnus died in Germany around the middle of the eighth century, though there are rumors of another Magnus a hundred years earlier. But wait – that’s not the relevant one. By long tradition, the patron saint of the Northern Isles (Orkney and Shetland) is Magnus Erlendsson, “the Martyr of Orkney,” who died at the beginning of the twelfth century. You can read about him here: or, if your early Germanic languages are in good shape, in the Orkneyinga Saga.

Why? Well, Magnus is the first dog we’ve ever bought and almost the first one with no previous name; also the first dog of known parentage, the first Shetland Sheepdog, the first small dog of any kind. Hence the evocation of a specific history.  Saint? I don’t think so – but in this picture, taken on his first birthday, he does look as though his father might have been an earl.

Stay tuned for more dog names. In the meantime, our next fun blog series will be "Handler Shaming." We've all seen the funny "Dog Shaming" pictures online. If you haven't, you can view some of those here. But when we mess up in agility, we know who's really to blame: Us, the handlers. So, send in your best handler-shaming photos and maybe others can learn from all of our mistakes!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Name Game: Round 2

Last week, we shared some great stories about how some of our LCDA pups got their names. We continue this week with another round of the stories behind our dogs' names. If you'd like to have your dog's story included, send us an email or message through the LCDA website.

Here we go with Round 2 of the Name Game!

Smoke's Prelude to the Dream and Deb
Smoke Bennett

Smoke's Prelude to the Dream came from my favorite Nascar driver Tony Stewart whose nickname is Smoke.  Prelude to the Dream is a charity race that Tony puts on each year donating a million dollars to different charities.  Even though Smoke is a "pound puppy" (Spartanburg Humane Society), he is such a special guy I thought he deserved an impressive name. He has also turned out to be very much like his namesake. Fast and funny with a heart of gold!!! 


Parker Rutledge

Puppy Parker
In May 2011, I went with my son and niece to Camden, SC to pick up my 7-week-old black lab puppy. On the way I told my copilots I was naming the pup Ned. They both said that was a horrible name! So I started thinking...the puppy's father's call name was Ruger--named after a hunting rifle brand. My son, brother, sister, and I had all killed out first deer at 8- to 10-years of age with a shotgun that was given to my Grandfather by his officers when he retired as Chief of Police of Charleston. My grandfather called the shotgun Annabelle. Well, I couldn't call my boy pup Annabelle--but it was a Parker brand shotgun. So I said "How about Parker?"  Puppy Parker came home with us.


Genie and Spring Evans
Genie In A Bottle
Genie In A Bottle, 'aka' Genie
Twelve years ago, an LCDA member, Elaine Maglaicane, went with me to Columbia to pick out one of the 2 puppies I had a choice of. I remember Elaine saying on our way there, "How ugly does this puppy have to be to not come home with you?"

Of course she was beautiful, as are all puppies. When we got there, the puppies were allowed to play together so we could see their temperament.

Genie looked like she was ready to 'Pop out of a Bottle', she was so cute and bubbly. Thus the name stuck: my 'Genie In A Bottle.'
That was 12 years ago, and while she is a Senior Citizen now, we still take part in Pet Therapy, she loves doing her tricks for children and adults, and also loves being a couch potato. We did agility until a few years ago, and achieved her AKC Title in Exc. Standard, and Exc. JWW, and Novice FAST. In USDAA she completed her Perf. 2 Standard, and Performance 2 Jumpers title.

Carolina Spring, 'aka' Spring

It took a long time to decide on a name. I then thought since she was a Carolina Girl now, and born in the spring (April 1) why shouldn't her name be Carolina Spring, aka  Spring

We show in conformation, and she is a great Therapy Dog; she loves everybody, and they all love her and her tricks. She is my Happy Girl
Carolina Spring
Of course most of you know that Spring is a North Westerner. She was born in Oregon.

I flew to Oregon a little over 4 years ago to pick up one of 2 puppies. I had been seeing pictures of them from birth until I went to get one, not knowing which one I was getting (the breeder was going to pick what she thought I should have.) A good friend helped me find these puppies, and spoke for me to be able to get one. She knew that I wanted to do Pet Therapy, and some performance work (agility, O.B., whatever). Of course, I have been too busy/lazy. 

Hopefully, we will get back into agility or other performance competition.

Madison Monster Wigglesworth
Madison Monster Wigglesworth-Nurminen
I knew I wanted a female dog, but once we got Madison, I could only think of boy dog names (I still really like the name Jackson!) I actually ended up deciding on her name while watching the movie Juno--there is a scene where the adoptive parents are asked what names they are considering and Madison is one of them. The other character actually makes fun of the name but I knew it was the one! I wrote it down in the movie theatre so I wouldn’t forget it. Her other 2 names (Monster and Wigglesworth) were added so that her AKC registration wouldn’t seem so serious and formal...her nickname is the "little monster" and boy does she like to wiggle! Because of her full name in the AKC's database, I get emails from them with subjects like "Purchase Pet Insurance for Madison Monster Wigglesworth Today!" That makes me laugh.
Panda Neer
Panda was rescued off the streets of Charlotte, NC and placed into Corgi rescue. Her foster mom named her Bonnie, but since one of my bosses up the chain is named Bonnie, that didn’t work for me. We changed her name to Bunny, since we thought it sounded similar and didn’t want to confuse her. Problem with Bunny was it sounded very similar to the name of one of our cats, Brownie, so when we called one, both might respond. We were thinking of yet another name for our little pup when she lay down into one of her now standard poses, with her legs straight in front and behind her and we thought that she looked like a bear skin rug. Hence, Panda was born!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Name Game, Round 1: The Stories Behind Our Best Friends' Names

We all have a story behind how we came up with our dogs' names. Sometimes they came with them, other times we picked them because they fit, and sometimes we have a theme. Here are the stories behind some of our LCDA dogs' names.
How did your dog get his or her name? Send your story and a photo to LCDA and we'll post it here!

Rusty and Sonny Vinciguerra


Rusty because he has brown hair with some orange highlights on his ears like the color of rust.
Sonny because we just thought it was a cute name for a cute puppy :)


Domino Tetanich

Domino came from an actual working cattle farm. The farmer had only let a few of his puppies be adopted over the years, so we were very lucky to have the opportunity to adopt one. The farmer is now deceased and someone else has bought the farm. Anyway, when we got the black little fur-ball at 9 weeks, we had no idea of the fun this guy would bring into our lives! The puppy was as round as he was tall, and would literally fall head over heels when he ran - like a tossed ball or a pair if dice.  We wanted a name to reflect his black and white coloring, but my daughter Amanda, didn't like the "bland" names we were tossing around, like Ace, Blackie, etc, and she came up with Domino. Seven and half years later, Domino, is still going strong and has yet to lay still and quiet, nothing like I've always imagined a game of dominos to be.



Jefferson Queen

Jefferson is named after Thomas Jefferson, one of my favorite presidents and writer of the Declaration of Independence.  (Plus, my cat is named Madison after James Madison, Father of the Constitution so I had to keep the theme going!)



Mojo Thomas

My Boykin Spaniel came with his name MOJO - I was going to change it but then I realized she had so much good MOJO that I decided to keep it! 


Cindy with Iris and thor

Iris and Thor Floyd

When I got Thor, I tried to think of a name that would go with my dog Iris's name. Iris is the rainbow goddess as well as being a flower. The day that we got her, we drove all the way home in the rain. I thought I could name her for a rain deity, but they were all male and I did not like any of them. When we got Thor, I could not think of a masculine sounding flower, so I started to think of the names of gods. I was stumped for a while. Then I mentioned that I was looking for the name of a god to continue the theme, and an agility friend, said, "you mean like Thor?" I said that is exactly what I mean. Shortly after that, his movie came out. 




Lupin and Muggle
Muggle and Lupin Hinkey-Drobnik

Matt and I are huge Harry Potter fans and we already had a cat named after one of the characters, Prof. Minerva McGonagal. When I saw the picture of Muggle (named that by Palmetto Paws Animal Rescue who'd saved him from a kill shelter in the upstate) I knew he was meant to be ours. When we started looking for a third pet after our older cat, Spooky, died, I'd already picked the names Neville Longbottom (for a boy) or Luna Lovegood (for a girl), but then we saw the picture of the little Aussie-terrier pup on Carolina Hearts Rescue's website. Matt said, "He looks like a little werewolf" and so we named him after Prof. Remus Lupin.












Monday, July 1, 2013

Helping Out Your Reactive Agility Partner

A couple of years ago, my life changed in some ways, so I really began to look into agility with my border collie, Domino. That is how I found Low Country Dog Agility club. I signed up for the Intro to Agility and loved it, but I also saw a new side to Domino. This new “attitude” of his was something I was totally unprepared for. I knew nothing about this type of reactive behavior. I didn’t understand how the stress of the class/competitive situation affected him and was left with few ideas as to how I should handle it. I received lots of comments, ideas, and suggestions, but the break through for me was the fact that I had to gain knowledge and change with my dog. This was something, I found hard to accept as my dog’s behavior in previous obedience classes or out and about town were very normal and passive.    

My first mistake was I kept putting Domino into situations that we as a team could not handle.    I had to identify the trigger point and determine what “set him off.” I kept a better watch and started to note what situations made Domino react. It is not easy to determine and even harder to avoid trigger points if you don’t know what they are. Domino’s barking and lunging was his reaction to some as-yet unknown trigger point. Some dogs react by nudging or biting/nipping the handler or just turning away. Domino's barking and lunging became a bad habit that, just like smoking or nail biting, turned into a hard-to-break behavior. Dogs often exhibit these to get their handler's attention. As a handler, it fails the dog to not respond to his trigger points and subsequent behavior, and find an effective way to deal with the stress and change the behavior.    

My first and probably best suggestion for addressing a negative reaction to a trigger: Step away, take a break, and stop exposing the dog to the situations he can’t deal with until you are able to identify the “trigger point.” Once the trigger is identified, then it has to be addressed. In our case, classes and being around such a variety of dogs and their different behaviors were Domino's triggers. 

Second suggestion: consult an expert who deals with reactive behaviors. These individuals are neutral observers and offer great advice and specific techniques for you and your dog to work out better responses to the trigger situation. I found there is a huge difference between individuals who are training obedience skills and individuals who are modifying behavior. Although, both are great in their respective fields, I have found the two approach dogs’ behavior with a little different insight as to the character of dogs.  

Finally, I have learned that mankind has created breeds of dogs that are very focused on their environment. Border Collies tend to fall into this category, along with most herding and working type breeds. But with that being said, any dog can be reactive and as an owner/handler we must address the situation with each dog individually and not make a generalization that any dog who exhibits an over the top behavior is labeled aggressive. Aggression is too broad of a term.  Likewise, not every dog should be labeled reactive. Look at your dog, define the situation where the behavior happened, and then work with the dog to avoid the situation again by addressing the behavior before the reaction turns into a bad habit. Also remember, like with any bad habit, even though the behavior may become repressed or not as prevalent, one must continue to work with your dog daily and continually to ensure the behavior doesn't reemerge.    

Many of you have probably read about the yellow ribbon idea regarding dogs: A yellow ribbon on a leash serves as an indicator that this dog needs some space. It could mean the dog is reactive, has health issues, is fearful, or in-training. I suggest this idea and hope everyone learns to respect dogs with yellow ribbons. Unfortunately, it is not something well known outside of the dog world, so help spread the word. 

Sue Tetanich and Domino

Friday, March 1, 2013

Don't Trust Twisp!

I was reading the LCDA blog a while back and the events of this week made me grab my camera and pose my naughty dog. Twisp was doing some counter surfing while I was out of the kitchen. He knocked the plate off of the counter, then scurried to his crate for protection when it came crashing down. Luckily the pieces were quite big and clean up was fairly easy. I'm pretty sure he has no regrets though. Here is a photo to share on the blog of his deviant behavior.

Janet and Christy
Badger and Twisp

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Old Dogs, Old Handlers

It’s hard to imagine that our Justice is now 10 years old, and older than me - at least in dog years.  It seems like only yesterday when I picked him up at age 8 weeks.  Justice and I began our agility training when he was 5 years old which, by most standards, was a rather late start for each of us, allowing relatively little time to accomplish our goals.  However, at times, I believe that Justice is just as competitive as I am.  I quickly learned that, by working diligently with the resources available at LCDA, the “Qs” started to come and the benchmarks we strove to achieve began to materialize.

In our early training, Justice may have even been a little embarrassed for me – especially the times when a visiting instructor announced that my success was due to the brilliance of my dog or when I was referred to as “diaper butt” because Justice always had me covered.  It was somewhat discouraging at times, but we both loved agility and we didn’t give up on each other.

We were 2 years into the sport when Karen Denton convinced me that I could learn a very important maneuver known as the “front cross,” notwithstanding my age and my having the grace of a linebacker.  If not for this type of encouragement, and the support and coaching we received from Mike, Wanda, Kathy, Kim and Ruth in our early years, we may not have continued running agility; and most assuredly, we would not have been as successful as we have been.

This blog is meant to convey the message to both newcomers and agility veterans that no matter your age, or that of your dog, there is no limit to what you and your best four-legged friend can accomplish as a team, if you choose your goals and work tirelessly toward those goals.  At LCDA, we are extremely fortunate to have a great field and equipment on which to train, a good library of instructional CDs which I would highly recommend, classes designed for all training levels, and a number of local trialing events each year where we can compete on local turf.

After Justice earned his ADCH, I promised him that he would no longer be required to do the dreaded weaves which were, at times, a little rough on his old bones.  I moved him down to Performance III, running him only in Gamblers, Jumpers and Snooker.  He may have thought I was planning to put him out to pasture, because he immediately stepped up his game and challenged me as well.  The 2012 USDAA Performance III (22”) standings are out.  Among all dogs in the Southeastern United States competing in this division, Justice finished first in Gamblers by sizeable lead, first in Jumpers by a sizeable lead, and first in Snooker by a sizeable lead.

Not bad for a 10-year old pup and his handler (also a pretty old dog).  While this may sound like quite a “brag,” my purpose in writing this blog is to publicly say to my pup, “Justice, well done!” and to say to LCDA, ‘Thanks for your training, support and encouragement!” and to anyone entering the sport, “If these 2 old dogs can do it, so can you!”

I’m not ready to be put out to pasture either – In addition to running Justice, I’m also working with my 2 girls: Circe (who earned her 2nd ACDH in 2012) and my 4-month old, up and coming agility dog, known as “The Cutter.”

Randy Hunter
Justice, Circe, and Cutter

Sunday, February 10, 2013

LCDA's History Part 5

Today should be called the adventures of trialing. For years we held two trials per year at Palmetto Islands County Park. It was a huge ordeal to put this show on. Someone would have to go out and mark off where the rings would sit in the open meadow. Then we would have to put up orange fencing. This all used to be done by club members until our backs all went bad and we starting hiring day labors to pound in the stakes. Then both of our trailers would have to be moved to the meadow. We would start on Friday morning setting up for a trial that was to take place on Saturday and Sunday. This was a huge event for the club. We ran two rings and hired two judges. It was not until the down turn in the economy that we gave up the two ring show at Palmetto Island. We had started to have smaller shows at our training field. This was approached with the idea that if we can put on a trial where our club members do not have to travel, and we can break even then we have saved all of those that participate a couple of hundred dollars each in travel fees. The first show we put on at the training field was a starters/advanced trial. We were able to make it work. So we gradually added more and more trials. We have also made changes to the training field to make setup for trials easier. We can now setup the same day of the show by arriving 30 minutes early. Some of our newer club members have not been to a trial at Palmetto Islands. At Palmetto Islands we had lots of spectators with all sorts of distractions. We have had petting zoos, soccer games, baseball games, food, and jump castles to distract the dogs and the handlers. In the attached pictures, you will see a child just outside the ring, along with pictures of our trial rings being built for the show.

Our Club Website

I know it may sound crazy, but without a doubt, our club moving to the Club Express platform has made a huge impact on our club. Prior to club express, we had the Elaine Magliacane and Elaine Hawes that very dutifully developed and maintained our club website. We appreciated all of their efforts, but it was a major pain for both of them to make changes to the website. They possessed knowledge and skill set that the rest of us do not have. As our club grew, we needed to be able to have numerous people be able to make changes to the website to post classes and events etc. When Kathy Price took office as President, Wanda asked her if she could look for a “package” designed for clubs. Surely there must be something. Wanda found club express. We did a free trial opening for board members only and we knew within 2 days that we wanted this website. When we unveiled the website to our club members, they were as excited as we were. Everyone was setting up profiles and adding pictures. We could check the calendar and sign up for classes. It was a wonderful thing. Christine took over as our webmaster and she “owned” the website. She is fantastic. The website truly is our first impression for most people and a major convenience for all of our club members. So, we do love our club express website. So, if you have not visited your profile lately, make sure to go out and update it for all of us to see.

Below are two pictures of our old teeters.  I think one reason that we seem to have more pictures of teeters, is because they have changed so much.  Kim Peyser and Lucy are in the picture.  They used to really drop  s l o w l y. Very  S l o w l y.

Getting lights at our training field was a complicated and very expensive process. We started out by syphoning off of the machine shop. Then we increased our wattage my adding two additional poles. We ran those off of a generator. The question should be—how many years of higher education does it take to be able to operate a generator? We had major trouble starting the generator and keeping it running. I can remember our landscape people coming out to start it for us during a trial. When light bulbs needed to be changed (which was quite often) we would all have to pray when someone climbed up the ladder that was propped against a pole that was split. The addition of our stadium lights changed our world. Not only did they make us able to see, it made our training field much safer and enabled us to be able to have the electricity needed to put on our trials. It is hard to remember what life was like prior to those lights. It was dark. The addition of the electrical outlets let Mary and Linda open up their famous soup bar that we have come to love at our trials. Cindy Floyd was very instrumental in helping us get the permitting that was needed to get the lights installed. Also Rick Mappus at Rick’s Lighting went out of his way to help us find someone that could install the special type of lights that we needed. We love our lights.  It would be so nice if we had water. We are looking towards the future.

When I began this journey to tell our twenty year story, I was very apprehensive. As all of you can tell, I am not a writer. We have an English professor and a professional writer in our club and I cringe at the thought of them reading my ramblings on a daily basis. With all that being said, I hope that everyone has learned something about our club. I tried to be as accurate as I could. There were so many people that contributed to our success and I hope that I have not hurt anyone’s feelings by not mentioning them.

I also want to thank Lori, Caroline and Courtney, for sharing their stories with you as well.

When I look back on how our club has managed to survive and thrive for 20 years, I think it all comes down to having a group of club members that are willing to put the club’s best interest ahead of any personal interest. These people love our club. The club is a made up of people and dogs and we are not ashamed to say that we love and care about all of them. We have been to weddings, funerals, graduations, birthday parties, and dinner and drinks. We have laughed and cried together. We have celebrated accomplishments and given hugs of support in those hard times. We are a family. A very weird dysfunctional type of family, but at the heart of all things we truly do love each other and we work things out.

I think that Mary Evans and Bill Farmer should be very proud of this club that they founded and continually supported for the last 20 years. They have created a club that will outlast all of us. So, when Mary Evans tells you not to tie your dog to the fence, remember...she can remember when there was no fence.

Wanda Usher
Splash, Shelly, and Sailor