Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Southern Adventures - so much to tell

Well, we've had quite an exciting trip and too busy to blog plus no available computer to use.  When we return home, we will have lots of fun videos and pictures to post.

Our big news is that today, Savi won a 5-point major from the Bred-by-exhibitor class at the Greater Charleston Club Supported Entry at the Spartenburg KC show!  She then went on to win Best of Winners.  I am still on cloud nine and celebrating this awesome win.  It was wonderful to have a few of my puppy people and friends there to offer their support and congratulations.

Savi's show week began Thursday and we are proud of how well she showed in the Weimaraner Club of America Southern Futurity and went 2nd in the large intermediate futurity class.  Jam showed well in the Best of Breed class and made the cut in the specialty.

Our other Grayhart girls, Sky and Mia, were both in Open class, looking great.  Sky earned a 2nd and two 4th places and Mia went 2nd at today's show.

Sunday is the last day of shows at Greenville, SC and we look forward to taking the dogs for hike in the Smokey Mountains on Monday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Grayhart Girls Southern Adventure -Part 2 - Agility Star Jam!

Jam with her new title & 3rd place ribbons for earning her OAJ title! 
We arrived in Sanford, NC on Friday, after an eight hour drive from PA, to compete in the Tarheel Weimaraner Club Agility trial.  It was a relief to finally check into the hotel and get a chance to relax and let the dogs loose in the room.  Debbie, Sky's owner, arrived and we went out for a fabulous dinner at the Steele Pig, which I would highly recommend.  A more upscale BBQ restaurant with a talented chef who brings wonderful flavors to traditional barbecue. Debbie had to leave Sky at home due to her coming into season as bitches in season are not allowed at agility trials. My girls made her feel right at home and Savi even slept with her.

We rose early Saturday morning to head over to Bon Clyde Learning Center, the venue for the agility trial.  Thankfully, the facility is indoors and air conditioned, as we were having a heat wave with temps in around 100 degrees.  We set up the crates and settled the dogs and off I went to walk the Excellent Standard course.  The one ring trial was set in a large arena with a dirt floor and metal building. The Tarheel Club did a terrific job with their hospitality and it was a very well run trial.  Plus, I met a number of lovely Weim folks and saw old friends. Jessica, Mia's owner arrived late morning, and not only helped the club but taped my runs.  Those will be uploaded when I return home.  My girls were the only Weims at the trial.  Trixie had a good run but missed qualifying due to a handle error.  Jam was a bit wild, as the dirt floor made a fast course, and she's never run in this type of environment, but everyone was entertained by her fun run, especially when she had to greet the crowd.  A thunderstorm rolled in just before our Open Jumpers runs and the pounding rain on the metal roof upset Trixie and Jam and I pulled both of them off the course when they showed signs of stress.  Better to throw away the run or know when to excuse yourself from the ring in order to protect your dog from a negative experience.

Sunday was a new day and Jam was up first in our runs.  Boy did she make me proud when she qualified in Open Jumpers with Weaves to earn her OAJ title! She even placed 3rd in the class.  The club had special Armadillo retrieving toy prizes for all Weims who qualified and even a High Combined award for the highest scoring Weim to double qualify. I picked the quail toy shown in the photo. Trixie again had a decent run but we had a bauble so no Q.
Jam and me, with Judge David Blakely, with all her trophies and ribbons for High Combined
The pressure was on for us to qualify in Excellent Standard and win the High Combined award.  Again, Jam ran with speed and control to qualify for her 1st Excellent Standard leg and even got a 3rd place!  Trixie was up at the end of the lineup and my worst fears came true, a thunderstorm rolled in right before her run. She was stressed and after the 4th obstacke, she was not a happy camper from the thunder and rain noise, so I thanked the judge and excused her from the course.  My first priority is her safety and well being.

With Jam double qualifying, she was awarded the High Combined award!   A wonderful honor and she was given the giant duck!

Jam is now CH Grayhart's Purple Haze, CD,JH,OA,OAJ,NSD,CGC,VX
Getting ready for our win photo with the judge.  The a-frame makes a nice background.

The adventures continue as we followed Jessica home to Wilmington.  We have plans to take the dogs swimming and retrieving, to obedience classes and tour downtown Wilmington.

The Grayhart Girls Great Southern Adventure - Part 1

Last Thursday, we loaded up the minivan for the beginning of our almost two week adventure down South to visit friends, Grayhart pups, compete in agility trials and dog shows.  Our first stop was an overnight in PA to visit Trixie's breeders, Michael and Amy of GraytSky Weimaraners. They live on a beaucolic property with 12 acres of pasture and forest.  Heavenly for people and dogs to run and relax.
The highlight was playing with their litter of 6 1/2 week old Maestro x Mia pups.  Adorable and active, who can't resist these babies!
 I love pups this age, friendly, playful and full of curiousity.  Wonderful temperaments and lovely conformation, many of these pups will be going to show and performance homes.
Already mastering the agility equipment!
One of the most interesting things is how dogs remember their breeders and have a special connection to them.  Trixie is no exception.  Although she has seen Amy and Michael over the years on and off, whenever she sees them, they get a greeting like no other, hysterical kissing and an outpouring of love from Trixie. 
 Michael has a special touch with the dogs and they all love girls are no exception...
Savi, Jam and Trixie vying for a treat and attention...
Savi even had some stacking practice and training to get ready for her big Futurity show weekend in Greenville, South Carolina on the 28th.  We're thrilled with how she's maturing.

We left PA for the long drive down to Sanford, North Carolina for the Tarheel Weimaraner Club Agility trials...more news to follow...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jam the New Face of Certifect by Frontline

The first thing I saw in the St. Louis Airport baggage area - my girl Jam...what a stunner!
Jam's picture on the new Certifect packaging!
What a surprise to be greeted at the St. Louis Airport by this gorgeous, giant advertisement featuring Jam!  We did the photoshoot for this new product last September and were excited to see that indeed, Jam is the star of their ad campaign and used on the packaging.  We are here in St. Louis for the AVMA Convention (American Veterinary Medical Association), to work in the Frontline/Certifect booth.  Jam and Trixie flew with me and they arrived safe and sound, taking all the travel in stride.  They even got frequent flyer points!
It should be a busy and fun three days with the girls working the booth, getting their photos taken with attendees and walking around the exhibition hall promoting the product. 
There were even mobile billboards driving around the city promoting Certifect with Jam's picture!
An extra special part of this trip is that Laura, Marshall's owner, drove in from Kansas with Marshall and Dylan to spend time with us.  Marshall, Jam's littermate looks fabulous and both boys have the sweetest temperaments, covering me with kisses.  Laura and I toured St. Louis, going to the famous Arch, which is the "Gateway to the West" and took a relaxing riverboat tour. 

Pictures of all our adventures will get posted in the coming days...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Pool Party!

Savi loves pool parties and is a perfect guest!
 She made a new friend, Cannoli, who is a pug/shitzu mix...
 A game of tag...
 Time for a swim...
Savi is a little retrieving machine!
 Lounging in the shade...
A great way to spend the afternoon!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

WCA Futurity and what it means

The owners of the stud or dam of the WCA Best Dog/Bitch in Futurity/Maturity receive the coveted "Pewter Dog"   
 We are still over the moon with excitement about Bravo, GCH Grayhart Crescent's Bravo, winning the WCA Western Futurity.  This is our first Best in Futurity winner and is quite an honor.  We look forward to receiving our "pewter dog" statue, which will be shipped to us as we were not present to receive it in person at the show in California.  For those unfamiliar with what the WCA Futurity is, I've copied the description from the Weimaraner Club of America website.

Dual Show and Field Futurity Program

The Futurity Program is a breeder’s classic for Weimaraners, comparable to the Kentucky Derby for breeders of top running horses. In 1954, the Weimaraner Club of America inaugurated the Futurity Program. This program has proven to be one of the most important ever undertaken by the Weimaraner fraternity. No other program has done, or can do, as much to advance the cause of the breed both on the Bench and in the Field.

The purpose of the program is to insure the future excellence of the Weimaraner. Much time and effort has been expended in the past toward the development of the breed as we know it today. The Futurity Program is the means for the continuation of this development and improvement.

The Futurity is also a challenge, or a gamble on the future. The breeder has picked a certain Bitch to be bred to a certain Stud. It is his opinion that this breeding will produce offspring of the desired conformation and ability that will win in competition over the offspring of other breedings that are enrolled in the Futurity Program. To back up his faith in his judgment, he pays moneys into a fund that will be divided among the winners of the Futurity. These moneys are correctly termed “Forfeits” as the breeder agrees to forfeit the money if his opinion of his breeding did not prove to be correct.

Proper conformation for a hunting dog is the basis for the Weimaraner Standard. This standard describes the perfect Weimaraner. While we cannot hope to achieve perfection, the standard sets a goal for the conscientious breeder to strive toward. The conscientious Weimaraner breeder chooses, as a potential brood bitch, a female that most nearly approaches the standard. She will, in many instances, be from proven stock, and hopefully, she has been proven herself, by competition on the bench and in the field. When the breeder feels sure that his chosen bitch is an outstanding example of the breed, he begins to look for a suitable stud dog that will complement his bitch. The stud will also usually be from proven stock, and has also been proven, and has a reputation for producing high quality offspring. The use of proven bitches and studs gives the breeder little better odds, but this should not preclude using quality bitches and studs that have not previously produced. Many fine young Weimaraners were produced in the past from just such breedings. Since the Weimaraner is a hunting dog, the natural instincts of nose, desire to hunt, boldness and independence, and trainability, should also be given equal consideration when planning a breeding for the Futurity.

Because of the date lines that govern the W.C.A. Show Futurity, there are three age groups at the final date of judging. Show Futurity pups vary in age from approximately 11 months old to a maximum of 27 months. These pups are judged in three different age groups. Prior to the judging, the judge is provided with a set of the rules, which define the method of judgment. This procedure is followed so that each Futurity Class winner has an equal chance to win Best Dog in Futurity or Best Bitch in Futurity.

The W.C.A. Sectional Field Futurities are held in conjunction with the various National Classics and Championship Field Trials. The datelines established forthe Field Futurities are such that the ages of the pups in contention range from approximately 10 months to 30 months old. Field Futurity puppies are judged according to the AKC Derby Dog Standard of Judgment.

The goal of all Futurity Breeders and owners is, of course, to record a win in the Futurity. The “Ultimate Goal” is to win both a Bench Futurity and a Field Futurity with the same dog. A breeder or owner can also take great pride in a placement in any of the Futurity Sectionals. It should be remembered that all of these pups are bred for excellence, and a placement in this type of competition is indeed a prestigious accomplishment.
There are also financial rewards for winning

Friday, July 8, 2011

Bravo Best Dog in Futurity!!!

Bravo at 7 1/2 weeks - already a star
 We are proud to announce that Bravo, GCH Grayhart Crescent's Bravo, handled by Keith Pautz, out of our Clay x Trixie litter, won the Intermediate Dog class at the WCA Western Futurity and then went on to win Best Dog in Futurity!!! The show was in Ventura, CA under Judge Virginia Lyne.
This is a wonderful honor for a breeder and we are thankful to Bravo's owners for giving him the opportunity to blossom and be shown to his potential.  We look forward to more great things from this handsome boy.

Huge congratulations to Bravo's owner's Jay and Ron & handler Keith!!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hot off the press!

New Avanti Greeting Card featuring Trixie and friend...inside reads: Still hot and heavy, Happy Anniversary!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Another 4th of July Party: Happy 11th Birthday Momma Stella!

Happy 11th Birthday to Stella, Trixie's mother, aka Ch GraytSky's Stella Luna, BROM.

Stella is the dam of 11 champions, including 3 Best in Show winners, multiple Fut/Mat, Specialty and Sporting Group winners, including the WAC National Specialty Winner and number 1 Weimaraner dog in Australia. Stella was the WCA Top Producing Dam of 2005 and her daughter Yankee, the Top Producing Dam of 2008.  Stella has also produced talented and versatile performance dogs.  She is also the dam of some of our lovely foundation bitches, including my Trixie. Stella is owned by our dear friends and mentors, Amy and Michael Anderson, GraytSky Weimaraners.
 You can see where Trixie gets her "Princess" gene from!  Let her eat cake!
The GraytSky clan, L to R Sabrina, Yankee, Baby Rosey, and Mama Indy (Sherman is on vacation at Kathy's house...) and Michael.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Macy's 4th of July Fireworks

The view of lower Manhattan from Hoboken, NJ
 We are fortunate to live near one of the greatest cities in the world - New York City.  The Macy's 4th of July Fireworks is a spectacular show and not to be missed. 
 The best way to travel on the holiday is public transportation.  A family adventure getting to and from the show with thousands of others with the same idea.
 Even the views from the train station were beautiful and the weather could not have been more perfect.
 We found the perfect spot, amidst hundreds of other excited folks, who traveled from near and far to celebrate Independence Day with the Macy's tradition of fireworks.
 The show lasted less than a half an hour, with fireworks being launched from six barges along the Hudson River.
 We had a lovely view of the Empire State Building dressed up in red, white and blue for the holiday.
 We couldn't listen to the music that accompanied the televised simulcast of the show, but no one cared, the sound of the fireworks exploding and then sizzling amongst the oohs and aahhs of the crowd was our soundtrack.

and where were the dogs???  Home safe where they belong on this loud holiday.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

2011 WCA Nationals Agility Trial - Day 3 - Trixie

Cueing Trixie for a front cross
These are the two purchased photos of Trixie from the 3rd and final day of agility during the 2011 Weimaraner Club of America Nationals Week and this was at the Weimaraner Club of America Agility Specialty Trial.  Trixie began the day with a gorgeous Exc Standard run...a perfect run until she knocked the bar on the last jump!  These shots are from her Open Jumpers with Weaves run, again another terrific run until she missed the weaves and when I called her back to do them again, which is allowed in Open, she backweaved...which isn't allowed.  That was due to a handler error where I should have carefully called her to me around the weaves, oh well, live and learn.  I am still so proud of how well she ran the entire three days, earning two 1st places and a 3rd place. 

One of the my goals in improving my handling has been to master front crosses and I am happy to say that I successfully included front crosses in many of our runs where appropriate.  Timing and knowing your dog are critical in doing these and we nailed them.
Executing the front cross, as you can see, I am turning into Trixie and showing her the path she should go on and she has turned her body in mid-air to follow through to the next obstacle.
Here is an excellent explanation of the Front Cross from the AgilityNerd blog. This blog is chock full of information on all things agility and includes pictures and videos to help understand the concepts.

Front Cross

03 Apr 2005
The Front Cross is a handling maneuver that, like all crosses, is used to allow the handler to change from one side of the dog to the other or to initiate/maintain a turn in the dog's path. The Front Cross has the following properties:
  • The handler must be ahead of dog
  • The handler remains even with or ahead of the dog afterwards
  • The handler needs to perform their movement and stay out of the dog's way
  • By engaging the dog's desire to chase the handler it can be motivating to the dog
  • The dog is visible to the handler through the cross
  • Can be used to tighten the dog's turn around a jump stanchion
  • When used close to the dog, it can strongly effect the dog's path (for better or worse)
  • When performed incorrectly and the handler doesn't get out of the dog's way a collision can occur
  • When performed slowly (aka late) and correctly it can be forgiving because the handler can hold their ground and wrap the dog back around their body and back onto the correct path