a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Chains

Monday, February 11, 2008


SUMMARY: Tire chain, key chain, food chain, DNA chain, chain of thought, hair chainge

Tire Chain

At Sunday's practice, they set up last weekend's Grand Prix run. There's a sequence where the dog blasts through a chute, has to go out to take the tire at an oblique angle, and then pull in to hit the weaves, probably while the handler is behind them and/or working at a distance to set up for the next sequence. In competition, Boost handled this well. Sunday, she did the chute and the tire and then missed the weave entry completely. So I sent her back to the tire--and she ran under it. I sent her again, again she went under it, and I said "No!" I mean, she hasn't missed a tire entry in I don't know how long, certainly never in competition.

I started making the entry easier and easier for her (but the side of the tire was always what I saw), and every time she flew under it, I said "no!" and brought her back. It was on the 5th try where I put her in a sit directly facing the tire that I realized that the heavy (heavy!) tire chain was dangling down completely through the center of the tire. Curses on whoever set the tire! And curses on me for not noticing that my dog was trying not to kill herself. I felt terrible! After a break and some other activities, I put her back through the tire in both directions and she did fine, so I didn't break her permanently. Dogs are so resilient; handlers can be so stupid.

Chain of thought

Cirque du Soleil's Kooza had a fabulous juggler. For me, breathtakingly talented. However, the first thing that caught my eye when he walked out on stage was his breathtakingly glittery silver lame suit. When he took off the silver lame jacket to reveal a silver lame shirt, I was hooked. But he distracted me with 20 minutes of some of the finest juggling I've ever seen, and some of it was the sheer duration without ever missing. Ever. At the end of the act, my first reaction was, "Wow! What a spectacular juggler!" and my second reaction was--and I'm sure, as agility addicts, yours would be the same--"Where can I get an outfit like that to do agility in"? You can watch the first half minute of this video to see the suit, and if you're inclined, watch the rest for the first half of his act.

Key Chain

Agility friend #2 commented this weekend, wow! That's quite a key chain! I realized then that my keychain has gone beyond being a mere utilitarian ring--after all, I have only 3 keys--and has become sort of the Swiss Army/Smithsonian/Andy Warhol of keychains.

Besides the keys (my house key is tie-dyed blue/purple, although it's worn away mostly), I have a sturdy blue metal Maglite flashlight, handy for finding stray doggie deposits after dark, a green LED extremely bright spotlight, handy for blinding yourself if you're holding the wrong end, my Weight Watchers Lifetime Member keychain, a circlet that used to have an "E" attached", the lock/beeper for my car, an I Heart My Dog tag in case anyone doubted it and needed proof, and a dragon caribiner, reflecting my dragon collection, of which I have many more than I have dogs, by a factor of probably 200.

So now you know.

DNA Chain

Quick: Which is Boost? Which is her mom, Tala? Is there a slight resemblance?

And here's a token Tika photo with her favorite Tika Toy, so she won't feel left out:

Food Chain

I keep trying to get photos of the foxes that live in the field behind me. They come up close to the fence to taunt me into frenziedly finding my telephoto lens, only to fade into the distance. They are so CUTE when they leap into the air and plunge nose-first into a gopher hole. Here is the best I've done so far:

Think it's a little blurry? That's because it's enlarged from this original, which is the nearest I've gotten with my 300mm lens for crying out loud!

Hair Chain[ge]

Well, had to make this fit into the "chain" theme SOMEhow. The instructions warn that, if you let the chia grow for too long, they become embedded and you'll have to remove their roots with a WIRE BRUSH. Heaven forfend. So it is time for Mr. Chia Head to say a fond farewell to his copious tresses. Today, we have reduced him to a mohawk. It's pretty pathetic; he needs a better stylist.


  1. That is one very cool silver suit. I was watching agility on tv last night and channel surfing at the commercials and found some tripped out show called Los 5 Magnificos. It was in Spanish so I wasn't entirely sure what was going on but it appeared to be a sort of competition between acrobatic circus type acts. Except it was like the tripped out X-games of circus acts and it seemed you had to have one young kid as part of your act. One little kid looked about 10-11 or so and he was doing some seriously scary looking stuff-big somersault flip things down a long trampoline floor then back flip somersaults on the back of a trotting horse. And of course a couple of guys in silver body suits doing a weird routine on wires suspending them off the ground. I tried to find some stuff on you tube but couldn't though I didn't search too long.

    I've also got pictures of a Chia pet with a mohawk from about 17 years ago, I just saw them somewhere, maybe I can find them.

    We have lots of foxes in our neighborhood. They trot right past my living room window but of course I never have my camera ready. I saw a wee baby a couple of times while running with the dogs and meant to go back to the spot with the camera but never quite made it. One of these days I'll do a tour of the neighborhood wildlife with my camera.

  2. This is really the middle of the suburbs and there isn't SUPPOSED to be any wildlife. When they develop those 300 acres into a park, we suspect that the foxes will vanish, most likely of their own accord. Probably followed a creek corridor down from the hills and liked it and stayed. It's a fenced area so no people, no dogs, plenty of gophers.


  3. Foxes do remarkably well in suburban areas, particularly if your neighbors leave their garbage out overnight like my braniac neighbors do. I'm in the city limits (though admittedly 2 blocks from the start of the mountains) and I see more foxes in people's yards than I do on the open space. They're fairly bold too. They're like coyotes, very curious of people and always looking for some way to take advantage of a situation.

  4. If that is the silver suit that you would wear for dog agility, I would say that would be really super cool. I am collecting good ideas for the fashion forward sheltie owning dog sportswear designer and I will add that one on to the list. Good job! The dog agility look book is building steam. I hope Tim Gunn is reading this!

  5. Oh, finally, a worthwhile cause to go to bat for!

    (Can't you see me striding up to the start line, peeling off the silver lame jacket and handing it to my assistant while my obedient dog waits in a sit-stay, and then glittering away across the field?)

  6. I found a video of the little kid jumping on the horse. Apparently this boy is like the Beatles in Mexico. Unfortunately they also show him falling off. If you think this is bad child exploitation you should see how some of the little girls in the other acts were dressed. The best though is the announcer's outfit. Now that would be something to run agility in. Mexican t.v. is the best.


  7. Wow. Who designs these outfits? At least now we know who encourages them by wearing these outfits.