Gone Sniffin’

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Aspen began competing in agility trials shortly after Malibu. Aspen, my fearless Min Pin, who shows no hesitation on any obstacles and flies over jumps with ease, had potential to do very well in this sport.  Aspen was not stressed at trials like Malibu, but she was very distracted. I soon learned that all she wanted to do was explore the course rather than run it as we were there to do.


As in class, Aspen seemed to prefer to go off and sniff. So now I had two dogs who would rather be off doing other things.  I didn’t want to force either of them to compete if they weren’t happy while doing it.  They both enjoyed “playing” agility and running courses in the backyard. Maybe that was enough for them, but I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel after only a few months. I decided to give them time to acclimate and hopefully adapt to the trial environment. (Malibu’s initial agility experiences are detailed in Going for the Q).  


It got to a point in which I realized that although Aspen was better at agility than Malibu, she had less interest. Finally, I just stopped entering Aspen in trials. All she wanted to do was go and explore these novel environments. This was not avoidance or displacement behavior. Aspen just seemed to prefer investigating the area rather than run the obstacles.


It was difficult to end Aspen’s agility “career” before it even got started because she truly showed potential to go very far in this sport. Could I have tried a bit longer, found a new instructor, researched different strategies?  Perhaps, but agility isn’t the only game in town.  At our last trial a friend observed Aspen opting to sniff around the course and commented that we should look into nosework. I had heard of this dog sport before, but did not really know much about it.  Within a week we were attending our first nosework class and Aspen never competed in agility again.


Easter 2020

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And fun was had by all at our annual Min Pin Easter egg hunt.




Merry Christmas

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Naughty or Nice?

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A couple of weeks ago I took the kids to visit Santa Claus at our local PetValu store. Two of them thought that sitting on Santa’s lap was highly overrated.











Happy 12th Birthday!

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CEE65BF7-692B-4B4E-BCFD-80BC2B83C249Happy 12th Birthday to Quest, Aspen & Malibu!  I hope you enjoy your pupcakes and presents!


Happy Thanksgiving

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I am feeling especially grateful this year.  #tripleblessed

Halloween 2019

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Batman Day

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Quest – “Why are we wearing costumes when it is not Halloween?”

Malibu – “Mom already told us why. Weren’t you listening?”

Quest – “No, I was tuning her out because she talks too much! 🙉

Malibu – “Why is Aspen sticking her tongue out at Mom?”

Quest – “Aspen is mad because she never gets to be Batman. She always has to be Robin.” “Oh, btw, I was just kidding about not listening to Mom. She said we are wearing these costumes in honor of Batman Day.”

Happy Batman Day!





Going for the Q

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Once Team Malibu had finally earned its first qualifying AKC agility run in JWW (jumps with weaves) I was feeling more confident than I had in a long time. “We can do this”, I began thinking. And we did, but only in JWW. The Standard courses were stressful for Malibu and I began to feel like I was forcing her to do something that she didn’t want to do. While at trials Malibu definitely enjoyed her one on one time with me, but she lacked the joy that I hoped she would experience during her time on the course.

The AKC environment was tough on both of us. Tension runs high in the AKC world of agility and it permeates the atmosphere. Many competitors take the sport of dog agility very seriously and sadly I witnessed dogs being verbally abused if they didn’t perform well in the ring.  I too wanted to do well, but I certainly wasn’t going to berate my dog if we didn’t earn a Q (qualifying run). Sure, my goal was to qualify in our events otherwise I wouldn’t be there. Most AKC agility competitors dream of earning a MACH (Master Agility Champion) title and I was no different, but I soon learned that not all dogs can withstand the pressure of performing in such a stressful environment.

Malibu loved agility in our backyard, so it was sad for me to see a different side of her while running a course at trials. Not a social dog to begin with, I was not very surprised that Malibu was no fan of the trial environment. I thought that over time her desire to play would supersede her fear and anxiety.

We continued to compete in AKC agility and I was incredibly proud of Malibu when we earned our first AKC title, NAJ (Novice Agility Jumpers).               Malibu's first agility title2

We went on to earn our OAJ (Open Agility Jumpers) title.

We were then competing at the Excellent level in JWW, but still had not earned a Q in Novice Standard.  Despite having no issues at home or in our classes, the contact obstacles and chute (which is no longer used by most agility venues) were scary for Malibu at trials. In hindsight, I wish I had stopped entering Standard events since Malibu had made it quite clear that she did not enjoy running those courses.

At some point, I began entering less trials and even stopped going to agility classes with Malibu. I was frustrated and disappointed, but also experiencing guilt for expecting too much from my sensitive Malibu. We just could not get past this roadblock standing in our way. She could not get through a Standard course at a trial and despite our qualifying runs, did not seem too keen on even running the JWW courses. I didn’t want to quit, but I recognized that Malibu was never going to be comfortable in the AKC trial environment and began to accept that reality.

By now, we were mostly competing in AKC agility. CPE (Canine Performance Events) is another agility organization and our very first trial experience. Although we did not leave that trial with a ribbon, the venue proved to be more to Malibu’s liking. The vibe at CPE trials is much friendlier and Malibu usually performed well. It was almost like competing with a different dog when I ran Malibu at these events. Unfortunately, CPE trials were seldom within a reasonable driving distance for my anxious canine passenger. Ninety minutes was usually the maximum amount of time I would drive to a trial due to Malibu’s nervousness while riding in the car.

Malibu CPE titles

Malibu, the CPE Rockstar

I don’t recall how I learned about TDAA (Teacup Dogs Agility Association), but I was interested in learning more and seeing if it would be a better fit for Team Malibu. There was an upcoming trial and I planned to attend. Maybe this venue would allow Malibu to finally enjoy agility away from home and show off her talent. If not, then it was time to walk away from a sport that I had grown to love for a dog who I loved more.


Patriotic Pups

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Happy Mindependence Day 2019!


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