July RAT Tales

Inside RAT Tales Part 2:

Largus Trial Wrap up


Dog Cookies from Karen Ricketts

A Dog Story!

Maybe even mud!!

Largus Trial June 25-27 Recap by Patti Cavin

Another L’Argus NADAC trial is in the books, another L’Argus trial where the weather decided to test us with temps in the 90s. Kari and I can’t thank our wonderful committee, our team, enough for all their support and hard work. Teddi and Cathy had the trailers in place Friday morning before 9am (and took care of so many details), Tim Evans worked his magic with the equipment and RAT members old and new arrived to make set up fast and efficient. The rings were set, tunnel bags filled, and equipment unloaded ready for course builds by 10:15. Susan Perry handled her portion of the course building as always with style, moving and staging equipment to aid our judge under supervision.

Beth Gideon, secretary extraordinaire, was ready for all the curves competitors could send her way, including day-of-show entries and question after question.

Anne Seethoff kept the committee and judges fed and the competitors well hydrated.

Doris and Sher planned and executed a wonderful tribute to our Double Digit Dogs with a parade and photo op. Watching these dogs, dogs I remember as puppies just starting their agility journey, made a warm place in my heart and many tearful smiles around the ring as they walked, ran, and acknowledged they were in a place they loved with their humans. Old dogs rock!!!!!

Our judge of record, Heather Cline, was a rock star. With the temps so hot for us from the PNW, Heather helped design a plan to run both rings using guest appearances by other NADAC judges to speed the trial along before the heat of the day. Pam Kaye, her supervisor, was there to support, guide and teach when needed. Again Pam and Heather made the changes look pretty darn good, and competitors went with the flow remembering what it was like to have a two ring trial and managing conflicts.

During all of this excitement Melinda King and Anne Seethoff made sure the volunteer boards were filled and people in their places to work each class. Melinda you seemed to be in many places at once and Anne you juggled hospitality and CRS with skill.

Many new titles were earned, NATCHs and V-NATCHs too. Congratulations to these great teams for a championship title;

Teddi Bottiger and Kwip

Mike Bellinghausen and Gracie

Karen Pelkey and Shasta

Also thank you for the new NQ ribbons to commemorate many runs that while ‘Not Quite’ a qualifying run still had many good things to remember.

Kathy Swan made beautiful poles to commemorate the NATCH team’s accomplishments and Debra Sweat made sure the ribbons were ready for each team.

A special thank you to the RAT Board for helping to resolve a couple facility related conflicts. It took a village to make this trial a success. As I said before, Kari and I send a great big thank you to members old and new for all the hard work, smiles and support for this trial.

Brag Board

Mike Bellinghausen and Gracie:

Gracie’s Natch 1 on June 26th. Gracie, Jazzy and Molly all got their 1 st Natch’s at the Summer RAT L’Argus trials. Gracie is 6 years old-earliest of all 3 of my dog’s to get her 1st Natch! She qualified in all4 of her Elite Chances runs last weekend-great distance skills.

Jazzy got her day Saturday trying to run a few obstacles in the DD Parade-almost 12 years old!

Maggie & Doris

Maggie had fun at the Puyallup Valley Dog Fanciers ScentWork Trial at the Puyallup Fairgounds 7/9 -7/10. It was a busy environment and she handled it like a champ, going 6 for 8 with 4 Advanced Containers Qs and 2 Novice Buried Qs. We had a little surprise in our check in packet on day 2 – a 3rd Place in Advanced Containers from day 1!

Kathy Swan & Missy

Missy earned her VNATCH 7 at SchaSam Agility Group on 07/10/22.

Laurie Sirotkin & Brady

Brady got his (AKC) Excellent Pref Standard title (Q, 1st) at the Puget Sound Labrador Retriever Association trial (6/25/22).

He is my first agility dog, and it’s been a long (sometimes very tough) road – I’m really proud of him . . . and grateful to our teachers, (current) Heather Kaluza O’Neill, (and past) Margaret Hughes, Mike Vorkapich, and Eric Sanford.

Barbara Eisenstein & Cassidy

Cassidy earned her NJA and NA at the L’Argus trial.

Dog Cookie Recipe from Karen Ricketts

The recipe was originally intended for use with pyramid pans, but I had a terrible time filling the tiny molds and getting the cookies out of the pan, so I switched to the bone and paw molds.  The only trick is that the bigger the size of the mold, the longer they take to bake!

Peanut Butter Dog Treats

3 bananas

3 eggs

1/3 cup Peanut Butter

½ cup tapioca flour

Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 min.  Depending on the size of the cookie molds used, baking time may be longer.  They should be springy to the touch.  If they are sticky coming out of the pan, put them back in the oven and bake for another 5 min or so.  If they turn dark brown, they will be okay.  They should really pop out of the molds when they are done.  If they stick, they need to cook a bit longer.

Do not use any type of oil or baking spray on silicone molds.  This will leave a residue that doesn’t come off easily.

Also, I don’t put my silicone pans in the dishwasher.  I tried it once and the next time I used them, everything stuck to them.  Warm soapy water in the sink seems to work best. 

Source for silicone molds:   Amazon.com: Dog Treat Molds – Paw and Bone Silicone Dog Treat Molds, Mini Sized, with Healthy Recipe Booklet, For Puppy Treats, Cookies, Chocolate, Candy and Dog Ice Cubes, Food Grade Silicone Trays : Pet Supplies

A Dog Story From the Life & Wild Times of

Bella Blue: For the Dogs Who Stay Home

Yesterday Goldi received an email from the lady who does the newsletter for RAT agility club. She wondered if Goldi had a story about the Raven’s Run pack that would be suitable for the next issue of RAT Tales. Goldi got tears in her eyes. “Raven could write just the story she needs,” Goldi said sadly. For sure! My sister, Raven, who went away into the Can’t Come Back a few months ago LOVED agility. She was really good at it and she won tons of ribbons for jumping over little fences and climbing ramps and running through tunnels and stuff. She could have written all day about the noble sport of agility and how special it is to work with your human. Bridget is still here and she loves agility, too, but she is having trouble with the fact that agility trials are attended by PEOPLE. Bridgie is really good at agility, but she’s not too good at people. They make her really nervous. When she heard that Goldi needed a dog to write an article about agility, she hid behind the rocking chair. Then we have my niece, Taisce — that’s pronounced tash-kuh. Tash is only 16 months old. She figures she can do ANYTHING. She herds sheep, she goes places with Goldi, she greets people, and she is learning agility. Tash doesn’t KNOW anything about agility, but she’s learning how to do it. Hmm. Not what we’re after. So, I can see that the agility article is entirely up to me. Today I will address an important and often neglected subject — THE DOGS WHO STAY HOME.

Yep, most agility packs have dogs that are too young or too old or not interested in agility. So they do not go along when the other dogs and the human go off to trials. I am in the last category. When I first came to the Raven’s Run pack in 2019, Goldi tried to teach me agility. Good grief. We ran around in the meadow and she would say, “Bella, jump!” That means, “One of Raven’s little plastic fences is right in your path! Quick, swerve or you will run right into it!” So, I dodged the dumb thing — and then she would be frustrated. ??? WHAT are we doing this for?! Sometimes we would run up to a tunnel and Goldi would say, “Bella, tunnel! Go through the tunnel!” Seriously?! My most outstanding trait is being adorable. Did she forget the grooming bills she has paid to maintain that? Those tunnels are GRUBBY. Sometimes there are spiders hanging around in the top of them or dirty water standing in the bottom of them. YUCK! I’m not getting all that stuff in my gorgeous furs! Mercifully, Goldi has given up on a Bella Blue agility career. My job is helping Boss watch action movies — but that’s another story. THIS is about what happens when Goldi packs up the car full of treats and equipment and she and the other dogs take off to an agility trial. Often that happens on a weekend when Boss is out of town and I am the only member of the pack left at home.

I know many of the dogs reading this cringed at the very thought. No! You must adjust that attitude! Being left home alone is not a problem. It’s an opportunity! For example, let’s take a look at those kitchen counters. In most homes, those counters are just full of good things. Can you reach them? You know what happens when the humans are home and you try — “NO! Do not jump at the counters! No!” There’s no hope, right? However, when you are the only one in the house, you have an ideal opportunity to perfect those counter jumping skills.

First off, measure the effort needed. Stand on your hindlegs, put your front paws against the cupboard, and see how high you can reach. I am about a standard Sheltie size. So, the counter is far above me. What I have learned from watching action movies with my Boss is that you can’t let that discourage you. When you face a problem like this, be like Tom Cruise — just JUMP at it! Do not think about what will happen when you hit the cupboard (with those pesky metal handles) or crash back to the floor after a mighty leap. Think about the PRIZE — half thawed meat, loaves of bread, leftovers! I have found that sometimes it takes three or four jumps to finally reach the very edge of a wrapper or a plate. Then it takes a few more jumps to draw that item close enough to the edge to pull it down to the floor. By the way — if the item is heavy or sitting on a plate, be ready to quickly jump out of the way so it will not hit you. Personally, I enjoy the satisfying CRASH of a shattering plate, but maybe that’s just me.

As you can see, I have been doing this for a long time. So, Goldi tries to outsmart me by pulling out the bread board. The bread board is a big piece of wood hidden in the edge of the kitchen counter. When it is pulled out, you can sit right there, next to the counter, and look up and all you see above your head is wood. Some dogs may be discouraged by this. To those dogs I would say, “You need to watch more Indiana Jones!” In Harrison Ford’s movies, he often gets into a situation with no way out. Then he looks for the secret opening switch — and ZINGO! By applying this technique, I found that all I have to do is get out from under that stupid board, stand on my hindlegs, put my front paws against the board, and ZINGO! it slides right back into the counter. (I LOVE Harrison Ford.)

Some dogs (though I can’t imagine who) might not be interested in this sort of activity. Perhaps you are just too nervous about having your human and pack mates absent? To you I would say, “Try barking.” I have always found barking to be a tremendously satisfying way to pass the time. Here at Raven’s Run, the living room window is just at Sheltie height. I can sit there and watch for trouble. For example, maybe the neighbor kids will try to ride by our house on their bicycles or the guy across the street who is always fixing his car will bang pieces of metal together. Don’t just sit there and let that stuff go on — BARK! Just bark those troublemakers out good! You can just feel the stress and anxiety float away as you roar threats at those offensive neighbors. Sometimes the miserable Jack Cat from across the street saunters over to our fence. He reaches one paw through the fence and waves at me. Can you believe it?! I have a special bark for that bad cat. I ROAR at him while I jump up and pound on the window with my paws. It is about the fiercest thing a dog can do. Jack isn’t too impressed, but he’s a cat. What can I say? One quick caution — before using this technique, it is important to note the position of the Levalor blinds. If they are not pulled up high enough, your front paws will become entangled in the strings and slats and stuff. Before you know it, there is cracking and crashing and things are falling on you. Then, when your human comes home, there is screaming about, “What happened to these blinds?! Who DID this?!” I don’t worry about it. I just tell Goldi, “It was that rotten Jack Cat.” However, it is safer to take note of the position of the blinds before you begin.

Agility trials last a LOOOONG time. Do not just sit around the house being sad — expand your horizons! This is a perfect time to check out all sorts of areas that you don’t have time for when your human is there. What’s in that closet? Are there any stray treats left in the pockets of your human’s coats? Did you know that, if you just tug on the bottom of most coats, they will fall right off the hanger? (You’re welcome.) Humans are famous for leaving good stuff in pockets and it’s SO much fun to hunt for it! What amazing things can be found at the bottom of that wastebasket full of paper? Well, the only way you are going to know is by taking all that paper out, right? Did you know that, in the bathroom, there is a roll of soft paper hanging on the wall? You might ask, “So what, Bella?” Ha! So, if you pull on the end of the paper, suddenly there is more and more and more paper. It’s magic! Try it the next time your pack goes to an agility trial.

All of this excitement can be exhausting. I generally end up taking a long nap before Goldi and the other dogs get home. When she arrives, she opens the backdoor and I quickly race out into the meadow to use the doggie bathroom. This gives the impression that I am a really good dog. It also removes me from the scene when she starts screaming about what I have done while she was gone. Don’t even try the old defense about, “A gang of intruders came and started tearing up the house and I ran them off”. Humans seldom believe that one. I find it is better to have an advocate. My advocate is Boss. I am actually Boss’s dog and he says I am unable to do anything bad. All I have to do is wait till Boss comes home and he tells Goldi that whatever I did is not that big a deal. It is VERY important for every dog to have a good advocate! My Boss helps me out by getting Goldi talking about what she and Bridget and Taisce did at the dog trial. She gets so intent on telling him about their adventures that she tends to forget that we now need to replace the Levalor blinds, take out something different for dinner, pick up the trash all over Boss’s office, etc.

Yes, agility is a big deal if you are an agility dog, but if you are not one of those, you must not feel inferior! Be an action hero dog like me! Those long waits for the rest of the pack to return can be exciting and fun. Just be creative! Oh! And don’t forget to do attentive sits and other adorable things while your human is putting away the agility stuff after the trial. Often there are bunches of yummy treats left over. She has to do SOMETHING with those — and feeding them to the wonderful stay at home dog is the perfect solution! I hope this is helpful to all the non-agility dogs out there. Life is good! Just keep your ears up and your head tilted and be adorable!


Sorry – Fawn got it all!!! Snooper didn’t get any!

Until Next Time – Hug your dogs, cats and family!!! RT Editor

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