2009 training goals

April 2009

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I got out my two ring gates and the utility jumps today. Nikita was spot on with the go-outs. She even did the directed jumping correctly after only one refusal to try.  She's seems to really remember this exercise too. While that stuff was out I got Kamikaze out to work some on it. First I just sat her out there and worked on directed jumping. She's happy to jump, it's just that I've never worked on the utility exercise before. She was catching on quick to jump towards the hand with treats. Then we did go-outs to a treat on the ring upright. We have practiced these before, and she was very good at them today. Her one lack of training on this utility exercise now is the sit after the go-out.  I haven't worked on distance sits at all. I let her eat the treat then I'd tell her to sit. She'd either walk in several steps and lie down or immediately lie down. I see we've worked on distance drops a lot. She did catch on pretty quick that I was looking for a sit though. I am still taking a large step towards her and giving a command AND a signal.

Xanadu practiced some off lead heeling at class tonight. She so needs to work on that 'fast' part. She'd rather keep trotting along and wait for you to slow back down. Her other biggest need in off lead heeling is the starting part. She has a tendency to let you take a step or two before she gets up to go with you. I have had this problem before and have worked it out fairly quick with a treat at the first step for awhile. 


I figured since I entered Nikita in Utility A at our show Memorial Day weekend it might be a good idea to practice some with her. So, while everyone else ate their dinner I took her out front. She so has not forgotten any of this stuff. We did all the exercises except the go-outs and jumps. Those will be on the agenda another day this week. She anticipated the down signal the first time. I went back and got her up in the stand again. She held on for my cues the second time. She made a tentative, but nice performance on the articles. She was funny the first couple of sends out. She found the correct one and would pick it up immediately and then second guess herself and put it down for another sniff around the articles. She did this several times on the first one and finally decided to stick to her first pick and brought it in. Second send she only second guessed herself a couple of times, then after bringing it in and being right she did it without the hesitation the last send. She did glove 1 and 2 perfectly the first try. Then on glove 3 she took 2 instead. It took another 2 tries to get three. Three is always her worst. Then on the moving stand she was a champ. It would almost be a shame now for her not to earn the title after all the work to nail down these tough exercises. Don't know how much longer she can get over the jumps at her age though.

While I was in the utility mode I got out the other set of articles for Kamikaze to see. It's been soooo long since I was working on articles with her I can't even remember when it was. I know we were up to 4 metal articles back then. So I started her with three. She ran right out and sniff, sniff, sniff, picked up the correct one and brought it in. Well, she's still remembering this game too. I added the fourth one and she was perfect a couple of more times. I put metal up and put out 4 leathers. We've never practiced leather, but if she can do metal I'd think this would be easy. WRONG. She didn't get it at all and brought back the first one she saw. So I see I'll have to go back and train leather like I did metal from square one. This seems kinda funny to me, but I guess my smell on leather is different from that on metal. And how many smells good stuck in leather I wonder?

On the same theme I did a couple of dumbbell sessions with Xanadu. She has no problem picking it up and carrying it around. It's the bringing it to mom that escapes her. I started with her on a leash so she can't run off or get too far distracted from the dumbbell. I held out the dumbbell in my hand and waited for her to attempt to take it. Then I'd reward. After a couple of times I made her hold it for a few seconds for the reward. She did great on this. Later I tried it with just the dumbbell on the ground and she had to lift it. Fine here too. She will even pick it up and trot towards me, but the slings it my general direction about two feet away and wants her cookie. HRMMM... Now how to teach her to bring it in and sit?


I came home to find the dogwalk had a narrow escape this weekend. The top of a tree that we've been mildly concerned about came crashing down! Only a small branched draped over the center of the dogwalk.

We had a good weekend in Beaumont, TX. I drove up Sat. morning since all my events were after lunch that day. My day should've started with Xandu in Advanced Rally. But, the rally judge took her 45 minute lunch break before our Rally class was to start. OH NO. Now she's starting the Rally class right on top of beagle conformation time. Oh dear. I am supposed to be the first Rally Advanced A dog in. There are only 4 Advanced dogs, so I'm not sure which is worse.. moving to t he end or going first. I take my chances on being first. As I am walking in the conformation ring I see they are walking Rally. During Winners Bitch I see the rally ring clear. OH NO. I finish in the conformation ring. Grab my Reserve ribbon, pick up Xanadu and run for the Rally ring. I race up as they are determining that I'm not coming. I tell them if they wait two more minutes I can get the obedience garb on the dog. The judge politely  moves me to the end of Advanced A. (thank you!) I have a couple of dogs to watch do the course while I read the map. Then a dog or so to warm up Xanadu. She did spectacular. Never sniffed, never go distracted. At one station (one step, two step, three step) she laid down on my halt. I knew it would be a minus 10 at the station, but I decided since she was doing so well off leash I would not try to go back. She would've scored in the mid nineties if I'd gone back. Still, she now has a 'fan club'. When we left the ring we were mobbed by competitors telling me how great, and cute, she was.

Then it was time for Kamikaze to have her conformation ring time. There was only one other bitch there. We got reserve to her. Kamikaze and I weren't meshing as a team, and the judge was grabbing her face to look at her teeth while I was still stacking her. Oh, well. She had a pretty nice Open A showing though. I am still not getting her best heeling in the ring. She is not watching as well as she does other times. Some fronts are crooked too. Then the dreaded stays. The steward come to get us after the three minute sit and said "everyone is still fine", then as we come in the building I see Kazee lying down. DANG IT! The judge tells me she laid down just as she signaled the steward to tell us to come back. Heartbreaker! She did the down stay fine. The positive point is she DID NOT creep. EVER. She laid in the spot she was left on the sit and stayed where she was left on the down. I hope the stay creepies are gone for good.

Sunday started around 9 for me with Xanadu in Advanced Rally. The judge was so behind after Excellent I was panicking about my 9:45 conformation ring time. The panic didn't help Xanadu's focus any in Rally. We redid a couple of signs for laying down on the halt (again?), but overall it was once again a most stellar performance. She got no points off for handler error or being out of position or slow to respond. Unfortunately she flunked a station again for a minus 10. She doesn't think she needs to move with me on the HALT side step right HALT sign. An area to practice I see. Still a decent Q for the little girl. Two legs down, one to go. I am very proud of her first off lead experience. We made conformation ring time with time to spare. She even took winners bitch and best of opposite sex for her first point. We'll have a picture coming in the mail soon.

Kamikaze started with Open today. Another good showing on the exercises. A bit sloppy on some fronts and some head dawdle on heeling. After the exercises the judge fussed at me a bit for not showing at the Sibe special in March (in Dallas). Then the stays. She nailed the sit today. So I felt pretty good. During the down stay the competitor talk told me I was the only possible Q left. Walking back in it looks like Kazee is where I left her. Sure enough a 191 for our first CDX leg!  There were a couple of hip rolls on the down stay, but NO creeping. The conformation ring was last. Kazee and I had the teamwork back, but still got beat.


Good news on the weaves. I have not permanently destroyed Xanadu's desire to weave. I put up 6 poles today (when it was cooler) and stood close to them with treats. (really good ones) I waited her out and the tummy got the best of her and she trotted to the weaves and did them. Slowly, but still, did them. I gave mucho praise and treats. Then I resumed my wait and see stance. She almost immediately turned back to them and did them again, much more confidently and faster. More praise and treats. One more time I stood. She raced at them and bounced through them all. Praise, treats, and then they went away. She's sure to be back to her old and wonderful approach to 12 weaves soon. Kamikaze and Lego got some more weave practice too. Jedi and I  worked just the 4 poles again. He had much less avoidance and much more willingness today. He's getting the entrance game.

I went out to obedience class tonight with Xanadu and Kamikaze. Since Xanadu is entered in Rally Advanced this weekend at the Beaumont, TX conformation shows I worked on her off leash heeling a bit. I even asked the teacher if she had any toys in her car. We haven't practiced the heel around toys exercise. Xanadu must have a toy in her mouth almost all the time in strange places. She LOVES them. Poor class, I'm sorry! I only intended to borrow them after class. She added it as an exercise in class for today. Xanadu tried on leash first. She though about going for the first toy and a voice correction was all it took. Then I took the leash off and she heeled like a champ around them. I feeling a bit better about our chances in Rally this weekend. There are four 13' beagle bitches entered for conformation, so don't know about chances there.

Kamikaze worked heeling, dropping (much improved) and retrieve on flat. I need to pull out the broad jump once before we go. She did great. Then while they were having Novice class she practiced out of sight stays. I left her with her toes touching a line (love parking lots for that). When I got back, toes still on the line for the sit and down. So no creeping happened. I do know there was some butt shifting back and forth on the down though. I'll take it for now. 


I wanted to get video of Xanadu doing her weaves so I could post it. So, I ended up breaking every hard and fast train the beagle rule I have. I asked her to work when it was pretty hot, and her tummy was full from dinner. AND I kept on harping on her to get her on video instead of walking away when it became obvious she wasn't 'into' training. Someone just smack me senseless will ya? Obviously there is no good video a frustrated puppy and handler. The only good thing to come out of the setup was Rich practicing weaves with Sparkle so they could get used to one another at that obstacle.

At least class tonight (the one I teach) went well. We got a couple of the more spooky dogs over the teeter at half height without any fear behaviors.

Pictures from the Amite, LA agility trial are in. You can see a jump picture of Xanadu on the agility page. (click on it to see it bigger) It won't be long until I have posted a portrait of Lego, Sparkle and Misty on their pages. Here's a great one of all the hounds too!


Jedi had another go at the weave re-training. I used four poles this time since two didn't seem to be much of a challenge. I still got some avoidance behaviors, but not as bad as yesterday. I waited him out a couple of times with the good pot roast treats in hand, and he did come back and do the two poles after wandering around some. Xanadu got a whirl at twelve competition poles again. My little girl 'gets' it. She hasn't mastered it, but she gets it. Still an occasional miss at pole three to four. She's even started bouncing the poles about half the time instead of walking them. Very encouraging. While the poles were out Kamikaze and Lego got a quick turn. Kamikaze spent the first several minutes missing entrances and popping out because of her over-enthusiasm and somewhat lack of concentration. (I made her do the poles before I fed) I convinced her she couldn't have dinner until she settled down and did the weaves correctly. After she settled she did great. Lego does OK, but his entrance training is still lacking.


Jedi started his weave re-training today. Just two poles. He is uninterested in them even when I have pot roast slices. That just shows you how poorly (and negatively based) his original training was. I did get him to go between them several times after a little 'help'. He got the idea that nothing evil would happen there at the poles. He's pretty good at knowing the entrance with two poles. He needs work when there are four. Then he has more of a tendency to skip the first two.

Since I had weave stuff out I got Xanadu out for some training too. I set up both sets of 6 competition poles in a straight line, but with a three foot gap between them. She 'got' it immediately. She'd do six and drive towards the next six and do them too. The late session this evening I put the poles all together. What a smart little girl she is. Having twelve poles instead of six didn't phase her understanding at all. I need to get the hubby to video soon. She's over 50% accurate. Strangely she still has issues occasionally missing  pole three to four.

Kamikaze and Lego also got a whirl at the weaves tonight. Kamikaze practice the weave pole gamble from this weekend. With me that far away she has a tendency to pop at pole 8 or after instead of driving on. I think she thinks she must be wrong since I never join her at the poles. We fixed that quick with the Tupperware bowl of pot roast at the end of the poles. She didn't need my approval to finish then. I was able to fade it out after a couple of times and she still drove all the way through. Lego was at least making efforts to enter the weaves with or without me. His entrances need a bit of work, but glad to see him going at them with determination and not waiting on me.

Best buddies!

Sometimes ya just gotta play in the mud!


The show finished up today with the games classes only (minus pairs). The gamble in Masters was so doable for Josie and she would've gotten it had I not unintentionally cued a back cross over the first jump instead of an extension to the far tunnel. She went out and turned away from the tunnel and did all the gamble jumps while I stood and stared at her. She KNEW what this game was. DARN! Jedi doesn't carry out in front of me well, and took the wrong tunnel entrance. Grand Prix didn't go so well. Jedi did great until the weaves and then just flat refused to do 12 poles. It was miss an entrance or only do 10. I got very frustrated at him. I think I will have to go back and teach weaves with the free-shaping and two poles. I was trying to avoid this. Snooker was a let down. I had a plan for Jedi that was going to work for him. After our argument in Grand Prix I wasn't speaking to him, and so he walked most of snooker. He needed to finish a tunnel and a jump to Q when the buzzer went. Josie had a great snooker run, but I pulled her out of pole 11 on the weaves getting anxious to get her over the finish jump. So, she couldn't Q because of me. Jedi ran jumpers with Lucy Long. after about 8 or 9 obstacles he left the ring to find me. Never expected that! Josie started jumpers walking, but picked it up nice for a squeaker of a Q (that she doesn't need).

Kamikaze had an OK Grand Prix run, but was trotting most of it and missed the weave entrance the first time. Her gambler run was great, and she should've Q'd AGAIN. I hate how I screw her in Gamblers so much. She took the tunnel and the next jump. I neglected the OUT for the next non-winged jump and she bypassed it. It was not exactly in her path, but close. We'd been OK if it had wings. I did get her stopped and turned back over it , but didn't make time. Snooker went OK too. There was a lot of tight turning and Kamikaze walked some of it in the tight part. The best part was in the closing we were sailing over a couple of jumps in a straight line to the weaves at a 90 degree turn. I didn't need the weaves to Q, so I determined to just say weave like I'd do at practice. She nailed the off side entrance and was one stepping them. I got a bit excited about it though and hollered "YES!" at about pole 4 and she popped for her treat. BAD mom. Her jumpers run was going well, but a bit slow. Then at a tunnel call off I thought I had her head and turned my back to pull her. She went in the tunnel anyway. Bad mom again.

Cheryl and Bern pulled out a Snooker Q today too!


Today was a weave pole gamble for all my guys. Josie actually went out and did them, she just hit pole two instead of one. No one else is quite ready for a weave gamble. Jedi may never be ready. Josie and Jedi got to run pairs again. Josie picked up an unneeded Q, Jedi just couldn't get that last needed one though. In Standard Jedi had a stellar run. Ten seconds under time. His only fault was hitting pole two at the weaves. BUMMER, but what an encouraging run. He even did a perfect table again. Josie had a disappointing standard run. She trotted the whole run and still managed to miss the dog walk and A frame contact.

Kamikaze had a very nice jumpers run for her second Q in Advanced. She also pulled out a Snooker Q. I am especially pleased with this one as I put her obedience to the test a bit. I left her behind a red jump and walked almost the length of the arena and turned to face her. "Kazee FRONT!" saw her take the red in her path and dash straight to sitting in front of me ignoring EVERY OBSTACLE to each side of her. What a good dog! As soon as her butt touched the ground it was "good front" and then off to finish snooker. She even had a nice standard run that should've been a Q, but she popped the weaves at pole 10. I didn't fix it either as she was starting to show a bit of stress at them.

Cheryl showed up today. Bernie pulled out a Standard Q! Grace runs are so nice now too. She is focusing more on obstacles and less on herding.

17th - Happy Birthday Kamikaze!

Kamikaze is TWO today. In honor of her birthday she took the Aframe (her favorite) four times in Standard today. At some point in that run I just had to laugh. She had a gorgeous jumpers run. Hit two bars though, and she's not a bar knocker. Pairs we had too many combined faults with our partner's 2 bars to Q. True to Kazee form she got the gamble, but not in the allotted time since we were so far from the gamble start at the horn.

Jedi had two just not listening at all runs and two OK ones. He onced again was hosed by his pairs partner. He only had one refusal at the weaves. He even got the Master gamble, but not in time. BUMMER!

Josie had a great standard run going. She's been doing nice Aframe contacts this weekend. Then she blew the dogwalk to blast over an off course jump. Very discouraging after such a nice run. She wasn't herself in pairs and hosed her partner. Then she did the Master Gamble that only two mini dogs got! That's one more leg down towards ADCH. Now just one more gamble and FIVE bloody standards.


Josie held up her end of the deal in TEAM this morning. She still had a few of the runs that she trotted at the beginning all slow and tentative. I'm not sure she ever got fast and happy in Standard, but in Gamblers and Snooker she did OK. Our team was actually in first or second all day, up until relay. One of our guys E'd the relay. We still ended up getting a TEAM Q, but not in the medals. That gives Josie her Tournament Master title! The good thing to come out of the E in relay was that since it dropped our team down from first, the average top three score dropped some allowing all the teams present to Q.

Josie and Jedi both ran three master classes this afternoon. Josie had an OK Gamble run, but missed the Aframe in the gamble (took the tunnel instead). She had a very nice Snooker run with the same issue at the Aframe tunnel discrimination. Then she trotted jumpers for a slow, but under time Q. Jedi was a twit for the three classes. Really bad at not listening in gamblers and snooker. Better in jumpers, but still took an off course.


Not much training going on. One quick weave session with Xanadu. She did very well again, but I can't claim 100% this time. I was testing those flat entrances more. She's funny. She gets the entrance and the second pole and misses the third one if she's gonna screw them up. Don't know why. Seems like once she's made the turn and gets through the second pole all should be well. Of course, if I remember, when we went to six poles missing the third was a common mistake.

I will start another session of beginner agility tonight. After this session I'm taking a break! Then we're headed to Gulfport early in the morning for four days of USDAA fun. Josie just got a last minute call to help out in the TEAM classes in the morning! If she gets a Q it'll be her Tournament Master title too. I'm taking the laptop and broadband card. If things go well and I'm not too tired AND I can get any cell service, maybe I'll update some while there.


We had a three day AKC agility show here in town this weekend. 

Kamikaze started out the weekend with her first whirl at Excellent Fast Friday. She was trotting and looking nervous. She did the SEND bonus, but had no where near enough speed to get the points required. It seems she remembered this arena. It's the same place we did USDAA in February. The show she refused to even look at the weaves. I made a big deal out of her avoidance. Seems the experience stuck. She did a bit better the Excellent Jumpers ring since it was on the other side of the arena from where USDAA had been. She was still very slow. Although she only had one refusal at the weaves, she was over time. Not like her at all. I took her to the practice jump that was gratefully located close to the spot the weaves had been back in February. With a donated can of Instinct canned food from Cheryl I set about making agility fun and worthwhile at this arena. Lego had a stellar

Excellent Jumpers run. If it weren't for the one stop at the beginning to sniff the cones he'd have Q'd.

Kamikaze started with Excellent Fast again. Since I wasn't sure what to expect confidence wise I decided to not leave her in a stay and to run with her instead. ROFL! Evidentially the work at the practice jump cured all her worries. She blasted off the start line like I usually expect her to. The run was wild and crazy and she did what she wanted, but I was glad to have my dog back. In Excellent Jumpers we made it to the last three jumps clean and I could almost see the AXJ at the end of her name. There was a 180 degree pull there at the end. I dropped my shoulder hard as she approached the jump. Unfortunately she wasn't committed to the jump yet and she did a beautiful 180 just in front of the jump. Blast it all! In Open Standard we'd made it all the way to the four obstacles with only one refusal at the weaves. There near the end I ended up having to step away from the spot I thought I'd be in to pull her hard to the Tire jump. Then I was stuck next to the double on the left side. Too bad after she took the double she needed to turn right. I was just in such a bad spot, I couldn't be there to let her know. I did get the right turn out of her, but couldn't get her to carry out far enough to the jump without me moving that way. Another title foiled by the handler! Lego was an horrible sniffer all day. He got hauled off every run.

Kamikaze had open Standard first. I wasn't feeling too good about the course after walking it. Way too many 180 turns. Well, here it goes anyway. She had WIDE turns, but was making them without taking anything else. At the table she didn't down shift fast enough (used to the 24" USDAA table, not the 16" AKC one) and she slid off. I mean she was in a down when she hit the table and her momentum just sent her sliding on her belly off the table. Her toes barely touched the ground and she back on the table in a down cutting her eyes at me like "You didn't see me fall off did ya?". It was too funny. That was her only fault with four obstacles to go. The weaves being one of them. We took a deep breath at the table and finished up clean for her

OA title! The Jumpers run was a bit of a disaster, but hey, one title a weekend is still pretty darn good.

Lego was really bad in Standard. He raced around playing the 'you can't touch me' game. He hasn't been that bad in some time. I was pretty hard on him walking in for Jumpers. Made him heel. Popped the leash for the slightest lack of attention. He was so focused on this run I screwed him up royally many times. Starting with jump two where I said "COME RIGHT HERE" and he did... before he even took the jump. I didn't fix that of course. He did what I said do and I praised him profusely for it. There were several instances of the same type of missed jumps. I was very proud of him after the real disaster earlier in the day. Good boy!

Cheryl and Bernie Q'd their first try out in Exc Fast! Then he pulled out his second OJP leg AND albeit for a bad handler oopsie he'd have pulled out his first EXC standard Q too! What a weekend for them. Grace was also pulling out all the stops. She had a couple of runs where she'd have Q'd if she'd have done all the weaves. Cheryl's still working on them and didn't want to make them a big issue at the show. She even took off from the start line aimed at jumps and driving at them instead of checking in with (or herding) Cheryl. She's so got this game now!

When I got home from the show I pulled out the six weave poles again for Xanadu. I set the timer for three minutes. She was 100% perfect on the weaves in her three minutes session. That included maybe 8 sends through the weaves. Two on side super flat entrances where she had to consciously make the hard turn to pull herself into position to weave the poles after the entrance! And a couple of off side sends starting even with pole two. What a great session. She seems to really get it now. The light bulb burns brightly now. Next I need to add the other set of 6 poles a double distance from set one and get her doing the second set after the first set.



The light bulb for the weaves seems to have increased exponentially overnight for Xanadu. This evening she was at least 50% on competition poles. I posted video on youtube of

onside and offside weaves for her breeder and other interested parties.


I did several weave pole training sessions with Xanadu and six poles. She is so close to actually 'getting' it. I can see the dim glow of the light bulb now. She does them correctly about 40% of the time. Then one time she'll look completely confused. I also laid a two turn track for her. She seemed to do better at the turns. I don't see her actually turning with the scent, but she's picking up the turn with a small amount of looking. 

I worked Sparkle, Kamikaze and Lego on the weaves a bit too in preparation for this weekend. Sparkle did great after the first attempt at ignoring them. She really does know how to weave well. Kamikaze and I worked on on-side entrances even with the entry. She's been hitting pole two in trials with this entry. She was nailing them here. You could see the bodily effort put into pulling herself into line to weave them too. I was extremely pleased with her. Lego had some nice weaves, and revealed to me that I never trained his entrances well. He hits the from straight on correctly every time. From on-side a fair amount of the time. From other places I can see him trying to weave, but the proper entrance isn't on his mind, or it never was trained well. 


It was very quiet in the neighborhood all day as the paving company closed the road that leads down to our road to pave it today. I laid a fairly short track for Xanadu in the empty lot across the street. It was about 50 steps then a left turn (with the wind helping blow scent at her) and about half as much more to the glove. I still am tracking her on a Flexi leash at only about eight to ten feet of line. She started tracking right off the bat. She's learning it's OK to throw her weight into the line if I am going too slow. I am very pleased with this since I can now put some backward pressure on her to make her commit to a way and she will instead of giving up. She seemed to do better today. The wind blowing the turn at her helped her figure out the turn. Even with some treats at the turn she still seems to get lost a lot when the scent 'disappears' out from under her nose. I am pleased with her body posture now too as it appears more confident and businesslike. She doesn't seem to throw her head up or look around much anymore like she's done some in the past.

Xanadu also got a small session on weaves again. We started with four poles at competition distance. It took a couple of times to remind her she'd learned this last time. Then we added two more out in front of the four at regulation plus half more distance. She did OK, but she's not ready for six competition yet. With the six poles she had a tendency to want to skip poles three and four and go to the end or skip the last ones all together. She's going to be doing six poles easily by the time she's entered in an AKC show though.


This afternoon after church we spent cleaning up the debris from the fallen trees. It actually went much faster than I expected with Rich on the chainsaw and me starting the fire and dragging limbs to it. It was maybe a 3 hour job. Then it was just up to the fire. That's the nice thing about living outside all city limits. We can burn our debris instead of piling and waiting forever for the trash pickup people to come. We whittled the trees down to two piles of firewood and a big pile of ash.

When Rich was pulling the cart along behind the mower loading up the firewood piles to take to stack Xanadu became interested in investigating the mower while it was still and not running. She's not sure she wants much to do with it when it moves, but I guess she was curious enough to sneak up while it was quiet. Happy 10 month day to her today too!


We spent most of Friday after work repairing the fence damage. Instead of actually stringing replacement chain link we bought two of those pre-fab chain link kennel panels. Since our original fence was set at 10 foot centers and the concrete posts were all sill intact, the panels worked great. I'd venture to say that area of the fence is actually more secure than it was.

This morning I met Cheryl at a mutual friend's house for herding. Cheryl arranged for a lesson for Grace. An evaluation of Bernie and they let me bring Josie to

meet sheep for the first time. She certainly has no where near the natural talent that Grace has, but she wants to be out there with them.

She did a good bit of splitting the sheep so she could chase one. The good news is she's not really a gripper though. Some teeth clacking noises in their general direction was the worst she did. Grace is naturally awesome at fetching sheep. A bit of work pulling them out of corners and she'll be ready for entering basic tests. The lessons are mostly for Cheryl I think, as Grace knows it all!


We had a three to five minute very nasty storm this afternoon. I'd venture to say we were close to tornado touch down here. All the trees bent over like hurricane force winds and then it happened. *SNAP* Two trees had the tops snapped out of them and thrown, guess where, on the fence, of course. The trees completed smashed about 25 feet of fence. Glad I was at home and had brought everyone in because of the nasty looking weather pattern. Rich came home at lunch and cut the trees off the fence and we pulled it up as best we could. It seems to be functional for the short term. Very wavy, but tall enough to keep them in and the electric wire at the bottom is still working to keep them from digging there. We are planning a repair for Friday afternoon.

I worked with Xanadu again some on the four poles. She seemed to really have the concept of driving on to the second set so I shrunk up the distance between the two sets.  BY JOVE! She's got it. I got the poles all the way to  regulation distance apart and she was weaving all four poles from both sides (me on both sides) just perfect. WOO HOO! Now to leave the four together and add another set of two just out away and see if she gets them too. Xanadu also had a great obedience class. We did figure eight heeling for the first time and she was almost perfect. It was a beauty to watch. We also did regulation stays for the first time. She was a champ on that too! Even with a lady wagging a tug toy in front of everyone dog's face. I think she may be about ready to enter in Novice. I may try her a day or two at our show Memorial Day weekend.


I've been working with Xanadu on a modified 2X2 weave training method. (Susan Garrett's method) for a month or so. I was amused to find my method spelled out in Clean Run this month. Too funny that someone else had the same idea I've been using and got in published. Maybe once a week we practice with weaves for about 5 minutes. She's known and understood the game of passing between two pole correctly for awhile. I've been adding the second set of two poles. Instead of the Garrett method, I've been adding them in a straight line with the first two, but with a double space gap between. She's been doing both sets of two correctly with a little encouragement and wait on my part after the first two. Today she was heading with purpose to the second set. I squished the gap to a one and a half spacing and she still did OK. She's about to get the idea of making the weave motion.

Tonight was also the last class of this session of my beginner agility students. They are all much improved over when I met them six weeks ago. I am very pleased with that. One lady gave me the nicest compliment after class. She said she liked me a lot especially because I had and was training some 'non-normal' agility breeds and because I wasn't "too uptight or stuck up". I was thrilled that she seems to enjoy my class so much. I am somewhat saddened though, that as far as I know this has been her maybe third class ever with a dog and she's already picked up on agility prejudice or snootiness about breeds.