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April 2014

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29th

Codex attended his first agility class tonight. We skipped the class for learning obstacles and went right in for learning sequencing taught by Cheryl. His class is full of 20" dogs and then us (currently jumping 8"). The first sequence we did was just two jumps into a 'U' shaped tunnel and out over two straight ahead jumps. The jumps were winged and he missed at least one, but he did do the curved tunnel on the first try. The next try at that sequence and he was spot on. By the end of class I was having to haul my hiney to keep up with him. VERY pleased with that. I even did a rear cross at a tunnel and he was fine with it. Practicing some things on my own before and after class I can see what individual things we need to work on. He is completely bumm fuzzled by the base on weave poles. I taught him on stick in the grounds here at home and the base is worrying him so much he can't weave at all at the field. We still need teeter confidence work and he hasn't really seen a big dogwalk. He needs chute work and broad jump work too. He is good with a full height A frame though.

28th

WOW! Long weekend. Took off Thursday to drive the 8.5 hours to Murfreesboro, TN. There was a USDAA show in town and an AKC obedience show. Diane and her boys were there too. That would be a good reason for the long drive. Friday and Sunday we were all entered in agility and Saturday Ridge was to make his obedience debut. The obedience show was full and my kids didn't get in. A very nice perk of being in Murfreesboro is that I get to stay at Cheryl Tisdale's house, on 50 acres, in the country. Not only does that cut out hotel costs, but it's beautiful and peaceful with a nice fenced pasture for running the dogs in as well as some nice hiking. Here's a view from the back 20 acres on the highest point.

Diane and I got to Murfreesboro about the same time and met up at the show site to set up for agility. Then we drove out to Cheryl's and moved in and let the brothers play some in the fenced pasture. They LOVE each other still. Cheryl, Diane and I went out to dinner and it was nice enough to sit on the patio. Diane and I get a buzz out of the fact that Timber and Xanadu like each other, all the time, no breeding needed. They played some too!

Xanadu was happy with our room for sure. It offered lots of comforts for her.

Friday agility started with Master Gamblers for my Sibes. Kamikaze NAILED the gamble for her Gambler Champion-Bronze title. Kayak didn't quite want to got that far out just to weave though.

Xanadu managed to miss the last weave pole (twice) to NQ herself in Advanced Standard, but overall the run was good. Kayak decided dogwalk contacts were optional in his Advanced Standard run and got himself removed from the course for that opinion. Master Jumpers had a 180 wrap around jump #2. Very demotivating for the Siberians. Both lost seconds making that turn and ended up JUST OVER time. UGH! The show was done around 3, so Diane and I took the brothers for a nice long hike to the back of Cheryl's property.

Saturday Diane and I were ring stewards for Utility A & B first thing in the morning. It was a good three hour job. Amazed at how much standing and walking that involved! I think I'd like to hire us for the local show though. We were on top of things and helped move Utility B so fast it was done 40 minutes early. After that was lunch and then a nice hike for the beagle family.

Ridge, Timber, Xanadu, Codex

Ridge had his first time in the obedience ring around 4 that afternoon. He got his first Beginner Novice leg with a 197.5 (out of 200). I leaked some proud tears watching him.

The boys got lots of play time Saturday. Ridge's favorite game quickly became 'taunt Codex into dragging me'. Had Diane and I cracking up!

Sunday morning it was Master Gamblers first again. Kamikaze rocked that gamble too! Kayak wasn't sure the teeter wouldn't eat him if I wasn't close enough to protect him though. On to Master Pairs where Kamikaze's partner managed to E. Such is Pairs. In standard Kamikaze had one of those 'holy cow, what a perfect run' runs for her 11th Standard Q. I forgot the course for poor Xanadu. Kayak has a really nice run though he hit a bar and I sent him off course. I was very happy with him this weekend overall. He nailed his weaves every time he saw them. No walking. And he ran every run with lots of drive.
The show ran so long I ended up NOT driving home, but heading to Mom's and Dad's for a free hotel and breakfast kind of night.

20th

On Thursday afternoon I was off to Shreveport for some much anticipated USDAA! I'd offered Kamikaze (and recruited Meg and Dyson) as teammates for a lady from AR that doesn't have any friends doing USDAA Championship. Her dog is starting to get in all Master classes and needs a TEAM Q one day for her ADCH. This is one of the only trials we overlap at that offered TEAM this year. Friday we ran TEAM Gamblers and Snooker, the strategy classes. All of our team finished these runs with solid scores keeping us well above the Q line. Kamikaze missed her Gambler Bronze title by a second because my plan left us 3 seconds from the start of the gamble when the buzzer went off. BUT, Kayak nailed it for his second Master Gamble leg. At this rate he'll be a Gambler Master before he ever gets out of Advanced Standard.
Saturday we did Team Jumpers and Standard. All three of us managed to NOT E, which apparently was not the same for most other teams. We are still well above the Q line with just Team Rely for Sunday. Both Kamikaze and Kayak did bizarre things in Jumpers that meant we didn't Q. Never would've guessed either of them to do those things!
Sunday we started the day with Team Relay. Everyone on our team garnered at least a 5 point fault, but we didn't E! That kept us above the Q line and even in second place. SO happy we could help out a friend and she never has to do Team again if she doesn't want to.

That also leaves Kamikaze needing only two more tournaments to be Tournament Master Bronze! Kamikaze also got her Standard Agility Champion Title!

And came home with another Snooker Q.

Meanwhile puppy Ridge was in TN practicing for his obedience debut next weekend. Here's what you do when NOT practicing.

13th

Off to Lake Charles for more agility this past weekend. Sprigs had at least a Q a day and brought home QQ # 13 on Saturday. She also ran for someone else for the first time. Tanya wanted to run her in Time 2 Beat, so I entered her and let them try. Came back with a first place Q! Nice to know she'll run for someone else. 

Xanadu got a chance to run Friday. Her back was out Friday morning and I didn't realize it. Poor girl. I did leave when I saw the weaves weren't going well. Got someone to look at her and put her in Standard to see if it was better. She pulled out a Q in Standard. Got faster as the run went and she realized it didn't hurt. I'm thinking we'll just quit agility with her. It's too hard keeping her feeling well enough to do it. I'll chase that one last Standard leg in USDAA a few more times and be done. Kamikaze got her MXF title with likely her highest scoring FAST run ever. (I usually just make a flow path that gets Q points) She got a Q every day too. 

Kayak had some OK runs and some pokey runs, but on Sunday morning he pulled out this one. WOW! Just WOW! Can I get that dog every time please??

Got home to find two baby bunnies are now using our front door area for shelter.

While my guys were off running agility, Ridge puppy was combing the beaches of Florida. He even found REAL turtles, though his mom says he's not nearly as interested in them as his toy turtles.

10th

Did a little tracking practice with Codex today. His starts are improving. Still have a focus issue with outside animal smells sometimes. He lost his mind at a turn where a flock of ducks waddled around.
We've started using the petro-free lawn mower in the yards again! Windy's happy to see green grass too.

Here's a look at what happens when I try nail clipping. AVOIDANCE at it's best! How they fit TWO of them in that pillow I'll never know.

6th

This weekend was our home club's agility show. April gets busy around here with all the close clubs having shows. I had a good weekend. Sprigs, of course, was the stand out again. She got QQ #11 and #12. She's right on track for her MACH in the fall (hopefully at a close to home show). 

Spirit played some this weekend in Preferred. She had weave pole issues most of the weekend, but pulled out one jumpers Q. I put Sparkle in on Saturday in Preferred 12" Open. I know I promised to never make her do it again, but now that the rules changed to let us switch to preferred without going back to Novice I thought I'd give it a whirl. If she can get through Open agility she has a chance at that VCD2 since she's already Q'd in Open obedience once. It was just a test to see if she was willing or not. Apparently she is! She got a JWW Q, and would've Q'd in Standard had she not refused every tunnel the first try. 

Kamikaze had a decent weekend too. It's fun to just walk to the line with her and run as best we can. She got to play Time 2 Beat Friday afternoon. Fun stuff. Kayak got his first Master Fast leg. I love Fast courses where I can just lead out through most of the gamble. He only got to finish ONE standard course all weekend though. He was playing flying Siberian off the Aframe and getting walked back to his crate. He also struggled all weekend to hit his weave pole entries. Not his best showing.

A neat side event this weekend was some picture taking. A lady in our club has gotten a decent camera and has been practicing with it. She took some pictures of Codex for me and then some of Codex and his little buddy, Kirk.

1st

OK, with AKC agility nationals behind us I have been thoughtfully revisiting a performance home phenomenon that I am NOT fond of. I can, off the top of my head, think of three families that fall in this category and I have limited knowledge of 'high end' competitors. It's the people that get a puppy to be their next performance dog. Said puppy doesn't turn out to be what they dreamed it should be. Sometimes at 8-9 months, sometimes at 2 years they come to that conclusion. The part that bothers me, especially now that I've carefully homed all my puppies, is that they want to (and do) 'return' them (or re-home them) because they are 'not fast enough', 'not hard enough', 'not tall enough', 'not short enough'. Basically the dog is NOT as good as last dog for whatever reason. Guess what people, there will never be another (insert last awesome dog name). I guess I am not EXTREMELY upset about it if the dog is returned to the breeder in 'sound' mental and physical shape with the appropriate personality you'd expect from a dog that has been prepped to compete from puppy hood. A secure, properly fed, generally happy dog. That, however, is not always the case. The family figures out that said new dog is not 'the one' and start ignoring it, not spending time with it, not taking it out to get used to the world. Then they return it, months later want it back, then return it again in even worse shape. NOW, the kicker to me, how does THIS family get another puppy from a 'good' breeder?? TELL ME! HOW? There is a family I know that is on puppy FOUR since the one they returned one in an unacceptable state. Next puppy, after adulthood, just disappeared from their videos and blog and such. Puppy two (from a prestigious breeder), I am unclear as to its current living address, but it hasn't appeared at competition. I know they are unhappy with it's drive and focus, so who knows about it. Puppy three (from a well-known performance kennel) appears to still be there and in training and maybe competing this year but never grew 'big enough' for them. Puppy four (from I don't know where) is still too young to know about. I am just in awe of the competitive world that will continually supply puppies to people because they had a great lifetime run with one (or two) dogs. Maybe the state of returned dog is not known to most people? Maybe the number of times they have tried to find 'next great thing' is unknown? Maybe, as I don't speak with them, there is some really AWESOME explanation for the abysmal rate of competing with (or just keeping) the 'new' kid. I just think each dog has something to teach you. Maybe it's how to be patient with nervousness, maybe it's how to inspire a lack lust personality, or maybe it's how to enjoy each day together even if you never see a ring. I am proud of what each of my guys has accomplished. From the dog that got an RN with three first places but will likely never see competition again to the ADCH/MACH2 still going strong dog, they have all accomplished great things. Some had many more obstacles to overcome than others, but isn't that the sign of a good trainer? One that can take what they get and mold it and support it and help it be the best IT can be. Not the best you WISH it could be. Then again, I am not shopping the right places to have the next GREAT (by world team standards) dog. Maybe if I were and I kept getting disappointed, maybe I would be returning dogs too. Maybe...