2010 training goals


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After work I set up the jumps and ring gates again. Kamikaze was all over the place again. Overall her go-outs were always acceptable, but still the directed jumping was off. Sometimes she took the right one, sometimes the wrong one and sometimes she wouldn't budge. The last quick session I just did the jumping and left out the go-out part. She was perfect the last time on both first tries. Xanadu improved at least 50% over yesterday on the directed jumping. After her first quick session where I had to take large steps, I started fading the large steps to a small step and leaning. She only missed jumping (came straight to me) once. Her half a ring go-out tries were perfect.

Spirit got some upset again tonight. So, I pulled out the rally cones and set them up. She had to investigate them the first time through the weaving of them, but after that was good. We did the spiral (dog inside), spiral (dog outside) and weaving cones. She does much better on the dog inside spiral. Then I remembered one of those Advanced exercises she's really needs to practice. She doesn't stand stay well while you walk around her. We worked on it some. We'll need it for Novice obedience too. She wants to pull her right rear leg in under her and stand like a GSD. That just leads to a sit as you finish your walk around. That exercises is something we can practice anywhere and needs to be on the top of our list of things to do regularly!

30th- Happy Belated Birthday Sparkle

Ok, what with all the Bandit stuff going on this month I totally forgot Sparkle's birthday. Sorry girlie. Sparkle was four on the 5th of this month. Hard to believe! I still remember the cute pack of puppies in the x-pen trying to be adopted.

I totally forgot to relate the alarm clock story from the weekend. Apparently my alarm clock has gone nuts. I don't spend a ton of money on them in the first place. I just need it to tell time and beep loudly at the time I instruct it to. I have decided the extra feature of a battery backup is nice in hurricane country. Anyway, on morning last week the alarm went off. I never turned it on though. 5 am is an obnoxious time for a loud beep if you're not required to be up at that time. Rich commented when we go up that one of the last times I was out of town that my alarm went off horribly early every morning. Of course, my response, "Why didn't you set it to a more reasonable time?" was met with "I just thought it hadn't gotten turned all the way off." He spent every morning trying to figure out how it wasn't turned off. Poor guy! Well, I immediately set the alarm to like 9 am since I now know it has made a habit of misbehaving. So on the list to do over the weekend was buy another alarm clock and throw that one out. We stopped by Target Saturday and I got one a bit more expensive than I usually spend ($15) because it had auto time set and auto time adjust for Daylight Savings time. I was thrilled to plug it in and the time appeared correctly immediately. VERY cool. It happened to be a green glow instead of our usual red glow. Saturday night I went to sleep while Rich still had the TV on. I awoke briefly and was surprised to see the glow of the TV still. What I thought was the TV was this great new clock glowing so brightly it could have been a night light. That's was I call an undocumented feature! ACK! I threw a pillow over it to kill the light and realized Rich was still conscious. I commented on our new night light and we both cracked up. Sunday was back out to the store to find a red lit alarm clock. I am some bummed as I liked the features on the green alien glow clock, but not worth a well lit room at night.

Now for today. The weather has been much more reasonable and since I realized I need to practice go-outs and directed jumping I got out my ring gates and jumps. They stayed set up all day. I had several quick sessions with Kamikaze with mixed results. Sometimes she tried a jump on the way out. Sometimes she veered horribly to her left. Sometimes she didn't jump at all when I told her and sometimes she took whatever jump she wanted. There will be more practice before the obedience show! Xanadu was actually pretty good. She remembered her half ring go-out well and is even doing the turn and sit now with a minimal step or two. YIPPIE! Her weakness, since I haven't trained it yet, is the directed jumping part. She doesn't go out to the jump unless I take several steps in the direction and continue saying "jump" until she is over it. If I keep the training up every couple of days she may have it by the show. Spirit was upset that she wasn't getting her turn, so I laid her a track at lunch. Two right turns and a left turn with very short legs. She did very well considering she hasn't tracked much at all and certainly not in a while what with the heat. She pulled down leg one to the turn and then searched a bit and picked leg two correctly, but came back to me for reassurance. I told her she was good and to go on tracking and she did. A couple more times she came to me asking if she was OK and I told her she was very good and she'd go on. She even paused at the glove when she found it. She got a turn this evening doing some rally moves outside in the driveway. She's much more distracted out there than in the house! We worked on some of the Advanced Rally pivots and such too since I think she's gonna sail through Rally Novice.


I know that sometime in that last 3 days I set up the 12 weaves poles on two different occasions to get Spirit out there practicing the whole set. She needs it since she's now in Open in Jumpers and Standard. But, for the life of me I can't remember which days those were. *sigh* I've been busy.  She's doing very well and almost always hitting the entrance. She is still slow in them, but improving. I am not doing much helping other than cheering for her.

The jumps that we got that I love so much are too short for USDAA specs. The vendor won't accept that as of yet even though it's clearly stated on a page on the USDAA website what the minimum is. Even an email from the USDAA office saying exactly what this page says has yet to deter the vendor. I don't our club should be responsible for paying shipping back or shipping for correct height jumps! So, I have been forced into emailing the president of USDAA. He's out of the office until Tuesday though. I am thinking the best plan would be to sell these 12 jumps to individuals who want some sturdy, weather resistant practice jumps and just get the vendor to re-ship correct height wings. I have four jumps sold for sure already. I think Meg, Cheryl and I would want at least one or two as well and there is one 'interested party' that hasn't committed to a number yet. I think selling will be easy.

Got notice that the mortgage company hasn't received the latest declaration page from USAA for our homeowners policy. So, come to find out, USAA hasn't even sent us the bill although the last mortgage company hasn't paid (since they no longer own or loan)! ARGH! Mailing payment today as we're three weeks overdue now. Faxing declaration page to mortgage company tomorrow. Then will deal with USAA sending the bill to us from now on.

The Mobile, AL obedience show is sneaking up on me. ARGH! It's just a couple of weeks away now and Xanadu's not ready for Graduate Open yet. I got out articles for her and did that exercise. She is OK at it, but not too confident yet. Then we practiced signals, and moving stand. She was great on that. I need to pull out the ring gate and jumps and practice that part with her. Kamikaze did all the utility exercises except jumps and gloves and did just great! MUST.. PULL.. OUT.. JUMPS.

Yesterday Rich and I worked some on the fencing layout for my agility field. We now have the kennel run set up out there (for dog swapping) and corner markers up for the fence. Now, to find a dry enough time to pour concrete so we can dig corner post holes. Wow! it's not gonna be long until I can move all my equipment out there and not have to juggle it in the yard anymore. HAPPY DAY!


Cheryl called to see if I wanted to bring equipment to her house tonight. I loaded up all the three of the new tunnels (purchased a couple of months back) and all the boxes marked winged jumps and head out there. It took the two of us a little over an hour to assemble (install legs) onto all the jump wings. I am very impressed with the construction and the ease of carrying without scratching yourself up. I don't feel too bad about Cheryl storing since when it was all packed in her out building it took up such a minimal amount of space it could almost be considered negligible.


Today the rest of Overcome's (OCAC) equipment arrived at the house. There were about 8 boxes delivered while I was at the show. Today I think I got about 6. Overcome has purchased an entire jumpers ring of equipment. OCAC already owns a dogwalk and Aframe so it was mostly jumps that were needed. Twelve aluminum winged jumps, five PVC non-winged ones, two aluminum doubles, an aluminum triple, an aluminum table and 24" spaced weave base. Cheryl has offered to store some equipment at her house since her new digs sports a HUGE out building with almost nothing living in it. I'll try this weekend to get her some of the stuff.

We had some tree guys come by to top a couple of trees and cut one down. They said they'd come out this morning, but didn't make it until almost 2. Of course, that means they have to come back Thursday, when I'm home again, to finish up.


I survived the four day show running seven dogs. I am wiped out though. It was a good show overall.

Xanadu got her AXJ title. Kamikaze got her second MX leg. Spirit got her second NA and NAJ legs. Storm, Marie's beagle and aunt to Spirit and Xan, got her first double Q ever with me. She picked up 15 MACH points too. Drift, Marie's Siberian, got her AXJ today with me!! Thunder had his first runs ever. He hit a couple of bars in Jumpers, and only one in Standard and it was my fault. If he could just weave without the finger leading he'd be awesome. Lego had two lovely runs, but not quite a Q.

Xanadu AXJ

Kamikaze MX #2

Spirit 2nd NA and NAJ legs

Cheryl joined us for a couple of days. Grace got her NA title today! That moves her up to Open in all classes now. Xanadu didn't put together a Q today, but Lego did. He got his 3rd MXJ leg and some more MACH points. Kamikaze was fast but not accurate. Spirit got her NA title. That's her first agility title. She should've had her NAJ title too, but she smacked the last bar. It was still her best run to date. FAST and accurate. She was just over 27 seconds. I moved her up to Open Standard for tomorrow! Storm got another double Q and 18 more MACH points. Drift ran well but we didn't quite put together a Q.

Lego MXJ leg #3

Spirit NA TITLE!

Cheryl had another good day. Grace got her first Open Jumpers leg and had a lovely Standard run. Bernie got his long strived for Excellent Fast title too! Xanadu had the day off. She doesn't usually run three days in a row well. Kamikaze was fast and crazy today. She re-designed the jumpers course in the most creative ways. Anyone who saw the run will remember it forever! She was all over the place. She got her money's worth on taking obstacles for sure. Lego was lovely again, but not quite a Q. Spirit not only got her NAJ title, but she pulled out her first Open Standard Q. WOW! I had to help her in the weaves an insane amount, but she stayed in them the first try. She even started weaving some without my help on the last four poles. Thunder got his first agility Q with me in Jumpers. He had a great standard run too, but instead of weaving he did all the obstacles around the weaves. I was late on a front cross and sent Storm off course in Standard. She just barely made time in Jumpers, but still a Q and one MACH point. For the first time this weekend she tried to leave after the run to go see her mommy. Drift got her first MXJ leg and one MACH point. Well, it's a start.

Spirit NAJ title and first Open Standard leg

Xanadu was a maniac in Standard. WOW! I love that attitude, but she just didn't have the control to reign herself in to weave. She was less than great in jumpers and got upset when she hit a bar on a back cross because I said her whole name to keep her out of a tunnel and she seemed to think it was a scolding for the bar. The rest of the run was tentative. Kamikaze put in a stellar jumpers run for like 8 more MACH points. (no picture) Lego was running past things in Standard, I sent him off course in jumpers. Spirit had the day off. Storm had a great standard run going, and then tried to leave half way through to see mommy. Marie was sure to disappear before jumpers and Storm and I got another Q there for 4 MACH points. Drift pulled out her very first AX leg. That means she did all the contacts and the weaves on the first try. For Marie's dogs I just took one photo with all of them and their ribbons at the end of the trial.

Drift, Thunder and Storm with me and their ribbons


I have the rest of my stuff loaded in the motor home. Now all that is required tomorrow afternoon is for the dogs and me to get in. I didn't manage to gas it up, but since I am leaving the day before the show starts I'll have plenty of time to fill up on the way out of town. I am looking forward to four days of fun filled agility even if fun means no Q's. I'll be so glad just to be out there with my guys having a good time for as long as we can do it.

My heart is heavy with the loss of Bandit, but not about the decision we made. Just to solidify the decision we got news from our vet today that it was so much worse than any of us knew. Seeing as how we are not ash keepers or body buriers, the vet took leave to have some exploratory investigation post mortem before he sent the body off to be cremated. The tumor had spread fingers around that right eye socket and was wriggling back around the back of his skull. There were new pockets in several areas. It was so big it had outgrown it's blood source in at least one place which meant one part of it wasn't being fed and was dying as other parts grew. This would explain the discharge from the drains. It had also compromised his skull bone though not quite enough to be visible on the radiographs we took. Our vet thinks it was certainly very aggressive and Bandit may have already had some vision problems from it and it was most certainly very uncomfortable if not painful already. I'm so glad we didn't wait and see any longer.

16th -And then there were 11

I took Bandit in to have his drain re-tacked and the mass had grown another 1/4" in diameter in 7 days with the drain in. It's almost doubled in size since we started the journey for answers a month ago. So, Rich found an appointment for me and Bandit to see a Specialty Surgeon today rather then wait another week for the oncologist. The appointment went as I expected it would. There is no real chance of a surgical cure based on where it is. There's just not space to get clean edges around the mass. Radiation would likely leave nasty burns in his nose or mouth because of the proximity of the tumor to that area. I won't do that to him at his age! He's had ten great years with us. Probably better than anywhere else he may have landed. We set him free from his pain this afternoon.

Pebblemist's Poultry Pilferer AAD, RM, CGC


Yesterday I took another walk with Bandit. At least the rain held off this time until we got back home. Today I had to clip the stitches at one end of one of the drains. It was tacked to his head where some swelling is now taking over and apparently it was very uncomfortable to swell around the stitches tacking the drain down. I'll get him in Monday to have the lump measured and the drain fixed. I wish the specialist appointment were earlier. I am seeing signs that this mass thing is most uncomfortable. It wrenches my heart to have to be the one he wants to run from since I am cleaning the drains twice a day and it's paining him for me to do so. My head thinks it may be time to let him go, but my heart is struggling.

We went to see a movie this afternoon. It was the big shot 'em, gory, guy, action flick. Better for the soul that's already crying than the chick flick that came this weekend.


Bandit and I took a walk together today. He sniffed and trotted along as I pondered his life here with us. He and I share the first agility Q I ever achieved. It was at my first show, October 2002, outdoors in the rain. We took second place in Standard to Georgie's Lacie, who is now old and mostly retired too. He gave me my first experience with heartworm treatment and broken doggie limbs. Both of which he navigated like a champ. His name was an easy choice when he showed up. He'd been trying to steal a neighbor's chicken out of the coop for a nice snack. My mother loved for him to come to Memphis to visit. He would make a bee line for the brick pile in the back and kill the rats that were trying to make a home there. She tagged him "Frito Bandito". He's always been the consummate good dog. Perfect in the house always, since the day he ran in our door. Never a fight started as some boys are, just a screech to young ones so he'd be left alone. Polite to all people, kids and senior citizens included. Happy to run agility with me or just stay home and chase squirrels. I was sad it had to drizzle rain on our walk to force us to turn and hurry back! We can't get in to see the specialist until the 23rd. I hope he stays somewhat comfortable that long. I refuse to let him linger if he is suffering. 

As I peruse Bandit's agility records I see the names of so many dogs now gone, or retired and the names of owners I haven't seen in years. Where does the time go? Here's a quick list of some of Bandit's contemporaries in the agility world: Alley Cat, Hurricane, Jill, Jim, Oscar, Lacie, Tri, Brewster, Shannah, Newt, Sam, Sadie, Kodak, Lexi, Cari, Eagle, Erica, Sniper, Burst, Chile, Jack, Atticus, Boo Radley, Josey, Tally, Zadie, Sugar, DeDe, Annie, Bogey, Teller, Maggie, George, Pan, Talitha, Gwen, Ribby, Gracie Mae, Suni, Belle... Wow! How many more could I name? Each one of these names brings a clear, vivid memory of dog and handler. Most of them, I still see the handler with their new dog, some I have no idea what happened to.

To add to my heavy heart I heard today that one of my agility friends let her older Dalmatian go today. She has been struggling to stay here with us, her mind was still sharp, but her body had given out. I have wonderful memories of Belle running agility with wild abandon. Oh! How she loved it so. My heart aches for Donna's loss. There will never be another like Belle.

I got the motor home tires aired up to standard, the cabin swept out, the linens washed and replaced and the dog crates loaded in it. All that's left to load before I take off Wednesday to the big four day agility show is a little food, my clothes, the dog bag and the dogs. I'm ready for a fun-filled with my four legged kids. Cheryl will be joining me Thursday and Friday night. She has entered only on Friday and Saturday.


I finally got a picture of Josie with her MAD ribbon!

Cheryl and I decided to meet up for a bit of obedience practice just before classes started tonight. We figured it'd be fairly warm, but hopefully not too bad. On my way there I got a call from the vet on Bandit's biopsy. It's not good news. It is apparently some kind of carcinoma. My vet is uncomfortable trying to do a surgical procedure based on where it it. He's also not sure you could remove the whole thing. He's going to refer me to an oncologist or surgeon specialty in Mandeville. I am not keen on trying to extend Bandit's life with radical procedures at his age. I think I'd rather he go out happy with only good days than try radical things that may only help for a bit and make him uncomfortable. We'll have to see what the specialty vet says about whether they think surgery could be a cure or not. He is already a bit uncomfortable with the size of the mass and it's not shrinking, although not growing too fast as long as the drains stay in to remove the excess pressure. I'm not holding out too much hope of seeing Bandit in the Christmas photo this year.

I wasn't sure in my state of mind how much obedience I needed to work with the dogs. I went on and got there since I promised Cheryl I'd come. I did signals and directed jumping with Kamikaze and she was perfect. I did articles, only 4, with Xanadu for the first time away from the hallway in the house. She still needs work, but it wasn't bad for her first try in a new place. Xan also did signals and directed jumping as they'd be done in Graduate Open. She was great with the signals, needs work on directed jumping. Spirit did several Rally Novice moves and a recall. It took three tries to get her to hold her stay until I called her, but I seem to remember another cute, red beagle that was bad about breaking her stay to run to me when she started out too! She's definitely ready for Rally Novice in September. 


Bandit spent the day laying in a crate under my desk at work. The crate door stayed open, but he stayed in all day of his own accord. His drains really aren't leaking that bad today. The good thing this time is they are leaking down the side of his face and not down his nose. I only cleaned around them a couple of times at work. He's still being such a good sport about it all. He doesn't paw at his head or anything. I do see him occasionally hold his head tilted and shake it around some. The lump seems much more painful now that it's so big than it was when I found it and we started this journey. At least it seems the leaking is slow enough I can leave him home tomorrow.

The temps here are still ugly. Heat index is regularly above 100 and it's just stifling. I did pull out 12 weaves this evening around 6:30 and put them in the shady part of the yard. I figured I needed to get Spirit run through them a couple of times before the show in 9 days. It's been weeks since I've gotten any agility training in. Spirit did all 12 poles perfect the first try. She wasn't speedy, but accurate. Speed will come I'm sure. What a girl! I love how dogs don't forget and sometimes they even get better with a big break from training. While I had them out I ran Xanadu, Lego, Jedi and Kamikaze through them once or twice. I even practiced some jump skills with those guys. Kazee is back to wrapping and flipping on command well, so now I have to remember to use those commands in the run. Jedi is so unwilling to play agility at home since it started as such a negative based thing with him. I was just rewarding for taking the jump and then taking it and coming back. Xanadu doesn't collect well at 12". We need to work on that. She sails the jump even when I am cueing a tight turn. Lego was so good, even hitting his weave entries with no help or hesitation. Here's hoping for a nice show weekend in Hattiesburg.


Bandit's head lump grew while we were in College Station. A visit to the vet revealed it grew more in three days than it shrunk in 10 days with the drain in. We did some x-rays to figure out if there was a bone issue contributing to the problem. Those came back just fine. The vet sedated him and re-inserted the drain and looked around again. There is more puss there now than there was before drain #1. Even though we cultured the fluid to make sure we used the right antibiotics, we can't seem to lick it. Maybe because his body has created so much scar tissue? It seems the puss is in pockets through out the lump and not concentrated in one spot. We went ahead and sent of the tissue sample for biopsy, but we don't expect anything helpful there. Once the results are back, I think the vet will be referring me to a specialist as he's stumped too. Poor Bandit! When I picked him up, he had crisscrossing drains in to try and cover more of the lump area with exits. I am thinking Bandit will be present in Hattiesburg again in a week and a half. That won't be any fun considering Lego is entered and has it out for Bandit.


I was up at 2:30 am Friday morning to head to College Station. It was an uneventful drive, and I didn't have any fights with sleepiness. We were there by 9 am as planned, in time for the second class of the day. Kamikaze was her zooming self. I cracked up when in her first run she launched straight up when I released her from her stay. I knew it was gonna be a disaster at that minute, but it was fun to see her having such a good time. All her runs this weekend were fast and crazy and not a Q to be had. Some runs it was my fault for bad handling, some runs hers for being blonde. I am still glad to have my dog back, but am feeling a bit discouraged again at our good runs that net nothing.

Friday had it's good moments too. Josie got her second Master Standard leg and Xanadu got her second Starters Standard leg. Josie even placed in Standard and was many seconds under time. She was running with gusto and her contacts and table were perfect. Xanadu also picked up that much needed jumpers leg. That made it possible for her to get that AD with only one more standard Q this weekend out of two chances. Good odds.

Friday night I ate with Lucy and Monica and friends + the judge. Lucy's birthday was Thursday, so we made her get the birthday brownie and all. Good night for the most part, but I was very tired after my early morning.

Saturday there was a Master Standard course like I've never seen. All I could say was "WOW" when I walked it. Judge gets an A for originality on that one.

I didn't think there was any way I'd get Kamikaze around that course. I was thrilled to have made it to obstacle 15 clean. To my great amazement, Josie, once again Q'd and on that course for her MAD (Master Agility Dog) title!! Two more standard Q's to ADCH! At this rate we'll be getting that next month in Shreveport. I'm not holding my breath for five in a row though. So, maybe it'll end up being in November in Memphis at my 'second home' club show. That would be very cool. 

Kamikaze ran Steeplechase, well she walked to the line anyway. She took an immediate off course into the tunnel even with me two jumps away calling her to me. I was mad and walked out. I scratched Xanadu from Jumpers since she didn't need it. I was more interested in a fresh dog for Steeplechase. She too, took that tunnel, but she's a baby dog and I had a 50/50 expectation of keeping her out of it. I didn't bat and eye when she did it and then she ran a beautiful course (it had two weaves) and would've made the Q cutoff in speed. DRAT! Xanadu also had a great Standard run, but hit the first bar. ARGH!

Sunday I was only entered in the first couple of things and then I was headed home. Xanadu had another great Standard run with one bar. The one off the Aframe on a ninety degree turn. She didn't hit any doubles all weekend though. Then she ran Grand Prix. She was obviously tired since it was right after Standard. It took her five obstacles to pick up the pace. There was a tough 'wrong' side tunnel entrance off the dog walk. I was so worried about getting her in the other end I forgot coming out she'd see the dog walk again and I didn't handle it. OOPS! Over the dog walk she went. BAD handler. I did the next couple of obstacles leading out (the weaves were the last one I took) and just went for treats. No need to wear her out more and then she got treats for the perfect weaves. She had great weaves all weekend and there was much whispered positive talk about 'that beagle'. Kamikaze did well on that Grand Prix course, but didn't weave off the teeter. That drives me mad that she can't weave off a contact obstacle well. She might have pulled off a Q. It would've been close on the time.

Jedi was well, Jedi all weekend. Not one decent run out of the 5.

I will be pulling Xanadu from Jumpers at the next show and only running her in the Standard she needs for her AD.


Yesterday evening I made Josie a personalized ADCH (Agility Dog Champion) pole. It's got orange tape, since orange is her color, and gold letters. I'm sure I've jinxed all my chances of finishing that title this year. She needs 4 more standard legs and has two chances this month, two next month and two, maybe four in November.

Bandit had his drain taken out today. That leaves two holes in the top of his head now. Since the weather is looking rainy here for this weekend it looks like he's getting to tag along to another dog show. The lump has only shrunk a couple of millimeters. The vet isn't too concerned since he said it all looked like scar tissue when he was in there looking around. If it grows again or doesn't shrink slowly over the next month I'll get them to send off the sample they have to histology just to be sure. It's up and out of here several hours before the crack of dawn to drive to College Station for another USDAA show.

The storm this morning was loud and the rain heavy. I had a whole crew of little guys curled up next to me on the couch.

Since it was so wet I donned a pair of my Gortex (waterproof) agility shoes all day. MAN! Gortex rocks! I can't believe I lived down here in the rain capital of the world without these for 15 years. Never Again!


Rich's flight home yesterday was supposed to get in at about 6:30 pm. Atlanta was he lay over spot and it was a NIGHTMARE apparently. He didn't get home until 10:30. STINK. I had to stay up since I was picking him up. He thinks maybe Atlanta is not his favorite spot for a lay over and he may not go through there again. HA HA!

I took Shelby in for her yearly check-up today. I drug Bandit along hoping to get his drain taken out. Shelby is doing well and even jumped on people to hug them with her bad hips and all. She's a couple of pounds heavier than last year though. I'd like to cut those back off since she doesn't need any extra on those hips. Unfortunately, Bandit didn't get his drain out. It's still oozing a bit. Mostly sticky pussy stuff now and not blood colored liquid. He may just be on his way to College Station this weekend with me if we can't get that drain out by Thursday afternoon.

I've only managed one quick dog training session in the last week or so. It was a quick indoor obedience lesson with Spirit and Xanadu. The temps have been outrageous. The heat index has been around 110 for the last week or so. ICKY.