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August 2012

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26th

I buzzed up to Monroe this weekend for an obedience show. Kamikaze showed in Utility B, Xanadu in Graduate Open and Kayak debuted in Novice. Kamikaze was first up Saturday morning at 8am. She had a very respectable showing. She missed her drop signal and took the same jump twice, but some other things that have been consistently breaking in the ring were spot on. Kayak was up shortly after in Novice. He did very, very well for a puppy that just turned 11 months on Friday! He scored in the 190s. Unfortunately my handling dropped us to the high 180s. The judge says I lost more points than he did. He was bouncy and occasionally had a small, quiet thing to say between exercises. I was thrilled with him and even wound up with a 4th place finish out of 6 passing dogs. Xanadu had a fabulous run in Grad Open too. She missed her drop signal, but man, everything else was really good. She turned into front on the glove retrieve and so when I tried to send her it was behind her. I was thrilled to watch her figure it out on her own and the light bulb on her face when she spotted the glove was priceless! She still arcs to one side or the other doing a go-out too. After the show Saturday I had the privilege of driving out to an agility friend's farm. Got the tour and met all the horses and donkeys. Spent a couple of hours out there.  Ran across this snapping guy next to the very low pond. He jumped up and snapped at the horses legs when the trotted by.

What a wonderful relaxing way to spend the afternoon. THANKS!!

Sunday morning Kayak was up first. It was an experience not to be forgotten! It was clear he'd spent too much time in a crate and hadn't had enough exercises. We were good until the off lead heeling. At that point his brain blew. On the first step he took two bounds sideways and howled at me. I thought he might get back to work, but no. He bounced and play bowed and ran to the other side of the ring. On the first halt he came back to heel position and looked like he was done being silly. Wrong again. He had the same reaction at my first step. One half lap and I called him to me. Judge and I both agreed it would be best to just move on to the recall. When I left him in his stay I could feel him wiggling. He held it though. Then when I called I was afraid he might just run circles. Wrong again. He raced at me and never slowed down. Hit me in the legs hard enough to knock me back three steps. Spun in at least two circles barking at me. Then he proceeded to sit in the perfect front position and do a perfect finish. Seeing as how we weren't' excused we were expected back for stays. ARGH! The cute, young terrier beside us also had a melt down and ran circles in the ring on his exercises. I was TERRIFIED of stays. I did NOT want to be the handler with the dog that started a party on the stays. I took Kayak outside and we ran sprints for about 15 minutes. I guess I overdid it because he wilted into a down on his sit after 45 seconds. At least that gave me a reason to ask to leave the ring and not torture myself with three minutes more of staying. He went outside and re-tried his sit stay while his group inside did their down stay. 
Xanadu was up next. She got her down signal today, but traveled several steps when I left her to go do the signals. She missed her article too. She also self released to do her go-out. Then she only went a few steps and turned and sat. Cute that she knows what is next. The judge loved her attitude! Kamikaze had another nice showing in Utility. Missed her sits on go-outs and her drop signal. Less stress on the articles as I took the advice of a fellow tracker and only light touched the leather one and handed it straight to the judge. Seems the stress is from the huge scent ball the leather article was creating because of how long I held on to it. She nailed the leather this time with no hesitation.

Now it's the wait to see what Tropical Storm Issac is going to do in the gulf. UGH!! Tired of hurricane alley.

18th

Cheryl and I met up at the agility field at 6:30am for puppy practice. I took Sprigs along to work on her dogwalk fly offs.  We first decided to work on the Excellent Standard course that was already set up. Kayak wasn't as good as last week, but this was a tough course. I also added in some jumps up to 20". He's only seen 16" to this point. OK, that caused some serious bar knocking that we had to work on first. I cut out all the craziness and put together a video of the stuff we did well on that course. After both our young ones had a go at Standard we decided to build a Novice Jumpers course that we saw a couple of months ago that turned out to be mighty difficult for Novice. Kayak did well his first time through until he came out of the tunnel and didn't see obstacles. Then he had a mental break. This is the second try at the course. Much improvement on focus out of that tunnel. After practicing the kids I got Sprigs out and ran her over the dogwalk several times. None of them would she fly off. She hit the contact at a dead run every time. Then we tried some 180 turns to the weaves. Took her a million chances to get it right. She had the focus (run bys) issue at first, then started popping out at the last pole for some reason.

16th

Took Kayak, Kamikaze, and Xanadu to Cheryl's house tonight to practice obedience. Neither of us wanted to drive out to class when we weren't sure there was going to be a class. Figured we could be the only two people practicing out there and we can do that just as well at her house. Everyone did well. Xan even remembered her signals. Kamikaze still struggled on the glove retrieve. She headed for the middle one every time. Hoping Kayak can hold it together for Novice at the end of the month.

We have a nice sized 'banana spider' (their actual name is Golden Silk Orb-Weaver ) that's made a very elaborate home over the picket fence, right where it meets the house. We have left her alone as it's not a spot we have to walk. I've also had the great satisfaction of seeing horse flies caught in her web!

14th

Back to working obedience regularly now. I have a show at the end of August. Kamikaze has broken her glove retrieve. She only wants to get the center glove no matter where you are facing. She has had some uncertainty on the articles too. Everything else seems to be going well. Xanadu has broken her glove retrieve in a different manner. She wants to take a jump on the way back to me. Of course the jumps aren't really 'on the way' so she makes them work. She is also struggling with signals. If I don't use a nice firm command with the signal she doesn't get it. This is OK for now, but we are trying to get to full on Utility here too. She also has moments of snatching whatever article is close instead of working them. Kayak is doing well on heeling with some minor brain shortages here and there. His fronts are about 50-60 % perfect, but not bad even when not perfect. His biggest issue is whining in anticipation. He even does is on the recall some as well as the stays.
After practice today Xan was sure there must be more good girl treats and took up a position to stare at me. Very, very cute.

I decided to watch a movie from bed this evening before sleeping time. Here's how that turned out. LOL!!

I have also received Kayak's first title certificate! The first of many we hope.

11th

Sometime on the ride home last night Cheryl and I agreed to meet at the club agility field at 6:30AM !?! We both agreed the puppies (Spice and Kayak) needed some more work on sequences and it would be nice to just work on them for a short time and have someone else's input. It stormed last night, but I drug myself out there anyway. It was not that wet at the field thought the grass needs cutting badly. Cheryl wanted to work on the excellent standard course set up to get in the work on contacts. We were even lucky enough that someone wedged the broad jump out there in flow too. I ran Kayak first. He was just great! He did a whole set of weaves the first try. His form was awful because he forgot to one step and tried bouncing. He ran by one jump that was set at a flat entrance and once he went between the tire and the frame. We struggled with a tandem turn as well. All things to work on! I took the time at the show every day to take him to the practice jump and work on stays and this time, rear crosses. By the end of the three days he was really getting rear crosses.
Spice ran next and I remembered the video camera still in the vehicle. I was able to film Spice and Cheryl for her to reference for what to train. Too bad I didn't think of it for Kayak's run. I would've gone back and run him once more for video, but it started raining for real right as Spice and Cheryl got back to their vehicle. We were discussing the runs, so I jumped in Cheryl's vehicle to talk. Was stuck there 20 minutes in a gully washer. The icky part was the way everything around there drains it's the area right around the gate out/in that all drains to. When we gave up to leave the water was over your socks deep at the gate. Cheryl and her rain jacket were nice enough to slug through the water to open/close the gate. Glad she only had a few blocks to go to get home. She says when you get water IN your Gortex tennis shoes it just settles there. EEEEEEEEWWWWEEE

10th

Got home  for a late dinner after our mid-week show. Overall it was a good weekend.
WEDNESDAY
Lego had a really nice standard run and we were two seconds from a double Q when he ran by the next to last jump in jumpers. ARGH! It was, of course, a handler problem and not a dog problem. Spirit got her 3rd MX leg with a very nice run. She even ran clean in jumpers, but was over time to ruin her chance at a double Q. Sprigs had really nice focus for her first run out (standard), but I held up behind her on the dogwalk and tried to verbally get her to slow down and all I did was pull her off the side early. Then I tried a handler move I had not walked to do and ended up losing the Dachshund and causing a refusal. Xanadu ran really well in Standard after not starting the weaves well and having to give it a second try. Her jumpers run didn't go as well as standard. Kamikaze ran FAST and Time To Beat. She didn't get the FAST Q since I called her off the tunnel in the send bonus. She had a fabulous time 2 beat run though for her second ever T2B Q and 8 more points. We were finished with all collective runs in time for an early dinner and a movie afterwards.

THURSDAY
Lego had a problem with the tunnel/Aframe discrimination at the opening of Standard and took the wrong one, but he had a nice run otherwise. He did pull out a jumpers Q though. Spirit was a bit more sluggish and less focused today. She even trotted by jumps in jumpers while looking at the ground. Sprigs was a bit too excited in Standard today and couldn't stop on the table and got the zooms on the way to the weaves. She had a fabulous jumpers run. Got her first MACH points (11) and a fourth place. Xanadu slept Thursday. Kamikaze was having a great standard run until I forgot to cue her to turn at the bottom of the dogwalk and got a straight ahead dash past the jump on her right. She got a jumpers Q again though. After all my dogs had run and Grace and Cheryl had just finished their last run it was thundering pretty good. I told Cheryl I was gonna take some dogs to the car before the rain hit. I only had to walk a half a football field length to get to the vehicle. It was parked in the equivalent of a pole barn. The barn has one solid concrete wall and two half concrete walls with steel beams at openings. The other side is open. We were just 20 feet from the barn opening when the first rain drops hit. I looked at the sky and took off running, dragging two Beagles and a Dachshund behind. We got into the barn in time for a deluge that turned ugly fast. We were trapped in Kansas out of The Wizard of OZ . I couldn't even get to my vehicle parked just at the open side of the barn. I sat on the concrete floor snuggled behind a big F250 (to block the hail and rain from blowing in from the open side) with three dogs in my lap. It was LOUD, but didn't' last long. I knew Cheryl must've been worried, but I couldn't get to the phone in my pocket until the worst was past. As soon as I could hear again it was ringing and already had a text! I just thought it was a bad storm. HA!! Trees we down on the concrete path I'd just walked. The black arrow on picture one is the barn I was in during the storm.

The colored blobs in the last picture are poop filled baggies. The outside garbage can with poop in it was thrown all over the place. There were even baggies in some of the remaining trees. One small pop-up camper had been spun sideways in the RV parking area. One fifth wheel knocked off it's blocks and shoved sideways. If you had anything outside your RV you went on a treasure hunt to find your stuff! I drove down to check on the camper as soon as it was safe. It looked fine from the outside. I ran in to check on any leakage. All was clear at our camper! I heard if you were in an RV during the storm it was like a Disneyland ride with the shaking and such. Cheryl and I got all the dogs in the vehicle in the barn after the first ugly bout went by. Then we spend about 20-30 minutes sitting in that spot waiting for the next line of storms to pass (just in case).
FRIDAY
I was impressed that the arena staff had the trees in the doggie potty area all cleaned up by 10am! Lego had a great standard run, but hit the wrong side of the weaves. OH WELL. Then we Q'd in jumpers. So all in all he got one Q a day. Not bad for the dog that used to give me about 2 Q's a year. Spirit slept Friday. Sprigs got just a little excited in standard. Better than Thursday, not quite as in control as Wednesday. Then she rocked jumpers for another 11 MACH points and a third place. See all her runs here. Xanadu had two really nice runs! I just did some awful handler things to her in the runs though. Seems we need to go back and talk about weave pole entrances some more too. Kamikaze's best run was Standard on Friday. Then I proceeded to pull her off one of the last jumps in jumpers. She pulled out at least one Q a day.

Now you know why the ribbon pictures were all at THE stump (already cut to the ground by arena staff).

6th

Preparing today for our Wed.-Fri. agility show. Heading out tomorrow. Washing and packing as well as mowing and shoveling manure. It was a busy day!
Lego's been a strict house dog as he tried to look gimpy this weekend. He seems good today. What IS it with the limping at my house? We need to all stay healthy and whole. September is a busy month for showing.

5th - Happy Birthday Sparkle

Sparkle is 6 today. WOW! I still think of her as that cute puppy I lugged home from PetSmart. She turned out to be a 'daddy dog'. He picked her a present for her birthday. Here's a picture of her enjoying it.

It basically just poured rain all day, so I just watched olympics.

4th

Since I was up fairly early and the predicted temps were no more than 85-86 degrees by ten o'clock I decided to load up all the AKC agility dogs and head to the club training field this morning. Sprigs did very well after a couple of reminders to pay attention to what she was doing. Had faster weaves too! Xanadu needed a couple of reminders that sniffing wasn't a part of this game. Then she did a nice sequence to the weaves and several nice dogwalk contacts. Kayak had no problem on the club dogwalk or teeter. He needed a reminder on the Aframe though. He even pulled out (after several failed attempts because of focus issues) two sets of six weaves with only a 3 foot gap between. He never looked back going to the second set either. He still struggles with slowing for the entrance, but does better and better with his steps the more poles there are. Kamikaze just did a quick set of exercises. Spirit actually did very well with keeping her head up while running so that she wasn't bunny hopping the jumps so bad. Much better form! And a couple of nice sets of weaves. Lego was sluggish, but he always is in practice, and it was hot. He did a couple of teeters and several weave pole passes with great success. As I loaded myself up to go home I realized I was way over hot. I had spent an hour running around in the humidity since 6 dogs X 10 minutes a piece equals 60 minutes. I was glad as I struggled to get myself somewhere for hydration that each dog had only had a few minutes out there. Of course I'd brought them all nice cool water. Forgot about the person...DUH! I spent most of the rest of the day sitting around recovering.

I introduced Windy to her Jolly Ball today. She wasn't scared of it, but after gnawing it a bit and licking it her verdict was, "Why do I want that if I can't EAT it?".

3rd

Today was the day to catch Twinkle being cute. I'd love to say I posed this picture and she stayed when I told her to, but that's just not true. I actually just saw her hanging out, being herself and snuck out for the photo op.

It's amazing to me how long it can take to re-hab a dog from lack of care. Twinkle's been here a little over a year now and she's just now what I'd consider 'healthy'. She's holding a good weight now on one sitting of food. Her itching has died down to almost nil. She enjoys her yard AND her opportunities for air conditioning now too. She at least knows when you're speaking to her. (that name recognition took FOREVER) She has some, very few, but some basic house manners now. At least I can eat without her mauling me. She lays politely beside me on the couch or on the floor after only a couple of reminders about manners. She's actually turned out to be quite a 'daddy' dog. She's playful and perky now that her personality is blossoming too.

1st

I caught a picture of Jedi all out sleeping in the sun. You can do that now that he's so close to completely deaf. He looks so cute, and almost sweet. It's strange to see him seeming old. He was the 'never say die' terrier for so many years that it hurts to see him tottering around and spending most of his days sleeping.