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2007 training goals

DECEMBER 2007

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31st

Cheryl and I went tracking this morning. Shelby is getting the idea now. She even tracked Cheryl around a right turn. There is still a kibble every 5-6 steps, but she keeps her nose down now and searches. Sparkle didn't do as well. She always does the first leg well. Then when the first leg passed a tree she temporarily lost her mind. She got frustrated but did find turn #1 finally. She took the second leg great. Then at the 2nd turn instead of bearing left she turned right and went right to the glove. She missed leg 3,4 and 5. Cheryl learned that the legs need more distance between them because Sparkle's nose is so good. She could air scent the last leg and went right to it.

30th

Cheryl and I drug ourselves up to carpool to an agility match today. I would love to have taken Kamikaze but that durn 'in season' is still a problem. I took Josie and Sparkle. Josie had a stellar jumpers run as usual. She was really there to try and get a good standard run as that is where we freak out right now. Unfortunately we were close to the last dog to run over there and even Josie couldn't cope well with all the food smells on every contact. We had just a dismal performance. Sparkle had an OK jumpers run. I was a bit nervous she'd take off and never look back, but that didn't happen. She did sniff much more than she's ever done in class. I had Caesar soft food for a treat. She liked that idea. Her standard run was also much worse. She sniffed everything. But, she did do the teeter and the broad jump on the first try. She never tried to run off here either, but sniffed horribly for everyone's treats. We got home by around 4 so it wasn't too long a day.

27th

Since I did absolutely nothing with my guys over the last four day weekend I spent a little time on training today. Sparkle did weaves once during the day. She's a bit rusty on entries. In the evening, Nikita did an entire Utility run through. She nailed the healing and signals the first try. Then did the articles right the first two times. Got confused the next two, but finished on a good one. Gloves were a breeze as was the exam/call to heel. Now for the parts we haven't done in awhile. She was in a new part of the yard and it took a couple of reminders to get a full go out to the ring gate. Then it took a couple of reminders to get a jump and not a recall. Once she remembered she sailed over the 16 inch jumps with ease. I didn't see any unwillingness or difficulty at all. I still haven't been brave enough to go up to 20 inches yet though. I'm not planning on entering her anywhere until probably April or May so we have time to build that up. Then I took Kamikaze out front for a straight line track. She seemed to remember what the harness meant and tracked fairly well with there still being food every 5 to 6 steps. I added the glove at the end for the first time. That part didn't go as well. She didn't understand it at all. I tried one more straight line with her. She tracked better the second time and I got her to acknowledge the glove with a sit. We worked a bit just on article indication in the driveway area before we went in. Sparkle was so upset that there was tracking going on and she wasn't part of it that I took her out back and did a Novice run through with her. We heeled eternally trying to get her to be bored with it. She never seemed to. I also cut the treats for heeling way back and saved most for after the exercise. She heeled just great, even when I set her up to be in the wrong place she fixed it. I see no reason she won't have that last CD leg very soon. Lego was beside himself when I came in wanting his turn. I was tired, but I did a quick utility article exercise with him. He is so willing to figure it out, but still doesn't know what the point is. He just knows one of them he brings back gets him the cookie.

Around 8pm I was waiting anxiously for my call on the status of my tracking entry. It never came. By 9:15 I became concerned that my entry had been lost in the mail. I went to the computer and composed an inquiry email to the test secretary, but decided not to mail it until the morning. At 10 pm I was busting, so I decided to go send the email. Lo and behold when I logged in to send it there was an email from the test secretary. They had spots for 4 TD entries and 6 people entered. They drew my name as number 4! So we are in! Off to Houston for the first weekend of 2008! 

25th

MERRY CHRISTMAS to all! My folks, including my brother have been in town for the holidays. We've had a nice visit and enjoyed some family games. I'll be back to work tomorrow as my family leaves for Memphis. Then I'll have another 4 day weekend for the New Year. I'm hoping to hear on Thursday that Sparkle's in the Houston tracking test in January. 

22nd

Since Kamikaze chose this week to go into season, Shelby, Sparkle and I met up with Cheryl and her guys to track this morning. I ran a straight line with food with Shelby and introduced her to gloves. Then I laid a track with food and 2 turns for Bernie while Cheryl laid Sparkle's track. We aged Bern and Sparkle's track while we worked with Grace. I laid her a 2 turn track with food as well. Grace is a tracking dog just waiting to burst forth. She seems to really get this game.

Bernie did his first turn well, but got a bit discouraged at the second turn. The good news is when he finally stuck his nose down again he actually got on the track again and finished all on his own.

Then Cheryl laid Shelby a one turn track with food. Shelby got a bit discouraged and look to me for help, but she did eventually do it all herself.

Sparkle ran her track last and I was most encouraged by her performance this time. She still got a bit wide and searching at the turns, but she made obvious indications when she'd found the turn with a nice pull forward.

After tracking everyone we let them play at the dog park for 30 minutes or so. Sparkle went into 'hound mode' and made her way around the fence line sniffing all the way.

Misty has now been off her phenobarb for a week. She's still doing fine so far.

My brother is coming to town this afternoon and Mom and Dad tomorrow. They'll be going home Wednesday morning.

20th

I didn't make any training classes this week. I just couldn't find the motivation. Then it just rained all day yesterday. Of course, here the temperature is around 65-70 so it wasn't cold and icky. Just icky. Yesterday evening I had an appointment to meet some old friends at the their house and see if they were raising their new puppy OK. They had a few concerns. He's a serious rescue. He looks like a Doberman/Rottweiler (that's what mom was). He is just wonderful. He already sits, downs, walks on a leash, rolls overs and knows what back up means at the door. His main issue is the puppy gnawing. He's only 13 weeks. It should all solve itself with grown-up teeth. I gave them a few pointers on stopping him when he's in the "I'm doing what I want no matter what you say" mood. They've found a neighbor dog to let him play with the to burn some energy and this will help too. We left with the idea that maybe we can meet at the dog park soon and let him play with some of my guys. 

I went early to avoid traffic and sat at a Chili's close to their house. No sooner had I ordered my food I see a familiar vehicle/driver pull into the parking lot. Sure enough me eyes didn't deceive me. I got up to see Danna and mom come in to eat. So, I got to eat with them. Haven't seen them in years I think. I told her we need to find times to catch up and such. Maybe she'll drop in the show in March and see us all.

We have had to take measures to keep the dogs out from behind the new air conditioner. Some new puppy, that we'll leave nameless, has decided that the insulation foam on the pipes is great to gnaw on. We found this neat pre-made roll of pickets at Lowe's pretty cheap. It'll also prevent the male hiking which the air conditioner guys said would be bad for it. And it's easy to move for maintenance.

18th

Yesterday I took the Expedition in and got the flat tire fixed and remounted and the oil changed, so she's all ready for the next trip now. Then in the evening I turned one of Kamikaze's fetch games into training. Sometimes she brings me a toy and drops it wanting me to propel it so she can chase it. She brought a hard ball. After a couple of slides across the floor I replaced it with the plastic dumbbell. She didn't even flinch at first. She brought it happily back twice before she realized she was being trained. Then she immediately looked all nervous about the dumbbell and wouldn't touch it. LOL! 

Today I did some Utility with Nikita again. She did everything right the first try. The article pile was still missing a couple of articles, but she brought back the right one both times. The first time she even had to search some to find it. Gloves were perfect. Stand was great. So, we did go-outs for the first time since surgery #2. She was spot-on! Now I'll have to add the jumps back in at a low height and see how she does. I decided not to go to Sparkle's class tonight. It's been twisty, turny and a bit demotivating for her recently. Instead I pulled out my teeter and broad jump. It took a couple of passes to get the broad jump. The teeter's been slow and tentative recently. I pulled out the big guns (STEAK STRIPS! ) to get her moving over it again. Several times following the steak piece and she seemed to speed back up and not be so nervous. Her first agility show is coming up in 3 weeks or so in Mississippi.

 

16th

 I got home safely from the Jackson shows this afternoon. Thursday was a great day. Kamikaze got her RN with another first place. Sparkle got her second CD leg with a third place and a higher score than brother Lego ever got in Novice!

Friday started well. I moved Kazee up to Advanced A rally for the rest of the weekend after getting her RN. She took a first place for her first leg in Advanced Rally. Then we got BOB in the conformation ring since no one else showed up. Sparkle did OK in Novice. Not as good as Thursday, but I was sure we were still qualifying up to stays. We did our stays and I was excited. Then the judge came to the line of dogs and said we didn't Q. Everyone there was shocked. We all thought Sparkle had done it. The judge NQ'd ME  for stopping walking on the heeling pattern briefly while Sparkle scratched. Had I kept walking to the halt a few feet away we would've passed and gotten her title. POOP! Smack the handler please.

Saturday didn't go as well. Kazee still got her Advanced Rally leg with a 94 and third place. I was disappointed with the attitude and performance there though. It couldn't have anything to do with me rushing in as first dog and throwing her straight in the car afterwards to drive over to conformation. I guess my brain was scattered and that didn't help her at all. There was a class dog there Saturday. We got BOS to the dog. I really can't see why as we behaved better in the ring and are certainly as good a quality. Then it just got worse. I got Sparkle out for Novice and she just wasn't to into it. I thought Novice was starting at 1 pm as posted. Turns out the judge didn't make it back until 1:20. Since Sparkle was first in the ring I had her out for 1. By the time we went in she'd had it with this game. It was a dismal performance in general. I picked her up and hugged her afterwards and said I was sorry it was so not fun. I got her to do a small leg of off lead heeling next to the crate and then treated her and put her up.  She had spectacular stays though. She was an end dog. The dog next to her was scared of thunder and it was raining pretty hard out. The dog next to that dog didn't stay a lick and followed it's owner across the ring. At about 1.5 minutes into the down stay a thunder clap rattled the building. The dog next to her bolted for the exit. Sparkle never flinched. So now it was Sparkle and two empty spaces before any other dogs. When stays were over the judge came by. She started to tell me she was sorry but we didn't pass. I told her I knew that but I wanted a few extra points for sticking stays as everyone around her broke. She said she wished she could do that and that she was impressed with her stays. Well, at least I'm planning dinner at Olive Garden this night with friends so I won't be alone in my misery. I grab the dogs and head to the car. As I walk out I see my car sitting cock-eyed in the front. "NO WAY!" Oh yes, flat tire. I mean dead flat. Not salvageable with FIX A FLAT. We do remember the nice rain right? I call Rich who assures me ALLSTATE motor club will come change it for me. They send out a guy. He gets it changed for me just as it quits raining. The nice friends from the club didn't leave the site until I was on the road again too. Olive Garden food and company was wonderful and healing for the soul. Sunday started well. Kazee got another first place and her RA title. That makes two titles this weekend! Now just please let me and Sparkle do well. I was determined to have a happy working dog this time. Happy makes an easier qualifier. Well, Happy she was. A bit too happy. I guess I overdid the enthusiasm today. She had nice watching on lead healing. Off -lead she decided the SCHIP waiting to go in the ring looked like a playmate and she raced out of the ring to see them and danced around. I retrieved her. We started heeling nicely... until the FAST. That sent her out of the ring again to play. Retrieved her again. Judge gives me the option to leave or stay. I kept my happy dog in the ring and she did a beautiful recall and finish with happy feet on the finish. We even made stays although she was shivering on the down stay. I was disappointed and thrilled all at the same time. I loved that happy dog. Maybe a bit less happy next time though.

11th

This afternoon I worked some with Nikita on her articles and signals. I cut the article pile back to six so it looked less intimidating. She still acted goofy the first time out so I went to the pile and pointed at the right one. "OH, I hadn't looked there!" The next time out she made a good attempt at looking and found it. We played this five or so times until she seemed to be getting her confidence back on how to circle and look for the scented one. Then I got out the dumbbells and worked with Kamikaze and Sparkle. Kazee is so silly. She picked it up off the ground when I dropped it and started to trot off with it. When I praised her. She dropped it and wouldn't pick it up again. She'll hold it in her mouth when I give it to her, but she couldn't possible walk or sit with it in her mouth. Since it appeared to be a "I can't do anything while I hold this" mental block I gave it to her in a stand and just worked on getting her to sit while holding it. She was so certain she couldn't do that that I had to hold her mouth shut and push her butt down. After three or four times of that she decided she could sit on her own and still hold the stupid thing. Sparkle had a good breakthrough. She picked it up off the ground and actually walked three steps into front and sat while still holding it! She got hotdog treats for that and much to do was made. 

Sparkle had agility class tonight, but since I didn't have the time after all that other training to cut her up the 'good' treats she trotted mostly without too much enthusiasm. I only ran her three times through the exercises as they were quite hard. I then got Kamikaze out of the car and let her run once. She was funny. She doesn't do 180s or 270s well at all so she'd get busy just zooming. But, she always came back when called and was willing to do an obstacle for a reward. Cheryl says she and Grace can't make class tomorrow and seeing as how we have been our own class this session, I decided to stay home too.

I'll be taking off early Thurs. morning for Jackson obedience/conformation shows. Sparkle's got four chances at the last 2 CD legs she needs. Kamikaze's in Rally Novice Thurs and hopefully should move up to Advanced for the rest of the weekend.

10th

I took Sparkle and Kamikaze to a local park  with fenced tennis courts to practice obedience  in a different place. It seems that place matters a lot to Sparkle, but not at all to Kazee. Sparkle was very distracted at first and heeled looking all around and not at me. Most distracting was the 'dog park' area she could see with all the doggies running around. As she began to get accustomed to her surroundings she started heeling looking at me and such. She did nice recalls there too. I am learning with her that a new place short circuits her for a time until she gets used to what goes on at the new place. Kazee, on the other hand, is not easily distracted and needs to be worked a bit before ring time for her over exuberance. She just needs a little settle time to not be bouncy and forging. I set up the 'dreaded' off-set figure eight with her favorite toys, a honker and a rope tuggy. She actually did very well and knew right away that heeling time did not include picking up one of her toys. I guess the TDI training in class when we walked by a bowl of yummy treats stuck with her and she generalized to the toys as well. We practiced several other of the off-lead Advanced exercises as well. I think she'll do fine in Rally Advanced if I mover her up this weekend.

Tonight was conformation class. Kazee is so great here now. She's like an old pro at it. The teacher was also nice enough to practice a couple of obedience stand for exams too. I need to get serious about getting Kazee ready for Novice obedience. She should be good and ready by our show in May.

9th

It's been a bit of a let down weekend. Kamikaze went Best of Opposite all three days she was entered. Not surprised, but I was hoping one day the judge would put us up as breed so we could get a point. Sparkle failed the tracking test today too. She did the first leg great, but got a bit bumfunkled at the first turn. It took us quite awhile, but she hit the track again and was right on for the second leg. Then she made the second turn the first try, nose down, perfect. I started to relax then as I saw her really doing it well. For some reason about 5 feet down this leg she made an about turn and went back. She wanted to investigate some great animal smell I guess. We never got back on again. In retrospect, as sure as I was that she was right on when she turned, I shouldn't have given her so much slack to back track. I should have forced her to pull me. She usually stops if going the wrong way and I put some tension on her. After we got whistled the track layer got us back on the leg she pulled off. She still didn't seem convinced it was right. She made a weak turn for turn three and then was on it good and had a perfect turn 4 an glove indication. I'm feeling a bit bummed now, as I know my dog can track very well. I have already mailed our entries to the Southwest Tracking test in Houston in January.

7th

Since there's only been Kamikaze and one champion dog at the show each day we've been getting the pretty Best of Opposite ribbon which doesn't really mean anything, but years from now in a scrapbook no one will remember she didn't beat anybody to get it. We stuck around an extra hour today to see one of LCCOC's new member's dogs trot around the ring. She only entered her dog as a favor to the Collie club to built up the numbers. She's not truly interested in doing conformation. Her puppy bitch actually beat another puppy to get a pretty blue ribbon. She thought that was neat. When I got home we loaded up the dogs (all the dogs) and went to the vet to have a Christmas picture made since we missed the CAAWS picture this year. They made special efforts to be sure we they could accommodate all of us. Here's one that Rich took with our camera. I had to fix "glowing eyes" on all of them. I haven't seen the one the vet helpers got on their camera yet. I'm going by in the morning to see them and pick one for them to email me. Then we'll have Walgreen's make us some prints.

Tomorrow after the show I'm headed straight to Houston for Sparkle's tracking test. I should get there just in time for the group dinner Sat. night. Fingers crossed for no rain and distraction scents! (rabbits, squirrels)

5th

Kamikaze didn't wake me up at all last night and this morning we had a normal poop!

Since Kamikaze seemed to be much better today I took her to her agility class tonight. She was certainly a handful with this cooler weather. Not to mention having felt bad for several days before and just having gotten her "pretty dog" bath. She did great agility though and I started practicing front crosses and turns with her in a box setup. Cheryl with Grace and Kazee and I were once again left to run our own class. It really is working out well since we can pick our own things to practice. I even ran Kazee through her first jump chute and she's gonna get the idea on that quickly! Now to remember how to primp her up for the conformation show tomorrow-Saturday.

Kazee's looking like all I could ever have wanted in a performance Siberian! Is it too early to dream??  CH VCCH Rocyn's Divine Wind has a nice ring ;)

4th

Sparkle had her agility class tonight. She actually ran the first exercise with great enthusiasm. I so excited that she seems to be catching on to the point of this game now. She even looked like she was having fun. Her next two exercises weren't quite as fast, but she was still moving and not walking and she looked happy. Now's the time to focus on tracking this weekend though.

My vet's office is having pet holiday photos this weekend. They have made a special effort to be sure all my kids can fit in the picture, so we're going to have a group shot by a Christmas tree this year after all.

Kamikaze seems much more like herself today. She refused to poop for me before I had to leave for class, so I left her outside. She also wouldn't go when I got back from class. She just looked at me like "Don't need to". I'm taking this as a positive sign though.

3rd

 I am a tad concerned about Kamikaze now. She has had diarrhea for two and a half days and this morning she started throwing up. She's expelled all contents of her stomach now I believe and is resting comfortably in the house. The good news is she is still willing to eat as I offered her a small chicken based treat. She is also still squirting so there is still a passageway through the intestines. She seems like she feels a bit under the weather today though and she's not her chipper self. Nikita started a similar line of problems when she was about 15 months old and it turned out to be a food allergy and a switch to Lamb and Rice solved all symptoms almost immediately. We will give this a try today and see if it helps as my vet is not in on Mondays. I will also dose her with Imodium this afternoon to see if helps settle her stomach. 

I've also just started weaning Misty off of Phenobarb. In a couple of weeks she'll be medication free hopefully with no seizure activity. I hope getting off the meds helps stabilize her rear legs a bit more.

I spent a bit of time this afternoon working Nikita in Utility exercises again. We didn't do any go-outs or jumps, but everything else. She did great on all of it except articles. Seems she forgotten how to 'work' them. She knows which one she wants, but can't remember to go all the way around the pile sniffing and gets stuck in one place and gets frustrated. We'll need to go back to only 4 articles or so and work back up to a full set to remind her to sniff every one.

Kamikaze still has almost pure water coming out every two hours. I gave her some yogurt today and got some intestinal enzyme stuff from the vet's office to put on her food.

1st

We met up with Cheryl and John this morning for some obedience and tracking practice. Kamikaze didn't go along because she's had the runs pretty bad since last night. Sparkle was the only one I took. She did as predicted in the new environment and was much distracted on heeling, She would've passed though. I was extremely pleased with her stand for exam. She let John hover over her when he petted her and then let both Cheryl and John step over her while she stayed standing. After obedience we went to run a two hour old track that John laid that morning on the way to obedience practice. She hit the first turn well and then got distracted sniffing tree trunks looking for critters. I got her to get back to tracking and at the second turn John insisted we'd passed the turn and Sparkle insisted otherwise. I listened to John and reeled her in just to have her lunge back the same way again. This went on for several tries and then John realized he was wrong and she was probably right. So I let her go the way she wanted and she hit the track. Turn three was almost perfect. I was getting worried there in the middle that my tracking dog entered in a test next Saturday had failed miserably, but it turns out she was just fine. Teach me to ignore my dog's obvious signals!

Now that it's December we still have roses blooming!