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31st

Lego is feeling much better. He's starting to put that leg down about 50% of the time when he walks. I cut out pain meds when we got home from Alabama. According to my records on Nikita's knee surgery, the dogs seem to be over the pain by day 4. Day 5 they start being mad about confinement. He's right on schedule! He's getting the half bath as his day home now instead of a crate. That gives him more space to move about a little in a confined environment. Human doctors want you using that leg by day 3. They even suggest PT no later than day 5. I am going to have him up and outside on a 2 foot leash three times a day for about 15 minutes at a time walking on that leg to build up some muscle before it all atrophies. I did give him a calming chew today to make him at least tolerant of confinement.

30th

Cheryl and I were in Birmingham, AL for an agility show this weekend. Lego tagged along so I could medicate him three to four times a day and keep a good eye on him. He was on strict crate rest, so why not sit in a crate at a show? The drive there was just plain miserable. It was a dreary, driving rain the whole 6 hours. Thankfully we got a first floor room so Lego and I didn't have to navigate stairs. 
There were two awesome judges there and I was excited to be debuting Kayak under them. The first Novice Jumpers run on Sat. was perfectly made for a three jump lead out. I debated, but decided to put on the big kid pants right from the start. I'd have done it in practice and this is supposed to be no different. Think I'm the only Novice person that did the lead out. Kayak nailed it and released from the start line with intent on cue. He was slipping a bit on the surface, but he did well keeping his feet under him. I rear crossed into a pinwheel and he came inside the second jump. But, he read the rear correctly and turned appropriately. So we got a first place and with a 95. In Standard Kayak and I got another blue ribbon with a 90. I called "aframe" and started fading to it as he was on his way to the jump before it. He came around it to do the Aframe. OK, my bad. Then he proceeded to fly past the tire after the Aframe. That was all him. Sunday in Jumpers he did awesome again, but I did a rear cross into a 180 and he came between the jumps. I see a pattern here. Must work drive to the next obstacle after a rear cross on a turn. So he got a second place with a 95. Standard he flew by the jump after the Aframe again. Another pattern. We will work on Aframe to obstacle! But, he had two beautiful running Aframes this weekend. Then right near the end he decided staying on the teeter until it hit the ground was optional. OOPS! Another thing to work on. All in all he was a superstar this weekend in his runs. Now, he was very naughty once. Thankfully nothing came of it. After I came out of the jumpers ring with Kamikaze Sunday afternoon Cheryl tells me that as I was walking into the ring a pretty red Siberian came and smashed into her ringside. "HI Auntie Cheryl". OOPS! Seems some boy unzipped his crate. Thankfully  he came straight to a person he knew and didn't try to leave the building and he apparently didn't stop to have any words with other dogs as there were no disturbance noises. Another friend took him by the collar and led him back to his crate and zipped him up. He stayed put the rest of his time there.

Kamikaze had a nice weekend. The first run, Standard, was just plain AWFUL. She went completely blonde and was not listening to a word I said. After that she Q'd the rest of her runs. That's QQ #8 for MACH2.
Sprigs rocked the courses this weekend. She deserved 2 QQ, but alas cam home with none. One time thanks to me, one time thanks to her. She did come home with her first MX leg with 24 points and she got 16 (WoW!) points in Jumpers Saturday. She didn't have any mental break downs and do the zooms and she hit her weaves all weekend at a decent speed.
Xanadu only ran Saturday. She actually had 2 nice runs in which I screwed her up. Xanadu's big news of the weekend was taking 'engagement' pictures with her man, Timber. It was lots of fun to get them out together and get some pictures. 

27th

Lego came through surgery fine this morning. Vet said he had destroyed the ACL and the meniscus. He has no external stitches that need to come out later which is nice.

He is settling into the borrowed crate (from Cheryl) here at home. He hasn't been moaning in pain, but is clearly not himself. This time around I was insistent that there was plenty of pain meds dispatched. After doing this myself, I will not be lax on getting him pain meds at the right times. This will include a midnight alarm tonight though, UGH! Hoping to work that schedule a bit so it's 9pm and 5am for the rest of pain med time. If it's anything like mine, by Saturday the pain med dispensing can be much slacker. There's also an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory for a couple of weeks. I'm glad the surgery is past and we are on 'recovery time' now. The vet says 14 days crate rest. HRRMMM... the interesting part here to me is when they did this to me they wanted me in Physical Therapy within 3-5 days of surgery. Why aren't we asking the dog to start therapy? I didn't do the surgery where they break a bone to re-set the angle of the knee. That I could see resting until the bone started healing well. I'm thinking he may be up for some short walks, passive range of motion movement in several days when he's ready to put weight on it.

Sprigs, Xanadu and Twinkle got baths today while I waited to here about Lego's surgery. So at least two of the kids going to agility this weekend are clean of all the mud from the slop that is the backyard right now. I just couldn't bring myself to do Siberians. So much to dry! At least the mud dries on them and you can practically brush it out. I am excited that this weekend is Kayak's AKC agility debut. Should be a blast.

Kayak tried out 4 articles yesterday before dinner. It seemed to blow his mind, where 3 had not. The good news is he understood a particular article was right, so he raced out to bring in a different article each time until he was right. Today I went back to three and he sniffed out the right one first try. So, later today I tried 4 when dinner wasn't on his mind. He did sniff out the right one, but it was the second one he sniffed. Need to try it again where it's the last one he gets to. I think that was his downfall yesterday.

25th

The weather guys predicted strong storms spawning tornadoes for Christmas. OK, well we didn't get much but some sprinkles until around 5 pm. I did start a fire in the fireplace for a bit this afternoon since it's supposed to be pretty chilly tomorrow. That way I can have some coals and partial burnt logs ready to go for in the morning. Josie was thrilled to see a fire. She's always been a 'fire dog'.

Rich got home before 2pm, so he missed the bad weather here. He said he had to drive through some bad stuff. Arkansas was supposed to be getting snow today. As for me and the kids, we spent mostly the whole day like this.

There was an Indiana Jones marathon on USA network that was on mostly the whole day (since there are 4 of those movies).

24th - Happy Birthday Sprigs

Sprigs is two today. WOW! Where did that time go?

Cheryl and I met up for lunch today since the weather wasn't really cooperating for dog training. 

23rd

Rich took off this morning to see his family for Christmas. I stayed home with the injured Lego, et al. It was a perfect day for tracking but my heart didn't want to track with Lego laying in a crate completely lame. I willed myself out to lay a couple of short tracks, close to home for Xanadu and Kamikaze. After church Sprigs got a quick track about 20 minutes old. She did very well. Still hard to tell how much is tracking and how much is walking along. Then I loaded up Kaz and Xan and headed out with Lego howling pitifully in his crate. Broke my heart. Ah well, Xan was up first. Track was almost 3 hours old. She did so, so well. There was one corner we may have flunked if I had not known where we were supposed to be going. But her article indication is blossoming. She stopped for both articles, even came back to one. Seems our last session focused on stopping for articles and getting steak worked! Kaz also did a wonderful job on her 3 hour old track. She had to circle for both articles as she wasn't directly on them, but proud she came around to them. Now she needs cross track work and woods work. I think there is a TDX hidden in there!

Come dinner time I laid out Kayak's two metal articles as is the custom right now. Scented one with tiny bit of cheese. I sent him out and he smashed into them. Then he proceeded to nose touch the wrong one and move to check the next one. He promptly brought the scented one in. HEY!! He made a conscious choice to pick a specific one based on what he thought I wanted. WOW! That didn't take long. What.. like 5 before dinner sessions? So I think I'll add a third one tomorrow and see his reaction.

20th

Off to the vet this morning with Lego. My worst fears are confirmed. Lego has blown his left ACL. Knee surgery for him next week. I am devastated. This signals the end of his agility career just when that MACH was in sight. I don't see doing the expensive TPLO repair and trying to rehab him for agility at 10 1/2 years old. I was already thinking it was time to retire in the next year. Surgery and rehab would take 6-7 months of that year and then there's no way to know that at his age he would be willing to do it again. We will do the exterior (fake ligament) repair and he can be a dog. He should still be able to track his heart out though and that is his first true love anyway. I had to send the emails pulling him from the two events he was entered in in January. It's just before closing for both of them so I get all my money back. I spent the whole day in a fog trying to let go of my dreams for his agility career. I had no problem making the decision I knew was right for him, but I had a HUGE problem letting go of MY plans. Many tears have been shed.

On the training front, not much of anything got done. I did do Kayak's pre-dinner routine though. This time I added a smidge of cheese to the inside end of the scented article hoping to encourage nose usage. It didn't seem to be working. First three or four sends out and he was snatching the far left one still. Then... behold he scents the cheese and licks part of it off and then brings... the far left one again (not the cheese one). ARGH!! Next send he licks some more cheese and I give a verbal encouragement to bring THAT one and he does. This session was half as long as the last one. Progress is progress.

19th

I've been doing a good job of obedience training here and there. Xanadu had broken her articles again early this week. We are working to get them back. At this point they seem to be broken situationally. She is pretty good in house and in driveway and pretty bad in front yard in the grass. Her signals are coming along nicely and her gloves seem to be fixed again. Spirit has shown some interest in getting her treats too. She skulks in heeling though, so still not her bouncy self completely. Sprigs has been practicing novice stays with good success and we're trying intro to dumbbell again with not as good success. Sparkle has had a very small amount of practice. She actually did off lead work in the front yard with me once. Her drop is good, retrieves pretty good, heeling still not great. Her stays are wonderful though. She managed out of sight stays in the back yard with loose dogs chasing a squirrel right in front of her. Kamikaze has been working through article stress again. Her signals are good and so are her go-outs (at least here). Kayak has been doing a wide range of things. He is doing really well on out of sight stays. He's not trying to move, but I occasionally get a down during the sit. I've started some close up signal work too. He has a beautiful drop on recall going. He's got the right idea on the obedience broad jump but likes to cut the corner to come in to me. I'm working on it. I think it won't be an issue for him to move up to Open at Swamp Dogs if we get our last Novice leg on Saturday. I've started intro to articles as his required 'trick' before dinner time. This is an interesting experience. I started with just one metal article in the back hallway and worked on getting him to pick it up and bring it. That didn't' take too long. Then I added the 'turn and send directly'. He did that well. Next I added another article out there. He did OK in the hallway, typically bringing back the scented one on the first or second try. Then I moved the game to the patio where I could see better. And here is our hang up. He spent FOREVER picking the same wrong article OVER AND OVER AND OVER. He never goes for the other one. Always the one on the far left (my left). I refused to switch placement of articles to 'help' him. Finally, after he was frustrated and tired and confused he went out one time and accidentally  stood on the correct one. So he brought that one back.

On a scary note, Lego was out back around dusk pottying with his girls. I went to let them in and Twinkle, Sprigs and Xan were playing chase and dodge. Lego was on the patio waiting to come in. Rather than let him in and go get the girls I just decided to do it all at once. A decision I am kicking myself for now. Lego went to 'help' get the girls. Dead run to join the chase. I was worried he'd hurt one of them running them over. I was calling to him. He was ignoring. He races over a log, hangs a right and goes behind a kennel run. I here a mild 'yipe'. I figure he caught them. They come racing around the corner... No Lego. He comes hobbling along three legged looking stunned. I went and picked him up and carried him in. It looks like a knee injury. NO NO NO!!! I iced it and input pain meds and anti-inflammatory. 

15th

I took several of the dogs and met up with Cheryl at the agility field for a bit of practice this morning before she took off to her Christmas commitments. Xanadu ran first on a twisty jumpers course set up out there. She ran the best jumpers course I've seen her run in quite awhile. Even driving though the 180 wraps. GOOD GIRLIE! That was it for her. Then we moved to the area of the field with a standard course set up. I ran Kamikaze through it. There were a couple of tough spots where we got tangled, but the only part I was frustrated at her for was stopping to sniff!!??! Kayak ran the same standard course. He ran it better than Kamikaze. GO BOY! He nailed his running Aframe with two short strides through yellow and we didn't get tangled at the parts I did with Kazee. Ok, I know part of that is his inexperience means he's really paying attention to directions and not driving towards what he is sure must be next. Then he nailed his dogwalk. I was nervous as he picked up speed on the down ramp, but he short strided at bottom and stopped. OOPS.. his rear feet were just off, but it was an acceptable performance. I DID, however, make him do his rear foot touch before I went on. I don't want that beautiful dogwalk to deteriorate! Sprigs had her turn on the standard course. There were a couple of spots that I almost stepped on her or lost her on a cross, but it was a great effort on her part. Still learning some on that little dog how to handle tricky spots. She also got a quick weave practice in. The first time by she got distracted and sniffed instead of weaving (our common problem), but from then on she was great. Lego came out and tried the standard course. I lost him to the same smell spot as Kamikaze, but otherwise he was great. Hit weave entrances too. I got Kayak out right at the end to run the twisty jumpers course. He was great, but doesn't turn away from me well on the flat. Must work on that! I was pleased to see him run the weaves at the field pretty well too. He didn't one step like at home, but he is figuring a pattern that works for him. Kamikaze took awhile to pick a consistent footwork pattern that worked for her too.

After practice I offered to take Spice home and work some on her weaves since I was gonna be home all day and Cheryl was gonna be tied up all day. So Spice came out for the afternoon. At first I just let her run the yard with Sparkle, Twinkle and Josie while I unloaded the other guys out of the car. She was a bit intimidated with all the 'new' but not snarky at all. She was able to run with the hound (plus Josie and minus Lego) pack with no problems. She was here about 6 hours and we did about 4 weave training sessions. The second and third ones were her best. She started doing the four poles without looking to me for input or reassurance. The fourth one she made several wrong choices in a row and got frustrated with the lack of treats (and probably the fourth time!) In between training, she was just a dog at the house. She even flopped out for over 30 minutes in one spot and managed to work herself a spot on the couch at one point.

we dropped her off back at her house on the way to the dog club Christmas Party this evening.

14th

I waited until just the end of rush hour this morning and headed out to lay tracks. I started with a short, one turn for Grace to practice starts. Then I went to a new spot I've had my eye on and was able to lay Kamikaze, Lego and Xanadu something. Nothing very long. Went back at lunch to meet up with Cheryl and Grace. Then on to my tracks. Kamikaze up first. At 3 hours old in short grass she struggled with the start a bit. Then she turned on the wrong side of a tree. She did fix herself pretty quickly since her favorite article was not far up that leg. She made turn two well and alerted to an article there. She over shot turn three a bit and ended up in some stickers in the grass and trying to find a way around them she went even farther off course. She would've missed the glove all together if I hadn't made her re-trace towards it. I was no displeased though. Xanadu was up next with a similar length track. The idea here was to make the articles important enough to her that she'd find them so I kept her on a short line so I could see articles coming and make a quick treat of ham bits on them. I think I made some headway convincing her. She was much more interested in the second article after getting ham on the first one. She did well staying on track but for a few investigative sniffs here and there. Lego started great on his track. Turn one was a little late, but he pulled back on track to find the article on that leg. He seemed to be doing well for turn three and four, but we found no more articles, not even the glove. Lego's not one to lose articles typically. I went back and couldn't find them either. Maybe a bird or some other animal stole them? I was not displeased with his efforts though.

12th

Spirit was much more herself this morning and even joined the breakfast beggar crowd.

By this afternoon she was pretty much back to her old self. Her biggest complaint is that I won't let her run the yard. It's just too wet and muddy out there for a dog with a fresh incision.
I got some more stay practice in. Sprigs still broke the sit on the first try thinking it was a recall. Then she did a full set of Novice stays with no issues. Spirit acted interested in earning treats so I started her on out of sight stays in the same manner as Kayak did the other day. Figured that couldn't hurt her incision any. By JOVE, I think she WILL be able to pull out of sight stays off. Xanadu did her articles, a full set. She is still a bit unsure when she picks one and is looking at me to see if I'll help her. I have given no response since she is consistently picking correctly and I'm waiting her out to see what her decision will be. She is choosing to bring the one she picked, eventually, to me on her own. I think her confidence will improve as she continues to be correct.
I have also started trying to introduce Kayak to scent articles. UGH! This dog is taxing my training abilities in a way they haven't been pushed before. He HATES picking up things and bringing them to me even though he WANTS to please me. So, the usual method of putting out two and waiting for them to bring the right one is just not gonna work. He doesn't WANT to keep trying. He stands a stares at the ceiling and whines and cries. He doesn't understand what is 'right' if he does it right and you ask him to do it again as a way to reinforce it. So, can I teach articles like I taught dumbbell I wonder? I will start with one metal article on the ground and send him to get it. When he does that well I'll add a second (unscented) on and then quit as soon as he brings me the scented one. I wonder if this way of trying to teach it will EVER work. We shall see. OR we shall come up with some other idea. I have sent an email out asking for input to a few select people.

11th

Spirit got dropped off at the vet this morning to get spayed. Then I spent three hours of work time trying to figure out something that should have only taken 30 minutes. I hate those kind of days. As a brain break around lunch I took Kayak out to see how he did weaving with a jump first. He's really doing well. Needs work driving to the poles after a jump some though.
I did finally get the motivation to work on stays. Sprigs is entered one day in Novice (first time) in January and is doing well on everything but the stays and Kayak needs to learn out of sight stays so he can move up to Open. Sprigs seems to break the sit stay thinking it's the recall on the first try. Then she was good. We did a 40 second sit stay and a 2 minute down stay. I think I can have her ready. I started Kayak out with a one minute in sight stay and then I stepped out of sight for 30 seconds. I reappeared long enough for him to see me and then disappeared for another 30 seconds. I did this until he'd done a total of one minute in sight and 1.5 minute out of sight and then returned to for a 30 second in sight to finish. That got him a three minute total sit in one spot. Then to the down I did a three minute in sight and stepped out of sight at one minute intervals until he'd down a total of five minutes down in one spot. I think he's going to do fine (at least in practice).
Picked Spirit up from the vet around 3:30. He said there was a cyst on an ovary, but it wasn't horrendous... yet. I SWEAR she's the most pathetic spay case ever. She seems to think she can't walk and she keeps her tail tucked. Vet people says she can make a most pathetic whine.

Immediately after the picture I set her up in a soft crate with lots of cush in it in the same room with me and the other dogs. That way no one could bother her but they could all see her.

10th

Rained ALL STINKIN' DAY. So, I spent the morning cleaning up my half of the bedroom. Mostly that involved vacuuming and unjunking/dusting my dresser and night stand. I unearthed my collection of watches, three or four barrettes and several pony tail holders. Most of the watch batteries are dead.

I also managed to get something like six loads of laundry washed and put up and mattresses switched out. I don't think I sat down until four o'clock.
The doggies got a package today that should hold for some time on training treats!

9th

I got in some obedience practice this afternoon. I figured since it was supposed to rain a bunch tonight and Monday I needed to pick up my training stuff out of the yard, so I should USE it first.

Kamikaze practiced her gloves followed by go-outs. That's always seemed to be a hard issue for her if the glove was a corner one. She did absolutely fine. (of course... since it's only practice) Then we got in one quick signal practice and went in. I took Kayak out and practiced his Open exercises. He is doing so well on the drop now that I need to focus on broad jump more. He also did both retrieves well. I guess I should teach out of sight stays now. (as well as with Spirit) Xanadu got her chance at gloves. She did great! I was worried since I broke them a few weeks ago that she'd be hesitant, but she was not. Then she practiced her go-outs and directed jumping. Last for her was signals. AS all this is going so well I really need to get her articles up to snuff so she can compete with the big kids in Utility. I failed to get Sprigs, Sparkle and Spirit any obedience practice. Sparkle and Sprigs are both entered in January. MUST practice stays with Sprigs and Sparkle doesn't need but a refresher on each thing before she tries Open again.

8th

I got out of the house about 7 to start laying tracks. As I pulled out of the driveway, I texted Cheryl to see if Grace wanted something put in. Just as I was walking off Lego's track (the last put in) I got a phone call from Cheryl. So, I laid out her request for Grace. On the way home I put in something for Kayak. I had just enough time to grab a drink, potty myself and dogs and load them all up for the adventure that was today. Kayak only had 30 steps, a turn and 30 steps. I am trying to 'fix' whatever I broke with him and tracking. He started great, got 5 steps and then stopped like "I was tracking... OOPS". He threw his head in the air and whined and complained. I took him back and re-started him. He did about half the first leg and started complaining. I waited him out and he got to the corner and complained. I waited him out. He took most of last leg and then 5 steps from the glove he wanted to stop and stare at the sky. I waited him out. I seem to recall going through this with Kazee way back when. I need to go back and read up on it.

Kazee's track was next. It was behind a bank in a large field. It was 2.75 hours old when we got to it. She started well, though a little off to the right of the track. She cut off a hunk of the first leg to pick up the second leg where an article was. Good girl for smelling the article and alerting! She did very well down leg two, struggled to find leg three though. Then she nailed onto leg 4 and alerted to the next article. Leg five and six went well even with me resisting the urge to 'correct her path' when I thought she was a bit off. I'm glad I resisted as she was RIGHT ON! She come up right on the glove. I think, I really do, that there is a TDX in that dog.

Cheryl and Mike met me at Sparkle's track just as we were taking off. So I Cheryl go some pictures for me. The track was about 3 hours old. Sparkle doesn't show the same enjoyment in tracking that she showed a few years back. I don't know if it's lack of practice or lack of traveling (which she hates). Then she was some kind of mad when she took a corner and was in a patch of prickly grass and thorny things. I carried her over it. She did miss an article, but went out of her way to alert to the next one. She took her time committing to traipsing into the woods too.

Xanadu was up next on a track that was about 3 hours old. The grass was up to her belly. She started well, took the first turn and then found herself in sticker grass and thorns. She asked for help getting over them and it was a good 12-20 steps to carry her. Then she never quite was on that leg again. She turned early for the next leg and I had to correct her and then she walked right over an article with no alert. I called her back to show it to her and give her a treat on it. Then she managed to miss the next article all together and we didn't see it either. I don't think she was ever on that leg good. She did make the last two turns OK and ended up right on the glove. On the way back to the car we spotted the missed article. I never felt like she was connected to that track like she has been on other ones. 

Lego was my last guy to track. His was supposed to be a 'fun' adventure that turned into exhausting in the unseasonly warm afternoon. His track was about 3.5 hours old. He actually started really well. His first leg took him right to the edge of the ditch. The BIG ditch. It took him a good while to commit to climbing down. Then he was up and out and headed to the big hill. He alerted to his article along there well. Then over the hill and off to cross back over the ditch. He nailed the article just before the ditch too. Into the ditch we went and then we had to track along inside the ditch for a bit before we could get out. And when we got to the spot to cross he was hesitant to leap and I had to help him. Then he was hesitant to conquer the rocks. I held onto his harness and we went up together. He made the turn to head home and then wavered. We were all hot and tired so I thought he may be quitting. BUT, I gave him the benefit of the nose that can find the end glove (that can't be far away). In retrospect I think he was choosing a path that skirted the most stickers. He went back and forth across that field and just when we thought he'd missed the end, he sat and looked triumphantly at me. He'd wandered around all the stickers he could and still managed to find his glove. That boy has definitely got a TDX in there!


Sparkle into the woods

Xan said the grass was TALL

Lego heads up the ditch embankment the first time

Lego tramps over a big hill

Lego at the bottom of the ditch again... headed back towards the car

I held onto his harness and we worked our way up together

7th

I got all my obedience stuff set up in the front yard. Of course that's just in time for me to pick it up Sunday since it's gonna rain Monday. Xanadu practiced signals, go-outs, moving stand and directed jumping. She's about got those down. If I could fix articles and gloves she'd be ready for prime time Utility. I figured we'd work on those separately. Then I didn't get back to it. I took Spirit out to practice her Open exercises. She's actually doing really well. She needs some brush up on the drop (doing it faster) and the broad jump. Her retrieves were good. I think she has a CDX (and a VCD2) in there! I guess I should start training out of sight stays. I took Kayak out with the intention of training Open. Instead I started with a couple of short go-outs. Then I tried directed jumping once. I was down to two treats then so I worked his drop on recall twice. He's catching on to the separate cues for 'come straight to front' and 'start coming but I'm going to drop you'. He was so much better than last time. That left no treats. I did stop at the broad jump on the way in and worked it once. I see a signal may work best for him on this exercise. Somehow I managed to not get Kamikaze out to the practice area at all. FAIL! I remember back in 2006 one of my goals was to train the obedience dogs in obedience at least twice a week ALL YEAR. I even kept a chart to keep up with it. I see my response on that goal (#15) was that I was successful but would NEVER vow to do that again. HRMMM.... I am feeling tempted to vow this again with dogs so close to 'ready to show' on many skills. Oh, how time blurs the memory! Although I must point out that was the year Lego and I finally got it all together and got his CDX!

6th

Yesterday I mailed off entries for Lego for a TDX (second level tracking) attempt in Houston the beginning of January. Nothing like 'the check's in the mail' to motivate someone to practice! So this morning I set out to lay tracks to age (at least 3 hours). On the way back to the house I laid Kayak a semblance of a TD (first level) track. By the time I got home to pick him up we could turn around and go out to run it. He only needs 30 minutes of age. Kayak started well, but at the first turn he threw his head in the air and looked around. ARGH! I seem to recall this being an issue with Kamikaze when she was younger too. I need to go read about her training to help me remember how it went. He did eventually start in the correct direction, though off to the left of the track because of a nice breeze pushing scent that way. Second turn he threw his head in the air and paced and whined at me that this was hard and he wanted help. I just kept telling him to track. Then the house bordering the field erupted in howling. The beagle pack has seen us! That just gave Kayak another excuse to not work. He started at the area of the barking. Then spotted some birds in the field. UGH!  He's driving me nuts with this lack of effort. We did make it down the track eventually (took 30 minutes). His last two turns were better than the first two, but still awful. He had a good article indication though. I took him back home, had lunch, got a couple of things done and then loaded up Kamikaze, Xanadu and Lego to go run their tracks.
Kamikaze was up first. It was a track in an open field. She started well, made the first couple of turns and alerted to an article before the fun started. A stray dog came racing into the field towards us. It wasn't barking or appearing too threatening, but still. I called Kazee to me and held her close while we assessed the dog. It was mainly curious and I was able to shoo it off. Then I asked Kazee to get back to work and she did! Gotta love her ability to recover from things! She struggled a bit on the last part of the track. Part of it was me not remembering (after the dog incident) just where I turned and not quite trusting her. Then... here comes the dog AGAIN! It didn't want to shoo as fast this time and Kazee had more trouble getting back to work, but that was likely because we were just off the track a bit. Anyway, I kept the dog at bay while Kazee worked close to me and I moved around to get her more space instead of giving her more line. She finally took off hard and landed on the glove. The dog watched while I rewarded Kazee with yummies and as we walked off the dog investigated the area of the yummies. All in all, I was very pleased.
Back in the car and down the road to Xanadu and Lego's tracks. Xanadu was up first at just over 3 hours old. She started great. Made first turn well. Walked right over an article, no alert. I called her back to show her it could get her a treat and on we went. She was doing so good and then her tail dropped between her legs and she came back to me. "Something dangerous smells across the track!", she said. I instructed her to track on and she went back out and skulked past the cross track of 'whatever' on her tip toes. (kinda made me nervous that she was upset by simply the smell) Across the smell she resumed her happy tracking and waltzed right into the woods where I went in. No hesitation. She did well through the woods! We popped out the other side and on she went. She crossed a small ditch and headed on to her glove. OOPS... where was article #2? We missed it and I'm not sure where I dropped it. I need to remember with her to use colorful things and write down where they are while I am trying to get her to alert to them.
Lego's track was 3.5 hours old or so and started in some squishy, puddled up area. He doesn't like to track in squish and will waltz around it and back to track. It's hard to do that when squish is the start. He headed the right way twice, but trying to avoid squish so he was a good bit off and I wouldn't go with him. I made him walk in the water and mud to start before I'd go with him. His start was still not the best. From then on though, he was great. It was funny to watch him walk into the woods on 'accident' while following the scent and then look up and notice where he was and come back out of the woods to be sure. Then he went back in like, "OK, that was right!", and tracked through the woods fine. He alerted to all his articles. He is so capable of passing a TDX. It's just a matter of how many tries it takes to not mess on little thing up. He's flunked twice already. Once because of the attack rooster at the start flag and once on a very warm day in a dry field. Hoping Houston in Jan. is his golden opportunity.

 

3rd

I had a great time in Memphis visiting Mom and Dad and running some USDAA this past weekend. First, about the people experiences. Friday night I went with Mom and Dad to an 'office' dinner. It was a dinner for the students at the graduate school they work at. One thing I noticed is that the faculty and staff have aged a LOT in twenty years since I saw them regularly. Another was that I am now a good ten years or so older than the average student there. ACK! After I finished my plate of food I wandered down the halls of the student building. I found the lounge area. My eyes lit up at the sight of a ping pong table. It's been ten years or so since Dad and I have played ping pong. I grabbed a couple of paddles and peered around the corner of the room dinner was in and caught Dad's eye and waved the paddles. He came without hesitation. So much fun! I found Dad's 'blind' spot. Now that he has trifocals there is a spot right at his belly that he has trouble focusing on the ball. He still managed to beat me both games we played though. We laughed at eat other trying to grab the ball when it bounced around the floor and generally had a light hearted time. I built a memory that will last forever. By the time we finished our games the dinner people had moved on to some Christmas songs and such so we had to walk in the room near the front in the middle of singing and I got the 'stare' from Mother. OOPS! I had an opportunity for a memory making experience with Mom Monday morning before I left. I helped her make chocolate covered peanuts for a bake sale. The funny part is trying to dip the mixture into little muffin looking cups before the chocolate sets while reaching around each other and trying not to drip chocolate all over the counter top.
Now for the agility. Kamikaze hit EVERY weave pole entrance this weekend, even one in Grand Prix I just knew there was no way on the planet she could hit it (and wasn't expecting her to).

She even got a weave gamble. GO FIGURE!! This is the same dog that couldn't hit a weave entrance last weekend at AKC to save her soul even if they were right in front of her.
SATURDAY
Kamikaze ran Gamblers first thing and nailed the weave gamble. Then we did the above Grand Prix course. She was stellar and we nailed it all right up until the teeter (#17). When I called her off the dogwalk I didn't tell her WHAT I expected her to do. She was aimed right at the teeter and I never told her to do it so she jumped the bottom of the ramp to come with me as I raced at #18. ARGH! Then she proceeded to go BLEACHED BLONDE on me in Steeplechase (the next class). It was SOOOO BAD! We were never together from the start and she couldn't even do a straight line run at the end. She did pull it together to Q in Jumpers last thing of the day.
Josie hasn't practiced in eons so she entered wrong side of the weaves in the gamble. She had a wonderful Standard run in which she didn't stop on the table the first try. Then she won Jumpers and Snooker (Super Q #7 or so). Even at 9 years old she can still rock a full day of agility.
Xanadu ran a nice Advanced Jumpers course and she made time. Ashame that she dropped two bars. Then she didn't really run Standard, but no course faults.
SUNDAY
Kamikaze ran a practically perfect Standard run where she turned off the dogwalk tightly (as I asked) but missed putting a toe in the yellow when she did it. She did nail the gamble again. It was almost identical to the one we ran in Birmingham last month where she hit a bar in the gamble. Then she had a super Jumpers run on a tough, twisty course. Most unfortunate that I could get around the tunnel in time to turn my body and pull her off the off course jump near the end. I knew when I walked it that it was going to be hard for us. That means she now has 8 gambles and 8 jumpers. Closing in on those champion titles.
Josie only ran Snooker and she backed jumped the second red.
Xanadu ran a perfect Jumpers run, but was 1.8 seconds over time. ARGH! Then she ran a nice standard run and I caused her to bail the Aframe. She was also 2 seconds over time, but she WALKED all the weaves. So, there seems to be hope she can finish her AAD.