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2009 training goals

January 2009

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31st

Kamikaze flunked her tracking certification track this morning. It wasn't that she wasn't tracking well. It just so happened that a man and his three loose labs crossed her track at least once just a few minutes before we were to run it. The judge and I saw it happen. Kazee did great up until the second turn. Then she seemed to struggle a lot. It seemed she was finding scent in two different directions. She finally decisively chose a direction. It was the wrong one, the newer scent left by the man and not the older scent of our judge. The judge got her back on the track at that turn and we found the glove. By the end she was hot and panting heavily. Bummer! The judge offered me another chance in the morning since it wasn't truly a fair test. She is laying out a couple of cert tracks for other people then. I accepted, but am nervous about asking Kazee to do regulation length tracks two days in a row. I might get the " I don't think so" dog.

29th

Kamikaze worked on her articles again today at lunch. She started with three metal and did perfect, so I added a fourth. She did great a couple of times and then started to zone out and pick any one of them up. Her attention span for this is low, but her understanding is doing great. At obedience class tonight I finally practiced the broad jump with kazee and Sparkle. Both of them showed great retention for the proper execution. It's been awhile since we practiced it. Kazee and Sparkle also got some drop on recall work and retrieve of high and on flat work. I need to get back into the habit of practicing stays with Kazee more regularly though. 

Xanadu had a good Advanced beginner class tonight. She heeled well and did short stays. She shows great desire for the recalls. (Thanks to chicken every time) We are still working on the WAIT to be called though. She did a couple of stand for exams too. I was just in front of her nose and inserted treats into her mouth as the lady bent over to touch her. She does OK on the stands. She needs work learning to stand on command without help.

Kamikaze is scheduled to attempt to get certified to enter tracking test this Sat. We are hoping for our best tracking dog to show up for the certification.

Misty has heeled well from her surgery. The stitches are all out and all is looking great. She seems completely normal again. Lego also seems fine after his tooth removal. I am still religiously putting drops in is ear to ensure the hole in his eardrum heels. Not sure how we'll tell for sure without knocking him out again. (not my favorite option)

27th

I was sick as a dog all day. So, no training happened, but the proof of the puppy picture is in!

26th

Kamikaze got some good work in today. At lunch we did her third session with articles. The first session was simply "will she pick one up of each type and bring them to me?" The answer was "YES". The second session I started trying to get her to pick the one I touched out of two metal ones. It took a bit (and some steak smell) for her to catch on that I didn't want just either one. This time I held the steak bit in my hand for a second or two before I scented the article instead of rubbing the steak on the ends. She was perfect on the choice of two several times, so I added a third. She only messed up by bringing me the first one she saw once. Every other time she sniffed them for the steak and mom smell. She's gonna be easier to teach than Nikita or Shelby was.

Then before I fed her dinner I did some weave pole entrances/weaving out of a tunnel with Kamikaze. She floats so bad out of a tunnel instead of looking or listening for me. She did very well after a few drifts. I held my ground and made her come into me for the treat. Then we added weaves. Very nice weaves too! I also took Xanadu out there and did some introduction to weave pole entrances. She's starting to understand that  those things sticking out of the ground can dispense treats if you walk through them the right way.

Then just after if got dark I did some out of sight stay practice with Kazee. She is up to a two minute sit stay with no stress and a three minute down stay with no stress. We're working it up slowly. 

25th

Xanadu  and Kamikaze neither got any good looks at the conformation show this weekend. The best part of the whole thing was seeing all but one of Xanadu's brothers and sisters. The breeder brought her four puppies on Sunday and so we had 5 of the 6 out of the litter there. We had a professional picture taken of them all! Can't wait to see it. Meanwhile, here's a shot or two I took of Spirit and Xanadu. Spirit was the only other puppy that's red and white spotted instead of a solid coloration and the only puppy still in Louisiana not featured in the Dec 08 blog.

Spirit face                                                                                                                                 Spirit side view

Spirit (back) and Xanadu (front)

23rd

Yesterday was the beginning of new obedience classes. Xanadu did much better on her stays. Our work is paying off. Kamikaze and Sparkle both got some dumbbell and drop on recall work.

This afternoon we got all the agility equipment set up and took a video of Xanadu showing off her agility skills. She's so cute. Then after agility practice it was time for Xanadu and Kamikaze to get their conformation baths. I'm driving to Alexandria in the morning. Here's picture of what Xanadu does after baths.

I also got a cute shot of Xanadu and Sparkle yesterday. Sparkle was there first and Xanadu made herself at home in the pillow with Sparkle.

21st

Misty had her surgery today. They removed two small masses off her anal tissue and removed a cracked tooth. She did very well. I was nervous since she's 13 1/2. She came home with antibiotics, pain meds and eye drops for her right eye (it's been red and oozy).  She is still really woozy and isn't interested in eating anything. Not even canned Solid Gold. I'm not too surprised since she usually doesn't like to eat after a big surgery. At least I'll be able to be at home with her to monitor the recovery for the next few days. 

Obedience classes start up again tomorrow. Agility classes start the first week in February and I have Xanadu registered in Adv. Beginners. She may be a bit behind on some skills, but she is so far ahead of beginners I hate to stand around in that one and watch everyone else get help learning tunnels, chutes and such.

This weekend I'm driving back and forth to Alexandria, LA on Sat. and Sunday for a conformation show. I think there's a four point major in beagles if everyone shows. Only a single point in Siberians.

18th

I planned my Alabama trip well. I got home just as the sun was setting. The goal for the weekend was met too. Kamikaze got three Q's under this judge. Not the standard I'd hoped for, but two snookers with first places and a gamblers. That gives her at least one Q in each Starters event. Now if I can just pull out two Standard legs in Holly Springs the middle of next month... She also had a stellar Grand Prix run and would've Q'd if she'd have weaved the first try. Bummer. Two of the Qing runs are now up on youtube. I learned also, that she doesn't have a clue about front crosses, but her rears and her  tandem turns are just great. We'll beef up on front cross training before the middle of Feb.

Josie and Jedi neither one pulled out a Q. Both had nice Gamblers runs with no gamble. Then Josie blew contacts in standard and used the table as a trampoline. Jedi blew me off in Standard all together. Terrible looking run. Then he rebounded for a most gorgeous Grand Prix run. With only three obstacles left I thought we had it made. The weaves were passed and the dogwalk and Aframe contacts hit. I was getting excited and then pulled him right off the side of the teeter. Can we please shoot the handler. OH, what a downer! Then another spectacular Jedi run in Snooker. He only needs one more Super Q so I was going all out, and he was listening too. We made it through a 6,7,7,2 opening in fine fashion. Then once again a stupid handler move shoved him back into tunnel #4 instead of over A frame #5. The killer part is he would've gotten his Super Q if we'd finished up (we had time). I wanted to puke he was so close in most of his runs. At least it was a positive wanting to scream and not the negative wanting to kill the dog.

Overall I was happy with the weekend. I got to spend some real time with Memphis friends since it wasn't their show. I had some really nice runs. The arena was a great setup for Jedi. Indoors, heated, no way to get away or enter the other ring.

 Xanadu seems completely healed from her limp. Lego doesn't seem bothered by his ear or his mouth stitches at all. He's much more irritated in the ear drops and the antibiotic than anything else.

16th -AM

Light bulb! Xanadu tried to launch out of my arms yesterday evening. I was scrambling to hold onto her so she wouldn't hit the ground from so high. I managed only to grab a rear leg in the scramble. She ended up twisting her body a lot as I let go much closer to the ground and over a dog pillow. All seemed fine then, but it explains the lameness in the left rear. Glad to have an answer! Since I know the cause, I am certain it's a strain and not something serious. Greta relief! Metacam is on board now as we leave for Alabama. 

15th

I took Lego and Misty in for surgical procedures this morning. Lego need a cracked tooth pulled, ears cleaned and a flap of gum removed. Misty needed a decaying tooth removed, ears cleaned, and two masses removed. They started with Lego because I insisted on being the one holding him when they gave him the happy shot before surgery. He is very fearful and has been known to attempt a bite if he gets cornered by strangers and he can't get away and they don't back off. I don't want a bite on his record, mine or damage done to my buddies at the clinic. By noon I hadn't heard back, so I called. They still had Lego in surgery. The tooth extraction was a booger and they said he had a perforated ear drum on one side. Can you say Feeling like a very bad mother. Apparently he's been fighting an ear infection for some time (we've been treating since Nov) and the bacteria got trapped behind wax next to his eardrum and caused a hole to form. He may even have a middle ear infection because of the hole letting bacteria through. Poor baby, my boy! They say now that the bacteria is cleaned and we're treating him the hole should heal on its own. Says they've never had one not heal. They pushed Misty off until next week since it was so late in the day when they finished Lego. He came home with steroid/antibiotic eardrops (twice a day), Oral antibiotic (twice a day) and pain meds (once a day). Guess who gets to travel to Alabama with mommy this weekend...? That makes 5 dogs going, three entered.

I got some more stay training in with Kamikaze. It's going well, and I'm sure we'll have the problem licked by April or May. (at least at home) Sparkle did her first teeter and jumps for the bunny fur tug. That really lights her up! She raced and banged the teeter a couple of times without spooking (I was dragging the tug along in front of her). She loved the tugging afterward. She really races over jumps if I run holding it too. Now, can we convince her to run that way with the toy hidden on my person? Xanadu did some heeling  and a little stay and recall practice. She has fast and happy recalls, stays are another story. She wants them all to be recalls. <grin> She has seemed to have a little hitch in her stride the last couple of days. Rich doesn't see anything though. Well, late tonight she came up lame in the left rear for no explainable reason. No apparent wounds, she lets you put it through range of motion in all the joints without a problem. She scratches with it fine and stands on her rear legs with the front ones propped up on stuff fine. Well, at least she has a built in three day crate rest coming with the show in Alabama. Most of Friday in car, Saturday at show,  Sunday in car. Maybe they'll even be a doggie massage booth there.

14h

I got another stay session in with Kamikaze yesterday. We're still getting crawling or fidgeting when I go in the house on the out of sight for more than a minute. I feel certain it'll improve now that I have a game plan figured out.

I got Sparkle's new 'motivational' agility toys in tonight. Real Rabbit fur weaved into the fleece tug and real rabbit fur made into a round palm sized squeaker. WOW! She loved them. Can't wait to try them out for agility training. I plan on that being the only time she sees them. Hope it makes agility more worthwhile to her. Josie and Jedi both also fell in love with them. I am planning on taking the tug along to the USDAA show this weekend. See if we get any better runs out of Josie for it. Xanadu is not sure about putting her mouth on funny smelling animal yet, but by the end of the engaging session she did take to the squeaky toy.
 

I also joined the ranks of youtube. Only one Kamikaze video posted right now. Hoping to add Xanadu agility training in the next few weeks. 

12th

I did a quick dumbbell session with Xanadu at lunch. She's figured out now that I'm going to take it from her as she runs by, so now she just plays with it in the kitchen when I slide it or she drops it before she gets close to me. I decided maybe I could just work on her holding for millisecond for me on command. So we worked on just 'take it'. She does OK at that. Really doesn't get what it is that's getting her tuna though. Kamikaze screamed her head off when I was working Xanadu so I gave her a chance to retrieve on flat and over high out in the driveway. Then a quick 'drop on recall' session.

I caught myself sitting around after work and feeding the dogs just being kind of a bum. Sitting around playing computer games. It has rained a lot recently, but the last few days have been rain free. I should be working dogs on SOMETHING instead of sitting around. I mean I DO want Kamikaze to pass stays and Sparkle to pass Open heeling and Xanadu to heel off lead some day soon. I got off my tush and did some heeling with Xanadu. She really needs to work on about turns. Then we did a short stay session. "STAY", walk 5 steps and return. "STAY", walk 7 steps and return. She let me get 15 steps out and turn around and count to two and then walk back. Then the last stay I did a recall. She raced to me. TOO CUTE! Kamikaze was next. I only did stay work with her. She gives all the classic stress behavior as I am returning to her, so I did the same stay routine I had just finished with Xanadu. The treat for each return is starting to help her some. Then I added a quick out of sight. I walked across the patio and in the door to the house. Counted to three and then opened the door and returned. I stretched the time in the house to a minute on a sit. Then we worked down stay starting back and "STAY", five steps and then return. I had every intention of working up to two minutes in the house for the down. But, at 1.5 minutes she actually started crawling. YES! This is what she does at shows, but never at home. I opened the door immediately. Didn't say a word. Just returned to her. Politely slipped my fingers through her collar and "helped" her back down in the spot I had left her and then left. Nothing ugly, no words at all. I think I've found my stay problem! Everywhere we practice out of sight is open air AND I am typically peeking around something to check on her. So, she either sees me peeking or she can smell me and is sure I am around. The glass on the doors to the house is frosted, making it very hard to see in if you're not right next to them. I can see her through some of the decorative clear parts in the glass, but evidently she can't see me. I am so happy to see this behavior at home. She also seems much more stressed about the stay than she ever has before. I have pushed her too far on out of sight to fast. I need to work on out of sight 4-5 days a week in the environment where she can't see or smell me at all. We'll start with short time spans and work on length slowly.

11th

Agility for the weekend is over. All in all I guess it was a pretty good weekend. Friday morning started with Kamikaze running Open Fast. The send was a gimmie for her. A 15 foot send to a tunnel with plenty of speed from a line of jumps and then a jump coming out of the tunnel. I decided not to try and get in any 'training' on the run and just go for flowing jumps and tunnels and aim for fast and fun for just enough points. I accomplished just that in fine fashion with a happy , fast dog and over the finish in 21 seconds. She got her first Open Fast leg and it felt like a big circle jumpers run to her.

Lego's first run was Open Standard and he didn't listen at all. He got pulled off before we made it through half the obstacles. Then Kamikaze ran Open Standard. She started very well, but got an R at the weaves. No big deal. Then she started weaving so pretty and popped out at pole 10. Oh well, we restarted them and she did them perfectly and off we went. Unfortunately there was a cross wind that day that was twisting the chute fabric. There was a worker assigned to stand on it until the dog came to it. The worker took her foot off the corner as Kazee headed for the chute. Then a gust came as she entered the barrel and twisted the fabric. I called her hard to push and she couldn't get it flipped back over. I ran to the mass of chute as she started spinning and grabbed the wad of dog and chute. Just as I stopped the thrashing she saw daylight and thrust her head up at me at full power. OUCH my face! The judge told the worker to fix the chute and told me to send her back through. She ran to the judge and tried to jump in her arms a couple of times before I could get her focused again. She did the chute just fine, no hesitation. Excellent jumpers saw a much more focused Lego. Kazee was one weave pole from a Q in that Excellent Jumpers run to. She started the weaves the first try and then about pole 4 she realized she was weaving and started to stall. I encouraged her to keep moving and she did, but the stall made her miss a pole in the middle. We didn't' fix it either. Oh well, still nice. Sparkle's Standard run was slow and she didn't touch the dogwalk or teeter, but she didn't leave the ring without me. Her jumpers run was pathetic and I picked her up after she strolled a few jumps.

Saturday we started with Jumpers. Lego got hauled off again. He refused to attempt the weaves. Weaves were the second obstacle so I was able to leave Kamikaze in a stay and lead out to give her an obvious entry to the weaves. She nailed them and stayed in where many experienced dogs were blowing in on the entrance. Oh my! Now we have an Excellent Q on the line. We made it around in fine fashion. 5 seconds under time I think. My first Excellent Q with any dog, any breed.  Wozzers! Wasn't expecting it so soon.

Open Standard started well for her again. She managed to blow past the weave entry out of a tunnel. I called her back and she started them perfect and fast. Too bad she got excited near the end of them and missed the last pole. I didn't fix it, she didn't know she'd missed it and I didn't want to harp on them. Perfect run otherwise. Lego managed to make it all the way around the Open Standard course today with me. There were several brain disturbances, but they were short. In Fast, I tried that same weave pole entrance Kamikaze had missed in Standard and she nailed it and stayed in, although a bit slow. After the Aframe I tried sending her to the SEND. She thought 'tunnel' should be 'teeter' and when I said 'NO, No go.. tunnel' She got de-motivated some. She did the send, but ran out of time. Sparkle took the day off.

Sunday we started with Standard. Once again, Kamikaze had to pull two R's at the weaves instead of just one. This time it was two no attempts to start at all, just throw your head up and stroll was the game. When she did them they were super fast and perfect and I spent the rest of the run just hollering "We can weeeavvee" in a high pitched happy voice. And Kazee just took the obstacle in front of her as we finished to the exit still talking about those great weaves. Lego wasn't really listening and I just walked to the finish when he ran off and when he came charging back to me I just slipped my hand in his collar and walked him to his crate. Sparkle actually did the dogwalk today, albeit very slowly. And she got on the teeter first try (YEAH) but then bailed at the tip point. I was happy with her run because she was racing around having a grand time and she put her feet on the teeter, did the dogwalk and Aframe. Jumpers was going pretty good for Lego. He had only one run off (near the beginning), but came back and worked just great. He ran by one jump when I called "COME" instead of "COME JUMP", but I didn't fix that one. My bad! Just when I think I'm going to put him up for awhile he goes and does something like that. Kamikaze ran beautifully through the tough opening. Then the weave entrance was a 90 degree turn off a jump to an off side entrance. I thought since there were no other obstacles out past the jump I'd just run her straight and then front cross with her to give her an easy entry. She had other ideas and almost collided with me twice while I tried to line her up with the cross. I ended up just having to get out of her way and let her hit the off side entrance on her own, which she did just fine. And she weaved them all for her second Excellent jumpers Q.

I need to work on exiting tunnels with Kamikaze. She floats a good distance out of a U shaped tunnel before she turns back into me. We also need to work on weave entrances off contacts and out of tunnels. She also needs a bit more front cross work. Her rear crosses and tandem turns on the flat are great though.

 

8th

We continue to have rain and squishy yard. I am still washing dog towels daily. I have done at least one other dumbbell session with Xanadu in the last four days. I slide it across the floor and then catch her as she tries to race by me with it and dispense tuna for the dumbbell. It still seems her only issue with the retrieve is giving it back. I went back and read some old blog entries about training Sparkle to retrieve. I feel better now as it seems she also had the same issues. Carrying it, not a problem. Giving to mom, big problem. I feel certain xanadu will catch on just as Sparkle has.

Tonight I heard the bells on the front door being jingled. They're there for the dogs to let us know when they need out, but Sparkle's the only one that ever caught on (we started them when she was young). I looked up and Sparkle was laying in a pillow sleeping. "Honey, Who jingled the bells?" He looked up and it was Xanadu! She actually made the bells ring. I got up and took her outside. She had to potty. What a good girlie! She's catching on all on her own. We have had no accidents in the house that we can pin on her since she came. (one accident, many dogs loose, not sure.. but likely her) She's been good about hanging out by the door to go out.

I have a three day AKC agility show in Mississippi this weekend. I'll be driving back and forth. Here's hoping Lego and Kamikaze remember to weave, and maybe Sparkle can do a teeter.

We have switched Xanadu to Eukanuba Naturally Wild Salmon  (it has no red meat by-products) and I've been more careful about what 'other' things go in her stomach. This approach to her itching seems to be solving the problem. The itching has almost completely subsided. It seems it was an allergy to something she was getting regularly. I am not prepared to say it was a problem with Lamb and Rice formula yet though. The one big relapse was when she got pork. so, I am wondering if beef may have the same effect on her. If so, this would explain the itching some as I use leftover steak bits a lot with the beagles for motivation. Xanadu is strictly getting tuna and occasionally  grilled chicken now for treats and NO commercially made dog treats. Since we bought the Salmon, I have switched Kamikaze as well since her breeder thought a fish based formula might help her coat stay thicker.

 

4th

We bought a new video camera since out old one is around 10 years old (we think). The new one has an internal 30 GB hard drive. No more trying to transfer off tapes. :) Maybe I'll turn into one of those video camera toting agility competitors?  I was all excited about getting video of Xanadu agility to post, but the weather didn't cooperate much for any more dog stuff as it rained and rained an rained. My yard is a swampy mess and I am having to wash dog towels everyday.  

2nd

I took Misty in to get a couple of anal tissue tumors looked at. We'll be removing them on the 15th to avoid any continence issues, but otherwise we're not worried about their nature.

1st

Wow! Another year gone by. Where does the time go? I set up my goals for 2009 for the dogs (see link in upper left corner). I also update the 2008 goals for the year end. You can click on Dec 08 and then the link for 2008 goals to see how I faired.

I started the year out right though. When the dogs got up I got stuff together and went tracking. I had planned to take Xanadu and Kamikaze. Lego saw all the tracking gear going in the car and he got beside himself excited. Tracking is his best game. I just didn't have the heart to leave him behind. He's been feeling a bit looked over what with all the youngsters. He's always been my closest friend and now he feels slighted. Needless to say, when I got to the park at 7:30 am on New Years Day I was the only person to be seen. Since Lego is well beyond 30 minute tracks, I laid him one that crossed two parking lots. Might as well start him on the concrete tracking now and give him a bit of a challenge. Kamikaze got a track laid out in the back field. While those tracks aged I got Xanadu out to do three straight lines. She seemed unsure at the start of the first one, then it clicked again. She did the other two lines just great. A bit less wagging back and forth in the scent cone this time. I also aged each one about 5 minutes to let the scent settle some. She was looking so good I tried one 30 steps to a 90 degree left turn (with the wind) and then 15 steps to the treats. She did the turn without even knowing there was a turn. Just followed the scent. Good Girlie! She's getting this game down now. Lego's track was about 25 minutes old by now, so I got him out. he tracked along until the scent stepped off the curb onto the parking lot. He stepped down and then looked confused. Like the track suddenly disappeared on him. He decided the person must've flown away and just quit. I helped him out and encouraged the nose down. He made it across in a reasonable facsimile of the path I took and was delighted to find the trail in  grass again. He even tracked me along the edge of a ditch to a little wooden foot bridge and right over it. I guess wood is easier than concrete. He had some more hesitation at the next parking lot too. But he tried. I had to help again. I had to turn in the lot too as there was no other real option for getting back to the grass. He did better and got the trail solid again in the grass to get his glove and the good treats. He needs to work more on concrete if we're going for the VST title. Kamikaze was a bit wound up as the temps were in the low 40s. She was excited to work though. Her tracking was a bit wild and she raced down legs just to overshoot turns. But, she kept with the game and always circled to find the track again. I was even unsure at times just where I'd turned since I'd laid so many tracks, so I had to trust her. She was right every time too. I am hoping to get her certified and then entered in our test in March.

Rich and I went to a movie this afternoon. It was Bedtime Stories , and we enjoyed it.

I was determined not to waste away my  whole holiday like I did Christmas, so after the movie I set up the dogwalk, teeter, weaves, table and a couple of jumps. Everyone got a turn practicing some agility. Sparkle went first and we mostly focused on fast and happy contacts. She had a very short session since she started out at a decent speed for her. No hesitation at the teeter at all. Tuna fish for her efforts (and everyone else's). Kamikaze and Xanadu were screaming their heads off for their turns in the kennel runs outside. Xanadu is just amazing for her age. She raced me across the dogwalk. She's gotten to where she wants to get moving again so fast off the teeter that as soon as it hits she jumps off the end. We worked on racing down the ramp instead of bouncing off. She got some table practice. An auto down for 5 seconds followed by a sit from the down for 5 seconds. I can tell she definitely knows the words associated with table, teeter and dogwalk. the two jumps were at 12 inches. we did a few of those too. I didn't do any weave pole interaction stuff with her though. She is already tuned in to my turning cues to the point that I pull her off the jump if I fade to turn as she approaches it. She turns so much tighter and faster than my other guys I'll have to wait on the turning cues a bit longer for her AND work on her taking the jump in front of her nose before she responds. Kamikaze hit the weave pole entrance and weaved them all almost every time I asked. Her speed was a bit slower than normal, but the footwork was perfect. Her dogwalk touch is great and we worked some on the teeter too. I wish I had an A frame as that is the one contact my guys struggle with more than the others. (probably because I don't own one)

Lego had a turn and hit some of the harder weave pole entrances. He also did pretty dogwalk touches. Josie worked happy (yeah) and fast. Her weaves were a bit slow. Her dogwalk touch was perfect too. Where's that in competition? Jedi did a quick turn. He also nailed the dogwalk (again.. where's that in competition?). AND he hit some hard weaves entrances and weaved happily. He had a short session too as he burns out fast and I like to quit when they are still happy. Xanadu was screaming for more time, so I showed her skills off to Rich again. He thought she was great.

Xanadu has graduated out of crate sleeping in the last couple of days. She now has her own pillow next to the bed like the 'big' dogs and she loves it. It's right by my side so I can hear her tags jingle if she gets up so I now to take her out. She's been sleeping through the night on the pillow though. Just getting up at 5 am (her usual time and my alarm time) and then I throw her in bed with us after the outside visit if I get to sleep in and she'll sleep another hour or so.