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January 2010

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31st

Thankfully it was a much more reasonable hour when Cheryl and I were off this morning. Kamikaze was up first. Her heeling was much better and she didn't  head wag but for a second on signals. An auto finish after the recall. Nice first article, a bit distracted on second and came in crooked. The glove was funny. It was the middle one. After the turn she was shoving off her rear end to dash out to get it without the sit. I made a negative noise in my throat very quietly and she stopped mid launch and backed into heel. LOL! Audience and judge were none the wiser. Took an extra couple of steps on the stand for exam. Another beautiful go-out and I am starting to taste that green ribbon. Then, the agility dog 'forgets' the jump on the way back. ARGH! There was a collective moan from the audience. (thanks for the support!) It was a most beautiful performance and she was happy and up for the whole run! SOOOOOO close. The obedience rep says my hand was too low when my mouth opened, so she didn't see a definite jump signal. That would make sense since a low hand is a call directly to heel.

Bernie had a similar run. Cheryl was feeling the green too! Then he sails over the high jump to the dumbbell and sniffs it and sails back over the high jump.... without the dumbbell. ARGH!

Xanadu felt much better today, but still got dumped.

30th

After a good sleep, an adjustment and an anti-inflammatory Sparkle seems fine. I still kept her in all day yesterday though. This morning Cheryl and I were off before the crack of dawn to head out to Alexandria for a conformation and obedience show. Xanadu was up first in conformation. She was not feeling well. Just kept stretching outside the ring and then holding the stretch. Not wanting to stack. I rubbed her down and apparently she has a kink in her back too! I did lots of rubbing and massaging before entering the ring. By the time she was in she would at least stack. She showed OK, but didn't have much spark to her. We got dumped for the bitch with the handler.

On to obedience. Poor Sparkle just couldn't unwind at all to show off any skills. The noises and strange people staring and all the extra movement was too much for her. She never tried to leave the ring, but didn't do ANY exercises. Poor thing was petrified. She did her out of sight stays fine though, but I will not be showing her tomorrow or entering her in any more obedience shows in conjunction with conformation.

Kamikaze had her best effort to date in Utility. A lot of head wagging on the signals left me staring at her for some time waiting for eye contact. A bit of a bad turn and bad signal got her confused on the glove. She did a really nice go-out even after watching many Utility B dogs struggle! But, she took the jump she picked and not the one I pointed to. AH, well. It was still really nice.

Bernie also had his best effort to date in Open. Cheryl and I are excited about prospects for tomorrow. 

28th

I contacted the tracking judge here in town to ask if she could try certifying Xanadu at a trial coming up in the middle of February. She said she wouldn't be at that one, but how about this week. ARGH! I knew I had some things to work on with Xan. That's why I asked about February. But, when the judge says she's free and willing you say "Sure." I met her this afternoon in a field I told her about. Too bad I haven't tracked Xan there yet. Mostly Lego and Sparkle. I loaded up the obedience guys since we'd likely not make it home before class. Somehow, even knowing I was tracking, I ended up wearing my good tennis shoes and walked right past my tracking boots at the door. Xanadu started like a confident, tracking machine. She was pulling into the harness and staying right on track.  One turn, two turns. Still a perfect puppy. Ok, so at least if we end up failing it at least looks like she knows what to do and I wasn't intentionally wasting the judge's time. Turn three and still going well. It's nice that is fairly wet in this part of the field so I can see shoe imprints too. I am glad I am able to jump puddles and side step mud. My shoes are still getting wet and muddy though. Turn four sees Xanadu starting to slow up and get frustrated that there is nothing dispensing treats. She picks a direction, but not pulling into the harness with authority. I held back a little to see if she knew where it was and she quit walking and stood with her nose in the air. Then she start playing in the grass, hunting for bugs. Then she walked back to me and stood. I kept encouraging and moving back and forth across the area she had indicated the track went. She ate grass stems. This went on for what seemed like FOREVER. Finally she put her nose down again and moved in a straight line. I didn't hold back and wait on the pull this time. I went. She was still half-hearted about it, but at least moving with her nose down. She tightened up the tracking line and started doing better after several yards. She started hunting back and forth across where I assumed the actual track was. I figured she was smelling glove and trying to nail it down. OOPS! I see the glove and she's passing it off to one side by about 10-15 feet. I slowed up and she slowed up. She started back towards me. Wagging back and forth. She stops briefly at the glove. "YES,"  I say. But, she didn't give any real indication other than a stop and stare. The judge congratulated me and said, "She definitely knows how to track. You need to work on article indication and I'd only lay tracks this long with multiple articles so she can get rewarded along the way, and I'm not sure I'd do any more this long for awhile." "Thanks", I said, "She's only just caught on well and only done a track this long once. We will definitely be working on indications!" So, even though I know we're not quite ready to be in a real test, she's legal to enter. I have a month and a half to work on her before the local trial.

Now off to obedience class with damp shoes. When I got Sparkle out to practice she came up lame. She was holding up her left rear leg anytime she got faster than a stroll. Not sure how/why. She was fine all day. She's entered Saturday and Sunday in obedience, so house arrest for her. Kamikaze came out of the car showing her blonde roots. Wow! Happy, but not paying much attention. Her articles were good, but she didn't race out to them. She almost acted like she didn't know they were out there. They love to screw around just before the show to make you panic.

27th

I am teaching Advanced Beginner agility this 6 weeks. This was our first class meeting. They all seem to be ready to handle courses no, but no one weaves yet. I took Xanadu, Josie, and Kamikaze out to practice with them before class. Josie, little brat, did all her contacts perfectly. I couldn't make her screw them up. How frustrating that those are what we are blowing at shows. Xanadu did some short sequences. She's still struggling with the tire if she is running full out at it, even if it's a straight run. She didn't run around any jumps though. She had AWESOME weave entrances and weave pole performances though. YEAH! Kamikaze worked on turns. She won't turn tight on body cues at all, but add the command I've been working on for landing tight and wrapping back to me, and VIOLA a nice turning dog. OK, must remember, use the verbal cue with her!

24th

I took Sparkle, Xanadu and Kamikaze to the tennis court at the park to practice obedience. Cheryl came with her guys too. Sparkle was better this time on heeling, but lost some focus hearing the baseball practice next to us. I had Cheryl video Xanadu's practice since Marie wants video of her doing all her stuff. Now to figure out how to video edit and cut out the 'oops' and down time parts. Xanadu was really good. We had to have a memory reset on the drop on recall though. Her broad jump and retrieves were great though. I must start working out of site stays with her. That's all she lacks to be ready for Open. Unfortunately I think she'd have a better chance passing Open this weekend coming up than Sparkle would. Kamikaze was just great. She had a bit of an issue on directed jumping waiting to see which hand I put out before she picked a jump. Also a small issue remembering to keep her eyes on me for signals and directed jumping since there was now a guy on the court next to us practicing serves as well as the baseball practice. So many distractions!

I discovered Sparkle had found something pretty smelly to roll in. Didn't have time to bathe her before obedience practice so she got a towel soaked in OdoBan rubbed on her. Bath came during Saints game. Then she pouted.

23rd

Another tracking day for my guys. I took Xanadu to the park early to do a full length TD at regulation age. I am thinking I'll try to get her certified to enter tracking tests in the next month. Our test is in the middle of March here in town. She did very well. She tried to get lost at one turn, and if I hadn't known where the track went I likely would have let her pull me off. Then near the end she was finding firework debris that smelled and looked interesting and I fussed at her for trying to pick it up. She started to quit on me. Walked back to me and stared. I got her to move forward again and the glove was only 15-20 feet away so she got a quick reward for working through her desire to quit. There were even treats stuffed in the glove. On our way home I laid Lego an almost full length TDX track.

Lego and I returned to his track 3-3 1/2 hours later. He had an almost perfect start! I am excited about how far he's come so quickly on the starts. There was the one leg he never quite committed to and just sort of wandered back and forth down it, but other than that he was a super star. Maybe I can  enter him in our show after all.

21st

Lego had a three hour old track to run at lunch today. It was at a new field. One I've been eyeing for sometime. It's just a nice a field as it looked from the road. It, of course had some pretty damp areas as we had a deluge last night, but it wasn't awful. Lego started very well! A couple of quick sweeps in the arc and we were off.  He tried to turn early at turn number two. Then he struggled some down that leg wanting to pull off to the left hard. If it had been a blind track this is the spot I may have gone with him off course. The rest of it, he was very good on. There was a dog again. This time in his fenced yard. He was, however, much more aggressively defending his territory. Lego bowed up a couple of times even though the dog was fenced and a decent distance away. He never barked though. I was proud I was able to fuss at him and get him back to work.

Obedience class have resumed. I was glad to get out there and work the kids. Cheryl and I didn't join a class, but worked together. I brought a broad jump and high jump and she brought a bar jump. We set up out of everyone's way and started off heeling with Bernie and Sparkle. They are both entered in Open at the end of the month. Sparkle didn't start heeling well until near the end of the pattern. Then, she turned it up during the figure eight and did very nicely. The only exercise she needed a bit of reminding on was the retrieve over high. She ran around the jump the first time, but after I helped her out she did it right. Interestingly, Bernie seems to retrieve better with a signal than a word. He needed a bit of reminding on the broad jump. We both have things to work on over the next week. Kamikaze was bouncy and happy and did her heeling and signals like a dream. She is starting to come back to her normal self after the false pregnancy thing. She's no longer nesting in crates and dog houses and is playing again with the other dogs. Articles were a bit of an issue. I had Cheryl place it in the pile in the one spot she tends to forget to sniff on a regular basis. It took several wrong tries and a little help from me to get it. Then it took three tries after the initial bad one for her to sniff there on her own. She was still heading to the pile happily at the end though. Kazee was also freezing well on the moving stand and not creeping. Since there were no gates to go-out to we skipped that and just did some directed jumping. ACK! She was not watching my signals well at first and was choosing her own jump. This obedience show should be interesting. I must pull out ring gates and work go-outs this coming week.

Misty has been waking me up several times a night recently for pacing in the room. I don't know if she's uncomfortable or just going a bit senile, but I must get some sleep. I am pulling a soft crate into the bedroom tonight for her to sleep in. Shelby has a nice one with an 'old lady' mat in it. A nice, big, thick pad. Shelby won't be needing it anytime soon since she's retired. 

Marie, Xanadu's breeder, has an idea to get video of all the puppies doing what they do and put the videos to the Bruce Springsteen song they were named after. Time to enlist friends! Maybe Cheryl can video Xanadu in the conformation ring at the end of the month.

18th

I laid Lego a half to three quarters length track. It was a pretty slushy field. I was a bit concerned about running this one as a loose dog had woofed at me when I walked the part of it close to his unfenced backyard. It took several minutes to decide it wasn't a Pit Bull, but a lab mix. He never left his property, but Lego doesn't take well to being challenged. By the time we got there it was 2 1/2 to 3 hours old. I was packing pepper spray just in case too. I've had good luck in the past spraying faces of challenging dogs. Seems to keep them occupied and it's hard to bite what you can't see and it's non-lethal and supposedly has no long term effects. Lego started very well this time. He picked a direction (the right one) after a single arc sweep. He took the first turn well and only overshot the second by a bit. I kept the line short on the first three legs as they were within strike distance of said dog. Dog appeared on the third leg, the one paralleling his yard. He woofed less and stood farther off than when I was alone. Guess he is more of an alarm dog than a true pushy one. I was super proud (and surprised) of Lego. He lifted his head up only once out of the tracking pose to see what woofed, but he never pulled off track or gave any indication that he was going to respond to the woofing. WOW! GOOD BOY. He strolled right down that leg and took the next turn (away from dog) and never looked back. I was sure he wasn't really turning on the actual track so I held back hard. He almost launched me off my feet in defiance. OK, so he doesn't usually defy my pulling back if he's truly goofing off, and even sometimes believes me if I'm wrong and he's right. I decided maybe I would go with it. Not much farther he alerted to an article. So, he was right and that explains the insistence. He probably could already smell it. He finished the track like a dream. He overshot a few of the turns, but then did one sweep to pick it up again and went. No goofing around. My confidence is restored in his abilities. So, now, why sometimes is he such a goober? Conditions maybe? This field was SOGGY and unkempt. Last one was mostly dry and short grass with bare spaces.

There are pics up from this weekend already!

Sparkle blink 'n weave
Kamikaze extension
Flying Xanadu
Kamikaze taking a break
Lego running that dogwalk

17th

We had a good time at Gulfport.

FRIDAY
First up was FAST. Lego was entered in Novice. He wasn't paying a lot of attention at first, so I had to re-arrange my plan, but he still got the send and got out with enough points to Q wtih a second place! That's two legs down, one more to go. Standard was second. Since I wasn't expecting much from Kamikaze I ran with her from the start line. WHOOPS! She took off like a shot. Now I was struggling to handle the opening from behind. I held it together well through half of it. Then the last half got a bit wild and hairy. I managed to keep it on track and pull out her first MX leg! WOW! Now our first chance at a double Q.
 
Lego had a very nice Open Standard run, but not quite good enough. For some reason he ran past the table the first time. Xanadu's debut in Open Standard was a bit of a mess. The handling was bad and she was all over the place. The good news is she was trying to work for me. Just didn't always know what I wanted. She wasn't sniffing or leaving. Sparkle had a shot at Novice Standard. She ran, I mean ran, not walked, a half a course with no faults before she decided she was done and walked off. That's actually improvement. What she did, she did fast and accurately. Kamikaze was doing well in Jumpers until I sent her off course. Then she missed the weave entry too. Lego ran that same course very nicely too. His only fault was the weave pole entrance. Xanadu did OK in Novice Jumpers, but she ran past three or four jumps. I am still stumped on the running past jump problem.

SATURDAY

Jumpers was first. ACK! The course was packed with 180s. NOT a good course for the Kamikaze. Lego actually did very well on it though. Then Xanadu was up in Novice. I babysat her more than I should have, but it was a perfect run for her NAJ title.

Standard went a bit better for Kamikaze than Jumpers did. Still no Q. Lego not only ran past the table, but refused to get on it. I walked him off. Xanadu had a really decent Open Standard run. She was inexplicable running past jumps again, but that was the only real issue. I spoke to friends after the run and we think I am pushing my arm out too far and shoving her outside the jumps. Lego had a doable FAST course. We blew it for me running straight ahead and not pushing him to the jump when he came out of the tunnel. I also ran a friend's JRT in this class. I fixed my mistake for that run and finished that dog's FAST title for them.

SUNDAY

Standard wasn't bad this morning. The only real bad part was the weave pole entrance at a 45 degree angle off the Aframe. Kamikaze missed that entrance. Lego missed it in Open too. He had a nice run though. Since I'd screwed him up by the time we got to the table I ran him off for treats after he got on it and laid down. Sparkle had a fabulous Standard run. She actually ran a whole course! She even got the zoomies twice. Those were her only two refusals too. She never freaked at the contacts or anything. We were just too far overtime with the two zoomie incidents to Q though. But, I am thrilled. She may pull out this title one day! Jumpers had another wicked weave pole entrance that Kamikaze missed. That was her only problem if I remember correctly. Lego ran that course nicely too. A couple of hard calls pulled him by some jumps.

14th

Lego have a four hour old track a little more than TD length I think. I left enough room in the field to lay Xanadu a TD track when we got there. Lego struggled. He seemed to know which way it started, but wouldn't commit. Same at the first turn. He seemed to know where it was, but kept circling back. Third leg was his biggest struggle. He never quite got directly on the leg, then it crossed some patchy grass/dirt area. Four and fifth leg went better. He did stop at the plastic article and found the flannel piece even though he was off to one side as he came to it.

Xanadu did pretty well. Took some extra sniff detours at the first turn. It was obvious when she was on the track though. Did the second turn well  Third turn not bad. Last turn was a bit of a struggle. She finally committed and pulled on down the last leg. She happened to be a good three to four feet off to one side as she came by the glove and I was pleased to see her self correct to go alert to it. Maybe she should certify soon. HRMM

We're off in the morning to our first trial of the year. An AKC agility one. I'd love to see Lego come home with his AXJ and Xanadu with her NAJ. Also found out tonight that there is a major in 13" beagles on the Saturday in Alexandria.

13th

Lego's short track to earn half his dinner was 2.5 hours old tonight. WOW! Much, much better. Almost a perfect start. I did pick up the start article this time so he knew I saw his alert. That helped him move on. The one turn was only a 45 degree angle instead of 90 degrees. He did it almost perfect too. He did wag off the track a bit by the tree, but only by two to four feet. Not his usually way off wag. Since I work at home tomorrow he's getting a TD length track at almost 4 hours to earn dinner.

I don't think I mentioned this earlier. I got a little souvenir from tracking at the ranch last weekend. I wasn't sure until today. I brought home a perforated right eardrum. Bet you never thought of that one as a hazard of tracking. While Lego and I were tracking through the woods, I turned my head over my shoulder a bit to hear what John, the tracklayer was saying. When I did, the bush on my right jammed one of it's bare tiny branches straight down my ear canal. What are the odds? I knew when it happened it had likely poked a hole. It was a fairly intense pain for a minute and felt like the stick was still in my ear. I reached up to pull it out and it wasn't there. I finally got down to Rich's office today after work to have him and his otoscope take a look. "Yes", he said, hole in the upper right hand side. About 20% of ear drum involved. YIKES. So, now to wait and see if it heals on its own. We'll keep an eye on it every week or so. Usually takes two months or so for these things to heal up. as long as there is no drainage or severe pain there seems no reason to go see a specialist. Nothing they do really other than pain management and maybe antibiotics. Here's hoping I don't have to go that route. OK, now with that said it's so time to get my hair cut. It's really hard to wash it this long while trying to not get water in my ear.

12th

It was the first day in a couple of weeks that the beagles got to play outside all day. It was finally above freezing in the morning and got up to 60ish. They were so tired when I got home. I think they spent the whole day running as they've been cooped up in the house so long.

I have decided to knuckle down on Lego's tracking. He was so good last year in the TDX test after we got past the rooster. So, when I got home after work I laid a short one turn track in the yard with one article and the glove with  the idea of letting it age about 2 hours. Then I fed everyone. Lego only got half of his meal. He can earn the rest on the track. Well, two hours turned into more like 1.75 hours as it was getting too dark to see. Lego promptly alerted to the start article, but then wouldn't start. He wanted a reward for that alert. Many encouraging words later he got up and started sniffing around. I don't believe he was  trying to find the track. I now only give him a couple of feet of leeway around the flag area to sniff the area and then I expect him to pick the right way. He chose wrong several times. I pulled him back to the start article and made him try again. I almost took him in and let him miss that half a meal the way he was goofing around. On what I decided was his last start try he started tracking. I only gave him about 10 feet of line and forced him to pull into his harness to go forward. He's not typically been a big puller. Every time he was dead on the track and pulling we moved and I said encouraging things.  It was only like 30 steps to the article. I was hoping to reward the correct start direction. Don't know if it did or not. But, he alerted and got a bit of leftover hamburger. He restarted OK after that alert. He even made a very nice turn. Then half way down the last leg he started pulling off the track towards the bushes. I stopped dead and gave a verbal and leash correction. He went right back to the track. He thought one more time about wagging off to the bushes, but stopped on his own and got back to work. The glove was only like 5-8 steps from where he was wagging so he got a nice reward for self correcting. He alerted to the glove and I poured out the rest of his kibble laced with hamburger pieces. Now to stick with it as close to every day as I can. I do need to add some more age when I can, but for now short is good. Maybe as long as a TD soon.

Kamikaze chose not to eat again after eating yesterday. She still spends all her time in a crate (mostly of her own choice). She's even started the general whining now. Just being fussy because she feels funny.

10th

I met up with John with Khayenne and Cheryl with Bernie and Grace this afternoon at Roberta's farm to track. Our tracking test in March is held on her farm. Cheryl laid Xanadu's track. I had requested a half a TD length since she's just catching on to the point of the game and how to make turns and it would be our first blind track. Well, in all the bustle of laying tracks for 7 dogs and with cross tracks for most and running your own dogs Cheryl ended up laying a full TD track. Then it ended up being closer to an hour old than 30 minutes since I was out laying an X track. Xanadu did just AWESOME. She didn't quit and she was keeping her head down and pulling into the harness. The wind got her a couple of times and she wagged to one side or the other, but that's very understandable for such a green dog. She did the first two turns just great, but she overshot the third a good bit and needed a little help pulling back to it, but then hit the turn on her own after being reeled in some. I hope she learned how to search on her own from that. She even sat at the glove. WOW! So, I'm guessing she's finally caught on to this game. 

Sparkle did really well considering it's the first time I've asked her to do a TDX track in such a smelly place. She got the field with lots of cow manure as well as one surrounded tightly by woods and it happened to be the one Kamikaze flunked in last March for the skunk running through the field. So, obviously there are lots of animals about too. She actually started fairly well. Her biggest problem is leaving the human trail to track animal ones. She tried a couple of times to do that, but I can tell most of the time when that's happening so I was able to fuss at her. She didn't have any interest in alerting to the first article even though she was right on top of it. I pointed at it and said 'sit' and then dropped a piece of leftover hamburger on it. "HUH?", she looked all happy. 'OH yeah, I'm supposed to tell you about those so I can get treats.' She seemed to suddenly remember. At the next article she was quick to sit. She overshot a couple of turns, but all in all I was very pleased with her.

Lego was just horrible again. If I don't knuckle down and start getting him out to track more regularly he doesn't need to be in the test in March. His TDX track was likely 4 hours old. He didn't start well. He kept wandering off course like he wasn't interested. Then the track cut through the woods, where he was almost perfect tracking. HUH? He tracks like a champ in the woods with little cover, but not so great in an open field. He was missing corners and wagging wide on the track and pulling towards the cross tracks. ARGH! He did have good article indication though.

It happened today. I knew it was coming. Kamikaze just ignored the food bowl all together. Here goes the whiny, grump. Hope the false pregnancy passes quickly!

8th

It was 22 degrees this morning. I waited until the sun was up good to drive into the office. Only one dog got left outside. If a two year old Siberian can't handle this weather then there's a problem. I did leave everyone else inside in various modes of containment. Some in crates, some loose, some on room confinement. I figured I'd be home in around three hours. Well, the best laid plans.... Seems everything that could go wrong did, right down to me completely loosing access to files on my own @**!*@*%&^ computer. Somehow when I was changing rights on a folder I made it so no user had access. It only had to be the folder with ALL my code and important work documents in it! Let's just say it's the worst work day I've had in some time and it was a good five hours before I made it home. All the dogs did fine though.

On another discouraging  Kamikaze is more pouty and today I squished her belly some and got milk squirts. So, here we go again. Another 4 weeks or so with an out of sorts performance dog. This intact bit is getting annoying. Missing a month of shows twice a year for being in season and then not worth a darn at shows for two months while she thinks she's pregnant.

Josie's face swelling is almost gone today.

7th

I just love this. I drove to work (35 miles one way) Tuesday and Wednesday just to sit and stare at the blank computer screen for the most part. We were having serious network problems both days. Then today I spent the day calling back and forth to the network guy from home because remote connections were still down (though he didn't know it) even though the office was up. ARGH! Looks like tomorrow I'll be driving to work at least for a little while as there are some month end things that need to be done and are running behind because of the network issues.

On a doggie note, I did a little utility article work with Xanadu. This time only about 4 sends to the pile. Mixed results. But, happier dog. And it does appear I'm in for another Kamikaze false pregnancy again. GROAN! She was in a crate while I worked with Xanadu and didn't scream to get her turn. She's been laying around in a crate mostly and starting to leave food in her bowl. I am expecting any day now a complete refusal to eat. The nipples are swollen good, but I didn't get any milk yet.  Not a good sign for agility next weekend. I'll likely have pouty, slow Siberian.

I did finally find a bit hole on Shelby's leg today. Still nothing serious it seems. But, Josie's face was swollen up on her puncture side today. Looked like she had a wad of chew in her mouth. So, I checked a little bit more thoroughly. The puncture seems to have been an 'all the way through' one. I can see the hole on the inside of her mouth too. She's started on antibiotics even though it doesn't appear to be infected. Gave her some more NSAIDS.

5th

It was pretty darn cold this morning. I think it was about 25 when I left for work. Rich left the short hairs in crates when he left and then he went home mid-morning to let them out. Then when I get home I find the remnants of a doggie disagreement. The only two I can figure were involved were Shelby and Josie. That's an odd pair to have a scuffle. And why did no one else really jump in? I must admit to being baffled on that one. No one is seriously injured though. Josie has a couple of punctures, but not bad. Shelby had messed up, matted hair. Josie seems to be feeling a bit sore and grumpy. So, tomorrow Josie will spend all day inside and Shelby will spend the day in one of the patio kennel runs to be sure she isn't feeling snarky. Neither one seems completely irritated by the mere presence of the other so it must not have been a serious discussion. Thursday I'll be home to see how the interactions are going.

I finally got the pictures from the Houston tracking test.

3rd

I didn't do much of anything yesterday. Stayed in mostly and watched movies. So, today I was motivated to practice some agility. The next trial is an agility one and it's in a couple of weeks. I found a spot in the yard that wasn't too squishy and set up some stuff to work on. Three jumps, the tire (for Xan and Sparkle's sake), teeter, table (for Josie's sake) and the weaves were all I put out. I practiced weaves with everyone. Jedi did OK, Lego did better at entrances than usual, Sparkle was so-so, Josie was awesome, Kamikaze was really good and Xanadu was spectacular! WOW! What great entrances and drive. Josie mostly got practice on the teeter and table. Sparkle did teeters, tables and weaves. Jedi did mostly table and weaves. Lego focused on table and weaves too. Xanadu did a bit of everything as did Kamikaze. Kamikaze also got some work on wrapping jumps as that killed us in Carthage, TX. Blew two snookers and a jumpers for the lack of wrap. The nice thing about so many agility dogs is that they can each have 3-5 minutes and then quit. No need to push one dog too long at once. By the time it gets back to their turn they've had at least 25 to 30 minutes of a break. Short sessions, happy dogs. I've found two short sessions is better than one long, drawn out one for most of my guys. I think they all left on a happy note too.

1st

I sent an email to Cheryl a few days back telling her I was free all weekend and if she was interested in dog training to let me know. This is how dog people spend holidays... I got an email from Cheryl about 7:45 this morning. Yes, I know what time because I was already up and on the computer. She said to give her a call about dog training when I got a chance. So, at just before 8 am on New Years day Cheryl and I are on the phone arranging to meet up in a couple of hours for some obedience work. I left the house at 9 so I could lay Lego and Sparkle tracks to age while we did obedience. I tried out some new empty lots I've had my eye on for awhile. They were wonderful tracking fields, but held a good amount of water in places. I should've worn my big, knee high, waterproof boots instead of the ankle high, water resistant ones.

I got the the park with the nice fenced tennis court just a minute ahead of Cheryl. I brought my high jump and Cheryl brought a bar jump. Somehow I forgot the broad jump though. I had Lego, Sparkle, Kamikaze and Xanadu with me. Cheryl had her two guys and a set of 2X2 poles to work with Grace too. Bernie, Sparkle and Xanadu practiced OPEN exercises. Kamikaze did Utility and Grace practiced a wide range of exercises including weave pole entrances. Sparkle skipped her first turn because she took off running away as soon as the leash was off. This was even with me showing her the treats and lining her up to heel. I simply walked over and picked her up and crated her. Kamikaze did very well. We worked on her tendency to take extra steps on the moving stand and go-outs more than anything else. I was pleased to see her enthusiasm for articles is returning. She raced to the pile instead of trotting with her ears laid back. She was also perfect on them. Xanadu did very well on all the exercises except the retrieve over high. She either runs around the jump both ways or takes it to go get the dumbbell then runs around on the way back. This and the broad jump are the two exercises she needs the most work on for Open. When Cheryl was doing her last things with Grace I laid a short three turn track for Xanadu in the baseball field there at the park. It aged about 20 minutes while Grace finished up and we took down everything and got it loaded back in the car. Cheryl stayed around to watch Xanadu run her track. She did pretty well on the short grass. We need to work on her article indication some still. Cheryl and I parted ways and I headed to Lego and Sparkle's tracks.

Sparkle's track was about 3 hours old when I got back to it. She started very well and even did a nice first and second turn. Unfortunately turn number two made us parallel the woods within 5 feet or so of them. I did this on purpose. Close to woods is Sparkle's downfall. She knows where the human track goes, but concentrates her efforts on finding critter smells. She also, has lost all reasonable article indication. She merely pauses and stares and goes on. ARGH! Since I knew where the track was I was able to correct her for crittering. She did take the turn away from the woods, but not with much determination. Lego's track was almost 3.5 hours old when he got to the flag. He did one of those typical Lego scatter-brained starts. It was bad enough I reeled him back in and fussed at him and told him to get to work. He immediately started down the track, but within a few feet was jamming his nose in the deep grass and watching bugs fly up. I popped him on the butt and fussed again. It took us forever to get down the first leg, then all of a sudden it was like the light bulb went on. "OH, you want me to track.. got it!" And he took off in the tracking posture I know and love. He nailed both the articles and handled turns better than normal. Now, if I can just fix the start problem before March....