2009 training goals

JULY 2009

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I haven't been getting much obedience practice in for the show this weekend. There's just been too much rain. The yard is so high Xanadu's belly is disappearing in the grass. I did go to obedience class tonight with Xanadu, Sparkle and Kamikaze. Sparkle did OK heeling, but great drops and retrieves, and even remembered the broad jump. Kamikaze did articles perfect on the first one, then 'forgot' to actually sniff on the second one and it took us three tries to remind her this game takes some effort. She was great on signals and gloves though! That's encouraging. I was even able to get someone to do a Utility exam on her since she's only ever had me do the exam. She was great. A few too many steps after the command for her to stay, but I can work on that. She's also a stepper on the signals. The down signal requires a step or two forward, then the sit needs to have the butt pull forward a bit. It's gonna hurt our scores, but still something I am working on.

Xanadu has lost her broad jump. Or maybe it's just that I've never tried her out anywhere but at home. In any case, she walked around the broad jump out at class. Then she walked it. So, all she did for her obedience session was try to find her broad jump. All of my first attempts were failing. Not even setting the Chick-Fil-A chicken box at the end got her to jump them. I did get a couple of run-by jumps, but never when I stood still. I put her up and worked someone else for awhile. I got her back out just before I left for one more training session on the broad jump. I found her button! I can stand still if I throw a visible treat across the boards. A couple of times with the flying French Fry and she was catching on. I was able to stand still 2 feet away, as required, pretty quickly, and even wait for her to actually take off for the jump before tossing the fry. AH HAH! We'll work on this some more as we train out of sight stays too.

On another line of thinking, Kamikaze had her OFA hip x-rays done today in Mandeville at the referral clinic. They have digital ones, so I even got to take the picture home. Her hips look nice and tight. Should be no problem getting at least a GOOD OFA rating.


I got a little article practice in with Kamikaze yesterday. She was great. Sparkle did some drops and a bit of heeling. I need to pull the broad jump out.

The big news for today is the visiting goat. Yep, you read that right, a goat. For months now the people a the end of our road have had a goat on a doggie runner line in their non-fenced yard. Fine with me. He seems to have a purpose. He's keeping the grass under control in the stand of trees that would be hard to mow. When Rich came home at lunch today he called me at work and said "The goat is on our front porch". The dogs were none too happy to have a goat visiting so closely. And he wasn't afraid or intimidated in the least about all the noise the dog were making trying to send him home. Sparkle was even so frustrated by the goat she bit pieces off the wooden picket fence along the carport. (that being the closest space to get to see the goat in the front) Lego was inside, and the goat was lying under our front window. By the time Rich got home he'd given up barking at it and was staring out the window at Mr. Goat whining something awful. Personally I'm surprised there wasn't damage to the window frame or window itself. Rich thinks it seems friendly, so I'm like "throw a rope over his head and take him home and tie him up." Friendly does NOT equate to 'willing to be lassoed' though.  Goat kept  just out of reach of the rope, so Rich tries just kinda herding him back to his house. NO GO! He keeps cutting through woods behind houses and coming back to our house. How irritating. I told Rich to just crate everyone inside and I'd be home in a couple of hours. He calls back a few minutes later to say goat is back on our front porch. Since our front porch is sorta set back in an enclave he tries sneaking out the side door to trap goat on the porch. It worked, and he got a rope around goat. He marches him home along side the truck and ties him to the owner's front porch. Maybe they'll get the message about roaming animals, but I'm not holding out hope as both their dogs roam too. When I got home I had to take everyone out front to prove to them goat was gone and let them get a good sniff before they'd calm down to their usual pleasant indoor selves. I find it funny that the dogs making the most racket and seeming the most eager to threaten the goat were the little dogs. Kamikaze, Nikita, and Shelby were curious, but not really  upset. Rich says Shelby got nose to nose with goat and was like "OH, ok, a goat" and went back inside.


Glad today was much brighter than yesterday! Kamikaze actually came out in Gamblers running. Then lost her speed, then found it again. At least that's improvement. And she got the Aframe gamble easily. Jumpers and Standard were both looking pretty nice until I screwed them up. Standard did have it's high point though. Since I screwed it all up before the weaves I decided that if she hit the weaves and did them with gusto we'd leave for treats. The weaves were after the teeter, a set up she typically struggles with. She NAILED them and was one stepping. "YES, YES, YES! Good weaves!", as I race to the exit. She catches on quick that we're out of here for treats, races past me out of the ring and up the stairs to her crate and stands by it and barks at me for being so slow.

Master Gamble was a teeter gamble, another no-go for Josie. I can get teeter contacts out of her if I'm there, but at a distance she bails before she runs all the way into the yellow. Jedi, on the other hand is good at teeter gambles. Unfortunately I had him do obstacles close to the exit and he thought he was done and started to leave. The buzzer went off, he did come back and gamble, but that exit strategy put him one second over time. Heartbreaker! Then was Grand Prix. I only had Jedi in since he still needs two tournament Q's. I focused on NOT babying the weaves, and handling the serpentines better by cueing the turn early. He hit the weave pole entrance on his own and did them all. Now for some hard handling sequences. He scared me once by going behind me on a front cross, but only a little, and I was able to save it. Then he tried to run sideways into the entrance of a tunnel, but managed somehow to get him body in that way to avoid the refusal. He even hit the dogwalk contact at a dead run. He Q'd! Jedi Q'd in Grand Prix! OH WOW! Friends that know him well were cheering and hugging me. Only one more tournament Q and we can quit entering those! He was running clean and beautiful in Standard too, then he just quit and ran to the exit. Turns out he needed to poop. Darn it! 

Josie had a great Standard run minus the dogwalk AND Aframe contact. This no contact touching is getting depressing. 

I skipped Master Jumpers and came on home. While I was gone Rich had added shelves and a cabinet to the laundry room making it so much neater and easier to organize. The kitchen and dining room are cleaned up too, and all the piles of extraneous stuff are gone. Then he says 'Wanna see you closet?' ACK! My closet? Fighting the urge to be upset he was 'organizing my closet' I follow him. He spent like seven hours completely re-doing my closet. Ripped out all the old hanging rods and bought a closet organizer set and installed it. Steamed cleaned the carpet in there and everything. I now have more hanging space and more shelf space. It looks great, but I am still getting used to finding things.

Anytime I come home after having separated Sparkle and Xanadu they are always so happy to see one another again.

25th- one of those days

Ever have just one really bad day? This was certainly mine. Kamikaze showed up as the Prima Donna Princess dog. That means we can't get out of the conformation trot and we have many 'wave at the crowd' moments. OH MY! We at least had a great Pairs partner. But, that dog missed the weave entrance three times, adding untold time, and Princess missed her weave entry once to waste more time. No way we're getting a Q with that much wasted time on top of the conformation trot. Snooker was an almost with her in the air over #6 at the buzzer. She only needed to be on the ground to have Q'd. Jumpers was just so depressing at 5 seconds over time. I took her back to the motor home with no intention of dragging her around the standard course. It turns out I forgot about Gamblers, and since I have no Adv. Gambler legs I went and brought her back for that class. At least the Aframe was the high point obstacle so I could plan a path for Princess to get enough opening points. The gamble was much harder than yesterday I thought. A tunnel then back over a jump on the gamble line coming at you, 180 degree turn to another jump on the line and then one more jump out over the line. Picture a pinwheel with two of jumps on the gamble line. She managed to pull out the opening points and then proceeded to gamble like a pro! The only redeeming feature of the day!

Josie would've Q'd in Standard, but the dogwalk contact, or lack there of, killed us again. The gamble, well it was an Aframe AGAIN!! This time the Aframe was not parallel to the line, but a direct send away. OH YEAH, like she'll run all the way down away from me when she bails when I'm there. Then in Snooker she had a great run going that I messed up. Jedi had another great pairs draw! Again, a missed weave pole entrance by both her and Jedi put us way over time. Standard was not too awful. Jedi wouldn't run down the Aframe without me there either. Mostly it was a bust of a day. If it wasn't a bad dog, it was a bad handler. Most of the day I wasn't running found me outside trying to collect a better karma.

Then there was the 'after' agility stuff. I was showering in the motor home when I heard a screech and then an all out dog fight. I'd left Josie and Xanadu loose and Kamikaze's crate open (she was just chillin' in it). I jump out of the shower soaking wet, catch a pinky toe on the lip of the shower. OUCH! In the crate is Kamikaze with Josie trying to eat her head. Thankfully, I pulled Josie off and yelled at both of them and there were no injuries. I can't imagine what caused the uproar, the toy is safely on the bed with Xanadu. Then I notice the blood trail from the shower. OK, I have spilt that pinky toe open at the cuticle line and am bleeding all over the carpet. I shut Kamikaze in her crate and grab some bio-degradable toilet paper to wrap up my toe. I am able to get all the blood up from the carpet, but I have no band-aids. Clothes on, and knock on Jenni's door. The RN has some nice Sponge Bob Square Pants band-aids for me. The topper of my day... the Mexican people renting a pavilion right next to the RV park with a live band playing loudly and big birthday party that went on until 1:30 am.


Josie got a jumpers run she doesn't need today. Gamblers was an Aframe gamble again. IT was jump, take the tunnel under the Aframe (the easy way), then come out and flip up the Aframe. MAYBE one of my guys could do it. But, alas, no. Jedi went in the tunnel, but wouldn't flip up the Aframe immediately. Josie wouldn't even go in the tunnel. She really wants jump/change of direction gambles. Standard was another no yellow zones for Josie. She did get a jumpers leg we don't really need. Jedi had to jump off the table in Standard at '3' to go say HI to the judge that was counting, but was otherwise clean. MAN! This must be left over from yesterday when he had to do it to say HI to Cherie, the judge. Hope he's got that out of his system. Pairs we ran great. Had a great partner, that had the worst run of the weekend on that pairs run. Poor Jedi is cursed with this last pairs leg thing. 

Kamikaze had a clean standard run, but was pokey, so over time by a second. But, she hit the weaves the first try and sailed through them! Same game in Jumpers. Clean, but just over time. ACK! The Gamble should've been an easy one for her, but I handled it bad and was left standing still wailing my hand at her. That didn't happen. She did pull out an Advanced Snooker Q for her title! Now on to Master Snooker.


This morning while Rich was putting dishes in the dishwasher, Xanadu wanted to help.

I got to Hattiesburg early enough to help out some with the last couple of TEAM classes. Then Josie and Jedi ran Jumpers, Gamblers and Standard. Jedi got a jumpers leg we don't' need. Josie hit a bar in her jumpers run because she started out all pokey. The gamble was an Aframe. Doable for Jedi, who has a great running Aframe. Josie, well, we can't hit an Aframe contact with me standing there. Both my guys went over the jumps, racing at the Aframe and at the last second pulled off it. Drat! Standard was a no-go for both of them. 

Jenni had a parking spot saved for my motor home next to hers. COOL! 



I got out the weaves today. I also set up a pinwheel for the 'straight lines are the best' dog. I even drug a winged jump out since Xanadu doesn't see many of them. Kamikaze did great on weaves and entries... even a really nasty one I setup fully expecting she'd never collect herself in time. I put the jump off set to the wrong entrance side only about 5 feet away. That little sucker nailed it! So, where is that at a show. Maybe her handler needs to take some chill medicine before the weaves. She also did much better moving through the pinwheel and not stalling. The key seems to be me NOT being in to close to the pinwheel, giving her the impression I'm stopping.

Xanadu did wonderful off side weaves (all 12).  She practiced some pinwheels too. She's never really done them. I had the winged jump in the middle of the pinwheel. She struggled some with that at first. I went back to just getting her through the winged jump then an immediate reward. She got the hang of letting me step away from the winged jump while she stayed on line with it and didn't pull with me. Then I tried some one side weaves. A complete NO GO. She came to a dead stop and stared at the weaves like they were alien even with tuna in my hand. WHAT? I came back later, after giving her some time off, with canned Pro Plan. She still came to a dead stop, but was staring at the food. I lured her once to start them. Then rewarded. Next time she started them, I rewarded. Soon she was bouncing through them again on side. Don't know what fried there.

I finally got some real time speed, like at a show, out of Lego for that canned food. I got to reward him for going on and weaving without me there. That's one big issue with him. He waits for me to catch up to start weaving.  Right now I rewarded for starting without me even if it was all wrong, which it wasn't very often. We quit on a nice turn away from me to weave with me two jumps behind. 

Sparkle also worked the pinwheel and the weaves. She knows what she's doing, but the enthusiasm level is still low.

Jedi got some weaves work too since he shows this weekend. Very nice job for him. Lots of praise.

I bought some canned Eukanuba to take along this weekend. If that's what it takes... 


After church today it was still only 83. I loaded up Kamikaze, Xanadu and Lego for some long overdue tracking practice. We get so few times in the summer to track! I was thrilled with Xanadu. I laid her a three turn track. Legs were about 40-50 steps. I aged it 30 minutes. She was pulling to the flag when I got her out of the Expedition. She is doing very well on her straight lines, but the turns aren't quite there yet. She now knows to search for the scent when she over shoots the turns though. She's developed the determination to stick with it and not look to me for help. She also pulls on when she finds the scent like she is confident she is right. I still give verbal encouragement at turns when she finds it. "ATTA GIRL! GOOD."

Kamikaze was also a pleasant surprise. The one 45 degree angle turn she nailed. She even nailed one of the 90 degree turns. This is good for her as she usually overshoots and then hunts. She was sticking on the track on the long straight lines instead of air gazing. She even dug in and pulled me to a jog a  couple of times when she KNEW she was dead on. Very nice track for her.

I laid Lego one that crossed a large parking lot to see if we could work on tracking on the pavement. He was great on the grass, even good on the wooden parts, but not the asphalt. He gives up about 20 feet into the asphalt leg. Won't even put his nose down and try. I guess I over did the pavement. He doesn't remember how to scent on it at all. I helped him get back to a grass leg were he finished fine.

Now I need some agility practice time as that three day USDAA trial is sneaking up on me. 



I took Misty's stitches out today and everything looks great. She was thrilled to be allowed some unsupervised outdoor time today.

Amazingly it was about 80 early in the morning, so I laid Xanadu a two turn track in the front yard. She remembered the tracking game better than I thought she would. Actually she was better than she's ever been. She didn't give up at turns or look surprised when the track 'disappeared'. She would hunt around for it! She even remembered her article indication at the end. Another light is starting to shine in her head. Xan also got some more article practice. Morning session was not so good. She seemed to be 'getting' so I added a third article. She lost what she thought she knew. Even going back to two didn't help her recover. I remember this particular problem well with Kamikaze though. So, I'm not too discouraged. The afternoon session I tried leather articles. Didn't go well. She doesn't associate what she learned with two metal to the two leather ones out there at all. It's like starting over. The evening session went better with the leather ones. I went and helped her a couple of times pick the 'right' one, then she started to 'get' that it was just like the metal ones. One of these gets me the tuna, but the other one doesn't. Not sure quite understands yet what makes the 'right' one. I am still frequently giving a verbal "YES" when she touches the right one.

I took Kamikaze with me to PetSmart to buy dog food and some other things. She trotted politely beside the cart. We went to the scale at the back. It says she's just over 41 pounds. As we were leaving that area here came a man with his young Akita on a pinch collar and a 'PetSmart trainer' tagging along. It became clear quickly what they were doing. The Akita was having typical Akita social issues. They were working on them at the store. Getting dog to sit for a treat instead of bark and lunge at dogs. I was a willing participant since the man was still enough bigger than the young Akita to control her easy enough. Kamikaze has no reactive response to snarky dogs anyway, so she was a good test subject. I told her to heel which put the cart and part of my body between the Akita's view of her. They were able to quickly get her under control and sitting. As they treated her we walked the other way. Several times while I was in the store I got to let Kamikaze play the part of nonchalant dog for the Akita to learn better behavior around. As I was leaving, I took Kazee down the dog bone aisle. She was very excited about that. Scanning her nose through the bins as we went by. I decided to get her one of those filled real beef bones. I picked one up and asked her if it was a good one. She took it out of my hand (plastic still wrapped on it). I took that as a yes. I told her to release it and she did, but was bouncing at it. One quiet, firm command to 'get back' (heel) sent her sailing into heel and sitting politely. An employee was on the aisle by then. He remarked how well trained she was. I told him she had two obedience titles and was working on a third. Chatted a bit too. By the time I was at the check out the manager (the one I thought was an employee) walks over and asks if I trained her myself. "Yes, I train my own dogs". He wanted to know if I was employed. He was actually ready to offer me a job as one of their trainers on the spot after seeing Kamikaze. LOL! I never considered PetSmart dog trainer as an alternative career. She even got to visit kids in line behind us as I paid. Then I shocked them all by simply saying "Kazee, Let's go" and walking off. She trotted after me dragging her leash behind.

Lego's special treat was riding in the car to pick up pizza for lunch. That also entails first dibs on pizza bones on the way home. Yes, I eat a piece or two while driving home. That's when it's still nice and hot. 



I got the motor home cabin battery replaced. It fixed my slide problem! It slides out and in now with a vengeance. I also got all the sheets and crate mats and such washed and re-organized inside. So, I'm about all ready to take off to Hattiesburg Thursday afternoon for 3 1/2 days of USDAA agility fun.

Xanadu worked some more on fronts and drops. I also pulled out the articles again. I didn't have a great training session on them, but I thought I saw a small glimmer every now and then. Article training with Xanadu is frustrating me. I need to go back and read up on how Kamikaze faired at the beginning. Maybe I am just expecting some understanding too soon. 

Kamikaze tried gloves. We got glove one the first try! Then we could only get glove one no matter how much I tried for glove #2. I seem to be getting a pattern out of her now. She goes correctly to the glove I send her to the first time and then she is 'stuck' on that one. I guess I could have a much worse problem since in the ring she only gets one shot anyway. Maybe I should change the way I train gloves and only send her one time (Assuming correct behavior) and then put them up and the next time send her to a different one. I think that may fit her understanding better. We also worked on turns for the gloves. She needs to work these without any gloves around. I really need to pull out ring gates and jumps to practice some more before August. 


Kamikaze and I worked some more on signals. She has a tendency to walk up a step or two as she does the down signal. Most annoying. We even did a go-out or two to the fence line. I'd say Kazee is back to her old self even though there's one more day of hormones to give her. She's back to bouncing and playing and

Xanadu needs more work on the drop on recall. Much more! We spend time yesterday on that. I then realized that the word 'Front' isn't clear to her. She just doesn't get it. She knows to sit somewhere in front of me when she returns to me, but the actual position that's necessary for nice scores hasn't been programmed yet. I spent some time today with treats I don't mind putting in my mouth working on a true front with her. Treats in the mouth that I can spit at her encourage the proper front position and also keep her focused on my face. Both of which are nice when trying to train a beagle. I saw some definite improvement there. Then we practiced drops again for a bit. I also implemented treat spitting for heeling. I've been working on better focus on heeling, but this has been the best effort by far. I need to always work her with treats I can spit. But it's such a pain to cut up cheese or warm up chicken every time I want to work with her. It would so be worth it if I could just buck up and take the extra time to prepare treats.

I did work with Sparkle a bit on her drop. It's one of two exercises I think her likely to flunk in the ring. The other is the broad jump. So I need to get it out too and work it some before the obedience show the beginning of August.

Cheryl and her two guys are off to the big show in Houston, TX today. We hope for good performances in Obedience and Rally for her, and an enjoyable shopping and spectator experience.


Kamikaze got a little signal practice in as well as articles and gloves. Gloves are still our weakest exercise. She did something I didn't understand at all. I sent her to glove #3. She raced out and grabbed it. Then went to glove #2 and dropped her glove to trade for the #2. Then she came back to me. She did this trade game twice where she went correctly to a glove and then traded it in.

Xanadu got a little more introduction to article work. This time I used a smudge of tuna fish on the 'correct' article. She raced out the first time and grabbed the wrong one (there are only two at this point). Then as she was passing the other one she caught whiff of the tuna. She snatched it up, with the other one still in her mouth, and brought both back. OK, so not exactly the desired behavior, but the smell made her think. We tried several more times and I think I see a dim spark starting to glow up there in her cute little head. She still did snatch and grab a few times, but other times she would bump the wrong one and go straight to the right one. At least it seems to be an improvement over the attitude she had that if she didn't get a reward for bringing one it she was quitting the game. I kept her interested for at least 7-10 tries even with half of them giving no reward for bringing back the wrong one. When I put it up she was still begging to try too!

Misty's report came in on her lump. There was indeed a tumor in her nipple of a mammary origin. It was benign though, and the whole nipple was removed anyway. So, she's missed another potential bullet AGAIN. She is recovering well and now wants her evening snoop in the back yard. I'm not allowing it yet as she still has stitches, but I did let her hang outside with me for about an hour while I moved a pile of bricks away from the house to make way for termite treatment.


Kamikaze went first in Open B again this morning. Wow! Another day on hormones has made such an improvement. I had my old dog back for the most part. She still zoned out on the first time around me to heel. So all the other times she was to go to heel I told her to get back in heel to my left instead of walking around me. She did those heel commands perfect. So only one bad finish! Nice straight fronts too. I decided to try a signal instead of a command on the drop since we've been getting slow drops lately. We've been working signals for Utility, so she knows it, but will she do it moving? I practiced outside the ring a couple of times. She seems to get it fine. In the ring was GREAT. She fell like a stone dropped on her head. OK, so I guess we'll be using signals for awhile until she wises up to that one. It was a nice run. So nice, other Open B people were telling me so as we exited. That felt good too. I ran back to switch dogs and made it to ring side with Xanadu with only a minute to spare for her chance. She was a bit more distracted on heeling. She's wising up to the pattern most judges use and is 'cheating'. She starts the turns before they are called out. Her front on the recall was a bit nicer though. I did end up having to drop Kamikaze to the second group of stays because Novice only had one set of stays today, and it was during Open stays. Xanadu passed her stays again, so she has a fourth Q in Novice, but no where near the nice scores she's been getting. She ended up in a run off for second place though. She isn't ready to heel a third time in one day! It didn't go too badly, but not good either. She lost the run off. 

On an unfortunate note, Open B stays, second set, ended up being almost on top of Kamikaze's conformation ring time. Since we got our title yesterday, and I need conformation points, I absenteed myself from stays. It hurt though. We had such a nice run. The judge was even hurting for us. I would've had a 195 and taken 5th place in Open B. Not bad for my two year old Siberian. At least I was consoled somewhat by getting the conformation point. I really would've been irked had I not gotten the point and missed stays.


The drive to Memphis went fine yesterday. I ate dinner at Mom's and Dad's. then Mom and I went to Target for a bit. At Target I ran into my old childhood buddy from the neighborhood. She and her husband and girls (3) are missionaries in the country of Lebanon. How nice to see her by chance as we both ended up in Memphis at our parent's houses at the same time.

Today at the show it seemed like all my ring times were going to conflict badly. 9Am first dog in Open B with Kazee, 9:10 third dog in Novice B with Xanadu, 10:05 conformation for both guys, ACK, the group stays are my main worry for conflict. I went first with Kamikaze as scheduled. Oh. my was that bad. Did I mention the false pregnancy issue? I did call the vet Thursday and see if there was anything they could give her to make her realize she's NOT PREGNANT. They dispensed some hormones to balance her out. She's been on them two days at this point. I can see an improvement, but I still had the slightly mopey, distracted dog. She did everything, but crooked fronts. I'd send her around me into heel. EVERY time she got behind my back she zoned out and lost her mind. Stared at audience, stared at sky, just awful. Not one real finish. Her drop was about 6-10 steps LATE and almost right in front of me. At the end of our dismal performance the judge says, "I passed you , though I'm not sure I should have on that drop". That about sums up her performance. Then for stays she was solid on the sit. As I left for the out of sight down I see her swiveling her head around to chew on her rear like she did last weekend before she broke and got up. OH CRUD! I am not too hopeful through the five minutes outside. I came back in to see her still down and still in the proper place in the stay line. Could it be? The judge calls our number as passing! WOO HOO, that's her CDX, despite the blonde moments. 

I notice as I am leaving the ring with her that Novice is in the middle of their stays. OH NO! I run to check, and it is the first of two sets they are doing. I make sure the steward understood my problem, and that I didn't skip out. She has already told the judge I'll be back for second set of stays. Good Steward! Thank You! Now dilemma number 2 arises. It becomes apparent I can't make it to Novice stays and Kamikaze's conformation ring time. Karen's Shiba Inu's are going to be in the ring next to Siberians at almost the same time too. She takes Kamikaze to ring side and passes her Shiba's off on friends. Sure enough, while I am doing down stays with Xanadu, I can see over my shoulder that Siberians are in the ring. Thanks Karen for making sure my girl went in. Xanadu passed stays without any trouble! That makes her last Q for her CD! It even ends up she got 2nd place in the class with a 193 1\2 out of 200 points. So now I have a new CD dog, a new CDX dog, and conferring with Karen, I find out Kazee also has another point towards her championship. Xanadu even made her conformation time after stays. She's was the only 13" beagle there, so no points, but we took the ring time for more experience. As another nice discovery, I found out the club had special rosettes for your new obedience title. The girls got to wear them around for a bit just for fun.



Misty had another surgery today to remove some masses. She came through fine. We sent of one suspicious looking ones off for testing, but even if the news isn't good the vet says he took a large margin around it since he was taking a fatty tumor under it out as well. The vet has taken to calling her the 'Energizer Bunny' 'cause she just keeps going.  

Kamikaze is driving me mad with this false pregnancy thing. It makes her less inclined to play and be spunky. Actually it makes her less inclined to do ANYTHING. She still isn't eating well. I can add a little canned food to her meals and get her to eat a decent amount. Then there's the whole milk production thing, the toy protection thing, and evidentially she's been snarky with Xanadu, her best playmate. Xan skulks around her now a lot instead of trying to get her to play. Poor Xan, hope it didn't permanently damage her happy-go-lucky attitude. This should make for an interesting obedience try this weekend in Memphis. At least Kamikaze also has a shot at a point each day. Xanadu's the only 13" entered in conformation though.


I got in some glove, signal, and article work with Kamikaze today. We also did out of sight stays in the front yard with me in the house. Of course, she was perfect on that. Her utility stuff is coming along well. The gloves were actually perfect today. It has made all the difference to turn left to get glove 3. I need to haul out the ring gates and jumps again after this round of rain passes. Yes, rain. A good amount of it too. We're all happy for that.

Sparkle worked on her drop some. It seems to be the one exercise she gets rusty on the worst if she goes without practice for awhile. She's entered in Open A at the beginning of August. I started the beginnings of out of sight stays with Xanadu in the house today. Left her sitting in the kitchen. Walked around into the living room and back and treated her for staying put as I temporarily disappeared. I had her in a sit for three minutes, but there were at least four or five returns and treats. 

 I was talking to Karen, Nikita's breeder, this evening about the upcoming conformation show in the Memphis area that I'm entered in this weekend. While on the phone I discussed some of the weird symptoms Kamikaze's been displaying. Not eating, desire to curl up in crate, not eager for her training turn. She's great when we train. Takes the treats. Willing, and accurate, but not eagerly screaming for her chance, which is her normal behavior. After talking through it, Karen and I both think she's having a false pregnancy. It all makes sense now. It's the right time frame. Explains all behaviors. And sure enough, I flipped her over and she's produced small amounts of milk. Ok, so all real worries over, now just to wait her out to get her hormones lined back up.


The schedule for today was a bit different giving me some respite from being in all rings at once, but also making me and Xandau the absolute last team to show in the whole show. I showed Kamikaze in Open at her appointed time. I got a good warm up in this time and she was spot on heeling. We only lost one point on that. Very nice. Then, she dropped, but came straight to heel after the drop instead of to front. That's a new game. Minus 3. There goes the REALLY good score. She went on to have a great run. One point on the flat retrieve and one on the broad jump. I went ahead and showed Xanadu in Rally Excellent again even though we didn't need the leg. She was a bit more controlled than yesterday, but was too busy watching the Open ring to do her moving stand. So, lost 10 points there, but the rest of it went fairly well. They were calling Kamikaze for stays as I was finishing the honor exercise with Xanadu. Cheryl was standing by with Kamikaze and her arm band at ring side, so all I had to do was switch dogs with her. THANK YOU! Kamikaze nailed the sit stay with no fidgets at all. Then when I left her in a down I look over my shoulder to see her nibbling on her rear end. Not a good sign for a solid stay. Sure enough, I get back and she's a full body length and a half ahead of the stay line, but still down. Maybe she crept? NOPE! She got up and walked out there. Then sat for most of the stay. Laying down about 30 second before we returned. I am VERY frustrated now. That was a great run shot by a stupid stay thing again. I swear to sell her off and leave her in her crate while I go outside to recover some semblance of politeness and control.

Thankfully Xanadu's Novice was three hours away. I did get a nice attitude back by then. Xan was having a stellar performance too. Then... the beginning of off lead heeling she didn't get up and go with me on the first step. She was a step behind and her nose caught the urine and cleaner smell from the 'accident' in the ring the class prior. Good thing the heeling pattern had an immediate halt. I stopped and watched her sniff her way to heel. Then she sat and just as the judge was about to call forward she had to stop and scratch her ear. PAINFUL to watch. Then, she recovered well and was great the rest of the run. Too bad for that one thing though. She would've been mid 190s again. She nailed the sit stay. Then on the down stay, she stretched when I said down. And stretched some more. The judge said "Leave your dogs" but Xan's not down yet. I knew I couldn't leave her not down, as that's a flunk. I stayed until she downed. A good 5-10 more seconds then left her. I hear the judge asking the steward if she saw what happened with me. She says "the dog was stretching and never was down". Thank goodness for attentive stewards! She shivered most of the down (Did I mention the air works well in the building?) but stayed put. I wasn't sure whether we passed the down or not. Judge says everyone in this group passed. We ended up with a 190. That included a minus 3 for the down stay incident. Too bad for that possible good score too. That's CD leg #2!

 As I was packing up the judge talked with me. Said he was sorry about the down thing. He'd have waited if he'd have realized we were stretching. He even expressed the view that until the off lead heel incident he thought we we're going to take the class. Nice to hear! He thinks she's going to be an awesome obedience dog as she matures. We hope so too!

4th - Happy 14th Misty

We got up and packed all the crates in the car to the supposedly very short trek to the show site. The directions sounded easy. Take right at second traffic light. Just after you go over the railroad tracks the big municipal complex is on the right. I was glad we left early. We just couldn't seem to locate the place. There was a big overpass over the railroad tracks. Then... NO municipal complex. A bit further up the road you actually went over a regular railroad crossing. Still, NO complex, and yes we're on the right road. As we turn around and start to read address numbers we're even more baffled as we're no where close to the right block. My phone rang. It was Marie, Xanadu's breeder, calling to say she's coming over for the day to see Xanadu perform. "Great!", I say, "But we can't find the bloody place". Immediately Marie wants to know if we took a big overpass over the railroad tracks. "YES", "Wrong way", she says, "that overpass is brand new. You wanted to stick to the right down the old road." That was a godsend phone call for sure. Once she told us that we retraced our steps to there and turned right at the overpass. Viola! A railroad crossing, followed immediately by a large municipal complex. OK, so they really need to fix those directions in their premium list. As we pull in Marie calls back to tell us we needed to drive all the way to the right around back of the complex and enter at the loading docks. That was another blessing to know. Something else they should consider mentioning.

My day started with Xanadu in Rally Excellent. She only needed one Q going into the show to get her RE title. I ended up having to move Kamikaze and Xanadu to the last dogs in their other respective classes as somehow I was scheduled to be in three rings at once. Xanadu wasn't near as good as she had been here at our show, but granted, the practice has been lax. And the judge had what I consider the three hardest Excellent signs all out there. The 'back up three steps with dog in heel', the 'off set figure 8' with food bowls UNCOVERED!, and the 'moving stand'. Xan got a respectable 90 out of that run. She had her first zooms after a rally jump. I think she is finally associating jumps with agility. I had no idea she would do that since she never has. I did get her back, so I was pleased with the recovery. The next time over the jump I put out the front cross cue arm and said her name several times. She still took the jump with gusto, but was easier to control on the other side as she was looking for her next cue. So Xanadu is now RE.

My day ended up with me almost being in two rings at once. I ran Xanadu through Novice. She was doing brilliantly. Then... she didn't come on the first recall cue. ODD! She's the one that doesn't always wait to be called. OH well, it was still just so pretty. She would've score in the mid 190's. As I leave Novice I see I am next dog in Open with Kamikaze. I tell the Novice stewards that since I flunked Novice already that I am Ok with the judge not waiting stays on us. I race to get Kamikaze out with not much warm up. She did OK heeling, not her best. Then she didn't drop. Ok, so I was hesitant to forcefully say DROP like usual since the Novice dogs right next to us are doing their sit stay. Maybe a bit my fault for that. Then she busts the down stay! I swear I'm gonna murder her for those stay problems some day.

Cheryl and Grace got another RA leg, albeit a bit too happy. She and Bernie had the unfortunate luck to be in the ring in Open at the same time Xanadu and I were in Novice next ring over. It seemed to affect him a bit more than it affected Xanadu. She said on his recall he was busy watching us and 'forgot' to come. 

This is the day we celebrate Misty's birth as it's the day we picked her up off the road as a tiny pup. She's 14 now. Reverend Mike, a good friend of Cheryl's, kept Misty while we were gone so I didn't have to leave her out in the heat or board her. Rev. Mike has a 13 year old Bandit clone, Teddy. They got on well, and Misty seemed to be fine 'boarding' with them. Don't know why the camera wigged here... but we have a picture of her with her weekend buddies.

Rev. Mike even sung her happy birthday for me. Thanks Mike for taking care of the old lady!


Cheryl and I got to Shreveport around 5:30. We packed 5 dogs and two people in my Expedition pretty well. The biggest downside being the inability to pack two crates per dog (one for hotel, one for show). We were staying in a Motel 6. When we got there the clerk had just deleted our reservation so he could give our room away to some bitchy guy. In all fairness he put our reservation right back in, but now we have either a smoking room or room with one bed. Neither of us was happy. But, we got a discount on the room, and took a smoking one downstairs next to the grassy area. It turned out OK as they have recently redone their rooms and ripped all carpet out. So, the only surfaces to hold cigarette smell are the comforters on the beds. The room wasn't smelly, but we noticed we had no towels AND not even a shower curtain. Back to the clerk we go to retrieve our missing room items. Everyone else seems to be up there getting towels, but the shower curtain problem shocked him. We took our towels and promised to return after dinner for our shower curtain. The other 'fun' at the hotel is fitting three 36" crates, a 30" and a 24" in one room. The result reminded me of a bad Tetris game, but it was workable with even a walk way to the bathroom.


Cheryl and I taught our last class of obedience tonight for this session. We only had four students show up for the finale. I guess being so close to a holiday weekend affected our numbers. I was pleased with how far everyone has come and I expect we'll see a couple of them back for the next session of classes. Interestingly, the office manager at my vet stopped by. She saw us from the freeway. So Kamikaze and Xanadu did a little show off stuff for her.

Tomorrow Cheryl and I are off to Shreveport to an obedience show. Five dogs, two people and accessories in the Expedition. I spent an hour or more cleaning it up. I has just finally hit my limit on dirt and dog smells. I took the Dyson to the floors and back. Then sprayed car Febreeze on all fabrics. I cleaned and scrubbed the rubber on doors and wiped down the dash. I even stripped off the seat covers and sent them through the wash. They actually made it intact this time, but I may be buying new ones if it come to that again. AH, a nice non-smelling, fairly dirt free vehicle again. At least until all those outdoor, dirt agility shows crank up again.

I found out how to get yourself flagged for 'charges verification' with ExxonMobil. Just fill up the motor home twice in three days! I got a call today from their fraud detection department wanting to verify recent charges. I knew immediately why I hit their radar screen. <grin> I spent my entire last month's worth of gas in three days. Glad to know they have an automated way of watching for suspicious activity though.