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2007 training goals

JULY 2007

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29th

Nikita's knee fluid culture was negative, so they should call early this week to schedule surgery.

The show this weekend was quite enjoyable and the motor home did well. It's having a glitch in the hot water heater that Butch Meyers tried to pinpoint, but couldn't. So a cold shower for a day was the worst of it. I did get to glean lots of valuable information on RV's and the like from him though. Rosey stayed with me and her two guys and my four seemed to accept each other's presence well. It was amazingly not crowded feeling with six dogs and two people. Of course, we weren't there much either. My show experience started around five p.m. Thursday night. I got there with plenty of time to hook-up the motor home and get settled before the evening classes. I managed to back onto the parking pad all on my own as well as hook up to a sewer dump for the first time. There were three classes Thursday evening for my guys. Jedi came out of the crate with a clean run even after traveling. I was just pleased as punch. He was a ten of a second over time for all his wide turns, but he stuck with me. Josie had a fourth place qualifying run on that jumpers course to start her weekend off. There was also a gamblers and snooker run. Both my guys ran well on those, but no cigar. I got back to the motor home around 9 p.m. and had popcorn and beef jerky for dinner. 

Friday morning the dog alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. I got up and took the non-competing dogs for a nice long walk around the RV park. Rosey and Cheryl made it to the show for Friday morning too. Jedi continued his listening streak with a Q in  jumpers. He ran so well all day. We had a great time together. Josie got her 13th snooker Q, but still in search of those last 2 Super Q's.  Saturday she got a Q in Pairs with another cute little All-American with a 3rd place finish. To my amazement Jedi continued his "good boy" streak in Saturday and got another jumpers Q. That's 7 now. And I was bummed that a dumb I, as a dumb handler, had to E us in relay. We had such a great pairs draw too! Sunday didn't start as well for him. He trotted off in Snooker to the edge of the ring and didn't play with me at all. I wasn't shocked. It had been a long weekend, and he'd been out of character good for me all weekend. I had to stalk him down and carry him off. He behaved much better in the other runs that day, but not as well as the rest of the weekend. Overall I was tickled at his performance. For a dog that's Q'd 10-11 times in the last 2 years, 3 Q's in one weekend was extraordinary. Josie and I clicked well on Sunday, although never quite for a Q. I tried many different approaches all weekend to our pre-run routine. By Sunday it seemed I'd hit on a possible good way to get her non-stressed at the start. We didn't have any runs all weekend where she walked the whole run, but many that she started slow and scared and then clicked on. Sunday was better for the fast starts.

Rosey's Red actually looked like an agility dog on most of his runs on Friday and Sunday, but a little goofy on Saturday. He even pulled TWO qualifying runs out of his hat. One in Gamblers and one in Snooker. Rosey couldn't believe her luck. Red hasn't Q'd in anything in over a year. I hope her persistence and training is going to pay her back now! Sniper got to zoom around a couple of runs a day just for fun. And much fun he had! Cheryl and Bernie ran great all weekend too. He even did weaves the first try almost every time. A bar in jumpers prevented the Q, and a handler brain fritz caused a beautiful gamblers run to not quite have enough opening points, or they'd have Q'd there too. I'll be back there next month with Lego for an AKC show.

23rd

I spent half my day at the vet school for Nikita's knee appointment. They irritate me something awful, but they are the only ones with the necessary equipment to possibly do the knee fix without opening her knee up again. But, today all they did was examine and look at x-rays and tell me all the stuff I already knew. They did take some knee fluid to test for infection just to be sure the easy answer is eliminated before drastic measures. When that proves to not be the case, then they'll schedule her for surgery hopefully next week. She also has amassed a decent amount of arthritis in the knee.

On a training note: Sparkle has forgotten how to focus on a single track. I tried a track in the front yard Sunday night which she just did miserable on. She get all beside herself distracted with other things and start whining like she didn't know what to do. We did stumble through it though. Today I tried a shorter one in the empty lot across the street. She once again couldn't focus, but only at the beginning. After the turn the light bulb seemed to go off. I am disappointed, but reading back on how Lego did after a summer of no tracking I am not discouraged.

Kamikaze go look number two at the teeter and she was a mighty bit hesitant this time. I guess it affected her more than I thought to stand on the end and look at the sky. NO hurry. Instead I attached one ramp to the dogwalk and we worked on "SPOT" at the end of it. She was not at all upset to be standing on that board, or even to walk down it when I set her in the middle of it. "SPOT" needs a lot of work though. It was nice to know she isn't nervous about the board at all. I need to get her to the agility field to meet Mr. mini-teeter. She also got her first look through a tunnel. I got Josie out there to race back and forth through it. Kazee wasn't a bit upset about going through it. She just didn't understand at first that's what was getting the treat.

22nd

I got together with Cheryl and Rosey for a bit of obedience practice Saturday morning at a nice fenced in tennis court area. I am intrigued that although all of us are intent in getting this obedience title  (which ever one we're working toward) we are all so much more likely to actual work our dogs if we agree to meet up. Anyway, I drug Sparkle, Kamikaze and Shelby out to train. I got there early to do some basic stuff with Kazee so as not to hold up the training session. Just as I finished up with her Cheryl and Rosey arrived. Kazee got to meet all their dogs and then they petted her and I had Rosey restrain her for a recall. I almost had my legs taken out as she barreled into me. I love this attitude! Cheryl got Grace out and we gave her some pointers on positive , choosing to heel techniques to get herding Grace to understand heel position. Then I worked Sparkle a bit, but only on leash because she's in Pre-Novice the beginning of August. She did remarkable well for not having much training recently.  Red looks so good heeling now. I hope she got her entries accepted for the show as she sent them at the last moment. He only needs one more Q for his title. We gave Cheryl and Bernie some tips on the dumbbell retrieve training. She's already gotten past what I think is the hardest part. He'll pick it up off the ground already, but then he just drops it again. He has no "hold". Grace on the other hand does a beautiful retrieve with a dumbbell shaped toy. It won't take much to turn it into an obedience retrieve. As luck should have it, while we were working a guy and gal showed up to play tennis on the other court inside our fence! What a wonderful, unplanned distraction. Shelby did OK heeling, better than last time there. Her signals were good too, but she still tried to anticipate the come. We put the articles right on the side of the court next to the other one where the people were playing. She managed to stay focused and do both articles properly the first try. Gloves were a bit disastrous. The courts are just concrete. It's hard for her to see the white gloves on sun-bleached concrete. She doesn't have to confidence when I send her to just run straight out "knowing" there will be a glove there. We got a bit frustrated at each other here. She recovered well for go-outs to the net though and she did both the first try even with Rosey standing on the side of the court by the net. Lastly we did a line up of stays. We put Red between the most likely to fail dogs (Grace and Sparkle). We even got the tennis people to hit the ball across in front of them. Everyone stayed like champs. Grace and Sparkle both wilted into a down in the sit stay, but that wasn't unexpected.

I spent a bit of time Sunday afternoon working on the agility field-to-be. I also loaded up some stuff in the motorhome for the Thursday departure. I am really looking forward to this show. I saw in the running order that many of my friends will be there too.

19th

Misty's phenobarb levels came back in the very low maintenance range. So low that some doctors would up her dose.  Since she is having no seizure activity, and we hope to wean her off at the end of the year, we have not. She is almost normal now that her body has adjusted. Kamikaze's giardi check came back negative, but her stools are still very loose. We are giving her a second round of giardi killers just in case, as well as a broad spectrum antibiotic to kill any low grade infection that may be causing it. We are also proactively giving her some natural intestinal flora sprinkled on her food. We are hoping in the next 7 days, before our trip to Hattiesburg, to have her cleared up. Whatever the issue is it's certainly not getting her down.

Now that I'm working from home 3 days a week she is getting some outdoor play time a couple of times a day (about 2 hours at a time) with her friends. It's helping her accept the x-pen at other times easier. If I can just get Lego comfortable with her she may be moving out soon. She seems to have such a grand time outside. We worked some on "pose" and "show me the teeth" yesterday. She is coming along fabulously. She also had her first encounter with the teeter. I coaxed her to walk up it with some good treats while I held the board so it couldn't tip. She didn't seem intimidated to be staring at the sky. Then I wiggled the end up and down a small amount while she ate out of my hand. Once again, she didn't seem upset at all. I slowly lowered the board to the ground and let her off. This was a promising encounter.

Have you ever had one of those experiences that makes you take a second look at just how bright a doggie's brain can be? I had one with Sparkle.  Sparkle got to see weave poles again for the first time in at least a month. I'd worked some on just getting her committed to the correct entrance in the past. I stand right behind pole 2 and tell her to weave and reward/lure her to walk between the first and second poles correctly. I've also done just stand around close to the poles and anytime she "accidentally" wandered between pole 1 and 2 the right direction I'd treat and praise. Today I started with the first approach. BY GOLLY GEE! She knew exactly which way to trot around pole #1 even when I off set her stay towards the wrong entrance. I stepped back a pole to see if she could still hit the entrance. I'll be boogered! She still seemed to know what was expected, but did mess up a couple of times by started between pole 2 and 3 (but in the right direction). When she did start correctly she'd continue in a weave pattern around pole 2 to get her treat. I am astonished that at least a month has gone by and instead of losing what she's been told, she seems to have improved. Like her brain has been processing all this time as she matured and now she's about to "get it".

Oh yes, I have some more great shots of Kazee. We have determined we have a husky/duck mix. She is one heck of a water playing dog.


If I snap at it it splashes back!

What can I find on the bottom? Is that me I see?

Run and play! I'm gonna be bigger than you soon. Just you wait!

Whatcha doing? Did ya find something good?

17th

Monday started bad. I got up, turned on our computer and tried to connect to work. NO LUCK! The error I got seemed to indicate the computer I was trying to access was down. I ended up having to go in to work Monday. Sure enough, a power outage over the weekend had left all the computers in my area off. I stayed there since I had already driven the hour. Figured I'd work at home Tuesday instead. Once again I was foiled! Our computer's video card fried Tuesday morning when I tried to connect. Of course, we don't have just an average PCI slot video card. NO! That would mean I could run down to any ole store and buy a new video card. We have an AGP slot in a small form factor case. HELLO , must order off internet. And that wasn't even easy since AGP is "old" (4 years or so... ancient) technology. I did find a very reasonably priced replacement, so I ordered two of them. Then I paid the 40 bucks for overnight delivery. That'll be sometime Wednesday, so I'll still be stuck driving to work tomorrow, but maybe I'll be back at home working for Thursday and Friday!

I did manage s short training session Monday with Sparkle and Shelby. Thought is was about due since they're both enter in an obedience show the first weekend in August. Shelby and I just worked on heeling/signals and directed jumping since last time we practiced we did gloves and articles. It's just so hot right now to do a complete run through. Her go-outs and directed jumping were almost flawless. What a nice surprise, but her signals still need help. She does the down well, but then on the sit signal she sits and then immediately comes. I guess this would still be improvement if she did it in the ring considering she hasn't done her first signal in the ring yet. Sparkle practiced Pre-Novice on a 6 foot leash. I typically don't do obedience on a long leash, so this was a bit confusing for her, but she did very nice heeling. Also, a nice stand, and a good recall, but got distracted on the sit stay and stood up so we started stays over from scratch. After that little session I got Kamikaze out and practiced with a slip collar on her for the first time just taking one step in heel with me. She didn't like the pressure of the slip on her neck at all and thrashed some when she felt it tighten. We also practiced "pose", sit  and down.

Today I practiced briefly viewing Kazee's teeth. She is not at all pleased with it! We also did a couple of minutes with sit, "pose" and down. She is catching on to the down pretty fast now. Then, in the side yard, I did a brief "choose to heel" session. She didn't get it at all, but she did make an effort to follow me around and be in the general area I was in. This is nice considering Sparkle is a 'do my own thing' kind of dog. Kazee got a treat anytime she trotted up my left side. She'll catch on quickly if I know her. I made the tough decision to leave her outside with her best friends when I left for my soccer game. It was her first unattended outdoor time. I just couldn't bear putting her back inside in the x-pen after only 5-8 minutes of play. I made sure the electric wire was on and said my prayers for safety and containment. Then I called Rich and begged him to come straight home ASAP after work. All turned out well and Rich said she looked like she'd been having the time of her life when he got home to check on her.

14th

Kamikaze does very well in her x-pen while I work at home, but she's proven to be a persistent escaper when we leave the house. She's conquered the x-pen twice. And now she's gotten out of the half bathroom twice by knocking over one of the baby gates. Once it was the top on and once the bottom one. Thankfully she's not a destructive puppy once she's loose in the house. It's just been the pee and poop to find and clean. On the positive side, she's started sleeping all night! Last night she even skipped the 3 minute scream fit when I crated her for the night. I am amused to look in the x-pen sometimes and see her crashed on her back with her feet against the sides. I tried to catch a good picture, but this not so good one will have to do. And I got to see what Lego does most of the day too.

Kazee has also been practicing brushing on the new grooming table. She is doing well standing on the grooming table, but I've discovered she likes having her tail and butt brushed as much as every husky I've had. In other words, she'd rather have teeth pulled. Here's a couple of shots of the grooming table stand.

Kazee also made her first visit to the nursing home today to see the old folks. She did very well. I think she was more interested in enticing the other dogs to play than she was getting petted by everyone, but hey, she's still young and silly.

11th

Kamikaze went in to get her 3rd round of puppy shots today.  While there we did a fecal for good measure since one of her littermates came up with Giardia. She also tested positive, so we are on a treatment plan with a re-check in 5 days. Other than that she checked out fine. I also got her microchip implanted and got it registered with AKC CAR. She was a big hit at the vet. Everyone thought she was so beautiful. They don't have much of an occasion down here in the deep south the see husky puppies, much less very well bred ones.

When we got home from dinner I discovered my grooming table had arrived. I set it up real quick to try it out. It seems to be a fairly nice one! I like that the arm doesn't clamp to the side, but actually has a support built into the table. Kazee wasn't thrilled about standing still up there at first (she was interested in playing with Sparkle). But I persisted with some good food treats and she settled down quickly.

10th

Nikita ate some last night and her full meal today. She never has acted sick, so I'm not too concerned. She's going in for yearly shots and check-up on Thursday anyways. Misty seems to have adjusted well (as well as can be expected) to the phenobarb. We left her home alone (inside) for the first time in a couple of weeks and it appears she was able to contain her urine for at least the 6 hours she was left. Her attitude has improved, but she is still sluggish. I'm guessing she'll just be sluggish as long as she's on the medicine. She's getting her phenobarb levels checked Thursday when I take Nikita in. 

We also have our next generation of escape artist. Kamikaze somehow figured out how to pull the x-pen sides together close enough to use the sides as a ladder and climb out. That's what we assume anyway based on the look of things. Rich came home at lunch to check on everyone and a red fur ball shot out the carport door as he opened it. Thankfully, I've been working on Kazee's name recognition and treating her for responding to her name. Rich was able to call her name and she ran right to him. A bit unnerving for all, but no harm done. She even appears to have not chewed up anything. She now has a new indoor home. She's in the half bath now with the door blocked by double high baby gates. She was still contained there when I got home. There was some fun three way play this evening with a tug toy too.

9th

Nikita didn't eat Sunday night or this afternoon when I offered food. So, I called the vet to see if she ate Saturday in the boarding kennel. It appears the answer is 'NO'. They left food in her run Sat. night and Sunday it was all scattered around. I know what that means. It means she was pissed and knocked the bowl over, but didn't eat. I knew she was mad yesterday, but seemed better today. I'll try and give her food later tonight and see how it goes.

It appears Sparkle and Josie have had a talk with Kamikaze about the wonders of ice. Kazee now comes running to the fridge when you get ice and begs for her piece. So, like with Josie,  I begin teaching Kazee tricks for ice pieces. We're working on 'sit', 'pose' (stand), 'down'. Down is definitely her least favorite and least understood right now. But she is getting 'pose' well.

8th 

We're back from our whirlwind trip to North Carolina to attend a good friend's wedding. I also got to see some old friends that moved to N.C. 5 -6 years ago. They have three kids. The last one was born in N.C. so she doesn't know us that well. The two older boys used to think I was the greatest thing on two legs, and they spent many hours at my house. We visited them at their house after the reception for a bit to catch up.

Ashley and me. Like her brothers she decided I was great!

The bird seed barrage. Our friend Richard with his new bride, Stephanie running for the car.

My favorite part of weddings! The groom's niece was the flower girl. She's 3. Not long into the wedding she started wailing (as pictured here) in her daddy's ( a groomsman) arms. 

We had to board three of our guys for the first time ever. Misty, Nikita and Kamikaze had to stay at the vet Friday night and Saturday night. Thankfully, I'm a good client and they let me pick up this afternoon. Everyone appears no worse for the wear. Kamikaze didn't forget me or her new friends here either. She had some rousing play when she got home and is now napping in her x-pen. My biggest complaint with boarding this time was the need for Misty to be medicated twice a day on a regular schedule. One of the reasons I boarded at the vet was to because they know my guys and the need for phenobarb to stay constant. Well, my fears appear to have been well founded. Misty came home with one pill left. Since I only sent three (2 for Sat, one for this morning) I knew there was a problem. I know she got this morning's pill though because the tech doing kennels told me it was given. How is it you can board at the vet and watch them put a medication needed alert on her kennel run with a check box on it to be marked when given and still have it forgotten? I am still pondering this one! Thankfully she appears unaffected by her lapse in medication. I did have to bathe her. Since the meds make her go more, and make it hard for her to hold it, it seems she had a bit of an issue with the small number of times she was let out. 

5th 

Misty seems to be adjusting to the Phenobarb some. She is less unstable in the rear end and seems perkier.

Shelby and I practiced utility today minus the directed jumping. It was too wet and nasty to pull out the jumps. She did excellently on the articles this time. Her heeling is still tentative. On the signals she anticipates the come in practice, but won't even do the first signal at a show. Gloves were a bit tougher as she tends to focus on one and bring it back every time. We worked some on that and she got better. Her attitude seemed good though. Then I got Sparkle out and we did Pre-Novice exercises all the way through. Her heeling left some to be desired. She wasn't exactly not heeling, but she wasn't paying good attention either. She did a great stand and her 6 foot leash stays were solid. Her and Shelby are entered in an obedience show at the beginning of August.

Kamikaze has started responding to her name, and even comes most of the time when you call it. I ordered my first grooming table today. She needs to start learning to stand on it. Here are some cute pics for your viewing pleasure.

4th 

Misty is now officially 12 as we remember the day we found her today.

We had a thankfully uneventful day. Cheryl and Tom came by to meet Kamikaze before she got big. We took Kazee on a walk at dusk during all the firework noises to try and get her accustomed to the racket. She did mostly fine and seemed unfazed. Her only real fear response was when we walked right past a house shooting the whistling rockets. That seemed to bother her more than the popping noises. She seems to be growing everyday!

3rd

Misty is now been diagnosed with certainty.  The vet laughed as he said, "I don't think I ever said these words, but good news... it's distemper".  She is battling an old age distemper flair up. This means she likely had distemper as a puppy and the virus has resurfaced as a problem in her old age. Some good news is since it is now in her central nervous system she can't spread it to anyone else. They will check her phenobarb levels next week and hopefully they'll see they can adjust the medicine down some. In 6 months if she's still seizure free I can push the vet to wean her back of the phenobarb. There is still a chance that even if her body fights down the distemper that it may flare up again later. We are looking into some anti-viral supports that we may can give her to help her immune system keep control of the virus.  

Nikita has been referred out to the LSU vet school to hopefully repair whatever she's done to her knee. Her initial appointment is the 23rd.

2nd

Misty's Distemper titer came back as high (positive), but we're still not sure what this all means. It may mean she had a bought of non-infectious enchepilitis. That may actual be good meaning we could cut out this nasty seizure drug.  It has now caused her to drink excessively which is making her urinate more. The  phenobarb also causes some incontinence. These all combined means she urinates on herself while she sleeps now some.  We still have no idea what started all this and it still may be a brain tumor issue.

1st

Lego had 6 of 8 really nice runs this weekend. Two of the jumpers runs would've been Q's but I caused a refusal for a late call at a jump. He, of course, took his refusal at the weaves. The last run Sunday was probably the worst, but it wasn't a sniff fest. It was a run with wild abandon and pretend to be deaf. We did make it around the course though. The funniest part was he actually hit his weave pole entry on that run and did them all. So, we can weave, or we can run listening, but not both I guess.  I ate dinner every night with a different group of people. It was interesting.

Misty continues to be seizure free, but the Phenobarb has made her wobbly and kinda dopey. Hopefully as her body adjusts she'll be less shaky. They think Nikita has torn her meniscus in the ACL surgery knee. It looks like we're up for more surgery.