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2008 training goals

July 2008

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30th

I seem to have had a bit more sense than I remembered having. I got my confirmation letter for the obedience trial this weekend and it seems I entered Kamikaze in Wildcard Open on Sat instead of Open A. She is in Open A on Sunday though. At least that wildcard run gives me a chance to see how ready she is so I can pull her Sunday if I need to. I seem to have repaired her heeling dis-interest in my high value reward training session. This afternoon she heeled like a dream again. Rich is traveling to Kenner, LA with me for Saturday so he can meet up with my brother to visit the WWII museum in New Orleans.

I am team teaching beginner obedience this session with Cheryl. So for the next 6 weeks on Thursday nights I'll only have one hour after the class I teach to train my own dogs. With no rain-outs, this session should be over just in time for me to be done as I get new puppy home.

28th

I got Nikita to do a whole utility run through to get in the house today. She was stellar right up until gloves. She did glove three great, but glove one was not as good. She kept trying for glove two. Then she was getting hot and frustrated, so go-outs went badly to start with. She kept just running to the house instead of the ring gate I had set up. I finally convinced her she wasn't going in until she did go-outs. She did them OK then. Kamikaze got to practice open next. Her heeling is suffering badly for some unknown reason. Her drop was nice. Her retrieve was uncertain. She went out and got it and then looked scared to bring it back. The broad jump though, was perfect. I guess my high value treat re-enforcement last time did help a lot. Since the stuff was set up in the front yard I took Sparkle out on a Flexi. She did her retrieves somewhat reluctantly as she looked around for other things to do. The broad jump though was perfect.

Later this afternoon I took Kamikaze out back to see if I could 'fix' the retrieving hesitation. I got out the tuna and some steak bits. Sent her to dumbbell and showed her the steak as she picked it up. I got some nice, fast retrieves. Good retrieve, break for tuna. Reset and try again. After a couple of great ones over the jump and on the flat I put the dumbbell away. This evening we tried to 'fix' heeling. I cut up a hot dog and carried bites in my left had. Every time she was watching an in heel position I dispensed hot dog. Then to fix the refusal to start heeling on my first step I rewarded hot dog at step two if she started with me. This seems to have reminded her why she heels so nice for me. I think since she's been so exceptional in her training I started forgetting she was still a baby, and forgot to keep sessions short and fun for her. Big rewards for doing what mommy wants with basic ignoring of anything else. BAD TRAINER! Hopefully I've 'fixed' MY training problems now too.

I spoke with the beagle breeder this afternoon and it seems all the puppies are on the mend, and no one appears to be any worse for the kennel cough incident. They're not well yet, but all are improving.

27th

I probably had the worst Q rate at the show this weekend that I've had since Josie started running. I can usually count on her for at least one Q a day. This weekend started well. Thursday evening Josie took off like a shot in Jumpers and it was going well. I was excited for not having the opening four jumps or so taken at a walk as she does sometimes when she stresses. Then disaster struck. She lost her footing a bit on a turn a had a bad take off for jump #16 or so. She smashed her knee into the bar and hit the ground whining about it. She didn't even want to finish the course. I picked her up and carried her off. By the time we got back to the crate she seemed fine and was bouncing and spinning for her treats. But the mental damage was done. She was pokey and nervous all weekend. When she'd finally get a little speed up, she'd take every opportunity to race for what she thought might be the finish jump. So any time a course ran close to the start line she tried to leave. She was happily leaving though. Like she thought all was good and she'd get her treats now. Very annoying and slightly depressing for my best agility dog. She didn't Q any until the last Snooker run on Sunday. She managed a really OK run. She did try and leave once, but I got her back and running. She ended up with a Super Q that run too. Jedi blew his chance by missing the straight on weave pole entrance for the #6. Jedi, on the other hand, ran with me all weekend. He even Q'd in Snooker Thursday evening. It was a nice run for him. The bummer was ending up in 4th place. There were only 3 Super Qs. Just missed it!  His only two moments of completely blowing me off were in Pairs, after he'd hit his weaves and we were only 3 jumps from the end of our half, and in Standard one day. I was really upset about the Pairs incident. He was clean and had a great partner. He just decided he was done and left. No amount of calling was working either. So for all those runs I ended up with 2 total Q's. One for Jedi and one for Josie.

Cheryl came over to the show Thursday night to stay in the motor home a couple with me a couple of nights. Her younger rescue, Grace, seems to be catching on to the game plan now, and she even pulled out a jumpers Q. Bernie had a great time, but it was always just one little thing that kept him from a Q. Cheryl was done by noon Saturday and took off for home nice and early.

I got a call Thursday night from the beagle puppy's breeder. She told me they seemed to have been exposed to Kennel Cough somehow and several of them have come down with that nasty whooping cough. She's very concerned, and of course has had them in to a vet and is watching them carefully. I hope this passes quickly for them and they are all none the worse for it.

At home Sparkle did well, and the swelling seems to have dissipated in her toe. I feel good about her chances of running in the AKC show in three weeks. Next weekend Kamikaze is entered in Open obedience in Metairie. I will need to squeeze in some practice time this week for sure. Lego is entered in Advanced Rally. He needs on leg for that title. Nikita is entered in Utility. She needs some practice this week too.

23rd

I had another soccer game last night. We won again. The game I missed on Thursday was a tie, so we're now 7-1-0. Not too bad. 

I practiced the out of sight stays with Kamikaze this evening. She did them perfectly. No fidgeting either. After lunch tomorrow I'm off to Hattiesburg, MS for a USDAA show. I need to remember to bring Kamikaze's obedience stuff and practice while I'm there. 

Sparkle is staying home with Daddy since her toe is still swollen and inflamed. I ended up having to take her back to the vet yesterday afternoon. The toe was still oozing fresh blood. It appears the nail is cracked way back up under the cuticle and all we can do is wait for the nail to grow out some. Hopefully that happens in time for AKC agility in August. They did prescribe her some antibiotics as a precaution and some steroids to help with the swelling,

21st

I ran Kamikaze through open obedience exercise this evening. Heeling was great, drop was good. Retrieve on flat was fine. Then we hit some issues. She seemed to have forgotten to jump the high jump on the way to get the dumbbell. A couple of reminders and she was doing it again. The broad jump proved a worse animal. Don't know if she was sore or tired from three days of agility or just forgot herself or what. She wanted to step on the boards or go around them. I did finally get her to jump the whole length with the container of treats placed at the end. We had a big party and went inside. About an hour later I pulled the broad jump out again, but in a different place. She tried going around once and walking on once, but then seemed to remember the game. When she did it right we went in for big bonus treats. Then I went back out with her and tried again. Once she did it right, back inside again. It went on like this until she did it right twice in a row. Then I called it quits. I need to work her stays some more. She entered in OPEN in a couple of weeks. YIKES! What was I thinking? I guess I was thinking I'd keep her training up, and I haven't.

20th

I got back from Houston around 7 pm tonight. Kamikaze had a great agility weekend, but not so good conformation one. I got into Houston around 7 Thursday night. Found the hotel with ease. Got up the next morning and found Reliant Center just as easy, but finding my parking lot for agility was a nightmare! There is no marked lot for the TAN lot they told me to go to. Even the lady at the parking booth taking money had no idea where it was. I showed her a map with my lot highlighted. Turns out that's the loading dock area and they don't really consider it a lot. Would've been nice to pass that info on in the trial confirmation! After 15 or 20 minutes of being lost in the parking areas at Reliant I find my lot. It was nice to see when I opened the doors I was standing within a bean bag toss of the agility rings. I got my crate and stuff set up and got Kamikaze settled and took off to find the conformation rings and where I had to be for that. Friday was the panic as everything happens at once day. Walk jumpers 8:30 AM, run jumpers 9 AM, conformation 9:15, Run Standard 9:45. I moved myself up to first jumpers dog. I ran in my agility shorts and conformation top. Kamikaze took off like a bullet just to slide around a good bit at the beginning of the course. She adjusted well though, and ran clean. Put up dog. Walked Standard once. Pulled skirt over shorts and grabbed dog and jogged to conformation. I got there as the dogs were showing. Cindy, the breeder, came right up and introduced herself. She seemed nice. I show and get dumped. I stuck around to see best of breed and the breeder's husband came over and introduced himself. As soon as breed ended I raced to agility again. Pulled off skirt, changed shirt just in time to run Standard in the designated order. Kazee did great in Standard as well. She did all her contacts just like I taught her. No over-excited bailing off. Another clean run. The Fast class wasn't until about 2 pm, so I had plenty of time to eat lunch and look around. She ran well in Fast as well, but didn't complete the distance part the first try. She ended up with 5th or 6th in Jumpers and third in Standard. Some of the Baton Rouge people had pre-purchased tickets to the Astros/Cubs baseball game for Friday night. They had a couple of people pull out, so they invited me along. I went, as it seemed like one of those things you can't pass up if you've never seen professional baseball in person. So I spent the evening in the baseball stadium. It wasn't too thrilling until the bottom of the ninth when Houston pulled out a win.

Saturday started just as well. At least there wasn't conflicts with the breed ring the rest of the weekend too. Kamikaze had another clean jumpers run. Then in standard there was a terrible opportunity for an off course on the Aframe, her favorite obstacle. Sure enough I was unable to keep her off it, but it was her only fault. We are allowed that fault in Novice so we still Q'd there with a third place. In jumpers we were 5th or 6th again. We managed a Q in Fast this time with a third place. Her breeder even got to see it! There was a 'famous' agility photographer there from California, Tien Tran. She didn't get any pictures of us. I was bummed. We were dumped in conformation again. Sat night I got to eat with a group that included Meg. She had dropped by the show to shop and found us Baton Rouge people. 

Sunday morning proved to be the nasty Novice Jumpers course I think I've seen in AKC ever. There were multiple opportunities for the dog to take off course jumps that were directly in the natural running path. Kazee and I made it through with only one scary call off. When we crossed the finish line I asked the first person I saw if we were clean. Seems we were, so that was her Jumpers title. In Standard she ran like a dream and finished the course in about 45 seconds and she was clean for her Standard title. It turns out we were the only dog in our height class to be clean on both of those runs, so she finished her titles in style with two first places. Fast went well again, but still failed the distance work. I pulled out the camera to take a picture of her next to all her ribbons and the battery was dead. Stay tuned for a picture soon. Still got dumped in conformation. Tien Tran was still taking pictures today saying she would USPS ship the Sunday ones to people. She took Novice pictures, and I think a good one of Kazee. I'll see if I get it in the mail.

Meanwhile, back at home... Rich somehow managed to step on one of Sparkle's outside toes (back foot) while I was gone. It bled good and he took her in to see the vet. They can't find anything terrible wrong, but she's still limping. The nail was oozing blood around the area it attaches under the skin to the toe. The toe is still swollen. She walks fine, but does the three legged hop when she trots. I have emailed the trial secretary for next weekend to let her know I am having to pull Sparkle for an injury. I don't want to risk her not being completely pain free while asking her to do agility. She also got an 'outdoor' adventure. She managed to shoot past Rich as he went out of a gate this weekend. She took off into the woods to find the bunny that she sees frequently through the fence. Rich ran in to get the emergency whistle, and somehow couldn't see it sitting on the shelf in his panic. He went back out with a leash calling her with no luck. She was on a trail so he was able to follow the howling. He had to run all the way to the back of our property to a ditch. She was down in it, but had lost her smell. When he go to the edge of the ditch he looked down and said in his most sweet voice, "Sparkle, come see daddy.", and amazingly she did.

15th

Nikita goes out with me to get the mail every afternoon. So, today, as usual I let her out the front door (no leash required) with me when I went out for the mail. It's about a 60-70 foot walk to the mail box at the street. She usually does her own thing. Sniff, pee, snoop around the yard. After I got the mail out of the box today and turned back towards the yard I see Nikita in the full attention pose. Ears up, body quivering a bit. My first response without knowing what she sees is "NO! Leave it!" She gives me the whatever you say look and relaxes a little, but still intently watching something. As I walk towards her, I whip my head around to see what she could be after. Behind me, across the road and about 30-40 feet down the road is a doe grazing. WHAT?! I spin back towards Nikita..."LIE DOWN!" She does and I walk up to her and take her collar to lead her back into the house. Even with all the commotion I caused stopping an all out chase, the doe is still there when I return with the camera!
 

13th

We worked some on the agility field to be this afternoon. I got some dirt moved into about half the low spot and Rich cut the last two trees out. I spent some time nursing a fire at the base of the bulldozed pile of trees. I got a nice, hot one going, but as it burned out the underneath the top didn't drop any. I guess there were too many tree tops tangled together. There is still plenty of work to do and I'm still hoping for the spring to plant grass and maybe have a usable field by late next year.

12th

Sparkle and I went to the library demo today. She did very well until the end when it was time for all the kids to pet the dogs. I held her because I knew kids make her nervous. It was still too much for her when 4-5 kids were all trying to pet her at once. She got to clawing at me to get down. The kids moved on and as the crowd thinned out I was able to put her down and sit with her. She even let a couple of kids sit next to her and pet her while I shoved the treats in her mouth. It was good for her, I think, to be around the kids and nothing bad happened. I just hope I haven't killed her retrieve for good by having her show it off for the kids.

We managed to figure out what part of the washer was leaking this afternoon. It's the pump that pumps the water out. It's close to the front and easy to remove. I managed to find a parts place still open at 5 pm that had our part in stock for around $32 plus tax. We managed to pick it up and put it on tonight. I washed a small load and it appears to be fixed now!

11th

The washer started leaking all over the floor yesterday when I did clothes. We have an appointment for repair Tuesday morning. This means I'll be at work Monday instead of Tues.


Spirit - 5 weeks

Promise - 5 weeks

10th

I took Sparkle to obedience tonight. Classes are over, but club members are still showing up to train. She was a bit distracted on heeling. After heeling I left the group to work on drops. That seems to be her worst exercise right now. She was walking in and either not stopping at all or stopping in her tracks on the down command, but then not dropping. I got better treats out of the car and just started helping her more on the down command. Then we rejoined the group to do a stand for exam. We did a Novice stand, but had a Utility exam done on her. She even called to heel sort of. We left the group again and this time practiced retrieving the dumbbell on the flat. She did much better about going on the first command this time. I only did it a couple of times. She was getting tired and hot and no need to irritate her if she was doing it right anyways. We went ahead and left early since she was worn out with it.

It's looking like I may just get to do agility next weekend. It appears Kamikaze's parts are shrinking and the bleeding has stopped.

8th

It was not raining at my house this evening, but was evidently thrashing parts of Baton Rouge good. My soccer game was thusly cancelled, so I had a couple of unplanned hours on my hands at home. I was going to do a quick obedience training session, but realized maybe agility training would be more useful. I have guys entered in agility shows at the end of the month. It's so more more hassle right now to set up agility stuff than just a jump or two for obedience. I set about the task of dragging out the set of 12 weaves, the tire jump, the teeter and a couple of regular jumps. Sparkle got to be first up. I tried out the new motivational toy I bought for her. It's a small fleece bone with the velcro opening to jam some treats in. I waved it around in front of her face and she started bouncing and snatching at it. Good sign! We practiced weaves and then throw the toy. She raced after it and grabbed it off the ground and took off with it. Ok, so I found a motivational thing for her, but now she won't let me have it to give her a treat out of it. I see some toy training will be in order. I finally got close enough to convince her to let me have it and I opened it and dispensed treats. We did a couple of jumps and then throw the toy. Same result. A happy beagle racing around with the treat filled toy. It took a little less time this time to get it back and give her treats out of it. She caught on pretty quick that she wasn't going to get the treats out as fast as I could and started letting me walk up to her while she held on to it. We practiced teeter with a fast exit (chasing the toy) too. I didn't spend too much time with her. When I saw the interest starting to wane a bit a held the velcro open and let her dig out the last treats with her snout. Lego was next. He needs weave pole and turning practice. He did great entering the weaves this time. Then we practiced turning a bit tighter when cued. Josie mostly needs the turning tighter and then exploding into a run again after the turn training on this set up. What I need is an A frame to practice contacts on with her, but I have to work with what I got. I practiced cuing turns with her and then sprinting full speed ahead after her head turned. I seem to have discovered a way to encourage this. She knows if I'm cheering "go, go" that we're on track and she hauls it. When I want her to turn I get quiet and say "easy, here" and then "go, go" again to let her know we're right. Jedi practiced a bit of weaves and the turning game as well. He is a terrible turner at shows. I actually saw his enthusiasm improve over his 10 minute training session instead of decline. Good job! Kamikaze was quite upset that she had to go last. I heard her inside howling while the others were outside. I practiced teeters and weaves with her and then the cuing turns game. She is a wide turner right now. Since she's in FAST coming up soon I practiced some small gamble type stuff. She had an issue for a bit with coming off the side of the teeter before it hit the ground instead of running down it if I was out a distance from it. I worked on that briefly by throwing a treat toward the end of the teeter. I am praying hard that she finishes up this 'in season' stuff in the next 7-8 days so we can run agility at Reliant for her breeder to see.

5th

We worked some on the agility field today. It seems the dozer guys dozed all the trees in the way of the natural drainage, so now we have more work to make it drain properly again in the corner. Don't know how much good they actually did us, but on I labor towards the day I can have my own training ground. I bought grass seed today, but likely won't be planting until spring with all the work to do the get the sticking up roots cleared and the drainage fixed.

We sold the old truck today. I listed it on Craigslist on Thursday and got an interested email the same day. He drove by to see it Friday and bought it today.

4th - Happy Birthday Misty

This is the day we celebrate Misty's birthday. We found her on the side of the road as a teeny pup 13 years ago today. 

We spent the day in New Orleans with my brother at the Audubon Zoo. I got several good pictures, and we were only interrupted briefly by the afternoon rain storm.
We had two cell phone calls about the truck for sale while we were there, so that's looking good too.

I checked email when I got home and there were more puppy pictures. I have discovered now that Dark is the black girl and Riser is the black boy. 

Spirit. (my long time favorite)

Promise. (my second choice)

3rd

Nikita had to do an entire utility routine for her pass to come inside today. I set up 3 of my ring gates for go-outs this time. She did heeling and articles just great. We struggled a bit on the gloves again. She still turns sloppily making it harder to go to the correct glove. Her stand and call to heel were perfect. He first go-out was bad. We reset and she did fine the second time and took the jump as directed. Next one was good too.

Tomorrow we are headed to New Orleans to go to the zoo with my brother. I'd mentioned we could do that sometime almost a year ago when he decided to move there. I will take the camera along too.

The beagle pups had their first outdoor adventure today. The breeder says they did well and didn't seem intimidated by the new surfaces (grass, dirt) and smells. The other lady getting a puppy is coming to the Labor Day shows to pick her puppy up too, so I should get to meet her as well.

2nd

The guys showed up to doze of my agility field today. There's one big beech tree near the back of the cleared area that should provide some decent shade and an opportunity to teach 'get out' around it to. There's still work to be done. Like, some grass and a fence. Maybe next summer I'll be all set.

As all good bargain shoppers know, the time to purchase winter clothes is in the summer. So, you'll understand when you see this picture of Sparkle sporting her new winter coat. I also got a matching one for new beagle puppy and for Misty. Lego got the same coat, but his is with a top color of navy blue instead of purple. Won't they be so cute this winter at the shows with their matching coats! Jedi and Josie already have matching coats. Theirs are yellow on top with black on bottom. The hounds all had sweaters previously. These seemed to annoy them in the putting on and taking off over their heads.

1st

The guys that are supposed to doze my agility field dropped off their dozer on a low boy today. No indication as to when they plan on coming to actually do the job. Since they doze for a living and the dozer is sitting here, we are thinking by the end of the week they should have my agility field leveled out. Then it'll be time for picking a grass and getting that growing. We can then fence it and move my agility stuff there so I can train more regularly. All I need now is to purchase an A-Frame and make me several more jumps.

I had another soccer game tonight. We pulled out win #5. I'm gonna have a couple of sore spots after this one.

Here's the latest puppy picture. They all have names given them by the breeder now.

The black ones are Dark (top one) and Riser. I don't know which one is the boy though.
Top right red is the boy, Thunder. The red girls are Promise, Lita (short for Rosalita, the all red one), Spirit.
I am still unsure which one is Spirit and which is Promise. She didn't relate the names to the puppy number I am used to them being referred to by. I ask for clarification so I'll let you know when I know.
Turns out I was right. I got the girls named in the right order in the picture from left to right.