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JULY 2012

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31st

I finally felt good enough to work Windy. I spent about an hour or so working with her in the pasture this afternoon. Nothing too strenuous as it was a bazillion degrees out there. We stayed to the shade too. I started with an introduction to the 'evil hand towel'. It took her about 10 minutes to stop lunging in circles and let me rub the towel all over her. Then it was on to all her tack. She let me put the headstall on with no issues the first try. I took it off and put it back on several times. We went on to the saddle pad. She had the 'ACK' reaction to it again. Took her another 10 -15 to let me drag the saddle pad all over her. Then we moved on to the actual saddle. She hasn't had it on since I came off and broke my ribs 6 weeks ago. She was just fine with me throwing up there. She was fine when I messed with cinching it up. Ok, so I need to go back and re-watch the cinching video. I seem to have lost a step. No matter, I just wanted to get it on her firmly enough so it wouldn't slide around while she walked. I lead roped walked her around the pasture a couple of times and she was fine. I even put my foot in the stirrup and bounced up and down a bit.  She was fine with that too. Took all the tack off and went in. I was hot, but not dying.

30th

Sprigs seems FINE this morning. I am skeptical and I'm still keeping her under wraps. We have an agility show next Wed.-Fri. and I don't need a hurt dog! Sparkle is almost done with her steroids too. She looks completely normal now. Still no idea what happened to make her eye swell up.

I headed to the local family owned garage this morning to have a screw removed from the passenger front Expedition tire and get the tire patched. Wanted to have it all ready to go before I take off with 8 dogs and 2 people pulling a camper next Tuesday. Well, bad news. Gene said the tire is bad. Multiple small pin holes as well as the large screw. No fixing it to a trustworthy tire. He was surprised it wasn't just FLAT every day. (It was loosing 10lbs every three days) Those tires have 75,000 miles on them. So, it was decided to just buy a whole new set of tires. GULP! Big unplanned expense. When it rains it pours, I swear it does. The tires will be in the garage by tomorrow morning. I paid for basically the same tires I had on it. If I can get that many miles on them it's worth the extra $20-$30 a tire in my opinion. Of course for Gene to put the spare on for the day I had to go and pull four crates out of the vehicle since the spare tire drop is UNDER them. Spent some time this afternoon pulling ALL the crates out and washing mats and floor coverings. I'll leave them out for Gene to make it easy for him to put the spare up tomorrow. Not that it wasn't about time to pull everything out and clean, but I just wouldn't have picked to do that in this heat.

29th

Sprigs came out of her crate this morning completely three legged! ARGH!!! Holding right rear leg up. She was fine last night and yesterday. She was dashing about the house playing with Twinkle and everything. I can't find any pain response in that foot, knee, or hip. There is a pain response in her back though. Don't know if that is better or worse. I got Rich to work on her this morning. I gave her some non-steroid anti-inflammatory too. She was having supervised time loose in the house, but started feeling better late morning and thought about jumping on the couch. Crate after that!

Kayak, Xanadu, Kamikaze and I went over to Cheryl's house this afternoon for some obedience practice on her nice living room floor. Sprigs and her crate went too. Everyone did very well on their obedience work. Kayak had some minor whining on his stay line (Grace and Bern were the stay line). Otherwise he was really good. Xanadu seems to have fixed her go-out/sit problem and almost fixed her drop signal too.

26th

Sparkle's eye is almost imperceptibly swollen. Still a little worried about what will happen with steroids run out, but as of now it looks like we are on track to have her back to normal soon. Both her and Twinkle got baths yesterday. Don't know what it is about those tri-colored beagles (or what they do) that makes them doggie smelly faster than any other dog here. 

Kamikaze has been doing her articles EVERY day in different places around the house/yard. She's yet to find her 100% confidence again, but she is successful almost every time. Yesterday she had an obedience meltdown though. Every dumb or odd thing she's pulled at a show over the last few months reared it's ugly head. That actually makes me happy since we got to work on those things. I mean if they don't screw up where you can fix it. She hesitated to bring back a glove, then struggled to bring back the right one, then couldn't turn with me. She had no sits on her go-outs, took the wrong jump, took NO jump. She couldn't find the right article and lost her signals. Today was much better though. All those things were fixed when we worked today.
Xanadu had a meltdown yesterday in obedience too. She lost her signals, articles, and go-outs. She didn't bounce back as quickly as Kamikaze did either. We are still struggling with those things today.
Kayak, on the other hand, was brilliant! I even had an opportunity this early evening to work him on his obedience while some distant neighbors were target shooting. He did care at all about the noise and worked fine. We did have to have a discussion about whining during stays again though. 

I even loaded the three currently practicing obedience dogs up and made it out to obedience class tonight. Kamikaze did well on her stuff out at class. Xanadu still struggled. Kayak did perfect on his stand for exam with four different people. At least two of them complete strangers to him. I was thrilled. I was worried he'd wiggle. But, we did discover some things to work on with his stays. He broke his sit stays twice when people with treat bags (roughly his head height) on walked by. He broke for 'interesting' things going on behind him. He even laid down on his sit, TWICE, after he'd been out in the heat and got a little tired. That's a new thing to work on.

21st

Here's a Sparkle update photo from late last night.

I got up this morning and got Kayak, Twinkle and Sprigs loaded in the car for some tracking practice. We had to be done by around 9am to miss the rain. I took them to two separate places. The first place I got rained on laying the last track, but it stopped in time to run them. Tracks were between 20-40 minutes old with random treats along the way. Sprigs went first both times. She did great starting. I was glad to see that! We've been struggling at the start with not realizing the game and not getting started well. She was great on track one, but second track (an ''S" around trees) wasn't as nice. Of course second track the ants got her treats so no reward along the way. And it started raining on her on her second one. Twinkle did OK starting both times. She struggles with loss of focus along the way. She starts tracking whatever interests her and not the human scent. Kayak's first track started with NO flag or article. He started great on that one! He did very well on his first turn, but struggled some after that as I had to wind around strangely to avoid LARGE mud/water puddles. His second track had a flag and article. He went back to his old habit of pouncing on it at the start and screeching for a treat. BUT, he did start after only a couple of commands. That's improvement. His track was a long straight leg with a left and then right turn. He turned well at the first turn on his own. Took the second turn early, but corrected as he scented the glove. I still vote he has the greatest potential for this game of all the young ones I'm working with.

Kamikaze got more work on articles today. Kayak worked fronts, stands and stays. He's really about to understand front as a certain place in front of me. I'm not feeling too bad about his shot at doing decently in Novice Obedience at the end of August. I also pulled out his 6 weave poles for the first time in a while. He was struggling with remembering. His biggest issue at this point is wrapping to pole two. He wants to do the entrance and then skip a pole. We worked on that some. 

Sparkle gets better every day. Here's today's picture.

20th

Yesterday I noticed Sparkle was swelling around her right eye again. I'd been giving her some steroid since I noticed it Monday and I thought we had it conquered. I called and made an appointment at the vet for her this morning. I was a bit freaked out when I got up and found her like this.

It was NOT this bad Monday or last night. It was totally swollen shut and I had to gently clean goo off it. The vet said what I expected (and hoped). It seems to be a reaction to an insect bite/sting compounded by a secondary infection. Some antibiotics and a full course of steroids should have her fixed up good as new soon.


18th

Yesterday Windy decided she didn't want to go back to her pasture after two hours of grazing in the dog yard. She actually RAN from me when I went out with the lead rope. She hasn't done that since week 2 of her being here. I know I was gone 5 days, but really? Thought we had an understanding about that. She ran for 15 minutes before she gave in. Then she stood fine and walked placidly to her pasture where I lunged her butt, made her do spins and backup for another 15 minutes. I was just spitting mad! And both of us were soaked with sweat. 


I bit the bullet and entered Kayak in Novice Obedience at the end of August in Monroe. My goal is for him to practice stays and fronts every day until then. I got a perfect set of Novice stays out him the first try this morning. SO, this afternoon I upped the ante on stays a bit. 

He did lie down when Windy walked up and lipped his back, but he didn't move from his spot. I almost felt bad putting him back in a sit. That was a bit much for a newbie to tolerate. I didn't think Windy would actually touch him.

Seeing as how Kazee freaked out on articles at the last show I am trying to get in article practice every day and in all kinds of different places and setups. She got to do articles today with the horse standing right next to her. She had a little bit of a hard time focusing, but managed to do them after a couple of failed attempts. I figured why not work Xan on articles out there too! She was not distracted by Windy at all, but we are still struggling to work up to a full set of articles. I'd like to get her ready for full on Utility by next year.

I also need to work gloves followed by go-outs as that is the one part she is confused on. She wants to do the go-out to the glove spot. 

16th

I made it back from Memphis early this afternoon. It was a nice trip to visit family/show dogs. I transported a mini Aussie, Willow, to Memphis with me Thursday. He traveled great for the 5 hour drive.
His foster mom picked him up after work that night. She reports he is fitting in well with the two girls at her house.
Thursday night Kayak and I went with Karen and her Siberian, Revel, to their agility class. I was allowed to let Kayak play on the equipment before and after class. He was not fond of their Aframe or teeter (indoors with low ceilings) and wouldn't do their half height dogwalk at all. His first attempt was a slip and fall since their equipment had no sand AND no slats. He would do his contact behavior at the bottom though. After class was jumps and tunnels. He was a superstar at all the handling I tried. His two 'needs work' areas were a 180 (knew that already) and a layered front cross out of a tunnel. He kept going around that jump.

I didn't show Friday until early afternoon so I was able to spend the morning with Mom. Then Kayak was a complete goober in conformation. Wouldn't stand still for exam, wouldn't let me stack his rear. It was just sad. At least it was a judge not likely to put him up anyway. The good news is Revel took the five point major! I got to have yummy Corky's BBQ Friday night with the family. YUM!

Saturday I had to show early in obedience. Kamikaze acted dumb in Utility. No sits, barely stops on go-outs. She wouldn't look at me for signals. It was awful. Two commands for first article. Got glove and then ran behind me and dropped it, second command got it and ran somewhere else and dropped it. Third command, "Bring it HERE", got it to me. Xanadu did wonderful in Graduate Open. Got her signals, article and glove. Got confused on what exercise we were doing for the stand and tried to do a go-out. Then did go-out to the corner where the glove was. Wouldn't stay sitting for me to come to her either. But I was very happy with her. Kayak did awesome in his Novice Rally class and took second with a 98. Couldn't tell you what those two points were taken off for. He looked stellar. It was his title, so now young man has his first title!


I was up every few hours Saturday night with Kamikaze. She had the runs. I was very tired when the alarm went off at 6am. I was due in the ring at 8am with Xanadu. She did great again In Graduate Open. Missed her first Q in it by anticipating the go-out (once again to the corner where gloves were) and then not staying sitting for me to come to her. I was very pleased. Kayak showed in conformation again today. At least he actually did well in the ring this time even though we got nothing. Kamikaze was even worse in Utility. Completely stressed at articles, both of them. Same stupid game with the glove. At least her go-outs were better. Stopped on both and even sat on one of them. Her signals were last and she spun in place several times when I gave the drop signal. I immediately walked toward her and called her in. I took her directly outside. She had to 'go'. Forget that I gave her every opportunity before ring time! 

I stayed in Memphis until Monday morning. I met up with rescue people at 9am to pick up Drake, the GSP, that needed to go to New Orleans. 
I had GSP friends meeting me in Hammond and taking him the rest of the way to his foster mom. So, I guess this weekend I was Tracey's Transport Service.


9th

I took Cedar in to the vet to have her swelling face looked at. It's no worse nor any better than it was Friday. I can't find an abrasion to explain it so I am concerned it's the beginning of a tooth problem. Those are best dealt with earlier than later. My suspicions were confirmed by the vet. Cedar spent the day at the vet getting her teeth cleaned and three cracked ones removed. Poor girl. She's not feeling so well this evening. 

6th

We have been having rain just about every day this week. We are behind and dry so that's been OK with me. Unfortunately while Rich and I were out today there was a big thunderstorm, knocked out power, must've been a bad one. Cedar freaked and escaped from the yard (again) and met us coming up the driveway when we got home. When I cleaned all the mud off I noticed her face was swollen under her right eye a bit. I wasn't too concerned. There was no obvious injure. I figured she'd knocked it up on the escape.

I've been spending at least 30 minutes a day working on Kayak's 'stand for exam' and his 'come front' in an effort to decide if I'm entering him in Novice obedience at the end of August. I won free entries for the show at a raffle, so I could take him as well. If I decide in the next week I can have those two things polished up I'll need to work hard on stays as well.

3rd

AKC has decided to add metallic designations to the Master agility titles. So, this morning I noticed Kamikaze and Lego are now sporting some new titles. Kamikaze has her MXB (Master Excellent Bronze) and MJS (Master Jumpers Silver). Lego got his MJB (Master Jumper Bronze). So now there's even more to keep up with.

1st

Cheryl and I had fun in Monroe this weekend. A lot went on so this may turn into a lengthy post. I hooked up all by myself Wednesday afternoon. Cheryl drove out to my house and we left from here. We chose to take a slightly longer (by miles) route to get there so that the Expedition pulling the camper could stick to the Interstate system. Figured we'd get better gas mileage and less stress on the vehicle than taking the shorter (by miles) way and spending all that time going through small towns, changing speeds, etc. We got to the show site about 5:30, so it was still very warm out with plenty of daylight for setting up the camper. First discovery looked something like this.

For those of you that don't know what this is, it's the camper plug in to the vehicle so you can have lights on said camper when you pull it. Seems I left a little TOO much give in the wire when I hooked up and we drug the wires on the ground the whole way to Monroe. Somewhere along the way it just rubbed clear through. ARGH! Now another thing to worry about getting taken care of over the next couple of days. At least that doesn't affect us using the camper at the site to live in. We got everything all set up, Cheryl doing most of the bending and lifting work as my ribs are still very broken, and the air running and took the vehicle (with dogs in it) to Chick-Fil-A for a quick dinner while the camper cooled to a tolerable temperature. We got back in about an hour only to find a flood under our camper and spreading fast. ARGH! Now what? OK, so it just turned out Cheryl had connected the water to the fill valve for the camper tank (the one you'd fill for dry camping) instead of the city water input. The overflow for the tank on the camper was spilling out everywhere. (grateful for overflow valve I am) Bad camper owner didn't tell her there were two inputs. WHOOPS! We got that problem remedied and picked the neighbor's box of stuff off ground and set it higher before it got wet. No harm done there. I made my bed on the floor as I can't lie down flat, took a codeine and we dozed off.
Thursday
We got to setting up at the show site by 6:30am I believe. Marie had saved us a spot. Cheryl was nice enough to carry Siberian sized things inside for me. I can handle beagle sized things on my good side. I waited until my first run to take a codeine. I knew running Kamikaze wouldn't get me winded, so it was OK if it took a bit of time to take effect. I had nice runs in Standard with everyone, but only one Q, Lego, and it was his MX title. Xanadu played Underdog off the bottom of the dogwalk, Kamikaze missed a turn when I failed to inform her about it and took an off course, Storm had a wild moment near the ring exit and dashed out and even though she came back in she got E'd, Sprigs did only 10 weaves. I was proud of myself for making it through all the runs. The worst pain was at the end of Sprigs' run when I was trying to catch my breath and it wasn't too bad. I got a call into an RV repair place before jumpers. They said they could come out and fix the camper before Sunday, they'd get back with me. That's a relief. If they don't make it Cheryl and I will just get some wire connectors and electrical tape and make it workable for the ride home. Jumpers went fairly well too. I managed 3 Q's. Kamikaze went off course when I turned my shoulders to look for he. OOPS! Then I proceeded to screech to try and stop her and ended up moaning and grabbing my ribs. That was the only lesson I needed all weekend on trying to project my voice. Xanadu hit a bar or she'd have made gotten a Q.  Lego-man managed to make it around clean for his 5th QQ! Storm got around it for 6 more MACH points (144 still needed). Sprigs got her 2nd AXJ leg.

For dinner we headed out to a planned meal at a local place on Bayou Desiard. Marie had a surprise planned for us. We went on a 30 minute cruise around the bayou before dinner. It was very hot out, but it wasn't too bad on a moving boat. I snapped some cell phone pictures.

 
 

Friday
Standard was a bust for me today. Kamikaze missed the Aframe because I didn't give her a good enough entrance and she won't take it at an angle and risk hurting herself. Lego didn't turn hard enough to hit his weaves and took the wrong side entrance. Spirit wouldn't do the teeter. Sprigs got all excited and had to zoom a bit. Jumpers was a bit better. Kamikaze pulled out a Q, a very slow one. Sprigs made it around for her AXJ title!  

Spirit didn't do so well. Lego did the same thing he did in standard, he missed the hard turn and took the wrong side entrance on the weaves. I was getting nervous about the repair man by 11 or so and gave him a call. He hadn't forgotten about us. He sent someone out right as I was walking for Sprigs' run. I sent Cheryl and some cash to meet the repair man and she was nice enough to pay him and wait while he fixed us up. Dinner was early and at a close Mexican place. Then we sat down for a movie in the camper. Cheryl had brought "CARS" and I'd never seen it. I ended up falling asleep through parts of it (not a movie that caught and held my attention). At one point while I was sleeping Spice slipped by Cheryl to come say 'hi' to me. She nosed me in the face as I slept and I shot straight up in shock and then moaned and grabbed my ribs in pain. Pulling straight up is not a motion your broken ribs takes very well. UGH! It was a short lived pain, codeine took it away and I slept fine that night.
Saturday
Kamikaze and I really clicked in Standard this morning! It was a gorgeous run. Just wonderful. There was a rep on site today and she saw the run and was very complimentary on my wonderful agility Siberian. There were also some nice comments from competitors about her. Xanadu had a stellar run going until I raced her to the weaves and made her miss the entrance. The 'ten weave pole only' monster hit Lego today. ARGH! Storm had a great run until she went around the chute near the end. Sprigs had a day of rest. Jumpers went well for Kamikaze, not as well as standard since I forgot where I was once and tried to collide with her, but a Q for her 23rd QQ. 

Lego had the same 10 pole problem in Jumpers as in Standard. Storm got a Q, but only just in time, so no points. Xanadu ran by a jump, but it was a decent run otherwise. When we got back to the camper we realized we'd frozen up the A/C today and it was HOT in the camper. WHY? We hadn't changed any settings and the A/C did fine Thur. and Fri. Engineer Cheryl figured it out. All the shedding dogs in the camper had left enough hair floating around to coat the filter and the intake. OOPS! New lesson learned. Every morning of a dog show clean the A/C intake and filter if you want a cool camper at the end of the day. SO... dinner was drive the dogs around in the car until it cooled and eat in the car from a drive through. Then go back to hot camper now that A/C is unfrozen (an hour later) and turn A/C back on. Leave in car again and go to the frozen yogurt place right up the road. It was a cool place. 12-16 flavors and you pick up your own cup and squirt in what you want and add your own toppings and then pay by the ounce at the check out. Very neat. We ate inside while the dogs stayed cool in the still running vehicle right outside the door. (locked and running) After frozen yogurt we headed back and the camper had cooled to a tolerable temperature. Apparently I left the A/C on 'icicle' when we went to sleep. Both Cheryl and Xanadu needed extra covers.
Sunday
Kamiakze had a just lovely standard run. One of the smoothest ones of the 20" class. But she stepped off the side of the dogwalk before the yellow. UGH! I even heard the judge moan in regret as she called the missed contact. Spirit screwed up the first obstacle by sniffing and turning and coming out of the tunnel. So when I got her to do the teeter on the first try we left for a reward. Lego was very disappointing in that he ran like the 'old' Lego. Not listening, doing his own thing. Cheryl thinks it was the tunnel start in which I said nothing to him when he was inside it. It was like leaving him and he panicked. I ended up just pulling him at the weaves when he couldn't do them. Sprigs, well, let's say maybe a day off wasn't in her best interest after all. She ran amok (in joy). Jumpers had a very difficult weave entrance, among other challenges. I got Kamikaze around all the way to the weaves and she just couldn't turn her body tight enough to get in the weaves at pole one. Lego got the weave entrance, but I held his head too long on the jump before the tunnel and when I turned him loose he missed the jump on the outside. Spirit had her best run of the weekend on jumpers, but it included two run bys on jumps. Sprigs had an awesome jumpers run, not quite a Q. We got hooked up and out of their by 1:30ish. Not bad. Now for a couple of days of resting the ribs.