2011 training goals

July 2011

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I got in some 2X2 weave training with Sprigs and Twinkle on Friday. The worst part pain-wise was the walk back to the house afterwards. I have the poles in one of the dog yards that we don't currently use, so at least it wasn't a hike to the agility field. Sprigs shows promise in understanding soon. Twinkle is still in the dark. She doesn't know why she gets a cookie sometimes and not others.

Yesterday Rich and I went to see Captian America at the theater. It was a really decent Marvel Comic flick. Then we went by Lowe's to pick out a new kitchen sink. The one in the house is a beige/almond color and stained and chipped and Rich has decided he's done with it. I took my crutches into Lowe's since I didn't know how much walking would be involved. I can walk fine without them for short doses, but a stroll around a store that big would've had me grimacing. So this afternoon Rich spent his time installing our new kitchen sink (and hardware)


I have been able to gimp around now at home with no brace and no crutches the last couple of days. My knee still has a good bit of restriction in its range of motion. And before all you friends start screeching at me, hear what the surgeon said today. "We don't want to do surgery until you get almost complete range of motion back in you knee. The more if moves before surgery, the faster it moves after surgery." So, I was right on track with trying to use it as much as I could this past week. As a matter of fact I've been doing so well getting it moving again I get to have surgery after two weeks (instead of the usual 3) of Physical Therapy. On August 10th (afternoon) I'll be having my ACL reconstructed from my hamsting tendon. I've been told to expect the first few days after surgery to be 'grim' (I think that's the word the surgeon used).


I had my MRI today. The result: a completely torn ACL, but no apparent other damage in the knee and some bruising on the top of the femur. My next appointment with the knee guy is on Thursday. There really isn't much option except surgery. I am totally upset at the idea of being out of agility for 4-6 month. I know long term that will likely be the best way to be healthy for the longest. It also wasn't a day of feeling great. Since I was home I moved around WAY TOO MUCH. I was hurting in the calf and knee by 1 pm.


Although bummed about my condition and my lack of mobility, I still enjoyed my three and half days of agility. Cheryl was great helping out walking the dogs and transporting us as a group back and forth to the motorhome. On Thursday afternoon I let Megan Foster try her hand running Kamikaze since I didn't think I could get around a course fast enough on crutches for her. The first run went pretty well for them. It went downhill from there. Kazee listened to her less and less. By Friday second run I had to run her on crutches. It was clear then that she was happier with me on crutches than with Megan. Jedi ran for Lucy Long a couple of times on Thursday, but he wouldn't lie on the table for her and although he didn't leave her they weren't going to Q with no down. I tried running him once on crutches, but he gave me no respect. Josie I already know won't run for other people, so I attempted her on crutches from the start. Xanadu and I ran together Friday. We were clean in Standard, but over time. We didn't make it fast enough around in Snooker. But, she handled crutches fine. She just wouldn't run much out ahead of me. So, Saturday I let Cheryl try running with her. Neither of us thought it would go well, but Xan surprised us both by sticking out with Cheryl and doing what she was asked.  

Overall the results from the weekend weren't my best, but I pulled out two Snooker legs on Josie for her Snooker Silver title and one Snooker leg on Kamikaze for her Snooker Champion title while on crutches. Xanadu and Cheryl got an Advanced Standard leg.

I was in a lot of discomfort on Friday. Mostly in my left calf. Not sure why it swelled up and tightened up so bad. The knee only bothered me if I accidentally twisted it. Cheryl did a good job of policing my walking around and keeping me sitting more on Friday and Saturday so my best days for feeling good were Saturday and Sunday. I even tried dropping the crutches for Kamikaze's last Standard run and hop/skipped it. I thought I got around OK, but she just wasn't listening well. Don't know if the funny gait got to her after getting used to my crutches or what. But, alas we are still chasing one Standard leg for her Agility Dog Champion title. Don't know how long I'll be out, so I'm kinda bummed on that front.


I had a soccer game last night. One in which I seriously damaged my left knee in the last 5 minutes of the game! ARGH!!! NO NO NO! They had to carry me off the field. Rich found me an appointment with a knee specialist today. He thinks I tore my ACL. I am not surprised. I was afraid of that when I heard the knee pop as I hurdled to the ground. I'm scheduled for an MRI on Monday. Results appointment with the doctor on Thursday. I bought a decent knee brace with metal side supports and some crutches today. I will still be headed to the agility show this weekend as I can't get my money back and Cheryl is counting on my motor home for her 'hotel' room. I have some volunteers to run dogs. Some of mine may run for other people. At least one I know won't. Hope of Kazee's ADCH title is crushed. Wondering how long I may be 'out' of active things for too. Not happy! At least I had some sympathy today when I was nursing the knee!


I got loads of good training in today through out the day. Kamikaze and Xanadu got some agility practice. Seems I have not completely ruined Kazee's weaves. Kazee and Xan also worked some on their Utiility skils. They have an obedience show coming soon. She's also catching on to the 2 on 2 off stop at the bottom of the dogswalk. Xanadu was a champ at 16" and didn't hit a single bar. Sprigs and Twinkle got a 2X2 weave pole session. Sprigs is starting to catch on just a glimmer. Twinkle is still cluesless as to why and when the cookies come out. Sprigs and Twinkle also got a little heeling work and some practice on Rally moves. I sent in Sprigs' Rally entries for August. Spirit worked on her dumbbell holding. I can now hand it to her and leave her and she'll bring it to me when I call. Walking with it is a big plus! She won't, however, pick it up from the ground on her own. I'm feeling good about agility this weekend and obedience coming up!


My parents came up here for the weekend. Mom and I got to shop at the outlet mall. She helped me on my 'treasure hunt' to find scent articles for Sprigs. It was loads of fun. Tea ball strainers for metal articles and leather change holders for the leather ones.

Sprigs and Twinkle continue to get sporadic 2X2 weave pole training. Sprigs is catching on, Twinkle, not so much. I am trying to focus more on Sprigs' obedience/rally training. I'd like to be able to show her in Rally Novice in August. Our main sticking points are down (in heel) and finishes. The heeling work is going well with peanut butter on a long wooden spoon. That way I don't have to bend to reward her when she's in heel.

I noticed Kamikaze not trying too much to actually hit weave pole entries, so I tried the 2X2 with her to help her remember. DARN! That didn't go well at all. I had forgotten those just don't work well for her because she blasts through the poles, but doesn't have to collect to weave. I frustrated us both. Here's hoping I didn't ruin those weaves for this next weekend. Kamikaze needs one Standard leg to get her USDAA ADCH.


Another call from my parents prompted a vacation day today spent in New Orleans with my brother. We had to find someone more qualified to help him through this incident. It was a most stressful, and most unnerving day.


Kamikaze, Sprigs, Twinkle and I went to a library doggie demo (aimed at kids) this morning. Kamikaze showed off her higher obedience skills. Twinkle showed off how entergetic and obnoxious a young, untrained Beagle can be and Sprigs was a great Dachshund specimen. Kazee was most popular at the end when the kids/parents are allowed to come up and pet and meet the dogs. 

On the way home I got a call from my parents. I made a unplanned trip to New Orleans to check on my brother that spanned the rest of my day. I headed back home when Mom and Dad made it down from Tennessee.


I started Sprigs on some 2X2 weave training yesterday. ZERO light bulb as of now. We did two sessions, one in the morning, one if afternoon. She has no idea what is getting her the treat. The good news is AKC approved her PAL application today! So, now I need to buckle down for sure and see if I can have her close to ready to show in Rally Novice in August.

I had some connection problems to the office yesterday morning so it turned into dog training time for 45 minutes or so. Twinkle did full height Aframe, dogwalk and teeter. She's doing well on those for the most part, though she still struggles to remember a running start for the Aframe. I worked a little on her jump command too. That's actually improving as well. She still gets WAY distracted after each obstacle and wants to run off. She's responding now to a negative noise when she starts zoning out. She's actually returning to work. Sprigs did full height dogwalk and teeter with ease. Then as we were leaving she shot herself over a FULL height Aframe. OOPS! Didn't mean for that to happen, but she wasn't nervous about it at all. Guess it's part my fault for putting her at the top and rewarding her for walking down. She found the top on her own.

This afternoon I bathed 9 dogs, everyone but the Siberians. Then I found Sprigs standing in the middle of my dining room table feasting on Hershey Kisses while I was cleaning up everything after bath time. I snatched her off the table and we forced hydrogen peroxide down her throat. So she puked up all the chocolate (and her dinner). Information I read says she should be OK since we got it out of her so fast and milk chocolate isn't nearly as bad as baking chocolate. It still escapes me how a 8 3/4" Dachshund managed to find a way on top of the table. None of my other dogs have found a way up there.


I have been working with Sprigs and Spirit on dumbbell stuff. Spirit hates it still. Sprigs wants to pick it up and run with it, but not bring it to me. HOW boring! I got back to some basic training with the new kids too. Sit, stay, down, front. Twinkle and Sprigs have both gotten a couple of session on the agility field too. Sprigs races a full height dogwalk and teeter. Twinkle will do the dogwalk and needs a bit of help on the teeter still, but she's not freaked about it.

I have been re-training Kamikaze's dogwalk too. She's getting more confident across it, so is faster, and more often missing the down contact or hitting it so fast in passing she is getting called for it. We're back to two feet on and two feet on the ground as the appropriate finish to the dogwalk. She is catching on quickly. Her weave pole entrances are also fading from her memory. She can no longer remember how to do angle entries. We'll be working on that as we get Sprigs doing 2X2 weaves. We need to be sure we can get that last Standard leg in a couple of weeks for her USDAA ADCH!

Cheryl emailed me about an obedience show in Pensacola in August. I'd about decided to NOT go since it was four hours out and the weekend before 4 days of AKC agility. I told her I'd go if she wanted to go together. So, now I need to train Sprigs to heel enough to get her in Rally Novice. Can we make it for middle of August? Maybe... with work every few days.


I had a fairly successful weekend of obedience. Cheryl and I had to downsize our human and dog luggage to fit everyone in the car, but I think it worked out fine. It wasn't a long drive and everyone seemed happy. We got there Saturday morning in time to set up and walk dogs. Kamikaze was first dog in Utitliy B at 9:30. We were trying B to mix up the exercises on her and make her think. Naturally the order was the A order this time. GGRRRR! She proceeded to flunk all but one exercise I think. It was just bad. She had a complete melt down on articles. Took four drop signals, three sits and two comes. Moving stand she crept and then wiggled while judge touched her. You get the picture.  Spirit was up next in Novice B. She was not 100% focused, but it wasn't bad heeling to start. Then on a left turn I stepped on a grate under the mats that WAS NOT MARKED and it made that metal clang and she jumped sideways. GREAT! She recovered OK. She looked a bit spooky on the stand and wiggled a foot or two. The off lead heel was a bit distracted and she shied from the clang spot even though I did my best to avoid the grate (and I did). She missed the last about turn and watched me walk the last few feet of heeling alone. Her recall was fast and happy but minus a sit and a finish. She nailed the stays for her last CD leg. What a girl!

Sparkle was entered in the second show on Saturday so I wouldn't have anyone else to worry about but her. She spent some time just walking around the site getting used to everything. I got out the dumbbell with her and Sprigs and was rewarding Sprigs for picking it up. Then Sparkle finally decided she could pick it up for a treat too. I didn't hold out much hope for in the ring performance though. She started the heeling pattern OK. Not puposeful heeling, but in the general vicinity. Then she veered to the left and cut across the ring well before the left turn was called. I figured I was in for the normal Sparkle freak out. But, she came back to heel when I made the left turn. Good girl! She did the rest of heeling passingly. Then she fritzed on the figure 8. WHOOPS! Somethign I forgot to practice. She would do first half of 8 with me and then stop and not do the outside post. I figured that was the last straw on her heeling. But it was so much better than last time she was in the ring. She did her drop on recall like a pro. Then she actually did the first retrieve. WOW! Didn't expect that. She then proceeded to do the retrieve over jump as well. Had a bit of trouble keeping her from leaving before the broad jump. Got her lined up and when I said jump I'd have sworn she was going to mosey right by the boards on the inside. At the last minute she side stepped in front of the boards and flat footed them. OK, so she passed everything but heeling and she didn't freak. I was OVER THE MOON.  When she nailed the stays I was so happy. There IS hope for her. Then the judge called our number as qualifying. I was floored. I know that the off lead heel would've passed on its own, but had no idea she could pass without finishing the figured 8 either time. The score was not great, but it was a Q!! Her first time back in the ring in YEARS and she Q'd!!

Spirit decided to go into season at the hotel Saturday night, so I was super happy she finished her CD. Kamikaze was first dog in the ring Sunday, and much, much better. The order of exercises was mixed up and she passed the first couple (including go-outs). We flunked signals for not coming. Flunked second article for freaking out and not bringing anything. But, a much better dog than the day before. Sparkle had another nice run in Open with the same problem on the figure 8. (would've passed it again) She got distracted coming back with the dumbbell over the  high jump and missed the jump on the way back. No big deal. Overall, a better performance than the day before, but not passing.

Cheryl and Grace and lots of fun in Wildcard classes too. Bernie didn't quite hold it together for his last CDX leg though :(