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2007 training goals

JUNE 2007

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28th

I had an uneventful drive in the motorhome to Monroe yesterday. The other RV people were very nice and helped me back in. One couple there loaned me an adapter so I could hook up easily where I was. I'll need to buy one of these. Kamikaze did well on the drive there in her crate.

Lego actually had one really nice run today and one a bit spastic, but he never sniffed around.

I did dinner with Dawna and Erin Cox from Jackson, MS. We went to Olive Garden and had a nice meal and pleasant conversation.

Misty's spinal tap came back clean and Rich says she hasn't had anymore seizure activity.

27th - Afternoon

Misty had another grand mal at the vet after she was dropped of. It wasn't as bad as the ones she had here. I had gone to see her before I leave for the trial. She's been started on Phenobarbital. The blood work revealed nothing. We've got a spinal tap going to LSU for review. 

27th -AM

The most heart wrenching thing happen last night. About 10:30 Misty had a seizure. It didn't last long, but seemed like an eternity.  She seemed to recover OK after about a half an hour. We put her on the bed to sleep the rest of the night so I could keep an eye on her. Then horrors of horrors, she had another one about 1:30 AM. I'll be taking her to the vet first thing when they open.

26th

I discovered Kamikaze's first major personality issue. She seems to think that she owns the toy she's playing with. Even at her age she grumbled at Rich when he reached to pet her after she'd discovered how cool the 'honking' toys are. We had a reality check real quick. Then we practiced trading toys for treats.

I spent most of the afternoon loading up the motor home for my first trip to Monroe tomorrow.

25th

At least Kamikaze slept well last night. Granted I was up every couple of hours to take her out to potty, but she wasn't a screamer. I was able to put her back in her crate after the outside jaunt without any incident. She was briefly introduced to everyone today. Kamikaze has the appropriate submissive response down pat. She's not a weenie, but knows how to behave when an older dog scolds her. She also is very polite and doesn't try to jump around in their faces. She will try to play bow to see if they're going to be receptive to that kind of thing. If they aren't she walks away. Nikita is fascinated with her and wants to play with her, but ends of scaring her a bit instead. Misty treats her like all puppies who must learn the rules. Josie is in love with her because Kazee knows how to play rough and tumble games and enjoys it. Of all the dogs, Sparkle seems the least thrilled. I am surprised at this. I thought she'd enjoy another youngster. She doesn't want to be pounced at and shows her teeth and grumbles if Kazee is boisterous. The funny thing about it is when I let Kamikaze outside with Sparkle then Sparkle discovered Kazee liked to play chase. Sparkle did all kinds of play bows and darted around until Kazee would chase her and Sparkle had a time of that. I guess since she can outrun Kazee right now there was not a threat of actual wrestling with her she could enjoy herself.  I hoping a few more outside games and Sparkle will learn how to play with her in closer quarters. The boys (Lego, Maverick, Bandit) do their best ignoring act and since Kazee is good about not bouncing around them they are all OK. Jedi was interested and would play, but Kazee was too tired. Cedar just kind of accepts that Kamikaze can hang out. Shelby is that way as well. 

I had forgotten how much easier it is to raise a puppy that has be contentiously bred and socialized than one that has been left outside to grow up with mom or worse. Kazee was very good on a leash the first day I got her. There was no thrashing or screaming or pulling backwards.  She's obviously been handled a lot as she lets me pick her up and lug her around and sits in my lap for short periods of time. She actually wants to be where humans are so it's easy to get her in from the yard. I just have to go to the door and slam it and she runs to be let in too. Training a solid come should be easy. She's also very friendly to everyone and she came with great pack manners already.  Her worst fault is not accepting confinement well if we're visible or within ear shot. She's even doing well pottying on the paper when we're gone.

Kamikaze also got her first run around the back yard today. I turned the evil electric fence off first. No need to spook her right at first. She had a blast exploring. She also discovered Squirt, the bunny, and was intrigued. She yapped at him a couple of times and he made the 'you don't belong' grunts and smacked the fence right in her face. She found the kiddie pool full of water and just had to hop in to check it out. <groan> She waded around and the slipped a couple of times and dunked herself. It didn't upset her any. She's gonna be a water player like Nikita. Kita puts her paws in water buckets and digs out some water and dunks her head in and throws it back to send water flying everywhere. I see Kazee doing all these things soon too. 

I did spend some special time with Sparkle since she seems disturbed by the new pack member's arrival the most. We worked on straight fronts and finishes in the driveway. AND her Rally novice certificate came in from AKC while I was away. I feel so proud! 

A quick Nikita update... She is still limping.  We did discover a very tender spot in her low back that may be contributing to or causing her limp. Rich got the activator on it and I massaged. She is scheduled to see the vet Wednesday, but as I am taking off for Monroe that afternoon I can't post an update until next week.

24th

Home at last! Doing that 1200 mile drive over three days is very tiring!

Friday:  Drove to Memphis. Got there in time for dinner at Corky's with my parents. They informed me that me step-grandmother, the only grand parent still living, (married my grandfather when I was still in elementary school) has been diagnosed with cancer. A spot in the liver, a spot in her hip, and most recently a spot in her brain. She is not holding out hope for much of a cure. Mom and I went to Target to buy long trip survival items. Included were high sugar, sour snacks and some fruit and nuts. Mom decided she wanted to ride with me to Knoxville so we went to bed early with the plan of pulling out around 5 AM for our Knoxville round trip.

Saturday: 4AM  a train hoot hoots its way through town (Mom and Dad are many blocks off the tracks) and evidentially I am no longer accustomed to it, so I was awake. I feared going back to sleep for 30 minutes would just make me more tired, so I got up and started breakfast. Mom was up soon and joined in. We were off on time with the survival kit in tow. We buzzed on through Nashville without any incident. I never even really got sleepy. We made great time and ended up in Knoxville 30 minutes earlier than the pre-arranged hour time slot. I noticed a Cracker Barrel at the exit just before our official stop, so we got off and had lunch. I was mightily amazed at the service there. We were told it might be a ten minute wait. Instead it was 5 and we saw a waitress almost immediately. The good service continued and we were in and out in about 40 minutes. We hopped back in the interstate and back off a mile later headed to Chuck and Betty's boarding kennel, All Kreatures. Our only snag was here. Bill told me to get off and go left. Then a couple of blocks down was a McDonalds on the left. I'd find the kennel behind it. When I got off the McDonalds was to the right, but I went left and then after a block got nervous and pulled over and called him again. He hasn't been there in awhile, and the McDonalds is gone and has been replaced by a huge Harley Davidson showroom. He was still able to name other landmarks though and I was right in the right place. When we walked in Betty was actually the one behind the desk taking calls and checking in new boarders. She alerted Chuck in the office to the right and he took us back to the puppies. They have their own private boarding area for their dogs. I also got to see Piper( Karen's youngster), Magnum (the old man), Slick (Piper's brother), Honey (Piper's mom), Sunny and Highlander's Yosemite Sam. We played with the pups out in the exercise yard and I took photos.

Kamikaze (mine)

Chuck and Betty's pup

Betty got the AKC paperwork out and made sure I filled it all out right. I still have to wait on a supplemental signature form before I can mail her papers in. There were 6, yes, SIX people that had to sign off on the litter, and there's only space on the papers for 4. The breeder says the other people have mailed the forms to her, so I should be getting them from North Carolina shortly. Then we took a quick tour of their boarding facility. They have a nice setup there! Now, back in the car around noon. Unfortunately the pups were not keen on the idea of separation again. Kazee cried a lot in the crate on the way to Memphis. It was nerve wracking sometimes. I had the usually fight with drowsiness around 1:30-2 and mom wasn't helping as she was glassy-eyed as well. So, we pulled off and walked the pup and got some more caffeine. That did the trick and I was good for the rest of the drive. We made great time and called Dad to say we'd be in by 6 pm. I hung up the phone and traffic came to a complete stop on the interstate just west of Nashville. It took us 30 minutes to do 3 miles. Then for no known reason off we went again at 70 mph. We still made it in by around 6:30. Dad thought she was awful cute too.

Then I took her to Bill to let him evaluate and see her. Bill and Karen's 5 week old Shiba Inu pup was unimpressed with her though, and screeched at her when she tried to play. Bill and I left her in a kennel there and went to dinner.

Sunday: Kazee didn't sleep well. She cried off and on all night in her crate. I guess I don't blame her. It must've be a traumatic couple of days being ripped from your family and then transported for 12 hours to new spots. We were up for real at 5 AM when she just wouldn't shut up. Mom got up soon after and cooked bacon which Kazee took an immediate interest in. I kenneled her up while we went to church. When we got back she was quiet. At least until she saw us. Then the screaming started again. I made some makeshift baby gates for Mom's kitchen with the intent of letting her baby-sit Kazeee while she cooked lunch so I could nap since I had another long drive to get home. Kazee would have none of that and threw a fit when I left the room. So, I ended up napping on the kitchen floor while Mom cooked. It kept Kazee happy and she played with her toys. The drive home wasn't bad, but I did have to fight through some sleepy spots. Kazee, thankfully, decided crates and cars weren't so bad and slept the first four hours. When she woke up I stopped to potty her. Good move! Then back in the car. I just knew she was gonna scream, but NO. She was quiet the whole way. We got home and I let everyone sniff her through the x-pen and then took her out front with Nikita. Nikita seemed to like her but scared her by trying to play with her by smooshing her. Then I turned her loose in the living room with Misty, Josie, and Sparkle. Josie took an immediate liking to her and within minutes they were playing. Sparkle was hesitant, but wanted to join the game. They ended up playing chase around the couch. It looked like Kazee was a hit with them at least.

21st

I have negotiated a new deal here at work. I get to work from home 3 days a week! WHEE! 

Sparkle has started sleeping loose in the bedroom at night and is doing wonderfully as a 'grown up'. She's staying on her pillow and not wandering around. It's hard to believe she's almost 11 months old.

I am taking off tomorrow around noon to go to Memphis. I'll stop there for the night and then on to Knoxville Saturday to pick up Kamikaze and bring her home. I'm very excited!

20th -AM - Dream Sequence

I had a very strange dream last night. I wanted to write the basic gist down before it fades because one of the main characters was someone I know, but haven't seen in a while. Ok, keep in mind that just before bed we watched Ghost Rider. It seems it may have influenced the dream sequence some. 

 There was a science professor at a college, I'll call him Prof.  Prof was involved in wonderful research on the human brain as well as teaching classes. Prof was loved by his students and respected by his co-workers. A not so scrupulous co-worker, I'll call Venal, stole some of Prof's research and writings and equipment. Venal used the things he stole to create unrest in the college town and discredit the university. When the university discovered the source of Venal's information they immediately fired Prof for not protecting his work and the university better. He should have had better locks they thought. Venal, on the other hand was allowed to continue his job at the college.  Though he had no job,  Prof did not move towns, but did his best to thwart Venal at every turn.

Can you say weird? It must have to do with the work decisions I am struggling with right now! 

19th

Nikita is still in the house. She seems fairly well, but I won't try the outside time again for a week or so.

I got word today on Kamikaze (the new husky pup) ! I'll be picking her up in Knoxville this weekend and bringing her home. I'm so excited! I can't wait to see her. This will be an interesting adventure into the conformation world. There should be pictures up on Monday or Tuesday for you to see.

As it has been raining a lot here over the last week there hasn't been much training going on. I have done some work with Sparkle on fronts in the house. Also, I am making a concerted effort now to make her understand that 'come' is not a suggestion. If I call her in the yard and she doesn't come I am stalking after her with the stern look on my face. I also am sure to have a treat in my pocket in case she actually does come so I can reinforce how great it is. I am then petting her briefly and releasing her to go on about her business so she doesn't think 'come' means she's not going to get to finish what she was doing.

17th

Nikita is some better so I let her out for a few hours today. When I went to bring her in her limp looks just like the pre-surgery limp now. Unfortunately my vet is on vacation next week too. 

I have survived the week of company. My brother was successful in his search for a place to live. Rich has just about got everything set at the new office for seeing patients tomorrow afternoon.

My niece learns to ring the bells faster than the dogs

She thought dog toys made perfectly fine toddler toys too

I got in a quick training session with Sparkle today. We did a quick Novice run through. Her heeling looked good. She still shies a bit for the exam part of the stand for exam but she's not moving her feet. Her recall front is improving some since the reward is always in my mouth now. I made a conscious effort to do the stays closer to her and reward her at intervals. That seemed to help a lot and she stuck to her stays. I mailed in her entry for the obedience show in Mandeville today. I entered her in Pre-Novice Saturday. I am going to see how she does the next few weeks before I decide if I should enter her in Novice on Sunday. Nikita is entered in Utility both days. Guess if the limp isn't gone by closing date I'll pull her. I haven't decided yet on Shelby's entries.

14th

Nikita was almost non-weight bearing limping on her ACL surgery leg when I got home today. I am very stressed about that.  Rich let her in the house around lunch because it was so hot. He says she was bouncing straight up and down in front of the door, so no injury at that time. I guess that means she hurt herself in the house. This is somewhat relieving as I don't believe there's anything she could do in the house to damage the surgery, so maybe she just got excited and slipped on the wood floors and pulled something.

On a better note, I was finally contacted by the husky breeder in North Carolina again. I am getting the red girl puppy I've been pining after! Sometime this month I should have her. The breeder says she's the pistol of the litter. Into everything and fearless. The first one to try new things and all. Sounds like a great fit for a performance/confirmation dog. Her name will be Rocyn's Divine Wind.

13th

I found a little free time to work on some fronts, recalls and stays with Sparkle today. We are working fronts and recalls with the treats in my mouth so she focuses on my face and not looking at my hands for food. This seemed to help her position correctly. I got a nice one minute sit stay our of her and then tried for a down stay. At a minute and a half she just was done being still and ran across the yard. I see shouldn't have pushed her that far as she's not ready yet, but I must enforce the stay.  I retrieved her and returned her to her spot. She busted again quickly. I went in and got a leash and tied her to something and told her to stay so if she broke she couldn't go anywhere. She got the message on the third try tied up and I only ask for a one minute down stay and then gave lots of praise and treats and released her. Note to remember... If I push her too far to fast she will not want to play with me! I need to back of the time on the stays some and stay closer to her.

12th

I had the second soccer game of the summer co-ed season tonight. I actually played a really nice game. We won 6-1. When I got home Rich handed me a stiff envelope marked photos enclosed. AH HA! The Sparkle posed pictures are here. I have not the time tonight to scan and such, but will try to do so tomorrow evening. They are very cute. (see Sparkle page)

I asked my brother how the search for living quarters was going. We had looked at a certain 800 sq. ft. 'apartment' Monday night on the internet. It was a very good price and looked like a nice neighborhood and close enough to bike to campus. He said it was perfect, but he found out today why it was such a good deal. It's a basement apartment. BASEMENT? In New Orleans? We got a good laugh out of someone with a basement in New Orleans. As my brother said, " In a city where they even bury their dead above ground...".

10th

It was awfully hot this weekend. Even thought the temps were low 90's the heat index had to be in the mid 100s. Saturday morning we got up and tackled the electric fence again. The charger had quit putting out a signal last weekend and we were too busy to figure it out. It turned out to be a simple thing of course. So, Rich had the backyard mowed and the electric fence working again by 10ish then we took off for breakfast/lunch and a haircut. Afterwards we hung blinds in the new office to hopefully help the air conditioner keep up. I did get a very quick dumbbell session in with Sparkle while Rich mowed. I just scooted the dumbbell across the kitchen floor and she'd race out to pick it up and carry it to a pillow to chew on. I was situated strategically between her and the pillow with treats and as she tried to scoot by me I'd grab the dumbbell and swap it for a treat.

Sunday after church we did a quick couple of stores at the outlet mall. Then a good amount of nothing until 6:30ish when the sun had waned and the temps weren't so bad. Then we spent an hour or so working on clearing on our adjacent property what will one day be my own personal agility field.

My brother is using us as a hotel this coming week as he hunts for living quarters in New Orleans. Then Friday my in-laws and Rich's youngest brother are coming to help set up things at the new office next weekend. 

7th

Sparkle and I attended obedience class tonight. She was not quite as focused and ready as usual, but it was awfully hot and steamy. I only made her participate for about half the class session. I need to work on her obedience recall. She comes, but doesn't sit or she sits way to far out. She also needs proofing for stay. I took Nikita and Shelby along as well for some heeling/signal practice in a new place. Nikita stared at me on the sit signal like she'd never seen it before. I had to have a couple of discussions with her to get her to do her signals there. Then Shelby heeled some and did her signals. She seemed some improved.

They finally have the power on to Rich's building, so move in is set for next weekend.

4th

I have been entirely too lazy about the dogs' training recently. I guess it's OK to have down time, but today I resolved to do something with some of them. Since Lego is in a 4 day agility show at the end of June, I wanted to re-enforce weave poles again. He did very well. I also pulled out the teeter since he threw himself off one at the last show. He didn't seem to be intimidated at all and banged it as he ran down. It just seems a shame once I have equipment out to work only one dog. So, Sparkle worked on teeter and weave entrances. She still doesn't know how to weave, but we are getting there. She is doing jumps well now too. Then it was Josie's turn. That little snot can do a weave pole gamble here at home, but, oh no, never at a show. Jedi was last. I always like to work him some when the equipment is out so he can have fun doing agility. Weaves are still not his thing, but he's perfectly capable. I put some supper in the oven and  put the agility stuff up and pulled out the obedience stuff for Nikita and Shelby. I figured I'd have time to work each of them while dinner cooked. I wanted to do a whole run through with each of them.

 Shelby went first. I was happy with her heeling and we worked a bit on it. She did signals well, but with some anticipation. Then it went downhill. I pulled out the articles. She went happily to the pile and started searching, problem was she never would go all the way around and she never got to the right one. She got discouraged and tried to bring 'just any one' back. I refused to accept that attempt and she got frustrated and wanted to shut down. I was encouraging, but wouldn't let her off the hook. We had a bit of a battle of the wills as she tried to leave. I wanted her to work through her uncertainty because it's apparent in the ring that the high stress of showing shakes her confidence. She did eventually find the right one and I made a huge deal about it. Then it was time for the second article.  She was not pleased with going out again, but it didn't take her as long to re-focus herself and find it as it did the first time. I had a jump around and love the Shelby party and we went on to gloves. By now it's been around 20 minutes of work and she was hot and tired and wanted to quit. It took me a couple of turns to focus her on the task at hand and then she did fine. On to go-outs we went. I had my one ring gate out for her to go to. The first attempt she stopped between the jumps. The second attempt she ran past the ring gate all the way to the house. She refused to come, so I went and took the leash and retrieved her. "We are NOT quitting",  I say. Back to the go-out ring we go. Then she did a nice run out and turned and sat. I indicated the jump and she headed for it, but didn't end up jumping. I sent her again and this time we did the whole routine. Again, and the other jump. SUCCESS! She made it through the whole thing even though she was hot and lost her confidence several times. I gave her much praise and treats on the way to the house and then a chicken strip and lots of love. I don't know how this will work for her, but trying to be sure she never knew she was wrong hasn't worked for us either. I am hoping forcing her to work through her lost confidence will help her.

Nikita seemed interested in working. She heeled well, but had forgotten the stand signal. I had to work on it a few times to remind her. Then the signals went OK, although it's taking 2 sit and 2 come signals to get a response. I need to work on those separately. Then the dreaded articles. Nikita hates them. I sent her and she went at a brisk happy pace and started sniffing. She hit the right one almost immediately and picked it up and then seemed to think "That was too easy". She set it down and sniffed the whole pile just to be sure. Then she picked the right one back up and brought it in. On the next one I moved it to the other side of the pile and she hit it second. She picked it up and started back and again looked confused and dropped it and sniffed every one before she picked it up and brought it in. Funny dog!  Gloves are not our strong point. She always brings one back, but almost always the center one. It took us a while to get the outside gloves, then on to go-outs. I wasn't sure how this would go since she was confused last time I used the ring gate as the go-out marker. Not to fear. She raced to the ring gate and sat. As I indicated a jump I realized I hadn't lowered them from when Shelby went. I expected her to run towards the jump and then around it as she saw the height. NOPE! She soared over. No sign of a weak leg there. It's her first time jumping over 12 inches since knee surgery and she looked great. The next run out was great too, and another beautiful jump. In we went for treats and air conditioning. 

I think I'll enter Nikita in the obedience show in Mandeville, LA in August. I am throwing around the idea of entering Shelby in Rally Advanced, even though she has that title, to see if we can work on the heeling in the ring issues. I can encourage her in Rally. It's a thought. 

3rd

I laid Lego a track in our back acre. It's got some grass, but a lot of scrub and bare areas. I aged it between 2 and 3 hours. He did great in that odd combo of surfaces even with the age.

We did some work on my agility field to be today. I took a couple of shots this afternoon to show you that even though some of the guys don't make the blog as often as others they still live a spoiled life.

It's a HARD life

1st

Happy Birthday Lego! He's now 5. That's so hard to believe.

I ordered a couple of those cot type beds for the patio. They're made by Coolaroo. Some of the guys seem to have adapted to them well and others still don't know what they're for, but overall I like the value for the price.

Cedar on the Coolaroo bed