2009 training goals

June 2009

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Another soccer game tonight. We tied again. I got to play midfield for a little bit. That was always my position back in the youth and high school days. I have been playing mostly defender in my adult co-ed life. It was great to get back to midfield, but I am not in any kind of shape to play that position for much time. Especially in this heat! (97 at game start) WOW! Forgot about the lung capacity needed to sprint to the goal and then sprint to defend over and over. I did get a bit of heeling practice in with Xanadu, Sparkle and Kamikaze before the game. This coming weekend we are hoping to get that last CDX leg on Kamikaze so we can at least have a show to practice Utility before nationals. Xanadu needs two more CD legs and one RE leg. The RE leg should be a shoo in. Hoping for at least one more CD leg.


Cheryl and I were able to manually push in the slide on the motor home early this morning. That was a relief off my mind. Kamikaze had an Ok jumpers run going until there was a 90 degree turn away from what looked like the exit. She never did turn. Then we got whistled off for retrying that turn. Standard had a complete circle of jumps in it not just a pinwheel. That didn't go well at all, and then it was right before the weaves, so I was already frustrated at her for the lack of circle agility. Weaves didn't happen. I did pick it up at the end and had a good finish.

Lego had a great jumpers run. Only one run by on a jump that I couldn't get the turn command out in time for.  His standard run didn't go quite as well, but he still wasn't leaving to sniff. It was the serpentine line of jumps that got him. That was the same place that got Kamikaze in Excellent. They turned the circle of jumps into just the three in a straight line. He had a few more run-bys than I thought were my fault, but it wasn't a bad run.

I got home in the motor home well before dark and I'll have to deal with the dead battery issue in the next couple of weeks since it's headed to Hattiesburg the end of July. 

Now to practice obedience for the upcoming weekend!


Kamikaze did great in Jumpers Saturday morning earning her second MXJ leg and her FIRST MACH points. Only 5, but still...

Then she had another great Standard run that we didn't quite Q in. Lego went on to have two more absolutely wonderful runs that weren't quite a Q. That's four runs in a row for him to not sniff or go off to corners. Cheryl and I talked last night about what I'd done differently with him and we came up with a new 'plan' for him for today. It seems to have worked. I'll  keep trying it out since changing my routine just a bit with him is all I can point to to blame such nice runs on. Only other thing.. age maybe?

I spent a little time at the practice jump with Xanadu when the rings were down. She did great off leash there. No sniffing. No running off. I even threw in a couple of back crosses. She's starting to get that too. 


Kamikaze started out Friday with Excellent Jumpers. It was a great run! Too bad with only the two jumps to go to finish and get our first MACH points I said "let's go". That's my 'turn off' phrase that means time to leave and get treats. She trotted right past those jumps to her leash to leave. ARGH! Smack that dumb handler. Her Excellent Standard run was great all except those weaves. It took us two tries to get them done.

Lego had the two most stellar runs EVER I think. He never left to sniff. He was turning on my cues the first try. We looked like a real agility team. He didn't quite pull out any Q's, but I was so happy with him. Most of the errors were a run-by on a jump when I didn't get the turn word out fast enough.

Cheryl even got her first Q with Grace in Novice Standard. Not a bad day.


Just as I was getting ready to leave for Monroe I discovered the slide on the motor home wouldn't slide. RATS! It appears to be a dead cabin battery again. All the stuff I've read and heard say that the engine on the cab will charge the cabin battery while you drive. I took a chance and just left in it anyway. Cheryl and I may have to be REALLY good friends if it doesn't slide, but it won't be a show stopper. 

When I got to Monroe there was just enough juice built up to slide the slide ALMOST all the way out. It lacked a couple of inches. Now, will there be any chance that the battery will charge while plugged into the 30AMP outlet overnight? As luck would have it, NO. Cheryl did discover a 'manual retraction procedure' in the motor home manual. It didn't sound too hard so we opted to lay our bets we could push the slide in on Sunday morning for me to get home. 


Xanadu got to practice her Novice routine yesterday. Including stays. Very nice job! Otherwise not much training going on. It's just so hot.

Today was the first day it rained in weeks. Never thought I'd say THANK GOODNESS FOR RAIN after living down here in swamp-ville, but after multiple days close to 100 with direct sun and heat indexes over 100, I did just that this evening. It lowered the temp 10 degrees in a short amount of time, so then it was only 90! Still hot with all the humidity, but  nicer than 100. The last couple of days when I had to drive into work Rich actually brought EVERYONE inside at lunch time. It's just been down right miserable. I even took my nice clippers (bought for grooming the show beagle) and shaved Shelby's belly to the skin this week. I left the chest hair and the hanging skirt on the sides, so you can't tell when she's standing up, but I know it's got to feel better.

We bought the dogs this real neat thing last weekend. Finally got around to installing two of them today. Only one left is for the yard that already has ceiling fans and covered patio. It's a MistyMate patio cooling system. Found them at Sam's club for thirty bucks. It's a hose with tiny misters every few feet. It's 32 feet long. Supposedly mist evaporates into air and keeps area right around it cooler. Don't know how much evaporating you can do in south Louisiana, but at least it feels nice to get a mist on you. We attached them to the fence in two of our yards. I was amazed at how little you have to turn on the water to get a decent mist going. Just the smallest turn on the spicket, one you'd think would just drip out, gives a nice mist. So, hopefully not too big a water bill coming.

Tomorrow  after lunch Lego, Kamikaze and I are headed to Monroe for a nice indoor agility show with very good A/C! Xanadu gets to come along for the ride too.


Kamikaze is really getting signals now. Our weak Utility event appears to be gloves. The same problem I've talked about. Glove #3 is a challenge.

Sparkle and Kamikaze practiced out of sight stays together. Sparkle tried to wilt about 2 minutes into the sit stay. I went back out and fixed her, then she was fine for 3 minutes. The down was perfect for both dogs. I guess heat makes Kamikaze fidget less.

I caught Xanadu using the water bucket as her personal pool again today. So I have a better picture to post now. This was after letting her play with Nikita a bit.


Wish I'd remembered my camera today for the library demo! The public library system here hosts special things for kids in the summers. One of them is a doggie demo, information session that our club does. Xanadu showed off some heeling and her cute little recall. I was especially proud of Kamikaze. She did articles in the library meeting room, on carpet, in front of an audience! I think she's about got that exercise down. After the demo there's always a chance for the kids to pet the dogs. Xanadu was the most popular doggie for the kids to want to pet. She handled it like a champ too! At one point she was sitting still with 5 kids clustered around her on the floor. They came at her, politely, from all directions and she never flinched! What a great little beagle ambassador!

After the library demo we took Josie to see her original rescue people at PetsMart. Josie was so excited to be there (she associates it with them) she drug me through PetsMart to the back to find them. She grinned really big and wagged all over for them. 


I tried to get Nikita to do a Utility run through before I brought her in at 10 or so today. Started well. Perfect signals. The send to the article pile saw her shoot past it to go to the house. No amount of calling would bring her back. I ended up having to corner her and dive on her. Irritating Siberian! She just decided she was done. I did get a perfect set of articles out of her. Go-outs are still iffy with her, but the directed jumping parts are improved some.

I am seeing some improvement in Kamikaze's signals. She does great go-outs too, but no sit. Either a drop (most common) or a stand when I say sit. She's got the directed jumping part down. Her weak glove is the the #3 too. She wants to veer over to #2. She didn't do articles since she's supposed to do them for the library demo tomorrow.


I continue to work short sessions with Kamikaze on signals and call to heel. We had a break through today as I finally realized my signal for sit started the same way as the one for down and that was most of the cause for her confusion. Even though they end much differently she's such a willing girl that she was trying to guess which signal it was based on the first movements. With a bit of adjustment on my part she seems to be right on now. She's scheduled to 'perform' at the public library demo this Sat. It's really a doggie demo for kids. And the kids like to see them do things and then they just want to hug all over them.

The really cool news is that Xanadu's  utility article set came back in today (after I had to exchange the first ones). They are so cute. They look like toy sized next to the Siberian sized ones. Anyway, Xan will pick up the leather and the metal ones and bring them to me. She seems less enthused with the leather than the metal. While I was excited about Utility I got out her gloves. She'll pick one up and bring it if I kinda slide it along the ground and let her chase it, but sitting still they look boring and she doesn't go to them.

I finally got around to downloading a couple of pictures off the camera from the show in Birmingham. Here's Xanadu and one of her new friends. This Dalmatian pup was very young, but still twice her size.

I have also been noticing that Xanadu will have wet paws and underbelly if she's been out playing in the heat. I assumed she was availing herself of the kiddie pools we keep out in the summer for just such occasions. Last week I found out I was wrong. She has been using one of the water buckets as her own personal pool. It's the one we bought we she was young that is wide and shallow instead of tall and deep. Well, Rich caught her with his cell phone camera a couple of days ago.

15th- comments on the Alabama trial

I got in a friendly disagreement with a gate steward on Sunday. She commented that it's ALWAYS the handlers fault if something goes wrong on the course. I get irritated with this view as I hear it often. Now, I agree that more often than not, maybe even in the 90th percentile it's the handlers fault. BUT, sometimes dogs are just going to be dogs not matter how good a handler you are. They are thinking beings, after all, not little robots. The gate steward took a definite dislike to my comments that sometimes it is just the dog. She says "it's ALWAYS the handler, just ask any world team member". To which I replied "World Team members don't run beagles. "When my body is pointed forward and I am saying JUMP and the dog goes to a corner that's just the dog". Her reply "Then it's a training issue, so it's still your fault." HRRRMMM... I gave up then and let it end politely. If that's your take, that if there is a dog error then it's a training issue, then I guess you could always blame the handler. So when, then, do you consider a dog 'trained'? That would be my next question. I mean I've seen OTCH dogs flunk in the obedience ring, but I'd have a hard time saying at that point that they're untrained. I even seen a world team member and his border collie have a snooker run that left him looking at the dog and asking her "What does COME mean?" I am pretty sure that one was just the dog having a wild, independent run. Have I seen it often out of world team quality dogs? NO! But, let's get real here, there's a reason that dog is world team quality. It has the desire to do agility AND the desire to go where it's told. Beagles and Siberians, well, they may have the desire to do agility, but the also have a streak of independence you don't see much in Border Collies and Shelties. My breeds, bred to think on their feet, trust their own reason. Herding dogs, bred to take direction well, do what ever you say even if it sounds dumb. So, who's the better trainer/handler? A girl with an ADCH on a hound dog, or a boy with a ADCH/MACH shelite? And yes, I've seen that hound I have in mind have his own way on a course. But his owner, she ran him again and again and had the patience and understanding to make it to the end of the title. Did it take longer for her and her hound to get where she was headed than the sheltie? YES. 

I got to see Khloe, Kamikaze's littermate sister, while I was in AL. She's a beauty! Joy and Bill, Khloe's parents came out to the show and watched us run. Then we had dinner together Sat. night. A most delightful couple! We exchanged puppy stories and chatted about Khloe's freak outs. She seems to get all nervous and shy when some people come towards her. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the people she picks to dislike. They've even asked the local dog whisperer about her and are ready to try out some more suggestions.


We got home from Birmingham around 8:15 tonight. Saturday didn't go well for Kamikaze. She actually ran clean in Excellent B jumpers, but she was WAY over time. Then in Excellent A Standard she could've Q'd a bit over time, but she just smashed into a jump. No effort at all. Lego on the other hand had two respectable runs on Saturday.

Today I had leftover steak from Sat dinner for treats. I practiced with Kamikaze just trying to get her to stretch out some on the surface in the crating area. She did pick it up some for the steak. We were 8 seconds under course time on the Standard course. Unfortunately I pulled her off the side of the dogwalk a little early and we got the missed contact call. Then she pulled out a bit slower, but still OK Jumpers run clean, just a half second under course time. So she now has her first MXJ leg!

Lego had a bad day. Way too much running and not enough listening.

Xanadu got to play with all kinds of puppies. I remember an Aussie (twice her size), a Bernese Mountain Dog (three times her size) and a Dalmatian. She had a lot of fun with all of them. I even worked her some at the practice jump on this surface. She seems fine with it. 


Kamikaze does not run on astroturf! She was not thrilled with the surface here in Birmingham. She's chopping her stride some to keep her feet under her at all times. She missed a Q in Excellent A Standard by one refusal at the weaves. The video proves that to be my fault for pushing into her. She missed an Excellent B jumpers Q by missing a jump in a turn and not quite making time.

Lego doesn't mind the surface at all and ran just like he always does. Actually his Excellent A Jumpers run wasn't half bad.


I took Kamikaze, Xanadu and Sparkle out early to my obedience class so they could practice. Sparkle was a bit better heeling. Still iffy on the drop in the 'new' place. Xanadu had some nice heeling and a nice recall. I have stressed the 'wait' on the retrieve so much that now she doesn't know what the release word is to go and get the dumbbell. I am having to give a little push on the back of her head as I say 'take it' to get her to get up and go for it. I remember having the same issue with Sparkle though.

Kamikaze did a little signal work. Not bad. Then I pulled out the full set of utility articles. This was our first time to try them out somewhere besides home. I was expecting some hesitation or confusion, but I was thrilled to watch her run out and sniff them all and bring me the right one the first try!! WOW! We did the leather article next with the same wonderful result. Then I threw a party for her with chicken.


Kamikaze got a little more signal practice and some all to heel practice before my soccer game tonight. Signals are coming along ok. Call to heel is not bad. It was such a quick practice session I had time to get Sparkle heeling again. Much nicer!

We won the soccer game too. It's the second one of the summer season. We've won both so far. We've got a good team together this season!


Since Kamikaze's article training is going so well, I started teaching her signals and honing her glove retrieving exercise today. It looks like her difficult glove is going to be #1. She did 3 and 2 right every time. For #1 she wants to cut across my body to get 2 instead. She already has an idea what signals are, but is unsure of herself and I can't be more than 3 or 4 steps from her right now.

I also tried getting Sparkle's heeling back in shape. It started out dismal again almost to the point of frustration. I went back in and reappeared with chicken. WOW! Watch the beagle heel! Ok, so to get Sparkle heeling again it needs to dispense the really good stuff. The other good news is her drop on recall has returned.

Of course, since there were dogs working for treats, Xanadu needed her turn. She heeled and did a recall. We're really practicing now on the figure eight heel since she tried to trip me up doing that at the trial.


Yesterday Xanadu got completely dumped in conformation. We got LAST place. We didn't show our best, as I got stuck also showing an acquaintance's beagle pup. She got stuck in the Sheltie ring. I was mentally unprepared to have two bitches under my supervision and was a bit unraveled. 

I took Kamikaze along Sat. even though I didn't expect any other Siberians to be there. We took our 'practice' prance around the ring and got our meaningless Best of Breed. She did very well for not having played that game in many months. Since we showed so late, groups were starting just 15 minutes after Xanadu's ring time. As luck would have it they posted Working group as first in the group ring. So, I stayed around and showed Kamikaze in group. She showed well.

Today, as is the way with conformation, was a whole new day. Xanadu got the point today. That brings her total up to 5, tying her with Kamikaze on number of points. Wow!

Here's a couple of shots of chillin' in the house.

5th- Happy Birthday Xanadu

Xanadu is ONE today. Where has my puppy gone? Tomorrow she's in a conformation show in Lake Charles. If she gets any points she'll have more points than all her siblings. Their next shows are in a couple of weeks in Texarkana though.

Kamikaze got to work on articles outside today. We were on the patio under the ceiling fan. This new place did throw her a bit, but we worked through it and she started sniffing them all again. Since articles are going so well, I did a little work on gloves and signals. Gloves she seems to get pretty well. Signals need some work.


I moved Kamikaze's article training to a new place in the house since she's been doing so well. The move to a different place didn't seem to phase her a bit. She worked the whole article pile four times, twice with a metal and twice with a leather, and was perfect every time. I guess now I need to move them outside somewhere. With all the other dogs that I've trained to do articles moving them to a new place seemed to blow their mind when they were first catching on. It's interesting to see Kamikaze not phased by where she is.

I got out to obedience class early so I could work some with my own dogs since I'm teaching. Sparkle went along this time. I am trying to shake the dust off her skills in time to enter her in August in Open. She was very rusty on heeling, broad jump and drop on recall. The retrieves, her least favorite, she did fine with. The heeling isn't coming back as fast as the drop and broad jump. I see it's time to get Sparkle out more to work with her on heeling. Xanadu did her first off leash retrieves with the dumbbell in a non-fenced area tonight. Good girl! She brought it right back each time. We even did a retrieve over the jump. She has no problem jumping to go get it, but seems to get lead in her toes on the way back and can't possibly make it over the jump. She hits the 12 inch bar and knocks it. I did some practice just handing her the dumbbell and then running with her past the jump. She did much better jumping with the dumbbell in her mouth in that scenario. She just needs a little practice. I was very pleased that she never spit the dumbbell and then jumped though. Kamikaze did wonderful Open work for me too.

Class seems to be going OK. We had some from last week that didn't show up this week. Don't know if they quit or were just busy this week. We also added a couple of dogs. I took out my tunnel and Cheryl brought her jump and we introduced them to those as well as 'leave it' and 'give'.

1st - Happy Birthday Lego

Lego is 7 today! That's so hard to fathom. He also had his yearly vet checkup today. I've leaned him up a couple of pounds since last year, and he looks good. The vet says he's doing well. Misty went in to have some growths checked. Looks like she's in for another lumpectomy next month. Poor old girl.

Xanadu had another run at the jump chute today. She knew exactly what to do. She raced through those jumps, bouncing all the way. Her article set came in today. I was right about my suspicion that I ordered a bit too small. I have already sent them back to exchange them for a half inch longer bit.

Kamikaze got another article practice session today. She really gets it now. She raced out and sniffed around each article to find the 'right' one. After a couple of times of seeing her work the pile well I added the last two articles. I sent her out and it didn't phase her at all that there were a couple more to sniff. She worked a complete article pile today successfully several times. I was pleased that once she sniffed around the whole pile and didn't pick one. She looked to me as if to say "are you sure it's out here?". When I didn't call her in or say anything, she went back and sniffed them all again and found it that time. We quit on that effort with many treats and rubs.