2006 training goals 2006 Obedience log by week

MARCH 2006

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Today when I got home from work I got a surprise in the mail. Misty's third place team ribbon was here. I ran out and took her picture with it. 


Tonight I got to ride my motorcycle for the first time since the wreck. Rich and I buzzed down into Denham Springs for a bite to eat and then back home. My shoulder didn't hurt afterwards either! Maybe I'll ride to work in the morning.

This weekend Lego has his first agility trial in over 6 months. I entered him in Open this time. We'll see how this goes. I'm hoping less empty space is less time for distractions. He's more than capable of qualifying, but I'm not holding my breath. He did reasonable well at this arena last year though.


Last night we tried going to a concert at the local concert hall/bar. It was a disaster! The tickets said doors open at 7. So, we get there at 6:45 or so. The doors didn't open until about 7:15. Then it seemed every person in there was chain smoking. The concert didn't actually start until 8:45-9:00. Wish they'd have said so! We sat in the suffocating smoke for almost 2 hours waiting for the concert while sitting on bar stools. The redeeming fact was that we ran into an old friend we hadn't seen in 3 or so years. She still looks great and says she's doing well, although she's been married and divorced since we last spoke. Then, of course, the main act, the one Rich wanted to see, was last. There was some other guy first and he was pretty good, but Rich decided to leave before it even got to the main act. He could tell I was miserable in the smoke with a headache and burning throat and he was starting to feel the same way. We won't be going there again no matter who is playing!

Today I set up one of the gambles from last weekend. It was teeter/ jump/ chute/ jump. The teeter went out away from the line, not parallel. My guys, Josie especially didn't like that set up at all. She got half way up and said NO THANKS. This is not like her. The rest of the weekend she was avoiding teeters because I fussed at her for bailing off. She did the same thing here so I was able to work on it. I hit on a great solution, thanks to Monica, I put a high reward on doing the teeter going away from me. TUNA! my secret weapon. I hate the smell and texture, but the dogs LOVE it. It only took twice with tuna as a reward and she was sailing across that teeter with a BANG. I need to practice this way many more times before her May show.


The insurance company contacted me last week to inform me that my car was a total loss. No big surprise there! They even offered me the fair market value the first time and added back in tax, title, and license fees. Now I just have to dig the title out of the safe and get it mailed off so I can get my money.

On the training front, Shelby did articles fairly nicely today. Nikita still doesn't 'get' it, bit I'm sticking with showing her the whole pile and giving great rewards for interacting with the 'right' one (which has cheese on it). Lego did his drops well today. Then I took him out to the agility field to practice some before my class since he's entered in a couple of AKC shows in OPEN next month. He does agility fine when he isn't distracted. I was able to get him running good and then he missed the turn and kept going straight to check out the fence line. I calmly walked off and hid behind the car. Considering the agility field is over an acre, he became quite upset when he realized he lost me. I have been using the technique with some good success in obedience when he wanders off. I hope it works out in agility to. The kicker of the evening was Josie. I got her out to re-train contacts some more since she missed them all weekend. I assumed she was missing them because we've been re-training them and it just hasn't solidified yet. WRONG! First thing out of the car I sent Josie over the dogwalk. "SPOT!", I say, as she runs down the last plank. And lo and behold, she does a perfect contact. She didn't forget a thing! So, this tells me one of two things: I didn't believe in my dog and gave a very stressed and LOUD sounding command, and I leaned over the dogwalk contact to help her. This in and of itself messed her up because mommy did something odd and she didn't understand what I wanted. OR she got over-stimulated at the show and just lost her mind temporarily. I vote for mostly my fault, and maybe a bit too excited a dog. I vow to trust my training at the next show and expect the contact to happen just like practice. No shouting or hovering!


Man am I tired! My feet even hurt. I got back from Tylertown around 7:30 last night. Four days is a LONG show! It was soooo worth it this time though. The weekend started off with a BANG. Misty's team turned out to be a fairly young, but awesome border collie in the 26 inch class name Pete and a really nice 22 inch Aussie from Colorado named Tundra. Our team was appropriately named "Thrown Together". Well, Thrown Together pulled out not just a team Q, but a third place! The big let down is when the trial secretary informed us that the USDAA office forgot to send the team placement ribbons to her. So, there is no nice picture of Misty with her big third place ribbon. I have already sent an inquiry email to the USDAA office to find out about my ribbon. 

Friday wasn't as great. For some reason I just wasn't clicking with my guys, and for the first time after a day of showing I looked back and realized I hadn't had one lick of fun even though Bandit and Josie both Q'd in Master Snooker (his 6th Q, her 4th). I spent Friday evening and Saturday morning before the show resetting my attitude and priorities. I must've gotten it all back in perspective because Josie gave me 3 SUPER runs on Sat. She only Q'd in Master jumpers (her 2nd), but WOW! I left the ring each time after her runs that day with such an adrenaline rush. If she'd been equipped with a more talented handler she'd have Q'd in Adv gamblers and Master Snooker Sat too. I pulled some real boner handling maneuvers to screw up those runs. Misty was right on Sat. too. She pulled out an Adv. Standard Q with 2 seconds to spare. I guess this makes up for the one we were robbed of a couple of weekends ago. She even did the Adv. Gamble so pretty, but came up .07 seconds over time. 

I did my best to keep the momentum of Sat going on into Sunday. Some of Josie's runs Sun. were spectacular and some were tentative, but this was our best day Q wise. I guess she was saving them up for my birthday present. Josie Q'd in Master Snooker again (her 5th) and would've at least been in the running for a Super Q if she hadn't have missed an A-frame contact in the opening. Then she Q'd in Adv. Gamblers. Hallelujah! I won't be waiting around with her for that one stinkin' gamble Q forever. Last thing of the day she pulled out another Q in Master Jumpers (her 3rd) and even was good enough to place 4th. That placement was a big step considering Hamlet, Gumbeau, Ty, Sonic, and Dino are all in that class. When she learns to turn tighter we'll be giving some of those guys a big run for their money. Several times in our runs she was even barking at me and making that throaty growl noise. I just LOVE that! It means she is into it and focused and ready to go.

The dogwalk contact still escapes Josie, but I knew I had not had a lot of time to fix the problem since the last show. As my friends so brilliantly put it, "She can only do the contact as well as she's been trained to do it." So, I have no right to be irritated at her if her training is lacking. I am going to try and fix this mis-understanding for her May show.


Everyone did articles today. Shelby got in a hurry again and I had to remind her it wasn't a speed game, but an accuracy game. Nikita got to see the whole pile today. I put cheese on the 'right' one. She still just wanted to pick up the first one she saw so she could get this stupid exercise over with. I put her on a leash and tried to help her understand I wanted a specific one. She didn't get it. Lego, on the other hand, is getting it rather quickly. He saw the whole pile for the first time too. It took a couple of times on leash helping him sniff out the cheese before he understood there was one out there with food smell that I wanted back. He's gonna get this game easily.

Well, it's official now. The insurance company called today to say they are totaling my car. I haven't talked to the lady about price yet though. I feel certain they will low-ball it significantly. I don't feel too sore today. Maybe it will subside in time for the fun this weekend.

Thursday starts another agility show. This is my birthday weekend show so I'm going all 4 days. I am helping unload and set up equipment tomorrow night. Misty got drafted for TEAM just today. There was one team that had a drop out or something so the trial secretary asked me if I'd run with them. Josie is on the 'maybe' list for another team that lost a member at the last second. Otherwise, Misty is running Advanced Standard and Advanced Gamblers Friday - Sunday. Josie is running everything all days, Bandit is in for Master Snooker and Master Pairs. So, I'll be back online Monday with results.


I worked Shelby and Nikita on go-outs and articles today. Shelby did OK on articles, but got in a hurry to find the right one. I was disappointed in both of their go-outs. I tried them in a different spot. There was still the fence out there to run out to, but neither seemed to understand. "We don't touch the fence here! We touch it at Nikita's gate.", they said. I think I almost got a light bulb with Shelby, but not with Nikita. Nikita is just now getting to where she'll pick up a leather and a metal article when I tell her to. I'm not looking forward to trying to teach her not to pick up the first one she sees, but look for a certain one. Lego, on the other hand, is coming along nicely with articles and gloves. He will pick up an article if he sees it and bring it to me. We are just starting the discrimination part on leash so I can help him. Also there is cheese on the 'right' article so that helps. Today the light bulb went off with the gloves. He pawed at it and I treated. Then he tried again and got nothing. So he nose bumped it. Got a treat. Pretty soon he was picking it up and bringing it. What an easy dog to teach to retrieve! Nikita would just quit and walk away because she doesn't care about food anyways.

Agility classes start back today. (We've been on holiday break since Thanksgiving) I will try Misty in the distance class again, and I'm teaching on Tuesday nights. I decided to take a stab at teaching independent weave poles and directional commands. This is a bit scary for me because I am lax on teaching my own dogs these things.

My shoulder is a bit more sore today. The full day of working on a computer, using the mouse and typing, really aggravated it.


There was not a Q in tracking today, but I was very proud of Lego. The conditions were very different from what he was used to tracking in. The pasture was knee high in grass, the wind was blowing and the cow smells were strong. He started his track well. He got lost at a turn and something caught his attention so he went to check it out. When he was ready to go on tracking he had wandered too far off the track to find it again in that wind. Once they blew the whistle to fail him then they set him back on the track and he finished it in fine fashion. He didn't do any of the horrible things I imagined he might have done. He didn't roll in cow feces (like one dog did), and he didn't eat any either. As a matter of fact he seemed to mostly ignore the cow smells. He did just as well as all the other dogs today! (no one passed) I will continue to pursue this title for sure.

Almost forgot! I checked the bank account yesterday and the feds have deposited our tax refund! WOO HOO. That will pay bills through June.


I feel better today. It doesn't hurt to sneeze anymore. I got some x-rays taken of my neck and upper back. At least there was no "bone" damage done by the accident. It all appears to be soft tissue damage, which repairs easier.

Since Lego's first tracking test is tomorrow, I decided it would be a good idea to get the scent articles out for him. I figured a sniffing exercise would be appropriate. He caught on quickly to just picking up a metal or leather article and bringing it to me to exchange it for a yummy treat. Then I hid it under the blanket in the crate and he dug it out. No actually discrimination yet though. Can't wait to see how he does tomorrow! I hope the wind dies down some by then. If he pulls this off he'll get his VCD1. That was a goal of mine for him back when his ILP was approved.


Today started badly. I was involved in a pretty nasty accident on the way to work this morning. A man in a GMC Jimmy decided a solid green light was an open invitation to turn left. I was coming at the light at 55 mph when I saw him make the decision to turn. I did everything in my power to not get hit, but it didn't help. I layed on the horn, slammed the brakes and swerved as far to the right as possible. I still go smashed centered right in the drivers side. The impact busted all glass on that side of the vehicle and sent me into a spin. The car came to rest, after hitting a curb and warping the passenger rear tire, mostly in a parking lot on the other side of the intersection from where I started, and the car was facing the wrong way. The best I can describe the damage to the car is TOTALED! Rich is going to take pictures. They will be posted later today. I did not require on site medical attention, but I'm sore and stiff and will be worse tomorrow.


I went out to the agility training field last night to start re-training dogwalk and A-Frame contacts with my little guys. It is apparent from the last couple of shows that the idea of touching the yellow has faded from their memory.  I have decided that I am going to require a down on the ground just after the contacts. My hope is that this will muscle train them to scurry closer and closer to the ground as they get towards the bottom of the obstacle, thus helping to avoid the urge to just lift their feet and soar. They caught on quickly to the ' new' contact. We will see how it goes in the long run.

Just so you don't think I was just a bitter grump about the judge last weekend... Here are some comments we got back on our survey about him:
unreceptive to competitors concerns
Too tight courses no speed, unsafe approaches
some very difficult angles and difficult to qualify in Snooker

There were worse things said and better things said. I think these are close to the middle ground opinions.

The really good news is that all the people that turned in their surveys ranked the site as GREAT! I even heard some people saying they were gonna go harass their friends for not coming and try and get them here next year.

AH.. I forgot to brag on my friends. Ty and Megan got their JM. Red Rover, Rosey's young border collie, ran a whole standard course CLEAN. He even did the 12 weave poles the first try without hesitation. I think that's the first time he's weaved in competition!

I plan on being back out at the agility training field tonight for more contact reinforcement and to pick up my nice cheap bags of Eukanuba food from Brittany.

I also got a bit of obedience done today. Lego did heeling and drops. WOW! That dog can really heel now. Haven't tried him away from home yet. I need to so I can see how he's doing elsewhere. Shelby did articles and signals. WOW (again)! She was actually working the article pile. She sniffed all the articles twice looking for the right one and didn't get discouraged like usual. Her sit signal is returning, don't know where it was hiding.



This past weekend's agility trial proved to be a mix of great joy and sadness. Jedi ran the trial of his life! My boy came back... the one I started out trialing with years ago. I hope this is the beginning of his recovery from the agility avoidance that I've been struggling with for the last couple of years. But, sadly not one single Q to show for it. We got that hope for an AAD dashed first thing on Saturday. The gamble was two jumps away from me then wrap second jump to come back and weave. NOT A CHANCE! Jedi ran well, stayed with me, did the first two jumps and even hit the weave entrance , but he didn't attempt to weave any poles. I was extremely happy with his attitude and performance though. Master Standard BOTH days was phenomenal. His only fault being hitting a second pole entrance at the weaves. (The weave entries were just AWFUL in Master and Advanced this weekend. ) The first day when he hit the weaves he was actually weaving so we went on like there was nothing wrong. Second day he knew it was wrong so we fixed it and went on. It was almost like old times there for awhile. I was having to steer him from behind because he was moving so fast and accurately. He even pulled out a 4th place that day. Which means he did better than 1/2 of the 16 inch dogs. He did get the cuteness award for jumping off the table to kiss the judge that run! He really gave it his all in Adv. Pairs, but his partner just couldn't weave. The snooker courses this weekend were extremely undesirable, but Jedi held it together and ran his heart out. He ended up back jumping a red both days. One day was my fault, one day his. My real hope for a Q was last thing Sunday in Master Jumpers. He got distracted on his down stay at the start line and when I said LET'S GO, he ran straight to the ring crew lady sitting much too close to the first jump to say HI. This caused an R at the FIRST jump. I got him re-focused and we took off on one of the most winding, 180, serpentine courses I've ever seen. Once again I was steering from the rear. WOW what a run. Under time and clean. I've never been so proud and so disappointed all at once. 

Misty only ran gambles and standard on Sat. and standard only on Sunday. She has a great gamble opening, but like Jedi can't weave that far away. Standard Sat. was OK, she popped out of the poles half way through. Sunday was the run of her life. She didn't make any mistakes and didn't waste one second, not even on the teeter. She hit the table in an automatic down too. I just knew this was her Q. Well, fate bit us here too. At the table, with her perfect drop and all, the judge didn't start the table count. I looked at my dog... perfect down... look back at the judge like "HELLO, WHERE IS YOUR BRAIN?" There was at least a two second delay in him starting the count. WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? She finished out the run beautifully. I shot over to the score table to check her time. 27 HUNDRETHS of a second over. The judge ruined her Q! That delay at the table was all the difference in a Q and no Q. I was EXTREMELY upset. Angry, disappointed, near tears. How could I ask any more of my 10.5 year old? She was ROBBED ! if ever there was an agility injustice this was surely it. I did my best to be happy towards her and treat her. I took myself outside to try to re-stabilize my emotions. At the beginning of the next class I approached the judge to ask him about this. He basically said I was between him and the dog and he couldn't see her.  So it was just tough nails. (I ran this course three times with three dogs and was in the same place at the table count for all of them. She was last. Only her table count got screwed!) I was already not thrilled with this judge's courses. Now I just don't like him at all. It was very hard to not let this affect me all day.

Bandit ran Snooker Sat. and Snooker and Pairs Sunday. The snooker courses were so horrible in design there was no way for Bandit to even Q, much less Super Q. All the obstacles but the #2 were so far from the reds that there was no way he could get enough points in 50 seconds to even Q. We tried and failed both days. Pairs was the run we wanted. He ran OK, He tried to take an off course twice. I really had to work him, but he did run his half clean and did the weaves with more speed than usual, although NOT quickly. His partner, unfortunately, took an off course.

Josie popped the weaves in her Standard run Sat. and missed her dog walk contact. (she didn't hit one dogwalk all weekend) She had a better shot at the Snooker than Bandit, back jumped a red both days. Like Jedi, one day her fault, one day mine. She did give me a pleasant surprise in that weave gamble though. She actually went out and hit the entrance (off side entrance from a distance) and started weaving. At pole 8 she stopped and looked at me like WHERE ARE YOU?. I think I screwed her up because I was so shocked I quit talking and she "lost" me. Usually I cheer in the weaves and I just froze in awe. Sunday she popped the pole to take the tunnel staring at her in Standard. She DID however Q in Pairs. Her partner was so happy. It was their pairs title. Josie still needs one more. Last run was Master Jumpers. I set Josie down and said "let's go". She put her nose down and sniffed her way around the first jump. AN R at the first jump AGAIN! Got her focused and took off. Perfect run, but a bit hesitant at first. She did kick in the speed until 13 or so. She still out did Jedi's time (he turns very wide) I think her sniffing was my fault. She ran only a few dogs after Jedi and I think I was still irritated and disappointed and she knew it. (and it was last thing on Sunday of a trial I was involved in running)

The show overall ran smoothly and there were lots of nice things said by competitors about the site. I also heard lots of mumblings about the courses and course times. Brittany took the survey box home to compile the overall opinions of the site and judge and hotel. I was thrilled with the site and the dirt packing. Susan Burton brought her Star (foxhound) and she was thrilled with the site as well. Star even learned to come when called some in the ring this weekend. The raffle made a good amount and we even cleared expenses without that money added in, so the club is well in the black on this one.

Rich's dad went home again. They were able to find an antibiotic that was working well in the lab killing off the bacteria. They've been keeping him in ICU on antibiotic drip since the 2nd. The family members there say he is looking better than he has in months. The hospital will still keep in close contact with him as he continues his antibiotic regimen.



They have discovered the "bug" that's taken up residence in my father-in-law's brain cavity.  This is good news and bad news. The bad news is it's a very resistant strain with many known antibiotic immunities and the ability to become immune quickly to others. The doctor said he may need to contact the CDC in Arkansas about him.

The countdown to our show has started. I will be leaving work early tomorrow to got out to LSU and help setup tables and unload equipment and such. It should be an enjoyable show as long as we can keep the club members' stress levels under control. Jedi and Josie are running in everything except tournaments and Misty and Bandit are running three times each. Check back Monday for results!


Today I got a nice surprise when I checked the bank account online. We e-filed our taxes this year and the state has already deposited our tax refund. The even better news is that means the federal refund can't be too far behind! Amazing how fat a refund can be when the main bread winner is not bringing in any income the last couple of months out of a year, but instead spending money on business expenses. The tax refunds (plus my income) will float us another three months or more without having to take any money out of Rich's business loan for personal expenses. We have been very blessed to be able to stretch our meager savings this far.

Rich's dad had another small pool of blood creating some brain pressure that prompted the emergency room visit yesterday. They still think they can get this infection under control before any permanent damage is done.

Nikita did gloves very well today. I sent her out one at a time to each of the three gloves and she did fine. Then we played "What's an article?" again. She is not interested in picking them up at all much less trying to determine which is the "right" one to pick up. Right now we are focusing on getting her to carry one of each kind around for a bit. Lego redeemed himself in heeling practice today. It was very nice.