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31st

After work I took Lego, Xanadu and Kamikaze out to the agility field to run that nice course we set up last weekend. I got out there before classes. The jumps were already at 20", so Kamikaze was up first. It would help if I remembered to get t he chute on and the tunnels tied down. OOPS! So we made the first 5 obstacles fine. Then I dropped her and fixed the course. We had no off course problems at all on the course. Her only problem was weaving off the table at that angle. She flat wasn't 'hearing' my command and looking for them. She was just trotting with head up, even tried to do the teeter backwards. This is a dog problem and certainly not a course problem. Xanadu wasn't as fast as I expected, but no off course problems there either. She caught whiff of the recently exited kitty though and I lost her attention for a moment. Great weaves for her though. Lego did Aframe a few times and weaves a few times. No hesitation and no pain response. We'll see how he feels tomorrow after doing them. Before I left I ran Kamikaze again with better weaving realization and Xanadu found her speed again. Very nice run. Kamikaze got to practice some weave entries as well. She had a wonderful entry off an arc with me layering the triple. (only because I had to to get her through the arc) So things look good for the show this weekend!

Just before I left students were showing up. One of the students from my last class was there with her boxer. He's a great dog. I told her the one thing you can never master in a class setting is weaves. We gave her techniques to teaching them though. She has made stick poles and has taught her dog to weave since the end of last classes. ALL TWELVE POLES! It was awesome to see. What a great and dedicated trainer! I was so proud for her. She is entered in her first show at our home show next weekend. I can't wait to cheer for them. Unfortunately her dog took a bad spill off the dogwalk in their class and he is now terrified of contacts :(

 

30th

Today started badly. I got to work and someone had taken the microwave out of my office. It is NOT corporate owned, but individually bought! OK, so I am the ONLY one at work at 6:30am and I need to heat my breakfast before I get really cranky. I can't even get upstairs to the common lunch area. It's still locked up there. I did realize the building next door that houses the mail machines has a microwave. I have the code for the key punch door. I run over there. NOPE! Guess they changed it again. Steam is boiling in me now. I see one of the mail workers drive up and she lets me in thank goodness. They only changed on number because the one they picked was sticking. I did go snatch my microwave back when the network guys got there at 9am. Theirs died so they stole mine. Figured I never use it. WHAT? You'd think they'd at least send me an email to warn me they swiped it for a bit. I may work from home 3 days, but they know how to get in touch with me. Better yet even, an email asking if they could swipe it while I was away. Took many hours for the steam to settle.

Then on the way home, there was a fire at a plant on one of the streets I would normal take. Thankfully Rich warned me in time to keep me from getting caught in road closure mess. Still, extra time wasted staying away from it. 

I did get Kamikaze and Bandit bathed after work. Two more to go and they will all be cleaned up good!

Kamikaze worked articles, moving stand and directed jumping today. We started with the articles. I put them between the two jumps. I scented one, put it out and then turned and sent her, "Find IT."  She raced right past the pile, almost jumping them to do a perfect go-out. ARGH! She's so not listening and trying to guess at what I want. But man, who can do a 180 send to a go-out and get it straight? Went and retrieved her and tried again. SAME THING! She's irritating me now. Not a good thing for a training session. The next time I tried sending her to the articles I kept my hand on her collar and walked her towards the pile. "OH, those things! Got it", She didn't sniff them all though, and just picked one. Here we try again. She sent to the pile without help and got the right one. FINALLY! The second send was much better and she sniffed them all! Good Girl! Now on the the moving stand. Nicely done. The go-outs were wonderful. A bit shocking after trying go-outs the first time when it was supposed to be articles and then getting re-set for another try. The first jump was great. Then the self-thinking dog again. She picked her own jump. Then again. And again. Finally she started paying attention and finished up well.

Since I still had the high jump out I thought I'd try Xanadu retrieving over it in the front yard (where it was set up). Took her out on a Flexi. Threw it and sent her. She poked to the jump barely cleared it at 12" and started sniffing the ground near the dumbbell. OK, so I knew working in the front yard would not come easy for her. She works in the back well or on concrete well. I gave a leash and verbal correction for the sniffing and went to the dumbbell and reminded her what she was doing. She picked it up and slugged back over the jump. Another try and she doesn't even want to go when I say "take it". I know she also doesn't work well after playing all day in the back yard like she gets to do on Tuesday and Wednesday. She is understandably tired. I help her go out and she walks to the jump and puts her feet on the top and pushes over, gets the dumbbell and pushes over again. ARGH! Can't let that go. I decided to take off the Flexi. A mind-numbing fearful thing in the front, unfenced yard. I knew I had good treats and the promise of more. She did on try off leash at half speed. I took her in for good reward. We went back out later with better treats and tried off leash one more time. She was a bit perkier knowing I had steak bits. She even remembered to come back over the jump when she was far to the outside and could have gone around more easily. GOOD GIRL! We went in for more good treats and called that a success.

29th

I got Josie's bath in this afternoon. That only leaves 4 dogs that need one now.

Kamikaze worked on Utility moving stand, signals and directed jumping. I pulled out my 4 ring gates, the bar jump Cheryl made me  and the real high jump. She did wonderful on the heeling, signals and stand. Her go-outs were perfect. She still isn't always waiting on my signal as to which jump to take. She prefers the bar jump. I was overall very happy with her. I even got Xanadu out and practiced all the Open exercises except stays and broad jump. Of course those are likely the two she needs the most work on. <sigh> But, she did great. Took two tries to drop. the first time she sat. (at least she stopped in her tracks) She struggled some remembering (or wanting) to take the jump on the retrieve. I must work her stays!

The day was so pretty I spent some time outside reading on the bench. It's on the patio, and in front of the patio are some weeds that are flowering. I heard buzzing constantly while I was reading, so I decided to try and capture a bee picture. It took a zillion shots, but I got one decent one. If you look close at the rear leg you can see his pollen collection wad just barely.

 
This is Bandit enjoying the day in his own way.

28th

Saturday I spent about 3 hours helping finish up agility equipment clean up and prep for the AKC trial at the beginning of April. They neglected to tell me they were setting up a course afterwards and that I could run a dog, so all I had with me was Lego, who is still on limited activity. It was a course from the Mobile, AL shows last weekend that they all buggered up running while there. It seemed like a really nice course to me with only one bad off course opportunity for Kamikaze and her running Aframe contact. I watched them bugger it all up again. WOW, didn't walk that bad. I did get to run it with Loralie's JRT, Jenny. We did great! The only bugger was when I forgot the course and sent her to the table to wait until I remembered it. I liked that course a lot. I tried, running, Jessie, Nedra's BC, but she wouldn't go more than four jumps with me before she ran back to mom. When I got home I gave baths. Six all total. I did all the short coats except Josie.

Today we took Lego in to Rich's office and took a couple of back X-rays. He seems great, but has a super sensitive area still in his back. We couldn't see anything on x-ray, so we'll continue treating it as a sprain. Afterward, we got out in the yard and dealt with the front 'flower' beds. They actually only have bushes in them, but they needed a good weeding and then we added Lava Rock under the shrubs. We need to buy a bit more Lava Rock to finish off, but they look much better.

26th

I emailed Onofrio to cancel my entries to Perry, GA today. Just doesn't seem like Kamikaze is going to get enough hair back to be competitive. This means I can hit the USDAA show in Shreveport instead! There are majors in Middle Tennessee around the beginning of May that I may look at if the hair starts back in better. 

In the mail today was my 'refund' from the Houston tracking people for the test I didn't get in. Actually they just mailed back my check to me, so all I had to do was tear it up. 

Lego continues to improve. He hit full speed a couple of times in the small yard when I was out  there watching him potty. He also put his paws on my lap when he thought it should be time for dinner. I didn't give him any more pain meds today, so we'll see how he does this weekend.

25th

Lego tried to jump a baby gate today. One he always jumps to get from the computer room to the front door. It's faster than running around through the kitchen. I saw him start for it and hollered. He didn't get enough lift to get over, but the gate fell since it's a pressure only gate. I was still screaming at him when he hit the living room. He didn't yelp or anything. Looked like his major fear was why I wanted to kill him. He's been putting his front paws on me again some, but cautiously. He even broke out into a run in the side yard while I was standing there watching him potty. So, I'm guessing he's healing up. Maybe I'll cut out pain meds tomorrow and see how he feels. Rich is still working on him about every day and that spot in his back is still sore.

I made it out to obedience class tonight for the first time since January I think. I had Sparkle, Xanadu and Kamikaze with me. Cheryl met up with me with her guys. The first thing out of her mouth when she saw Kamikaze was, "OH, you didn't tell me she hit the eject button on the fur. She looks like a puppy." So, we decided we would get our entries to the majors in Georgia cancelled before closing. No need to drive 8 hours to try for a major with the coyote looking Siberian. Durn the luck! Sparkle was up first and very rusty. Then Xanadu, who was not as rusty. She did everything well. A little reminding on the retrieve over high and the drop was all it took. She is jumping the broad jump on the first try now, but doing it very crooked. This little practice session convinced me I should put Sparkle up for a bit longer and let Xanadu get her CDX first. I'll get back to Sparkle. She's plenty young enough to wait another year or so. Kamikaze was rusty a bit on the moving stand and the articles (on the second pass). The articles went well the on the first one and then the second one she raced out and just grabbed one. No attempt at all at finding the right one. She also needs work on directed jumping. She always wants the bar jump no matter which one I point at. Maybe the high jump needs to be "OVER" and the bar jump can stay "JUMP". Since I've decided to work Xanadu through her CDX first, she now needs serious work on out of sight stays. That's the one thing I've been lax on. Bernie was nice enough to stay out there with her for an almost two minute sit and a two minute down. A couple of times she looked a bit distracted or slightly antsy. I just stepped into view for a slip second and then back out of sight. It kept her settled with the idea.

24th

Lego seems much improved today! He even cautiously put his paws on my chest once. We're still giving pain meds and working on the sore spot in his back. I have yet to see him jump on or over anything, not that he has much chance with me staying on top of him to keep him quiet.

23rd

I got home from work to find Lego standing hunched over at the door crying in pain. Don't know if he'd just done it, or if he'd been hurting awhile. Based on how quickly he seemed to recover after getting inside I am guessing he'd just hurt himself. I got everyone else put up to eat and walked him to the living room to see if I could find the problem. He was walking on 4 legs fine. The crying started again when I tried to lift him. HRMM... It appears he cries out when he tries to get lift off his rear end (jumping or putting paws on you or a chair or something). It has to be a back injury since his rear legs are well muscled and unharmed. I rushed him to Rich's office between patients and we worked on his back some. Found a really painful spot. He seemed much better when we got back home. I'll be picking up pain meds/anti-inflammatories at the vet tomorrow. We worked some more on his back before bed. He's walking/jogging fine and appears happy. You'd never know now he's hurt unless you saw him try to get lift off. He, of course, is NOT trying anything of the sort on his own. He has now been permanently demoted to a first level crate. He's always had a second tier crate that he launched into on his own to eat or rest. NO MORE! I have closed the second level crate and moved his name tag. He's under Xanadu now. It will take him a while to get that 'his' crate is different now. I hope rest and therapy will completely heal his back in the next couple of weeks. 

Cheryl presented me with a birthday present at the club meeting tonight. She made me a nice, portable bar jump. Only uprights and a bar, no connection of the uprights like all my jumps. This makes it MUCH easier to lug around for directed jumping practice. Dog friends are so awesome!

22nd

I finally got back to practicing some obedience with Kamikaze. I think it's been a month and a half or so since we've done ANY practice. The only thing I didn't pull out was the jumps. Stupid, since it's the one thing she's been flunking at the show, but I was lazy. She did perfect signals and heeling. Then a wonderful moving stand. She was a bit shaky on articles. Happy to go, but then stressed a bit about not finding the right one fast enough. She missed the first one twice, then she did much better. She did a wonderful turn to the left and right for the outside gloves too.

Since I was doing obedience I got out Xanadu's articles. It's been a good while for her on those too. I set out two metal and two leather. So she was hunting only 5 total. She sent the first time at a walk and picked up the wrong one. The second try she remembered the game better. She was right every time after that (only four times) then I quit with her. Didn't want to overdo it. Now, what I need to do is work her more on Open exercises and get Sparkle out much more to get her confidence up on the Open exercises too. It's harder to work the beagles because I can't just heel off leash anywhere like I can with Kamikaze.

21st

I got back from College Station before dark. Here's the rundown:

THURSDAY:
Got up at 3:15 am. Drove 6 hours to show with one stop to potty dogs. I was there in time for the second class of the day as I had planned to be. First up was Master Snooker for Kamikaze, We came here only needed one Super Q for the Snooker Master title. I wasn't really expecting it since the show was packed with Border Collies. As it so happened the 26" dogs combined with 22" today. All told there were 4 Super Q's to be had. I was pretty far down the list. There were a couple of really nice runs, and a lot of crash and burn going on. I changed to plan B after watching several dogs. That changed my last point obstacle to a 6 instead of the 4. We made it through #6 in the closing. A solid Q. But there was so much herky jerky that Kamikaze was DONE by #6 and was leaving whether the buzzer went or not. This ended up being my greatest gift. She crossed the finish just after the buzzer went. I knew there were at least 4 nice runs other than us. When I checked placements, Kamikaze got 3rd in the 22" class. There was a four way tie with 48 points for Super Qs 2-4. Kamikaze ended up edging out a 26" Border Collie by a couple of seconds on time to take that last Super Q spot! WOW! We're now finished with those dang Super Qs! The only Q's left that I have to worry about what other people do is Steeplechase. She went on to have a fabulous day. She was one bar drop from a perfect 4 for 4 day. Now that would've been something. Her other Q's were her first Master Standard Q on a tough course, and her first Master Pairs Q. That puts her just two Standard legs from MAD. She also placed in every run she Q'd in if that tells you anything about Q rates overall. The bar dropped in jumpers wrapping a jump, but it was a gorgeous run.

Josie ran Standard and Pairs. She missed the weave entrance in Standard, but she was moving it. When she hit the table and did an instant down we left for treats. She got her 15th Pairs Q for her Relay Champion Bronze title. Jedi ran Standard. He did OK. Xanadu ran in Starters (16") this weekend a few times.  She got her first Pairs leg. The Q also got her partner the AD title! She ran well in jumpers, but ran by a jump or two and got hung up at one sniffing around, so she was over time. I was back at the hotel by 5pm wishing I'd remembered my book. The TV stations were few and worthless. Amazingly I had trouble sleeping. I figured after the 3AM rise and shine I'd be dead. There was also a lot of noise and such at the hotel until after midnight.

FRIDAY
Kamikaze continued to run very well. Unfortunately I couldn't hold together the handling for a whole course after two nights of not much sleep. Josie ran well in Standard again. I can't remember what went wrong, but we left for treats again after the perfect table performance. Jedi did OK again. I think he was actually clean in Standard, but over time for having some stop and sniff turns. Xanadu ran Snooker. She got a first place Q, making it all the way through the closing with time to spare. They had cake for me and the two other people with birthdays close to the show dates today. Chocolate with lots of icing :) I went out to On the Border for dinner with 4 agility friends. We had a margarita and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

SATURDAY
Now that I had plenty of sleep Kamikaze's brain is fried somewhat. She was not listening as well as usual. I think every run had a screech in it. Not that it gained me anything to scream at her. We even blew a perfectly good pairs run by dashing out of the tunnel straight ahead (almost though me) to take the off course jump. Just when I was thinking of retiring Jedi again, he saved he day with Q in Master Standard. He hasn't Q'd in Standard since he got out of Advanced in 2004! Just to keep me even more interested he Q'd in Master Gamblers too. That's his second Gamble Q in Master. Josie had a fabulous run with an off course tunnel that I didn't handle well. She has hit every contact she's touched this weekend though and has done a perfect table every day. Xanadu was only entered in Standard today. I had no warning that anything was going to be different than yesterday. I didn't even walk the course since I was busy with Master classes. I read the map and watched several people run. Figured she hasn't ever outrun me, so I'd be fine. Well, someone turned her into a Sheltie Beagle while I wasn't looking. She took off the start line like a bolt. Raced over the dogwalk, slid trying to slow down for the table. WOW! Ok, so it goes downhill from here as far as Q possibilities, but gosh I love this new attitude. She did the next jump and then took what was in her vision, the teeter, with great speed and determination. She was wrong though. I got her through the tunnel (wrong end) and was telling her to weave while she was in it. She came out like lightening and dropped her weight back and slid into the poles. Hit the entrance and did all 12! Then another off course since I was unprepared to handle the speed. Got her back and finished the course with wild abandon. So, now I hope my bad handling and continuous calling her back to me doesn't kill this new attitude. Wish I had my wits about me and we'd have just run whatever she took and not tried to fix it all. Another dinner out with friends!

Sunday
I was only entered in first things this morning so I could get home. Kamikaze had a disaster of a Gamble run, as did Jedi. I was hoping for the same Sheltie Beagle that showed up yesterday now that I planned for it. I was pleased to see that Xanadu hit the course with the same reckless abandon as yesterday. It was Gamblers first. I knew she didn't have the distance work to do the gamble, but we had fun for 30 seconds. She did send to the tunnel (first obstacle) with no hesitation then she came out so fast she went past me and took a jump. I was pleased as punch that she is now taking whatever is in front of her with determination. She had a stellar Standard run. One run by on the tire and one on the double. I thought we had a Q bagged up. The judge called her on a contact. UNBELIEVABLE! She can't miss a contact without breaking stride and looking like a cricket to do it since she's so little. She never broke stride and never bounced at all. I think it was a terrible call, especially since he couldn't even remember which contact he called just three dogs later when I took the scribe sheet in the ring to ask him. AH WELL, you get bad calls in every sport, and she's young with lots of time left. The two things she needs the most practice on are still the tire and the 16" double. She has plenty of lift to clear it if she doesn't jump too early, which is common for her. She hit two and cleared three this weekend. I am so hoping that this new Sheltie Beagle shows up at AKC in a couple of weeks with the 12" jumps! :)

15th- Happy Birthday Jedi and Bandit

Today is the day we set for celebrating Jedi and Bandit's birthday. They are 11! Both are doing great.

I spent some time outside this afternoon dragging trimmed branches to a pile. It was a beautiful day. It was fun to watch the dogs having a great time in nice weather too. By the time I brought Xanadu back inside around 6 she was pooped out. She's used to a nap after her dinner (around 3) and since we were outside she was busy playing and sniffing and running.

I got the clothes that were dirty washed since I'll be headed to College Station, TX early Thursday (usual wash day) morning. It should be great weather there for the big show. 

14th

Today was the local tracking test. Both Lego and Xanadu were entered. The TD, beginner dogs, draw was at 7:45. I got the first pick and ended up with track three (of five) for Xanadu. I was happy. It was in the low 40s and damp, so I didn't want to be first, but really didn't want to be last either. Right in the middle suited me fine. All the TD tracks were down the road a mile and over on the other side of the highway. I was very pleased when I saw the cover this year. Green, mostly level fields. Grass about a foot tall. Lots of dew. And all five tracks looked to have equal cover. Very nice. The first dog was a young Golden, three months younger than Xanadu. It was the owner's first try at tracking a dog and they'd never even been to a test to watch. The dog really likes this game and did well, but cut off the second leg about half way down. It was a long leg and the owners have never made one more than 100 yards. Live and learn. He was a nice dog though. Second dog was an Aussie that flunked at our test last year. She started well and then struggled some near the wood line. She recovered and finished well for the first pass of the day. The owner said there were lots of deer tracks by the woods and that the grass was still so wet she could see a good part of the track (where the person had rubbed out the dew). 

Xanadu was up next. She seemed eager at the start, but was listing back and forth across the first leg. I know, because I could see the track. I would say, "yes", each time her nose crossed the path. We made our way down the first leg well and the listing back and forth faded. She made a perfect first turn. She was trucking on leg two! Then the second turn. Here comes trouble. I could no longer see the track as it had warmed up and I'd headed into some shade. The second turn was close to the wood line. Xanadu sort of made the turn and then started dashing wildly back and forth and whining and the tail was going ninety to nothing. She was 30-50 feet one way then the other. I could see plenty of fresh deer tracks. After what seemed like an eternity the panic of failing fades into, "Please just walk forward and if we get whistled off, so be it, I'm tired of standing here watching you dash around." Thankfully we're in a corner of the field now, so I know the next turn is left, back towards the road. She does make a bit of progress towards the road, but it's not tracking human scent. At this point ANY steps she takes that direction I go with her. Maybe we can get past the large amount of animal scent and still pull out a pass. We made slow progress towards the road in a wide sweeping motion. More like a large zigzag. She still hasn't been whistled, but I have NO idea just where the actual track is. The back and forth motion starts to get smaller and then there's the flock of birds trying to hide in the grass. They let her get right up on them before the flew. GREAT! Just what we need. Now she is a pointer. I refused to move, as much as I could without being called for directing her, until the birds were out of sight and her nose was back on the ground. I am more and more thankful for the lay out of the field as there is only one way to turn, again, and it's right. Not sure where, but the finger of land between the road and the clump of woods isn't too wide. Xanadu starts arching into the finger of land. Ok, so she's still not tracking like I know she can, but I know this has to be the right way. She ramps up the zigzag again back to 30-50 feet one way and then the other. I know she's searching for the center of the scent, but can't decide. I know the end must be near and at this rate there is almost no way to miss the glove as her arc is so big. She does settle into a more straight line movement and then I see her lock in and go. Hey, this might turn out after all?! I am scanning the ground around us for the beloved glove. Then, I see her head do an abrupt, neck splitting, whip to the left. Two large bounds through the tall grass and she nose bangs something and comes to a complete stop and STARES at me. Ok, so it has to be the glove, even though this is not the article indication I have been teaching I can think of nothing else that would make her stop so abruptly and stare and at me and not it. I take two quick steps and, yes, I see the thumb of a glove. SHE DID IT! SOMEHOW she managed to work through all the distractions and remember the glove is the food dispenser and keep focused to find it. Oh my! My baby girl has done it. She's passed a TD and that means she is also now a Versatile Companion Dog, and she's not even two. What a morning! I race to the car for treats.

She is soaked to the skin with all the dew, but we're both happy. I did find I forgot towels to dry her and all I could do was wrap her in a sheet to absorb most of the water.

Lego ends up with track three (of three) at the draw for TDX, intermediate level, tracks. After seeing the first one, I was glad I wasn't on it. The first dog failed the first turn. Dog number two started well, overshot the first turn and ended up in the woods. She came back out of the woods and found the track again, but had missed an article, an immediate flunk, while in the woods. So, Lego's track wasn't that old, by TDX standards. The cover wasn't as nice as the TD cover. More dry, dead, short grass. Lego did pick a way pretty quickly and go. Turns out it was slightly left of the actual track. I haven't tracked him much this past year and it showed. He indicated a turn to the right. I waited for him to decide, because I wasn't sure, although if I had laid the track that's where I'd have gone too. He went on by. Turns out his first indication was right. We got whistled down the way a bit more for passing the turn to a non-recoverable length. Even when we got him back on track it wasn't a nice performance. He did better last year. It was awfully hot by now, around 70, and we were in a field in the direct sun. Lego made the next turn on his own, went wild back and forth sniffing at the cross tracks, and missed the next turn bad. They had to correct him several times, not like Lego. Now, when he got on the track I could tell he was tracking. A decided pace in a straight line. The other was just sniffing. I need to remember that and wait for the pick up in his pace before I trust him to be tracking.

13th - Happy Birthday Shelby

We finally got to pick up the motor home. The floor looks great, the slide slides. I can't wait to use it to go to Hattiesburg at the end of April. The rest of the day was nice and lazy. Ran some other errands. Finished a good book. The wind was strong today. I am hoping in dies down some for tracking tomorrow.

Shelby is 12 today. She is still doing well! 

11th

I got notice that Lego and Xanadu both ended up on the alternate list for the tracking test in Houston the 21st. I declined the alternate position and will get my money and certification back in the mail. That means I'll spend Sunday morning running more USDAA agility in College Station instead. Maybe Xanadu will pass this weekend and then it would be a good thing to not be in the Houston test. Yea, that's the reason, I bet! 

I am thrilled to say I can see no limp at all in Lego anymore! Combined anti-inflammatory meds and chiropractic and laser seemed to have done the trick. I am too chicken to stop the pain meds until after the test this weekend. I am looking so forward to a day of outdoor adventure in beautiful weather. Will be good for the spirits.

Twice now I've been in the midst of a very disturbing dream in the middle of the night only to be awakened by a sweet nose touch on the face by Xanadu. Wonder what I do that alerts her? Breath unevenly? Twitch funny?

10th

I just got in teaching the last agility class of this session before the rain came. I was even a bit lazy and used what the Monday and Tuesday people had set up rather than setting up my choice. It had 12 weaves in it and none of my class is really ready for that, but there was a tunnel and a dogwalk parallel to them so I could improvise. I practiced Xanadu at 16" before class for a bit. She's entered in 16" in a couple of weeks at USDAA. Her only struggle was the AKC triple. She hit it a couple of times, but more because she takes off too early than because she doesn't have the carry to get over. I started a new command to prompt her it was the wide jump, "BIG". It seemed to help her remember to not take off so early, or she just is learning to gauge her take off on her own better. In any event, she started carrying over the triple without any trouble after two or three tries. The AKC triple set at 16 mimics the distance she'd have to jump the USDAA double pretty well, so I think she'll do it OK. I did a bit of practice with Kamikaze before class too. I set all the jumps at random heights from 26" to 20" and all two inch increments in between. The spreads and the tire I set intentionally at 24 or 26. Kazee was a champ at adjusting herself to not hit bars. What a good girl! She also did 18 weaves very well. My favorite accomplishment was the wrap over the 24" triple. It was lovely and tight without any bar rattling. She is doing so well in practice when I cue a wrap with my word that I think it will carry over to competition soon.

Now I'm looking forward to the tracking test this weekend. Too bad the weather's gonna be a bit hot. It's supposed to be around 70 and sunny. That can be hard on the TDX dogs. I have had Lego out once this week on a four hour old two leg track. Mostly I am interested in him starting his track this year. He did very well even with the neighbor dog as a recent walk by distraction. I also will find out tomorrow evening (likely) if Xanadu and Lego got in the Houston tracking test for next weekend.

Josie had her yearly check-up on Monday. She's great. While I was there they took one last sample of Xanadu's urine to be sure we had killed off all the bacteria. She is fine as well.

7th

I had a great time at the Monroe AKC agility trial this weekend! Great venue, good friends, nice courses. It was only Excellent dogs on Friday, so they started in the afternoon. I drove up Friday morning with Sparkle, Xanadu, Lego and Kamikaze. Lego was still limping a bit at a trot, but not at a walk or run. The vet couldn't find anything wrong last week though. Rich brought home his laser therapy and we did that on his joints Thursday night. He's taking some anti-inflammatories too. I scratched him from his one run Friday. Another day of rest will do him good. Kamikaze started off with a spectacular run in Standard. Unfortunately I got caught staring at her weaving (She was flying though them) and didn't get where I needed to be to cue the sharp turn out of the weaves. So, with only three jumps left I blew it. Kamikaze did great! A wonderful weave entrance and everything. "Where did those weaves come?" , from I wondered. Someone pointed out they were 24" spaced poles rather than 21 or 22. Well, if it makes that much difference to my dog, I'm all for them. Jumpers did not go so well for us. Somewhere in there we got disconnected and I got frustrated. I went out to Marie's (Xanadu's breeder) for dinner and helped her dad out with a computer thing. The food was wonderful, and so was the company.

Saturday started well! Kamikaze had a really nice jumpers run, hitting a weave pole entrance I just knew she was gonna miss. She even managed a fly-by kiss on a steward in the middle of a 180 turn and still qualified. (8th MXJ leg) Gotta love Siberian flare! In standard she was once again a wonderful dog. Then there was the handler problem. There was a 180 degree tight turn off the dogwalk. I practiced this in the walk through more than any other part. When we got there she took the dogwalk so much faster than I expected and I'd practiced so many different cues for her that I did the worst thing.... ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. I stood still and was quiet and stared. The Siberian took that to mean keep going straight, and so she did, right through the tire. ARGH, once again three obstacles from the finish and I blew it. Better my fault than hers any day though! I got Lego out for his jumpers run with no intention of really trying to handle it well. I had a friend videoing him up close to see if there was any sign of a deficiency when he ran, especially weaving.  WOW! If I'd handled well he'd have Q'd. He was flying and his weaves were dead on and FAST. There was no sign he was hurting, so on to Standard. He was still flying in standard. No refusals to climb or weave. He even pulled out a Q on that course. Lego has been in Open Standard for like 5 years. This is his second Q in three (maybe four) weekends in Standard. I was loving the way he was running too! He ran Novice Fast at the end of the day. He Q'd and the handler NQ'd (AGAIN). Too much USDAA! I stepped across the gamble line before his whole body had exited the final obstacle (a tunnel).

Xanadu did very well in her two runs as well. This is only her second weekend in Open. She had two or three refusals in jumpers and she hit the triple in standard, but she ran very well. Sparkle didn't want to do obstacles, but she did dash around the ring some having a great time. That's improvement over walking and looking scared or leaving the ring all together. I had dinner with friends again. This time at the restaurant by the hotel. Then I gave Lego a massage. I found several tight and painful spots in his shoulder and back.

Sunday started with Standard. Kamikaze had made it through most of the hard parts and then as I sent her to a tunnel I stepped to rear cross as she aimed at it and she took it to mean "NO! the other entrance" and snaked off to find the other end of the tunnel. I mean she really had to try to find the entrance too. Some day, when the handler learns to behave, she'll be racking up some standard Qs! In Jumpers she missed the weave pole entrance. It was the easiest one all weekend, and I struggled with how to send her to them. Guess I did it badly. Need harder entrances I see. Lego had an awesome standard run. Should've been his OA. I pulled him off the side of the dogwalk just one step too soon and his missed the yellow. I am seeing a pattern here. Are you? His Jumpers run was so, so close. His AXJ was in grasp. Then I called "COME TUNNEL" and he never pulled in close enough to take the jump on the way, but he never broke stride as he raced in the tunnel.  He just knew he was right. He never once was an intentional jerk. He had the weekend of his life as far as solid, listening runs. I watched Xanadu videos Saturday night and identified some things I was doing that could be causing jump run-bys and 10 weaves instead of 12. I focused on fixing my problems, and hers basically disappeared. She had a perfect Open Standard run up until the last jump. I called her hard (to keep her out of a tunnel) and didn't say jump and she went by it thinking she was done. It took FOREVER to get her back to take the jump and she still was 20 seconds under time. That's her first Open Standard Q with a first place. Then in jumpers it became apparent I'm not used to handling dogs that I can keep up with anymore. Even though I walked it with several front crosses, I kept forgetting to do them until she was on me and I had to almost stop her to turn myself around to get into position. Her only fault on this run was missing the weave entrance the first time. We fixed it and got her first OAJ leg with a first place. If Lego doesn't watch it she's gonna beat him out of Open!

I put $20 in the raffle and won four free days of entries (June, indoors with A/C.. here we come), a dog cot and three bags of treats. It's been a great, great weekend.

I got notice that Xanadu and Lego are both in the tracking test here in town next weekend, and they both got first draw at tracks.  Here's hoping for nice tracking weather next Sunday! 

While I was running agility, Cheryl and Grace finished up her first herding title here at the local trial!!

3rd

I taught agility class again tonight. We set up an Advanced Pairs course. They got to run each side and then they ran it with partners. Most everyone there is AKC minded, so pairs was a new game for them. I took Lego along to see if he'd do any agility. He's still limping some for what we believe is a nail injury on his right front outside toe. He will do agility without complaining, but Loralie says she could tell he was favoring it. I am leaving Friday morning for three days of agility in Monroe, LA. I'll take him, but still unsure that he'll get to play. I certainly don't want limping for tracking the next weekend! We'll see how he feels tomorrow after doing Aframe, weaves and such. Xanadu was a great girl on table Aframe and weaves and some 16 inch jumps. Kamikaze came out of the crate and played the waltz by the weaves. OOPS! Right back in she went. Later she 'remembered' how to weave the first try when she got another turn. 

Kamikaze has decided now is the time to do her famous coyote impression. (the hairless Siberian) She's leaving wads of undercoat everywhere and I've raked out two Pomerians out of her in the last few days. Now, we must work on having coat back in six weeks for the majors in Perry, GA. That means bathe and blow a couple of times a week. Brush and spritz every day. ICK! We're both gonna be miserable until then. 

Here's a picture I took on the way home from New Iberia, LA agility trials last month. Very cool! Haven't had time to get the camera pictures off until now.