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28th

I went to the big boss at work today and asked to go part time. I knew the workload for me had dwindled and as a business it would be hard to justify keeping me full time. Plus Rich and I have talked about me quitting all together soon. The boss was very receptive and was planning on talking to me next week about the lack of work. The full details to be worked out in the next couple of days, but I am thinking I won't have to go in to the office unless there's a special meeting or something. Also thinking I'll have two official days (Tuesday and Wednesday)  The full out quit makes me nervous, so this is the first step towards being a stay at home person. I am excited and freaked out all at once!

Rich left to go see family at noon today so I'm a loner until Sunday. When I got home from the office my home computer (that needs to work so I can connect to the office) would not even boot! ACK! Then I go to the master bathroom to grab an allergy pill and find I have a new friend! 

I re-located my friend outside and I'm winning the battle with the angry computer (for now). It's been an interesting and tad stressful day.

I did find a little time to take Spirit out to my agility field and do weaves. She did great. The grass was so high that it wasn't practical to practice with Sprigs though. DRAT! Well, I'll be glad to be spending three days running with the dogs this weekend in a show almost close enough to be called a 'home' show. Now to be sure and give Spirit a good smell cleansing bath tomorrow to wash away any male attracting scent that may still be lingering.

26th

Tonight around 7 the power browned out and then came back on, but 10 minutes later it popped off for good. What the heck? There were no storms, no clouds, no weather. We took the opportunity to go on a walk in the evening air. The two tri beagles walked with Rich and then Josie and Sprigs went with me. It was pleasant, but we didn't time it well and it got dark before we got back. Walking down a windy road with no shoulder in the dark with four dogs is not my idea of fun. The power was back on before we even got back though.

We made a deal on that RV and will picking it up a week from Wednesday!

 

25th

Kayak has had his first gaiting lesson for conformation. He did OK. He's learning to stop in a stand too. I am thinking I'll take him up to middle TN at the end of April to a specialty for his debut. Karen and I can share a room and hang out. It'll be fairly low stress as compared to an ALL BREED show. 

Rich and I spent most of yesterday looking at pull behind RVs again. We'd like to replace the motorhome. It's just too much upkeep. I found one I really like, but not quite the price I like. I wanted lightweight, small, room for crates and people sleeping. It's amazingly hard to find! This one is great. We are trying to make a deal on it. Then the task of paying down a little more on the motorhome and getting rid of it.

22nd

As the weather the last few days has tried to wash us away, not much has been done. Kayak has had very brief training sessions to learn "pose"(that's stand to most people). When I say brief I mean it. I grab 6-8 treats and I get him to sit beside me and we work on 'pose'. Treats gone equals training over. For the few short sessions he's had he's actually catching on well.

The most excitement at the house has been trying to keep the red beagle girls from flirting Lego to death. Both of them are in season! So far Kayak hasn't seemed to really understand what's going on, but since he doesn't run in their group and he's still a baby it's been fairly easy to keep him away. Spirit will be done with this mess in time to play agility at the end of the month in Amite, but Xanadu will have to wait until the first weekend in April to play. I am pleased with their timing as April is packed with shows to do! The last weekend in April is up in the air. Should I drive all the way to College Station, TX to play USDAA where the hotel is going to be over $70 a night? OR should I drive to Columbia, TN for a Siberian conformation specialty and spend the weekend with Karen there? Decisions, decisions.

19th - Happy Birthday to me

I did some basic tracking practice with Sprigs, Kayak and Twinkle at lunch. All still have treats on the track along the way. Today was two legs (left turn). I still can't tell who will catch on first. Sprigs doesn't start, but once she is going she actually is tracking human scent. Twinkle is all about this game, but proved today that she will walk along with her nose on the ground sniffing anything and everything. Following the specific human scent escapes her. Kayak is a scream. When he figures out which game we are playing he's all about it. I laughed when I got his harness on and we got to the flag. He ATTACKED it. So, so funny! He pounced on the flag and the article smashing the flag to the ground. Then he just lay on top of it like "Why am I so excited and what am I supposed to do?" He even let out some excited mild screams. I had to start him down the path of 'find the treats', but he did well after that. He attacked the glove with chicken in it at the end. Pounce and grab and shake. LOL! I had to extract it from him to get the good stuff out. He did get discouraged and just stand and screech once and I had to do some good encouraging to get him back to work. I remember Kazee being like that in the early days too though. One of them needs to catch on in time to certify for November so we can accompany Bern and Cheryl to Houston for their tracking tests this winter.

I got some obedience practice in this evening. Kazee did her Utility stuff, all but jumps. She was awesome! Xan worked her Grad Open stuff. She struggled a bit at articles, but at least didn't just give it up. She did the metal one (first one) great then struggled with the leather one. At least in Grad Open she only has to do one article find and with only 5(?) articles out there. She missed the moving stand the first try. She sat and stayed. She went to the glove and got it, but then dropped it almost to me looking for her treat. She nailed her signals and go-out though. There's still work to do, but she's so gonna get this! Kayak practice Rally moves. I even brought out the cones and practiced the cone exercises. He's got this stuff down! Great finishes tonight. Some mild squeaking on heeling. Sprigs worked on Novice. Her heeling still needs work. She gets distracted easily (must chase bug!) and forgets to watch me sometimes. Her recall and finish were great. Her stand was better than it's ever been. She did well holding her stand stay while I walked around. Only once was there some wilting when I tried to touch her. Need to get out to obedience and have people touch her on her stand!

18th

Mom and Dad stopped in for a visit on their way to New Orleans to see my brother. They were here Thursday afternoon through Saturday afternoon. I took off from work Friday and Mom and I went to the outlet mall in Gonzales. I turned $65 into three pairs of jeans, a pair of capris, four bras and a workout t-shirt at the VF Factory store. I bought a 'final sale' item at Ann Taylor outlet for $8 then had to buy the $15 costume jewlery earrings to go with it. I love outlet shopping. We ran by the regular mall, but I didn't get what I intended to because it wasn't on sale like I'd hoped. Saturday I agreed to take Mom the the antique area here in Denham. UGH! I was tired of it and cranky after just one store. How can anyone look at all that stuff over and over and like 10 different stores? I also saw several March Madness games thanks to Dad. None of them turned out like I'd hoped though.

Today Rich and I worked on some outside stuff. We got some bricks put down on Kayak's raceway (the fence line) to see if we can help stop the mud fest when it's wet and rainy. We put a new roof on the lean-to in Siberian village (formerly known as Retirement Village). The framework is also up for Windy horse's walk in shelter. Hope to see her here in a month or so.

15th - Happy Birthday JEDI

Well today Jedi turns 13. He's going deaf, (or is deaf) he's slowed down a good bit. He spends most days sleeping in the shop. Gone are the days he used to spend tearing up log piles and digging craters hunting for critters. I almost never see him out wandering the yard. He's an old man now and sleeps his days away. He's a creature of comfort now. Wants his soft, warm and dry spot to lay his head. I still think he'd take out a snake if he saw one though. When he's up and moving he's still as snotty as always. Feeling a bit nostalgic thinking on how he used to be and how he is now. Here's some shots of him in 2006 tearing at logs. This is the tenacious little thing I'll always remember.
 

13th

That nasty weather that had been predicted for our tracking test, well it came Monday instead. WOWZERS!! It was bad! Glad I got to stay home that day with the dogs.

Tonight I decided to ride out to the agility field and practice with some of my dogs. Sprigs is running at the end of the month and I want to be sure she's ready to do this on any equipment she sees. Sparkle is also running then and she's been happy to do it at the house. Needed to get her out there too. Kayak, Kamikaze and Xanadu came to. Spirit was MAD that she was left, but she's in season. At least she planned that well. She'll be done in time to run again by the end of the month when the agility shows start up. Too bad Xan will likely miss out on some shows by coming into season here shortly. Sparkle ran first. Just a Novice style Standard course. She did everything the first try at a trot (not a run, a bit faster than a walk) including 12 weaves. I was satisfied with that and she went back in the vehicle with steak bits as treats. Sprigs ran next. I made her Novice style Standard course a bit harder than Sparkle's. She did just great! The only hitch was at the tunnel. It had a little water in it (ICK ICK) and I was trying to back cross it. She still doesn't do tunnels well. I am somewhat amused that I have an earth dog that can weave 12 poles like a maniac, but doesn't do tunnels well. I think a bit of experience under her belt will solve the tunnel mystery. Kayak had turn playing. For the first time he was a bit distracted by the new place and new smells. OH NO! Must be doing more focus work NOW! I don't know if his teenage mind is kicking in or what. He actually ignored a recall once and dodged me when I reached for him. MUST STOP THAT N O W! Ok, other than those things, his agility was very nice. Perfect dogwalks, one run by on the teeter at first, but then he did it fine. He is adjusting to a new tip point now that he's bigger again than the last time. He did tunnel, table and chute without hesitation. Took a couple of tries at the 12 inch tire. We are just now adding 12 inch jumps to his repertoire. He doesn't know that command well yet. I never did get chute, jump out of him. He seems to be a one obstacle dog right now. One and then "where's my treat?" I did get teeter, tunnel out of him, so maybe it's more of a "I don't know what to do here" problem. I don't want to really drill or practice jumps at this point so I'll live with the confusion for now. (BTW: he's still not as tall as Kazee at 5 1/2 months... EEEK) Xanadu had a spin on the Standard course. She was a bit pokey, but not bad. I wasn't dragging her. She also didn't do the dogwalk as I've been teaching her to do. We got our treats for the course and then went back to work on the dogwalk. She remembered her appropriate dogwalk action pretty quickly. Only a couple of times over it. And even the performances that weren't up to expectations were still hitting the contact. I was pretty hot and tired after working all those dogs. So, Kazee didn't work. She's the least of my worries as far as obstacle performance goes. I can't believe it was 85 degrees at 7 pm when I left the field and classes started.

11th

The weather for the weekend turned out to be just great! I was relieved we didn't have to plot or run tracks in the rain. But, Saturday did not go exactly as planned. I got out to the ranch an hour before I'd told anyone else to be there. I knew there were likely some flags that needed repair and I had breakfast stuff and a cooler of drinks to set up. Luckily ranch owner, Roberta, was out near the entrance road with a dog moving sheep when I came in. She came down to the barn to show me where the flags were stored. I got most of the flags that were repairable fixed up before most people got there. Our one advanced track layer (TDX) was there early! The judges moseyed on down to the barn around nine. The tracklayer went to put her keys on her dash in case someone needed to move her van while we were out track laying. Then oops... She realized the doors were locked with a tiny crack in the windows and the keys inside. We decided to lay out the track and then have all the time we needed to deal with the keys locked in the van. I loaded the people in the Expedition (did I mention I had spent an afternoon removing all the crates and making it an 8 seater people mover just for this weekend?) and took them out the the track area. The judges let me walk the TDX track with them (as the flag carrier). I was glad to get to see the layout of the track. Just as we were finishing up the basic (TD) track layers started appearing. Even though I'd told them all the same time to arrive they trickled in almost one at a time. That turned out great as one person would arrive just about the time we were ready to lay out another track. We got the TDX track and two TD tracks laid in and then took a break for lunch that Cheryl brought in. Our third TD track layer was there eating with us, but no sign of the fourth one even 15 minutes after her appointed time to arrive. I called her cell number. She'd been lost for at least 20 minutes and was a tad panicked. Since I don't live up near the ranch I did know any of the places or roads she was telling me she saw. I told her I would come find her. I talked to the ranch owner and she thought she knew where the lady got lost. She was right, and could explain it well enough for me to find the landmarks the lost lady was describing. I found her and she followed me in. The judges and the one tracklayer at the ranch put in the next to last track while I was on the search and rescue mission. When I got back to the ranch we let the wayward track layer get something to eat and we got the last track put in. I even got home fairly early in the afternoon.

I got the dogs eating and went to check on Rich. He was out in my horse pasture putting up posts to build the horse shelter. I saw trouble before I even got in the pasture. He had his truck out there even after all the recent rains. I could only see about half of the rear tires above ground. UGH! REALLY?!? Ok, so I traipsed out there to see just how bad it was. He was jacking up the rear end and shoveling gravel (from the new load of gravel on the driveway) under the rear wheels. It took two such endeavors to get the truck unstuck for good. The first time we only got it moved a truck length before it buried up again and we had to repeat jack and gravel shovel. So, he didn't get any posts in the ground for the shelter, but he had the holes dug. He showered up and we headed out to meet Mike and Cheryl for dinner. We didn't want to take the truck since the jack was out of it (that's just asking for a flat) and we didn't want to put it back in wet and muddy. So, we jumped in the car. Not even off the paved part of the driveway the oil light came on. This day is going well?! I started giggling. What else can you do? Pulled the car back in the carport and was thankful for the cleaned up Expedition. Made it to restaurant as long wait times were forming. Got a table in 10 minutes. Ordered an appetizer and waited. And waited... and waited. Mike didn't get off the ambulance at the appointed time (such is life in the first responder business) and Cheryl got stuck in some awful back up on the interstate. Mike never did make it. Apparently it was a bad accident he was called in on. The day just gets better!

Sunday started well! The weather looked like it would cooperate all day and it was only a tad warmer than we'd have liked. The draw went well. There was one family with three dogs handled by two people and the one person with two dogs drew 1 and 3 with Cheryl and Bernie drawing 2 (in between) her dogs. Couldn't have asked for it to work out better. Dog one started well and then at the second turn had to go investigate some stuff in the field and got so far off track doing it that she didn't recover. Bernie started well, looked like he was tracking. That's all I saw as I had to get track layers going. He didn't pass, but tracked something. We think a deer maybe. Third dog, a return customer from last year that flunked, passed her track this year! Fourth dog passed her track too! It was the young teenager that passed here last year with a different dog. A good showing for the TD dogs! We snacked and chatted waiting on Cheryl and Grace's track to finish aging. Grace started well and then never quite committed to the correct way on the second turn and got so far off towards the woods she would've missed an article. After she was blown for failing the judges let me walk the track with Cheryl and the tracklayer. They sat in my vehicle and finished paperwork. Overall the test turned out well and ran smoothly. Cheryl and I made some more flag adjustments before putting them away and loading up to leave. We agreed to just go to Cheryl's house and finish paperwork for AKC there so I could learn how to do it. About an hour there at Cheryl's and we even got the trophies done. (maps of the passed tracks printed on pretty paper with the date and judges and such) Glad it's over, but happy at how it went.

6th

Seeing as how it was very warm today when I got home from work and we aren't showing in agility for 4 weeks, we practiced obedience in the house. Sprigs practiced her heeling. I am trying to decide if I can have her ready for Novice in May. The heeling needs work as do stays and I'm not sure I have installed a stand for petting yet either. HRMMM.... Well, we worked anyway. I used some Susan Garrett ideas to work on her attention in heeling. It is helping. (in the house at least) Well, there were multiply dogs screaming for their turn after Sprigs got done.

Xanadu worked on signals and go-outs. I'd like to show her in Graduate Open this year. She needs go-out work still! She was happy to be working on things though. 

Sparkle worked on her heeling, drop on recall and retrieve. Then we did Open stays. She is going to try for another CDX leg the end of May. She did very, very well. I am pleased as punch with her.

Spirit practiced some heeling too. She still wants to put her nose down randomly. Working on it. Then we tried the dumbbell. She wouldn't go get it on the command. EVER! But, she would go bring it back each time if I grabbed her collar as I gave the command and 'helped' her get moving in the right direction. So, maybe it's not a retrieve problem, but a command problem. She did a quick drop on recall practice too. She is getting the idea there. 

Twinkle even got in on the action with some basic Susan Garrett stationary in place rewards. Her attention is improving. I am shocked how much better she is. Need to work on her for Rally maybe by the end of the year?

Kayak screamed from the dog room through most of the above practice sessions. He got escorted outside and the door shut behind him for that behavior. I just couldn't bring myself to work him after that horrendous display of impatience. 

I am getting things in order for our tracking test this coming weekend. The weather report at this point looks just awful. PLEASE can the bad storm system delay a day or speed up a day. "Possible strong storms" is not the weather you want on tracking test day. *sigh* 

5th

Xanadu and Sprigs got a quick training session on my agility field. Xanadu and I worked on implanting the new dogwalk behavior again. She is still not 100% sure what it is I want. The doubt is slowing her down such that she hits the contact, but I'd rather her 'get it'. Need to re-think the training. Maybe I should start away from the dogwalk with the behavior until she understands just that. Sprigs just needed to see equipment and work a bit. Her debut is the end of the month. She weaved well. I am glad the sticker in the weaved incident didn't regress her any more than it did. She was great on the dogwalk and Aframe and teeter. We did the tire once. She even let me back cross at a jump. She's gaining confidence, but I need to remember when I run her that she does NOT have back crosses installed yet for real. I didn't figure I'd need them to start with. I can surely get there for front crosses with a Dachshund.

Kayak and I did a little heeling work in the driveway. He is doing well! Very well! He still vocalizes a lot though. Not so bad for Rally, but big dings in your score in regular obedience. I am trying to decide if I can have him ready for Rally in May. We did work on installing a right hand finish. His left one is pretty good already.

4th

I just got back from three days of agility in Monroe, LA. It wasn't my best showing. I did get to run Storm again. The first time since June last year I think. She was running great. We had a blast. There was one little thing in each standard run that kept is from Q'ing, but I was tickled with the way she ran. She pulled out two jumpers Q's though. I hope to get to run her again in April. Now for my dogs... the first day Kamikaze pretty much did whatever she wanted regardless of what I said. WOW! It's been awhile since things could go that bad. We only managed one Q in Jumpers. Should have been two jumpers Q's but I completely misjudged where I was on that last jumpers course and didn't tell her to turn and kept running straight. OOPS! Xanadu had 4 nice runs. She hit her contacts nicely on Friday and then played flying beagle off the dogwalk on Sunday. There is still work to do in that area. She did get her 9th MXJ leg in fine style with 9 MACH points. She could've gotten that title Sunday, but for some reason she couldn't weave the first try either time on Sunday. Cheryl seems to think I was running her too hard at them and possibly crowding her space instead of letting her find the weaves on her own. I need to watch the video and see what I was doing to screw the weaves up. Spirit did OK on Saturday, but hit a bar in Jumpers and then wouldn't weave. She did do her teeter the first try though, so I think her teeter fear is fixed. Sunday I wanted to disown her in Standard. She was a royal, sniffing, twit. She kept her nose down the whole run, wouldn't weave and smashed numerous bars for trying to jump while sniffing. She did redeem herself in Jumpers by keeping her head mostly up and no hitting any bars. She did weave, but it was on the second try. The star of the weekend was Lego with a 50% Q rate. WOW! Who would've thought! We were so close to a much higher Q rate. He ran like a dream all weekend. He Q'd in Jumpers twice (missed a weave pole entrance once as his only fault), both runs under 30 seconds, both runs with 10 MACH points. He also got his 6th MX leg on Friday. He was so close in his other standard runs too. He missed an Aframe contact by jumping off the side to blow a double Q one day. Then one day he just missed the weave entrance. I was so proud of him. He made a lot of people stop and stare for good reasons this time. I hope this new consistent streak holds for awhile. He needs to rack up some double Q's. I am hoping I can get a MACH on him before he retires in a couple of years. He's well on his was in the points department with over 200 points. This was the first show since knee surgery I think where I ran all the possible dogs one day. My knee held up well! I don't see myself limping in videos anymore. Cheryl says the only limp she saw all weekend was after I got up from sitting down for a decent amount of time. That's when I struggle with getting it moving again even on regular days. Cheryl and Grace got their first OPEN title this weekend. They will now be in Excellent Jumpers for the marathon of shows in April.