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31st

there was an agility show just up the road about 40 minutes for 3 days this weekend. The kids and I did well and got home for dinner every night. Xanadu ran Friday only. She was AWFUL in Jumpers. Got picked up by 4th obstacle for walking by a jump. I was hoping the walk off would get through to her for standard. Going into this weekend she only needed one standard Q for her MX. That was really my goal anyway. Well, Standard didn't see my happy running beagle, but compliant at least. She walked her way around most of it. Picked up speed near the end, of course, and managed to barely make time. She may be getting hormonal and coming into season soon. YEAH for Xanadu's MX even if the run stunk. And if there are only 3 Qing 12 inch dogs you even get a pretty ribbon.

Kayak ran great all weekend. Friday he finished his Novice Fast title with a first place. He went on to have a great run in Excellent Jumpers where he hit the the next to last bar. *sigh* In Standard I didn't support the jump out of the chute and he came into me. I was thinking Kamikaze there. She goes straight out of the chute unless there is a very distinct and firm cue otherwise. Argh for the handler there.

On Saturday Kayak had a great Open Fast run in which he hit a bar in the gamble part. *sigh* He proceeded to go a bit blonde in Jumpers and half way through he watched the crowd instead of me. Yup, I remember moments like that with Kamikaze as a youngster. In Standard we got tangled up a bit out of a tunnel and I apparently pushed him hard over the jump he should've turned after because instead of turning he went straight (without me moving). So, I am glad for the confidence of forward drive, but we're struggling to be a team all the way through a run in Excellent. It seems to be the 'just one little thing' mantra going on.
Sunday Kayak got his first Excellent Q! We got around a jumpers course together. The weave pole entrance was kinda hard and although he got it he never seemed to quite get his feet stepping well so the weaves took extra long. in standard there was an off course caused by me. I tried a cross with him that I so was not doing with Kamikaze because I was sure he'd look for me out of the tunnel. WRONG! he went straight out of the tunnel onto the dogwalk. Guess it was an instance I should have treated him like Kazee. Next weekend we're gonna have all these glitches worked through though!

Kamikaze did very well this weekend. Friday we had a 'What happened to my straight ahead dog?' moment in Fast to NQ. Then we sailed through Jumpers. Couldn't hold it together for a QQ though. I stepped into her at a place I knew would send her off course. I'd thought it in my mind at every walk and had promised not to do it. Then when the time came, I did. SO frustrating! On to Saturday. Kazee had a red letter Saturday, coming home with a QQQ!! Her second ever. What a good dog! Sunday went equally as well. She brought home a QQ. That's 35 in her career. For those of you that don't know there are a required 20 QQ + 750 speed points per MACH. So we are approaching MACH2. We've been so consistent lately though that I think we'll end up with our last 5 QQ before we have enough points.

Sprigs is a rockstar. Her confidence is growing and thus her speed and accuracy. Friday she won her height in jumpers, but we couldn't hold it together in standard. She got distracted right at the end of the weaves and missed a pole. Saturday I crossed right in front of her in jumpers while she was in mid air and caused her to hit a bar, but she won her height in Standard. I thought for sure Sunday would be our day to QQ, but I was thwarted again. She tried to turn over a jump too tightly in Jumpers and hit a bar. She did win her height in Standard again though. It had some heart stopping moments though. She tried to miss the last two weaves again and I was able to snap her attention back just in time to save it. Then she started sniffing something on the ground out of the chute. The biggest heart stopper was on the table. The judge started counting and I guess she sounded friendly. Sprigs tried to jump off the table to go see her. Anyway, she came home with three Q's and three blue ribbons. There are only two videos though. Had a videographer mishap on Saturday for Standard.

28th

I got the energy up to lay out two tracks this morning to age. After I ate lunch I loaded up Lego, Kamikaze and Kayak in the vehicle and set out to track them for their food. Kamikaze went first. Her track was around 2.5 hours old. She was off to one side on leg two, but self corrected to alert to the article. She did really well on her track. Very happy. Drove to Lego's short track. Put in about 1/2 a TD track to age for Kayak while Lego and I did his track. OK on the start, first turn nice. A small struggle on turn 2. He alerted to his one article. Last leg he was off to one side a good bit and had to circle back for the glove. Kayak's turn. He's now seen Kamikaze and Lego eat their food in the car after tracking. You'd think that would motivate him. Well, think again. HE got to the start flag and sat down and commenced a Siberian Shriek. "I don't want to. It's too hard. Everyone else just ate." WOW! REALLY? We spent something like 10 minutes at the start flag. Me, "You have to track to eat." Kayak, "I don't know how, I don't want to!" He even pulled the start flag up and threw it on my feet. I ended up grabbing his harness and shaking it once and getting a bit snarky at him. And off he went down the track. Did his first and second turns great. Struggled a bit on the third, but found his glove and started sucking on it. (It was off Kazee's track so it had good food residue still on it) He was only 30 feet from the vehicle and proceeded to get in his crate there for his food. Not sure how this is going to help or harm his tracking drive in the future! 

26th

The temps here have decided to be unseasonable cool for the last several days. Poor Sprigs, I just gave her a summer buzz to accommodate the warmer temps. The Siberians are also contemplating cutting their attachments to all that coat. (none too soon) The days aren't so bad since the sun had been up. The short hair guys want to be out when the sun hits the yard. Then they find a place to soak up sun beams.

I finally got around to videoing Kayak doing his articles. I am at the point now that I'd say he 'knows' it and he's just turned 18 months. I am amazed at how dogs can learn. He's been getting an intro to go-outs and directed jumping and is doing well. He's got a basic understanding of signals as long as you are only 5-8 steps away. I Started some moving stand training today. Guess I need to get on the stick with glove training.
On the same note, Kamikaze has now been doing articles for her dinner this week as well as Xanadu. Xan is NOT pleased with this turn of events because princesses should get fed because they are princesses. Xan struggles to concentrate on articles when everyone else is eating. She did awesome today though. Kamikaze's articles seem to be improving as well. Sprigs continues to do a dumbbell retrieve for her dinner. I have added a throw this week and I'm working the 'WAIT' part. She is happy to chase it, but has no wait. The good news is she is now happily retrieving the dumbbell at a trot instead of a slink.

23rd

Rich and I finally both felt good enough (and we had enough time) to head out to my favorite Italian place for a 'birthday dinner'. We haven't made it there in probably a year. It's a good 45 minute drive and a bit pricey for frequent visits. They were nice enough to give us a free dessert.

I was already three bites past full when it arrived. I had a couple of bites. WOW... rich, rich, rich and dense. Very good.

21st

I did my good deed for doggies today. I drove across the river to the West Baton Rouge animal shelter and sprung two purebred beagle girls for beagle rescue to take in. Their foster mother works in Baton Rouge, but lives in Pointe Coupee parish. This made for an interesting slew of emails to determine the best way to get the girls to her. I ended up picking them up at the shelter and dropping them at her personal vet (that is close to her work) to board until she can pick them up tomorrow. Here they are! One hasn't missed any meals!

I spent the rest of the day on the couch or in the bed SICK! SICK AS A DOG! I felt just as bad as the first day this hit me just before the tracking test. UGH! This needs to go away by next weekend so I can run dogs.

19th- Happy Birthday to me

I spent the days leading up to my birthday at the AKC National Agility Championships in Tulsa, OK. Kamikaze was qualified to run there and Kayak came along for the ride and experience. I spent about all day Thursday driving. It took a good 9.5 hours to get to Tulsa. I got to see lots of backwoods TX in the process! I rolled straight onto the show site just in time to check in.

Then I walked around and found where everything was located at the site. I got my crates set up in my crating stall and headed out to find my hotel. I had chosen a Motel 6 for the sole reason of cost effectiveness. I figured I wouldn't be seeing all that much of the hotel anyway. It ended up being the nicest Motel 6 I've ever stayed at. Apparently it was once a Ramada. IT was a 'U' shape with all indoor corridors. It had an indoor pool, a bar and grill and playground equipment in the courtyard for kids. I had a king sized bed and a sofa that pulled into a bed in my room. there was more than ample space for my stuff and two 36" crates and still floor space for the dogs to play.  It was only about 5-7 miles from the site too. I was pleasantly surprised! 
I headed back to the show site Friday morning around 6. My first walk through, for the warm up run, wasn't scheduled until just before noon. I ended up volunteering at the 24"-26" ring all morning since they were so short of help that day. I thought I was just being a good sport, but I ended up getting tickets for lunch that day and tickets to put in a worker raffle. I got to see some great teams! Some I've heard about and never seen in person. I got done in plenty of time to walk in my ring. Kamikaze and I didn't have a very good start. The warm up run didn't go well for us. We weren't clicking and she was pretty high after being in the car all day Thursday and in a crate all morning. Still glad I paid the money for it though. Gave us a chance to get the jitters out. Our second run was around 6 pm Friday. It was a Time 2 Beat run and it actually counted towards a title. Kazee was wide in several places, but we made it around clean for another T2B Q towards her title and managed 4 points. I got back to the hotel so late I just decided to try out their grill. I had a chicken quesidilla. It was really good and the bill was only about 7 bucks. Not bad!

Saturday morning my first walk was at 8am or so. There were like 450 20" dogs, so a walk at 8 might mean a run at 10. I sat ring side and watched something like 75-100 dogs crash and burn on that standard course. I wasn't feeling too good about our chances. Kazee and I managed to run clean on it though! Our first course at the NAC that counted and we did it. We didn't do it fast, but under time and clean. I let her walk the dogwalk without speeding her up since it was to my advantage that she walk it. 

Our next run was around 2 or so. The Jumpers course didn't look too bad and Jumpers is our best event. My only concern was the opening sequence and I wasn't too upset over it. Well, we weren't as connected as needed at the opening as we needed to be and she took an off course. The rest of that run felt just great though. Even the push to the back side of a jump after the weaves went well. I decided I had plenty of time to go to a park and walk the dogs in the beautiful weather. It was a nice park. Lots of people too.


I got back to the hotel a bit earlier than Friday, but I still just walked down and ate at the grill. A Hamburger and fries this time. Still a good price and decent food with no waiting.
Sunday morning my walk was at 7am. The hybrid course didn't scare me too awful bad. I was shocked to come out of the weaves and see a bar down. Kamikaze isn't a bar knocker as a rule. Oh well, the run felt OK other than the refusal we got since she didn't have to jump a bar the second time past that jump. No bar means no carry out towards the next jump. I was done at 8:30am. I had planned to stay and see finals in person. I figured it was gonna be worth it since I've never had the chance. I got a great seat close to the center of the finals ring. You better start throwing your jacket in a chair by 10am to save it!! A pretty good crowd stays for the finals and seats get snatched up fast. It was a rush to watch the Challengers round and finals in person. Saw some great runs! Even got to cheer for a 'local' girl and her Border Collie in the 20" finals. She came in 6th! Back to the hotel around 6:30 just to find out they didn't open the grill on Sundays. UGH! I just ate my own snacks as dinner. 
I was up and out on the road by 6am Monday morning. Got back around 3:30 and started doing laundry. It was a great birthday present! AKC already has a contract to have the NAC in Tulsa again in 2016. I am hoping to be back then... Maybe with three dogs. Also hoping for a traveling buddy next time... Cheryl... hint, hint.

15th - Happy Birthday to Jedi!!

I left town yesterday to drive to Tulsa for the AKC agility National Championship, but I don't want to miss a post about Jedi's birthday. The guy is now 14 years old.  He's a bit arthritic and about completely deaf. He sleeps about 20 hours a day, mostly in the sun or next to a heater. It's hard to see him tottering around and looking old. He's on meds for a nagging cough that is likely damage from his early heartworms.  He still eats well though.

10th

I went out to the farm where the tracking test is held yesterday for the morning time. I delivered food and chatted with people waiting on their turn to go out with the judges and lay tracks. Around 1 I started feeling a bit under the weather so I went home. I fell out asleep on the couch for 2 hours. When I woke up I was genuinely sick. I couldn't get warm and ended up in bed at like 6 under 3 blankets and flannel sheets where full on flannel PJs and socks and still shivering. I made sure my clock was set forward and the alarm was set. 

When the alarm woke me this morning I was in the middle of a dream that I was a strung out drug addict. YUP, that about explains how I felt. Kayak and Xanadu and I headed out to track anyway. Kayak drew track 2 of the TDs. He started well and made the first turn fine. At turn 2 he threw his head up and insisted this game was too hard. I never could get him back to work, we got whistled off there. Once put back on track he still didn't really work that well, but 20 feet or so from the glove he jumped a rabbit. I mean it was 5 feet or less in front of him when it decided it needed to move. What a great reward! I skated the last few yards of the track as Kayak tried to catch the rabbit. He did head nod the glove as he went by it. The judges said it would have counted as an 'indication'. LOL! Xanadu also drew track 2 of the TDXs. I knew we were doomed when I saw the start flag. It was surrounded by stickers. Xan doesn't DO stickers! I was right. She knew which way the track went. Indicated it to me twice. But she wouldn't walk straight ahead tip toeing around stickers. We got the whistle at the flag. She actually did pretty well when put back on the track. At least for a little over half the track. Then she got HOT (it was 80) and tired and wanted to be DONE. I practically had to force her to go down the last two legs. Then when she scent the glove she was like pulling to the end. "THANK GOD!", was her thought. She did miss both articles though. I still need to work on making those more important in her life apparently.
Just to my left is the start, Not all those viney looking things are STICKERS

I felt bad that I left Cheryl to clean up and organize after the show, but my body had HAD it by 2. Here's hoping I can function enough to run at Agility Nationals this next weekend!!

5th

I actually got up and out the door before 8 am this morning to head out to lay the last practice tracks we'll see before the test this weekend. I put in something for Lego, Xanadu and Grace. I got back to the tracks about three hours later. Lego ran his track very well until the last turn. The gusting wind pushing the scent of that leg towards him in a big cone was just too much. HE did find the glove though. He knew it turned into the wind, he just couldn't place exactly where. We got off our track just in time to meet Cheryl and Grace at their short track. I made Cheryl lay cross tracks for Xanadu before we ran her track. The gusty wind was hell on Grace. We're both praying for calmer winds this weekend. Then xanadu had a try. The gusty wind doesn't seem to bother the beagles as much. She started great. first two turns done well. Then the long leg the Cheryl tramped across. Xan did well to the cross tracks and thought about taking them. I had to verbally correct on the first set. Second set of cross tracks she was better about. The she too missed the exact location of the last turn. Close, but not quite. Cheryl actually found the glove and I backed Xanadu up and let her try the turn again. Looking forward to a weekend out on the farm, in the country, with some dogs, even if I don't pass anything.

3rd

I picked up Cheryl at 5am yesterday to head to Monroe for a couple of days of agility. We arrived just in time to drop all the crates on our mat and Cheryl was walking her first course. Nice timing. It was an enjoyable weekend with a nice judge and wonderful courses. Kayak went 3 for 3 on Saturday. He got his Second Novice Fast leg and his OA and OAJ titles. That moves him up to Excellent now!

Kayak's first time in Excellent Standard went well on Sunday. In jumpers we had a rough start. He thought about breaking his stay and I gave him "the look". Then when I released him he was hesitant and hit a bar. More stress for him! he knows better than to hit bars. I got him settled and running by obstacle 7 or so and we had a great finish.

Not to be outdone, Kamikaze had her second perfect weekend in a row. That's 5 QQs in a row headed into Nationals in Tulsa, OK in a couple of weeks. So it's either going to go really well or the world is going to implode on us.

Sprigs got two more standard Qs with first places. For some reason we struggled to do weaves on the second run (jumpers) of the day.

Saturday after dinner Cheryl and I spent time in the hotel typing up the trial catalog for next weekend's tracking trial. Xanadu is going to try for a TDX for the first time. Kayak is trying for his TD.

1st

I got my rear in gear an laid out tracks today for Lego and xanadu. It's lego's first time back on to tracking since surgery. He's still limping, but the knee is solid so exercise should help. Xanadu was up first. Her track was probably close to 3 hours old. She started like a champ. Made first turn well and alerted to article one nicely. She struggled some at turn two, but worked in out. Three and Four were decent. Then she got into some ground cover that was apparently uncomfortable on her feet. This girl is NOT tracking if her feet are getting prickled. I made her stay in the area until she worked through the stuff and then she tracked on perfectly. We missed an article somewhere on that leg though and I'm not sure if it was gone or she just wasn't working well. She went on to the glove in fine fashion. She's entered in her first TDX (intermediate) track in a week. she's capable, but I doubt we'll pass on our first try. Lego was so happy to be out tracking! he started well, but poor guy was struggling to walk a straight line. he listed towards the bad knee as he went and every eight to ten steps he had to figure out how he lost the track and slide back to his right. he hit both articles on track well, but missed the last turn by a good 30 feet. In a test he'd have missed the glove. I let him work for a bit and he did find the track again, but was past the glove and tracking me out of the field. I backed him up some until he found the glove.

Kayak is still doing his articles for dinner. he is now up to a full set of articles. he is doing very well. Still occasionally I get a snatch one response. I am now starting the whole thing over when he does this. As in I am putting him back in his crate with no dinner for a few minutes and then taking him back to the pile again. he's doing well doing both a metal and a leather before dinner without significant frustration now. Sprigs is also working for dinner. she's still not keen on picking up the dumbbell, but I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel. She is fussing less and taking it faster now.