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November 2012

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27th

Still hugging my dogs good. Here's what Lego looks like after you wrestle him kicking and flailing into your lap. He's good for about 10 minutes then he's gone!

Off tomorrow morning to see Mom and Dad and run some USDAA!

26th

My heart is broken for Cheryl. We got back from Lake Charles and Bernie had begun to refuse to eat on top of refusing to try to stand. She said goodbye to him this morning just 9 days or so after saying goodbye to the ancient one at the house. I have many memories of Bern. He was the dog she was training when I met her. He spent many hours in my car and sharing a hotel room at shows as well as spending hours with him during his training. He actually competed in a tracking test just 3 short weeks ago. Other than losing a little weight he seemed fine.

God Speed Sweet Bern!
So with those sad events on my mind I snuggled everyone a little today. I even forced Lego to cuddle for a few minutes. He was not thrilled.

25th

I had a good time in Lake Charles despite the many layers of clothes needed to keep from freezing. Kamikaze had her worst showing in years. She never once made an actual effort to hit a weave pole entrance. She didn't dig in to turn towards them or even slow up to start them. UGH! But I've been on the way home from many shows saying I'd trade all her Q's if Lego could just get a QQ. Well, Lego started out the weekend hot and got QQ #6 on Saturday even with a small 'sniffing moment' in jumpers. He could've QQ on Sunday too, but I had a bad handling moment in Standard and Jumpers with him.

So I guess if I can't handle no Q's from Kazee then I should keep my big mouth shut next time! Sprigs had a really nice running weekend. She still struggles sometimes to focus hard enough to weave on the first try. She did manage to pull out a Q in Excellent Standard on Sunday for her AX title. She was the fastest 8 inch dog, even out running the B dogs. Now on to running up some QQ's for her.

23rd

Mom and Dad dropped by Monday for lunch and dropped off all the Thanksgiving food and then headed to Gulfport/Biloxi to do some sightseeing. They got back Wednesday around lunch and my brother arrived just a few minutes later. We invited Cheryl over for Thanksgiving lunch since Mike had to work on the ambulance that day. Mom and I spent Thanksgiving morning cutting up fruit for a salad and putting together a green salad. Then it was time to stoke up the oven and start all her nice food cooking. Cheryl arrived in time to set the table and we had a nice lunch with ham, dressing, rolls, corn, etc., etc. Mom and Dad took off this morning. I'll be seeing them next Friday anyway. My brother will be leaving tomorrow. I am getting up at the crack of dawn to head to Lake Charles for a couple of days of agility.

17th

I was up and out of the house around 5:45 am in the 40 degree weather to lay a track for Cheryl and Grace. While I was out I put in a short track for Xanadu and a bit longer one for Lego so Cheryl could cross track them before she ran Grace's track. We met up about 3 hours later and Cheryl traipsed across Lego and Xan's track and then we ran Grace's. After Grace was done Xan had a run at her 3 hour old track with known cross tracks. The track also had a car parked on it. I think the car caused her more problems than the cross tracks. She went right by the cross tracks without much issue and then circled back to check them once more. She stopped by the car and put her paws on the tire like 'it's under there!' Lego had a much harder track in deep grass, across a big ditch into short stubby sparse grass. He did a bit of his craziness at the start that I haven't seen in a while. UGH! The cross tracks didn't cause him any issue though. He head checked them and kept going. After they had a go at it Cheryl laid a short two turn track for Kayak and I laid about the same for Sprigs. Cheryl worked on Spice's tracking understanding then Sprigs ran her 15 minute old track. As the grass was deep and she had to bounce through it, it was hard to tell how much tracking was going on and how much bug hunting. (she bounces on bugs) It wasn't a bad showing though. Kayak took his turn on the track Cheryl laid. He is bad about cutting corners if he can smell the the next leg, so instead of doing the whole 'Z' that was laid he did a 'S' curve through it. He was on track enough to find the glove at the end though.

I've been working on Kayak's footwork in the weaves the last few days using the set of channels Cheryl and I co-bought in MS last month. I've finally convinced him he can pull forward against his agility leash through the weaves towards a container of treats. This way I can hold back a little on the leash and force him to use his front legs (one stepping) to pull himself though instead of bouncing like a little dog. He's catching on quick.

Our condolences go out to Cheryl and Mike as they had to say goodbye to Teddy this afternoon. He lived a LONG life. 

14th

Kamikaze and I went to visit a 'medical needs' daycare this morning for an hour. The oldest kids were 5. There had to be a medical reason your kid wouldn't do well at a regular daycare for them to be there. The workers are all trained medical people, RNs and such. I saw a couple with feeding tubes, and several that seemed old enough to sit up and move around on their own that couldn't but I don't know the reasons. Kazee was an awesome dog for this. She spent most of her time lying politely next to a sit up pillow or special chair type thing. Some kids reached for her, some turned away. The speech pathology majors from LSU (the ones that invited us) figured out fast that most of them liked to feel her with their feet more than anything. So Kazee had several kids pushing toes into her fur. There were a couple that would say dog or puppy but for the most part there wasn't really any vocal input. I hope next semester I can make it out there a couple times a month if they'll have me. I think Xanadu and Sprigs would do OK too.
On the way into Baton Rouge I stopped and put in three tracks. Kazee got to run one on the way back from her therapy visit. It was 2.45 hours old. That may have been a bit much for her on top of the therapy. To her credit she started correctly and alerted to both articles along the track. Her turns were awful though and we'd be lost if not for me knowing where we were headed. I took her home and picked up Lego and Xanadu to run the other tracks. Xan's was about TD length, 3 hours old, all field work. She did really well. She's started alerting a bit to articles along the way now. She starts very confidently. She made turn one and two really well. Struggled a bit at three, but nailed turn four. Lego had a track with woods work about 3.5 hours old. I had marked my way through the woods with pink flaggers 'tape'. He started well and then I watched him track me step for step in the woods. WOW! If I dodged a tree, briar or wet spot he dodged it the same way. He did look for critters a bit, but I could tell he was and he got back to work quickly after each investigation. He even picked up the exact spot I crossed a small ditch and walked in my steps through it. He found both articles this time. He even stopped for a hotel key card. He is amazing to watch when he sets his mind to work. If he doesn't get a TDX next year it will be a disservice to his abilities!

13th

Yesterday when I went out back I noticed the electric fence wire out away from the fence. Seems Rich ran the weed eater and broke the wire this weekend and then never fixed it. So I spent some time in the afternoon repairing said wire and going around the whole yard pulling grass and leaves and sticks off the wire so it will work nice and strong again. 
I also took Xanadu and Kayak out to my agility area to work for a bit and there I noticed where Windy has been leaning over the fencing to try and graze and has bent the fence down some, pulling it away from the wood posts in places. I guess it was just fence repair day. Xanadu worked on her fast table lay down as she's been walking to the table reluctantly. Kayak refreshed his weave pole performance. I really need to help him with foot work. hrmmm.. Maybe those channel weaves in my camper storage need out before December. He also tried to fly on the Aframe and I had to have a refesher course on that too.

Today I went to start the car. It's been sluggish starting, so I figured I needed to drive it somewhere. Well the turn of the key only got 'click, click'. DARN IT! I got out the jumper cables and found the Expedition battery was on the other side under the hood and not close to the car battery side. UGH! I back the Expedition up in to the carport as far as I could and then pushed the car backwards until their hoods were close enough for a jump to be possible. WOW! The car battery won't even jump. GRRRR! Pulled out the wrench and proceeded to take out car battery, put it in Expedition floor board and drive it to Auto Zone (where I got it a couple of years ago). The battery tester doesn't say the battery is bad, so they put it on the charger and tell me to come back in an hour. When I get back they're sure it's bad and since they had my record of buying it from them still in the computer I got a brand new battery for free. Now back to putting the battery IN the car. I have the obligatory scraped up knuckles as expected, but at least the car is starting again and I only lost an hour or so of my time and am out no money.

11th

Cheryl and I went to Birmingham to a USDAA show this past weekend. We had a good time, but the drive home stinks! Kamikaze had some nice runs with one little problem. Her only qualifying run was last of the weekend in Pairs. We entered draw and got a nice Portuguese Water Dog as a partner. Both of us are amazed that with all the Border Collies in our heights that the two odd breeds got paired. Josie ran twice and Q'd twice on Saturday. She got another jumpers leg and ran Standard for the first time since her ADCH over a year ago and Q'd in that too. Sunday she was in Snooker and I didn't make the briefing and we broke a rule the judge had set up right off. Oh well. Xanadu had a really nice Standard run on Saturday and was only .26 seconds over time for sneezing through the weaves instead of weaving. She didn't run as well in Jumpers though. Then on Sunday she ran Standard OK, but not well enough to Q. But she did Q in Advanced Snooker. Now we are down to one Jumpers Q and two Standard Q's to finish her AAD. From there we'll play it by ear on how much USDAA she plays and whether we move down to Performance or not.

7th

I continue to work with Windy and the saddle. A bit discouraged, but getting input from her trainer. In other events, we will be missing Santa pictures with the dogs this year as I will be headed home from Birmingham and won't make it in time. So, I set up a holiday photo here at the house today. You missed it if you come straight here by link and don't hit the front page of my site. So if you missed it go here.

6th

It was the perfect day to track. Temps in the 50s with lots of dew and overcast skies. It took me several tries at motivation to get out in the morning and lay out at least one track to age until lunch. I put in one for Lego to work since I'd like to get a TDX on him. It had two legs that cut through woods. Then I put in a short one with a small cut through a thin wooded area for Xanadu to try out. When I got back home I laid a track for Kayak across the street. He ran in 30 minutes later and I was disappointed at his efforts. He's been doing really well, but somehow I've made him second guess his desire to do this. Need to go back to shorter and treats on the way I think. A couple of hours later I took Lego and Xan and headed out. On the way out of the neighborhood I put in a short track to age for Kamikaze with a cut through some woods. I did Xan's track first at about 2.5 hours old. She was a rockstar tracking. I need to work on her article indication for things along the way. Her article indication for the glove is great. Lego's track was 3 hours old or so.  He started like a dream (our main problem). He did completely miss an article along the way though at about the right spot he did the 'I smell an article' dance. He never did find it and I didn't either so it may have gone missing. He did wonderful through the woods, but hesitates entering them. Has to search for scent all around the woods entrance before he'll commit. He missed his article indication on a pill bottle, but he walked right over it. He almost missed the glove at the end. He started the 'I smell an article' dance and I held my ground this time and let him find it. I feel pretty good about him right now. Kamikaze did her track at 2 hours old. Started well. Good in the field. Hesitation as well at the woods. Not a great track follower in the woods. Needs some work on that. She did come out of the woods in a dirt patch and manage to work her way to the glove just on the other side.

4th

It was HOT in Crosby for agility Saturday. All the dogs were offended at the temperature difference from last weekend in Kiln. Xanadu walked Standard, but could have pulled out a Q had she not bailed the Aframe right at the end. Sprigs did great in Standard, but forgot how to weave the first time by. Kamikaze was slow due to heat, but the worst part was her going blonde on the way to the weaves and not attempting them until the third pole. UGH! Jumpers went worse. Xan took 20 seconds to do a tunnel and two jumps so I picked her up and carried her back to her crate. Sprigs was also slower than ever, but fast enough to make time had she weaved AT ALL. I ended up picking her up and carrying her off for stopping weaving half way through THREE times in a row. Kazee just barely made time in jumpers. Some of that time wasted staring at me stock still when I did a front cross after the weaves and refusing to come with me. Then Kazee proceeded to Q in Excellent FAST. It was easy to make a horseshoe course out of it and get out with points to Q. So now I'm really aggravated about her lack of attention in Standard since it ruined a triple Q. Cheryl wasn't having much luck either.
There just happened to be a non-profit group at the agility show offering the CGC test. I decided to give it a whirl with Kayak. I've been holding off testing him because of the supervised separation part. I was afraid he'd lunge and pull someone down or scream bloody murder when I left. Well, if he flunks here at least the $20 goes to a good cause. Cheryl was nice enough to video the whole test. He PASSED. He did really well on everything with the exception of wanting to greet new people with polite front paws on the chest. This evaluator didn't seem too concerned since it was not with any force and he got off when told. When I expressed concern of him yanking someone over the evaluator distracted him by pulling her keys out of her pocket as I walked off. When he looked around I was gone and he eventually just laid down to wait. So, now Kayak has the CGC under his belt! The evaluator even wrote "VERY NICE JOB" on the back of his paperwork :).


Sunday Bernie drew track three. The weather was decent, a little on the warm side, but not sweltering. He started well, but tried to cut off half the track to head straight for the glove. So now we have a standing agreement to be back in Houston in January for another shot at the tracking test. That gives me a month and a half to get Kayak ready to go. I think I'll try getting Lego brushed up for a try at the TDX too. He's tracked great the last couple of times out.
Here's my favorite picture from the weekend.

The best part is I posted it on facebook and found out that the beagle on there is actually Timber, the guy I plan to breed Xanadu to next year.

2nd

I have committed to working Windy back into riding shape by, I hope, the end of the month. It's been a couple of weeks since I've felt any twinge in my ribs during any activities. Wonder how long I can expect it to take a young horse who was green broke and then left unridden for 4 month to readjust to saddle life? Yesterday and today I lunged her some. Today was better than yesterday. I also got out the evil wash cloth and waved it around at her both days until she would let me hang it off her ear. Both days saw the bridle on. I picked up feet today. Then on to the saddle blanket and saddle. Surprisingly she was good with the saddle blanket immediately after struggling with it the last few times I rode. The saddle was the hitch. I figured as much. I thought the problem would be the weight of it and the noise of buckles jingling, but that doesn't seem to be the case. It seems to be most scary that the stirrups touch her sides. Both days she was good with the saddle being thrown on (with stirrups on seat) but went to bucking it off when one of the stirrups slid off and touched her. Have yet to even get to the cinch as I don't want to be that close when the stirrups hit her. I hope I am up to this challenge. She gets tomorrow off since Cheryl and I are headed out this afternoon to Houston for agility (Sat.) and tracking for Bernie (Sun.)

1st-Happy Birthday Josie

Josie is 9! Where did the time go? She's still in awesome shape, still muscled like a young lady, can still outrun her whole pack. She still runs some agility. Just a few runs a weekend when we get to USDAA. She soared in Sept. at the end of runs to jump in my arms. Love my licker girl.