2009 training goals

October 2009

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When I got up the rain had stopped. I loaded up Kamikaze and Xanadu for some tracking practice. After Kamikaze's last tracking experience where she tried to quit on me I wanted to be sure we had a good experience before the test. She didn't start with much determination, nor did she ever throw herself into the harness. She did manage, after three commands, to leave the geese standing next to the track alone and continue on in generally the right direction. None of her attempt had the feel of a dog who knows what to do and she missed the last turn completely and wasn't really looking. If I hadn't have known where the glove was we never would have found it, and almost didn't anyway. Xanadu, on the other hand, had a much better try at tracking. I laid a couple of short two turn tracks, but I did the turns as big arcs instead of 90 degree turns. She handled these much better! Hoping to fade to smaller arcs and then back to 90 degrees soon.

Since Kamikaze had such a pathetic run this morning, I went out this afternoon and laid a three turn, half length track for her. This time she was lunging into her harness and acting much more normal about tracking. Think she realized she could do it without getting into trouble after our morning outing. Hope that sticks for this weekend coming up.


Since I was headed out to the CGC test tonight to help out, I worked some obedience here with my guys. Kamikaze worked mostly on heeling. Yes, she heels well, but needs improvement on about turns and staying a tad closer and more attentive. I also started introducing the back up in heel position. She actually did very well at it once I got her to understand what I wanted. She isn't staying quite as straight as I'd like. She wags her butt away from me some. I did practice it with her against the wooden fence too. A couple of moving stands later I realize this back up in heel trick is helping her not creep forward on the moving stand so bad. I give the moving stand hand signal just before I start backing up and giving the back up command to keep her from sitting when we pause to back up. I guess she's now thinking on that signal to shift her weight as we may be backing up. That's a positive thing for my moving stand now. :) Sparkle and Xanadu both got Open practice. Neither are heeling like I know that can. They're not watching me with their heads up, but they are staying in heel position though. Sparkle even did a three minutes sit. She did great just until I almost got back to her then she laid down. ARGH. I reached down and pulled her up. Then left again. Another perfect three minutes. As I was returning she ran away from me. OK, so she thought she was in trouble and didn't want corrected again. So, then I had to sit her and go out of sight and come right back with a cookie in hand and walk behind her and treat her as I walked away again. I had this problem with Kazee too. Several times of leave and come back with the cookie settled her down again. Xanadu didn't do any stays. Not enough time. She did do a perfect broad jump the first try though!  She's also got a good drop on recall now, but is anticipating a bit like Kazee does. Walking in slower and slower just waiting for the signal.

I got the call from the tracking secretary while I was helping at CGC testing. Kamikaze got in the tracking test in Houston next weekend! Please let us pull this one out. Houston has great TD fields. Other good news, I have Xanadu and Kamikaze entered in conformation in Houston on the Saturday before tracking. There is a four point major in 13" dogs and only 2 13" bitches entered. That's a great opportunity for a cross-over major for Xanadu. Fingers crossed there too.


Cheryl is out of town this week on a much deserved and needed vacation. I agreed to teach her beginner agility class tonight in her absence. As I was loading up to go I was moaning how I didn't feel like going out and teaching. I go there early enough to run Xanadu a bit before class. I ran her through the weaves (all twelve) a couple of times. The first three times or so she looked at me as if to say "What are those? You want me to do what?" OK, so I haven't worked any agility since Gulfport at the end of September. She did have a memory flash and do them all bouncing a couple of times. Then we ran across the dogwalk and did a couple of teeters. The tire is one of  her weak point so we did it several times. I even pulled it up to 16" at the end to be sure she knew she had to go through the ring and not under. She was a champ on it. Then we took the double and triple and I put her up. There was a tough jumpers course set up at one end, so I ran Kamikaze through the first 11 obstacles (that got in the weave for us) a couple of times. The jumps were all at random big dog heights, 20, 22,24. She did great at adjusting her jump to not hit any bars. I was very proud of that. She also hit the weave entrance, not an easy one, both times and drove through. I think I may have learned how to fix one of my wide turn problems. It of course is a handling issue. I've known that all along, but couldn't figure it out. 

After I put up Kazee I started pulling out the broad jump, panel jump, chute and tire. Those tend to be the obstacles overlooked the most in beginner classes. The other teacher and I made a plan to not be in each other's way and I started rounding up the class. Just as I was getting them all together I saw someone walking a Siberian around to potty before class. I did a double take as I am the only Siberian agility person around. It was an old friend! How exciting. The young lady was in the first beginner classes I taught some 5 or so years ago as a teenager with her Siberian. They loved it and even competed just enough to have one of the novice titles. Then she graduated high school and went off to college and her and her dad just dropped of the map. I have often wondered about them. Well, she's now graduated from college and is back in town to go to law school at LSU and has returned to agility. She was so thrilled that her girl hasn't forgotten a thing! It was a rush for me to get to see them again and hear about what's going on AND to know they really did enjoy agility and would like to get back into it. She was happy to see me again and meet Kamikaze. Feels so nice to know you had an impact, in a positive way, on someone's life.

Class went well I thought. I enjoyed these people, and I think I had some good advice and input for them on their training. We got some handling on the jumpers course. Then we did all the contacts and table with the 'most left out obstacles' thrown in too. Somehow we ran out of time before we got any weave pole training in. OOPS. Guess I could've planned that better. They all seemed appreciative of my time and input. I'd like to keep tabs on them and see how they do in the long run. 


I had fun this weekend at obedience, but unfortunately came home with no Q's. Kamikaze did well both days in Utility A. The judges both loved her. She has lost her drop signal in the ring, and I can't seem to find it. Of course, it is perfect everywhere else. She actually did go-outs in the ring this weekend. This is a good leap for her. She has now successfully done all the exercises in a ring situation, just not all on the same day. She managed to flunk the sit stay in Open B both days for laying down to sleep. This, although a flunk, is an improvement for her. Her biggest issues with stays has always been stress. Feet dancing, hip rolling, butt scooting. It seems now she is comfortable being left in an extended stay. So now it's back to convincing her she must SIT the whole time too. She invented a new flunk in Open B. She flunked the Drop on recall, bit not for not dropping. She only took a few slow steps when I called her, looking at me the whole time waiting for the drop. Then she just stopped and stared at me. Silly girl is too smart sometimes. Sparkle had a bad day Saturday. She had no real heeling installed at all. She didn't do any of the figure 8 at all. Stayed in the middle sniffing. Then she passes everything else, but it wasn't pretty. I had a hard time keeping her with me. She'd wander off between exercises. She flunked the sit stay the same way as Kamikaze too. That is a common problem for her though. Sunday she was MUCH better. Heeling was found for the last half of the pattern and most of the figure eight. It took two commands to get her to go out for the dumbbell. Then when she raced out towards the high jump, she got an itch and stopped momentum to scratch. couldn't possibly jump the jump now that she stopped, so walked around and got dumbbell. Even walked around to bring it back. (?) Then proceeded to do a PERFECT (minus 0 points) broad jump. Too funny. She then flunked the sit stay again like yesterday. I need to work on her a bit.

Thunder, one of Xanadu's brothers, got his first Rally Novice leg too! And her brother, Riser, in Ohio got his CD! A good weekend for the puppies.

Since there are no ribbon pics from the weekend. Here's what I have to share.
Sharing a patio pillow to survey the yard                                                                                       Chillin' on the doggie deck, catching some rays

And Marie gave me an early Christmas present.


I finally got in some obedience practice this afternoon just before the rain hit. Good thing, since there was no class tonight and I have a show this weekend. Sparkle, unfortunately, didn't get any practice. At least she got some decent practice in last week. Kamikaze practiced moving stands, go-outs, drop on recall and signals. She did great, as she usually does here. Since the weather was deteriorating, I worked Xanadu in the back hall on articles. It's been awhile since I've shown her those. She did remarkable well with the metal, not as good with the leather. It was a choice between three of the same type. She's almost got the understanding that she should sniff them to make her choice.

Marie sent me a digital copy of the litter picture we took in August. It's a shame Riser is so far away he never gets in the family pics. Xanadu is top right as you look at it.

from left to right: top: Rosey, Spirit, Xanadu
bottom: Dani, Thunder


Cheryl met me for some tracking practice this morning. It's been a long while since it the weather was cool enough to track. I laid Grace a little longer than a TD track as she's working up to TDX work. Then I laid Bernie a two turn zigzag while Cheryl laid Kamikaze a TD track. Bern was first and he looked great! I guess cooler weather and the promise of some canned Instinct food was all it took to get his motivation going. I did a very short two turn with Xanadu. Cheryl watched to help me determine what I can do to help her learn to turn. I think we have discovered some things to help. She seems to do 45 degree turns without much trouble, but the 90 degree ones kill her. That at least is somewhere to start. Cheryl also suggested a curvy track instead of real turns at first. Kamikaze did great until a turn on an incline with little ground cover. She couldn't figure it out and tried to quit on me. i had to grab her harness and shake it and make her go out in the right direction. Then she picked it up and raced for her glove. Grace was outstanding!

We helped Cheryl move most of Mike's furniture in the late morning and early afternoon as he is closing on selling his house at the end of the month. As an unexpected perk we took back home a Simmons mattress (their version of memory foam) that Cheryl didn't like and was getting rid of. Then it was Ruffino's for dinner.


I let Josie, Xanadu and Sparkle out first as usual. Xanadu was particularly vocal at the corner of the fence going to Jedi's yard. I didn't think much of it though. After they'd had some time to run around and bark at everything I put Jedi and Cedar in their yard. Almost immediately I saw them scope in on something and take off. I heard the tale tell rattle of the chain link as a wild bunny tried its best to find the escape hole under the fence. Then the piercing scream of a dying bunny. Just great! I had on slippers. I raced back into the house, rousing Rich to come help me, stomped my feet in some boots and went to extract the bunny carcass from their greedy little mouths. Cedar is easy a good foot stomp and some threatening "LEAVE IT" noises is all it takes. Jedi wasn't leaving it of his own free will though. Thankfully it was too heavy and too long for Jedi to run with, although he gave it a whirl. I was able to just walk up and grab his collar and shake it a couple of times to get him to let go. Rich came out, and while I held them he scooped bunny up on a shovel to dispose of. It's been a long time since a bunny got nabbed in our yard. Since I was good and awake I got Nikita and Bandit out of their crates to take them to their yard. No sooner had I put Bandit up I hear more, very distinctive screams, coming from Jedi's yard again. Seriously, another bunny? After all the racket of us and the dying bunny and the dogs, another one has failed to escape the yard before daylight? You've got to be kidding. No, it was for real. I raced back to Jedi's yard to find him and Cedar gnawing at another fresh bunny carcass. ARGH! I gave up and just drug them in back in the house in their crates. I told Rich, while he was showering, that their was another bunny to dispose of before he left for work.

Even with all the commotion, I did remember to give Shelby her last dose of antibiotics. So, we're now officially 'done' with the snake bite incident. You'd never know she got  struck last week on the tongue! 


I worked Kamikaze some in the house today since it's so sloshy outside. We tried articles in the back hall. That didn't go well AT ALL. She got the metal one, then like quit trying for the leather one. No sure what was up, but she was just running out and grabbing on with no sniffing attempts. I should've walked away. I didn't. I pushed her until she did one right then lots of praise. Of course I had to help her by putting a treat out there under it. ARGH.. and there's a show next weekend. Hope I didn't completely kill her articles.

I finally made it back to obedience classes tonight. I've been busy and it's been raining too. Xanadu and Sparkle are both a bit rusty. I can't remember the last time they did any obedience. Sparkle worked heeling in class. wasn't awful, but needs improvement. Then she took a least 10 minutes to get in a three minute out of sight sit stay without laying down. She's actually entered in Open next weekend in Jackson. Need to buckle down and work more. Xanadu was a bit lethargic on heeling. Not keeping her head up and lagging a bit. Then I pulled out the chicken. There's the dog I know and love! She started doing much better. We worked some more on her broad jump skills. Those she seemed somewhat improved on over the last try. Kamikaze did beautiful signals and heeling. Nailed both her articles (? guess I didn't kill them) and did a nice stand for exam.


Kamikaze did well in Standard today, and I kept myself together even when we came to the teeter that was stuck in the mud going the wrong way. I kept Kazee in front of me, blocking the teeter, until the judge knocked in back in to place. Still several seconds under time too. So now we only need one more Adv. Standard leg and one Adv. Pairs leg for her AAD. Not bad! I thought the gamble should be a gimme for her, but she didn't drive out of the tunnel as expected. I guess she's wearing down. Slowed even more for Jumpers at end of day. Only clean run in big dogs, but .6 seconds over time for some real wide, Siberian, waving at the crowd turns. BUMMER! She also had only a fair run in Utility. Missed the drop, article one and the go-outs. Josie had another good Standard run just to pop out at the last two weaves. Jedi was still himself.


It wasn't raining today at the show site, but the sun didn't come out to dry it up either. Once again I blew Kamikaze's Standard run. Pairs she thought she was done and ran past the last jump, I got her back, took a little time. Partner hit bar. All that together put us .09 seconds over time. ARGH! Then I managed to somehow never get a good Snooker plan in my head for her. That didn't go well at all! You can't think on your feet in Snooker with a fast dog and no plan. She did have a decent showing in Utility. Missed go-outs again, but what great enthusiasm! Jedi was not listening again. Josie didn't like running in the mud. Somehow the actual rain yesterday was OK, mud, not so much. She did have a nice standard run. Used the table as a trampoline again though.

Kamikaze got to go over to Karen's and play with the Siberian pup (hope to be her man). They had a blast. First time I've seen Kamikaze get worn out playing in a long time.


I left Shelby home with Rich and took Kamikaze, Xanadu, Lego, Jedi and Josie with me to Memphis. I took off early this morning. The weather prediction was for on and off strong thunderstorms in Memphis. Not my idea of an ideal outdoor show! I didn't hit any rain until just as I entered Memphis from the south. Then it was torrential downpour. Just as I was getting ready to merge onto the ramp to get on I240 west I saw a red SUV merging right into me. Irritated a bit a people's lack of driving etiquette in the rain I floored the Expedition to try and get out of the way since braking was likely to make me slide in the water on the road. As I look over to give them a nasty look  I am seeing headlights coming at my doors, not just merging now. I realize this person is not in control of the vehicle at all and is sliding across the interstate on the cushion of water. ARGH! I kept it floored and somehow that SUV managed to not slam into my side, but just made it behind me . I never heard a crash noise, so I am hoping they didn't slam into anything, but came to a harmless, yet heart freezing, stop. I had a nice panic adrenaline attack and was glad I was almost off the interstates. At least stupid driving in the rain at 40mph is less frightening than at 70mph. I made it to the show site just as the deluge let loose there too. I waited to unload until it calmed down some. The rain stuck around all day, though no longer very hard. We ran in the rain, my first time to do that. At some point you are so wet you almost quit caring. The main problem was wet feet. A good rain jacket kept my underwear (top and bottom) dry. Jedi didn't do well in the rain. No surprise there since he doesn't even get wet when it rains here. Kamikaze couldn't have cared less if it rained or not. Surprisingly, Josie did OK in the rain too. It was Snooker, Gamblers and Jumpers today. Josie and Jedi weren't in Jumpers. Gamblers was first. I wasn't holding out much hope for Josie's run as it was an Aframe gamble in the rain. To my great amazement she did the gamble with just enough opening points. The rain made her creep to the end of the Aframe. Never would have gotten that one in good weather! That makes her a Gambler Master, and only her Standard Q's are left for ADCH. Then in Snooker I made a 38 plan for Josie. A Q, but an easy one to beat if you're after a SuperQ. She was the only mini dog to Q, so another Super Q for her as well. Kamikaze had good runs, ruined by my bad handling again.


Shelby went in to the vet this morning again. They called later to say they saw no need to sedate her. She was more cooperative letting them look at the tongue today. And the vet thinks it looks tons better. He thinks the whole tongue will heal and she won't permanently lose any of it. When I went to pick her up she walked to the water bowl in the lobby. Everyone froze to watch her. She was able to lap some water all on her own. She splashed a bunch too though. When I got her home she lapped at the water for ten minutes or more. I'm so glad she can drink on her own. I dumped her canned food in a bowl and let her give it a try. She got a whole can down without help. It's not as much as she should be eating, maybe half a meal, but it's still great to see. I may be leaving her with Rich this weekend after all. If she can drink on her own and eat some on her own, then he only has to worry about giving pills twice a day.

I bought a large shadow box for Nikita's ribbon. The one with her name and titles down one streamer. The middle streamer also has the Siberian Husky Club of America logo and the dates and place of the specialty this year. I added her qualifying obedience medallion from the 2004 nationals and the 2004 nationals medallion with the logo in the shadow box with a posed picture of her and one from an agility trial busting out of the chute. This is her retirement 'collage'. I think it came out well. It's hanging on the wall now.


Shelby spent the day at the vet. They did some looking at her and said it looks much better. They offered her watered down soft food in a bowl. She was excited to see the food, seeing as how she hasn't eaten since Monday night, but couldn't use her tongue to get any food in her mouth. She gave up. They had to syringe her water into her mouth too since she couldn't lap. They said her attitude was great though. By the time I picked her up at 4 pm they were all excited when they brought her out. She had managed to clean the food bowl in her run in the last hour or so. They gave me the rest of the can of food to take home. I was able to get the rest of it in her by spooning small amounts to the back of  her tongue for her. I was floored at how much better her tongue looked just from when I saw it this morning. She ran to the water bowl and then couldn't figure out why she couldn't make her tongue get her water. Poor thing! It was pathetic. At least it was my cue to go and get her some water in the syringe. They want her back tomorrow to probably knock her out again to get a good look under her tongue and maybe scrape some dead skin off. 

Kamikaze went in to the vet for a quick look. He seems convinced after seeing her fang marks that this is all about a snake. Kazee is unaffected by her little, dry (no venom) bite. They put her on antibiotics anyway to be sure there is no infection sneaking around those fang marks.

I am off to Memphis Friday morning. Shelby will likely be going with me if she can't eat or drink on her own by Thursday night. Kamiakze, Jedi, and Josie are entered. Xanadu is coming too. We're doing our 'NO RAIN' dance as it is outdoors on grass. Unfortunately the forcast is for rain Friday, but at least not Sat. and Sun. I have a hard time picturing Jedi running in the rain. When it rains here he doesn't get a drop on him.

6th -The day of the snake

When Rich came home today at lunch to check on the dogs and bring in all the 'fluffy' kids he found Shelby was foaming blood at the mouth. He loaded her up and took her to the vet because he couldn't determine what was up even after rinsing her mouth with water. Turns out she had an apparent venomous snake bit on her tongue. Only Shelby could get bit on the tongue! Rich was back at the house as soon as it was apparent that she had been bit. He put everyone else in the house until I could get home to be sure there was no more incidents. I was in constant phone contact with the vet. The first struggle was to stop the swelling before it reached Shelby's throat  or the back of her tongue where it could impede breathing. The second struggle will be to save her tongue from the poison. They immediately got injectable pain meds, antibiotics and steroids in her. Then they sedated her. They ice packed her tongue while she was out. They did get the swelling stopped before it became a breathing problem. She's already lost some skin on the underside of her tongue. When I got home from work I fed the other guys and put on my knee high anti-snake boots to go hunting for the critter. I never found a carcass like I expected or the live thing. This concerns me some as I have to go to work tomorrow too. I went and picked Shelby up and brought her home. They left a port in her front leg in case we have to make an emergency run to a vet tonight. As long as the swelling stays away and the breathing isn't impaired tonight then hopefully the worst is over. Shelby will stay at the vet all day tomorrow while I am at the office so they can keep an eye on her.

Meanwhile, once at home, I noticed Shelby jumped up and ran when I walked Kamikaze by her. HRMM... So whatever happened she thinks Kamikaze is involved. No way was that bite on her tongue a dog bite though, and there are no other signs of a dog fight. I grab Kazee and check her over thoroughly. I found two puncture holes on her snout. They were small and only a pinky width apart.. AH HAH! It appears that it was a snake after all, and it nailed Kazee on the nose after it shot all it's venom into Shelby. There is some very mild swelling across Kazee's snout. I called the vet at home and he said to giver her Benadryl and start her on the antibiotics they sent home for Shelby too. Evidentially, the secondary concern with a snake bite is nasty infection. He wants to see her tomorrow as well.


Pictures are up from the Gulfport AKC agility show! Here are some pictures from Siberian nationals at the Chattanooga Choo Choo hotel.



We were up at 5:30 am to get ready and head to the agility show. By the time we got there people were already setting up snow fencing and unloading equipment. Everyone seemed happy with the new site, and got happier as the rain came and we were under cover. Kamikaze's first run was FAST. She was hauling it too. Unfortunately I couldn't get myself were I needed to be to keep her out in the SEND to finish it. AH well, still a beautiful run. Standard had some hard challenges for us. We made it through all them clean including a hard call off the table to the weaves. She even weaved teh first try. Too bad I was on the wrong side of the weaves. I started leaning into her at the end of them and she popped at pole 10. Hate when I do things like that! Still, we stayed on course and it wasn't bad. In jumpers she got sight of something in the corner of the ring or just outside the ring that kept her attention the whole run. She ran with her head cranked towards that corner after jump three through the end. She almost ran through a couple of jumps because she wasn't looking. We some how made it clean up until the last four jumps. There was a jump headed out towards whatever had her attention. I figured on her taking it and then heading out to see what it was. NO, instead she stopped dead in front of the jump to stare. ARGH! So, no agility Q's for us at nationals, but a reasonable showing. It was fun to see Novice dogs get the crazy zooms and everyone wait patiently for it to stop or block the gates to keep the Siberian contained. The Siberian agility crew was really great to be around. After it was all over and the equipment loaded and gone, Kamikaze and Zini, and 3 year old male, got turned loose in the fenced agility area to run and play. And did they ever RUN, and Run and run! We let them run and then play until they gave out. Kazee needs a large dog playmate. Back to the hotel and dinner. Even after all that exercise, Kazee shredded the crate mat that hour or two I was gone to dinner. Must be time to go home. She's had enough of the crate. Spend a little time in the hot tub. 

After Kamikaze's evening walk, in which she saw her first horse up close, I got in the horse drawn carriage tour around downtown Chattanooge. Kazee's breeder raod with me and we chatted. Then we talked more after the ride. Got back late. Leaving for home whenever I wake.


Today was an easy day at Siberian nationals. I had Kamikaze and Nikita entered in Parade of Titleholders. Kamikaze was entered in breed, but I had decided no to show her since she was naked. I sat with Kamikaze's breeder and watched the first group of bitch judging. It was 6-9 month puppies. I liked the judges approach. For this class only she asked that they order themselves by age instead of arm band since there is a big difference in a barely 6 month old and an almost 10 month old. Then she proceeded to see each one go around on its own and then the group around before she laid hands on anyone. She is obviously looking for a good mover. I changed my mind about showing Kazee since she is such a nice mover. I raced to change clothes and mousse up what little hair there was. We didn't embarrass ourselves in the breed ring, but we didn't get any placement either. It was fun. After lunch Kazee and Kita got to trot around the ring as their names and titles were announced. We got a pretty rosette with the dog's name and titles emblazoned on it as well as the Siberian Husky club of America logo. Kita's is a retirement ribbon and will be framed.

I met up with my high school best friend and her family for dinner. She picked a fairly kid friendly place, Mellow Mushroom. I found out I can parallel park the Expedition like a pro too! Dinner was nice. Her husband is a swell guy, four year old is a scream and the baby slept most of the meal. It was great to catch up.