2011 training goals

October 2011

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I was up and out of the house around 6:30 this morning to lay a TDX style track for Grace. Then I met up with Mike and Cheryl at 10 am to start tracking. Mike laid cross tracks on Grace's track while Cheryl laid Spirit a TD track. While we waited on some age, Cheryl and I worked our newest dogs on tracking basics. Sprigs is getting the hang of 'find the cookies in the grass'. I think she definitely has the capability to get a TD one day. 

Spirit ran her track at about 30 minutes old. She was nearly flawless. She looked so good. Her article indication is lacking a bit, but she did stop and investigate the glove for a minute and then she headed on tracking. I hope she's as focused next weekend in the test and I hope we get a good draw. Grace ran her track at about 4 hours old with 45 minute old cross tracks. She rocked!

Next on the agenda was the CGC test. Sprigs was second dog tested and she passed easily. She wasn't nearly as focused heeling as she usually is and there were a couple of small whines on the 3 minute out of sight separation, but nothing to stop her from passing. Now on to CD training!

OH, and Sprigs says for Halloween she can just imitate a bat!


I thought I was gonna do my self in today. I somehow scheduled PT right after my 45 minute Zumba class. It turned out to be an AWESOME experience. Instead of being completely exhausted and sore I was exhilarated. Even after 3 minutes running, 7 minutes biking and 3 minutes on an elliptical machine in PT. I haven' t felt that good since just before I tore my knee up. I was ready to go do some real stuff. Too bad work gets in the way.

This evening was CGC class. Sprigs is all set to take the test Saturday! Xanadu did great go-outs and directed jumping. Spirit retrieved over the high jump, worked broad jump and practiced drop on recall. The drop still needs work! Kamikaze did nice heeling and signals and worked go-outs and jumping. Then on the way home I checked in with Rich to see if I had a call about the tracking test in a week and a half. Sure enough, Spirit got in as catalog number one. I called Cheryl and she and Grace got in the TDX part as catalog number one. YIPPIE!


This evening was Sprigs' first agility class. The teeter there is super fast. I sent her to it and she raced up and almost to the end as it went sailing towards the ground. She stayed on, but you could see on her face that she wasn't happy. She wasn't getting back on that thing. One time on that teeter and I am going to spend a few sessions, minimum, fixing her teeter. DARN!  By the time we left I had her doing it again, but much more cautiously. As far as class goes, she was  way, WAY too advanced for the intro class. I kinda stayed close to class for the firs t 5-10 minutes, but did my own thing. I taught her tunnel and practiced the tire. Then I put her up. I helped with the class for awhile. Then when the broad jump came out, I went and got her for intro to broad jump. She was sailing the broad jump by third time over. I have her in that class mostly because of me. I don't want to be in a sequencing class if I can't RUN. I don't want her to learn that trotting is OK. I want that little devil to haul it around a course. I did send her through the 12 weaves there. It took her a couple of tries to not skip on in the middle, but she was working it the whole time. She is starting to make a rhythm for herself!

Spirit and Xanadu road along and each got a super quick chance to play on equipment. Xanadu RAN her little tail off for 5 obstacles and got good shrimp for that. One more 5 obstacle run and that was all for her. I left her going, "Hey, I wanna try again." I am hoping to get her enthusiasm for this game back. Spirit had a blast and ran her little tail off. She had beautiful weaves and did them much faster than I expected. Cheryl took Spirit and tried running her for a very short session after classes. Cheryl may be running her in a couple of weeks when we go to Houston. Not sure I can run enough to be out there with her. Spirit ran great for Cheryl. No ditching her for me at all. Good Girl! Cheryl didn't realize how fast she was and how much running is involved to do a course with her.


This afternoon/evening I practiced obedience with everyone. Xanadu was first. We worked outside on grass with the scent articles. She did very well, but missed the leather one on the first try. It didn't slow her enthusiasm down too much to have to re-try this time though. The we did signals and she was perfect. A couple of go-outs to the air conditioner unit and her turn was over. Kamikaze went out front and did signals with a couple of people and their off leash Border Collie walking in the street. I lost her attention to them. GRRRR. A second try at signals as they were mostly past and she did well. She did her moving stand, practice turns for gloves and did a few go-outs to the horse gate. Not bad. I thought I'd quit with them, but everyone inside wanted a turn too. 

Spirit did some drop on recall practice. She is catching on well. It seems she will do well with a verbal drop command like Sparkle. (Xan and Kazee do a signal better) Then we played dumbbell. She is retrieving well now, but throwing it on my feet. We did some work on holding it in front until I take it. Sprigs did some 'hold the dumbbell' practice. That's not her favorite game. She also did some heeling and stay practice. Twinkle did just some basic heeling with a couple of Rally Novice moves thrown in. Sparkle did some retrieve, heeling and drop on recall work. 

I thought I felt great today. That was until I did all that with the little dogs. Too much leaning and bending and I was at the chiropractor at closing getting everything put back in place including the knee.

The photographer from the weekend has picture up. You can go see Kazee's pictures here (and a cameo by Sprigs).


Yesterday Kamikaze and I broke the rules of knee rehab and went to the agility show in Kiln, MS. Jumpers was first and it was all over the place. I couldn't get to where I needed to be and Kazee was revved to RUN. Glad she was ready to play after so long off. I laughed heartily by the end of the run and gave my dog a hug. It was just so good to be out there playing with her again. I thought I was dead meat in the standard class. There seemed to be a good deal of running on paper. Well, a few obstacles in a straight line are no problem for Kazee. We ended up Q'ing on that course with me gimping around. Only 4 20" Excellent B dogs even pulled out a Q. So, it was a bit slower than it could have been, who cares. I am certainly not ready to return to agility, but it was fun for a day and I didn't hurt myself. I drug Sprigs along for the ride and visitation. We got lucky and Michael Loftis was there taking pictures. My walls are full of his pictures. I got him to take a shot of Sprigs at the practice jump. It came out great!

Cheryl and Grace got a first place Q both times they walked to the line!

I didn't sleep well last night, so this morning while Rich showered I thought I'd rest a little. Apparently it seemed like a good idea to more than just me!

My knee was only a little twingy today from the full day of brace and standing (mostly). When I feel discouraged I remember back to when I couldn't even step off with my right foot first as I couldn't trust my left knee to hold.


There have actually been short periods of time over the course of this week where my knee felt 'normal'. OK, well, that's a bit of a misnomer . What I guess I mean is there were times this week when I did NOT feel the bad knee at all. (equates to 'feeling normal') I had PT today and we, of course, have found another deficiency I need to work on. *SIGH* Today it seems like a never ending battle to be normal on that leg again.

I did get in a good bit of work with the dogs in this wonderfully cool weather. Spirit did an hour old track at lunch. I purposefully made the track go along the back of the field where the neighbors adjoining the field have a kennel full of hunting beagles.  (don't get me started.. they have like 8 beagles in a space the size of my kitchen...) They make a ruckus when you go back there. Spirit is not that great at working through distractions, but I was interested to see how she would handle beagles barking. Spirit was a CHAMP on the opening part of the track. She stayed focused well and only over shot turn number three a bit. On leg four as we approached the beagles, they began to bay. Spirit freaked. She dropped her tail and stopped tracking. Was she nervous about entering 'their' space? Was she upset because she understood what they were saying? I had to literally pull up right behind her and step almost up her rump to keep her tracking. She was clear that she knew where the track went, but she didn't want to go there. I did get her to at least slink along up to the next turn (right by the kennel) where the track turned away from barking dogs. She found the turn all on her own with a nice breeze blowing.  The farther she left the dogs behind the happier she got. She found the glove and proceeded to nose under it looking for treats. Hey, any interaction with the glove is an indication in my book.

Twinkle practiced her 2 + 2 weaves today. She is still struggling with why she needs to do the action twice now to get treats. Since Sprigs is now doing 6 weaves pretty darn well it's time for 6 + 6. To do that I have to take her to my agility field. I strolled over there with some steak bits as treats. I pulled my 12 poles apart about 3 feet and sent Sprigs to them. She was less than stellar the first few tries. HRMM. Wonder if the base was an issue. I train poles with stick in the ground poles and progress to competition ones. I've never had a problem with any of my other guys switching. But Dachshunds kinda run between the poles, not bounce or one step. They would notice the base where other dogs may not. Or was it that I trained her with 24" spacing and my competitions are 21" spaced? This hasn't bothered any of my other dogs either.  I'd think it would bother bouncers or one steppers more. Whatever the issue, we got it ironed out after a bit and she was doing her 6 + 6 very well. I added a jump to the weaves and this caused some entrance issues the first two times, but then she worked it out. While we were there we did tire, table, teeter, Aframe and dogwalk a couple of times each. She's such a smart little girl! I really must remember to take my chute and tunnel out there to train with. She starts Intro to Agility next week. Something tells me we are WAY, WAY ahead of the curve already. Maybe they'll have a spot in Beginners to move her to. Or, we'll just make the most of Intro by doing things on our own before of after class.

Sprigs had CGC class tonight. I drug along just about every obedience dog I have for practice. Spirit, Xanadu, Kamikaze along with Twinkle accompanied Sprigs. Spirit played heel off leash, drop on recall (with a signal and a word) and retrieve. She is doing fairly well with drop on recall if I step towards her as I signal and command. I was so proud of her dumbbell tonight. Three retrieves. One with no wait, one with a small wait (dumbbell still moving when released) and one with a full wait. The last one took me stepping the first steps with her to get her to go, but she was happily bringing it in. Xanadu did heeling and signals. She got all the signals right the first try! Then we did moving stand very nicely. Articles were last. She raced to the pile the first try and found the metal one. She was so excited about the treats she raced to the pile and snatched on the second and third tries. Then she seemed to deflated for not getting her treat. Next two times she trotted politely out and first time brought wrong one. She finally found the right one and got her treats. This was with the whole pile. If I enter her in Graduate Open there's only like four out there. Kamikaze did nice heeling and signals, moving stand and great articles. Then we practiced turning (backwards) like I would for gloves. She is doing so much better at that now. Sprigs is doing fine CGC class. The only thing that worries me is the supervised separation. She whines a bit sometimes and then she gets bored and starts sniffing and pulls a bit. Twinkle is still getting used to riding. I have to bring her two crate mats. One for the ride there and one for the ride home. She typically pukes one of both ways. She is getting better . She threw up a small amount just as I pulled in to obedience. Same for the way home. I had this trouble with Sparkle for years. I still don't let her ride for a few hours after feedings, but she mostly just whines or drools now. I am hoping to get Twinkle accustomed to riding. 



I did better with my one legged balance on the bad knee Tuesday at PT. I also have come leaps and bounds on my step ups and step downs. I'm not hip hiking nearly as bad up. I am using the leg muscles as intended much prettier. I am also controlling the step downs almost to the point of the good leg touching. Not nearly as much thud when my right foot drops. Most of the step improvements are because I can practice on the stairs at work Tuesdays and Wednesdays when I'm there. It's odd to have to do it with my good leg and register how the muscles work before I can try to replicate with the bad leg. I've gotten in such habits of 'protection' with the left leg that now I can't do things correctly without much concentration. Since there was PT Tuesday I didn't ride my bike (there's a stationary bike there). But I did jog. I was able to do increments of 30 second this time. 30 walk, 30 jog. I still got way more winded than I ever should doing that.

Today I got in my biking and my jogging. I did the jogging first. I was able to jog a full minute the first jog, but after that it was back to the 30 second repetitions. Still very winded, but the knee wasn't as sore. The biking was tough at first after the jog just because I was already winded. But I hit the 'second wind' about half way through the ride and was much better. I even managed a couple of times to ride standing up. That's a whole different feel on the knee.


Sprigs and Twinkle saw weave poles again. Sprigs takes a turn or two to remember this game, then she is almost 90% doing 6 poles from either side. She's even sped up a bit. I am loving watching a Dachshund weave. The motion is so much easier for her than the bigger dogs. Twinkle actually remembered the two poles from last time and dashed through them. So I added the next set of two poles a little distance away. She was confused a bit on why dashing through the first two poles wasn't as 'good' as it was the last time. She needs so much more time to bridge to the next step than any dog I've worked with. I could get her to do the second two, but only with a pause and a treat between. She was still no doing the second two as well as the first two. She's is so happy living here now though. She's just beams contentment and energy now.

Now for my own training I started jogging today on the road with my brace on. This is now in addition to biking a couple of times a week and taking a Zumba class once a week. The surgeon said to start slow and walk some/ jog some. He said it would feel weird. Well, big surprise there as anything to do with getting the knee back in shape feels weird at first. I started a slow jog with my stopwatch going. After 20 seconds my knee felt a bit strained. So that was the time for this session. I jogged 20 seconds, walked 20 seconds from my house to the beginning of the road and back. After just two jog repetitions I was breathing HEAVY. WOW!! So out of shape! I'll be doing my best to add jogging a little to my daily routine. I have PT tomorrow. I am hoping for some better balance on the one leg (bad leg) this time.

I have agreed to a Siberian puppy. My choices are male and red. That makes life easy I guess. I'll pick him up in December at Invitationals. He's a Kamikaze nephew. He's 3 weeks old in the picture below. NO, it's not a particular one, but 5 are male. His name is to be Rocyn's Shoot the Rapids.


Friday night Rich and I went to see Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the cable guy at the River Center in downtown Baton Rouge. It was an enjoyable night. The downside... We got home at 11:15 pm and Cheryl was going to be at my house for a 5:30 am departure to Raymond, MS. 

So with 4.5 hours of sleep or so I drove to the penal farm there in Raymond to an Earthdog Sanctioned A match. It was Cheryl with her mom's Westie, Pete, and me and Sprigs. It turns out I can show you Sprigs' idea of earthdog in one, well taken photo.

Sprigs was NOT, absolutely NOT going in that stinky, tiny (9 inches X 9 inches) tunnel.  So, during INTRO class the judge told me to bring her around to the end of the tunnel and we could let her see the rats that had been waiting for her to go after. She was unsure about the smelly cage, then one of those things moved and she was GONE. LOL!! So much for my vermin killer. I do think things would be much different if a rat or mouse ran across her yard. Those rats were so used to dogs they didn't even react much. Pete was not going in the tiny tunnel, but did track the scent there. He was somewhat interested in the rats when he saw them. He may actually have been good at earthdog if Cheryl had gotten him younger (he's 10).

A quick intro to earthdog now. You make three sided (U shaped) pieces out of plywood 9"x9". It comes out looking like a trough. Dig a ditch about 9"X9" and put your trough upside down in it. You've now made a 'tunnel' with a wood top and sides and a dirt floor. One piece of trough has a hinge on top and several wooden dowels on the end. This is the end of the tunnel for the dogs. Then the rat cage is put on the other side of the dowels. The hinged top allows handlers to open the tunnel and extract their dog from the tunnel when they have found the prey. Dirt is thrown over all but the end part of the tunnel to make it nice and dark as well as spraying rat urine scent along the dirt on the bottom to give the dogs a scent to follow to the prey. There were actually a couple of dogs that seemed to LIVE for this game and it was neat to see them shoot into the tunnel and then hear them bark, scratch and/or whine at the end trying to get to the rats. Intro had one 90 degree turn and was like 20 feet long. The Junior Earthdog course has three 90 degree turns and is twice at long or more.

Today I stayed home and caught up on sleep. I also decided that hound dogs were starting to smell like hound dogs. I doled out 9 baths. Everyone but the Siberians are now squeaky clean. Cedar is feeling much better now that she's on the thyroid replacement.


Sprigs and Twinkle worked on weaves this afternoon. It was the first time I put all 6 poles together for Sprigs. She did very well. She's not missing entrances, but still misses a pole in the middle every now and then. Here's video of on side weaves (great flat entrance) and off side weaves. The video seems to show I am body helping her some on the off side poles, but not the on side ones. I guess this has to do with I CAN'T really rock back and forth to help her on the on side because of the bad knee. Must work on phasing out that 'helping'.

Twinkle did AWESOME today on just the two poles. That's as far as she's ever gotten.  The tuna treats must rock for her. Today she actually did several attempts at full speed and happy where I have been having to walk with her and stand close to the poles. I even saw her brain firing today. She was bouncing around and then saw the poles and bounced at them and remembered at the last second to go THROUGH them! That's the first time I've seen understanding and effort from her like that. She only missed the correct entrance three times out of 10-12. Very pleased. Maybe she can be taught even if I can never trust her off leash to show her. Then again, there are indoor shows...


Sprigs did awesome this weekend in Rally. She came home with two firsts and a second to finish her first AKC title! I was very proud of her and she looked happy. See her runs here. Leg 1,Leg 2, leg 3  

Spirit finished her RA title with two legs and I moved her up to Rally Excellent for the last show where she got her first Rally Excellent leg. Too bad I wasn't as good a handler for her. One two legs I cost her ten points for doing the sign wrong. It was good to be out with dog people. My brace bugged me after 7 or so hours yesterday though. I figured out when I got home and got it off what the deal was and fixed it for today. After two days on my feet with the brace my knee felt 'off' the rest of today. HRRRMM. Here's hoping I just over did it a bit. It doesn't feel injured.


I got Spirit, Xanadu and Sprigs out to my agility training area Monday afternoon. Neither Beagle wanted to RUN while I hobbled, but their performances were pretty good. Sprigs did the contacts and the tire. Then I worked on just one jump. She is doing so well. We had to pass the weaves once to get where we were going. She started towards them to engage them. I encouraged her to try and she did 12 poles the second try! OK, so I'm not ready to say she knows how to weave, but she is getting the idea.

Sprigs and I continued to work on 2X2 poles this week at the 4 plus two stage. She is doing very well off side weaves, but is struggling onside. I didn't think I'd done anything to encourage one side over the other. Cheryl pointed out it may be the knee brace and 'strange' gait that messes her up on the on side entries. A couple of times without my brace and I think there may some merit to that.

Cedar was diagnosed with hypothyroidism this week. We've started her on meds to help her out. Can't tell much yet.

Sprigs did well at CGC class tonight. I don't see any reason she should struggle passing it at the end of the month. Before class I focused some on the Rally Novice exercises since she's entered in a show this weekend. She's doing very well. Spirit practiced some Rally Advanced stuff too. Kamikaze stayed home since she had TWO dinners tonight. She ate hers and stole Lego's rehydrating raw food. Didn't figure she needed any more treats.


Rich and I went to the zoo for about 4 hours today. I wore my knee brace, but by 3 1/2 hours my left leg was tired and I was a bit whiny. I was thrilled at how well it held up though. After the zoo we updated the 'family' photo. So, if you come directly here and never hit the home page you need to click the home icon at the top and check out the new picture.

Jedi has not been feeling very well since his teeth extractions. He looked a bit like Rocky after the first fight Friday afternoon and yesterday. He looks a bit better today.