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30th

I spent free hours yesterday and today after work fighting with rusty, paint covered hex head screws holding the old dogwalk plank on. I have been victorious over the center section. Now for the ramps.. argh. Hoping for new concrete board on the dogwalk in the next couple of weeks. Clean Run says they are shipping my rubber skins for it and the teeter next week! Rich spent his hours putting in fence posts around my agility field. He's finished all but one side.  YIPPIE! Hoping for fence next month. Then I can move equipment over there and practice at will without having to drag stuff out and put it up every time. Here's a picture of our progress. And yes, that's a kennel run in the corner for storing a dog or dogs until it's their turn.
 

I took the red girls to obedience class tonight. Spirit is really improving on her heeling and her attention. I need to pull out the Adv Rally signs and try some of them out to see if she's ready to move up if she gets her Novice title the first day in Mandeville. Kamikaze was very good on all the stuff she did. We are working 'front' as a command from any angle since she seems to stress on those in the ring. Same for getting back to heel. It's clear she doesn't quite know 'front'  as a command even though she knows the spot she should be in when she returns to me from somewhere else. I have changed her 'left finish' word a bit. I was using 'get back', but I also started using that for turning left into her. I may have confused the situation some. 'Left finishes' are now 'get in'. She seems to know it already. Xanadu did directed jumping practice and with a small step each way was taking the jumps each time. Her signal practice didn't go as well since I moved back a few more feet. We'll work on it. We practiced figure eight heeling too since she tends to get bored with that in the ring. Of all things she shuts off attention on the inside turns not the outside. Don't think she likes me crowding her space. Her last move to practice was out of sight stays. She did a two minute fifty second sit stay and then laid down. OOPS! I fixed and we started again. She was perfect the next try on the sit and then the down. It was a good time to practice them as everyone else was arriving for class and talking and pottying their dogs and warming up for class.

28th

I got Storm back to her mommy yesterday afternoon with all her loot. Storm decided she might play outside a bit with our beagle girls this morning. Hopefully her confidence at our house will build each time she come for a quick visit. I snapped a picture of our beagle girls outside just as I was leaving with Storm.

Today I got the weaves out for Spirit to practice on. I am determined to NOT have to baby her by the end of October when we go to Kiln, MS. She actually bounced a full set of weaves once today instead of walking them with thoughtful intent. It's a break through. I'm sure she'll be back and forth from bouncing to walking for the next few weeks as she settles this obstacle better in her mind. She actually does better if I get just slightly ahead of her as she goes. I think that keeps me out of her way.

26th

Cheryl and I had a nice little setup going in Gulfport this weekend. I took the motorhome and Cheryl met us there. The dogs got to crate out of the motorhome in the A/C all weekend. The motorhomes there can park really close, so the only real issue was with Xanadu and Storm both being in 12". Cheryl parked her vehicle under the cover of the arena at the end. We could then use her Element as a storage and treating zone for dogs about to run or just finished running. This was great. The dogs got treats faster after they ran that way since they didn't have to make it to the motorhome. And all the other dogs didn't have to watch the good treats the other one was getting. It also turned out as a great setup to avoid getting wet in the scattered rain showers on Sunday. We were able to go swap dogs during clear times and make sure the next one(s) to run were waiting in her vehicle. I'm thinking I like that setup a lot for Gulfport from now on.

Friday was a pretty good day for my guys. Storm DQ'd (her 3rd) and I was 4 for 4 in Excellent Jumpers. That gave Xanadu her first MACH points. Lego got his 4th MXJ leg. Spirit got her second OA leg too. You've got to see Kamikaze stay in the weaves while I layer jumps and fade away! 

Saturday didn't go quite as well for me. Xanadu did get her first AX leg, but it wasn't even a great run. Just a mediocre one. Her jumpers run was freaking awesome though. Too bad about that second bar. Storm missed a DQ for stopping to sniff in front of the chute. ARGH! At least she did Q in jumpers.
 

Sunday Storm was the only dog I got around the standard course. It was also the best run I've ever had with her! She finished 2nd and got 21 MACH points for that one run! Then she went and blew the DQ by missing the LAST darn weave pole in Jumpers. It must've been a bad smelly spot for weaves. Xanadu didn't even start them she was sniffing so much and Spirit had a hard time there too. Kamikaze pulled out more MACH points in Jumpers too. 
 

It was a good weekend even if it was stifling hot. Lego never got walked off for being an idiot, Kamikaze didn't have any weave issues all weekend. She even stayed in with me layering jumps one day. Spirit is still having a blast playing this game. Cheryl and Grace pulled out an Open Standard leg Sunday afternoon too. 

 

20th

Xanadu got to practice down stays today. She started out in an easy spot, but I left everyone else loose in the yard doing their own thing. She stayed for seven minutes. OK, this isn't helping. I put her in a stay in the big depression in the yard where it's hard for her to see anything while laying down. She broke, but not just a sit up, but a full fledged break. Put her back and she stayed for over 5 minutes. Later this evening she did a down stay in the gravel driveway. Full on break again. Put her back and she stayed eight minutes. So, she stays fine after I go tell her that she did something wrong. She even plays suck up to mom and look pitiful for a good 10 minutes after the stay is over and rewarded.

I also did three loads of laundry today. All of it out of the motor home. I got all the linens clean and all the crate mats clean too. Got it swept out as well. Now it just needs gas for it to be ready to roll Friday morning to Gulfport for agility. I'll also be picking up Marie's beagle, Storm, Thursday afternoon, evening so I can run her too.

19th

Cheryl and I had a decent trip to Mobile, AL for obedience. Kamikaze was very happy to be out there again. After two performances under the same judge, she stopped me on the way out to say, "I love your Siberian. She is so cute and happy." If you can't Q, you might as well be the favorite performer right? She was inventing things left and right, but was clearly enjoying herself immensely. Xanadu had a try at Graduate Open. She actually picked the right article out of a pile of four. It's only the second time she's played articles away from home.  I was very pleased with that. She also did the moving stand perfectly. All the other exercises had issues. The glove was too far out for her to see it or understand to go on with faith. The half a go-out did happen at all, but the directed jumping was close. She swerved towards the right jump and then curled inside it. On Sunday Xan played Open again. She was great on the exercises. Could've done a bit better heeling and a bit straighter fronts. She then proceeded to sit up on the down stay AGAIN. This is our new problem. She did it once when she was freezing and mom didn't come back to fix her. It was a dooming discovery on her part  for me. Spirit had her first two tries at Rally. She was much distracted Saturday, but did very well on Sunday. She earned first place.
 

16th

AHHH! I felt completely normal today, albeit a good bit more drained and tired than usual. I was able to eat what I wanted, when I wanted. I got most of the Expedition packed up for the trip this weekend too. Now just my clothes and dog food and we're ready to go. I even have Bernie and Grace's crates all packed. Cheryl brought them to obedience tonight so they could be packed and ready to go since the departure time is so early Saturday morning. I met up with Christina a bit before obedience class and gave her some tips on teaching Saber, her GSD, where she wanted heel position to be. Also, a plus, this nice leather tracking harness that I've had laying around for like a year that's too big for everyone I know, well it fits Saber well. So, since they're trying out Search and Rescue and she recently lost his harness, he now has a nice new one and I no longer have something I can't use sitting around. I somehow got to obedience without articles AGAIN! Oh, well. Kamikaze doesn't need the practice, really. She knows the game. I was hoping to practice with Xanadu though. I did get to practice dumbbell retrieves with Xanadu though and she's happy about them again. She also did her drop on recall well.  She practiced her directed jumping, but still isn't where she needs to be. I don't expect her to pass Graduate Open this time, but at least it's ring time doing different fun stuff. Kamikaze did directed jumping pretty well and great signals. We practiced our turns for glove retrieves too. I think from now on in the ring if it's glove #2 I am going to make her 180 degrees left instead of right. She's so liable to break right for the glove on the right turns, but has to think and watch me a lot more to turn left. Kamikaze's moving stand was even very nice. Only one step, not several. Spirit did 30 minutes of class. She did pretty good stays in class. Seems now that it's just at home she is not staying well. Her heeling is still bouncy and then lagging and then lunging, but she's trying and it's at least all in the general area of heel now. It's her first try at Rally this weekend. We're hoping to come home with 2 legs!

Grace was doing well on her Graduate Novice exercises and has such enthusiasm for them. Bernie did his Open exercises pretty well, but is only in it for the treats! 

Almost forgot! Spirit did a four turn track today at 20 minutes old. She did very well, but still doesn't have turns down real well. She casts around now though and figures it out.

15th

I spent most of the last two days just trying not to throw up. I had mostly crackers and coke to eat once a day until tonight. I finally felt only a bit unsettled, but had some hunger pains. Tried a piece of grilled chicken and a baked potato. That seemed to set OK. Hope whatever this has been is gone, so I can enjoy my obedience trial weekend. As you can imagine, nothing dog training like has happened during this nasty bug I've been fighting. Hope for some practice tomorrow or at least some time in class tomorrow night.

13th

This morning was pleasant. It was mid 60s when I let everyone out. They were having a time! Spirit, Xanadu and Kamikaze were playing chase and wrestle. I've never seen Spirit throw herself into the game with such gusto. She was having a blast. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy to see her obviously enjoying her life here so.

Xanadu and Kamikaze got some much needed out of sight stay practice. Then Xanadu got some recall practice and Kamikaze got some signal practice. Spirit wanted a turn. I worked some on her stays in the back hall. She still has a long ways to go to pass a set of  Novice stays.

This evening I pulled out the twelve weaves for some practice. Spirit was just great! She hit the entrance every time on her own. She had four perfect sets in a row. The ones she did mess up weren't for lack of understanding what she should be doing, but for trying to go faster than she ever has and losing control of herself and skipping a pole. So, she is getting this game and is ramping up her speed some. Ok, so compared to Xan she is still rather slow in them, but she is not plodding along in them anymore either. She needs to figure out the two foot bounce so she can do them faster and keep control. That's what she's trying to figure out on her own. I need to find a set of weave-o-matics or set up my stick in the ground to mimic them to help her understand how to bounce. Since the poles were out Lego, Josie, Xan, and Kamikaze got a couple of runs through them. All did very well.

Cheryl and I have decided to motor over to Mobile early Saturday instead of Friday evening for our obedience show. It'll be Spirit's first time in a real obedience ring. She's doing Novice Rally both days. 

12th

Xanadu needed one standard leg for her AD (agility dog) title. She pulled that off on Saturday. It was a decent run, but not what I expect of Xanadu now. She was steady, but not speedy and she was greatly distracted by small amounts of pigeon down on the ground. She missed the weave pole entrance the first time, but did them great when I called her back for a re-try. It was very hot and sticky and about the middle of the day for that run.

Xanadu, AD.. first USDAA title, my first beagle with multi agility organization titles

Josie ran decent her two runs Saturday. The gamble was not one she, or Jedi, would ever do. Two jumps with a flip away from the handler another 5 feet to the weaves. HA! Too bad I didn't tell her to touch the bottom of the dogwalk in her standard run. She got down there and sprung. Other than that it would've been a Q! Jedi was a bit Jedi in his two Saturday runs, but not awful. He didn't run to the back to sniff, which is his normal bad dog behavior in this arena. Kamikaze shocked the snot out of me by actually flipping away from me on that gamble and lining up to weave. OK, so she didn't commit to doing them with me that far away, but she did the flip and lined herself up right. Her standard run wasn't too bad either. After Standard was Grand Prix. Kamikaze still needs at least one of those Q's and a total of 4 more tournament Q's. The time was fairly tight I thought. That was our downfall in Grand Prix here last time. she was clean, but just over time. The run was going very smoothly, but not super fast right until the last four obstacles. She turned the wrong way over a jump. I got her attention before it caused an off course though. Then I had to thread her through a couple of jumps to get her back on course and finish with no faults. I figured that bad little spot sent us over time for sure. I was pleasantly surprised to find she still squeaked under time by a second and a half. YIPPIE! She managed to finish 4th as well and this club had placement ribbons. Now to get a Steeplechase Q on her and then I'll have at least the required 'one Q in each tournament' done. By Snooker she was slowing up in the sticky, hot weather some. Still not bad, I pushed her past a jump in the closing though. There was only jumpers left and she needs jumpers Q's so I loaded everyone up in the car and ran it for a good hour with the air on to cool everyone off. It helped and she had a just wonderful jumpers run. I pushed her past a jump again though. ARGH! I am seeing a pattern.

Sunday I was only entered in Standard and Pairs in the morning. Kamikaze re-designed that Standard course with great gusto! I was laughing at the end. Jedi did great until I over-handled the weave entrance and stressed him out. It was an entranced that had to be handled though. It was a 90 degree entrance coming at the weaves out of a tunnel. You had to push your dog away from the weaves a step or two so they could line up to weave. Josie had the same problem. I actually got her lined up to weave and then she proceeded to cuss at me and snap at my shoes for racing into her space. That caused her to miss the weaves too. Xanadu had a super fast Standard run. It was 15 seconds or more faster than yesterday and it was a longer course. OK, so we missed a couple of jumps, hit a bar, but I want that dog to show up more often!  Kamikaze had a great Pairs run, but her partner didn't. OH, the story of pairs. We got home by 3:30.

10th

Xanadu got her glove retrieving practice in yesterday. She was stellar! Like she never forgot. I pointed at the glove and told her to "Go get that glove" and she did. Love that dog.

Got to Shreveport around dinner time tonight. It's hot. Show tomorrow.

8th

Kamikaze practiced articles again. She was very good this time and happy about it too. Xanadu did her articles too. We did them outside for the first time. She struggled the first three or four times. We went in and came back an hour or so later and she was very good. I can't seem to get a handle on when she is getting the idea and when she's not. Xanadu also practiced dumbbell retrieves and drop on recall. Her retrieves were happy and fast here, so maybe the slow on was just a 'that day' kind of thing. Now that she is learning signals for Utiltiy, her drop is sometimes a sit. I guess we need to work on that too. AND I just remembered as I was headed to bed that she hasn't practiced glove retrieves at all. OOOPS!

Now I have lots of laundry to get done so I can pack up again for USDAA agility this weekend. If Josie Q's both Standard runs she'll get her ADCH! (Agility Dog Champion)

6th

Kamikaze blew out every bit of her undercoat last week, so she was only in the conformation ring on Saturday to hold the major for everyone else. The beagles showed well every day. Even Spirit did nicely. But, no more points for any of them either. Xanadu did take Reserve today. I heard someone at the show describe Reserve as 'First loser'. HA! That's kinda how I view it too. Rosie, Spirit and Xanadu's sister did manage to bring home one more single point. It was an OK trip as trips go. Sparkle went along and had a simply miserable time. I think she is retired from everything, save maybe tracking. She just hates show sites so much and even detests traveling in the car. She has an important job here anyway, Rich's baby girl, and she does it well. If he wants to show her in agility occasionally at close shows then fine, if not, fine.

I did get to run Marie's dogs in open practice time Sunday night. I tried a couple of things with Storm and Drift that I wouldn't try first in a trial on Marie's nickel. Learned a few more things about them. Worked the young ones on weaves and jumping some.

2nd

Since I was attending obedience classes tonight I didn't want to over-do the work at home. I just did go-outs wit Xanadu and Kamikaze here at home. Spirit got a little stand stay work too. I took my jumps to obedience. Xanadu doesn't 'get' directed jumping in a new place yet. She needed a lot more help there than here. Since I'm really trying for the last CDX leg, I decided maybe I should practice some of that stuff with her too. Bummer! She's not got her usual racing recall anymore. She trotted, not walked. She has also lost all enthusiasm for the dumbbell retrieve. She did it 4 out of 5 times, but no spark. I want the dog that was racing out and smashing it with her feet and such again. Wonder if I can fix it in two weeks. 

Kamikaze did her Open work too, as she's entered in Open one day and Utility one day coming up. She was spot-on the Open exercises. Her directed jumping was OK, but she the first try she was picking her own jumps and not watching me. Second try she was very good, even fixing her trajectory after stepping off the wrong way once.

Spirit spent 30 minutes in Advanced class. She is OK. Needs work on sitting up pretty and not hip sitting or slouching. She did nice six foot away stays for short periods of time though.

Now tomorrow to pack up for the conformation show in Monroe. I'd like to see one or two of Marie's beagles take home a major!! (hopefully one of mine :)

1st

I worked more with Kamikaze on her go-outs and directed jumping. Her go-outs were great, and for once she got the jumps right on the first try! That was enough of that. I like first try success. I have also discovered some of Kamikaze's struggle with the drop signal in the ring. What I think is her drop signal is NOT what she thinks her drop signal is. I came upon this realization quite by accident. She responded to something silly I was doing with the beagles with an instant drop. One like she would do if she thought I was asking it. "Hrmm," I thought, "What did I do?" As it's hard to describe signals in words, let's just suffice it to say she thinks the drop signal is what I'd consider the wind up to the signal. Must remember to do a full windup in the ring from now on. My right hand must touch my ear before I push it forward signal the drop. This realization may solve our drop issues in the ring completely. Can't wait to see.

Xanadu is perfect on her half a ring go-out now. She's improving on her directed jumping. I don't have to take a big step now. A small one with a lean that way is working. I worked her on signals and she was very good. Keep in mind Graduate Open signals allow you to use the word as well and are much closer than Utility signals. She even has a nice moving stand now.

Spirit had to have her turn too. We worked mostly on her stand stay. She is doing better, but is not confident at all about that one. I also did a recall with her and worked some on stays.