2008 training goals

November 2008

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We went to a movie this afternoon. Then did a lot of nothing. It was nice. Can't believe tomorrow is the start of December!
The dogs are only allowed on the couch if the Dallas Cowboy throw is covering part of it and then they have to be on the throw. They seem to understand this rule quite well. So, here's what happens if you put the throw on the couch.


Thanksgiving was at our house this year. My brother drove up from New Orleans and my parents drove down from Memphis. They all got here Wednesday evening. We had a nice peaceful Thanksgiving holiday. I was even well enough to enjoy the big meals. My brother, mother and I ventured out Friday afternoon to a couple of stores close by. The traffic wasn't too bad and even though the store were full there weren't insane lines to check out. Everyone went home this morning. Needless to say no dog activities occurred all week. Kamikaze is going out of season and should be completely finished so she can do obedience in Jackson, MS in a couple of weeks. Xanadu's first conformation show is next weekend in Biloxi. There is even one other bitch entered, so there is a point up for grabs.


 Kamikaze was some kind of upset when I had to leave her home this weekend. She howled her head off. I tried to explain that dogs in season weren't allowed to play. She didn't understand. I got there Friday for dinner with my Mom. Dad had some overnight thing and didn't get back until Sat. The day started with Josie in Jumpers. Unfortunately she's reverted some to the walking from the start dog. She even hit a bar which she almost never does. A bar knock was the beginning of our problems last time. I was scared it would make her worse again. Sparkle had a spin at a jumpers run. She did a few jumps and then wandered, Then came back for a tunnel and a few more jumps. Not great, but she did come back and work. Jedi ran fairly well in Steeplechase. He didn't off course, but need at least two tries to get the weaves both times, so he wasn't fast enough to Q. The gamble was a weave pole gamble. I was certain Jedi had no shot at it, and fairly certain Josie didn't since she was running all tentative. Jedi wouldn't do the weaves at a distance, big surprise, but when I went out closer with him he did them well. A nice ending. Josie was so pokey I wasn't sure we'd have enough opening points even if she did the gamble, so I did two 5 point contacts and then two tunnels to ramp her up some. She actually hit the A frame contact the first try and the tunnels did get her moving better. I was in a great spot when the buzzer went off, and I calmly sent her out. Well, I'll be buggered! She actually got out and started the weaves (on an offside entrance). I was still sure she wouldn't stay in. I was WRONG! She stayed in and blasted over the last two jumps in the gamble with time to spare. That's 3 gambles down now, and 2 to go (plus five standards). I'm almost down to a one hand count for legs toward ADCH still needed. In Standard, Josie blew the dogwalk and Aframe contacts bad, but ran more all out. Jedi did OK with a his standard weave pole refusal, but never giving me the finger. Last thing today was Snooker. Jedi did very well, Four reds in the opening and got through 5 in the closing. He should've gotten through the whole course, but I cut in front of him hard on the last jump in 6 and caused a knocked bar. Still a solid Q. I then watch a super Sheltie cream his score, so I ran Josie all out. She got through 5 too, but her problem was the pokeys again. Still a Q for her too. 

Sunday when I got there the West Tennessee Border Collie rescue representative comes strolling up. "Hey, do you live close to New Orleans?" "About an hour or so." "Great!" "No, I don't have room." "It's a 7-8 week old puppy."  "Oh, I have room for that." And so I will be transporting a puppy when I head home. The day started with Snooker. It was a setup with all three reds across the front. ICK. Jedi took a plan I didn't expect after the first red, but ran his heart out after that. We would've had to finish (the weaves were 7) to Q, and we didn't make it. Josie ran better and she made it through 6 for her Q (since she ran the plan). Sparkle had a dismal snooker run. But, we left together, not me chasing her. There was only one other mini dog entered in Pairs. It was a Cardigan Corgi. I hadn't seen it run all weekend. That seemed a bit odd, but OK. The nice lady and I discussed our options. She has watched Jedi run and thinks he's been doing well. (scary to hear) Jedi really would run the first half better, but she seems to think her dog will struggle on the second half too. Jedi's been running well, so I offer to take the scarier half as long as she understands there are several places it may go wrong. She was sweet about it. So that was the decision. She ran her half perfect, but slow. The beginning of our half had a good opportunity for off course for the non-listening dog. We made it past that without even a struggle. Then the call from the exit end of the tunnel to the other end over a jump. Made that. Now, the scariest part. Off the dogwalk was an inviting off course U-shaped tunnel. The real course made a hard left into the weaves at a 180 with an offside entrance. No way will I make the entrance, but can I keep him out of the tunnel? Yes! He never looked at the tunnel AND he hit the entrance. OH MY! I had to struggle with him some to keep him in the weaves, but we managed no faults there. The ending now has an opportunity for an off course jump or two as we thread our way to our end jump. We made it! I am shocked that Jedi and I made it through. I run to the score table. We made time just barely. My partner makes it to the score table. "Did we Q?" "YES! We made it", I say. She calmly says "Thanks, that was our title." "Great", I say, "congrats."  I figure it's her Relay title. It turns out it was her ADCH. OH MY GOODNESS! Thank the stars I didn't know before I ran. I'd have blown it for sure then. So, now Jedi has run for someone else's ADCH successfully. It felt good. It may be the only ADCH he ever runs for. Grand Prix was up. Jedi ran very well. When we hit the weave pole entrance (near the end of the course) and stayed in again I started getting excited. I sent him over the jump after the weaves and faded right. He went left. "JEDI! NO!"  He actual stopped in front of the off course jump and turned back to me. I kept him from back jumping and we continued. Now I am on the wrong side of everything. That put me way behind on the dogwalk. "STOP! SPOT!" Oh, please don't blow it now. He hit the contact and sailed the last two jumps. Could we have made time with the call off? I raced to the score table again. Jenni, at the table, has a poker face. "WELL?" She flips the sheet over. He made time!! OH wow! Jedi actually made it through a Grand Prix round clean. We couldn't Q back when they allowed faults, but NOW we can? That now gives him one Q in each tournament. He needs two more tournament Q's, but they can be any ones. Steeplechase finals was next. Jedi got to run in the finals even though he didn't Q. He took second with nice run. $9 won. He managed TWO Q's toward ADCH here. Now, 5 standards, 5 gambles, 2 pairs, a Super Q, and 3 tournaments are all we lack. Hrm..maybe... someday. Josie finished out our weekend with a nice Jumpers Q. I was ecstatic with the way Jedi ran all weekend, Josie reverting is just a part of fixing the problem. They always revert. We'll spend more time fixing it from square one again. 

Sunday night I got very ill. Some stomach virus. I didn't sleep well as things were expelling from both ends. By morning I was exhausted and could barely sit up for long, much less walk,. I had until 10 AM to call the foster parents of the puppy. I hated to back out on it as the receiving lady in New Orleans took some time off work to be sure and meet me in Hammond at 6. I wasn't sure I could drive 5-6 hours though. I downed a Gas-X, a couple of Tums and did my best to sleep most of the morning. By 9:45 I could sit up well. I called the foster parents and arranged to have to puppy dropped at 11:30 at my parents. That gave me another hour and a half to recoup some. I was not well, but able to load the car and sit up. So, off we go. I had no trouble staying awake what with the constant discomfort. We stopped every hour for the puppy and for me to move in a different position for a bit. Thankfully the puppy was a good traveler and slept most of the way. See how cute!

I got her dropped off at 5:30 and got home by 6:30 or so. I fed the dogs and mostly took a warm bath and went to bed.

I keep forgetting to get a picture of my new chair up. Sterling did this one for me a couple of weeks ago.


I practiced some obedience with Kamikaze in the backyard. She had stellar heeling and a perfect broad jump. He drop is still slow. I'm not sure now how to make it faster without making it a negative event. Xanadu went to obedience class tonight. Cheryl came out for the first time in a while, and I wanted to catch up some with her. So, Xanadu and I attended the Advanced class with Cheryl and Grace. Xanadu held her own very well in that class. The one big thing she is behind on for an advanced dog is stay. She wasn't ready for the length or distance of stays they do. I, of course, didn't ask it of her either. While they left their dogs in a stay and walked around everyone else's dog we did a stay with me 2-3 feet in front. I dispensed treats liberally while everyone mingled past her on her stay. She did very well with staying put while they past by her. I had the teacher restrain her during recall practice since I can't get that far from her yet on a stay. The actual recall part was great. She runs in, fast, when called and sits, although not quite straight yet.

Tomorrow afternoon I'm on my way to Memphis, TN for another USDAA agility show that Kamikaze can't attend because of the whole season thing. Sparkle is running jumpers and snooker. Josie and Jedi are also entered in about everything,. It'll be nice to stay at Mom's instead of hotel land, but it's supposed to be in the twenties at night. One thing I am not used to anymore!

19th - Goodbye Squirt

I have been noticing recently that the bunny, Squirt, has been lethargic. Rich even noticed he didn't seem right. When I checked him out this afternoon he was dirty (a very bad sign for a factitiously clean species) and skinny despite the presence of food and he had some nose discharge as well as being almost comatose on the movement scale. I added more food to his dish and he didn't seem interested in it. The last deciding straw was when he let Rich walk right up to him and pick him up. He has always been better about me picking him up and somewhat evasive of Rich. We talked it over and decided he wasn't having any quality of life, so we took him to the vet to send him quietly away, hopefully before he suffered much. Our memories are not perfect, but we think he was born at our house January of 1997. My brother can verify his birth year for me at Thanksgiving. In any case he was at least 9 or 10, maybe as old as 11. The vet was somewhat astonished when we stated his age. Evidently the oldest bunnies he's ever seen were about 6. That made me feel better about the care Squirt got through out his life. Josie will miss her little, fuzzy friend. None of the dogs have ever lived at a house without a bunny. There will not be any more bunnies here now that Squirt is gone.


I did teeters for tuna last night for Sparkle and Xanadu. Both of them are doing well. Then, as a disappointing side note, I somehow forgot to put the teeter up before running out for a quick errand. And I left more than one dog out in the yard with it. I guess working on 5 hours sleep keeps me from multi-tasking well. I was devastated to come home and find the teeter still out. I just know Xanadu tried it out while I was gone, but no one appears injured. Thankful for my healthy and uninjured guys, I now have to face up to the fact that I could've ruined Sparkle, Josie, and Xanadu's teeters. Multiple dogs on it can confuse dogs on why it's not dropping as previously expected. I got out the tuna and put all but one up. Josie's teeter performance seems unaffected. That's nice since she has a trial this weekend. Unfortunately, Sparkle and Xanadu are both more hesitant and seem to want to bail at the tipping point now. Can we just shoot the trainer? Sparkle doesn't have to teeter this weekend. She's in Jumpers and Snooker only. I am more devastated that it appears to have messed up the wonderful teeter I've been working on so hard with Xanadu. I spent a few minutes with her, going back to square one training. She seemed to overcome the confusion fairly quickly and was almost back to her old self. 

I had agility class tonight. Since Kamikaze burst into season yesterday, Josie and Sparkle split her class. Josie had great contacts! I actually got Sparkle to run a couple of the exercises by holding the tuna bag in my hand as I ran. She also did do the teeter at the field in a more normal fashion than the one at home. Maybe her confusion will only be at home? Xanadu had some practice on teeter, dogwalk, chute, and table. She remembered the chute again on the first try. Her teeter at the field was back to her old self! Thank the doggie gods! I am hoping the one brief experience with a teeter that didn't drop right has been forgotten and I am grateful she seems to recover so well from unexpected situations. She had a couple of beautiful running dog walks too. She's almost got the concept of an auto drop on the table now. And we worked on Sit from a Down.

At the show, Xanadu got to meet up with her Cattle Dog puppy friend, ASH, again. There were pics back in Sept of them playing in an xpen. They seemed to remember each other, and although Ash is more than double her size now, Xanadu was not intimidated. They got in some good play time. I also had a judge play puppy measure and Xanadu is still under 12 inches. Now I'm almost hoping she doesn't grow anymore. It would be super cool if she could jump 12 inches in USDAA. It wasn't my plan to have a 12 inch tall beagle, I was picturing 13-14 inches, but I can certainly deal with it! 


I am gratefully home safe from Carthage, TX. It was a pretty good weekend overall.

Got to show site in plenty of time to set up before Kamikaze ran Starters Jumpers. She ran well, but somewhat conservative. Not her usual speed. She had one run-by on a jump. I got her back and over it. We ended up under a second over time. BUMMER. Did I mention the course times this weekend were a bit tight? Snooker was next. Jedi actually gave it a decent go for first class of a weekend. And, as a first at this arena, he didn't take his first run to sprint straight to the back of the arena for smelling. Kamikaze's snooker run didn't go as well. I tried to run her past the A-frame TWICE. The first time I made it, the second time we didn't. Kazee loves getting on the Aframe. Team Gamblers was next. Kamikaze ended up being the last minute member for a border collie that just got back from USDAA nationals where she made both Steeplechase and Grand Prix finals and a nice little shelite that was running mostly Advanced. I was slightly amused after Kazee's two Starters runs when the sheltie lady approached me to tell me she was happy to see my dog looked very controlled out there. It seems the idea of a Siberian on her team unnerved her a little. Guess they have a reputation for being a bit unpredictable <grin>. Team gamblers didn't stress me much as it's all about points and there's not a way to E. Kamikaze had a nice controlled run. We didn't WOW anyone on the point accumulation, but we contributed to the team in a respectable manner. My teammates got the top two scores in Gamblers, so we were in first by a wide margin after the first team class. Kamikaze and Jedi ran Grand Prix. I wasn't holding out much hope for either since it must be a clean run and the times had been so tight. Kamikaze did start the weaves the first try. I was somewhat impressed as we've been passing those up the first try in AKC recently. It wasn't a passing run, but a very decent one for her first USDAA trial. Jedi just wouldn't weave among other things. Last of the day was Team Standard. This course/class scared the bee-geesus out of me for Kazee and my's experience level. The chance of E by three refusals in one course seemed awfully doable. She has and could easily get those three at the weaves. Thankfully the entry wasn't bad. They were near the end of the course though. We were clean up to the weaves. I said 'let's weave' and, by golly george,  she hit the weaves and started weaving.  At about pole 4 she looked startled that she was doing them and quit. That was a bit shocking, but team-wise not so bad. That's one standard fault for popping out, but now, according to the rules, we can no longer accumulate faults at the weaves,. Now we must just get through. It took us an un-godly amount of time to get through them. She kept coming back and not starting, or only doing half or some such nonsense. If it had been a run just counting for us I'd have left the course instead of incessantly harping on the weaves. Our course time ended up being 80 something seconds. I'd say close to half of it at the weaves, but I did contribute points to the team since I did NOT E! Combined with my teammates great performances it was enough to hold us in first by a safe padding. Back at the hotel I notice Kamikaze's feminine parts are swollen up to 3 times normal size. OH CRAP! She's not due in season until the end of December. It looks like she's going to bust into season any day. OH, let us make it through the weekend without starting the spotting PLEASE! My teammates will DIE. Of course, this will likely ruin her Memphis show next weekend. That stinks! Most of them are dying to see her run, and there aren't any other USDAA agility shows until Feb. next year that I am attending either.

Still no spotting for Kamikaze, and Jedi isn't interested yet. The day started with Gamblers classes. Josie wasn't entered in anything but Gamblers and Standard this weekend since it's all she needs for ADCH and this arena has proved to be not so great a place for her.  So, Josie didn't run at all Friday, but got to start out today. She had a great run! She ran fast and happy and did half the gamble. Jedi also had a nice run and did a bit better than Josie. He actually didn't take the trap jump close to the gamble line and was trying to figure out what 'chute' I was talking about as he wasn't far enough out from me to see it easily. Alas, so it goes with gamblers. Kamikaze had a nice steady gamblers run and did the gamble too. It's her unfortunate luck to have a handler that was on the other side of the course when the buzzer sounded. So, she was over time a bit as we wasted precious seconds racing across the course to start the gamble. I am beginning to be a bit disappointed in the lack of Q's for Kamikaze as she is running solidly. Josie ran a gorgeous Standard run. I can't even remember what her fault was I was so happy with my fast, happy dog. I know it wasn't a contact though. She's been getting all those. Jedi got his rear hauled off Standard for running to a corner and peeing on some grass. Boys can be so irritating. Kamikaze had a nice standard run. She cracked the first bar. That's very unusual. I think I set her too close and she took off from a sit to a jump. I think our weave struggle would've put us over time too. Pairs was so close for Jedi. He was paired with Tommy Whittenberg. If we'd have Q'd it would've been most brag worthy considering the two of them. I took the first half so I could have Jedi under control for the weaves, obstacle three. The second part is bad for Tommy because he gets so wound up waiting, but his half started in a straight line to a tunnel, so manageable. I got Jedi to enter the weaves and finish them without a fault. Then I managed all the hard, twisty parts still clean. I took a deep breath and forgot what the easy ending was for a split second I was so shocked at how well we were up until then. A spilt second is all it takes to lose Jedi, and over an off course he went. BAD! BAD handler. Then we watched as Tommy ran his half with only on refusal at the weaves. I hated myself for blowing that run! Kamikaze had a nice border collie partner for Pairs and we both had nice halves, so Kamikaze got her first Q! Team Snooker wasn't too scary as it is another game of points, so you can't E. But you can contribute a zero score or a low score. I felt pretty good about all of it, but weaves were number 6. The border collie lady helped me plan a four red opening to gain as many points as possible with Kazee before the weaves. Our run was steady, but Kazee was a bit distracted so slower. We got through our opening and through five in the closing just as the buzzer sounded. We were expected not to get 6 anyway, so I contribute what I said I could, and it would've been a qualifying score in regular snooker too. Our team stayed in first place. Team jumpers was the one that was scaring me today. It's a master Jumpers course with weaves. (our one big downfall right now). Well, my luck changed on this one. The course map showed a jumpers course with no weaves. Can this really be my secret team blessing? It turns out the judge forgot about weaves in team jumpers and the course reviewer let it through too. So, no weaves! There was only one off course opportunity that scared me. We did get a refusal at that point because I was so focused on the call off that I did aim her well at the right jump. But, the call off worked and we didn't E. Another decent contribution by the baby dog to the team score, Then a small disappointment as our sheltie teammate had a handler slip and fall. She recovered to keep her dog from taking an off course, but was so far behind and out of place that she got lost :( and caused a different off course. Our team's first E of the competition and it wasn't me. Everyone else was secretly (or not so secretly) relived at our E. We had been running away with it, but now we are third with first three teams within 15 or so points of each other. It looks like there's now an opportunity for all teams to Q (all 4 of us).

Still no spotting for Kamikaze, but Jedi is interested. She's snapping at him when he flirts (a good sign for me). We will likely just make it through this show before the spotting begins. Starters Jumpers kicks off our day. This course was wide open with only two real changes of direction. The posted course time of 29 seconds scares me a bit as we were over time on the 30 second course yesterday. I resolve to trust Kamikaze more and not micro manage! We sail through the course with only one slight look at an off course. I didn't even look at times, just went to treat my girl. She was around 22 seconds. So Q number 2 for the baby. Jedi only needs one more Super Q for his Snooker Champion and no more Snooker runs! His snooker run was amazing! It was responsive and actually FAST. Both of those haven't happened for him in years. We were clicking it. Opening with 3 fives and a six. The weaves were seven, but with this opening I don't need them for a solid Q. Only four mini dogs, so only high score gets Super Q. As we enter the closing he is still great. He even makes the awful #3 180 avoiding the tunnel trap. over #4 and he thinks he's done. A hard call and he barely slices over #5A, just a 180 over #5B and he's a Q. The hard pull and slice over #5A puts me a bit out of place for a perfect handler move for #5B, but Jedi's not one to cut into me past a jump. Well, Mr. responsive does just that and threadles the #5 jumps instead of 180. I fell on the ground in disappointment. Jedi jumped on me, like 'what happened here?' What a run to blow it at the last obstacle I needed to clear!  That's twice this weekend I have trashed Jedi's beautiful runs. I hate myself for it as he doesn't often run so nicely I don't want to be the one to ruin it for us. AND, the topper, he would've been the only Q in minis for his last Super Q! Somebody shoot the handler! Kamikaze had a great Snooker run. We were in the closing headed for #5, a double, in a nice flowing circle. She actually ticked the double and knocked it. She's never done that either. Wonder if three days, five times a day is wearing on her some. BUMMER AGAIN. If she'd have cleared the double it would've been her Q. Gamblers saw a repeat of yesterday. Kamikaze did the gamble, that almost no one got, but was over time for stupid handler being on wrong side of course when the buzzer went. The Master Gamble was not one my guys could do, but both had very nice openings. I was pleased. Kamikaze made it around the Standard course easily and only needed two tries at the weaves. So, baby got a standard Q! She ended the weekend with two first place Q's and a second place Q.

Jedi got hauled off Master Standard for not weaving and then cussing at me for standing there and not leaving until he did. Josie had a scream of a Standard run! For the first time this weekend she blew the Aframe. And blew it BIG! Otherwise, I was pleased with happy, speedy dog. I think she may Q in Standard again one day. At 6pm we've come to the final team class, RELAY. It's usually the scariest and anything can happen. We are easlity in a Q spot, so just no E's and Kamikaze will have her first leg towards ADCH at her first USDAA show. How cool would that be, There has been some discord between me and the border collie lady all day on which part I should run. I am sure I can get around the first part without taking an off course and without three R's. in other words we won't E on it. She is 100% convinced that's the harder part (and maybe for a border collie with obstacle focus it is) and I need to run last. I am very sure we'd struggle on the last part. The discord escalates some as it's time to walk and I still am convinced our strengths are on the first part and she's not convinced, I appeal to the other team member with my reasons and she sees my points and tries her hand at talking with border collie lady. I am walking the last part as instructed when border collie lady walks by and says "Just run the first part, I didn't mean to upset you. If you E remember to run back to the hand off and not try to finish." I don't know what finally changed her mind, but now I am convinced at least I won't E. I watched as the first two teams to run each had one dog E. At least we should still Q even if I mess up! I proved myself worthy of actually knowing what my dog can and cannot handle (IMAGINE THAT!) as we didn't E our part as she predicted. We did take some faults, but clean isn't the most important part in Relay, making it around is. Our team managed a no E relay! We are IN for sure now. The last team to run also took more than one E. That put us solidly in FIRST place. WOWZZERS! My nineteen month old Siberian has managed to hold it together for all the masters courses required for TEAM without a single off course or even a three refusal run! I am busting proud! Here's her showing off her gold medal.


I spent some time yesterday doing teeters with Sparkle and Xanadu. For those of you who know how much I despise tuna, you'll understand how motivated I am to make teeters non-scary (or at least tolerable) for Sparkle if I say I actually held tuna in my hands and fed her as the teeter tipped and banged. Xanadu still has no teeter fear and races up it. She has, however, started to learn to stop briefly as it falls so she can keep her balance on the bang. I am pleased with this, as she is showing some understanding now of what is going to happen on this obstacle. I also did a brief heeling session in the back yard with Xanadu. I only have a few more days to decide if she's going to be ready for Rally the second week of December.

I had agility class tonight. I took Kamikaze, Josie and Xanadu. I got there early and worked on Josie's contact behavior some. She seemed to be running happy. I also got Xanadu out and worked on teeter, dogwalk, table, and chute. She remembered the chute the first try! Her dogwalk performance was a tad slower than normal, but still happy. She's starting to understand to drop on the table when she hits it if she wants treats. But, we have no sit from a down right now. Note to self: WORK ON THIS! Her teeter performance was good. I noticed she doesn't work well with other dogs around. As people showed up for class she got more and more distracted. And I was even holding tuna. Another thing to work on. Kamikaze did well in class after the first exercise where we weren't even on the same planet. I am seeing that practicing all this turning is slowing her down some. I need  to work on not completely halting when I cue the turn. This is making her slow considerably and lose focus. I need to cue the turn and when she acknowledges it I need to move in the next proper direction without waiting on her to catch me.


My weekend at the shows had some disappointments and some accomplishments. Lego started out in typical Lego fashion by getting hauled off the Excellent Jumpers course for running to corners to sniff. The rest of his runs this weekend were much better. We made it all the way around them I believe. He also did ALL his contacts. He never did weave on the first try though. Kamikaze started out beautiful in Open Fast. We had a great opening,, but the weaves were in the send. I didn't think that was going to happen. She did go out the two jumps towards the weaves. When I said 'weave' she looked away from them like "I don't see those things". I went out to the weaves then to be with her. She still refused to even try. This didn't bode well for our weekend. I knew at the last show something about the weaves the last run sent her out of the ring. We'd worked on them at home and the training field and she's been doing fine. Just goes to show you can't fix 'show' problems at the training field. Excellent Jumpers for her was wild. I couldn't get her calmed down enough to make it through the windy beginning. Then when we got to the weaves she raced by them looking the other way. We tried again. She actually started them and weaved a couple and quit. Again. She did 6 and then left to see the bar setter. I walked her off the course. In Standard she ran well until the weaves. Once again stressing and not even trying. After I think 3  or 4 tries she finally just thought she better do them and she did the head-down, one-stepping, driving weaves. There was great rejoicing and an immediate exit for the good treats. Sparkle started Standard well. Trotting. Over the A-frame without any hesitation. Then through a tunnel. She spotted the evil teeter that was next and started stressing. She went half way up and then just turned around. That was the end of her for the whole day. I did get her to take two jumps on the way out. Then in jumpers she took the first and last jump.

Sunday started better with Kazee having a great Standard run until the weaves. She ran by, got called back and circled me several times while I tried to slow her down. Then she hit the weaves and flew through them. Immediate rewards again. Jumpers was perfect to the weaves too. It took her three tries to get them again. One run by. One enter and do only 11. Then all of them and we finished the course. I think I've made some positive headway with the weave stress at shows. I didn't even try Sparkle in Stanard. She only made it half way around jumpers.


I met Cheryl for lunch and then a little agility practice. I took all the guys entered this weekend with me. Xanadu had her turn first with the bars on the ground. She did a 'U' shaped tunnel, table, tire, some jumps, teeter, dog walk, (not all in a sequence!) and then we went to the chute. Cheryl had to hold it open a little the first pass to get her to go. Not surprising since we just learned chute in one day, and have only done my chute. The second pass Cheryl dropped it on her as she ran, the third time she did it all by herself. Cheryl was duly impressed with her skills and enthusiasm. Lego got a pass at the weaves and all the contacts. Then Cheryl worked with her guys. Bernie did amazing weaves for having been agility idle for awhile since Cheryl's been swamped at work lately. Kamikaze did well on her contacts. Weaves are interesting. She starts well, but bouncing, the half way through she starts one stepping. After several times through she starts quitting at 6 poles like she does here. I got her to do them again correctly and made a big fuss over it. She also got reminded about broad jumps. Sparkle ran last, and I had the really good stuff. She started a bit pokey, but the enthusiasm kicked in better after a few obstacles and a reward. She did good on all the contacts, including trotting across the dog walk instead of walking. Here's hoping for the new attitude to hold out for me!

When I got home, the mail was here, and finally I have a picture of Kamikaze as a conformation girl!


Kamikaze practiced broad jumps and stays for lunch. The stays are great. I am moving her around the front yard to different spots every time I practice them here. She still has a tendency to cut across the broad jump boards diagonally. I tried working on that some. At first she just stopped trying to jump because she didn't understand what part of her attempt was unacceptable. I did get her back jumping them again, and with a much better forward motion.

I set up a little agility exercise in the backyard this afternoon. just a couple of jumps, the teeter, and the dog walk. I ran Sparkle through it with Jimmy Dean sausage as my reward. Man! I've never seen her do a dog walk that fast! She hauled over it. She even did a pretty fast teeter. She soared the jumps. I only got her to run through it a couple of times and left her wishing for more sausage. I was thrilled with her enthusiasm and speed though. Josie and Lego both had turns while the jumps were at 16 inches. Josie is still not real solid on the dog walk contact behavior, but improving. Great speed and happiness though. Lego had a nice dog walk contact. Hope it holds up for this weekend. Kamikaze had her turn at 22 inches. I always run her at 22 inches here at home. She had nice dog walks. She didn't seem spooked about the up ramp this time. Of course, I didn't have a tunnel under it either. Then it was Xanadu's turn. I put the bars on the ground for her still. She raced across the dog walk. I am not worrying with any stopping right now. I think that's how I made Sparkle a pokey contact performer. I started contacts by first teaching touch at the bottom. I also don't think Xanadu's going to get big enough to stride over the yellow. She'd have to seriously bail to miss it. I am right now just running my treat hand through the zone and she's following. She also handled the off set jumps OK the second time. First time she ran past one. The teeter is no problem for her either. I am still catching the end and dropping it myself, but only slightly slower than it would fall on its own. Her biggest issue right now is that when it hits on its own  it bounces her. (she's not even 13 pounds) I still need to teach her how to crouch her center of gravity down some to prepare for it. I only ran her a couple of times like Sparkle and left her wanting more sausage.

Xanadu had her first beginner obedience class tonight. She did pretty well. Her biggest heeling fault right now is forging when she loses focus (which is frequently at this point). She did well though and I was proud. I only worked her about half the class. No need to make obedience too repetitive and boring! Then I got out my broad jump and worked with Kamikaze again. She didn't hesitate at all to jump it, so I haven't completely ruined her. She did a beautiful figure 8 heel too. She still has a bad habit of dropping very late on the drop on recall. Still haven't gotten through to her yet about hitting the ground fast. Sparkle had a quick turn at the broad jump. She acted like she'd never seen those things before. Guess I'll need to work on those tomorrow before her Novice Standard agility run Sat. She didn't even want to remember how until I showed her the left over Chick-Fil-A strip. Then she had a light bulb moment. I swear! She did a couple of retrieves on the flat and one perfect drop on recall. Then we went home.


Xanadu is five months old today! I got a cute shot of her curled up with Sparkle tonight. See how much smaller than Sparkle she still is!

Kamikaze shot out a gate today when I opened it. BAD GIRL! It was one of the side gates out into the woods. I wasn't too concerned, as she has done well in the front yard off leash for obedience work. Well, she kept on running when she got through the gate. Maybe she got about half a football field away with me calling the whole time. Just as I started to wonder if I should panic she turned around and raced back to me smiling the whole way. GOOD GIRLIE! She got big hugs and lots of praise and play for coming. I wanted to crack a knot on her head for racing out a gate, but can't fix that when she comes back out of the woods to me.


Sparkle had her yearly check-up today. She's doing great. It even looks like in the next 6 months that the nail that Rich accidentally crushed will be normal again. Right now I have to be sure it stays ground back so it doesn't touch the ground. It seems to still hurt some with ground pressure what with the existing cracks and all. Xanadu went along for the ride. She isn't growing very fast at all! She only weighed 12.6 pounds. That's only 6 ounces gained in a month. When I measured her a few weeks back she was 11.75 inches tall. Her brother in Ohio is already 13.5 inches tall. She wanted a 16 inch jumper and I wanted a 12. Looks like we're both gonna get what we wanted size-wise.

Kamikaze practiced her Open stays today. She got left over steak when I returned each time, and I made a big deal about what a great girlie she was. She also got in some weave pole practice. She is stellar the first couple of times through and then starts to lose her drive. I am hoping for at least a couple of Q's this weekend in Gulfport.

I realized Xanadu has never been introduced to the chute. I think it's the only agility obstacle she hasn't had any interaction with yet. I pulled out my chute and let Josie out with Xanadu. I had the really good treats. I sent Josie through the chute. She got good stuff as she shot out. Xanadu caught on to that game real quick. The next time I sent Josie, Xanadu went with her. She ran all the way through the chute fabric right along side Josie. When she popped out she wanted her chicken bits. She didn't seem phased at all. Several more times she went with Josie through the chute and never showed any hesitation. OK, so I tried the real test. I made Josie lie down and ran towards the chute with Xanadu hot on my tail. When she got to the chute she ran straight in and all the way straight through. No hesitation even when she went by herself. WOW! I love this puppy's attitude and fearlessness! So now she knows what a chute is all about. Tonight I took Xanadu to conformation class. This time I actually did much better on my part, and so Xanadu did much better on hers. She even let the teacher look at her teeth without much backing up. She's understanding how to stop in a pretty stand now, and I haven't seen the tendency to sit rearing up in conformation any more.

1st- Happy Birthday Josie!

Today is the day we celebrate Josie's birthday. That makes her FIVE today. Can't believe it's been almost 5 years since she broke her leg at the agility field. What a great addition she's been to the agility family. Maybe next year this time we'll have that ADCH!

I met Cheryl and her two guys for tracking practice this morning. I stopped on the way there to lay Lego a track to age. She suggested we try out the abandoned golf course behind her neighborhood. She has in roads with a lady that lives in a house that backed up to the golf course, turned wild field. So, we could walk through her yard to go out there. What a great tracking place! Much more like the fields you track in for the test. I laid both her guys tracks and she laid a Sparkle track while the nice lady's son, a pastor at Cheryl's church, laid Kamikaze a track. Then I got Xanadu out there while the tracks aged and Cheryl laid her a short L track with treats at the turn. She didn't do near as well out in a strange field as she does around here. She was very distracted by the sound of someone's fountain in their yard and all the new sights and smells. She did make it to the glove with some coaxing and she did her auto down. I see now she is one that must be carried to many places to track before she understands that tracking can happen anywhere. Cheryl took some more pictures of her tracking.
I know how to sniff start articles now!                                                       

I can find good treats hidden in the grass

Kamikaze did very well on her track today. She only got the silly spazz out circle run a couple of times, but was much better keeping her focus on the straight aways. There is definitely hope for her. It was three long straight lines. One of them even went close enough to one of the old water hazards to be considered a TDX style obstacle. She did get sucked a bit off track towards the water some, but recovered well. Sparkle's track started in a part of the field with some sticker weeds. She was NOT pleased about that at all and tried to just refuse to start. I didn't let her get away with that, and after the first 10 feet or so we were out of the stickers. Then her tracking posture improved to much more normal. She tracked Cheryl right up to a fallen tree and then over the trunk she went, just like Cheryl. She did very well on her track until just before the last turn. Cheryl had walked through an old gazebo out there. Some stickers have grown up in the doorway since the golf course was active. Sparkle tracked right up to them and then looked at me like 'NO WAY'. She refused to go through there. To her credit, she was intent on going around the gazebo and picking it up there. I made her step through the stickers though. Then her brain was in neutral and just as we came out of the gazebo Cheryl turned down the old golf cart path (concrete) for awhile. Sparkle struggled there trying to figure it out. Then we just had a rough time at the last turn and then down the last leg. She did eventually make it through and alert to the glove.

Cheryl's guys did well too. We put the dogs up and went to meet the pastor's mother and her dog. Cheryl's been telling me about Teddy. She's been telling me he's Bandit's twin. Well, I'll be buggered, he IS so much like Bandit it's just scary. He's even greying (he's 13) in the same pattern around his muzzle and everything. I made Cheryl take his picture for me too. 

It was just about perfect timing for me to take everyone back home and pick up Lego to take him to his track. By the time we got to it it was four hours old. He struggled a bit finding the right direction at the start. I started in one of the hardest parts of the field. Once he got on it though, he was a champ. He was a bit to the left down the first leg, but when he whiffed a concentrated scent (an article). He started weaving back and forth until he found the source. It was a plastic pill bottle, so I was pleased that he could recognize it as an article to stop at as well as shocked at how well he could smell it from a few feet off. He continued to track almost perfectly. The turns were a bit wide. He'd overshoot and then circle back into the scent and keep going though. Not quite like getting lost. He also found the Mardi Gras beads on the next to last leg and alerted appropriately. They were smack in the middle of the field with no good marker to find them. It would've been hard for me to recover them if he hadn't have found them. On the drive home I reflected on his ability to follow a four hour old track so precisely that he was right on top of the Mardi Gras beads in the middle of 9 acres. WOW! Dogs are amazing. I really, really must spend more time developing his tracking skills. He is such a natural, and he loves it. I believe he could be a Champion Tracker if I put in the time with him to hone his focus on keeping dedicated to the scent. He already has shown great promise tracking on dirt through the woods.

Xanadu's pics came in from the JOTC photographer. I put a couple on her page. Her grown up lime green collar came in too.