November 2005

October 2005


Lego and I got up and went tracking this morning. We had an encounter with an unleashed, unfenced Pit Bull. He didn't seem agressive but ran over to see what we were doing. Lego doesn't play well with strangers and got a tad bit upset. I lifted him up by his tracking harness and restrained him under one arm while I tried to shoo the interest Pit away. One toe jab in the ribs sent him on his way. My back has wonderful welts from Lego's rear legs trying to push off me to get down. The good part is, after the dog was out of sight I managed to get Lego re-focused on the job at hand and he finished the track. This is a big deal for Lego the scatter-brain. Usually once he's that distracted there's no going back.

Today was also picture day with Santa. All of you that regularly interact with me know we get the guys pictures with Santa every year. This year the hosting non-profit organization, CAAWS, had the space donated by Harley Davidson . This was a new venue so I went ahead of time to check out the space. The worst part was that you had to go upstairs to get the photo shoot. Not a big deal. I found out we're FAMOUS at this event. The photographer said she set up the backdrop and all with our guys in mind. She set up a 5 foot bench for Santa to sit on to be sure 4 of my guys could sit up there too. I didn't get drug too bad by the five attached to me on the stairs. The pictures are supposed to be mailed out Dec 1rst, so stay tuned to see the new Santa picture posted. This year they all wore antlers with a jingle bell hanging off the side. Maverick was decidedly irritated by the this and I think you'll see his opinion in the picture.

While we were all out we went by Petsmart to visit S.O.S. at their adoption day. They are the group that we acquired Josie from. They had a whole litter (4 boys) of Josie look alikes. (If you click on the link go see Stanley and Dudley.) MAN were they cute. It was like turning back the clock when I looked at them. Gosh I hope they find great homes too. 


AH, Thanksgiving. Well we didn't have any family in town and couldn't really afford to go anywhere, so we were alone. We decided it would be nice to head down to the convention center around lunch and volunteer to help serve the under priveleged. We got there around 10:45. there were MANY MANY helpers there already. After about an hour or more there is still nothing for us to do because of the abundance of help, so we headed to Ruby Tuesdays for our Thanksgiving "feast". Rich spent the afternoon trying to get the riding mower to start so he could mulch the leaves that have fallen. He finally gave up and used the push mower. It was a nice afternoon. Around 74 with a nice breeze. I did alot of nothing. The dogs helped me do that. They're very good at it.


All the awards for the obedience club have arrived now. They all appear to be spelled right and everything. That's a relief. The party is Dec. 3rd, so I have everything prepared in plenty of time.

It was a nice day today. I set up only a tunnel and a jump. The idea was to work on the basics of "Unleashing the Velcro Dog" with the guys. It went much better than last time since I remembered to treat them like they were new at this game AND I brought out the target from the start. Jedi tried the "sneaky dog"  imitation (run around obstacle straight to the food on the target) a couple of times at the beginning of his session, but caught on to that not being the right game and did much better later. Josie "got it" much quicker than Jedi. Bandit was a bit tentative, but happy and willing, and he did catch on. I worked with Misty on turning away from me at a distance. It didn't go as well as planned, but I made a tiny bit of progress. I need to think up some better way to explain to her what I want. My ways weren't working well. I tried Lego out a bit on distance. He's just so durn distracted all the time. After a few successful distance jumps we worked on obedience. He only bolted once during heeling. I kept true to the training and left him alone in the yard. That was the only real distraction fit he had. When we finished all the exercises, he got a nice bite of leftover hamburger patty for working well with me.


Today I set up a gentle curve of a pinwheel around one of the saplings with 4 jumps and a tire. The intent was to work on distance with the sapling as a layering obstacle. Misty, who's been in "Unleashing the Velcro Dog" class for 6 weeks now did quite satisfactory. But, I found myself getting much too frustrated at the other dogs who haven't had much distance work. I tried to speed up the distance understanding process. It doesn't work that way. Finally I settled myself down some and got out a target to put food on to focus the dogs away from me and at the obstacle ahead. This had better success and we did one obstacle to the target with food. Much praise was in order too as I had started to frustrated them by expecting them to "get it" too fast. Then a speed demon race throught the pinwheel for shear fun and joy. (It's also harder to pull in to me when they're running full speed and I'm moving it too) Jedi and Josie really got in the speed race. Sometimes I still need to remind myself that it should be FUN first.

Rich finished the interior wall work at the temporary building today. Tomorrow we should get phone service there too. We got the water turned on a few days ago. There is still some cleaning to be done and much furniture to put together.


Today I took Misty with me to Pet Therapy. Pet Therapy involves taking the animals to the nursing homes and assisted living facilities to visit patients. Misty is very good at this job. She LOVES to be petted and hugged.

After Pet therapy I worked with Lego some on his Open exercises. Typically I get a very well behaved, great heeling, focused dog at home and a distracted runabout in the ring. HALLELUJAH I actually got the same dog here at home as the one I get in the ring. I was FINALLY able to work on the ring issues. Every time he lost his mind and bolted to check out something interesting during the heel exercise I just turned and walked out the backyard gate and left him in the yard alone.  NO calling or hollering at him when he bolted off AND no continuing to walk waiting for him to return to heel. Just abondonment! That's what he's doing to me. A dose of his own medicine might cure him.After a minute or two I'd return to the yard and go back to where I'd been when he "lost it" and tell him to heel again. This seems to have done some good. He kept focused better after a couple of these little incidents. I need to get the distracted dog several more times here at home to cement in his mind that if he chooses to run off when we're working then I'll just leave him too.

The business is racing towards opening. Rich will probably open his doors December 1rst or so. It all is falling in to places seamlessly, not many bumps at all. Hopefully his building will be built by March/April.


Today I pulled out the Clean Run Sourcebook again. Here's what I set up:

I added the six weaves poles in for a little entry practice. This exercise was that much harder at my house considering the sapling between 4 & 5 (black numbers) and the doggie jungle gym just on the inside of the pinwheel between 3 & 4 (black numbers). I got to layer the sapling with most of the dogs and they did OK. I also took the opportunity to practice some "Unleashing the Velcro dog" exercises with Misty and Bandit.

I'm so EXCITED for my buddy Megan Foster. She is at USDAA nationals with her older guy, TY. She got 5th place in the Steeplechase competition. That's with the best in the country competing. I bet she's flying high. Way to go Megan!

We went to Office Depot this weekend and got some basic furniture and office supplies for the new business. We were pretty frugal and we're gonna be able to open up with basic stuff fairly cheaply. I saw the temporary location yesterday. It's gonna work out pretty well. Needs some cleanup, but has almost new carpet and plenty of parking.


MORE GOOD NEWS! Today Rich found a spot willing to lease to him for a temporary time frame. Now he can open up his business and generate $$$ while we wait on our nice building to be built!!! MUCH RELIEF! We're gonna go celebrate tonight at On The Border.


It's been one month since Misty's surgery. As you can see, she's looking well. We'll even have hair growing there in another month.
Tonight was the annual meeting of Overcome Agility Club. I was "elected" treasurer. I got Rosey Andermann "elected" secretary too. I use the term "elected" loosely since there are only 7 active members it was more of a "who volunteers for what job .. or pick your poison". Our little club has money in the bank and has managed to run USDAA several trials over the last 3-4 years and stay in the black. We have applied for our next trial for the first weekend of March. The place and judge are booked. I was also "elected" chief ring steward for this trial, so it'll be my job to holler for HELP in the ring. At lest it's a one ring show so those people not running have no excuse to not help. We have some 4-H kids in the area that seem to be excited to come out and help. I just love young legs for chute straightener, leash runner, and scribe runner. We also voted that club members actively helping at the show or planning the show can get 3 free titling classes per dog up to 2 dogs, so I'll even be able to run some at our show since I won't have to pay :)


AH, some refreshing news! The bank has approved us for a business loan. This will float us financially business and personal for many months! This helps alleviate the current stress situation. Now if they'll just get our building built QUICKLY!

I did some jump chute work with all 5 actively competing agility guys tonight. It went well for everyone. 


This weekend was deemed to be "dog care" weekend. So that means I gave 4 baths yesterday and 5 today. I can still give baths outside because it's still in the 70s here. Most of the dogs will stand politely even if unhappily for a bath in the driveway. Lego and Josie still require a slip lead for this or they would be GONE.
   Jedi's favorite part is the drying off!

I got to brush yesterday's bath candidates today too. I'll still have plenty of brushing to do this evening. Nikita's shedding horribly and after her bath almost her whole coat is covered with clumps sticking out.

On another note. We think we've found a place to open a clinic here close by in an upscale business park. The bad news is we have to wait for them to build us a building. (90 days or so?) So, we are looking for a temporary location until that is finished. We should hear something on our request for a business line of credit on Monday. We really need that to go through to help us open up and pay our household bills for a few months. My income will pay the house note, car note and land note, and buy food. So we will not be in danger of losing our house and 6 acres. Student loans have been deferred for several months too. If we can get some financing I think this will be a blessing after all.


Well, I finally got some more agilty practice in. I got the jump chute up for Misty and 6 weaves poles out for Jedi. Misty was a bit weaker in the jump chute this time. I'm not sure why. Jedi's focus was to make weaves just as fun as any other agility equipment. I've noticed he frequently shuts off his brain at shows (if it was on to start with) at the weaves. I got a couple of jumps put up at odd angles to the poles and tried JUMP then WEAVE. I made an effort to hang back and let him try to find the weaves on his own. Any attempt to actually weave was rewarded with a click and treat. No matter what pole he started at or how many he actually weaved. WOW! It didn't take long for him to enter at the first pole and weave them all happily. I'm sure I spent way too much time with him originally only rewarding perfection and insisting he do it again if he failed to do it right. He responded quite well to a click and treat for ANY effort, and I know he knows how to do it right so I wanted him to do it HAPPILY.


MISTY UPDATE: All the specialists and test this time say she may be cured just with the surgery, so it doesn't look like it's gonna have to be a case of 12 months of antibiotics. We have cut her antibiotic dose in half since the test came back that the bug was more susceptible to the drug. The dermatologist says he'd give antibiotics two months AFTER the swelling and knots are gone. I think that will be our guideline now.  We will have a check up when I run out of pills. (approx. 4 months worth) If there is no swelling or knots in the shoulder there is a chance we will cut the antibiotics out. :)


I let the dogs out as usual around 5:30 AM. Around 5:33 there was quite a stir going on outside. I ran out there to discover Nikita had caught her ANOTHER rabbit, and her two yard mates, Cedar and Jedi, wanted to help her eat it. The dogs in the other yard were throwing a tantrum because they couldn't get over there to help too. Rich ran out in shorts and slippers in 40 degrees and picked up the mangled remains with his bare hands and threw it over the fence into the woods. I LOVE that I didn't have to do that! I would've dragged all the dogs into the shop and locked them in while I got a shovel and careful slipped it under the remains and held it well away from my body while I carried it out of the yard. Rich's way was much faster though! So, there was no sleeping in for anyone this morning.



Rich has been planning for the last month to try and open his own business early next year. Well, his boss found out and was unhappy and told him to go on and leave. So now he is unemployed and unprepared to open his business for a couple months. This is not good as you can all imagine. Panic and stress are high. Dog shows will probably not be feasible for many months, maybe a year or more. At least the December show is paid for already (all but Josie). I will use some of his vacation pay to enter her too. Then I'll be on the sidelines for a while. I had good intentions of training tonight when I got home, but as you can understand, none of that happened.