Thursday night Lisa covered both agility classes for me. I went home from work and finished packing up my van and went to bed early. I got up at 1am and hit the road by 2am. I drove to Council Bluffs, IA for a 4 day Susan Salo jumping seminar. Friday and Saturday were foundation skills and Sunday and Monday were advanced skills. It was about a 6 to 6.5 hour drive. I went right to the seminar on Friday. I was looking forward to getting away and getting a break from my daily responsibilites and all of the thoughts that go along with them.
The seminar was held in an unheated, uninsulated building with a dirt floor. It was VERY cold. I ended up with 2 layers of gloves and wool socks and Sorrell boots and my long underwear shirt with 2 layers on top plus a coat. I was still cold. One person went to Wal-Mart and bought out all the feet and hand warmers and sold them to us. The seminar place was surrounded by plowed corn fields and a sheep pasture. No trees. The wind there was amazing. Huge gusts of wind.
Friday after the seminar I stopped and got food on the way to the campground. I got there and tried to self register but they didn’t have any forms. I folded up the crates and used the dog blankets and my sleeping bags and made up a bed in the van. I plugged in a power strip and had an electric heater and my alarm clock plugged into that. The dogs food was still frozen so I took it out to thaw for their breakfast and we went to bed at 7:30pm. I was very tired from the little sleep the night before and driving. That night it got down to 15 degrees! They broke the record for the coldest temps Friday night and Saturday night! I was ok for most of the night. I did wake up in the morning a bit chilly. The next morning I rolled up the sleeping bags, setup the crates, fed the dogs and went off to the seminar. I had to stop for breakfast on the way so I could use a real bathroom to put my hair up and brush my teeth. The campground did not have running water or showers or flush toilets. Just outhouses. It was cold again for the seminar. Saturday night I got smart and put the crates up front and blew up the mattress that I had brought with. I let the van like that and let the dogs veg in back on the mattress all day Sunday. Sunday night I got even smarter and zipped the sleeping bags together to help keep the heat in.
I tried to work the dogs inside over the lunch break. Some rude lady came in after me and tried to start working her dog. After smacking him a few times she then announced to me that he was aggressive. Yet she was working him off leash? When she saw that I was already working my dog? It really pissed me off that she was so stupid but I didn’t want to put my dog at risk so I just left. I went out and worked in the sun on the side of the building where there was less wind. It was actually nicer outside. I put Copper and Vada through the Schutzhund obedience paces. I did some heeling with both of them and sit and down in motion, a few recalls and some send outs. I worked on “stand” more with Vada. She has moments when she is getting it. Monday I worked with both of them on doing contacts as there was a super low dog walk out back as well as an aframe. The dog walk was metal so it was great to get the dogs on something different. Shelley suggested I work laterally on Vada’s contacts so I’m trying to remember to do that.
I also tracked with them on Sunday and again Monday on my way out of town. They both did really well and I was proud of myself for tracking. They were our first tracks of the year! I had to. It was very nice and green lush grass down there. The first two days were way too windy but after that it was pretty good for tracking. Monday was windier but they both did well. They were both short tracks. 1 corner on Sunday and 2 on Monday. Monday was longer then Sunday. I just wanted it to be positive, fun and no stress. That is my tracking goal this year – to not worry about precision so much and just do lots of tracking. How they track is how they track and I should make my next track better to work on whatever their problems were the last time. I looked at a few places but ended up tracking in the state park that I was camping in. It was along the lake. There were geese and some weird black ducks there and people fished their quite often. So a bit of distractions.
Saturday after the seminar I took the dog on a 3 mile walk in the park off leash. They were so happy to be out of the van and able to run free and stretch their legs and smell all the smells. I thouroughly enjoyed it too. There were deer in the park too but the dogs never saw them. Copper was pretty tired the next 2 days from the walk.
The seminar was really good. The foundation one was setup so that there were 3 groups of dogs. In the morning group 1 went through the exercises. Then in the afternoon group 2 did all of the exercises followed by the 3rd group. I learned alot and got a bunch of exercises to bring home to work on with my dogs. Also, some things that I can use in the classes that I teach. The advanced days were setup by exercise. Almost all of the dogs were 20″ jumpers so everyone did all of the exercises then we did the next exercise and everyone did that one. Each part started with a lecture. For the advanced lecture we were able to do it in the obedience building which was heated. It was a nice break from the cold. And it was easier to take notes with bare hands. We had lunch in that building too which broke up the day.
Sunday night I watched videos on my laptop. I watched agility runs from past trials. I feel so bad for my dogs. I am a horrible handler! But I hope I am getting better now. I also compared video of Vada’s flyball box turn to AJs. I think Vada is hitting the box too high. She looks like she sets up ok (which is something we talked about at the seminar so I wanted to look) but her front feet and head are alot higher then AJs and he is bigger then she is. So for the next few practices I’m going to have the top flipped up to encourage her to hit it lower. Once I get my video camera back I can video tape it and compare in slow motion.
In some seminars by the end of the last day my brain is shot. It wasn’t too bad this time. I was tired and worn out from the cold but I didn’t feel brain dead. I think it helped that it was all the same topic. And it was just a few exercises but done by a variety of dogs. It was nice to see the troubleshooting for the dogs that had problems. It might have helped that I could go back and just hang out in my van afterwards or go for a walk. And I didn’t have other responsibilities to worry about in the evenings.
I was ready to go home by the end. I was missing Karl and missing the dogs. There were other dogs there that reminded me of Karl’s dogs. I was able to call Karl every night since he was sweet and picked up a phone card for me. The first 2 nights I called from Wal-Mart. That was a scary place and the phones are in a really bad location in the store. Then I realized there was a pay phone at the campground so I used that to call him Sunday night. It was much nicer!
The drive home went well. Smooth sailing the whole way. We were done by 2:40pm on Monday. I went tracking and was on the road by 4pm.
Tuesday night it was cold again and they were promising snow later in the evening. So I decided to stay home from Schutzhund training. I was still tired from my weekend and sick of being cold. Karl had gone to Winona so I had all of the dogs so they got to stay outside longer since I stayed home. It worked out well for everyone.
It’s still snowing today.
I got my platelet count checked again today. They are at 131K!!!! They have not been this high in a long time. I hope the trend continues. I really think that stopping taking the cod liver oil helped. I will add back in the borage or flax seed oil but only one at a time to see if it makes a difference.
I found our wedding cake topper last night at Michaels. It was perfect. It’s a bride and groom dancing. Karl and I are taking dancing classes so it’s very fitting. I also got paint for the little plaster dogs that will go on the cake too. Soon I can start painting them so they can look like our dogs.