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New Year – 2016

It’s been awhile since I have posted.  I have not felt like writing.  I’ve have just been try to get through the winter.  Luckily it has been a mild winter and we seem to have an early spring.  And we just went through daylight savings so we have light longer in the evenings.  So now I just need to wrap up my evening classes and I can go back to training outside.

A nice March walk

A nice March walk

I don’t think much new has happened since December.

Happy bone chewing dogs

Happy bone chewing dogs

Fringe needs 3 Gamblers Qs and 1 tournament Q to finish her ADCH.  Letty needs 2 Gamblers Qs and 1 Pairs Q to finish her PDCH.  So close but so far since gamblers are so hard for me to get.  Vada finished her Veterans Jumpers title.  I’m on the verge of retiring her from USDAA.
Fringe has 7 QQs in AKC.  Letty still only has 1.  Luckily, Letty is still in the running for the AKC Invitational even though our Q rate is horrible.  Weaves have gotten a ton better though.  Vada earned her MPX so I retired her from AKC as 20″ is as low as she can go.
In CPE we keep plugging away at Letty’s C-ATE.  I moved Vada to Enthusiast.  She needs a few more Qs to finish her CT-ATCH and then I will move her to Specialist and 12″ as her arthritis is getting a lot worse.  She is on Previcox daily at the moment and feeling tons better.  I moved Narc to Specialist so he can jump 16″.  He is 1 or 2 Qs from finishing his CS-ATCH.  He needs 1 Jumpers or 2 Snooker to finish.  Never thought he’d get past Level 3.  So proud of him!  Fringe finally finished Level 4 Colors so we are now in all Level 5 and working towards her C-ATCH.

I started a Gentle Stretch Yoga class and I love it.  I needed something different and something for me.

I’m really enjoying Letty’s agility class at Animal Inn.  Nice open courses so we can go fast.  And it’s fun to run on the dirt.  The riding arena is heated now so you stay plenty warm.

Vada was having an issue with her rear legs trembling.  Mostly her right.  So Dr Julia wanted to see her.  She had to do dry needling on trigger points in her inner leg muscles.  Vada hates dry needling but it works really well.  We’ve seen Dr Heather monthly too.  The last week or two she has seems calmer and she sleeps on the floor at night and isn’t involved as much.  On walks last week she was lagging behind and not enjoying it.  So I cut the walks short.  Sunday I started giving her Previcox and by the time we got home from seeing a movie she was her old bright eyed self again.  I didn’t realize how bad she had gotten.  Poor girl.  We see Dr Jina in a few days to talk about removing the mammary lump that is growing.  Narc saw Dr Julia too and all is well.  He sees Dr Jina this week too for his routine check up.

Vada waiting for me to come home

Vada waiting for me to come home

Quest’s kidney issues are getting worse.  His values are going up and he’s losing weight.  I try to put food out for him whenever I think of it.  It’s harder since we can’t leave it out as the dogs will eat it.  Giving him fluids has been going better.
Reba’s coat seems to be getting better with Frontline on the 1st of each month.  We’ve been feeding her and Casper raw and canned food and Reba has put on a lot of weight.  Her rear end is very weak though.  It’s sad.

In January I trained with MVSV at a riding arena in Mankato.  We just did obedience but it was fun.  Vada got to work on her obedience too.

I February I did a CDSP obedience trial.  There was a trial Friday night so I went after doing team at the USDAA trial.  Letty’s run was horrible.  I was nervous about her maybe barking at the judge and the stand / walk around exercises.  So she wanted nothing to do with me and her heeling was attrocious.  I was certain we would go in the ring and she would give me great heeling like I know she is capable of.  It did not go that way at all.  She did well on the exercises once we were done heeling.  She was having a human butt sniffing day too.  Narc did well and I was proud of him.  He did not Q since he got up too early on the recall.  The rest was nice though.  Vada did well in Open and Qd.  And I found out later from the results posted online that Letty actually did Q on Friday.  I was never called back into the ring or told about it so it was a surprise.  We went back on Sunday for another trial.  Narc Qd on this one.  Letty had a better run since I had a bit more control over my nerves and attitude.  Still not what she is capable of but better.  We Qd.  Vada NQd though.  All was great but on the send out I said her name before “sit” and I never say her name.  Stupid handler mistake.  But she had fun.  So we will give it another go in April.  Maybe finish some titles in CDSP and WCRL.

Fringe's DAM team Q rosette

Fringe’s DAM team Q rosette

Letty's Q and 2nd place ribbons from Sunday - she also Qd and placed 1st on Friday

Letty’s Q and 2nd place ribbons from Sunday – she also Qd and placed 1st on Friday

Narc's Q ribbon, 1st place ribbon and High Scoring MMBC member rosette

Narc’s Q ribbon, 1st place ribbon and High Scoring MMBC member rosette

Vada's Q and 1st place ribbons

Vada’s Q and 1st place ribbons

We celebrated Valentine’s Day with dinner at Jimbo’s again.  Karl got me some beautiful tulips (that Bessie also loved) and chocolates and this beautiful necklace.

My handsome dinner date at Jimbo's

My handsome dinner date at Jimbo’s

Jimbo's decorations

Jimbo’s decorations

Bessie and the pretty tulips

Bessie and the pretty tulips

Beautiful necklace

Beautiful necklace

One weekend in February I trained with MVSV on Saturday at the U of M livestock arena.  We did obedience and 2 rounds of protection.  First, Dave worked Letty.  She did awesome.  Then their newer helper, Peter, worked her.  He geeked her out a bit.  I think he came on strong and his stick hits are harder.  So he backed off a bit and build her up again and she did great.  It was perfectly what she needed to see and work through.  Then on Sunday we went and trained with Warren.  So much IPO in 1 weekend!

Fringe turned 11 on March 1st.  So we all had cupcakes from Nadia’s Cakes.  Yum!

Happy 11th birthday, Fringe!

Happy 11th birthday, Fringe!

Nadia's Cakes people and dog cupcakes

Nadia’s Cakes people and dog cupcakes

Vada started a nosework class at OTR last week.  I felt bad since Letty has class 2 nights in a row and Vada’s Wednesday night class attendance wasn’t consistent with Dr Heather appointments and what not.  I was able to squeeze in the class on my way to Letty’s AI agility class.  We have worked on it at home so she knew birtch odor so I thought an advanced class wasn’t too much of a stretch.  Our first week was painful as she wasn’t sure what we were doing.  Plus, she might have not felt well.  Diane gave me lots of good information though.  Last night was our 2nd night and she did awesome and found all of the hides.  We just threw anise odor at her last week and she was finding it just as well as birch last night.  So smart!

We got together for Tobie’s birthday last week since he was in town.  It was fun and amazing that we were all able to make a night work.

On Saturday Vada and I made our AKC Utility debut.  It wasn’t too horrible.  The first run wasn’t very good since she was sniffing at the top of the ring on heeling and signals.  But she passed articles and the moving stand for exam.  They think that glove #2 is the easiest so we got that one.  I wasn’t sure which way to pivot so I turned to my left.  She went to glove #3.  I can’t blame her for that.  On the send out she wasn’t clear where to go out to.  The ring was a bit different than training and the run throughs at there are white barriers behind the fencing and the ring is even longer.  More to train for.  My camera person had issues so that run did not get recorded.  Our 2nd run went much better.  Signals were beautiful until the down.  She came in.  I dropped her verbally half way and then did the rest of the signals correctly (same as the first run).  Articles and moving stand for exam were good again.  And again we got glove #2!  So this time I pivoted to the right and she nailed it.  The send out was much more solid.  But when I cued “sit” she came in to me.  So lots of good stuff and lots to work on still.

Sunday we went to IPO training with Warren.  We started breaking down the back transport.  Still need a call out too.

I decided to drive out to WA in May to train with Shade.  2 students from FDSA are going to train with her for 5 days and invited me.  Sounds like a great opportunity.  LOTS of driving though.  I have most of the trip planned out.  Took forever to find a hotel out there.  Pet fees are outrageous and they don’t have any of my typical cheaper hotels.

And I’m on a wait list for a puppy.  Probably won’t be going home until November assuming all goes well with the breeding which I am well aware doesn’t always work out.  So we’ll work on Letty’s IPO training and trialing this summer.

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Video

Amazing December

I feel like I am very behind but I guess it’s only been a month. So much has happened the last month!

Thanksgiving went very well. We had a great time with good food and good company.

That weekend I ended a 3 day AKC trial at OTR. Letty was in Excellent Standard for her first time. She earned 2 Open JWW Qs to finish her OAJ title.

Vada Qd in one of her Performance Masters Standard runs so that earned her a few PACH points towards her qualifications for the AKC Invitational next year! And she earned her first ever Excellent Jumpers Q!

That Tuesday we had a Dr Heather visit. Vada had a tire crash at the CPE trial and I didn’t want it to effect our performance at the Invitational. And I wanted Seven to get looked at since he’s been having jumping issues. Both needed adjustments. Seven’s weren’t anything that would effect his jumping though. Vada was pretty out of whack though. So I’m really glad I brought her in. It’s a good idea to let their bodies rest and keep the adjustments so Letty and Narc got to play agility at class that night.

Thursday morning the girls and I hit the road to Columbus OH! We had been getting lots of snow. Karl and I both worked from home on Tuesday since the roads were so bad. They were still very snow covered on Thursday morning. But they got better once I got out to WI. I hit Chicago during rush hour but I felt pretty comfortable dealing with the traffic. Then good roads til I got north of Indianapolis. It started snowing and accumulating on the roads. It was coming down pretty heavy so visibility was pretty poor. Spent a few hours driving 30mph. But I needed to drive thru it or it would just get worse. It ended up being a 16 hour drive but we made it! At 3am. But they usually give me the same room so it’s a little like coming home.

Luckily Friday was a casual training day. Shade’s flight was a little delayed so we started even later. I was able to sleep in and then go run the girls at a park.

OH Snow

OH Snow

We were working on protection exercises that day. With Letty we started working on the call out of the blind. Chad had a sleeve. I would turn her on and then ask for obedience. I tried asking her to come back into heel position but it got ugly. So we settled for just a sit. Then I varied rewarding on me and rewarding with a bite on Chad. We also varied obedience vs just giving a bite vs sending her for a bite. It was very hard for her. Shade noticed that Letty MUCH prefers the reward of the helper vs tugging with me. She encouraged me to use the helper as a reward more often.

Saturday and Sunday I audited the seminar. Monday I had a working spot with Letty. We did 3 sessions. On the first one I showed Shade where our dumbbell retrieve is at. She pushed me to show her more and Letty looked really good. Shade gave me some ideas for next steps. Our second session we worked on heeling. Final answer was that Letty is pacing and not trotting which means she’s in a lower arousal state and more likely to be distracted by the environment. Shade suggested I quit heeling with her and start over and only reward trotting. The hard part is that I can’t tell the difference so I don’t know when to reward. I’m hoping Kristin might be able to help me out on Fridays at the barn. For our 3rd session we worked on starting the back transport. We started with a bite wedge on the floor and worked on teaching a cue for “fuss” and a cue for “look” and then getting duration on “look” while walking and maintaining heel position. Then that moves to helper with a pillow then sleeve. Letty picked it up FAST.

We had lots of good dinners. I actually ate at Thai places TWICE. They have chicken friend rice and you can get spiciness of 0. So now I can go out with friends. 🙂

Monday after the seminar I started driving to West Virginia. Unfortunately, I discovered that my Garmin did not have the maps loaded for this part of my trip. So I had to find a Best Buy so I could buy a cord to go from the Garmin to the laptop so I could load the additional maps (and remove some of the old ones to make room). Turns out I had the right cable but I thought it was a different plug type that I didn’t have. So lots of unnecessary stress and driving to find the Best Buy but I got great customer service there and at the hotel once I got there. I think I might have liked to do the drive in the daylight too as it went thru some mountains that might have been pretty.

West Virginia Snow

West Virginia Snow

Tuesday was a longer day of driving. We drove thru North Carolina, South Carolina and stopped in Georgia. I walked the girls in GA and Letty had many episodes of reverse sneezing. So we did not like it there. We stayed at a nice La Quinta. I was worried about their dog rule but lots of folks had 2 large dogs so we were in good company.

North Carolina

North Carolina

GA Hotel

GA Hotel

GA ball play before we hit the road

GA ball play before we hit the road

Wednesday’s drive was just a few hours to get to Orlando. I was really nervous about how city-like the area would be and how hard it would be to get around and deal with parking and stuff. It was super easy to get to the hotel and the convention center. We got a room on the 3rd floor. The room was smaller than the rooms I’d had but they had lots of security and some grassy potty areas.

Orlando Hotel

Orlando Hotel

Thursday morning we went over to the convention center to lug our stuff in and get a feel for the place and I trialed Vada in Advanced and Excellent Rally. We had to walk thru the conformation dogs to get to the obedience area. They don’t cover their dogs and they leave them and the dogs are stressed and bark nonstop in their kennels. When I had to walk the girls thru the dogs were trying to attack them from both sides. Letty is sensitive and it was NOT a good experience for her. She just wanted to drag me to get out of that place. Vada Qd in both runs and earned her 9th RAE leg! I think she placed 1st in Excellent but no placement in Advanced as I rushed and then had to redo a sign. We finished pretty early so once we were done we found a place to go for a walk in shorts! We found an old railroad system that had been turned into a walking path. We followed it for 5 miles and then headed back. We were all quite tired that night!

RAE Leg #9!

RAE Leg #9!

Walking Trail in FL

Walking Trail in FL

Friday morning we went back to the convention center for more rally. Vada earned a 1st and a 2nd placement for her 10th RAE leg which finished her RAE title! She started trialing in AKC rally in December of 2012. So she went from RN to RAE in just over 12 months! Pretty neat! Not a single NQ if I remember right. Once we were done in rally I moved our crates and stuff over to the agility side. Much tighter crating for us. I had to stack since Letty was not entered. But stacking was very common. The dogs over there were much more pleasant in their crates and just all happier and quieter overall. I walked Letty around and did some loose leash, not pulling, acknowledge da momma work with Letty. It wasn’t super busy yet either so it was a good time to work on things. She relaxed quite a bit. The mats in the ring were black rubber with flecks of blue in them. Same thing we have in the basement but thicker. I was worried that Vada would slip. She did great in the warm up area. When I walked into the ring for our warm up run (T2B) I saw Amy right outside the ring taking pictures. Just like at home. I had no expectations since I didn’t know how well Vada would do on the mats. She ran great! We had 1 bar down but it wasn’t in 1 of the places I was concerned about so I was happy that I got thru the tricky parts! And the run felt great! And this is at 24″ since she qualified in Regular. She’s been trialing at 20″ since I moved her down but I’ve been doing class at 24″.

RAE Leg #10!!!!!

RAE Leg #10!!!!!

Vada RAE!!!

Vada RAE!!!

Saturday the real competition started. The first round was Standard. Vada had 1 bar down in that run too but she got all her contacts and kept all the other bars up. She ran amazing. It felt like such a great run! I did not feel so good about our 2nd run. It was Jumpers with Weaves and was more internationally flavored. I wasn’t confident on my handling plan and it showed. We had a bar and I was out of position and some how I got in her way and I felt her feet on my shoes and she dropped a 2nd bar. Later in the run we had a triple with a turn after it. I was going to let her land before I rotated but I must have thought I got there in time and as I was rotating into her I saw her over the jump and thought how stupid that was but hoped she would save me. She did not and we had the top bar down. But there was lots of good on that course too.

Vada's 1st Invitational!

Vada’s 1st Invitational!

Our first run on Sunday was Jumpers with Weaves. It needed more front crosses then the Saturday JWW run so I was having a bit of negative talk starting in my head. I told myself to knock it off and just make a plan for MY dog and stick with it and make it happen. It was Vada’s last showing at 24″ and we were at the Invitational so show off our skills that got us there. We were lucky to be there and we should try our best and have a great time and make some good memories. We had an awesome run! 1 bar down where I should have cued the turn stronger but wow, it felt so good! What a rush! Our last run of the weekend was a Hybrid course. It was FUN! Fast and fun. There were some parts that required a bit of handling and then lots of running. I was really focused on handling the spot with lots of front crosses and I forgot to give my attention to getting Vada into the yellow on the aframe and we got called on it. Her front feet touched right above the yellow. Her back feet landed about there too and her front next touched on the ground right at the bottom of the aframe and her back feet followed. It wasn’t a launch but it wasn’t in the yellow. But we ran really well on the rest of the course and she kept all her bars up. Silly yellow kept us from 2nd place but another amazing rush of a run!

Vada

Vada

Vada

Vada

Letty (not entered), Vada and Flash

Letty (not entered), Vada and Flash

After our run I loaded up the girls and our stuff and stayed and watched the Finals. It was fun! The course looked like a fun one to run too. Then we hit the road for a few hours to a hotel in another part of GA.

Monday we drove alot of hours! GA, TN, KY, IN then IL. We stopped in GA and KY to play 2 ball in the grass. Then we hit snow again. 😦

Ball in GA

Ball in GA

Tuesday was more driving but only about 8 hours to get to OTR. I wanted to make it in time for agility class. I already had 4 classes to make up and didn’t want to make it 6. Plus it was good for me and the girls to get out and run and stretch our legs. They ran great too.

Then it was back to real life. Well, pre-Christmas real life. Turns out Narc got injured while I was gone. It had gotten nasty. By the time we got him into the vet she was thinking he’d need surgery. He had torn his lip. It was a big hunk of flesh that was rotting away. She put him on antibiotics to see where his flesh would start healing again and quit rotting. We scheduled surgery for Monday since they had a short day on Tuesday and were closed on Wednesday for Christmas. Thursday night it was kind of a flap of rotting flesh hanging there. Friday it disappeared. His lip looked so much better. I suggested we bring him in for a quick look on Saturday as I didn’t think he needed surgery any longer since the wound looked so much cleaner. They wanted to see him Monday anyways. So Karl dropped him off. They called later to say that he did not need surgery! So he got to hang out at the vet all day. I think it was good for him to just hang out and get petted and treats for the day.

Karl has also noticed that Pro has been drinking more water so we had bloodwork done on her. Her kidney values were off but her thyroid was low too. So we put her on thyroid meds in the hopes that it will clear up her kidney values too. We recheck bloodwork on 4-6 weeks.

Since Narc had been to the vet the Thursday he was going to do a makeup agility class I brought Seven instead. Good thing I have 4 dogs to choose between!

Saturday we went to church then dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. Just because we had a coupon. Yum! So much food. And good food so it’s hard to quit eating when you are full.

Sunday I went to IPO training. We had a holiday potluck so Karl went with. We tried a brownie recipe that did not turn out very well. Did obedience and bitework with both girls. They had great sessions and we really pushed them both.

Tuesday was Christmas Eve so we went to Mom’s for dinner. We both got off work a little early so the dogs got to be out for a bit while we finished getting ready. The drive out was nice. We had lasagna for dinner. Then opened gifts. Karl was in charge of the guy gifts for Tom, Josh and Matt this year. He did not disappoint. They got nuts and beer and they were all very happy! I think Tom opened the beer first before everything else. I got Des a copy of Denise Fenzi’s dog sport book. Josh’s kids got Amazon gift cards. I got Mom a nice horse calendar and went in with Josh and Des on a Kindle. Des and Matt gave me fun socks and a kit to make smores that came with cute snowpeople mugs. Josh gave me Fast & Furious 6. I was so tempted to buy it for myself but refrained just in case. So glad I did! Mom gave me and Karl a humidifier. She remembered me telling her about my overnight coughing and how it scared Seven and he’d hide in the bathroom. So it should help with that. I think it might help with Karl’s dry cracking hands too? We will see. It covers the whole house. She has one that she really likes. They’ve gotten pretty fancy! D & D sent us cash so we sent them a gift card to Texas Roadhouse. I know they love it there. Karl got a Half Price Books gift card from Des and Matt. He loves going there! We drove home in snow. The roads weren’t great but we’ve driven home in worse. The worst part was shortly after we started out there was a huge deer standing in the road that we had to stop for. It took longer to get home but we got there safely. It was after midnight. We were exhausted so waiting to open our presents.

Reindeer Vada

Reindeer Vada

Reindeer Letty

Reindeer Letty

Reindeer Sonic

Reindeer Sonic

Reindeer Seven

Reindeer Seven

Reindeer Narc

Reindeer Narc

Wednesday we got to sleep in – as long as the dogs would let us anyways. We got up and I made some Pepridge Farm Caramel Pecan Sweet Rolls. They were quite good! We opened presents. I got lots of great dog training DVDs and my Clean Run magazine subscription renewed. 🙂 Karl got lots of pj bottoms and some boxers. And a daily calendar and a fun little magnet thing that has metal pieces on it that are in the shapes of music notes. He has another gift coming but it didn’t arrive in time. We walked the dogs around the pond since it was in the 20s. We have gotten a lot of snow! We had to walk a new patch as the old one was covered up. Then we went to see Saving Mr Banks. It was a good movie but I thought it would be funnier. It was pretty dark and depressing. Interesting story but hard to watch.

Winter fun!

Winter fun!

Photo by Laurie Erickson

Photo by Laurie Erickson

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Narc got to go to agility class on Thursday to do one of the make up classes from when I was traveling. He did pretty good. Nancy gave me some good feedback for handling him.

Friday we had our 2nd barn training session. Luckily it was pretty warm out. It was my turn to bring courses and cocktails so I brought the blue vodka from last year with Sprite and the course from the AKC Invitational that I had trouble with.

Saturday I went to train with the local ringsport club. Warren was there for a few hours too. Both of the girls did well in obedience and protection. I worked both on the jumps since they were there. The footing is kind of like playground rocks and sand but they have mats for the jumps take-off and landing spots. Vada did well on the jump at .8m. She was able to do 1m ok but ticked it. So that is encouraging for a brevet. We worked on positions too. She did well but then goofed and then lost her brain. I was really happy with how engaged Letty was when we went into the building. She came in wanting to train and not worried about looking around. She had no problem being in a new building. For bitework Warren did bark and holds with her in different places and over some different things. Similar to what we have been doing in regular training. She did awesome! We ended with a nice escape bite. The whole session was really nice. Well, except for her heeling when the helper was there. I was able to work Vada too on a different helper then she is used to. That was my main goal since she’s mostly been on the same suit and suits vary more than sleeves it seems. She did great! Josiah broke it down to see what she knew and to make it a good experience. We did face attack and flee and defense of handler. Just a few steps of DOH but she did great and we looked like we knew what we were doing! Finally! I was there 10am to 7pm! Sunday I woke up feeling exhausted and I had gotten a pretty good night of sleep. And it was freezing out! A few went and trained but the IPO decoy I wanted to put Letty on was not going so I did not go. Instead we went to Warren’s so I could get some training in. The girls had good sessions there.

Last night I got the training room in the basement cleaned up so I can train down there again. It just needs some more light.

Training Room

Training Room

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