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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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!!!!!
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!
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!
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
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.
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.
Photo by Laurie Erickson
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.