Sunday, April 29, 2012

Did our homework today

I started with sends/wraps to his DW because that always makes him happy and I think is a good warm up for him. However, I moved my DW closer to the edge of my yard by the brush and for the wraps to the right, towards the brush, he wanted to go the other direction. I just hung in there with him and insisted. I know I don’t have his wraps as directionals, but he should read my body language, right? I think it was just the pressure of going towards the brush? Good news is I timed his DW and it is just getting faster and faster!!! He has even done one at 1.75 seconds, which is very fast for little Spur. That one his striding was 2, 2, 3 hits, which is minus one hit for his usual and he did a nice, deep hit on the contact, good little guy!!! He is still missing some on occasion as I am almost always setting him up into nothing since that is his hard way, but I think that is just part of him figuring out his new speed!! Before moving it he was getting it 100%. The serps went well, I think he really seems to like those. I didn’t support the jump after the blue tunnel so he went by it, but the next time I supported it he got it. I know my wrap cues are late again, damn it!! When I am in time he is so tight. This is sure harder for ME than it is for him!!! (Oi, my voice!! Eeek!!! It seems out of my control as I am completely tone deaf and don’t hear the pitch until I hear it on video.) The sequence went pretty well, too, I think? His starts are not as fast, but he still looks pretty happy? I don’t support jump 8 the first time at all, but good little monkey just gets it!!! I found the sequence hard for me and I hear my voice just gets higher and higher and I don’t know how he can stand it, LOL!!! I guess he is used to it!

Friday, April 27, 2012

iPad update

So, I went to make a movie of my homework and iMovie would not work. I tried to install it again, but the app store site told me I needed to upgrade my iPad. OK, no problem. Except that my computer doesn't have enough space to back up my iPad. It's THAT old. Rich says time for a new computer for me. OI. I know how that goes. It takes days for me to get used to new technology. Anyway, good man that he is took my iPad and backed it up on HIS system. YAY! So, then I had to get iMovie installed again. This took all of two glasses of wine and,........well.........a LOT of whining. LOL!! I have ZERO patience with this stuff. Anyway, finally got it all settled except that I still don't have all my apps, for some reason. ???? Made my movie. This is our session from yesterday. We are working on fast entries into the weaves and "soft" sided entries from a distance. Using the straight tunnel to weaves to straight tunnel gave us the speed and he did great. And the soft sided entries then were perfect. They haven't been. But, yesterday......perfect. Good little man! Now I need to move my dog walk so I can set up some of the other home work this weekend. That's always a big project, moving the dog walk. But, it's time. It has been in this spot since last fall. Time to move it and change things up some.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Great weather means too busy to post on my blog, LOL!

And my grass is growing and I need to mow and weed and introduce the horses to the grass and wash windows.........spring is HERE and in full force. And that just means life takes on a whole new dimension. I REALLY need to put out a spring newsletter and maybe this weekend if it isn't too nice out I can get that done. But, then I think........why??? I am FAR too busy and SURE do NOT need extra jobs. I know my clients love my newsletter, so keeping up with it seems important, but it sure is not because I need to market myself. I had to decline a job for a 16 week basenji puppy yesterday. That stinks. That is an unusual breed and would be fun to get to know that pup. I just don't have the time slots she needs. Sigh..........had to refer to another dog walker. Life is good, though. Life for me is very charmed. I feel like I am sometimes the luckiest person alive!!!! How did that happen??? I wish everyone had such a charmed life and felt so good every day, but many do not. Life is hard for many people and I wish I could change that. We can't change the world, but I hope that I can learn to be a nicer person and less judgemental. That's my nature and I have had to work hard to stop being that way. Raised by farmers who are critical of the masses it is ingrained in me. I can be very critical. Life IS hard and everyone has their own struggles and I sure try to keep an open mind. Stop and enjoy the flowers on this beautiful day and when things get hard try to think of how hard it really is for others. Some people in the world have to walk for miles every day just for fresh drinking water. We are blessed here in this part of the world. We all live charmed lives around here, we just have to open our eyes and see the beauty and clear our heads. Unclog your minds and enjoy this incredible spring!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

OK, I am going to try again posting a video. Blogger has changed the posting setting and is telling me I need a new browser. I tried loading Google Chrome and hated it, so I dumped it. Anyone have any suggestions on a better browser? I am using Internet Explorer and was perfectly happy with it. When ever I change anything on my dinosaur computer things get all messed up. Now, after loading then deleting Google Chrome I can't click on any link that comes into my inbox. WTF????? I HATE computers!! OK, I love them, but they seriously make me insane sometimes. So, anyway, trying again with a video here. This was our standard runrom yesterday. You can't see it, but his start was really nice. He isn't super fast, 3.60 yard/second, which is respectable but he leaves the start line with some good speed and that's key!! I almost think his ears were up on his restrained start? Our fastest time in standard and our goal right now is 4 YPS. Still, he looks pretty happy and did great!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Latest homework submission for Spur's class

My friend came over with her dutch shepherd the other day to do some agility. I showed her what I was working on and helped her do some of the exercises with her dog. She did GREAT, but in the middle of our work out come my two barn cats. WHAT THE HELL were they THINKING???? OK, so Sophie lives with a cat and is a good dog, but still this is a shepherd type dog, NOT familiar to my cats. I just don't get why they had to make an appearance??? BOTH of them did this!!! Poor Sophie worked through the distractions, but goodness I wanted to lock them up in the basement, BAD CATS!!!!

Spur did great, we have been on break the last two weeks. I am afraid I am not much better at getting my cues out any sooner, but at least his restrained starts look better!!! I have weaned him off the harness and can now lift him some and he's not looking all bummed out about that. YAY!!!!

His DW looks better, too. We do have the occasional miss, but we are working into nothing again, so that is his hard spot.

What I need to do is the sends to the jump before the DW first, I am MUCH better about getting my cues out early there. Then go to the jumps sequence and see if that helps me to practice early cues. OI! Such a simple exercise and yet so hard!!!!

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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

These little things need some rain!

Yesterday it was 80 here!!! And windy, and...........DRY. I watered some of my perennial beds. I found aphids on my sedum. Oi!!!!

I set up my patio chairs and cushions and umbrella. Then decided it was so nice and warm I would bathe the dogs.

It's been a while and they are due for their tick treatment soon. I like to apply it about 4-5 days after a bath because the product works better by sticking to the oils in the skin. And little Colby seems to have a very dry patch of skin at the back of her neck. Was it from the Advantix? Maybe. So, she got a soothing bath with Selsun Blue. She tends to have very dry skin. Bathing her loosens up all the dead hairs and she dumps a TON of hair after a bath. Far more than the other dogs. Then she has little bits of dandruff as the hair falls off it takes a tiny bit of skin with it. In a day or two she will look normal again. I rub her down with a soft rubber grooma tool to massage her skin.

Spur looks SO soft and fluffy and I "blow dry" him by tossing his ball. Of course, I had just mowed the lawn so his tiny white toes are now a little green, but whatevahhhhhhh..............he's clean. With this dry weather his paws are constantly "dusty" and the dry dirt seems to stick more. Mud brushes off. Dust seems to stick.

Roscoe never looks any different after a bath. He is a very clean dog. And doesn't have much hair, so he hardly sheds much at all.

Last night it was so windy my umbrella and table blew over. DAMN IT!!!! My table is on it's "last legs" already. The umbrella, too. Looking pretty rugged these days, so a few more times blowing over and they are toast. MUST remember to roll down the umbrella during windy days/nights. That never used to happen!!! We never used to have wind like we are having these last few years. I HATE the wind!!!! HATE, HATE, HATE it! I bet the farm lost a bunch of topsoil in that wind last night. HATE THE WIND!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Love his attitude at the start!!

His start was pretty good. Still not quite with ears up, but close! The teeter as second obstacle wasn't his favorite way to start a course and he takes the off course tunnel after as his own little reward!!! Then coming over the a-frame he misses that jump because, I think, he doesn't want to have to do that stupid teeter again. I just make no big deal, as I rarely re-do things with him.

This was a pretty fast course for him. 38+ seconds. I think the fastest dogs did it in like 32, but who's counting!!!! Sub-40 standards are nice, although this didn't have the dreaded time sucking table since it was Grand Prix.

After this run we saw a top competitor and seminar person who once said to me after a run over a year ago......"He looked good, but I saw some errors". This as I was SO happy with our run and giving him his "good boy" cookies!! Who does that, who says that???? I was SO pissed and will never forgive her that stupid comment.........this time she was only nice and said he looks GREAT! I almost croaked out......"What about the errors?", but I didn't.

I also saw someone who saw him at a seminar 1 1/2 years ago when he was SO down and things were really bad. She was all pumped about how happy he looked. It felt great to talk to her because that was a horrible seminar and I seriously thought about quitting with him, again. To see him now barking at the start line is really awesome!!!!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Funny, he looks kind of slow?

But, he wasn't that slow. He was actually pretty fast! I do have goals. Minor goals, because I kind of hate goals. Yeah, I know I compete so I must have goals, but really often my biggest goal is something little like ears up at the start line and if we NQ so long as ears are up at the start I am THRILLED!!!

So, goals to me are not so similar as goals to many others. My biggest goal is to be happy and a team out there, regardless of a clean run. Sure, I enjoy the titles and placements, but seriously I judge our day by the little things.

One goal is to improve our times. That's pretty important because I know if he is running fast, he is happy. This run we had a fly off on the teeter, so it was an NQ run, BUT he was pretty happy through out the whole run AND ran pretty fast. Our goal for time is less than 40 seconds on a standard course. That's hard when the table can sometimes cost us 1-5 seconds. Ugh. This run it only cost us about 1.5 seconds, YAY!!!! His time was 42+ seconds, so that's pretty fast for Little Spur!!!!

He was happy on the start, he LOVES to be able to say HI to the ring crew. He really LOVES to show off. He loves his fan club!!!

He had some other great runs this weekend, not many Q's, but some nice runs. I really had to work that teeter. I love that he is running to the end, but he isn't waiting for it to land, obviously. Not something I ask him to do because I have never been picky about the teeter and didn't want to add stress to an already stressful obstacle. I guess I am going to have to be firm at the end. I'll load his Grand Prix run where I do that, but it causes an off course tunnel. He is SO rewarded by a tunnel after his teeter and while I think I was pretty obvious about our course path, he ZOOMS off course to the tunnel. That's just fine, he was happy!!! I just have to work through these things.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ticks and lyme and the chemicals needed

OK, so we live in a hot spot for lyme disease. Every year I hold my breath that Spur is not lyme positive on his snap test. YAY for that again this year!!!! However, the old Pin Heads are. Damn it! Roscoe is "symptomatic". He is still sore on his neck and shoulders or back somewhere. Vet tried some acupuncture with no real results. She was hoping to find an increase in a rear pulse, but that didn't happen, so her test was inconclusive for where he is actually sore. I say neck and shoulders.

I decided to put him on another round of doxy. And Colby. She is not symptomatic, but she dealt with lyme for two years when she was younger. Is it the right thing to do to treat them? I don't know, but it's what I am doing. Studies show we really know very little about lyme. It can encapsulate and go "into hiding" when it knows the host is being treated with antibiotics. And they wonder if the antibiotics weaken the dog's immune system. It is such a difficult thing, but I am opting to treat.

We had our neighbor the tree farmer over for a beer last night. He said one tick bite and he takes the antibiotics. Huh. I get bit quite a few times/year and don't do the antibiotics. I just get tested every year. He said he would not trust the test. I have heard that from people before, but all the studies that I have read say the test are pretty good. False positives are more likely than false negatives, but really? If the organism can go "into hiding", wouldn't that mean the test would not "see" it?

I don't know, but the thought of taking antibiotics prophylactically or after every tick bite just seems unreasonable and perhaps harmful to me.

I switched the dogs to Advantix last fall. Since then we never see ticks on them. I am pretty pleased by that!!!! Frontline was simply not working. Although, it is the best product to use on the cats and far fewer ticks on them since using it. But, still some ticks, so it isn't working THAT well. The Advantix on the dogs seems to be working REALLY well.

It is a curious thing. Why is Spur negative? My vet says it is extremely rare in Cape Elizabeth for a dog to be negative, that is how epidemic it is in this area. My thoughts? Perhaps his body has not been bombarded with TONS of vaccines!!! Colby, being a puppymill dog and pet store pup, had SO many vaccines by the time she was 5 months old. YIKES. Roscoe, I don't know when he was younger what he had. Do you suppose Spur's strong immune system has something to do with his limited vaccines? Colby is by far my weakest and most expensive dog. She has had all kinds of issues in her life. Her file is HUGE. Skin, knee, mast cell tumor, poor eyes, lyme for years, the list goes on.

Spur did have a positive anaplasmosis snap test one year and we started the doxy and he got very sick with pancreatitis symptoms. Stopped the doxy. It seemed to correlate. Subsequent snap tests were negative. Go figure. He is sensitive to medications, I can be very sure about that. Aussies can be that way and we know some in his kennel have the gene mutation that causes severe sensitivity. I need to get that test and check his situation. For now I have just been keeping the list of drugs to avoid and will avoid them. Even if the test is negative I would avoid those drugs, just cuz, which is why I haven't tested him, yet.

OI!!! It is just so complicated and lyme is the craziest disease. One very smart organism. I read a book about it once when Jewel was having such a hard time. It can change it's DNA depending on what host's blood it ingests. That's NUTTY smart!!!!
I'm not that smart, so I just give my lyme positive dogs some drugs.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

It is really dry

April showers bring May flowers, but without any showers, what will we have? More brown? The grasses and brush are THIRSTY!!!! The farmer has already plugged up the irrigation pond. It's DRY!!!

This meadow should be bursting in green!

Especially the new grass Rich seeded last year. It's VERY thirty!!!

Spur digs for rodent caches in the dry grasses..........

Before our walks he does his daily teeter. I don't even ask him, he just charges up and does it all by himself!Then sometimes I ask again, if he wants. He always wants to do it at home.
He doesn't look too stressed about home.
I change the weight, I change tipping point, I have metal things on the underside for clanging noises. It's NOISY.
He looks pretty relaxed. Sure wish I could get that expression at a trial.His home teeter is safe. It's his home teeter. I can't surprise him any more on this one. May be time to go do some teeter parties at some friend's houses again. He will always worry about trial teeter, I think.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Am I just getting old or am I busier than ever?

Both. Yesterday at the trial someone I don't even know passed me in the parking lot and said......."Nice grey highlights in your hair!!!". OMG!!!! Who says that to someone????

I have no photos or videos to post. How sorry is that? We had company Friday night, then I trialed over the weekend and even though Rich was here and that made it SO much easier as he took care of the Pin Heads and horses it sure was a long weekend.

The trial was the Lhasa club's trial. Lhasa's do agility?? LOL!! Yep, there was ONE there. Maybe there were more, but I only saw one. The club isn't very big. Like two members? Seriously, I don't even know, but they have VERY little help, so the trail didn't run that smoothly. PLUS, the judge was on "review", which means the head of AKC agility was there over-seeing her. OH MY FUCKING GOD, that was painful. I know, that has to happen I guess with every judge, but it's NOT fun for a competitor at a trial with a club that has very few members. Even though it went little to big I didn't run jumpers until nearly 5:00. Those poor Novice folks didn't get out of there until 7:30. That's HORRIBLE.

But, Spur ran pretty well and double Q'd both days with respectable runs. Standard on Saturday was actually pretty awesome. Our start was NOT and we bobbled the third jump. Or I did, as I seem to have a mental breakdown on the start of our courses and don't cue anything for poor little Spur. But, we recovered and THEN ran one exciting course!!!!! I decided to run the outside line of a section NO one else would have thought to run and no one else did. It was definitely the best choice for Spur and worked AWESOME and the crowd oooh and aaaahhhed and applauded like CRAZY!!!! Very fun and Spur had a ball!!!! Barking like a maniac as we left the ring and it felt GREAT!!!!

No video, the one time someone videoed it didn't work. It's hard finding folks to video. My "regulars" were not in attendance.

So, it was basically a good trial. Our starts still suck and cost us several seconds we really need to make up and fix. We are simply in a pattern that is going to take some time to get out of. There were nice flowy straight starts and still he was kind of pokey.

However, I had so many comments on how fast he is and my only thought is that we LOOK fast because I chose the longest path for ME and I run really well and fast. So, we LOOK faster than we really are. We were between 4-6 seconds slower than Sparkle (last year's National Champion). However, I KNOW he enjoys it and has fun. He drags me into the building. :D THAT makes it all worth it and he finishes his run barking and looking REALLy proud of himself. I know it's hard at times for him and we have our meltdowns and weenie moments out there, but we recover and have moments of brilliance!!! It's just a matter of getting those little areas cleaned up and "fixed" and we WILL get that going, but it may take us a while. As with all things Spur, he needs a LOT of time. I have time. I have time to commit to such an awesome partner. :D I love him, LOTS!!!! He deserves all the time he needs!!!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Wow, more class homework

Tomorrow starts a two week break from class. PHEW!! I feel like she gives us a VERY LOT of homework. I am behind and, yet, I feel like I work hard to keep up. But, the good news is Spur seems to really enjoy the work. He isn't bumming out too much and I know if I can get him as happy doing this sort of work as he is running his DW I will have accomplished a HUGE feat!!! Our start lines have been a BIG struggle and I am slowly seeing improvement. And the twisty, turny starts we are seeing more of also bum him out. So, we are working hard at getting this stuff to be really motivating and fun for him. Here is our latest.

Last night at class we set up the AKC Challenger’s round.
In case you are interested……

Spur had some trouble on the first three jumps, as I would expect. This is the type of start that would demotivate him and we sure are determined to work through this and make this stuff FUN for him!!!.:D His starts are still a work in progress and I am celebrating the occasional ears up. At class, though, no ears up until we had done this a couple times. You will see his very first attempt, down to a trot. I am SO bad with cues and don’t even use my “wrap” cue, damn it!! This is as much a struggle for ME!!! LOL!!

Anyway, the second time I run him the way I would chose to, but ultimately I doubt the fastest route as most people ran this with the wrap. Then I go back and do the wrap again and we practiced it a few times and it’s better and I get my proper cue out!! YAY!
Then today at home I set up the same thing and he NAILS it NICELY with good speed and ears up!! You will even hear him barking at me at the start on one attempt!!! SUPER SPUR!!!

I then tried the first part of the class sequence. I tried really hard to lower my flapping arm and be smoother and calmer, but I have to think so hard that maybe he’s better if I just flap and be who I am, LOL!! When I think too hard I seem to only manage ONE cue, but he did fine I think? Amazing how hard this simple stuff is for us!! We took a break and went for a hike.

Then we did his wraps before the DW and you can see, after his one time pulling off (I started him from a tunnel which was different for him!), he does great with good speed! He sure LOVES his DW!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More Spur homework from the weekend

Saturday it didn't go so well. I mean, really, he looks pretty good, but I know he was a little bummed about it. It felt like we went backward in his motivation and that's hard. Here is our first submission for the sends and wraps. It sure showed me that he doesn't know that "wrap" means send. Which shouldn't be so surprising, I am always there for him. He thinks it means turn tight NOW, but not that the jump is that important.

The Pin Heads were out for this one and notice after the first time they all get rewarded for doing something. Colby just does her "flat" and Roscoe does his "frog" (see his back legs flatten out?? SO cute!!).

The next day I regroup and since we know he will send from like 30-40 feet to a jump to do his DW I decided to make sure to put that on cue so he hears "wrap, wrap, wrap" as he is taking that jump. It worked well getting him happier and mixing in his DW with the sends and wraps work!!! It is going to take some reps before he knows that "wrap" means GO take that jump and tightly. He understands tight, not much trouble there, but sending to it, no. He doesn't get that, yet. I have some work to do on that to get understanding on that verbal. Mixing in his DW really helps keep his motivation and drive up, so that's my homework this week. :D

Sunday, April 1, 2012

We had a nice hike!

It was cold this morning. Cold enough to freeze the water in the hose. When I turned it on it came shooting out in hose formed ice!!!

We hiked with my friend Laura and her two dogs. That made five dogs and three of them being around 13 and older. Colby and Lu, her yellow lab, are both 13 1/2 and Roscoe could be 14 or older. We went slow for the geriatrics, but they all did great. Colby sported her new green coat.

I like this shot of Laura and her girls..........(notice who is peeking in???)

Rich and Laura discuss world peace? Maybe it wasn't such an important discussion, maybe they were just saying how nice a day it was or if that really was Rich's down jacket in that little ball he is holding. (It WAS!!! He rolled it into it's pocket nice and neat!!!)

I think Spur looks furrier?

He sure seems FURRY!!!

Roscoe's ears just seem cuter as he ages. Why is that? They just seem to flop along, and look cute and silly

I like this shot, also, of Laura and Lu.....

The trails were nice and dry. It made for a lovely hike!!!

There are those ears again.........

Colby enjoyed the light. The leaves have not opened up, yet, so plenty of light in the woods for her to see. She did great!!It was a very fun hike!!!