Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflections and goals

It has been super slow here at work so I have had time to read over a years worth of blog posts and reflect (yeah, I am super bored).  This week is the week that the university technically closes down but those of us who don't want to use our leave come up here anyway and slog around doing menial chores.  I started out the week busy but today and yesterday were super slow.  Of course I can't really leave, don't have anywhere really to go.  Today they are suppose to start day 1 of finishing the floor.  Looks like if things move according to schedule  (don't hold your breath because I am not holding mine) that this part of the house remodel will be done by saturday morning.  Lucky for me, I am heading to st. louis for a three day USDAA show so I will at least have a couple of nights in peace.  I am traveling with my friend who likes to get up super early so we shall see how my morning sickness copes.  Usually if I can get up and lay back down for a little bit, I am fine.  Still trying to figure out how to ferret my Keurig in her small car and all of my stuff.  I should get back on topic now.

What a year!  I have had so much fun running Deuce.  Of course we have had our lows (first USDAA show and 22 inch poles that he couldn't figure out so we got an E in every run) but we have had some great highs as well.  Are we where I want us to be yet, no but we are getting there.  He just runs faster and faster every time i run him so he is sometimes hard to figure out.  What worked last show or worked in practice may totally change.  We are still battling weave pole demons but I am hoping with going back and retraining the 2 x 2s that we have fortified how important entries are.  We shall see this weekend.  He now drives to the bottom of his dog walk almost 100% of the time and his a-frame has improved a ton.  He still wants to creep into position if I am doing a front cross at the bottom so I am trying to do all blinds as long as they are applicable at the end of the a-frame so I keep moving.  He does still surprise me though, like blowing his hold on the a-frame at the last show while I was doing my blind cross (hello, why are you on the wrong side) and occasionally not coming in for jumps when I am trying to execute a FC ( you can jump into the space I am giving you silly dog), but overall he has improved so much.  I am really happy with where we are right now and am keeping my finger's crossed that the weave pole entry issue is solved.  If not, we will continue to train and work hard in the coming year.

Goals are a little hard to think about right now.  All of that kind of changed when I got preggers.  I am going to try and show through april at least and then probably sit out may and of course June.  Where we go from there is a big mystery.  Daycare is going to eat up alot of my free money and am not sure how much I am going to be able to teach this coming year to supplement my show income.  Here lately with the house issues, my teaching has totally paid for everything show, so I am hoping I can get at least one if not two more sessions in before I calve (i mean have the baby:)  I would still like to go to USDAA nationals this year since it is so close but with a four month old baby, that may be up in the air as well.  I would also like to qualify for Tulsa 2013 but  we don't have much AKC coming up close by.  We only have one show in January local that is, and none in February unless i travel to St. louis, which I really, really don't like doing in winter.  March only has one AKC trial and then april has two and then I am done.  Heck, I may be done before that but will probably have someone else run him if I can't in april.  So I guess my goals for this year will mainly be get this weave pole problem under control and figure out how to show with a baby on my hip.  I know it can be done and I am one determined individual so I will try my hardest to get it done.  Oh well, here is to 2012 and what it brings!  Happy New Year!!!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

2 x 2 weaves, Day 8

I was bad and gave Deuce a day off yesterday since it was christmas.  Figured he needed it anyway and we were gone most of the day anyway celebrating christmas with friends.  Our yard, which was covered in ice, is now covered in mud so I am going to be taking the poles on the road and tearing up other people's yards LOL!  We added the third set of poles  today so starting all the exercises over again.  Today I took my poles to the park and worked exercise 6 and 7 (where we move around the clock together).  He was great until we hit 11 again and he just wants to curl in and take that 2nd set of poles.  I tried releasing him and stepping towards him and putting my hand out and starting at 11 at the first set of poles and then moving to 11 on the second set and so on.    Seems like we will just struggle with this one like we did with the other entry he was having issues with.  He always seems to get through it even if it takes a couple of days.  I will start with this entry the next exercise and continue to work it till we get it with a better success rate.  1 time out of 10 SUCKS!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

2 x 2s Day 7

Okay so I know SG says you should be weaving 12 poles in 12 days but since Deuce knows how to weave, spending more time on the accuracy of entries with MEB's method than the actually weaving part.  Today we started doing all of our sessions outside.  Mother nature is blessing us with unusually warm weather and the icy parts are starting to melt.  Tomorrow is suppose to be 54!  YIKES!  We have a show next friday so I am hoping we will be ready.  I feel like tomorrow we will be able to add the third set of poles and start all the work over with.  I was suppose to go do some work today but it was so beautiful out that I wanted to get weave pole work done instead.  Plus, I like watching the flooring guys work because then I know they are actually doing work.  Session 1 and 2 today were just doing exercise 10 and starting exercise 11 plus adding that tough entry that he was having trouble with the past couple of days.  I am happy to report that through all of those struggles, I think he finally has it now!  He has been 100% on the entry where he is at 3 and I am 1.  He was also getting a very tough entry on exercise 11 where he is at 9 and I am at 3.  GOOD BOY!  Will try and take advantage of this nice weather and do a couple of more sessions this afternoon.

Session 2 and 3.  Great sessions.  He only missed one entry out of both sessions.  He had great drive and was looking straight ahead for his reward.  Started using my motion as part of the equation and look forward to adding another set of poles tomorrow and taking our show in the road.   This has been a really fun process and I really look forward to using this with stella when she is ready to be trained on weaves!

Friday, December 23, 2011

2 x 2s day 6

Session 1.  Had to stay inside this morning.  Heavy frost made the ice and the not so icy patches too slick to be outside.  Started with Exercise 8 again and got stuck on me at 1 and him at 3, even when I moved further and further back.  If i am right next to him at 3 with him, he gets it.  If i am any distance away, he goes in the second pole.  Hmmmm........I got one good entry and moved up and then would come back to see if I could repeat the success.  He was nailing everything else, even when I was at 11 and he was at 9.  Ended on him getting it correctly and will start there again before we move to exercise 9.  Not sure why this entry is so hard for him.  I have to say usually on course he beats me to weaves so maybe he just isn't use to me being in front of him?  Taking the dogs to the other house today on my way to work.  Just don't want them here crated in the downstairs while they are working on the floor.  They claim they are going to get it fixed and a coat of stain on it today.  I am not holding my breath.

A very quick session 2.  Had 5 minutes before i had to leave for work.  Weaves were still set up.  Thought I would try my luck on that tough entry again.  Still having issues.  Sometimes will get it if I step towards him sometimes not.  Sometimes will get it if I have my hand up sometimes not.  Still haven't figured out the key to this one.  Ended it when he had one successful entry at 3, BIG party.  Will go onto exercise 9 but will work this particular entry in randomly throughout to see if i can work it some more.  Hate to see him have so many failures on this entry:(  Hoping to get off at a decent hour so i can work outside.

Session 3 and 4.  Got off work while it was still light out.  Found a small non icy patch to put him and the poles.  Started off with that tough entry.  Still not getting it.  Maybe 1 out of 4 tries he got it.  Focused on the rest of exercise 9 and just randomly worked that entry in.  He nailed every other entry in that exercise but still having trouble with the entry at 3.  I guess this will just be our waterloo.  Will continue to work it on on the exercises we are currently on.  Will start exercise 10 tomorrow.  Suppose to be a beautiful day so I should be able to get outside and maybe even go to the park and work.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

2 x2 weaves day 5

Started off the day with a migraine.  I really, really didn't want to train or go to work but i have to.  My morning sickness is running my life right now and dammit, I have too much to do to let it get me down.  I am hoping I am not getting sick but worried it might be from smelling floor fumes as I am congested and run down feeling.  We still have a week of this but are moving out when they start the finish on the living room floor.  I think since that room is twice the size of the dining room and the fact that we can't be upstairs is too dangerous for us to be in the house.  Should only be out three days and then we can move back in and enjoy our beautiful floors.  Not sure when we will get the kitchen floor done, need to rebuild the subfloor first.  May take a floor break just to get back our sanity for a little while.

Session 1.  We worked two sets of poles and us both moving around the clock together (exercise 6 and 7).  Where as Deuce really struggled last night, this morning he was perfect (well almost).  He missed two entries on the first try and that was because he gets so excited, if i don't reset him and make him sit and calm down, he just runs at them balls to the wall and takes what he gets.  He LOVES this game!  We are ready to move on to exercise 8-11 where we both move around the clock independantly.  I have been saying go weave a few times accidently so trying to keep my mouth shut and let him offer still.  I hope I can get done at a decent hour today at work and go outside and do some work.  He drives to the poles and drives though them but want to be on grass where he can really dig.

Session 2.  Finally got outside.  Can you believe it is just now getting dark and it is 5:30 YIPEEE!  Found a patch free of ice and got some work done with speed.  He still seems to get going so fast that he misses sometimes.  I will probably try and get a session in again tomorrow morning outside if the weather permits and repeat what we did today.  I mainly just worked around the clock with him on my left and him on my right but me with him on the clock.  He still at first missed his entry with him on the right and me at 11 oclock.  Finally found it and got it successfully twice both times with huge parties.  Same thing on the other side, when I got to say 2, he kept going in the wrong pole.  Got it wrong several times but I was bound and determined to let him struggle and figure it out.  Man was he driving to the poles and out of the poles like a madman.  Who knew the food tube was that cool?  Anyway, again, he finally got it twice in a row and I had HUGE parties both times and quit.  Will start with those two again next time I am outside.  Will try and get one more session tonight in the bedroom with the two sets and work me being on separate sides of the clock than he.  Suppose to be a nice weekend so hoping we can get some good outside work in this weekend.  Speed is a huge factor in him missing so the more distance I can get from the poles so he can work up speed, the better.

Session 3.   Did not go very well at all.  Started having me at 1 and him at 5, 4, 3.  Got stuck at 4, got past it but got really stuck at three.  He did want to go get that entry correct, he wanted to just come to the pole I was closest to.  Since the article did not say when I do the around the clock work if I should stand at 1 near the first set of poles or the second set, and I was at the second set, went back to standing at the first.  Finally got two correct entries, big party, quitting time.  Will start with those two entries tomorrow during first session.  EXHAUSTED!  Injected 300 beetles today and then moved stuff from our house to the house we will camp out at.  Needed to go to bed about an hour ago!  Not looking forward to camping at this house but anything is better than nothing.  We will have a radio, heat, no fumes:) and bathrooms so what more could we want?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2 x 2 weaves Day 4

So day 4 may be a short day depending on how far we get with the moving tonight.  I did get one session in this morning (between dry heaving, thanks morning sickness). We completed exercise 11 with no missed entries.  He really seems to have gotten it now.  Tony actually sat upstairs last night and watched and was so excited to see Deuce figuring things out.  He said he could see the wheels in deuce's brain turning.  I love any exercise that makes them think, especially shaping exercises.  Today we introduce the second set of 2.  I want to start that before I go to work if this dry heaving will go away.

Session 2.  Introduction of second set of poles.  Much like SG's method, we introduce two sets of poles but both sets of poles are at 6 and 12 with a four foot distance between them and the reward at first being the two poles.  This is getting a little complicated in our bedroom as I am running out of space.  Having to set him up 3/5 feet away from the first pole and having the two sets and four feet apart is a little tight with all the dog crates in the bedroom right now.  I just might have to, once the dining room doesn't have so much in it, make that the crate room or perhaps clear a space in the junk room.  The junk room stays nice and cool in the winter but we would have to do something about the summer time.  Going to have to do something soon anyway as the baby's crib will be in our bedroom in 6 months anyway.  I digress.  At first he just wanted to do all four at one which since he already knows weaves, but I made sure he stopped and got his reward in between.  Then he seemed to get a little confused, like he was saying, isn't this one obstacle mom?  I still am not saying anything other than releasing him from his wait before he does any poles.  The recommendation is to go back and start all the around the clock work again with the poles apart and then after you are done, put them together and fade out the reward. Just wondering if I can skip ahead since he already knows how to weave.  Decisions,decisions.

Session 3.  Decided to work in a different location.  Added the second set of poles and did so in living room which is hardwood.  We worked around the clock but he couldn't get good footing and kept on slipping.  Again the toughest entries say 10 and 11 with him on my right and 2 and 3 with him on my left was very tough for him after he had done them so well the previous exercises.  Of course it is a different place so I have to take my sets as many places as I can.  He finally got both in session 4 but after many wrong attempts.  I will start tomorrow at this spot and see if our work paid off.  I also would love to get outside where we have more room but they are predicting snow again tomorrow.  Right now we have a layer of icy snow on the ground which isn't much better than the carpet or the hardwood.  I think for the harder entries, especially the entry where he is on my left and he has to enter and wrap back that I will put the poles apart and treat those as two separate entries.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2 x 2 weaves Day 3

So I am stuck at home so I have all day to work with Deuce.  I find it very hard to keep sessions short so I am going to start taking a timer with me so I am not tempted to go over time.  Today we are starting out with my position and his position changing around the clock.  The poles are still at 12 and 6.

Session 1.  Started out with exercise 8.  Everything went very smoothly when he was on my right and we were rotating around the clock with me at 1 and him going from 6 to 3.  No problems there at all.  Problems started when I was at 11 and he was on my left rotating from 6 to 9 particularly when he was at 8 and 9.  Gave him a few tries and then would go back a step, get success at that step, and then move forward again.  By the end he finally figured out to not just go through the poles but to wrap that first pole and come in.  It was hard not to step in and help but I kept my mouth shut and just let him figure it out. I figured moving back a step was enough help.  I am going to start my next session with a review of that and then hopefully progress to exercise 9.

Session 2.  Started out with a quick review of exercise 8.  He breezed through them this time, even getting the hardest entry on the first try.  Wow, I sure do love shaping exercises!  He must have had his thinking cap on more this time because we were going through the exercise very quickly until we got to the very last one.  I was at 5 and he was at 9 and he wanted to just go through the poles, not wrap that first pole and go forward away from me.  After a couple of times of backing back up on the clock, he got it and then was good to go.  Will start the next session with that entry and see how he does.

Session 3.  For whatever reason we struggled with exercise 10 and had to break it down and just do the first part.  He really has struggles with me being at the 4 oclock position and him being on the other side of the poles.  He finally at the end got the hardest entry and I stopped after one successful time after all of our struggles.  I would simply try a postion, he wouldn't get it and after two tries i would move one position back on the clock.  Maybe I am not moving back quick enough?  Maybe after one wrong try i should set him up for success?  We will review the beginning of exercise 10 and see where we are at in the next session.

Session 4.  Took a very long break before session 4 started.  He got all the entries on the first try which tells me he must have been tired on session 3.  I am trying to keep the sessions under 5 minutes and keep him up and happy.  He nailed the hardest entry on exercise 11, which was me at 3 and him at 8.  I am so proud!  I would like to do one more session to finish up exercise 11 but will gage it by how alert and ready to go he is.

Fell asleep on the couch so no session five.  Not sure how much I will get done on day 4 as we will be moving all of our living room tonight to the dining room and then moving out of the house so they can finish the floor in the living room.  This whole house thing has been a nightmare but i think I see an end in sight.  Once the living room is finished, tony can rebuild the deck and the kitchen subfloor and then we can have that floor laid and be DONE (other than a few small dry wall patch jobs)!  Our loans are going through at the bank so we may even be able to get a new hot water tank and water softner so we can actually use the big whirlpool tub in the master bath.  I keep thinking maybe this whole sewer thing is a blessing in disguise because it forced us to get all the projects in the house finished before the baby comes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

2 x 2 day 2

Okay so had to switch things up a little bit.  I was having issues with where deuce was suppose to be and where i was suppose to be and decided that MEB's article about 2 x 2s defined things alot better for the literal side of me.  Here is a link to her article I am following it religiously.  I like that she gives such specific instructions.  Stand here, put your dog here, dog goes here, treat goes here.  Only the correct entry is rewarded that makes sense to me.  Was having issues believing that having him on my right  and sending him through two poles ahead of me was teaching him the correct entry.  Long story but I am very, very literal:)   In MEB's article, dog always enters with poles in the left shoulder.  I think both methods are aweome, it is just MEB's article helped me by telling me exactly where i needed to stand at exactly what time.  Of course doing everything in the bedroom since it is snowing and icing outside.  We are up to step 3 left side.  He is driving to the correct entry very nicely almost every time when he is on my right.  He has trouble when the poles are at 6 and 12 and I am at like 10 or 11 when he is on my right.  He is getting better for sure.  He was just running straight through the poles, now he is running out and around the first pole with it on his left shoulder and driving to his reward.  I have done two sessions and am about to do session three where we work around the clock with him on my left.  Will update after I do.

Update:  Session 3.  Reminder of around the clock with dog on my right.   He is now getting that tough entry like a pro.  Started round the clock on my left.  Was having issues with him looking back as he enters the poles.  It is way easier to reward him when he is on my right.  I don't like the fact that he is driving to the poles and then almost stopping and looking back when he gets into the when he is on my left.  I am throwing ahead but seem to have issues when he is on my left.  Had gone back to individual cookies but now am back to food tube.  Of course space is limiting what we can do too.  He is getting close to the bed when he is going from my left side.  Next session will have him on my left and right with the poles switched 12 and 6 on the other end.  I am looking forward to doing  step four from the article tomorrow:)

Update: Session 4.  Final session of the night.  Deuce is nicely finding his entries no matter where we are on the clock.  I have to think sometimes about what is right and sometimes I have to walk out his path when the entries are hard.  I think this is harder for me than him.  He isn't looking back as much at all now that I am throwing his treat tube.  I fully feel like we are ready for step 4 tomorrow.  With the snow and ice that is coming down now, I have a feeling we will be stuck at home with nothing to do other than play with the two by twos anyway.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2 x 2 day one

So i am going back and doing the 2 x 2 method with Deuce to try and build value on entries.  I bought a set of 6 since he essentially knows how to weave.  If I like the method, I will probably teach Stella this way too.  Since this is his blog, I am going to write about my training sessions here.  I am going to try and get 3 short sessions a day but we are suppose to get rain and snow for the next two days so I may have to do most of the training in our bedroom which isn't hugely ideal but no choice.  There is plenty of room for him to drive to his reward line as our master bedroom is pretty big.

Session 1.  Shaping the poles.  Well, don't try and shape two poles if you have already used poles for something else.  We used poles stuck in the ground for cik and cap so he immediately started offering wrapping around the poles.  He did figure it out that of course that wasn't what I wanted but it took a little while of him being really frustrated with me.  I had a flag out for my reward line and I started out very close and moved back as he started getting it.  I wish he was toy motivated as throwing the treat sometimes wasn't the easiest.  I hit him a couple of times and a couple of times he turned before I could get the treat thrown but overall I think it went well.  For the next session later today, I hope to move around the arc and see if I get him through the poles again.  I think that is all I will do today and will introduce the next set tomorrow.  Going to watch the video or at least the beginning again to make sure I am doing this right.  I am so worried about screwing this up!

Session 2.  Decided to move the 2 x 2 set upstairs in the bedroom so he could find his cookies quicker.  Of course that meant baby gating the other dogs outside the bedroom and stella being the little agility dog she is kept jumping the baby gate to join us.  Watched the video again and decided since he was offering going through the poles with alot of enthusiasm that i would go ahead and next session put the poles at 2 and 8.  Started out with them straight, did a few rewards, then put them at 2 and 8.  He seems to have the most trouble when I am close to 8 on the arc.  He still wants to occasionally go around the poles and wrap like cik and cap and then when he doesn't get rewarded, he gets frustrated and barks and then turbo offers behaviors.  I have to call him back and get him revved up beside me and then try again.  It seems to be so hard to not offer any type of lure.  I keep on wanting to help him when he is having trouble by stepping forward or saying okay.  When he gets stuck in a position, I just get him to jump up on me or play with him really quickly so he gets out of whatever position he is offering.  Am going to do one more session today and call it quits.  It is really hard to not want to do more when he is doing well. I am trying to keep my sessions 5 minutes or less.

Session 3.  Started in the bedroom again.  Was getting drive and hardly any of the wrapping of the poles.  Decided after a few tries that we needed to go outside so I could add speed.  Also started using the food tube so he could find the reward.  That helped with my throws as well so i got hardly any turning back and looking at me.  By the end of the third session, he was driving through the poles no matter where I was on the clock or which side he was on.  Tomorrow, will add two sets of two.  Will probably be back in the bedroom since it is suppose to snow and rain.  This method is cool because it does let them reason through problems and let them think of the solution themselves.  I am sure using the channels and channeling them in out is kind of a crutch to them in a way. This is why I didn't use wires or gates when teaching deuce weaves originally as they are all crutches in their own way and hard to fade.  I am keeping my fingers crossed we have as much success in the future! Really wish there was some one local to work with that could help me make sure I am doing it right!  Deuce has it, I am the problem child!


I decided to go and play NADAC for a day just to see how deuce handled their weave poles.  I had forgotten they put hoops in every class now and that they didn't stake down the poles anymore.  We had a round of touch and go, a round of weaves, two rounds of standard, jumpers and chances.  Touch and go was funny because deuce didn't realize that big black rubber sheeted thing was the a-frame.  After he did it once he figured it out but I wish I had had someone video taping him and the look on his face when he approached it.  He also really didn't think the hoops were anything to be done.  I didn't want him jumping them  and had put him through the ones in the practice area, but he still didn't really get them which sucks because it screws up your handling when you have to baby something.  SO the first run was kind of a wreck, me trying to get him through stupid hoops and him not seeing them at all sometimes.  We still managed a Q LOL!

The second round was weaves and i was excited to see how he handled tunnels to weaves.  We had three sets of weaves to accomplish and he missed the first two sets on the first try.  They were coming straight out of tunnels but I was decelerated standing there telling him go weave and he wasn't even trying.  He got the third set as it was a gentle curve into them and he wasn't running top speed so he got a HUGE verbal YES, good dog.  I was still very frustrated with his run.  He didn't Q because the last tunnel went straight to the alley way out and he just couldn't stop and ran right out of the ring.  Doesn't matter, doing this for fun so the Qs are nothing to me in this venue.  It was more the fact he didn't try AT ALL to get the entries.  Next run was standard so decided to try the one try and you are done method.  Again, the poles were after a nice gentle curve so no reason why he should miss them.  I was telling him go weave two obstacles back.  He blew past them right into the second pole.  I called him back, put him in heel position and we left heeling out of the ring.  He had this very surprised look on his face and was even more surprised when he was promptly put in his crate without any of his normal post run cookies.  I had taken stella with me which was a good thing because I got her out and played with her and lavished her with praise and cookies.  We even went for a nice long walk without deuce at all.  Came back and ran round two in which the course was reversed, putting the weaves as the second obstacle.  The hoop was the first so he had a very clear view of the weaves and I led out just like i normally would and released and said go weave.  He NAILED them!!!!  Of course I tried to set him back far enough that he had some speed coming into them but it wasn't like the speed he has on course when they are further in the course.  We had a big verbal party and went on to smoke the course and win a first with a great time and a great YPS.  Of course it was novice and nadac but it was fun to have a good run.  This is why i get frustrated though because I know if he had his entries, we could be up there with the good BCs in time and placements.  The next two runs didn't have weaves as they were jumpers and chances.  He had a great run in jumpers with another YPS over 6 and a second place to one of the most awesome goldens in our area.  Chances was a wreck and probably shouldn't stayed so late just for it since i am not serious about NADAC but i had paid my money and didn't want to waste it.

I wanted to go back today and run standard again but when I got up, my body said no way jose, so I just went back to sleep.  Of course thanks to stella, only got another hour of sleep but it was worth it.  Today deuce and i embark on our two by two journey.  I bought a set of 6 poles in the 2 x 2 configuration and they guy had them in his truck so was able to bring them home with my yesterday.  I am still leery of the program, not because it is hard, just because I am scared of screwing it up and screwing him up.  I have the DVD and the articles from clean run but like to have someone in person showing me every step of the way.  I have two weeks till my next show so hope i can have some progress by then.  I may drag them upstairs into my bedroom or take them with us to the house we will be staying in while our floors are being done.  They are suppose to be done with the dining room floor by tuesday or wed and then start on the living room floor by thursday.  I just hope they can be done by christmas!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A whole lot of nothing

We have been blessed with an unusually warm and mild winter so far and I haven't really been able to take advantage of it.  We have been so wrapped up in our house issues that I just haven't had much time to devote to agility other than teaching on monday nights and an occasional practice.  I taught a seminar on beginning agility obstacles and foundation skills this saturday for three hours and early a little bit of money so I guess I am going to enter the local NADAC trial just for fun and just to get out of the house.  We had finally decided to do most of the repairs ourselves due to the crazy estimates we were getting from contractors and just contract out the hardwood floor and the tile in the kitchen.  They are suppose to start laying the new floor in the dining room today and then refinish it all week and then the floor in the living room will be refinished next week in time for Christmas.  I am not so much worried about everything this week as we can block off the dining room from the dogs and just live upstairs if the smell is bad but next week will be an entirely different story.  We can't get upstairs from anywhere other than the living room and the only bathroom with a shower is off of the living room and we were expressly told NO WAY can we walk on the floor till it is finished (up to 4 days).  SO the week before Christmas I am trying to find someone to either let us keep our dogs at their house or let us and the dogs stay or something.  We can always camp out on cots in our kitchen but I am worried about the dogs being crated so close to the smell and the noise.  Boarding is so hard to find right now and the expense of it would be pretty high so hoping we can find some nice person to take us and the dogs in.  Once we get the hardwood floors laid and refinished, I think it will be all down hill from there.  The kitchen floor will be an easy fix and I am waiting an estimate now on having someone come in and lay the tile for us.  My hubby seems to think we can do it but I am not so sure we can really save time and money doing it ourselves.  In fact, while we have the hardwood guys there, might just price having them hardwood that room too.  I keep thinking to just look at the light at the end of the tunnel and not the inconvience that we are incurring now.  Wouldn't you know too that now that we are going to have to walk our dogs again since we won't be able to get to the back part of the house, it is suppose to rain the rest of the week?  Just my luck:)

I had fully intended on starting on the first part of the weaves training this week and it just hadn't happened.  Will hope this really nice weather continues so I can hopefully get started soon!

Monday, December 5, 2011

another USDAA weekend and i am happy

So i mailed in my entry to the new years USDAA trial.  I probably am being incredibly stupid by doing so but oh well, you don't think when you feed addictions right?  Just keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't snow and I don't loose 200 bucks for no reason.  I just love USDAA and of course as I have been writing am seriously thinking about giving up AKC this coming year just to do USDAA.  We didn't have team this trial but we did have tournaments and all the regular classes.  Saturday I was a little discouraged.  Deuce missed every weave pole entry no matter how I handled them, ahead of him, with him, behind him, sending to them, whatever.   My trainer was there to watch and said he wasn't even trying to hit them at all.  I guess lucky for me, refusals don't matter in advanced so I was able to get a correction in and reset and go at them again.  Except for steeplechase, he always managed to get in them a second time.  He even got a Q in advanced standard with that one refusal because of course the refusals didn't count.  He missed them in gamblers, missed them in steeplechase and in standard.  I was pretty down and then of course jumpers was last and i went out and handled it horribly and didn't get the Q.  I did get sickly as the day went on and even considered having some one else run him in steeplechase and jumpers.  I was upset thinking maybe running him and being preggers wasn't going to work.  Thank goodness my mom and my good friends were there to cheer me up.  I only had a small pity party thanks to them.  The next day of course, Deuce was 3/4 on weaves getting them in grand prix for our first Q for nationals and in every other course but standard, which was the last course of the day and had a very funky entry that i don't think I have ever even worked before.  All in all I got a snooker Q, a pairs Q (thanks to my teammate for doing the side that had weaves LOL), a standard Q, and his first grand prix Q.  That helped lessen the load for the next show since I am doing team as well.

Overall thoughts for the weekend are I am now fully committed to doing the 2 x 2 method now.  Watched the dvd, read a bunch of MEB's articles and talked with others who have done the method and I now feel ready to tackle the method.  Will have to figure out how to train them indoors so will need to build some 2 x 2 sets and probably do some stick in the ground poles outside as well.  Maybe someone will loan me their sets and make it easier.  I know I should have just given in to doing this method sooner but I was truly scared of the method.  I was really worried I would screw it up.  Now I feel comfortable with it.  I did feel like this weekend deuce yet again kicked in a new gear.  I am very proud of it for sure but it made my handling a little messy.  I also blame being preggers on some of this as I felt like I was running in glue in a couple of times.  I got really, really winded in gamblers but i think it was because of my stupid handling path I chose since the 5 pt obstacle was way on the other side of the ring from the gamble.  Won't do that again!  Thought I was going to pass out!  Snooker was also very interesting as he always wants to run so extended when i am running full out so had to call him to heel and reset him several times to make sure he took the correct path.  He also ran past the jump a couple of times when it was a FC on a 180.  We need to work that because he has to come in to me and take that jump no matter what.  I don't want to only be able to handle that type of 180 with him staying on the same side and me holding.  I like to be moving and he needs to get over that!  He also didn't want to come in on a FC once and instead jumped the jump behind me, something that he hasn't done in a long, long time.  It all goes back to I have collection on the start line now but am still lacking it when I am in the middle of the course.  Gives us more to work on i guess.  Wouldn't be interesting if he was perfect.

I did see some flashes of big dog in him and I am proud.  He still is only 2 and he likes to remind me of that occasionally.  My take away message from this show is yes, i have a big problem with entries and my current route of training is not working so back to the drawing board.  I need to work on my timing on jumpers courses, my Nemesis, especially in USDAA.  Steeplechase still seems like a lost cause with us so I need to examine why.  I need to stop thinking along the lines that I have a time limit because baby or not, he as the rest of his life to have an agility career and there is no reason to rush anything or make any goals that aren't attainable.  This was my first run of the weekend which was gamblers.  It was my favorite run other than the knocked bar before the a-frame. (i give up.  I have tried to upload this video 4 times now.  I just give up)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

USDAA weekend

Am so looking forward to this weekend!  Had initially thought of pulling all entries to the end of the year since the big plumbing debacle and now the doctor's bills for the upcoming baby but I have decided i need my sanity and that is achieved through dog showing.  Yeah, may have to cut back to two days or less classes but i have to have my dog shows.  I have another USDAA show at the end of december that i am waiting to enter till i finish this one and see what classes I absolutely need to enter.  Am doing team so hoping all this work we have done on weave entries is going to pay off.  I still remember that first USDAA show where I did team (his third show ever and first USDAA show) and the poles were 22s and I hadn't done 22s with him in a long long time and he wouldn't or couldn't weave to save his life.  My poor team was the only team that didn't qualify thanks to deuce getting an E in practically every course that had weaves LOL!

I am also very excited that mom is meeting us in st. louis as long as their snow stops and the roads clear up.  Who would have thought that TN would have gotten more snow or snow period before KS?  So weird!!!!  Anyway, I need this weekend, need to clear my head and see my friends.  Agility friends really are the best in the whole world and I need some agility friend therapy!  Plus I love running on turf at Purina.  The videos always look good and the pictures turn out really good because of the lighting and deuce LOVES the rubber coated contacts.  Hopefully I will have a good report after the show!  I would like to get him into masters by the end of this year and I think he could do it!  Also still want to get those elusive Qs so I can go to regionals this year since they are in KS and nationals since it is in CO.  Good excuse to buy the baby it's first snow suit:)

This was from the first time we ran at Purina.  Lots of little baby dog bobbles but i loved how fast he ran!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Stella update

Been trying to write a year end wrap up blog about deuce's first year of trialing and I just can't seem to get the words together like i want to. SO, instead I am going to blog about miss stella.  Miss, I am the naughtiest dog ever, stella.  Alot of what happens is my fault and I know it.  She is too young to be trusted as much as i give her and so when I am cleaning up after her, I know it is my fault and until I get some balls, it is going to continue.  She always tends to fool me into believing that she is over what ever stage we were battling.  The latest stage is her barking like a mad woman at any noise downstairs in the middle of the night.  I think she hears my hubby down there (he falls asleep on the couch alot) but sometimes I have no clue what is setting her off and I just don't want to know what it is.  I am hoping we pass this phase before the baby comes because I will probably come unglued if she wakes up a sleeping baby!!!!!  We seem to be (knocking on wood) getting over the potty training issues we were having.  Again, these are a lot my fault as I very early let her start sleeping in the bed and trusting that she would wake me up when she got off the bed to go potty on the carpet.  For whatever reason, she wasn't waking me up and I would get up in the morning to multiple pee spots.  Easy fix right, put  her ass in a crate, but I just can't and I am not sure why.  Maybe because of the way she snuggles up to me every night like deuce does?  Anyway, she seems to always wake up around 4 am so I take her out every morning just in case.  As long as I get up and do this, there are zero accidents.  She is also still having accidents in her crate randomly.  We tried putting towels instead of a nice bed and that helped a little but she seems quite content peeing on her bedding and then laying in it.  I am going to try the bed again this week and see if anything has changed.

Stella is probably the most active aussie we have ever had and as long as her activity requirements are met, she is fine.  Don't meet those requirements and watch out.  This morning i just wanted 30 more minutes of sleep, a BIG mistake.  She brought me a measuring spoon, some toilet tissue, the paper towels I used to clean up a vomit mess, and an oven mitt.  She is also a horrible counter surfer so if we don't watch her like a hawk, she is in the kitchen getting whatever she can off of the counter.  We are considering in our kitchen remodel to put up a gate into the cooking part of the kitchen to prevent both her and harley from getting to the counters.   I am sure harley taught her how fun this habit is.  He learned it from a foster dog at some point.  He has also taught her the finer points of eating poo so we are battling that as well right now with both of them.  I try and keep the yard spotless but I just can't keep up sometimes and hubby doesn't help at all with this, yet complains when they have poo breath.  Ah, the joys of raising a puppy!!!!!

Agility wise, things are going pretty slow.  Tony gets motivated and does little things with her but I for the most part do most of the training.  We have been working on channel weaves lately with the channels way out and she is such a quick learner.  I still don't think she has the body control to start plank work for her running contacts so that will be put on hold till she does.  I don't have any illusions of running her anytime soon since the baby will cut into my showing and tony's showing and money so she will have plenty of time to mature.  I do love the fact that she catches onto things so quickly, so much more quickly than Deuce ever did.  Or course she is a girl so that helps;)  She is doing great with her foundation work and that may be what we stick with for quite a while.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

sigh...bye bye agility?

Well, the plumbing debacle is coming to a close and I am very, very upset but trying to hold it back.  There is still another day of work but as of tonight (7 days later) we do have plumbing including flushing toilets, showers, dish water and laundry water.  The amount of contractors that have been at our house is staggering including the original plumbers, pipe fitters, concrete cutters, concrete pourers, excavators, and the estimators for the job.  I really, really don't want to get the bill.  I guess the good news is that they are saying we won't have a bill for a while.  That may mean I can at least get through a couple of trials before I have to hang it up for a while.  Went to the bank today hoping for the best.  Unfortunately, since we have only paid on our house for 5 years, we can't really get a good deal on a refinance.  We can lower our interest rate which certainly helps but the best we could do was to do another 30 year loan and lower our payments by 160 bucks.  We also couldn't roll in the construction costs to the loan so we are either going to have to do a second mortgage on our house or some sort of home equity line of credit for like 15 or so years.  I guess we will do what we have to do but I know our budget and if we add another mortgage plus a new baby that has to have daycare,  I probably won't be able to do dog shows for quite a while.  I have very slim hope that maybe i can still do the local ones in lawrence and maybe in KC if I can stay with someone and maybe cut back to 2 day shows.  Something is better than nothing so I will do what i need to do to keep up my addiction.  If i can continue to teach through the winter, I might be able to keep enough money in my business account to pay for shows.  I so hope I can stay healthy and have a mild winter so i can do so.  I can't imagine my life without dog agility.  I know that sounds so silly but i just can't.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wichita Dog show weekend Fall

Wow, in a really weird mood, probably shouldn't write.  In the middle of dealing with major plumbing problems that could take up to 5 K to fix.  I am hoping they over estimated it and it will be less but I have a suspicion it won't.  They are on day three of trying to get this fixed and I am getting a little upset over the whole deal.  We haven't had a shower or toilet in 5 days now which didn't affect me this weekend as I was at the dog show but does now.  Took a shower at a friend's house last night but really, really hoping they can fix it today so we can take a shower in our own bathroom and pee in our own toilet.  Mcdonalds is getting a little tired of seeing us:)  It just sucks because here I was freaking out about doing agility and having to pay for a baby and now I have to factor in probably paying off a loan too.  So much for taking a break over the winter from teaching.  Going to try and see if I can get  another set of classes in, maybe just my advanced handlers.  They totally understand when the weather is too bad to be out in it and holding off to finish the session till it gets better weather wise.    I also need to rethink the 250 bucks I was going to spend on the St. louis new years show.  May not be a good idea now.  May just be a good idea to take the winter off from showing, but that makes me SUPER sad.  Looks like we probably only have one show in our area in january and one in february and they are both in lawrence so close and local so maybe not as much expense and i can swing it.  Here i was ramping up to do more with deuce, to attend lots of seminars and lessons and classes and now, shut the barn door, forget about it.  Okay, done with my pity party, on to my weekend, which was AWESOME.

Deuce had a great weekend except one run and I am so proud of him.  We still had little bobbles here and there but they were minor compared to what we have had in the past.  Perfect runs except one bar or one missed weave pole entry which is a tiny bit frustrating BUT at the same time he has come so far.  The surface was less than ideal but i can't complain about that.  I am sure that is why he had two bars in his first run in JWW as the rest was perfect.  He was one second off of Dixie's time and she had two bars as well.  The ring actually had corn rolls as someone commented and that was the truth.  We had one really bad run that started off beautifully.  I got this really cool blind cross where I sent him to a jump and tunnel and took off and got the blind cross in and sent him to the weaves and he missed them.  As I was bringing him back, I commented that this is getting old, and it totally stressed him out and he ran off and tried to squat in the ring.  Now granted, I had given him a bone the night before and that had torn up his stomach but he has never squatted in the ring.   I was so embarrassed, got him out before the did anything but then he didn't even poop in the grass when I took him out.  I felt horrible that saying what I said stressed him out that much.  Of course he was fine the next run and ran beautifully(got his weaves, missed a jump thanks to me)  so that makes me feel good that at least he can bounce back from a stressful run.  This trial was the trial i started him at and I need to do a bloopers reel to share on here since FB and youtube seem to take all the music I put on the videos and strip them.  I feel like we have made so much progress but still have so far to go.  I am really hoping that this pregnancy is a good one, that I can stay on my feet as long as possible and run and practice as much as I can and that this plumbing issue is cheaper than I hope.  I am pretty driven so if I have to pick up another job to keep up my hobby I will, even if my body wants me to just sit down and rest.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

vacation and lack of energy and how that affects baby-D

Last day of my vacation, back to the grind tomorrow.  I have to stay, even with the morning sickness and overall feeling of exhaustion, tony and i had a really, really fun time.  We have never had a real vacation, especially without the dogs ever.  We never even had a honeymoon!  So this was kind of like all of those things rolled into one.  We were very lucky in that my mom came up from TN and house and puppy sat for us while we were gone.  Tony was in meetings pretty much till 4:30 everyday but I busied myself with museums and tours while he was busy.  Eating was here and there, sometimes I could eat and most times I couldn't, yet I still managed to gain 2 lbs:)  I had lost 4 so I am kind of happy about that.  For whatever reason I like eating sweet things in the morning and having my full fat lattes (yes, I allow myself one caffeinated drink a day) and of course I have switched over to regular soda (mainly sierra mist since it uses real sugar) so I am sure those calories alone are what are packing on the weight.  Anyway, got to see the voodoo museum, the aquarium, the pharmacy museum, a city tour and a cemetery tour.  Tony got to do the city tour and the aquarium and also we did a swamp tour together.  For whatever reason, my appetite always came back at night so we had some good dinners including Dickie Brennan's steak house (best prime rib and mashed sweet potatoes ever) and Coop's fried chicken.  I am not a big seafood person so tony had oysters and seafood gumbo and all that fun seafood stuff.  Seafood made my stomach turn a little and i have never been a seafood person anyway so I didn't miss it.
Now onto me whining about being pregnant.  Don't get me wrong, this is a huge miracle and I am very happy that we are experiencing this but my active lifestyle has taken a huge backseat.  I am pretty much having all day morning sickness but thank goodness, no puking.  I just feel like I have the worst hang over ever all day till about 4 and then all the sudden it passes and I am starving.  I am tired all day, the worst in the morning. I have never been a morning person but this is way worse.  I have gotten in the habit of getting my morning sickness/motion bands on as soon as I wake up and I do think they are helping.  I have not felt like working out at 5:30 am at all.  I am going to try again next week but I am not optimistic.  Getting up, shoving food in my mouth and then working out just doesn't sound like a good time.  I would rather sleep off the foggy haze that I seem to wake up in.  Plus, even though I don't puke, I do gag a lot and i like doing that in private, not in front of a group class:)  Running has been non existant too.  I am out of breath all the time for some weird reason and have no stamina.  I started doing the couch to 5 K program with tony before we left for vacation and I was struggling to do 1 minute of running.  YIKES!  To go from 6 miles 5 times a week to struggling with 1 minute is very weird to me.  I worked so hard to build up to that and to see it all go away is sad.  Everyone says in the second trimester I will feel better so I am hoping they are right.  I had this fleeting vision of hardly any weight gain and being fit and trim and those visions are leaving very quickly.

So how does this all affect baby-D?  Well, I haven't made it to three of our practices thanks to feeling like crap and we have a show next weekend and then two in december.  I am trying to go out to the farm and get little short practices in but I can tell he is really getting rusty without classes.  Of course we won't have class anymore since lori is moving to KC so i need to get use to this but am having major motivation issues to make it to practice!  The days of course are getting darker earlier and it is dark when I get up so need to go to practices at the lighted field.  Also bummed because lots of great seminars like stuart mah and ann braue are coming up but all around the time I will be giving birth.  I also need to start banking days off for maternity leave.  I guess I don't get any extra time, have to use my sick leave and vacation.  I have 35 days banked in my sick leave so hoping I don't have to use any of that until then.  I have this horrible visions of being bed ridden and not being able to work or do agility.  I had tony run deuce some yesterday in open practice and I am sure he can run him no problem.  He is use to running a fast dog and as long as he holds his contacts, I will be fine with him running him, especially when it comes closer to time for me to birth.  Baby-D seems to be taking it in stride, still his normal goofy lovable self.  May have to look into crating him and stella when I start getting bigger and more uncomfortable as they both lay on top of me when we sleep.  Hate to do that but I could see that arrangement being a problem for me getting good sleep.

Anyway, Just needed to sit down and get some stuff out.  Need to go clean the yard, have a beginner agility lesson to go teach.  Enough of me whining, I am sure our little family and lifestyle will adjust and be fine.  I am very scared, very excited and very determined to get my active life back as soon as this little alien settles down.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

KCGRC weekend

First trial after making the announcement that I am preggers.  Lots of hugs and lots of confidence that I can keep up what I am doing and have a baby too.  Hoping I can stay healthy and active.  It was HARD getting up at 5:30 and getting in the car with the nausea and the dizziness.  Mom wanted me to have tony go with and I was hoping he would but he didn't.  I pretty much alternated between super tired and super pukey feeling all weekend but still managed to handle Deuce well.

We had three runs a day both days starting with T2B which I love having first as it is such a good warm up.  I think if I can remember right, he ran past a jump in the first T2B so no Q and then missed the weave poles (second obstacles, pointed him right at them and he acted like he couldn't see them) in the second T2B but the rest was awesome and he got a Q and 7 points (2nd place if you looked at the times). Not alot of people did T2B so no big win but it did feel nice to with two a-frames that he could have won first.  Did a blind off of the a-frame and it felt good and kept him moving with no creeping.  It is when I have to FC at the bottom of the a-frame that I now get the creeping so i try and keep those to a minimum.

Jumpers was great both days and both days missed weave poles entries, URGH!  The first course I think was on me, I did a pin wheel and before he took the third jump, he just ducked behind me (as i was saying go weave to collect him) and took the weaves.  Too bad it wasn't in the sequence that way because he would have had a clean entry but because i was still standing at the jump in disbelief, he stopped and looked back, like where are ya mom?  The rest of the course was WONDERFUL!  We haven't had an awesome run like that in so long so I was actually pretty happy even though I had opened my big fat mouth.  Jumpers was even better today but he went in the second pole even though I was pushing him out trying to shape the entry.  He just cut in and said got it and he didn't.  I was a little pissy about his one as again, beautiful run but he had no excuse to cut in and take the weaves with me trying to shape the line.

Standard was great today, our very first MX leg and 18 points.  Low YPS but I did hold his last contact a few extra seconds so I could make sure i was in position and I also decided to help him into the poles with a rear cross into them versus getting a front cross in with a tighter line.  He did not get his poles in standard on saturday which was the same entry as we had in T2B that he did get so not sure why he missed that time.  Both times it was a stop on the a-frame and then weaves.  I think he went in the second pole again but I did think he was collected enough.  We were on the other side of the poles in T2B so I am kind of puzzled as to why he missed this time.  Talked with alot of different people about his weaves.  We all think he does know the entry and it is a collection issues sometimes, but sometimes it is like he doesn't even try and of course when I take him back, he gets it but the angle and speed is all wrong.  So i think we are going to try taking him off. Hate doing this but he just isn't trying sometimes and he does get them most of the time in practice and at home in similar set ups.  I know the adrenaline adds an extra layer I don't get at home or practice but this is getting a little ridiculous.  Out of 6 attempts this weekend, we got 2:(  i could count the one in jww as he did get it and stopped because i was stopped.

Oh well, more training and the november WDTC trial in a couple of weeks! Overall ever single run was 100% much improved from the last show.  I think we are in that period of teetering between almost getting it and disaster but closer to almost getting it and getting it.  Baby dogs are so much fun to figure out!  Taking 7 days off to go to new orleans with the honey for a much needed dog free vacation.  Mom is staying with the dogs so say a little prayer for her LOL!!!!!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

HUGE changes coming:)

I have a huge announcement.  I am pregnant.  I never thought I would be uttering those words but they they are.  They look so scary on paper.    I have always said that when the good Lord is ready for me to be a mom that it will happen and boom, it has happened.  Now to make this dog related.  I am really, really nervous about how this affects my goals with baby-D.  I was hoping to go to nationals and such next year with him (mainly USDAA since we aren't qualified for AKC and won't be by the cut off).   I was also hoping to be working on his MACH by next year.  In a way, we have plenty of time so I am not in a rush but I am super scared about how having a baby will affect my training and trialing time.  Money is so tight as it is and factor in having to pay for daycare and diapers and possibly a newer more dependable car scares me to death.  I also had big plans for Stella and tony .  Stella was to be trained running contacts (correctly, not the tony coleman method of letting the dog run and praying that they are in the yellow) and now I am just not sure how we are going to be able to devote the time needed to doing this.  He is very infrequent about his training now and i am sure with me having a baby, the excuses will mount up.  I am also very worried about teaching.  I just feel like I have built up the clientele needed to keep this going and now in less than a year, I will have to at least take a break, if not give it up for a while. And don't forget my running.  I have just now gotten to where 5 miles was a very comfortable distance for me to do daily and was working towards 6 and then a half marathon.  That will have to change for sure.  This is all quite a shock for me as I have been off of birth control for almost 6 years now and nothing has happened.  I guess when it is right, it is right!

I am still wrapping my brain around all this.  So much change so quickly.  Lori's building is a go and she will be moving very soon leaving us trainerless.  Stella is of course in her very naughty puppy stage right now.  Deuce is going through another hormone surge and peeing on things right now.  Then add in baby, YIKES!  I so wish my mom was here as I think between her and tony and i could still train and teach but I just don't know how it is going to happen otherwise  Oh well, fasten your seatbelts!

Friday, October 14, 2011

left behind

I knew this would happen.  I am sitting here, watching all my friends at USDAA nationals having great and not so great runs and I am sad.  I want to be there!!!!!  The courses look hard this year as compared to previous years I have gone and i want to run them!  Of course I do feel like Deuce needs to grow up a little before we can handle a lot of those challenges in those courses.  I went out and set up a few of the jump sequences since i don't have all the equipment and played how would i handle this or that.  I know our first year of going will just be a fun, learning experience with no expectations.  I am not sure how he will handle the whole getting there at 6 am and not running till 12 hours later.  It really bothered miller the last nationals when we were there at 7ish and he didn't run till 7ish that night.  Miller loves his crate but he flat out refused to go in it after we had walked for like the 100th time that day.  I think even if they had an rv to stretch out in that I would be worried about them sitting there all day.  Anyway, sacrificing several AKC shows this year to do USDAA so we can get qualified since it is in CO this coming year.  Had a great team lined up for the new years trail but it isn't going to be so still looking for a third.  I hate winter trials, especially those that we have to travel for because I won't go if it is snowing and that is money down the drain.  Why can't i live in CA!!!!  Wishing tony would have gotten that job offer after all now.  The good news is that we will hopefully next year, early rather than later, should have a new USDAA club in our area and a place where the old club can have trials regularly.  I will work my ass off to make sure it is successful for sure.  I have said it a million times but i will say it again, I could give up AKC and just do USDAA if we had more.

Stella update time!  Tony has done some training with her as we are going to do the CLASS program that APDT has.  We are going to take the BA level training hopefully soon.  She is doing better with duration on her stays so we just need to make sure that is more solid before we do take it.  I do make sure that she does some behavior for everything.  I see major impulse control issues with her so she has to sit before she is let out of the crate and wait to be released, she has to sit and wait for her food and when we are playing fetch, she has to do a behavior before I throw the toy.  Her newest behavior i am working on is back up and she has added that to her chain of offered behaviors.  In class the other night, tony wanted her to sit and she kept backing up instead of sitting.  Then she started barking at him like give me the damn treat, I am giving you a behavior!  The other day I was working on her toes behavior with a chunky plank and she just wasn't offering what I wanted so she squatted and peed on the board like, is that what you want?  Such a great sense of humor.  She really is perfect for tony, stubborn, hard headed and biddable at the same time.  We are regressing a little in our house breaking and i am blaming this on tony.  When she is alone with him and I am gone to a show, he just doesn't pay good enough attention to her and she sneaks off.  I am also not so sure she isn't having some accidents in her crate.  Her crate pad kind of had a urine odor on it so i washed it this morning.  She is in a size appropriate crate so not sure how to cure her of peeing in there as she is probably laying in it too.  The sleeping is good and bad.  Here the past two mornings she has decided to get up at 4 but I think it is the cat that is causing her to do so.   As it gets colder outside, the cat sleeps in more and more.  I just hope she is good for my mom when she is here in a couple of weeks and we are gone on vacation!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

GLOC fall trial

Another trial in the books and another interesting yet good weekend.  Camped all weekend in my van at the camp away campsite and I will have to say, really like this campsite alot.  Dog park is way bigger  and the camp ground is really nice as compared to the KOA i camp at usually in omaha.  Slept in my van rather than bringing a tent and it worked out great.  Glad I brought my little generator as it got a little warmish in the van at night but other than a little rain, really enjoyed the relaxing weekend.  No qs this weekend but each run, even the hot mess run as we shall call it had good parts.

 Started off running standard on friday and a very nice, fast run with one bar.  I will take it, would rather have one bar than disaster.  Jumpers again was one bar but I also got lost after the bar so we missed two jumps as I forgot where in the hell to go.  Need to not get so flustered when he knocks bars.  Saturday standard again was little bobbles, was suppose to flip to a tunnel after the dog walk and he turned up the dog walk instead.  I guess I said something like uh oh or oh man as he was stressed from that point on and was a wild child.  Even released himself from the table into a two on two off to the delight of the crowd.  Never done that before so i guess there is a first time for everything.  Jumpers was a bit better, decided to do a lead out pivot at the beginning as it was jump and then weave.  He read it nicely but popped out around the third pole.  Guess he didn't collect enough.  Also had a wrong course but he stayed up and didn't stress so was glad for that.  Sunday was good and bad as well.  We had a flip back to the tunnel after a dog walk and he got it but I ellected to do a rear as he came out to turn him into a pin wheel as there was a dummy jump straight ahead calling their name.  The front cross was sending dogs straight to it so I thought the rear was a better option.  Well, it was but he didn't turn for whatever reason and almost was to the jump with me calling him off frantically.  Got him going again and the next troublesome part was the triple to a single bar jump back to a tunnel instead of the a-frame which was straight ahead.  Well, I did a big decel, which he hadn't been reading and he read it but only too much and didn't take the jump. I was probably not supporting it so my bad.  I would rather him read the decel too much and not take a jump versus going ahead of me when my body is saying don't.  Got him over the jump after a big fat R and got to the a-frame and the little butt head released off the a-frame and hit the weaves going 100 mph.  Of course he popped himself out again and I was still standing at the stupid a-frame trying to figure out what just happened.  So now this is a your done and out offense.  Jumpers was good until he came blasting out of the tunnel and didn't even try to collect for the weaves with me saying easy weave.  Oh well, we had good parts.

I was a teensy bit disappointed in 0 Qs in a whole weekend but I do think he is running better and is so close to doing some great stuff.  He had one standard run where he had one little wide turn and the fastest BC also had one little bobble and their times were identical.  OF course it was only one time but it made me smile.  She then beat him by like three seconds in the next JWW run but she is a tight little turning BC.    I think we are again gelling as a team and will get there very, very soon!

Monday, October 3, 2011

major runner's high!

Okay so I know it sounds silly but I am still on a major runner's high!  My first 10 K in the books and my time better than what I had planned YIPEEE!  It started out very cold, 41 degrees and dark as we left the house.  Luckily through years of running agility in horse barns and arenas, I have built up some cold weather gear that works perfectly for running.  As someone commented on my FB page on a pic tony took of me post race, "you look like a real runner".  Had to laugh at that one for sure!  The first 2 or so miles are nothing but hills and I had attempted to run this course before and it had defeated me for various reasons.  I had that little voice of self doubt in my head and it started screaming about 4 miles in, where i had to stop last time.  Well, I just told it to shut the hell up and kept running!  I had two friends who ran with me but they are super fast so they got way ahead of me around mile 2 and I just plugged in my head phones and jammed away.  I found a lady who had a similar pace and running style and we just hung out together.  Around mile 5.5, I could tell she was getting tired and felt the opportunity was there to pass, so I did.  My friends had finished in 53 so they came back to run with me to the finish line and make me sprint.  What was surprising was I actually had legs to do so!  I was so proud of myself for accomplishing my goal and look forward to my next race in November.  It gets a little challenging to schedule running with my dogs shows but I can usually find one a month that fits.  I am still waiting on the results but I think I crossed the finish line at 59:10 or something very close to that.  It was a very small race so not very technical in the scoring or timing so hoping they got it right. I had my watch going but didn't click it off till 59:33 and i had been standing there a few seconds.  I am very excited I met my goal and am really, really, really addicted now:)

Friday, September 30, 2011


Ah, finally a night of class.  Lori has been pretty busy here lately so  we haven't had regular every week classes.  I think in a way it is good for Deuce to go a week without anything agility but I was super pumped last night to actually have class.  We had some very challenging courses that were of course super fun and for some strange reason, we managed to get through them, some on the first try!!!!  I was super excited!  We were really clicking last night and it makes me feel so good that we are finally gelling as a team.  We have a three day show next weekend in Lincoln and we are camping so we will see how that goes.  I think for whatever reason, when I camped with miller, he didn't always run the best the next day so hoping deuce won't be affected like this.  I look forward to cuddling up with my baby-d in the tent and staying warm.  In fact, even thought about sleeping in my van and not even worrying about the tent.  If I take my middle crate out and all the extra crap that I don't need, baby-D and I can fit quite comfortably.  I just tend to be a pack rat and leave my van loaded with everything I might possibly need for any given season or situation.  The joys of having a big van1  Speaking of which am waiting on the shop to call about my van.  Just had it in last week to get the water pump replaced and the coolant system flushed (600 bucks, gulp) and now I think something is wrong with my front brakes.  Thank god for three paychecks in september.  Just hoping it doesn't take away all my paychecks, got a USDAA show to enter LOL!  Running my 10 K tomorrow so wish me luck!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

a week off

Gave baby-D a week off.  We haven't had class in a couple of weeks and I used him as a demo dog in my  classes but just for hind end awareness stuff.  I did set up some small drills today just to try out some stuff for my classes that I am teaching.  This will be the third week of me teaching 3 classes on monday nights and I have to say i LOVE it!  I knew i enjoyed teaching but this has been a blast so far.  Of course had challenges including a dog fight in one and an frazzled person in another but overall, we have made adjustments and are having fun.  I love seeing my two classes that I have had since beginners progress and am happy to say that they are in the cusp of being able to enter their first trials!  I am having everyone start out in NADAC in tunnelers and jumpers and for those who have weaves, standard as well.  The courses are so much fun, the people are laid back and of course no weaves in jumpers.  Everyone gets a ribbon for something or other and everyone walks away with a smile on their face.  Matt and Martha make each NADAC show so special and I sure miss going to their shows!

Tony and I have been working with stella on hind end awareness and plank work.  She has progressed nicely on her bang game and we are doing lots of shadow handling with her already.  The biggest problem we have with her is she is very bad at herding you instead of going ahead so we are working very hard on her focusing ahead and not jumping up and biting us.  Tony actually got her through a course of four jumps today (with no bars) with some crosses thrown in for fun.  She is super smart and catches on to things so quick but can be a bit reactive so lots of stuff for us to work on.  Tony worked on getting her attention while I worked deuce.  The screaming is very, shall I say, unbecoming of a little lady.

I have my first 10 K this coming weekend and I am super excited but super nervous.  I have been doing alot of running lately (5 days a week plus two days a week strength training as well) but I still feel unprepared.  Wish me luck!!!!!!!

Monday, September 19, 2011


I always feel a sense of urgency at USDAA trials, mainly because there are just so few of them.  The opportunities to get those Qs are so few and far between so much pressure is put on each run and I hate that in a way because I LOVE USDAA.  The good news is the columbia club is wanting to put on two trials  a year and it sounds like we are going to be adding a new USDAA club in the MO/KS area very soon so more opportunities for USDAA YIPEE!  We entered the weekend needing one standard Q to move up to advanced, but I went ahead and entered everything just for fun.  Ended up finishing his starter's snooker title and his standard title thus moving us up to advanced for the december shows.  Was a little worried as this is a very different surface and i had heard a lot of dogs were getting pad burns due to the mats wearing out.  I have trialed on this surface before and Miller had no issues but he is also slower and more careful when he runs.  The very first run was jumpers and a FUN course but deuce dropped the first bar.  Probably needed to remind him he was jump 22 and not 20.  Great run anyway so was happy we were starting out strong.  Second run was standard and gorgeous run till the very last bar.  Had the bar setter sitting right as they were coming over and I think he saw her and he loves people and just put his back foot down.  No biggie, not her fault, training issue for us, but dang, I think i would rather have the first bar than the last bar.  Stings a bit more when it is the last bar in my opinion.

We also had round one of steeplechase which had two a-frames.  Was hoping with the maturity I had been seeing that steeplechase would be a little better than previous attempts.  Well, it was better but still not a Q run.  Missed his weaves, no big deal, flipped him back in and got them and then was going to the finish when he ran around a jump and took the finish jump.  E:(  Oh well, it was certainly better than previous attempts  so we are improving.  He just seems to still struggle alot when  I run balls to the wall.  His brain still seems to ooze out of his head when we run as fast as we can.  I see it in FAST, the two tournament games in steeplechase, T2B, and of course in snooker and gamblers where there is a an opening and closing.  I didn't see it as much in grand prix this time but he did have several mistakes.  I felt like the grand prix was much like an excellent B course, not really hugely hard yet me managed to stink it up.  He was previously in a phase where he was so sensitive to the rear cross cue that he was anticipating it and turning before jumps or trying to read between the lines and think we were doing a rear when we weren't and now we are back to him not reading them at all.  AH, the fun of running a baby dog!

Overall, the weekend was a success in my mind.  He had way more great runs than bad and only missed two weave entries all weekend.  Much improvement in several areas although much to work on as well.  Wide turns are killing us in the placements.  When he is tight, he beats those awesome BCs (well some of them anyway) but when he is loosey-goosey, we get 3rd or worse.  I think baby-D enjoyed his weekend without his sister and i will probably have a few more of those so we can gel as a team and daddy and stella can bond.  Looking forward to a couple of weekends off and then some more AKC trials.  December will be all USDAA and while I hate driving 6 hours for a show, guess we will be making the trek to st. louis hopefully not in snow:)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Day 3, YIPEE

Day 3 is in the books and wow what a weekend.  I think this was the first weekend where I really clicked with Deuce. I have no clue what was different or what changed other than as he gets confidence, mine comes back and there are 0 nerves.  I wasn't nervous, he wasn't nervous and we both performed like I know we can.  Standard was a super fun course I was so close to my first MX leg!!!!!  He came wide out of the chute and had a teeter/dog walk discrimination.  I wanted him up the dog walk so I wasn't moving much to get him to come in.  Well, little did i realize that I was in front of the dog walk entry and he just couldn't get around me (stupid handler).  He tried but came off the side very low so not dangerous but scary and stupid of me to even encourage that stupid angle.  Anyway, got him back on finished the course lovely with no bars, weave pole entry and NO REACTIVE HANDLING YIPEEEEE!!!!!  Jumpers was a little tricky and I knew would be a challenge for us.  Straight line of jumps after the weaves straight at the wrong end of the tunnel.  Could do a FC after the first jump after the weaves if you could get lateral distance but that just set them up better for the wrong end as you had to push back out to the triple which was the next jump in the line. Could do a RC after the triple by pulling them to you and then turning them on the flat, thus changing their leads.  Opted for the RC but didn't have faith.  I kept trying to positively visualize him doing this sequence and kept seeing him go in the wrong end of the tunnel.  Watched handlers do it all kinds of crazy ways with varying results.  Walked to the line with no expectations.  Got the weave poles on a turn on the flat and then straight line of jumps, right into the correct end of the tunnel.  Holy crap, wasn't expecting to be right, had to handle the rest of the course reactively.  Had a recessed 180 in which I should have done a  FC on the landing side of the second part but didn't trust and sent him out way wide.  DEUCE, HERE, back to the right jump, go tunnel but again flung him way out to the wrong tunnel so another DEUCE, HERE, this tunnel.  Got him going again and what did i do, flung him back out and had to hold while he came back.  Time was horrible, only got 8 MACH points but my first MXJ leg.  It wasn't pretty but it was there.  Probably worst run all weekend, figures.

A quick summary of positives and negatives:

Positives:  Great weaves (6/8), only missed them in T2B.  Great collection except for the JWW run today and one lead out I did after the teeter.  No stress at ALL!!!!  I was confident, he was confident which equals zero stress.  Stella was a doll and only had one screaming fit all weekend.  She played with lots of people and lots of dogs and got along great with everyone.  I didn't get nervous at all, all weekend which helped.

Negatives:  The only thing I can think of was that he was super loopy in the JWW run but that was totally on me.  If i don't handle a course correctly, how do I expect him to run it correctly.  He can't read the numbers so he has no clue.  Bad, bad me!

Next weekend USDAA and FUN!!!!!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

day two of the best weekend we have had in a long time!

Okay hoping i don't jinx myself.  While we didn't Q at all today (T2B, Standard or JWW), Deuce had some really nice runs.  I was the idiot on two of the runs.  T2B was more of a training run so I don't count it.  Today's training run was get your weave entry and he failed so boo hiss and he knocked a bar but again, I care less about that class.  Lori told me what I did wrong on the entry so I can fix it.  Just do the class for steeplechase practice.  Anyway, standard was really nice, one bar that I caused and two he caused because i was racing and he flattened.  Don't care about them, the rest of the run was super and I will take it!  Jumpers was again my fault, did a FC at the beginning and just didn't re connect with him and lost him around a jump.  Kind of weird, he looked like he was locked in in the weaves but there was no way he was going to get the entry at that angle so who knows.  We finished the run on a strong note and he was a good boy with 0 stress.  It's the little things you start to appreciate.  We will see if baby brain sets in tomorrow.  Just have two runs (BORING) tomorrow so should be home early for the True blood final episode and a nice long run.  Next weekend is USDAA and i can't wait!!!! 

Stella again did great today.  She had one little screaming tantrum but it was over quickly.  She got lots of love and lots of attention and got to play with other puppies and with several dog friendly dogs.  We also worked on basic behaviors near the ring where distraction is the highest.  Barb gave her a bone to chew on so that kept her pretty busy.  Thanks to the Prozyme, she has been pretty solid, even with all the treats, peanut butter and bones.  I may just have to bring her next weekend too LOL if her daddy will allow it!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Baby-D AX, AXJ:)

Well, I made my goal today so had to give a quick blog about it.  Deuce finished his AX today and I am so proud.  He was 2 for 3 on his weave pole entries and 0% stress!!!!!  I even left him in the weaves in T2B and moved laterally and got a crazy front cross in.  Boy how i love classes that you can train in like FAST and T2B.  Now that we are in B, I will be really pushing things like lateral distance on the weaves and contacts.  I also will be working hard to tighten him up more.  I am getting better at handling him for sure and really starting to understand how my motion tends to fling him out.  We have so far to go but I am super stoked to have my main goal done for the year.    The other thing I wanted to talk about was Miss Stella.  Decided to bring her since it is a smaller trial and the weather is cooler so I can put her in the car if needed. I am happy to report she was an angel in her crate.  Only had one barking episode when she saw me on the line in JWW as her crate backs the JWW course.  My secret weapon was a hollow bone and peanut butter.  Tried to associate any time I took deuce out with her getting the best thing possible, AKA peanut butter in the bone.  She got to meet tons of dogs and people and was loving everyone!  Did some basic behaviors but she was a little distracted.  Got to watch the dogs run in T2b after me and she didn't bark but watched.  I am really shocked, thought she would be a screaming demon.  Maybe she knows the game and will be worse tomorrow:)  Off to bed, really, really tired and of course have to get up super early and drive again tomorrow.  Wish I was camping but 5 dogs in a tent might have been a challenge.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Reflection upon a 4 day weekend

Feeling a lot more rested so I thought I would write some more on the weekend.  My post last night was very brief and I had lots to say but was super tired.  I course built all courses all four days plus camped and of course as soon as I got home, had to clean the entire house and do all the laundry before I could relax.  Work is sort of slow today so been putting my thoughts together.  Here goes nothing.  Going back to the positives and negatives list.

Positives: I think he hit his weave entry 5 out of 8 times this weekend, some in a flat out run.  One of the misses he hit the entry but didn't collect enough and popped out.  The other entry I tried to start out as a rear to the poles and as i stepped in, he turned away from them so that was my fault.  The other he had a bobble right at the beginning  as I said go tunnel, he ran past the entrance, went to the wall and stopped and looked back at me like, what tunnel?  needed a turn command to switch his lead, my fault too.  The next obstacle was the weaves and I just think he was a little stressed because he hates being wrong.  I felt like there were at least three runs were we looked like a real team.  BIGGEST positive of all, except for the one weave pole entry, he COLLECTED for every lead out thus starting the courses off without us fighting.  I have seen a trend of us fighting on collection at the beginning and the rest of the run being off because of it.  I made sure I was maintaining eye contact and that he was looking at me, not whatever the off course obstacle was behind me.  One time, it was even a straight tunnel and he came with me, GOOD BOY!  I did have one front cross where I did not get my hand up quick enough and I was racing to get to the cross thus cueing extension and he ran a little past me but came back in and took the correct obstacle.  That was okay, motion over rode anything else in that instance.

The standard run on sunday was the bestest we have ever had:)  There were so many off course options every time you turned around and he stayed with me and listened the entire time.  There was hardly any yelling his name, no reactive handling, just us running. Other than a bar in that run, it was my favorite and I hope we can have many more like that.  That is the dog I know he can be and would like to see more of it.

Negatives: Had a really stressy day on monday (last day of trial).  He self released off of his a-frame, then self released off of the dog walk.  I corrected him by stopping him and saying uh-oh.  Didn't work as the next contact was the teeter and he self released off of that one too.  That one was a big tweet you are done.  Apparently that really, really bothered him, even though we went and did some toes and got lots of cookies after we left the ring.  When I got him out to run jumpers, he was still down, still had his nose on the ground. I had to literally pick him up to get him to get his nose off of the ground.  I HATE this stress and am trying everything I know to deal with it.  He was fine the first three days, no stress at all.  I had been commenting to everyone about how stress free he had been the whole weekend, even when he had missed his entry to his weave poles.  I know he hates being wrong but he has to know that what he did was wrong or else how do I fix it?  He is the type of dog that if you let him get away with something once, he will try it again and again.  I let him not go down on the  table once this weekend and he tried to stay in a sitting position every run after that.  I can't let him get away with bad contacts.  I refuse to have another miller!   Now, in his defense, he was in the crate way more than normal.  He was pretty much confined from 6 am in the morning till almost 4 pm every day and then on sunday night, another 6 hours while we were at the cook out.  I know that had some affect on the baby dog for sure.  A big negative on me, which I have been working on but still need more help is deceleration.  I had a beautiful JWW run but on a 180, ran all the way up to the first jump and flung him way out to the second part.  There was no need for me to be that close and decel probably would have made it way tighter.  Again, this goes back to mr. miller making me have to run up to everything to get him to go over it.  MUST. STOP. NOW.

He is also not wanting to stay on my hand.  One of the JWW course had a back side of a jump after the weaves but then into a 180 and I couldn't handle it like I normally would a back side jump scenario.  You really needed to be on the back side too to handle the 180 smoothly so I had to snooker around the jump then rotate into it to let him take it.  He wanted to release off of my hand so bad that I had to fight him around the corner to keep him on that hand and off of off course stuff.  This is going to kill me in snooker for sure when I need him tight and on my hand.  I know a lot of aussies don't like working tight, but too bad, he is going to have to get over it.

Looking forward to another three day weekend with the baby dog.  We got that last leg we needed in excellent A JWW so now am running in B but still need one more leg in Excellent A standard.  It will come, I know, so I am not rushing anything but it would be nice to not be at the bottom of the freaking 20 inch class.  Mentally, I don't like watching 100, 20 inch dogs run before me (flashing back to USDAA and AKC nationals where i was at the end and had to watch almost 6-8 hours of 20 inch dogs running).  I really like to be at the top of the running order.  I will have to say that (and this may be TMI again so stop reading if you don't want to know) once again, my nervous stomach has not acted up at all this past weekend.  I don't get as nervous with him as I did with miller so no running to the bathroom constantly.  This is a bonus:) So, one more leg to reach my goals for the year 2011.  Kind of crazy to think we are winding down.  Looking forward to some USDAA in a couple of weeks.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Truine Four day trial

I just had to sit down and blog about my weekend even though I am exhausted and ready for bed. Lots of great things happened and some not so great but the great out weighed the not so great. I saw glimmers of hope of us being a team. Favorite run the whole weekend was a very tough Excellent standard course. Lots of traps and challenges and we danced the dance. Turns were tight, contacts were held and weave poles were mastered. I saw some maturity and I am so excited to see that. Also got our AXJ this weekend by the skin of our teeth. Lots of 270s with back sides and traps just calling their name (can you say straight tunnel?). While he went wide on two parts for sure, he was still right up there time wise with the fast BCs and that just tickles me. If we can tighten it up, we might be able to beat maybe a slower BC LOL! We camped and while he spent alot of time in his crate (i was a course builder for both rings and worked several classes) he seemed to handle it pretty well. Today was probably the only day I was truly not happy with our performance. I think he had just hit his limit and was a little tired and a little stressy. I had to correct him for self releasing on his dog walk and that really hurt his little feelings. All I said was uh-oh but you would have thought I beat him. He kept on running but missed a jump and then didn't collect in on a FC. The flew off of the teeter but all the big dogs were doing that so I didn't fault him for that. I honestly think they didn't believe us that it was the teeter and not the dog walk as the dog walk had been there the previous three days. No cookies after the run till we went out side and did toes and waited for the okay, then lots of cookies, big party. He still was a little stressed in JWW and when he popped out of his weave poles (hit the entry but was going so fast popped out), he started stressing again and all hell broke loose. While it wasn't as bad on tape as it felt on the course, I still hated to end an otherwise great weekend on that note. Home now, resting and getting ready for a three day work week and then three more days of agility WAHOO! Hubby is going to TN for his grandma's 90th birthday celebration so I will have to drive back and forth all three days:( Stella and Deuce will be coming with and if I could find a dog sitter, I would just camp there again. Had so much fun camping this weekend, even with the rain the one night. Nothing worse than having to pee in the bushes in the rain but we tried to time it when it wasn't raining. Slept like a rock listening to the sounds of I-70 right behind us. Had a great camp out sunday night complete with dancing, keg stands, and funny stories. We agility women know how to have a good time:)