Sunday, February 26, 2012

oh andrew

Yesterday was a beautiful day and we made use of it by heading out to the all star field and practicing.  Lori was in town (no I didn't kidnap her and keep her but it was tempting) and had a wicked course set up for us to practice.  It was so nice to do some hard, hard stuff again because it makes you appreciate the not so hard so much more.  I brought the screamer and deuce since it was nice enough that the screamer could stay in the car.  Practiced for a few hours, breaking down the course, working the puppies and then doing some drill work.  Man it felt so good.  Oh boy, I do see where I still have some major holes to fill with both dogs.  I really have just now started working stella in earnest and it was good to see what she needs to focus on (hello wing jumps:) Anyway, also ran Dixie, Joc's BC on the courses as she is still injured and can't run and I am running her anyway this weekend at the show.  She is a ton of fun to run but PUSHY like all get out and likes to rush and take down bars.  I now appreciate the fact that deuce does worry when his bars come down because she could give a rat's ass less.  I loved pushing her but the bars were really coming down when I did so, so need to find that balance with her.  She also has a very short commitment point where as Deuce's commitment point of needing information is SO different.  I started decel on this one part to give her the weave entrance and she would miss the jump completely.  There was an off course tunnel right next to the weaves so for deuce i had to decel so much further back to get him to check in and take the weaves.  With her, I could practically run right up to the jump and then decel and she would take the weaves every time.  So much fun figuring out other dogs.  She is super fast, about a gear and a half faster than deuce so man you have to be on your toes and get to where you need to be, no looking back.  I can also trust her a little more than deuce but boy does she like to push you on those contacts:)  She will creep down to the bottom and then explode off and if you are not ready, she will get a jump on you.

Also yesterday had a couple of instances where i had to release deuce from the contacts with the word here instead of Okay.  We were doing some snooker type maneuvers and if I just said okay, he was locked on to an off course jump and not looking at me at all.  When I said here, he immediately came to my hand and stayed on course.  SO, after many years of dragging my heels, I will use either here or okay to release him off of contacts.  This is the second or third time where I have seen the application of using that to get them out of obstacle focus and I am at peace with it now:)

The bad part about yesterday was of course being out of breath constantly and also having some BH contractions.  I had read that your uterus likes to practice now and boy did it practice.  I am a little worried because I don't need to be on bed rest, I need to work and make money.  So, today, instead of going out for our class at Joc's barn, I am going to take it semi easy here.  My back was killing me last night from running and I felt overall very, very tired, so propped my feet up, put a pillow behind me and got on the heating pad.  Back responded very well, didn't have to take any drugs or anything but then i woke up at 2:30 am with a splitting head ache and sick to my stomach.  Not sure what brought this on, had a little dull head ache when I went to bed but usually that goes away when i go to sleep.  Was really scared as nothing I did made it go away and I started puking which of course made me loose any meds I had taken (just Tylenol, don't worry:)  Finally ended up calling my mommy at 3 am and talking to her for a while and kept down some sinus meds that finally kicked in and made the pressure go away and helped me sleep.  Of course today I am super groggy but maybe that will help me slow down.  I don't need to be on bed rest and I don't want to stop running my doggies.  Perhaps shorter sessions of training are in my future.

Oh well, headed to the pharmacy to load up on some sinus drugs and some breath right strips just in case. And also, some chips and salsa as that is what I am craving right now really badly.  Will try and take it easy but that is hard for me.  It is 60 outside so at least will have several sessions of Frisbee playing and maybe some little drill work;)

Monday, February 20, 2012

decel versus accel and the barn

We had our first class this week with stella and with deucy out at Joc's barn.  What a great opportunity to get out and do something finally and have a place indoors to do it.  Not that this winter has been all that bad but my motivation to drive out to Lori's place on my own has been 0 and I haven't been out to the farm much lately (hope my equipment is still there:)  Stella got to train first so I just made up little sequences out of jumps since we are doing running contacts and don't really want her on them.  Lots of go do this and then come back and touch my hand.  Lots of wait practice while I worked on different lead outs.  Of course jumps were at 12 inches so not very hard for her to get over.  Worked some fronts and rears with her.  She HATES rears.  I think she reads too much into my decel still and wants to stop instead of going on ahead of me.  She is a tugging fool which makes rewards so nice.  Worked her on Joc's huge wobble board and was doing some toes work while I ran around her or other dogs were out on course.  Great distraction practice for sure.  She gets a little frustrated every once and while and gives me a little sas but for the most part is quiet on course.  Need to learn how to run with a tug toy better because a couple of times she ran past me and got it on her way.  She actually bit me once accidently in her excitement but it was an accident.  I just did a  loud yelp and dropped the toy.

Deuce's class was next and was a mixture of those who had been competing for years, those who have just started competing and those who have hopes to compete.  It was a great mix and I enjoyed helping those who had questions or were having issues.  Joc had some really hard courses, one that kicked my ass several times.  I am not sure if the spacing was really right since she had to squish it a little to fit it in the barn but basically they started out in the far end of the barn coming out of a long tunnel and then a 180 back down the line to another tunnel in the other corner.  Of course the entry to the tunnel was the one that made the least amount of sense as they landed off a double right at the wrong end.  So the dilema was how to do the 180 and  getting up the line to cue collection so you had a prayer of getting the right end of the tunnel.  Again, I think the spacing was a little off but it was a fair challenge.  Every time i rushed to get down there, he just ran faster, jumped the double in extension and landed right in the wrong end of the tunnel.  I played with some decel and he was so patterned he wasn't reading it at all.  Finally he started reading it and actually didn't even take the double once.  YIPEE!  Now to find that balance.  We had a similar sequence later where he had to take that same double but come back to the dog walk instead of the tunnel at all.  Still need to find that balance between acel/decel.  We also had a very tough weave pole entry, one of those 90 degree entries.  He kept on taking it, not collecting enough, slipping on dirt as he tried to collect and missing the entry.  I found if I left him on the a-frame and got up the line to cue collection he could get it no problem.  Ah, mighty collection:)  Was fun all around, learned alot about my dog.  Still really, really miss having a trainer helping me with issues but we are all chipping in to help each other constructively which helps me see some things.  Can't wait till another weekend!  Suppose to rain tonight so not sure we will get class in or not out at All Star.  Have alot of ideas to share with my students so hoping we do but 90% rain chance doesn't sound promising!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Really, really tired

After three days of 5 runs a day (except sunday), I have been completely wiped out.  I only have one more USDAA show before the baby is born and it is a two day but may need to consider having someone run him some.  I am not going to enter the Grand Prix so that I can save myself mainly and enter all the masters classes and steeplechase.  I am hoping I can run him till the end of april but as I get bigger, it gets harder.  I took monday off to kind of chill with my feet up and because as usual it had snowed and iced and i was playing a wuss and I needed the rest.  I could have gone in with my hubby as he works on campus but I was so tired when I got up and fed the dogs that I stayed home.  Anyway went back to work yesterday and not sure if I just didn't have much to do or what but was worn out so much that I went home around 4 really ready to just go to bed.  Then of course hubby surprised me with flowers and pizza and i perked up.  Still stayed on the couch most of the night.  I hate this feeling because I was so active before the baby but I am trying to listen to my body and take it slow.  I did get my baby jogging stroller in last week so I can run when the baby is here to stay motivated.

Been thinking alot about USDAA nationals.  I am thinking we really need to sit out this year.  While we are qualified, I just don't think deuce is mentally ready and I am not sure I will be ready with the baby by then.  As my mom reminded me, we drove to arizona twice and KY once to show and of course all the way to North Carolina, so who cares where it will be next year.  I am still on the fence as to what to do.  On one hand, I feel like I have forever with him since he is only 2 and there is no need to rush.  Then I hear about people with youngish dogs getting injured or getting cancer or having bad things happen to them and I think do I need to do things now before something happens?  Can you live your life like that anyway?  Always waiting for that shoe to drop?  Still thinking about it. I found another person for team that isn't sure if she is going and has a young dog and quite frankly if I went, I could just go to fill a broken team anyway.  I would have 0 expectations other than have fun.  Still thinking..........

On another note, I am kind of getting excited to have andrew.  I can't wait to expose him to all things dog.  I really hope he shares our love of dogs and all things dog show.  I think feeling him kick so much makes him so real now.  Now kind of wishing this would speed up so that we can meet the little guy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day 3 USDAA...a little tired

So i didn't need to be at the show as early as normal.  I set my alarm to 6:00 am so I could sit and drink my coffee and eat my breakfast and then head out.  Well, let's just say that I forgot and set it for saturday and not sunday.  Whoops:)  Kind of glad I wasn't in either of the master's games in the morning.  I had told them I would help at the table though and luckily had showered the night before so I was good to just get up and go.  Took my time, had my coffee still and still got there right as they were starting the first class (it is about an hour drive).  Only had three runs today which I think was actually a blessing.  I was pretty tired this morning and even with my belly band on was feeling a little sore.  First class was pairs and I had lori as a partner except when I got there, a pair had been broken so I was put with someone who I know of but don't personally know.  I explained I had a baby dog and she said don't worry about it but of course I still did.  I had the side of the course that I thought was more straight forward but apparently I wasn't on top of it so he took a wrong course right at the end, even though I was saying HERE, HERE, HERE.  Next course was standard and he smoked it and won 2nd place.  Great run, smoking fast, collected when I needed it and extension when I needed it.  Weave entry was awesome with a very similar weave entry to what he had had in pairs  He had bumped himself out of the poles in pairs because he didn't collect enough.  This time he collected better and stayed in.  Jumpers was last and I was not feeling good but decided to go ahead and run anyway.  Knocked the second bar for some reason but the rest of the run was good except the ending in which he took a wrong course.  Oh well, great weekend anyway.

Positives way outweigh the negatives.  He was collected every time I asked for it.  I did a lead out push today in standard and it was AWESOME!  His weave poles were really, really good all weekend.  I think he missed two entries and I think both times it was my fault for not giving him enough information as he really tried both times.  I will accept trying any day.  We only had one course where he flicked off and went on his on course, luckily it was gamblers so technically it didn't count.  The off courses he did in other courses were totally my fault by being out of position and not giving him enough information.  We ended the weekend with our AAD and our first master's Q in standard and our second grand prix leg.   The biggest positive was probably for the most part I handled with proactive handling and had confidence.  It really showed in the way he ran as he ran with confidence too.  The biggest negative was he decimating the broad jump both times.  We don't train with one of those big metal ascending broad jumps so I guess I'd better buy one.  He needs to be okay with me doing all types of handling moves before and after it.

 I am entering him in a USDAA trial in March and that will probably be it till august regionals.  I would like to go to St. Louis in July but that may be pushing it with a month old baby:)  I can wishful think right?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

USDAA day 2 Grand Prix and steeplechase on MY!

Blogging really quickly before I take a shower and go eat.  Great day!  Worked the table all day again which makes me super happy.  I like being busy and if I can't course build, I need to be busy doing something else.  If i don't occupy my mind, I get sleepy or bored, especially on long USDAA days.  We had several runs today including our first time in master's standard, grand prix, steeplechase, gamblers, and snooker.  I really, really needed that last gambler's leg so I could move up to everything to masters.  I Of course it was the first run of the day and I hate needing the first run of the day!  It wasn't a straight forward gamble as the first jump had them angled right at the chute which was NOT part of the gamble.  I knew I needed to collect him before that jump so that he took it nice and collected versus extended.  He had to turn back to the teeter and then over a jump.  I had pretty good faith in his contact skills that far away from me so that didn't bother me.  The fact that they were coming out of a tunnel right at that first jump and in full extension that bothered me.  Luck would have it that we were coming off of the a-frame when the buzzer sounded so he was in full handler focus.  YEAH!  We got that last Q we needed and a HUGE weight was lifted off of my shoulders.  That and the fact that he listened the entire course, never flicked off of me, and got two weaves, two dog walks and an a-frame all with great contacts.

I can't remember what course we had next but I think it was snooker.  Totally almost missed my run because I wasn't paying attention and was working.  Had a plan but it wasn't the best, mostly tight with one go part.  Started out great but he went in the wrong end of the tunnel headed to the five in the closing so we didn't have a chance at qualifying even with two 7s in the opening.  Oh well, didn't need it and he still ran well.  Missed his weave entry but it wasn't the best set up, totally my fault.  We had to sprint from the last 7 all the way to the 2 and then flip around back to the weaves and he was in GO mode and I yelled his name to get him back around the 2 and i think I stressed him.  No refusals so we were still okay but I need to stop yelling his name.  he can hear me if I whisper DUH.

Grand Prix was next and a very tough course but a Q and our second Q for nationals.  He ran SO well, stayed tight when I needed and went when I needed.  He really ran like a big boy and never once did i have any oh shit moments or lost him.  He was super responsive and I LOVE that.  Great contacts and great weaves. Then came steeplechase.  YIKES.  He decimated the broad jump again after getting two weave entries and calling off of a trap without me yelling.  I am still not sure what happened but as we continued, he hit two more bars so it must have hurt.  Finished but was a little worried.  Not sure why we have this hang up with steeplechase but everything up to the broad jump was actually really good so I am in a weird way pretty happy with the run.  He actually did bend the metal broad jump:(  We walked it out and he seemed okay.  We immediately had standard next and again a very tough master's course.  He again was very responsive, going when I needed him to and collecting when i needed him to.    Until of course I needed to collect him so he wouldn't take a jump extended which again would land him right at the off course chute.  Guess what happened? I actually OVER collected him and he stopped without jumping the jump. GOOD DOG!!!!!!   I will take it.  Ended the course with one R but super happy.

I am so happy with this day, with both the Q and non Q runs.  We actually ran as a team and I am hoping this trend continues as I LIKE LIKE LIKE it!  I only have three runs tomorrow because I only can move up in the classes I entered in advanced in and so I only have standard, jumpers, and pairs.  I probably need the break, stomach is a little sore tonight.  Had to pull out my belly band to help support.  I seem to be feeling pretty good running other than being a little out of breath after my runs.  I can always wear two belly bands too if I need super support.  On to dinner and then bed.  Another long day tomorrow and more table work.

Friday, February 10, 2012

USDAA day one....TEAM!

Ah, day one of USDAA and it is of course team day.  We had a team of all aussies, will have to get a pic and post it.  Flurry, deuce and bailey were 2 (get it deuce) wild and crazy girls.  Well, after a valiant effort and some smoking runs, we just ended up below the line.  Oh well, it was a great effort and everyone had a run they could be super proud of.  All three dogs are still very young and showed flashes of brilliance on every course.  I was a little worried because of course, gamblers was first and that just seems to be my hang up.  I plan a course so I know exactly where I am going, I don't tend to panic, and I still SUCK.  I was planning two a-frames and as I headed back after doing 2, 7s (the weaves), he flicked off of me and took the tire jump and another jump instead.  I guess he got 4 points instead of 5 but it kind of rattled me.  We got lucky in that the bonus was get as many obstacles as you can and get out.  Anything you got doubled and I really wanted two teeters but ended up with just one and a tunnel and one jump.  Oh well, didn't want to start the day out greedy.  I do hate when he flicks off of me though and of course snooker was next and I needed 0 flicking for this course.  Again, wasn't going for broke, planned a 5, 6 and a four and then the closing.  Was going well until I headed to the 4 which was a tunnel.  The judge was standing right in the way of the entrance so deuce ran to the other end and took it which put me in a panic mode.  We started the closing but I think i was a little panicky so I caused him to knock the first bar of the 5 combo.  DANG IT!  Snooker is usually our thing but this was a very tough course that bit most teams before they even got that far so I was happy with how we did.  One of our teammates got all the way to the 7 which helped.  It was funny because after gamblers (thanks to that same teammate) we were in first. We dropped down to third which was nice but still three more courses to run.

Standard was next and boy what a course.  Really funky angles and LOTS of traps.  Deuce ran it like a pro, listened, was tight, held contacts and was headed for home.  I am not sure what happened but we had an evil ending line that had a dog walk to a winged jump, out to wingless, back in to a tire, back out to a wingless and over a winged jump.  Blink and your dogs were extended and missing a jump.  Deuce took the first jump of the evil line and saw the a-frame.  I was holding back trying to help him pull into the next jump which i think also confused him as I like being ahead, not hanging behind.  Got him back and then he missed the tire and took the next jump.  DANG!  An evil E to go with the evil ending.  It bit alot of dogs but I was so dang proud of the rest of the run that I wasn't mad at myself for long.  He did some really good things on that course and listened and never even looked at some of the off course options.

Jumpers was next and again a little bit of a tricky course.  We were doing well until we hit the broad jump and when I say HIT, I mean HIT.  I was taking off for a front cross and I have no clue what happened but i heard a huge commotion, looked back and saw deuce rolling through the broad jump.  It was one of those big metal ones so it made alot of noise and the crowd of course gasped.  He picked himself up and we finished the course but it was a nasty way to get a fault.  Guess I need to buy a broad jump and practice HUH?  Anyway, he seemed fine so I wasn't too worried.  I think those metal broads just sound loud when you hit them.  Pairs was last and we were a few points below the line but the relay course was pretty good.  First teammate made it through clean, second teammate had an E :( and then deuce had a bar.  I was determined to get this front cross in that no one else was doing and I did and it worked beautifully so i didn't care that we had the E.  We were one team below the line but as i said earlier, everyone had runs they were super proud of  and I think that is the take away message here.  Deuce hit all of his weaves and listened (other than gamblers) and I was very, very happy with him at the end of the day.

Now on to the dog I was NOT happy with.  Decided to take stella since I had no clue when I would be home or how late tony would be working.  BIG mistake.  I can't lug metal crates in so thought I would take my cloth crate in for her.  I even gave her the one crate that isn't screwed up thinking she would appreciate that i treat her like a queen.  Brought my peanut butter and her kong thinking that would keep her busy.  After I took deuce out for the second run, stella decided even though she had PB, she would eat her way out of the crate.  She tore a hole in mesh door and had her head half way out.  URGH!!!!  I knew better than to trust her but I thought the power of PB would overcome.  Luckily my teammate had a wire crate that she lugged in and let me use so stella at least couldn't get out.  She did scream even though we had PB and I had to enlist people to stand by her crate and give her cookies when she was quiet and finally had to just put her in the car.  I will be leaving her with her daddy tomorrow.  I can't have to deal with a screaming dog and focus on my runs.  I would rather her be at home.  She is for the most part, leaving her stitches alone (i had her spayed and yes she is young but I can't have deuce stella puppies).  She seems more bothered by razor burn so will try and get something to soothe that tonight.  She is leaking a little but I hope that stops.  Really don't want to have to put her on meds:(  but i guess we will do what we have to.  Anyway great day minus the screaming and torn up crate.  She really keeps me on my toes!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Finally got some training time in today.  Friend of mine built a barn, not huge but perfect to work almost full courses.  It is perfect for what we need right now.  Took both dogs which of course meant stella screaming at the top of her lungs while I worked but with help, she got a little better by the end.  She sounds like a seal being clubbed (not that i have ever witnessed that but that is the sound i would think they would make).  We worked two different courses, a more wide open course with two sets of weaves and lots of options and then a snooker type course.  Both were challenging and fun and it was so nice to knock the rust off.  We are planning on doing this on a weekly basis and I am hoping to see improvement in both stella and deuce.  Got to work some decel/accel drills and some collection drills along with of course some snooker drills.  Still really missing having a world class instructor there but we as a group were able to help each other with options.  Even got to modify the course, knock the bars down to 12 inches and work our puppies.  Stella did amazingly well for not having a ton of work done.  We just did tunnels and jumps but man was it fun.  Stella did her first 270 and her first threadle.  Man it is nice to have a dog that is a little more handler focused than deuce.  Sometimes it is too much but we can work on that. We also got a lot of stay practice in since the last tricks class was spent most of time trying to fix our broken stays and less on tricks. Now i have two very tired aussies at my feet!  Man I love training!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

20 weeks and counting!

I can't believe I am already this big!  I alternate between hearing that I am huge to hearing that I am not big at all.  This week my boss told me I don't even look preggers.  WHAT?  I hope people don't think that i have just suddenly let myself go and am turning into a barrel.  We got to register last weekend for baby stuff and I am starting to get excited.  We wanted a puppy theme but the puppy themed nursery stuff was super expensive so we decided to go with a more generic star/sports theme since we are in All Star agility.      Even found a very cute star diaper bag that I have to have!  Wrong color blue but who cares.   Found a stoller and car seat with a star theme too but tony wanted a different type so didn't register for that one.  My dog show friends are hosting me a baby shower at one of the shows and I can't wait to see what type of star/doggy themed baby stuff they come up with!!!!

To make this whole blog dog related, I am getting very excited to see how the dogs will react to the baby.  I think they will all be very good with kids but my concern is sleep.  Everyone tells me sleep when the baby sleeps.  Well, I have been doing this with stella so i am kind of in practice but I am just hoping that the baby's sleep schedule and my sleep schedule and stella's sleep schedule all coincide.  She is a ball of energy and has to be worn out so I guess it will be up to mom and Tony to wear stella out so I can sleep.  Mom is going to be here hopefully before I give birth and then who knows how much after so we will devise a plan.  I think Miller will for sure be the protector and will probably sleep next to the crib.  Harley will probably be indifferent and deuce and stella will probably both be their normal over zealous little wiggly selves.  Must teach stella to not greet with her feet so much!

I am kind of getting excited at the prospect of having some time off too even if I am destined to be a milk cow.  Work has been super busy here lately and i have been standing up for 8 hours at a time which sucks when you are preggers.  Thus the reason my walking/running plan has gone out the window because my back is so tired when I get home that I usually park my butt on the couch and ice it.  I have decided to go ahead and enter shows till the end of April.  Just don't know about may yet.  We only have two shows that are close in May, one in Omaha NE which is 3 hours away and then the Triune trial which is in KC but at the end of the month.  I am a little concerned about the Omaha show because i usually go by myself and it is alot of back roads in the middle of no where.  Not a great place to go into labor if you know what i mean.  I was born a month early so if that sort of thing is genetic, that would not be a great plan.  I am afraid by Triune I will be too big.  I am already clumsy as hell and get winded easy.  I can get someone else to run him but will i even be comfortable enough to drive up and camp?  Will have to wait and make that decision closer to time.

Well, need to stop being lazy and get up and clean the house and of course entertain stella!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

It figures

Beautiful weather this week and I have had this stupid head cold.  Perfect training weather and I am a snotty tired mess.  Got some practice in before class the other night but not alot before the students started pouring in.  Had a student's dog get injured in class so deuce got to run with her and did pretty well considering she is a newbie.  She runs marathons and was having trouble keeping up with him so I was having a good laugh.  Anyway, did get some in yesterday with Stella and little fergs.  Decided I am going to train fergs on the 2 x 2s.  Why not, it will be a big test of patience for sure.  Stella is having some issues on the teeter so we have been doing some teeter work.  She thinks it is way fun to just go balls to the wall on it and leap off.  We have been working alot of the value of actually tipping it down and doing her toes.  Once again, so much fun to have a dog that tugs and is toy motivated.  Fun to play a good game of tug after a job well done.  Actually had three nice teeter performances at the end of our session yesterday.