Thursday, November 27, 2008

A day in the life.

I work.

The dogs sleep.

Then I say, "wanna-go-pher-a-walk", they suddenly wake from their sleep, bright eyed and bushy tailed.

They streeeetccch. I put on collars and leashes, and my shoes. We walk.

The three begin to take formation. 

Jane gets sandwiched in her attempts to take the lead. Try again Jane.

She settles for the outside lane, besides, Kaleb is a good wind break.

G & K enjoy some ball tosses, meanwhile Jane sniffs and takes a poo. 
I pick it up, really I do! I never break the law, G & K are on leash, 
really long invisible leashes, really they are :)

We head to the other park, the one with the lake!
This lake has geese right now, Kaleb thinks that is the best thing ever, 
... he watches ... and watches ...
meanwhile jane and gyp sniff and try to eat goose poo.

Something different happened today at the end of our walk, there was someone to greet us when we were walking up the street to our house!
It was Judy!! (she was dropping off some stuff for me)

oh the joys of living in the 'burbs ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Ups and Downs

I'll start with the downs.
Jane couldn't get her tooth surgery on Friday. Her blood work came back with a high white blood cell count - telling that there is an infection somewhere in her body. The panel indicated all her organs were functioning fine but the particular area on the panel shows it is either allergies (which we ruled out mostly), or parasites! So Jane is being treated on 2 different meds for WORMS and she got the 2 week injection of Antibiotics. She had chest xrays also and it shows no signs of cardiac disease - because of the heart murmur worry, her heart looks healthy and is not enlarged. So hopefully in two weeks she can have the surgery. We will get a full blood panel again, and see if her levels had evened out. She also had urine crystals which wasn't a big concern, at this time, as there are many reasons for it, but she will also get another urinalysis at that time too and we'll go from there.

The Ups.
We had our last Outreach of the year, I'm glad the things I've put focus on this year have really improved and I can put them to use now. I love the challenge of Outreach and you can take what you want from it, but I can really see it coming together after this last session. I'm excited for next year.

This years focus, and works still in progress for next year:
• Positional cues for serps, threadles, jump patterns etc (I am pretty confident with this now)
• Fine tuning my handling - what does it mean to my dog (we are still working on this)
• Directionals on verbal only (Gyp is great with this - still waffling about modifying it)
• Weaves - Gyp and K have great entry skills, I'm glad I've seen such good results, and I just let them do their job. (all that two/three/four pole work paid off)
• Driving to obstacles with confidence and no micromanaging, they know it or they don't.

For next year I want to see improvements in:
• Jumping tighter on wraps, post turns and push through F/Cs
• Better course analysis, less second guessing ARHHG - I don't second guess with J or K, but Gyp is still a work in progress, I need to be more confident
• Moving "wait" and re-directing with confidence and no melting (Kim gave us some great ideas for this)
• Keeping an eye out for where Gyp takes a jump in a Serp., she leaves a bit early, again, my arm cue is early, but she has adjusted for that. So we will fine tune this also.
• Be patient, don't be a rusher
• and for God's sake keep the STUPID ARM under control.

My list of things to improve on however, is really long which I am VERY happy about. And I'm glad on the first day we covered what has been one of my issues with Gyp. Responding to my decel cue on a push through front cross, or even just wrapping a jump. I want her tighter around a jump. And I now know what I was doing wrong - deceling late and compensating for it with an early arm - which was still causing her to jump long. We also covered rear crosses which was great, and my confidence with her on RCs was MUCH better by the end of the weekend. 

I hope the snow stays away so I can continue to work on these skills in my yard, its amazing how much you can do with a small yard, a couple jumps, three dogs, and twenty minutes!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's here!

A bit of snow arrived today... 
so we went to celebrate by going for a nice hike in the coulees.

K-man with his find of the day - a random glove, best toy ever.

Gyp doing her cutest face AKA "The Gyppie Face"

I said get up and play you goof!

Camouflaged Jane, it wasn't cold enough for a coat, but usually put just a light t-shirt on her in the snow so that Kaleb doesn't trample her!

The dogs love the snow. It's just so versatile:
Run in it, roll in it, play in it, eat it, and roll some more.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Superdogs ...

So today my friend Liz and I went up to Calgary to train at Superdogs Spectrum. Liz is entered in the CKC Obedience Trial there this weekend and wanted to get Lupine and Pipit used to the place. I said I'd go along to be the "judge" and distraction and make it a more realistic situation for them.

Her girls did "super", Lupine already has her CDX and Pipit is making her debut. Afterwards, I even ran Lupine over some agility equipment and she didn't miss a beat, and she hasn't seen equipment in 2 years!

I took G & K for the day too, Jane stayed at home with "gramma" and they went for 2 car rides, and word on the street is Jane got a McDonald french fry or two ... Jane had a "super" day!!! Can you say S-P-O-I-L-E-D!!!

Gyp was absolutely "super" during her training. Her heeling was "super", and I think we have finally mastered our pivots and left turns! We did some dumbbell retrieves, the broad jump - which she is doing good at, and we worked on stays. Nothing phases her, dogs being walked through the daycare, people waling in and out etc.  For our Agility training, we worked on our re-directing off obstacles - which is our struggle, and she did great, no melting, and I kept my cool. What a "superdog" ...

Now on to you-know-who. 

Scene set up: I thought I would put K through a CDX (Open) run through too, he hasn't done a broad jump in like 6 months and we didn't warm up on our drop on recall. I wanted to see what I would get.

So I get K set up (off leash) for the "judge" Liz ...
DING DONG - the doorbell rang - which means a person was coming in the building.
So my "not-so-Superdog" catapulted him self at the GLASS door, opening it, to greet the nice lady who was coming in the building ...  no comment ... NOT-Super.

After this little distraction - we started back to our Obedience routine, he was great, great retrieve, great broad jump, pretty good drop on recall, and pretty decent heeling to boot ... SUPER!!!

Good thing ringing doorbells are a part of a CDX routine. We would fail, miserably.

oh Kaleb.  "To be, or not to be (super), that is the question ....."

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A chip off the old, tooth.

Poor Janey, she chipped, let me re-phrase that, broke-off most of one of her front incisors last week. After seeing 3 vets and canceling one surgery appointment for another, we've made our choice.
I knew right away, that remains of the tooth needed to be removed because it is right down to the root - it bled when she broke it. She also might have to have a molar removed if it is too heavily damaged - both large molars are also very chipped, the one seemed soft when they were poking it with the silver poky thingy. They will know more when she is under.

How did I even notice this? She was having her breakfast - a raw Buffalo bone, and she broke it off while knawing on the bone, I put a dark towel on her dog bed while she eats this - and I saw a 'white thing" on the bed, it was her tooth!

3 out of 3 vets agree: Jane has the best teeth on a 9.5 year old dog, and a small dog too boot. She also got the comment that she is the best behaved Jack Russell they've seen (LOL).

The downside of all this, which has me worried beyond a rational person's common sense, she has a heart murmur, and it has gotten worse over the years. So there is a risk putting her under, but she is on great physical shape otherwise, so I just have to remember that. We are getting all the blood work done and every nook and cranny will be looked at to make sure it is safe for the surgery. We are also getting heart Xrays done to make sure there are no other physical signs of a weak heart. I trust our vet not to do anything that would jeopardize that. DEEP BREATH .....

open up and say ahhhhh ....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Between a rock and a hard place.

Gyppie, don't quit your day job .... 
p.s. we can still see you :)

Gyps favourite spot when we tag along hunting. Her days as a "tag along hunting dog" have come to an end. She just does not appreciate the loud booms of the "thundersticks", though we keep our distance, the more booms she hears the farther away she wants to stay.

poor Gyppie.

Monday, November 10, 2008

in her glory.

in her glory., originally uploaded by sarah ....

Jane got to tag along on her first hunt yesterday. I thought she would just stick close to me like Gyp does, just tagging along doing our own thing, but nope she was up with the guys the entire time.

What a trooper, she kept up with Kaleb like a pro, she shocked us all with her stamina, at 9.5 she's still got it.

She would alert to finding birds by stopping and waiting for me to come see what she found, which was always feathers of bird previously in that spot, but hey she was getting the idea :)

She just loved it.

click on the photo to see the rest on flickr!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Trials and Tribulations (STUPID ARM)

I had G & K entered in three events at the one day trial yesterday.

K was entered in Gamblers, Standard and Snooker.
And Gyp was entered in 2 Standards and Gamblers.

They each brought home a Gamble leg:
Kaleb's 10th Masters Gamble (8th this year)!! and Gyp's 5th this year.

The two minis set up were very different - just like G & K's strength in skills...
Gyp did the mini twice with the distance teeter (20' turning away from the line) and a jump, and K did the mini twice with the tunnel and jump. Skills I need to strengthen in the G & K. K needs to be more confident on the teeter from a distance, and Gyp needs to become more of a tunnel sucker!

I was an interesting Gamble that many people thought was straight forward but it did catch quite a few people. 
- Popping the poles from a distance

- Either dogs pushed out past the first jump (1), landing long, or having raced to the first jump and not decelerating and cuing the turn to the weaves, and locking on the tunnel and missing the entry or taking the tunnel

- taking one of the off course jumps ahead of the poles

- sucking back into jump (1) out of the tunnel instead go ahead to (4)

- there might be more, but those are what I saw

* I  Handled it with an'out tunnel' for Kaleb - key work being tunnel - he'll f-nd one anywhere
* I used a  verbal "right, tunnel" for Gyp well after she exited the weaves, so as not to turn back into the weaves, or throw up my arm and send her ahead to one of the jumps, a timing issue.

I'm glad to see my 'skills' have improved this year as I've put more focus on to my directionals,  and by making my cuing system more accurate and clear for the dogs.  Which has been one of my BIGGEST goals. The distance isn't the problem, for me it's the timing, and the RUSHING - and my STUPID ARM, as well I didn't raise my voice for Gyp in excitement and just stayed calm, cool, and collected.

Back to the STUPID ARM ... I cost Gyp her 2 standard runs by lifting my arm and not powering ahead to the obstacle with enough confidence, something we are working hard on, I take that back, something I AM WORKING ON. She is responding correctly when I F*CK her up like that.

The first course I needed to decelerate and turn in to the poles, while holding her attention off the tunnel just ahead. Instead, I powered ahead, flailed my arm to cue the turn (bad idea) and BOOM she was in the tunnel. STUPID ARM. The course besides that moment was great, it felt really good, and I am getting so much better at not holding back, and just givin' er.

The second course THE STUPID ARM won again. Instead of powering ahead to the jump and cuing the rear cross with my body, the STUPID ARM came up and flicked her off a jump beside the one I was SUPPOSED to power too. Again, Gyp responded correctly. Again, besides that moment, I was sooooo happy with how she ran that course. She was great all day and super responsive, and she didn't have one weird moment of insecurity, I however still need some work on my confidence with Gyppie. Great dog, shame about the ... STUPID ARM, attached to the handler.

Here's to a GREAT 2009!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I need kids, or do I?

Anyone wanna order one with me - for our ... uh, um .... ya, um, kids??

Look a Berner and Babies! a Corgi!  a Collie
... and a Lanchashire Heeler!!!

you know you want one too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Is it the weekend yet??

must have more coffee, must get through this week!!!

it just can't get here soon enough ...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Gyp's cool stat.

I was looking at the AAC Stats Pages the other night, and I knew Gyppie got her ATCHC fast, I just didn't realize just how quick it really was, so I thought I would share this.

According to the AAC Stats page - the time from ADC (starters title) to ATCHC, she is around the 25th fastest ATCHC of all dogs in Canada history. She has the 2nd fastest ATCHC in Alberta! Gyppie  is not on the page yet, as she just got hers in late Sept. so I'm not sure how accurate the stats are right now, there might be some faster dogs n the last 2 months who knows. But pretty neat I thought regardless.

I took her one week less than a year, and 12 trials. We had great Team partners to help her get her Masters Team title, which helps too: Wicca and Cavall. 

It took Kaleb 2.25 years, and Jane 3 years for their ATCHC's. I realize training methods have gotten better, and we trial more than when I first started trialing Jane, but J & K never have a Q rate like Gyp has in her first year of trialing. 

I remember I spent almost a YEAR of trialing with Jane in Advanced Standard - as we had some weave pole issues as well as her "allergy to yellow on the contacts" ... And it took K nearly a year to get his Masters Gamblers title - which is funny - he is a good gamble dog - since then he gets almost all Gambles we enter, he had 3 as of Feb this year, and now 7 months later has 9, plus the one he got at nationals! Goes to show you that it was probably my nerves and I was trying to hard to get those damn gambles! Now with no pressure, they just seem to happen, me and my overthinking .... ughh.

Anyway, we have our last one day trial this weekend, and I'm looking forward to ending our trialing year, it's been a GREAT year, and I look forward to 2009!

My Newest Family Member!!

With all this puppy talk, and a few friends of mine getting new puppies ...

i jumped on the band wagon too!

I would like to introduce you to my newest pack member .....

it's pretty ...

it's black ...

it's shiny ...

... i can take it wherever i go, it fits in my purse!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

shame, shame double shame

... know i know your boyfriend's name ... 
Gyp and her "boyfriend" Tag. They are the bestest of buddies. The LOVE eachother, from the moment they met it was true love. I managed to snap a photo of them NOT moving.

on a side note: I trained one last time outdoors yesterday, and then moved equipment indoors to our new arena, it was sad, as it was such a nice day it seems a shame to move indoors already. But our new arena is GREAT!! I worked all three yesterday, on a fun exercise with jumps, tunnels and weaves placed pretty close, so I had to really tighten my handling up and make sure I knew where I was going so I didn't get an off course. It was fun with some WICKED weave entries, threadles, serps., not-so-obvious- straight lines, discrimination, you name it - all with 5 jumps, 2 tunnels and 6 weaves, I could have worked this exercise all day!!  Anyone from our classes reading this - you guys will be doing this in two weeks, be ready!
HELPFUL TIP: practice your shadow handling ...

Don't Tag and Gyp make a cute couple??

Gyppie loves to play hard to get, followed by a good game of chase "Tag the sheep". They would play for hours. Tag likes when Gyppie gets FIERCE!

This is Tag's girl Aislyn, who is almost 2. Gyp loves her too. Gyp is great with kids and loves when they pet her and come cuddle up next to her. Aislyn is great with dogs, very respectful, she'll be a junior handler in no time!