Thursday, May 30, 2013

Lessons in love and friendship

Fitz at 16 weeks old
This past weekend was another Agility Trial, plus I took a mini road trip after and ended up being gone 4 nights with the dogs. It was Fitz's first time in a hotel, and first big road trip (14 hours round trip) and he was awesome. He settles into whatever you want him to do with ease and like he's done it a million times before. Gyp is a great role model as she is calm and confident (in most places) and can adapt easily to her given environment, and that is rubbing of on Fitz.

Gyp ran great 5/5 we are in a good groove right now, and with Regionals next weekend, I hope we can keep that momentum. Little 6 year old Aislyn ran her too this weekend, and they earned another Jumpers Q and are now in Advanced if you can believe it. These 2 have a very special bond, and it's so sweet seeing them learn and grow together. Gyp is oh so patient, and never gets to far ahead of Acey. Gyp is a great teacher for her.  Aislyn took lots of responsibility of her over the weekend and they both enjoyed that extra special time walking, warming up and playing. What a great little friendship they have ... Here is a video of them together. 

WARNING: You might pass out from cuteness overload. You've been warned.

Onwards from Medicine Hat, Liz and I heading 5 hours east to visit Prairielight - Kaleb's Breeders. They have 2 litters (10 and 2) and we went to help assess the pups and get some stacked photos of them as they leave for their new homes shortly. I'm not gonna lie, I was most excited about seeing Ylva, Kaleb's sister. As soon as I saw her I cried, her mannerisms and that crazy zest for life. I spent a bit of time just with her a couple times that day, and it was good for my soul. I found out that of Kaleb's 9 other littermates, he was the first to go. At 11 years old that is amazing, but at the same time makes me so sad. He lived a grand life and I am so grateful for that but I miss him so much.  I feel I needed to take this trip to help with my healing process, and it helped. As hard as it was, I left there happy and feeling joy. But man, it makes me miss Kaleb. I had a good chat with his breeders and what a crazy boy he was, and how Hans like his flat-coats just on this side of crazy too. We got to take in some training, and Fitz had his first exposure to a Starter Pistol and the excitement that thrown bumpers from the sky bring. He loved it and even retrieved a couple himself (seriously) :)

Fitz learning about Field Training
Watching and learning
Kaleb's sister, Ylva
Oh how I miss this face. They are so similar.
Cute puppy overload!
Nice little female :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fitz 'n Gyp

Awwww Mr. Fitz, 15.5 weeks, you look so sweet and innocent ....
Mr. Fitz - 15.5 weeks, originally uploaded by sarah ....

Flying Fitz!
Flying Fitz ... he's generally in this position ...
that tickles! is that all you've got?
that tickles!! is that all you've got, Gyp?
Leggoo my legggooo!
Leggooo my leggoo!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chapter 1: New beginnings new adventures.

This past weekend was a big memorable weekend of firsts, I've opened the book for a new Chapter in my life to begin ... and so it starts. It was the first time back in the ring with Gyp since losing Kaleb. It was Fitz's first time tagging along at the busy Agility environment. It was my best friends first time in the ring with her boy, her 6 year old daughter ran Gyp for the first time at an outdoor trial - they have been training for the last month and are really making great strides - they earned their first Jumpers Q. It was the first time traveling with this "New Crew" ... it's OK, I'm OK with it. It's different, and it's just the beginning.
BFFs Acey and Gyp - they earned their first Jumpers Q!

So you know how people say "they are always with you in spirit" apparently that is true ... and seriously Gyp ... you weaved a numbered cone a full 360? And then you circled me twice herding me over a jump? I am pretty sure that is the first time a crowd of spectators ever laughed at US on course and twice in one day. It was totally fantastic. People commented "that was a K-man move", and it sure was. He was there to remind me to let go, and have some fun. We got our poop in a group on day 2 and we ran 3/3 and were back to clicking as we always do. The first day was hard for me to really focus. I cried a couple times for K over the weekend, and it was nice that people had nice memories about the boy. I know Gyp misses her sidekick too. I walked a course thinking about how I would handle for him. And seeing the end gamble, I knew it was one he would get. I'm sure that will happen for a while. It makes me smile and gives me a gut ache at the same time. My challenge is to remained focus on Gyp, and love every minute of it as I always have with her.
Fitz enjoying his first agility trial
But having Mr Fitz at the trial kept me just as busy as Kaleb would ... he was always my most high maintenance dog! It's funny, people that met Fitz asked if he reminded me of Jane - and really besides that he is white and recognized as a JRT by breed, that's pretty much where it ends. Jane was so driven by fear, she only had eyes for me, I always had my guard up around her, she couldn't be trusted, and she was fiercely loyal to me. With all of that she was my greatest teacher. Then there is Fitz. He is the picture of confidence, friendly with everyone, funny, silly, full of himself and then some, driven to go, and he does not take NO for answer. So yes, it's true, he is more like Kaleb :) This puppy is perfect for us.We had no idea when we name him Fitz - just how much that would really mean!!

He is 15 weeks old now, and wow we have learned so much together already!  We are registered for 2 puppy seminars this summer. One a one day seminar, and another a 3 day Puppy Camp in BC. I'm also working with Loretta Mueller via cyberspace, and she's helping me stay on track with a program to help me build the best working relationship with this guy.  I respect her training style and the results she gets in her own, and students dogs. I'm venturing into some new training territory with him - running contacts among other things, and having her one-on-one guidance is awesome. It is not only helping my relationship with him, but will benefit my training and teaching overall. 

I was going to list the things we are working on, but honestly, there is just so much ... for instance, I lost count at over 100 people and 70 dogs met. And apparently, none of them are strangers - they are all his best friends. It is a challenge having a dog so friendly, but it has always been important for me to have an outgoing dog (atleast socialized to the point of being able to handle almost any situation in public etc) - so we are working on the balance and so far, so good. He is recalling off of playing with other dogs and learning focusing on me as the giver of all things great and glorious. I love his drive, and we are working on creating a sold work ethic. This puppy is a shining light, a total joy, and he also has very sharp teeth ... and he knows how to use them.
Mr. Fitz 14.5 weeks old

Friday, May 17, 2013

Generation Gap

14.5 year old Pleat, and 14.5 week old Fitz. They are good pals.

I got an email from Jenny telling me that Pleat has an 11 year old who is retiring after running the bluegrass this weekend ... That sure puts it into perspective how old he really is!

Happy weekend everyone!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

All we are saying is give Peace a chance.

In acceptance there is Peace.

Honor the past.
Live in the present.
Create the future.

If there is something I've learned about death (and in the last year I've lost the only 2 beings ever to leave my life) it's that some things that maybe seemed important, really aren't in the whole scheme of things. And some things that didn't seem all that important in the past, really are ... If that makes any sense at all. I feel an inner peace that I've never really felt before, or atleast in a long time. My life has changed so much, I have no choice but to embrace it, move on and enjoy the ride. So as a reminder, the dogs will help me remember that with their new collars.

Friday, May 3, 2013

12 weeks of fits and tantrums, I mean Fitz.

He's very opinionated, feisty, relentless, cuddly, cute, silly, brave, fearless, confident, sassy, endlessly happy, never-tiring, smart-smart-smart, need-teethed little monster. That is Mr. Fitz. Did I mention cute?

I'm learning to know when his best training times are with him: mid afternoon and evening (sometimes 11pm when he decides to go feral). He is not a morning dog! If we train in the morning it is very fast and very short. I'm learning so much every day, and every day is changes. I'm loving the adventure.

Many life lessons .... he has met 60 ish people, 30 ish dogs - none of which he considers to be strangers. He is a friendly, outgoing guy. He has been to many places, many surfaces, on elevators, ridden trollies, walked in hugely busy areas with people and traffic, and he travels well. Nothing phases him. We live in a new area and there is so much construction: loud trucks, nail guns, banging ... he's OK with it all. Hopefully it stays that way.

Body awareness: he loves shaping games on the wobble boards, discs and pods - we are working on building excitement and he seems to be coming right along.

He has worked through many "don't wanna, don't hafta" moments in the presence of treats and toys - and I'm always switcihng things up to seem what really works and doesn't, making lists of his hierarchy of motivators is a HUGE help. I can see already where I've gone wrong with my other dogs, things I'm trying to do better with this new little sharp-toothed sponge.

He is an absolute joy in our house, not sure how we would be getting by without him. Him an Gyp LOVE eachother, play like crazy, and it just warms my heart that they have eachother. Gyp isn't much of a sister figure to him - she is more of a mother hen :)

Here is a video of a bit of what Fitz has been up to ...