State of Emergency!



ZOMG, the weather drama this year! Though we didn't get too much here, comparatively speaking. Fun to see all the pictures of the snow dumped on Portland though, it is a winter wonderland. It's actually been much warmer, and I'm feeling much better - ready to get back to life. The weather is declaring otherwise though, so maybe we'll get back to it next week. Maybe.

We've been here for a couple months now, and certainly had our share of crazy weather. I've never shoveled so much snow in my life. And I don't own a shovel, so that makes it an interesting challenge. But how often can it snow? Heh.


I'm really not even trying with the snow pics anymore, so over it


Bring me rain!

Pervy Uncle Navarre

So Navarre is one of those pervy dogs that likes to hump puppies. Well, he really wants to hump Rico, anyway. I don't recall him being like this with Cake, but then, he could probably never catch her. ;-)


"Come 'play' with me. You know you want to. It will be so much FUN."


Run, Rico, run!


Haku is, as usual, a terrible uncle that teaches puppies they can do whatever they want with no consequences. Rico was stealing toys out of his mouth in no time.


Saucy beefcake


Luckily Aunty Bright is here to set some ground rules, because you know Bender isn't going to (keep in mind she never so much lifted a lip to her own puppies!)


Wheeee!


He may LOOK innocent ...

So, yeah. Snow. Hm.



I'm tired of being sick. And it's just been such a WEIRD sickness. And I tend to feel good, right about now every evening - refreshed, energized, ready to get back to normal. Then I wake up the next morning and I'm like, "Did I get hit by a bus?" And I drag myself around until, wow, look, it's midnight - party time, I feel great! And for some reason all the dogs and cats are really into the tea I've been drinking, which is really odd. The dogs beg for it when I'm drinking it, and the cats smashed a mug trying to eat the tea bag out of an empty one. Crazy.

So, yes, more snow today, but no big ice storm on top of that as of yet. Snow is just not novel anymore, though I really had no where to go. Even had the weather been nicer, I'm in no condition to be running around with dogs in the cold. Especially running around in the cold with pinwheels.

I know, I know, same old refrain. But I feel like last year we had some interesting Premier courses which made the more straightforward normal courses seem more like something fun to do as long as I was already there. But last weekend the premier courses were just not speaking to me, and the normal courses, just not at all interesting to me. It's such a time and financial commitment to enter a trial, and I have no grand ambitions other than to just have a good time. But when I'm not interested in the courses, boy, do I feel like I've wasted both time and money both - in spades.

But I'm not even saying AKC should change anything, I think it works for them, and works for a great majority of people and dogs. People love the challenge of finishing titles and qualifying for nationals or invitationals. The courses are the right level for the average competitor and dog. I don't want AKC to change, I want there to be other options.

I AM looking forward to International League, if we can ever get it started with all this silly winter weather. And I think there will be a few international 'Cups' this year as well, looking forward to those! The thing is, it doesn't even have to be 'international' style, just give me INTERESTING. You can make such interesting, challenging courses without making EVERYTHING a backside (a-hem, Premier), or having any backsides, threadles or wraps at all! I wish more people just really liked to run challenging courses, and that was what agility was about.

Maybe I'm just being overly hopeful, but I feel like there is change in the wind. Away from titles and organizations and ridiculously expensive trialing fees. It's coming. I think. Agility has been around long enough, and has been done so much, the titles and nationals just aren't as meaningful anymore. At least, to a lot of people. I think. We shall see.


Fizban loves a good snowstorm


"Outdoor Fizban! Let's play!"


"Snow. How novel."


Not as fat as he appears


Navarre not taking a hint

Brrr

Since I've moved in here I've had way more than my share of being stuck at home. What a crazy winter! Then this week we've had both super cold temperatures, and I have a cold too. I can't really complain, as if you're going to get sick, the time to do so is when it's too cold to do anything else anyway. Also looks like yet another storm this weekend, which will probably mean no trial due to the weather. Man, what a winter!



The dogs have been really patient about all of this, they're such good little nursemaids and have been super with doing nothing but sleeping all day. We did finally get out for a run today (okay, the dogs ran, I shuffled along and croaked at them), though it's supposed to be down to like 15 degrees tonight. Brr. Will be interesting to see if we get a real ice storm this weekend.

I didn't realize that old school type 'pet stores' still existed, that sold sad puppy mill dogs. Was in Wilsonville of all places the other day and thought it would be good for Anne's puppy to be carried around a pet store. You know, a NORMAL pet store. With pet supplies and organic free range kibble and ridiculously expensive toys. But, yeah, the 'Critter Cabana' in Wilsonville is just horrifying. They had all these dogs in these TINY plexiglass bins. Like 5 great dane puppies in a space about as big as a large crate. And they looked all horrid and missing hair and there were all sorts of labradoodles and tiny designer mixes and Great Pyrenees of all breeds. It was just the saddest, most horrifying thing - I really didn't think this sort of thing existed anymore. And all the puppy bins were open on top, so you could pet the puppies ... then pet all the other puppies. It was just a recipe for disease, those tiny living spaces and sad little puppies. And all sorts of other animals too, reptiles and birds and fish - and it did not smell good in there. And, yet, people seemed so happy to be there, and I even looked up reviews online and people were like, "What a fun place, I got to pet all the puppies!" I just thought EVERYONE knew buying puppymill petstore puppies was a BAD IDEA. Shows what I know, I suppose.

Hey, look - more snow!

It's been said before, but, yeah, good dogs, bad handler today. Was not into the courses and it showed, but there was still lots of good stuff! Did a stop on the dogwalk with Navarre for the first time in competition! Now, if you watch the video you might wonder, but that WAS a stop! I was so excited he did it I immediately released. Did I mention I was not being the best handler today? A-hem.



And maybe I should train the table. But look how cute Navarre is when he sees the judge on the table, he's so happy to see her! Gah, he just makes me smile.

Mostly the tale of the weekend was the weaves, Navarre did the weaves in standard and was just awkward as hell with no rhythm at all. Then took another three tries to get them in jumpers, so I think we've found our big hole that needs fixing - weaving in new places.

Some weave video of his footwork and how it's all over the place. When he's feeling confident it's more of a one foot action, but less confident it's double - and you can't mix the two. Not entirely sure what the answer here is other than more confidence weaving in new places.



Overall, really happy with the baby, he felt really focused and with me out there, trying his hardest and doing some great stuff. His contacts look pretty good, jumping continues comfortable and easy, solid startlines and he was really responding appropriately to what his handler gave him. Or didn't give him, as the case may be. GOOD PUPPY!

And Bright was a good girl, for comparison here's Bright on the standard course also looking super cute:



Fun running the two dogs on the same course. We still won't talk about jumpers though. Bad handler.

In other news, it snowed AGAIN. And isn't supposed to be above freezing this week. Crazy non-typical Oregon winter this year! The good news is the forecast looks much better than it had been for this coming weekend, where we have another trial. Hoping to be a better handler for that one if we don't get snowed out!

Of course, because it was snowing and cold and Anne was sick, I forced her to come to the trial so I could play with her new puppy - Rico!


He's freakishly large at the moment, coming home at 14 pounds at 8 weeks


He doesn't come from super big parents, so we'll see how big he ends up


Adorable beefcake!


Friend to all


Gah, that face!


Playful puppy


And, yes, he's a smoothie!


More puppies - hurrah!

COLD New Years Trial

Gah, more snow! Weather certainly seems to be going to the extremes these last few years. Which really isn't BAD weather so much as Portland can't handle it, so it just shuts the city down. I left the trial early today as it was snowing up in Ridgefield and feared getting stuck in my car for 10 hours as I attempted to get home across Portland. Thankfully things remained light during the day, the question is what happens tonight as to whether I'll be going back to the trial tomorrow.

It was COLD today, no surprise to me that it started snowing. My 'Toe Thermometers' let me know that it was a 'Hotties on the Toes' kind of day, no question about it. It was definitely a filthy and cold winter Oregon trial at the fairgrounds. Ah, memories. Dogs would run around outside and get wet on the grass, then come inside to really coat the mud on from the surface. Though because of the incoming storm, I had the water off outside, so the dogs got the luxury of being rinsed off IN THE HOUSE when we got home. Like civilized dogs with warm water and everything. They all said they would have preferred the hose. What is it about dogs and bathtubs? But, wow, the amount of dirt that came off of them was INSANE. Almost made me want to actually wash them. Almost.

First trial in quite some time, Bright was jumping out of her skin excited to be there and to say hi to EVERYONE. Because she's Bright, I have let her jump up on people that she wanted to most of her life - because it was only HER people. Apparently she's no longer that discriminating. EVERYONE she saw needed a smack and a piece of Bright. New and Improved Bright is SO HAPPY.

Navarre would NOT shut up. Who teaches my dogs to bark so much in agility? Hm. He was really such a good boy though, he was much more focused around the rings, happy to do obedience doodles and tricks and tug. But only LOUDLY. And as soon as he entered the building, "NAVARRE IS HERE!"

As for the agility, I learned that running Navarre first is not a good thing. He's so GOOD! He's baby dog good, where he's still paying really close attention and not just assuming. So easy! And then I run Bright on the same course assuming she can do everything he can, BUT BETTER, right? Ha! "Wheeee!" said the Bright. Kind of hilarious. I KNOW I need to run New and Improved Bright like she's deaf and blind, but it had been a while. So, uh, yeah. Lesson learned, BIG AND OBVIOUS for Bright, Navarre is the good one. For now.

Bright had a nice Premier run to start off, stopping on the dogwalk where I was so admiring her performance I bungled the last three obstacles. Standard she ALMOST went off course in the start, fixed that, then just ASSUMED she could do a tunnel threadle - ha! She's the new London. To be fair, I'm glad we biffed it anyway, I realized halfway through the course I was running with the ball in my pocket anyway - whoops! Didn't stay for jumpers, but hoping we can pull it together tomorrow if the weather cooperates.



Navarre was SO CUTE, my god I love that big goober. He is all happy baby dog trying very hard. Excellent standard HE did the opening that I had in mind that Bright couldn't do, then slammed into the weaves and had to take three tries to get through them. He always seems so awkward with weaves at trials, which I had hoped had changed, but, no. I think it goes back to he WILL single stride at home when he's really confident and fast. But he'll often double stride when he has to think more or he's less speedy. I really don't care how he does it, but you can't change back and forth. Tried for a turning cue off the dogwalk, which he has been doing really well in practice, but he didn't give it to me here. I may have been late though, I was worried about the approach as some dogs had fallen off in 24.



Navarre got his Open jumpers title! Once again, lucky you can have faults. I just didn't trust him to rear cross where I had planned, did an awkward rear cross on the flat and he ran around a jump. Damn, my fault - trust your dog! But he was REALLY careful with his weaves for this one, have I mentioned how hard he's trying? Definitely felt like I had more dog for this trial, he wasn't squirting around jumps and I didn't feel like I was trying to push a shopping cart with a broken wheel. He's just so much fun, he really loves the game and playing with me and thinks trials are fun. We will be basking in baby dog glory for quite some time, but I think he's going to be an AWESOME agilty dog someday. And no more conflicts - hurrah! A great way to end 2016, especially if it ends up we can't get back tomorrow.

Of course, then Haku is all broken - WTF? He had been doing really well, we had been taking it easy but still he had been very active, hadn't seen any issues since a few weeks ago. Took the dogs up to the field today and BAM, limping like no one's business on his right front. And licking his foot, so I don't know what's going on there. But it does help that he refuses to acknowledge it, he's still stalking cats and being a nutball, limping dramatically all the while, but happy as can be. So that helps. If you're going to have a broken dog, having one that doesn't act like anything is wrong is the best. Poor guy. I'll have to say, it's been nice having dogs that DON'T do agility and realize they get broken just as much as dogs that do. I'm not saying that agility is risk free, but, for the most part, my dogs seem to mostly injure themselves just being dogs. Agility is actually handy and showing me when something is off, because dogs are so good at compensating in every day life.

(EDIT: Found the Haku issue, really dark swollen bruise or possibly blister on his big pad - I assume he hit it hard on something out in the field. Ouchies!)

So, yeah, no snow yet down here, but we'll see what it looks like tomorrow morning. Then we have ANOTHER trial next weekend, where there is even MORE snow predicted. This much winter weather is pretty much unheard of around here - crazy!

A Beautiful Beach Christmas



My house looks so much less festive without the Christmas decorations. Had a great holiday this year, the beach was gorgeous and the dogs had such a great time. Really a nice way to end the year, which, let's face it, has been an odd one in so many ways. I am looking forward to 2017, I am an optimist at heart. Yes, bad things happen, and we live in a screwy world, but there is so much goodness too.

Look, I even made a VIDEO. I really suck at making videos. But the thought was there!



There was even a Christmas tree on the beach!


And there is always some sort of structure being built


Where did this giant tree come from?


These dogs did NOT want to pose, they wanted to play!

I feel thankful for all the wonderful people in my life, and always so thankful the animals as well. They might not be with me now, but so grateful that Fenwick and Brisbee are doing amazing at their advanced ages. Fenwick is almost 16.5! The three little guys, Fenwick, Brisbee and Eva, are doing well with Bruce (and the SS kittens too!).

So 2017 will be different, but nothing stays the same forever. Still very strange just having the three border collies. The three very GOOD border collies. I mean, they are just so ridiculously well behaved and, well, EASY. And have I mentioned QUIET? Still creeps me out how silent it is around here. They seem happy, though a very different pack dynamic when we were all together. Haku is suddenly Mr. Mature and Upstanding Citizen. He won't even go run with the other two, he just walks by my side, letting the 'younguns' go play. Bright is just so happy, ALL THE TIME. What happened to my serious little worrier? She's just a nutball party girl now. And Navarre is becoming A MAN. Suddenly he's got BULK, and his head is getting big and when he lays on me and it's like being crushed by a stack of bricks. He's filling out and acting more the teenager instead of the puppy. Still a GOOFY teenager though. His latest hobby is running up and smacking people, which is not appreciated by anyone, as he will knock you over. And he's so LONG, when he's standing on his back legs he's really hitting HIGH.

Love them all dearly though, they are such an adorable trio and just the SWEETEST. I'll admit it's nice to be able to bring them everywhere with me. We are always together. I do wonder if the cats appreciate the alone time when we're gone, they never had that in the old house. The cats seem REALLY happy here, and very relaxed. I was so worried about Dragon, but he seems more comfortable here then he did at the last house, for whatever reason. And the bedtime configuration is a little ridiculous. I get one little sliver on the edge of the bed, shoved over from Haku who has to be right next me on the pillow. Then Navarre is under him, then Fizban on top of them, and then Dragon on my legs (and Bright on the floor, looking disgusted at the whole thing). Yet somehow I can't bring myself to demand more space. They just look so peaceful.

So looking forward and staying positive for 2017. It will be new and different, an no doubt have its good and bad, but we plan on making the most of it.

We'll be starting this weekend, with a trial! We haven't been to a trial in a few months, and I'm ever so curious to see what dog will show up for Navarre's runs. Him and Dove really have matured quite a bit the last few months, and while still goobers, they seem more and more like, well, border collies. Dorky ones, but still.

They even got to play with some sheep yesterday. Dove looks fantastic, she has a much better natural feel for her sheep. Navarre, well, he thinks he should be RIGHT UP THERE. I'm very thankful Carol took him out to work on gradually getting him to give some space. I go frantic and loud when Navarre is constantly running me over with sheep, which really isn't helpful. And Haku is just such a good boy. It would be fun to do more with herding, but apparently there are no AKC herding trials locally, which would have been a nice place to do some real simple introductions. So we'll see.



And look at Cake and Pixel! The pyrshep and the mudi chasing each other around at breakneck speeds, it's so EUROPEAN!







A Doggie Birthday Party!


So this happened. Which was pretty much the cutest thing ever. And I learned that while Navarre is good at posing, he is NOT good at posing with things on his head. A blatant cute oversight that must be remedied.


Pixel's first birthday party! And, yes, she had wings! Because she's a pyrshep, and pyrsheps pretty much just fly, she was made to wear wings.


Wheee! Pixel had to work hard to make me love her, but she's pretty determined. Yes, Pixel is the first scruffy faced dog that I would take home. And for me to get over THE BEARD, you have to be pretty special. Pixel is pretty special. And she knows it.


Bender and Navarre let Pixel get away with MURDER, she just bites their ankles with abandon, and they never so much as bat an eye. They have taught Pixel to be a total heathen, really.


Bright, unlike the dorky boy border collies, does not think Pixel is that special and is like, "Go ahead, just try and bite my ankles. I dare you."


Admittedly, mostly the boys just ignore her completely - Navarre and Bender have their own little bromance going on that is kind of ridiculous


They only have eyes for each other ... or each other's toy


Pixel is undeterred and quite secure in her awesomeness


Happy Birthday to one awesome little Pixel! Apparently Carol was correct in ignoring me when I told her not to get a pyrshep ;-)

Dogs in a Field



Just in case anyone was going through withdrawals, here are some photos of my dogs in a field. I know some were worried there may not be enough photos of my dogs in a field that all look like other pictures of my dogs in a field - but not to worry, that will never happen.













So done with all the winter weather, I'm refusing to acknowledge it anymore. I'm driving tomorrow, it's not going to stop me.

A Hubbard Stroll

Another snow day today, though much nicer than yesterday. Took the dogs and hit the town to explore the area - a good day for it with the pretty snow. We've very much been enjoying the big park that is just down the road, but today we found something even better - a giant field! Looks like it will probably be developed at some point, but for now it was just me and the dogs in a beautiful snow covered field.





Moved some cat beds next to the gas fireplace, the kitties are in heaven. Dogs are napping from much romping and exploring. Feeling very much at home today, I do love winter!

Let it snow ...



These snow days are a little too close together, and this snow was not nearly as fun as last week either. It was sideways frozen snow, none of us enjoyed being out in it. Portland once again ground to a halt, we probably got a couple inches here. Actually covered the lawn! Supposed to be really cold for the next few days too, so I'll be curious to see how much ice we end up with. Hopefully we'll be back to normal by next week though, winter wonderlands are only novel for so long. Tomorrow another snow day though, dogs are not amused.





We've been working on getting back to our conditioning routine, the dogs love that sort of thing. But maybe it's time to teach some dogs jumping over other dogs ...


Our less than impressive snow - and the new inflatable snowman that glows at night and is framed perfectly by the windows over my door - creeping me out every time I look down the hall.

A real winter



Been very much enjoying the colder weather, disruptive though it is for classes. Though if the dogs had their way they would run in the cold weather all the time - they love it! What I consider to be 'normal' Portland weather is 6 weeks of 'summer', 6 weeks of 'winter' and the rest beautiful and mild 40-60 degree SpringFall. And we're definitely getting our six weeks of winter this year. And at the appropriate time! Makes it feel very Christmasy.

Good news is that, knock on wood, Bright's foot seems to be a-okay. But then Haku was limping. And in a weird way, where it's all, 'Is that the front or the back?'. But only when he first got up. So he's been on rest and I haven't seen anything, but it would be nice to not have ANY issues for a while.

We played around with a fun course this week in classes, which was just SO MUCH RUNNING. We could all use more running, I think. Heather was definitely dragging at the end.



In many ways, Navarre is the easier dog to run these days. Bright can still just do her own thing, and Navarre is still in the 'thinking about every obstacle' phase. I fully expect that will change once he feels more confident. And he can still run around jumps and shoot off and take whatever - very much a puppy. Signed up both dogs for International League at Daisy's, which is way closer now. Very much enjoyed that the last time she did it, so I think we'll have fun. And a couple trials coming up too, we haven't done anything for a couple months, so it will be interesting to see if Navarre feels more solid, or is still a goofy puppy in the ring.

Dogs continue to do really well at the new house, though they're still incredibly quiet. And it's just crazy to me how many dogs we have in the yards all around us - AND YOU NEVER HEAR THEM. There are a total of 8 dogs in three yards that share a fence with us. Other than the one German Shepherd you'd never know - and even with the German Shepherd, he's not obnoxious. People are so GOOD, their dogs bark and they BRING THEM IN. After living with those three stupid labs next door back in Forest Grove that would charge the fence and bark constantly if me or my dogs were in the yard for TEN YEARS, the concept of polite dog owners just floors me. And so many dogs in the neighborhood. Including a Swedish Vallhund and a Toller - so exotic! Things you don't expect to see in Hubbard of all places.

My dogs still don't know what a doorbell is, though I assume they'll catch on eventually. For the most part they go with me everywhere, but I have left them at home a little and they seemed okay with it. I was worried Navarre or Haku would bark at the neighbor dogs, but they've been super good little farm dogs turned city dogs. So far. This may just be their adjustment phase, as they very much don't know what to do without the other dogs. Fenwick and Eva were the instigators of the group, without those two troublemakers the border collies just sort of look at each other expectantly. Though Navarre won't let anyone else get the toy, and if I bring multiple toys, the other two only want the toy Navarre has. Border collies are dorks.


Navarre still thinks little Cake is awesome!

December Snow



We enjoyed the Portland snowstorm, brief though it was. The unexpected snow day was just what I needed to finish unpacking. I am now an expert in both building ikea bookshelves and installing blinds. And in the meantime, 2016 just keeps HAPPENING. And you know it's been a bad year when the name of the year itself is explanation enough.

Another of London's siblings died this week. Thinking of my beautiful boy ...


From Christmas past


London back in March


Our last trip to the beach back in June


Border collies in September

I'll admit, I still think he's here, much like with Fenny, Brisbee and Eva - just somewhere else at the moment. But still doing his happy London smile, having the best time no matter what he's doing.

Mystery solved



After classes today I went to the pet store and picked up like 15 different varieties of canned cat food. I've been getting more and more concerned about the cats, especially Dragon. I'd put down their food and he would just walk away. He SEEMED hungry and interested, he would purr and lick it a little if I sat and cuddled with him - but he didn't eat. And he did this for three meals. Then Fizban stopped finishing all the food as well.

They didn't seem ill, though I did feel like they had been drinking more than normal in the new house. They HAD been eating just fine initially - and those two are definitely known for their appetite. And I don't have any people food they could have been eating, so Dragon hadn't eaten anything for two days. I assumed there was something off about their food, yet they didn't have any interest in eating the dog's kibble either - which they used to devour. It was so weird, and I was really worried - I just wanted them to eat!

So I get home today and crack open a $3 can of cat food and the cats are think this is a great treat. They ate it, though with no sense of urgency - and still left some on the plates. Huh. So weird.

It was almost like they just weren't hungry. But where would they be getting other food? .... oh wait. I remembered when I moved I had put a bag of dog food in the closet in the cat room. And, yes, sure enough, there was a cat sized hole right in the bag. They'd been free feeding from this giant bag of dog food - and probably for quite some time. No wonder they were unimpressed with my measly meals, they've been pigging out whenever they wanted. And, yes, they were thirsty from eating all that kibble!

Heh. Well, at least they aren't sick. Fat little bastards.

Lots



So much to do when you move, been here two weeks, now seems like longer. Thanks to an epic marathon of ikea bookcase building with my folks, most of the boxes are unpacked - and I can now park in the garage! Dogs are getting really bored as they are so over unpacking.

We did head up for an obedience trial this weekend though, which ended up being a bittersweet event. It was at this trial last year that London got his CDX on his 12th birthday, which was his 'retirement' run. Thought about him a lot this weekend, especially now that things are calming down, missing all the dogs so much.

Haku has never actually shown at this facility, which is a busy, indoor expo center type building with the obedience along side the breed rings. There were four obedience rings in a square, which means there was lots of visual distraction. The utility ring was facing the rally ring, which had all sorts of cones and things, and then, beyond that, more ring gates. Let's just say I understand why Haku had a hard time with this visually for his go-outs.

Mostly Haku was just super high and dorky. Whining, barking, not even vaguely accurate. There was a lot of, "Wheee!" going on. Which isn't to say he wasn't trying, but I'll admit I had not expected Crazed Haku, as he had been pretty focused at his more recent trials. But they were in quieter (much quieter) environments and obviously busy environments is something we haven't really trained in. Obedience people like things QUIET. Very quiet. Deathly quiet.

Still, lots of good from Haku, there are certain exercises that I feel pretty confident with. Signals and articles. Moving stand I feel pretty good with, and not nearly the antsy feet he had at the last trial. Gloves and directed jumping - oh, not confident at all. And gloves is just SILLY, it's not like he doesn't have a firm grasp of this exercise. In theory. But he gets high and his pivots are terrible and he's anticipating like crazy, killing the glove, munching the glove, and, this weekend, refusing to give it to me and trying to play tug. Which is CUTE, I'll admit. But frowned upon.

And directed jumping, still working on this one. We actually started with this exercise our very first run, and he was TRYING, but I'm asking for his look and he just started whining and carrying on and looking all around - he had no idea in these rings where to go - just too confusing. When in doubt he just goes to the right corner. BUT, super bonus points for getting the jump WAY on other side of the ring when he finally did his sit in the opposite corner. I think we've got a good handle on the jumping portion!

We could talk about his ridiculous sideways fronts, and many other things he's normally pretty good at - but guess who actually qualified DESPITE ALL OF IT? We actually managed to squeak by with a 188 today. And it was comical. But he was happy, if not at all accurate, and he really was trying. I will take goofy and enthusiastic. Maybe someday we can also add accurate to that.

So two legs in Utility now, I'm really committed to getting that last leg. It did help that I worked hard to bring my agility mindset to the obedience trial this weekend. Relax, have fun, celebrate the good stuff, take home our trouble spots for work at home and just enjoy the time with my dog. I'll admit I don't find obedience trials as super fun as agility, but any day hanging out with Haku is a good day. And, theoretically once he gets that UD (and notice how I'm all cocky that we can squeak out one more Q), we'll then look at entering both Open and Utility. And doing whatever you're supposed to shoot for after a UD. I know there is something about qualifying in both on the same day, but I've been ignoring learning the rules unless they apply to something I'm doing.

Navarre got to come play at the obedience trial, well, around the rings. He seemed to enjoy working on some obedience behaviors and he just really enjoys the busy environment. He's so comfortable and interested when we go someplace new, yet he can focus and work with me and not be a dork around other dogs and people. What a GOOD dog he has become. Though it was funny, he was alarmed by these recycling bins they had at the facility, which were like 5 foot tall glass soda cans made of plastic. They were dark and had an unusual outline, so Navarre was very suspicious. However, after he explored it and I encouraged him to jump up and smack it, he then wanted to jump up and knock over all the recycling bins in the building. And we went to the craft fair next door and heeled through all the crowds of people and children and strollers and weird things. SUCH a good boy, he really is fun to bring places. Boy though, he was SO TIRED after all that, as we were probably wandering around for an hour or two. He takes it all in, but I think he got overloaded. That's a lot more public than we're normally around.

And then I brought Bright to Lowe's, and she hated it. Children EVERYWHERE. She hurt her foot the day before we moved though, so she's been having to keep quiet - I thought she would enjoy an outing. Ha! Knock on wood, haven't seen anything with the foot recently, so hopefully she can go back to activity soon.

So settling in, don't have a routine yet, but it will come. Did find a good pizza place nearby - bonus! And for the first time in several years, I feel like really celebrating Christmas. Got a new tree, even puts lights up on the patio - really makes me happy. The dogs were less impressed.







One week



It's been a week now since moving to my new place. Which, if you haven't heard, is a long story unto itself, but summed up is that I'm getting a divorce and have moved to Hubbard. Fenwick, Brisbee, Eva and the SS kittens have stayed behind with Bruce, which I think is the best place for them (the old dogs especially can't move at this point). I know Bruce will take good care of them, but life without them has been surreal ... at best. Add in the sudden loss of London, and I'm missing so many parts of my life right now.

I have no frame of reference for this sort of extreme life change, it's been pretty overwhelming. Just taking it day by day. Thankful for all the help with the transition, helps keep me moving in the right direction. Lots of things have been taken care of, still lots to do.

The good news, the animals are doing well. The border collies, being such good travelers anyway, just immediately made themselves at home. And, being border collies, never seemed to notice that we never went home. The cats had a very hard transition for the first few days, they were really, really stressed. They hung out in the extra bedroom for quite a while, and just in the last couple days have started being out full time, and looking pretty normal again. Dragon has done better than I thought he would, once he got past his initial freak out, he actually seems quite comfortable.

All the animals seem to approve of the new house, and we've started to settle in, though still lots to unpack. We are in a neighborhood with a ... reasonable size yard, but I don't want the dogs running on the new grass, so just out to potty back there. So far, the dogs have been great with that, and, knock on wood, no issues with the neighbor dogs. The park down the street is actually really nice, so dogs can run there and they all go with me to teach at the arenas, so they get out there too. They seem content. Hoping to find some good hiking spots to take them over here.

Anyway, we're still here, it's all very weird, but we all like the new house. Obviously not much going on in the world of dog training, though we still keep busy. And life goes on. Still makes me incredibly sad that London never got to see the new house. It's quiet here - very quiet.









Just a handsome babydog



Navarre was a relatively fluffy puppy. Not super fluffy, but I assumed he would have some fluff on him, eventually. But it hasn't really appeared as of yet, and his dad is pretty sparsely coated (but also lives in California). Navarre is maturing a bit more these days, and we've finally had a few colder days recently. Like I actually wore a coat today. For a bit. So we'll see how much fluff Navarre ends up with.


Not really a man-mane, more of a 'man-scruff'


Still, looking a bit more manly ... just a bit


Okay, less manly - and still acts like a 7 month old puppy


Some flying pants


Teenage chest

Navarre is an interesting guy, and one thing I find puzzling is how unexpectedly good he can be in certain situations. He's kind of known for being, well, an easily distracted puppy. Yet when I have all the border collies in the arena and they're SUPPOSED to be waiting on the table while I work another dog - Bright and Haku will burst off the table and run around like loons whenever I stop to reward the working dog. Which I'll admit I haven't fixed because I don't like to interrupt the party that the working dog clearly earned. So I just put them back afterwards. But Navarre never breaks. The other dogs fly off the table next to him, but he never moves. And it's puzzling, as he's not really a 'good dog', he doesn't tend to do things just because those are the rules, and he certainly doesn't care if he gets in trouble. I have no idea his motivation in being so rock solid with this particular game.

Navarre might be getting more mature, but in many ways he's a complete mystery to me what is really going on his adorable little noggin. Even with basic things like, "What does he really enjoy doing?" And I would rate 'full out running' to be up there on his list. However, while he clearly loves racing - he doesn't race the other dogs. The other dogs will streak out and go running down the field ... and Navarre just lopes behind, no interest in racing them, just meanders after them, then lies down and watches them. Yet he'll go FULL OUT ... just circling the perimeter of the house, not racing anyone but himself. THEN he gives it his all. Yet he'll drive full out to a toy (but only the RIGHT toy), and he will flat out run to go chase BRISBEE when he sees Brisbee off on a wild tear. Which I then have to yell at him about, as you don't get to go run down Brisbee. So, yeah, still don't really know why he will give 100% at some activities, and then just is totally chill about others - which most dogs find really exciting. But this is the puppy that thought restrained recalls were incredibly stupid.

Just a mystery. An adorable, squishable mystery.

Navarre vs Bright II



Bright wins, yet again. But someday Navarre will have his chance. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow - but someday.

Navarre is really doing great, not that we did this course right the first time. But I do remember how HARD it was to run London. And part of that was that London just had a lot of forward drive I was always trying to hold on to him - neither Navarre or Bright have that. But part of it was I just didn't have the same handling and training resources. Keeping London from taking things or getting him to commit to things was always a huge challenge - as it was all based on my timing and basically 'guessing' when he was committed. I really am a huge fan of trained cues and behaviors these days, it fits me well. I have never been one of Nature's Athletes.

Miss London very much, the shock is wearing off more and more and the realization that he's really not coming back. The brain does funny things, sometimes. What a month it has been.