Bright survived!

Bright's big day today, took her in for her lap spay. Oh, how Bright hates the vet - but I have to give the girl credit, she's so good anyway. Her and Haku, they are trusting souls - you tell them to get into a weird kennel at a vet and they go right in and trust that everything will be okay. Such a difference between the sad, dramatic Bright I dropped off and the stoned, happy, super wiggly Bright I picked up. Drugged Bright is HAPPY. Though she was quite ready to leave the building. I don't think the experience was too stressful, whatever horrible thing she thinks is going to happen to her at the vet, this was apparently not it.

Back at home she looks ridiculous. She was already nearly bald from blowing out all her coat, but is now shaved dramatically so she looks like she has a five inch waist. I'll have to take pictures, it's really quite a sight. Just two little incisions, just a few centimenters each. She should be back to full activity in a couple days, she certainly doesn't seem to be feeling any pain at the moment - but she is on drugs. Hopefully it will just be a non-event, and she'll be happier and more even as the result. Just glad to get it done, and it was convenient to have it done on Black Friday, not easy to get up to North Portland these days. But I do trust them completely, I knew Bright was in good hands - and it just so happens my vet does the lap spay, so, bonus!

Been an uneventful last few days with the dogs, haven't worked much with Navarre at all. Though he's been a little weird, so that's been part of it. I blew a raspberry at him a couple days ago and he sulked on the couch in the other room for hours. I thought we were past the raspberry drama, but it's back. He's alternatively super sweet and attentive and then completely checked out and independent. And from one second to the next. Ah, teenagers.

London does have an obedience trial on Sunday, we have two chances to finish up his Pre-Open title - which he could definitely do. But things happen, you never know. Will be fun to just hang out with my Bun. Should practice that broad jump tomorrow though ...

Sexy Fizban is sexy

How Navarre tugs

Cute puppy is cute

The Quest for Dog Food Update

Continuing our dog food tests, been pretty discouraging overall. There certainly are brands that are more expensive, but when you're talking paying over $3 a pound for kibble, seems like just buying raw is a way better deal. Darwin's prepared raw is $2.95 a pound. Fed Addiction for many years, which is about $1.88/lb, and the dogs DID do very well on it. And, wow, other foods that are comparable are not nearly as good. We're currently trying a couple that are more up towards $2.50/lb, but I'm doubtful they're going to be worth it. It should be noted all the dogs have lost weight through all these experiments as well, despite me trying to feed them more. Hm.

What we've tried:

  1. Zignature Zssential (2.07/lb): Dogs not thrilled with it, poo was pretty big, but okay

  2. Merrick Grain-Free Duck (2.32/lb): Gassy, giant poos - definite no

  3. Fromm Gold (1.45/lb): SO MUCH POO

  4. Fromm 4 Star Pork (1.71/lb): This didn't make any difference in the poo situation

  5. Taste of the Wild Prarie (1.67/lb): Still a lot of poo, but the dogs liked it better than Fromm

  6. Earthborn Primative Natural (1.79/lb): This was the best of the lot so far, the dogs approved, output not as bad

  7. Precise Grain Free Chicken (1.96/lb): Definite no, upset stomachs, giant poos like the dogs weren't even digesting this

  8. Blue Buffalo Freedom Chicken Grain Free (2.42/lb): Just started this test, somehow I doubt the price will reflect the results

  9. Nature's Variety Instinct Chicken (2.41/lb): Waiting in the wings, but I've fed it before with mediocre results

Hm, raw is looking like a better deal all the time - at least I know I won't have giant kibble poops to deal with.

Navarre being able to be left loose at night is a relatively new thing - but it is funny that he just puts himself in his crate. He's doing much better with not being quite so busy and destructive, but he's stlil a terrible countersurfer and papertowel roll killer. However, another benefit is that he'll come and snuggle instead of causing a ruckus. This is a relatively new behavior, so he hasn't really had a chance to be molested by Fizban. He got a taste of it today:

Sorry, video taken with my Kindle, but the faces he made just cracked me up

Though Navarre was not nearly so intimidated as Bindi was. As Bindi did spend quite a bit of time at our house when she was young, she got to come in and hang out in the house yesterday. However, she had only met our old cats and had never met the maine coons - she was terrified of them. They took full advantage and enjoyed terrorizing her. Cats are so evil.

Attempted to take photos of Judy's crew in the leaves - some were more cooperative than others ;-)

New people in agility

Reading about the lack of new novice people coming into agility trials, I really don't think it has anything to do with how agility trials are run. Long before trials even become an option, there is so much more that needs to happen. Like in our area, we just don't have much of an agility infrastructure. There are not many classes and facilities, that's step number one. I haven't taught a class of truly 'new' people in years and years, and I know that's true for a lot of trainers. They teach a few classes, which are almost always full, and new classes are for existing students and established 'dog people'. Once people get to a certain level in agility, they tend to 'stick' - but getting there requires resources.

I always think it's funny when people have dire warnings about how all the 'old' agility people are going to retire from the sport and no young people are going to be there to take their place. There will NEVER be many young people in agility, it's not a young person's sport. You have to have a lot of time and money to spend on your dog, and most younger people have jobs and kids, and certainly don't lack for things to do on their evenings and weekends. And just having a dog requires stability and a house and yard, how many young people have that? Just try renting with pets, especially in our area.

I'd love to open a faciilty, with full time instruction, so we could actually have classes for people new to dogs. If we had our own facility we could offer people a place to practice as well. Those are the first steps to agility, there have to be classes available at a convenient location, and there needs to be a way for those new people to practice with their dogs. Kind of important steps! Then I would love to be able to offer novice only UKI trials at the facility as well, how awesome of an introduction to trialing would that be? Maybe someday, I would love to see more people getting into agility in our area, but it does require resources - and we just don't have many to build agility around here - CAT being the obvious exception.

I am fortunate that I know so many awesome agility folks, had a fun time playing down at Poodletopia on Friday with Tammy and Jordan. I rarely ever just get to hang out and train with folks, there is usually some sort of time restraint or the like, but this was so nice and relaxing. I brought all the border collies and they all got to do something.

Kirby retrieves is right paw

Bling retrieves her left

Practiced Bright first at 24 inches, where she didn't knock a single bar - unlike the other day. Maybe 22 inches was so similar to 20 inches that Bright didn't realize she needed to adjust? And then did a jump grid at 26. OMG, it's such a big jump for tiny Bright! She ran under the bars several times as she never even saw the bar - I mean, that's like 7 inches over her withers. She was slower, but looked about the same. Don't plan to jump her much at 26, but I am still planning to go play at WTT in California next year as it's so close. Still haven't decided if we're going to do any Rose City. Dogwalk I was only able to fool her once with her stop, but it was pretty obvious we were 'training the dogwalk'. Still, new places and equipment, that's the goal.

Navarre reverted back to barking his head off at the other dogs, and I tried the patient approach to start with. He could watch if he was quiet, if he barked I took him around the corner until he was quiet and relaxed and tried again. And we did that, and did that, and did that - and he was still being a moron. So I told him to just knock it off, and he was like, "Oh, why didn't you just say so?" Heh, so much for positive training. This was Navarre's first time at this arena, I wasn't sure what he would do, but he was happy to run around a play. He said as long as it was with his draggy toy, he was good, but I tried using squeak toys - he said they're dumb. Also did puppy's first jump chute, which turned out to be weirdly complicated because he did his thing where he just didn't want to set up. Keep in mind, we do TONS of set-ups for obedience and he LOVES them, but you try to put them in agility and he gets WEIRD. Ask him to come line-up and sit around agility equipment and he's like ... "No." One of those behaviors with him I'm not sure what's going on in his brain, but I guess the answer no matter what is probably 'reward the heck out of line-ups around agility equipment". We can do that. But he could hold a stay while we set things up, even with other dogs around, lots of good for his first exposure there.

London is so funny now that he's gotten older, I got him out to go play on the jump chute and all he wanted to do was go pee on equipment. He has NEVER done that in his entire life - WTF? Apparently he really has moved on to obedience. And being an old fart. He had a good time though.

And Haku got to, once again, work on signals and directed jumping. And there was good, bad, and inbetween - and if I'm not looking at him when I leave on signals he will ALWAYS move a back foot, but if I'm looking back at him, even a little, he does not. Heh. I don't think he knows he's even doing it. We have a fun match in December, we'll see if there has been any actual improvement when we put things together. And Navarre is signed up for Rally! Baby dog goodness.

Guess who is almost a year old? Jaxon! And so wispy and delicate, probably about 19.5 inches? Navarre already towers over him.

Can't imagine why I think Jaxon is so damn cute ;-)

Big sister Delilah

Bender - seems like he was just a puppy!

Razor power!

One fluffy Rumble

Old dogs and young dogs get the most photos

Because they're awesome!

Border collie comparison

London says he's 12, he's allowed  to slouch in every photo now (and, damn, Bright has a tiny pinhead!)

The older dogs get, the more pathetic they look in pictures

Not looking like a dork!

Beautiful Bright

Zoom zoom!

Such a pretty runner!

A puppy that LOVES his frisbee - by far his favorite toy

Down to Seven

Poor Obi, pretty much the entire time he was here it was sideways raining - not much action for him. And, boy, does Obi grate on the nerves of Bright and Haku. Bright I get, she's just being a bitch, but when even Haku is like, "Just calm the fuck down", you know Obi has energy to burn. I do think border collies in general are better at relaxing than aussies, though I think Haku's nuttiness came out for obedience. He was just a nut, and couldn't do much of anything. So definitely had the 'charged Haku', but unfortunately I don't feel like we made any actual training progress today. Not much to say other than, 'Things to Work On = EVERYTHING'. Good lord.

The good news is that London looked pretty good. He had a weird moment when he didn't seem to believe I really wanted him to fetch the dumbell the first time, but I think it was hearing related. Heeling looked good, drop on recall was great, lovely job looking for the jump on his retrieve - good stuff. Did hit the broadjump as he clumsily cut the corner the first go, so we worked on that and looked great after - but I'd say we should work that before his trial next weekend. Thank god I didn't enter Haku, that's all I can say, he's definitely 'deconstructed' at the moment, working on pieces so the actual exercises are all over the place.

So funny the difference between the frantic crazed Haku energy, then bring in Navarre - that boy is CHILL. We looked at some of the novice rally moves and he did great. He needs to actually learn a fast pace, he tried his 'walking really fast' method again today, which is fricken hillarious. Even with me throwing food ahead, he definitely has it in his head that obedience is done at a certain pace and he's trying SO HARD to make that happen.

I did bring him to the other arena I teach at today, which I never did in the summer as I didn't want him barking. He had been there when he was little, but I wasn't sure what he would think of it now. He had great fun playing with some wraps and tunnels and seemed very comfortable - and very happy to play. I really am not sure what to expect of Navarre as an agility dog, as sometimes he can be so chill and mellow, yet he can be really fun and sassy too. Being that he's overwhelmingly thoughtful right now, I can only assume he's going to be relatively cautious in agility - but time will tell. He really does like agility for agility, which is really fun - hopefully that will continue.  Did teach a new trick, which is Navarre lying flat on his side - he's a fan. Today we proofed that with 'frog', which Navarre is finally offering without a physical prompt.

Bright knocked a lot of bars today in practice, it was somewhat concerning. I did move the jumps up to 22, but still very uncharacteristic of her. She seemed like she was moving okay, but going to be watching her ...

In other news, Haku and Navarre were just hanging out in the bathroom today, standing right next to each other ... and Navarre looked TALLER than Haku? WTF? Optical illusion?

And, seriously Navarre, you need to decide on your ears, this is not a real earset


Took advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday to schedule Bright's spay. Going up to North Portland, but traffic shouldn't be too bad on Black Friday. My vet does OVE (Ovariectomy) spays, or ovary only spays. There seem to be several advantages to this spay, including a very quick recovery time and possibly less chance of urinary incontinence (aka spay incontinence). We certainly have enough of that around here.

Still, I do worry - whenever you mess with the body's systems you are going to have consequences. I'd like think that it will all be positive, that Bright will be more confident, less bitchy, less freaky when she's going into heat. You just don't know though, and I'm really happy with Mature Bright, she's come a long way. Would be devestating if spaying her makes her freaky or more bitchy or afraid of things. I am paranoid after Haku's neuter where the net result of that procedure was definitely negative. It was necessary, with having Bright intact, but I miss Haku with Balls. He was better with other dogs, had a beautiful coat and muscles up the wazoo. He did stop licking pee and being a dick to intact boys though, so there was some benefit.

So Bright's first ever procedure at the vet, which is funny because she is TERRIFIED of the vet - all vets, always has been from day one. And she's never had anything really traumatic happen to her whatsoever. Until now. Poor girl, but it's not like it could make her opinion about vets any worse. Enjoying Naked Bright while it lasts, once she's spayed I'm sure she'll puff up like a cotton ball of hair.

Navarre will be the sole remaining intact animal around here, and he can keep his as long as he doesn't become a dick. So far he's shown zero signs of testosterone related behavior, and has never once even considered lifting his leg. This is unusual to me, most of my dogs have started lifting around 5 months, at least a little. Navarre has yet to even get a memo on that sort of thing, and he has a lovely squat which does not put him in danger of peeing on his front legs at all - so no complaints here. Maybe he'll be my first boy dog not to lift, I know it does happen. But for all that Navarre has grown quickly, he still has been slower to mature mentally - I think he's just on a delayed program.

Speaking of which, his sisters are continuning to be the SAME SIZE as him - this litter has just baffled me, are the girls seriously going to be the same size as the boys (and it's not like Navarre is small by any stretch of the imagination!)? They have been such fast growing puppies, surely they're going to slow down soon!

Check out these girls, one is Navarre's 20 inch sister (on the right) and the other is his half sister that is the same age - little clones! (stolen picture from FB by Barbara A.)

Navarre is growing up though, and really impressing me more and more. So different now then when he was a puppy, loves his food, loves to play chase games and tug - and such a problem solver! He's starting to become a real dog, and I love the dog he's turning into. Such a different energy than my other dogs, sometimes I'm pretty baffled as to what's going on his head. He loves to come up and put his face right next to mine and just stare at me. WHAT DO YOU WANT? It seems to make him happy. He's a little contradiction sometimes, both confident and sensitive, bold and cautious, mellow and edgy. I don't really have a handle on him yet, but I'm also suspecting he's not sure who he is either yet! I just really enjoy him though, very much has added to my life and we have so much fun together.

Played around a little with some more agility today, mostly to burn off some energy as it's been sideways raining continuously for days. Sequencing is NOT a problem for that boy, he's much more of a pusher than a puller at this point. And even though this is only the third time we've really played with sequencing, he's really getting the idea. I also think that now that he has a little more idea of what agility is he's more happy to play with the foundation flat work, as it has more context to him now. He's even finally getting into the table! Though it was interesting, tried a little bit of playing around with the end of the teeter, as we hadn't done that in quite some time - and cautious Navarre came back. So apparently all things with motion need to be re-evaluated at the moment, good to know.

Oh, puppies, so much fun, so much to learn!

Obi heads home tomorrow!

Conquering the Evil Treadmill

Okay, I take it back, today seemed cold - sideways rain will do that. But loving Green Oregon - things seem a little more normal with rain.

Took Bright and Navarre to play with Bobbie - my homework of teaching Navarre to wait quietly for his turn, uh, never happened. Really should do that. Though now that it's cooler, I could just leave him in the car until his turn. I wanted Bright to be there though, as I planned to get Navarre on the treadmill and wanted him to see Bright working with it.

Waiting to go play with his Yoda Ears on

I really wasn't expecting it to be that big of a deal, Navarre had been on the treadmill as a tiny puppy, with some caution, but nothing dramatic. He had walked on it, did some front and rear foot movements, and side stepping. He has no issue with sound or motion with tippy boards, banging cupboards or playing teeter bang games. Really surprised that he was super wussy with the treadmill today, never had any of my dogs take so much work to get them onto it! Go figure. But this is Navarre, and as he grows he's certainly showing a tendency towards caution until he's comfortable. Luckily jealousy works well with Navarre, as after I put him up and worked with Bright he came out with more determination to figure it out and finally started to trust it. Needs more exposure, but at least got back to where he was orginally.

Brave puppy! (Photo by Bobbie)

Navarre does have a lot of grit, but sometimes needs some time to step back and think about it before he comes back with more determination. He gets his little serious face on and the boy figures shit out - he's quite the problem solver, though it's serious work to him. He does enjoy it, but he is all business when he's training, it's not what I would have expected with his happy, dorky personality.

And look what puppy learned in one session!

Admittedly, obviously he already knew how to sit up and hug, but it only took a couple throws for him to figure out what I was looking for. Took a little longer for him to coordinate himself to actually do it, then he was just a toy catching machine. Very fun, I had been wanting to do some new tricks. Of course, now we need another one! I feel like I should do 'side legs', but it's just not thrilling me at the moment. Maybe some balance tricks - I have yet to teach a dog to balance on my feet. Though maybe giant Navarre is not the right choice for that. Still have some 'limp' tricks we have on the list too.

We've been working on some cue discriminations and he's been enjoying that. Also started stringing stuff together for Rally, like heeling and then calling to front and schutzhund turns (which they probably don't have in Novice, but hey). Hasn't had an issue with coming to heel and continuing on, which is fun to play with. Still working on his 270 left turn. When it comes together it looks really good, but often he gets lost and we end up with a trainwreck. Still, he's really starting to figure all this obedience stuff out. Doing better at retrieving and holding neutral objects, though still looks annoyed about it. He gets this LOOK sometimes with certain behaviors, like jumping into his crate in the car or holding objects where he very clearly makes his opinion known that he thinks it's STUPID. He still does it, but, man, if looks could kill. I've never had a dog give me that look before, I'm not quite sure what to make of it.

Navarre is 33 pounds now! And I'm trying to round him up to 7 months so that doesn't seem so big. He'll be seven months next week - that still counts, right? It's funny that he seems WAY heavier than Bright, but Bright is 31 pounds. I guess I just don't pick her up as much. Or ever, really. Naughty Navarre gets picked up more than I'd like. Mostly for counter surfing and random destruction.

Happy to get to run with everyone again

Love Navarre's curly tail - once his coat comes in it's going to be so super cute!

Big puppy can really stride out ... in a straight line, anyway


Not a huge fan of Navarre at the moment, they play a little, but mostly Obi tells him to push off

Weekend wrapup

Next week is Thanksgiving! As a huge fan of classic Thanksgiving food, I'm quite looking forward to it. Anyone that would like to join us is always welcome!

The weather is continuing to confuse me. People keep telling me it's cold, but it seems so ... perfect. I used to think 57 was perfect, but I think I may have moved down into the 40s now. I have yet to actually feel COLD this year, but it's not January yet. Though I did get to hose off a mud covered Navarre this morning, apparently he found a mud puddle in the dogyard and had quite the party. This may be a very interesting winter if he continues these shinanagins.

The energy at the trial was better today, I think both Bright and I were sort of freaked out by it yesterday. Today was also a shorter day, no FAST - it's amazing how much better trials run without it. Bright was at the top of the running order today, so she didn't get to watch beforehand - never get as much Bright when we don't get to watch. But she was a good girl and the courses were much more interesting today - I did my job, Bright did her job, double Q number five. Love my girl, always have fun hanging out with her - it's just so easy and comfortable.

Yeah, Bright had absolutely no intention of stopping on the teeter today, and was much more 'springloaded' than she had been. I think I had considered this before, but maybe the better option is just work on her running teeter, rather than the stop. I could probably replicate the flyoffs in practice. Knock on wood, weaves look good, and running dogwalks looked good as well. Still going to need that stop on the dogwalk though, that remains our Big Project at the moment.

Bright did get to hang out with Star today, was so good to see her looking, well, like Star. And I wasn't sure what Bright would think of her, especially as Star's kind of loopy from her new drug dosage. But Bright was actually way more tolerant of her than she normally is, she didn't react to her at all. They played ball together and were fricken adorable. I love that Star, I really hope the seizures can be controlled and they both can go back to normal lives again.

In the meantime, brother Creed rocked his AKC debut,looking like a total professional:

Sangie has done such a nice job with him, so fun to watch them together - love baby dogs!

Speaking of which, Navarre is so not looking like a baby, He's about 20 inches now as quite a lot of substance - and hair!

No more baby puppy, he just looks like dorky, floppy adult these days. He did really well at the trial, still does try to pounce on people and dogs we walk past - but will happily heel by them if I ask. He's just an outgoing fellow, he came into the arena today just lunging at the end of the leash at everyone and anyone, "I AM HERE, PET ME!" We did watch a little agility down by the rings yesterday, and he was pretty good - until he wasn't. But still isn't a maniac screamer or anything, and as soon as I asked him to work instead of watch he was totally into that. So grown up!

More confident playing around at the practice jump today, very similar to down in Central Point, he needs a bit to warm up in new places. So he was way more into playing, running, and doing some standard wraps - but still not like he is at home. Good to know that he does need that adjustment time and he'll get there when he's ready. Have just been playing with his leash as his toy, but bought him an expensive squeaking rubber chicken to play with today - which he had very little interest in - he only wanted his leash! Go figure, but not a bad thing. Good puppy experiences this weekend!

Obi is here with us again this week

Love my Haku

See, he DOES have legs ... from certain angles

Feeling good!


Lives to run

Fierce Fenny

End of days?

A weird feel to the world lately, probably mostly because I keep (foolishly) reading news stories - and then reading the comments after. I'd like to THINK that most people are intelligent, accepting, empathetic - even if they don't agree - but the internet keeps proving me wrong. And this is on all sorts of issues, which you'd think people wouldn't be viciously attacking each other about. It just makes me so sad, as I'd like to think that, deep down, people are, well, good. There is a lot of hate in the world, and it just feels like it's growing lately. Or maybe I should just stop reading the news. And certainly stop reading the comment sections - good lord.

And there are horrible tragedies, both here and abroad - and sometimes spending the day playing with my dogs seems surreal. Then having the UKI Open the same time as I'm at an AKC trial - wow, now those are some polar opposites. I really should have gone to the Open - that is just my kind of event. The courses were HARD, yet there were so many of them! Really does give me hope, that there is something to aspire to in agility - something MORE than pinwheels. And the crazy distances at UKI too, it's just so different than anything we ever see - really made me want to go play. Maybe next year?

Yeah, the courses at the trial today - I mean, the standard course had two changes of sides. Jumpers had two as well? Bit of a let down after the fun courses we had in Central Point. Though it made me happy to see that when I wasn't handling, Bright is more than happy to make it up these days. She dropped a bar in standard, and then did a great job on the lateral distance in the weaves and her running dogwalk - and after that it was just straightforward, so I really stopped handling as I felt like she just needed to go take what was in front of her, and Bright went off course TWICE! Creatively! It was really cute, and she was very happy. And then jumpers was just so uninspiring, not much for me to do, so I just did a rear cross at the end as, once again, should be straightforward - and Bright didn't read it at all and turned the wrong way and backjumped. Whoops. I know better than that, just because it's obvious to ME doesn't mean Bright is a mind reader. ;-) All courses needed to be handled the entire time, no lazy, sloppy handlers allowed.

Still, Bright was happy for the most part, though a little freaky for whatever reason. Lots of fun to run with her and we tested weaves and they looked great -  I think her issues down south were adjusting to the surface. Now, stops on her teeter? Ha! Well, we got one, which was her second one in time to beat. But at least she didn't fly off of any. I really do need to take her contacts on the road, looking good in the arena, but she needs some intermediate steps considering she's had 4 years of practicing running teeters. Not quite ready to actually 'enforce' the teeter stop at this point. And good to test her running contact, which looked good. Had I asked for a stop ... well, now we'll never know.

Bright in T2B, where I actually, you know, handled - the whole time!

Tomorrow will be her last trial of the year. I need to decide about entering her in Rose City, the ISC classes would be fun, but maybe too much for my sensitive princess. She loves the AGILITY part though. If I decided to do that, December would be about working up to 26 inches again, and then probably enter the Frozen PAC Trial in January at 26 to get her warmed up. Have to think about it.

Meanwhile, Navarre very much enjoyed hanging out at the trial. Lots of 'firsts' for him, mostly in the heeling department. He could heel through the crowds inbetween the rings without an issue - good boy! And then we were playing around with some heeling in the building and I decided to try a 'fast' with him - ha! Blew his mind, he wanted to do his little fancy trot, but couldn't do it at speed and just didn't know what to do. So first he fell behind, then he tried just jumping up the whloe time, then sort of a hop hop JUMP hop hop JUMP to stay in position - it was really funny. He got better, but it amuses me that he has no concept of running with me.

Navarre is a better obedience dog than an agility dog at this age. We did play with the practice jump and lots of chasing toys and things, but he has yet to really turn on to those games. He thinks they're fun, but they need way more tunnels to make them EXCITING. But heeling, yeah, he'd do that until the cows came home. We are slowly introducing our Justine homework. Navarre spins way better to his right than his left. His downs out of motion are technically precise, but not as fast as I'd like, he likes chase games going around jump standards at home, at the trial didn't have as much puppy. He's actually pretty good with fast post turns - because that's just heeling! Navarre likes heeling at the moment. He also is doing pretty darn well at driving to a dead toy ... assuming he's excited. But everyone has to start somewhere, and here we are, at the beginning. No where to go but up!

Training stuff

Bright certainly does love her agility these days, and it makes me happy to see that our problems are usually off courses - that girl has learned how to ASSUME. She's still super honest, but she's finally feeling confident enough to guess if she's not sure. So humbling sometimes ...

Boys had obedience today, the big news being that Ellie didn't see anything off with Navarre. Which doesn't mean there isn't anything, but another set of eyes always makes me feel better. I do worry overmuch sometimes, I think. But better to be cautious. Navarre was enormously happy to be at obedience today and finally doing SOMETHING. Though it was amusing that he couldn't walk in a straight line. All we had been working on was circles, outside, inside, and lots of inside left turns and left finishes. The boy can tuck his butt in like there is no tomorrow - and was attempting to do it while walking in a straight line - it was very amusing. Still, he is all about the heeling, his fronts and recalls are much improved, his inside circles are fantastic. Go-outs are lovely, turn and sit is super solid. He also very much likes his signals, he's a star at those. Now, what he needs to work on is holding that dumbbell, he's much better with the gloves. Should bring out his scent articles again too, but overall super pleased with where he's at in the world of obedience, so many things really clicked with him recently.

As for London, he was a bit of a goofball, but a happy one. Just ran through his Open exercises, some silliness, but overall I'm very happy with him. A couple weeks until we try Pre-Open again (hopefully for the last time).

Went through all the new regulations for scent articles that are changing December 1st today. Wow, so complicated! Not sure what the point of the changes are, but certainly makes it hard to know what you can and cannot do. I did have a nicely charged Haku to work on them though. He was just high getting out the car, then I tethered him while I worked London - so I think we're doing a good job of working while high. Definitely gets antsy and vocal and silly. But we went from looking at exercises to ONLY looking at details, and cleaning up all the bad bits. Still getting a little bit of foot movement when I leave him on his signals, but huge improvement. He keeps blanking on his sit-signal, but that's an EXERCISE concern - one thing at a time. Still peeking a LITTLE on his glove pivots, but much improved. Just improvement on the details all around.

As for our nemesis, directed jumping - his go-outs have really felt much better. That part, the part that took FOREVER to train, is finally feeling smooth. The jumping part, well, working on it. The problem today was he kept going on my arm movement and not my verbal - but I didn't want to get on his case about it because he actually did the correct jump every time. So that's the current question - do I just let that criteria go? Hm.

Anyway, so quick reference for this week:

London: Broad jump, DOR, fast pace heeling, finishes

Navarre: Dumbbell, scent articles, Justine foundation homework

Haku: Pivots, stands, directed jumping, signals

Bright: Bypassing parallel jumps, contacts

Little things

Sometimes it's the little things that can freak you out. Fenwick has just been doing some strange things the last few days, and it worries me because it's out character. Just little things though, like when I go to bed at night he's laying right where I normally sleep by my pillow - and he NEVER does that. He's always right at the end of the bed, ready be offended if anyone touches him. But even after I moved him he's not going to his usual spots, but is sleeping up at the top of the bed and next to me. And following me around when nothing is going on, which he doesn't normally do either. Kind of freaking me out.

Meanwhile, one of the weird side effects of London's hearing loss is he's become extremely head and hand shy. You reach down to pet him if he's not expecting it and he flinches, yelps and hits the deck, it's the saddest thing. I think just overall he's much more jumpy, out with the other dogs, in the house, I think he just keeps getting smacked into because he can't hear things coming anymore. Just so weird with a dog that had been so solid and confident to see him so uncertain about everyday interactions. Not all the time, of course, but unexpectedly I'll just absent mindedly reach down to pat him or let him know I'm behind him and he scares the crap out of me by throwing himself dramatically to the floor. Poor guy ... Still, we did work on his sit this week and it's much improved - but London is one of Nature's Guessers, so it's not as solid as I would like. He seems to hear it okay though, at least in the basement.

Then there is puppy, who never just walks in a normal fashion - I have the hardest time trying to decide if he's limping or not. But the fact that I ITHINK I keep seeing something says to me that there is something there. I'm not the best at picking up that sort of thing, but I do feel like I can tell when something is wrong, even if I can't spot it specifically. I'm pretty relaxed about it, right now he's been on house arrest for, what, two days? I'm really not wanting to bring him in to the rehab place unless he's REALLY broken this time. I am trying to be SENSIBLE and just WAIT. I always want to FIX ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW. Most things are solved with time and rest. And if they're not, going in RIGHT NOW isn't going to make that big of a difference. And if he DOES have something like OCD, that's certainly not going to magically fix itself - time enough to deal with that once we've ruled out the basics. With time and rest. This is me, being patient. And puppy is being remarkably good about it all ... so far. He is just the sweetest boy, I love how he just wants to come up for pets and cuddles and hugs - and SO SOFT. Navarre is just SQUISHABLE. Love him!


Bright's puppies are almost 17 months now, some recent video of the boys:


I believe he has his first AKC trial this weekend!


Just learned his contacts - what a good boy!

Hopefully I'll get to see Larissa in action one of these days too!

As for Star, she is not doing well. She's has seven seizures so far (all severe), two since since starting her medication, the last one took her the longest ever to recover. The neurologist is increasing her meds, but all we can really do is wait and see what happens. Just makes me feel incredibly helpless, and this is so difficult for both Star and Mary. Star should be out there playing and doing everything that she loves - and she doesn't get to. Not much a life for her or for Mary right now, I can only hope that changes and the right balance of meds works for her.

Everyone misses Star ...

Limping puppy

Limping Navarre tonight, front left - makes me very sad. And very paranoid, as hopefully he doesn't have OCD. But there was much romping today in the lovely weather, so hopefully just sore. Time will tell. Sigh.

(Edit: Saw puppy licking his paw later, there was a bit of sap on the side of his paw - cut it off, could it be that easy?)

Chickens are comically fugly looking at the moment, molting is hard work:

You may not recognize her, but this is Sexier (not looking quite so sexy now)

And this is Wubba with her one remaining tail feather

Brisbee is looking and feeling good though - many box turns off my stomach!

Bright is also molting, she's blown almost all her coat - not sure what her plan for the winter is

London is ready for anything

Pose, puppy, pose!

Haku about to go rescue the toy that Eva had left down by the river


Who's the best? Fenwick? Oh yes!

Herding puppies!

Went up to Brigand's today where Carol very kindly introduced Dove and Navarre to sheep for the first time. I'll admit I've been planning this for months! I love baby dog herding, where dogs chasing sheep willy-nilly is looked upon as a GOOD thing, before they're expected to behave themselves. Certainly London and Haku were much more polite when they were introduced to sheep around the same age. I was actually rather surprised Navarre was so uncertain at first and needed me to go out with him and tell him it was okay. But then he got to watch Dove show how it was done, after that he didn't need me for anything, except for maybe slamming sheep into me while I innocently attempted to take pictures.

The puppies did great, at least in the enthusiasm department - which is all I think should be asked for at this age. Dove definitely looked much more like a border collie, while Navarre seemed more like a puppy. Hopefully we'll be able to work with the puppies more and get them started - finding herding opportunities around the area is difficult. We shall see, but certainly had a lot of fun today. And even took Haku out for a little spin, made him very happy - such a good boy, love that dog.

Navarre vs Sheep:

Action packed herding Dove

Both puppies failed at 'waiting quietly for your turn'

Demi Muppet!

Dove looking so grown up

Ah, puppies and sheep - never a dull moment

Herding poodle!

Um, you're doing it wrong, Navarre

No, this isn't right either

No-no, you're supposed to chase the sheep - not the other way around

Happy herding puppy

Tessa gets a turn

I think he liked it!

Finally Fall

Today it rained, all day. A lovely, sweet Oregon rain. Not a sideways rain, not drenching rain, not freezing rain - just normal, happy rain. For the first time since probably April I actually HAD to take the dogs out in the rain to play. And we were all happy, because it was Oregon rain and no one minds getting wet with such a lovely, gentle rain. And it was a day of snuggling in bed reading, eating soup and cuddling with slightly damp puppies. Ordered my first Christmas presents and Goretex shoes. It actually felt like Fall, and I remembered my love of Oregon, at least this time of year, I love.

It was funny, last week I thought Navarre looked kind of small. Then perhaps because he's been swimming and wet, suddenly he seems HUGE. He does have quite a thick, soft, luxurious coat that puffs up like there's no tomorrow when it's wet. Especially his ridiculous looking pants. And the ears, still all over the place - I still can't picture what he's going to look like as an adult. Maybe his ears always will be up and down and sideways and every which way. Certainly keeps things interesting.

Hard to believe that Bright wouldn't have anything to do with Navarre when he was younger, as they are just constantly playing these days. Now it's just so commonplace it's hard to imagine it NOT happening. I do realize that it probably won't last forever, that this type of play will fade as Navarre gets older. It's super cute though, and they will go at it for hours. Bright still holds the power, but she's mellowing more and more - I actually wonder if he's just going to be obnoxious with her as he turns into a teenager, as Bright really has no bite behind her threats - none of my dogs do.

For posterity, some random sampling of them playing:

In other news, Navarre now ROCKS the figure eight in heeling. This may not be exciting for anyone else, but it was just awesome to see him bending and thinking through the inside turn - no more bumping, no more stepping on the backs of my feet. I think I can officially say Navarre is an obedience dog, as he could actually do all the novice exercises. His heeling just all of the sudden came together, and we're both really enjoying it. Also, finally getting some confidence and speed on his recall, he's finally grasped that exercise. Maybe he'll get to play in some Rally after all. Maybe in February with Haku's next try at Utility? How old does a dog have to be to do Rally anyway? He'll be 10 months then - holy crap!

Tomorrow Navarre gets to meet sheep! I'm thinking he's going to like them.


Went and checked out the new indoor dock diving pool in Hillsboro today, they just opened and it is NICE! The ladies that run it are also super nice, and they both got into the water to introduce the dogs and they all had a blast. Well, maybe not Bright. I'd love for Bright to get the exercise of swimming, and she DOES swim - but she finds pools to be SICK AND WRONG. And it probably doesn't help that every time she goes to a pool a stranger puts a lifejacket on her and swims her around - pretty much her idea of torture. She swims just fine, but yet again thinks this pool is evil. She enjoyed watching and retrieving toys from the shallows, but no voluntary swimming for her.

Unlike Navarre! ZOMG, he only had to SEE the pool and he starting squeaking and lunging to get in. He immediately dived right in and never looked back. Put a lifejacket on him for the first few minutes, but it was pretty clear he was pretty much the strongest swimmer in the bunch - Haku would get tired, but Navarre never stopped. Navarre thought this was fantastic and obviously something he should be doing ALL THE TIME. Totally confident, that is one water loving puppy - he would just swim for swimming's sake, or retrieve ALL the toys. And then steal Haku's. And the most amusing part is how he would then take all the toys out of the pool deliberately - I think he was trying to save them all.

Water was super warm, and it was too warm - tried to take some pictures, but too much steam! I did take a little steamy video:

They have dock diving practice on Tuesday evenings, I believe - so I think I'll bring the boys to see what they think. And also plan to have Bruce come swimming and see if he can entice Bright to swim with him. Will definitely be back, I hope this place works as it's super cool! And, um, they were very understanding when Navarre pooped on their dock carpet as I was gathering dogs at the end. Whoops. Note to self, dry the puppy FIRST.

Super tired post-swim puppy


Back to obedience this week, got a plan for all the boys. I entered London in one day of the upcoming show the end of the month, he'll have two chances to finish up his Open title. Of course, anything can happen, but I certainly think he can do it. And then it's on to Utility - he'll probably never compete, but it gives us things to play with - and he still wants to play! Today we introduced gloves, go-outs and directed jumping. London needs the same funky jumping signals as Haku, but he seemed to understand them just fine. Apparently we've never worked at sitting at a distance, so that's our first homework. And working on his sit signal as well. Looking at marking gloves and holding them more securely. Lots of things to work on!

Then the current plan is to work on our Utility proofing and enter Haku again next February. That gives us plenty of time to feel more confident with our behaviors. The trial was a really good opportunity to see what we need to work on, and now I'm feeling very motivated to be more successful next year. Step number one, tethered Haku while I worked London - Haku was high as a kite for his turn, and we got much progress on fixing his signal stand creeping. Took about five tries, then it clicked in and he went into 'can't fool me!" mode. Same with pivots on gloves, and focusing on me in directed jumping. Just looking at the details at the moment, and making progress in the right direction. The goal is to feel solid with our exercises and my expectations of him at his next trial. We can do it!

And then there is Navarre, who can now do big inside circles of heeling - superstar! And his go-out and turn and sit looked fantastic. Introduced the actual dumbbell today, Navarre was less than impressed, which is funny because he loves the wooden dumbbell. So worked on it more at home too, and he's getting the idea it's the same game. We did try throwing the dumbbell at his lesson, but he was just knocking it around with his feet. Going to work on solidifying his hold and release, then work on shaping the pick-up without smacking. Puppy is growing up!

Then having fun with Bright going back through some old Justine exercises - but this time really experimenting with diffferent handling choices - fun stuff! Bright was a little bit making up as she went along today, but maybe that was the theme of the day ....

Heeling puppy

Navarre is in that sort of weird stage where he's half puppy, half dog. Well, maybe 3/4s puppy. I was just thinking about today how he definitely passed the stage where I'm worrying about exposing him to things. He's been there, done that - for the most part. I'm hoping to take him to the new indoor swimming pool in Hillsboro in the next few weeks and see if he has any interest in dock diving, and he gets introduced to sheep this weekend - but I'm pretty confident that he will take new things in stride.

All of the sudden the whole concept of heeling just sort of 'clicked' with Navarre. He really didn't grasp the concept for a long time, and even then you could see he just didn't truly get it. Now he GETS IT. He's not perfect at it, but I can change speed and direction and he's like, "I try to stay here!" No more body slamming, biting or tripping - though he can be quite the crowder. His sit is getting more automatic, and he's really making some nice choices coming into heel on his own. So I introduced the figure 8! We've been working right turns and about turns, so that part wasn't an issue, the inside turn sort of blew his mind. He started out pulling a move Haku used to do on inside turns, where he would actually walk on the backs of my feet with his rear feet. Kudos for pulling the butt in - but maybe not THAT much. Really cool to see him thinking and trying so hard - doesn't look good yet, but so much fun to finally be able to, well, walk with him.

We even did front cross flatwork in puppy class today! I truly didn't know what he was going to do, as we haven't worked on it because he was so bad at it when he was younger. But the heeling and the cone work paid off, no issues. And he even did a little sequence with the chute in class, which was cute as he's never gone from the chute to anything else. Slowly but surely, he's coming along. Not always super focused, but he has some good moments.

We are auditing Justine Davenport's new agility foundation class that started today, I don't expect things to be too much different, but hopefully will be fun things puppy can do. I really like how she breaks behaviors down and it's always motivating to me to see the progress with the other dogs in class. I'll admit, way more excited to do the first exercises in her class than Navarre's european puppy class, where we haven't worked on those exercises much at all. That class just hasn't jived with me - which is not a bad thing. The point is to be exposed to different ways of training and then decide if they're right for me, and, if not, why is that? Always something new to learn, and it doesn't mean one way is better than another - there are so many different ways to train agility.

I will say, my favorite online classes have been Silvia, Polona and Justine. They definitely have some things in common, there aren't a lot of 'rules', they don't micromanage, and they're about finding out what's right for the dog. A lot is left up to the handler - they're not going to hold your hand through every little exercise, or tell you how to train it - they leave that up to you. I don't like to be told what to do. Navarre's european puppy class has a lot of rules about almost everything from what you're rewarding with, where you're rewarding, how you're rewarding, very specific verbals for every type of reward, the type of tugging and play, when you can throw things, when you can -well, you get the idea ... doesn't suit me. ;-) But obviously it works very well for many people too!

Making my bed this morning, I found all these toys, a chewed up sock and this cat in my bed - what on earth is going on at night? I wish my toys looked more attractive ... but they all look like this.

Knock on wood, Dragon seems to be continuing to do well. I was super sad when I found some urine on the couch the other day, but then I remembered I had accidentally left Eva loose - and unfortunately as soon as she falls asleep, there you go. So Navarre hasn't had a peeing incident since Navarre arrived back in June, and I took him off the prozac in August. He's definitely way jumpier and nervous off the drugs, but also much sweeter and cuddlier.  I'm feeling cautiously optimistic that he's outgrown his weird tendencies - but I know it's still a possibility.

I think that I mentioned it, but SS kittens turned 5 years old last month. Still little weirdos, but they do grow on you.

Girls are always about drama

Truly has no idea what's going on - ever

The cats get along pretty well, with Isis and Dio doing their thing, and Fizban and Dragon having wild parties as well. The two groups do sometimes meet, and they all snuggle well together - but SS kittens are just too weird, the maine coons don't know quite what to do with them. I never intended to have four cats again, but I still say that the SS kittens don't count. I do love cats, they make me very happy. Even the weird ones.

Chickens are still molting, but at least the one girl that looked really scraggly is actually now ahead of the game as the other girls are now quite homely. Been keeping them, well, cooped up for the most part since our coyote incident. The neighbor chickens are spending quite a bit of time over at our place - I'm not sure how that would work. Would the two groups have a chicken rumble? Become best friends? The nursery also has a rooster now that I hear, but I never see him - will my girls be drawn to his manly call? Things I don't know about roaming groups of chickens.  Don't tell the ladies, but I'm very curious to hear how it goes with Heidi's meat chickens and how the processing goes. Certainly our set-up would be good for raising meat chickens if it's something I decided would be worthwhile ....

Everywhere I go I keep running into Afghans - and I love them all. I think it's a sign, obviously not soon ... but someday.