Puppy adventures (sort of)

An eventful day for puppy, well, if you include early morning encounters with skunks. Sigh. That will teach me to think, "Maybe I should let the puppy out just one more time, just in case." The good news is that, unlike Poco, he apparently took the warning and did NOT charge in and try to kill it when it sprayed him. Ah, Poco, she was a force of nature - and she never let any skunk tell her what to do, Poco always came back covered with blood with a point blank face full of skunk juice, looking very satisfied. Navarre apparently turned and ran early enough not to get it too bad. I still have my Emergency Skunking Kit, and Navarre was not happy to be deodorized, but didn't hold it against me. He still vaguely smells of skunk, but it's not too bad.

But wait, that wasn't the most exciting thing to happen today - NAVARRE LIFTED HIS LEG! I took him out to potty before obedience and he just sidled right up to the fence and lifted, like he did it all the time. I really was beginning to think he was just one of Nature's Squatters, but apparently he is growing up after all. Fingers crossed he doesn't become a dick, don't want my baby puppy to grow up and be all manly and obnoxious.

Navarre is enjoying his obedience, been working on articles a bit this week - he's not a generalizer. Take the articles into another room and it always takes him a bit to realize it's the same exercise. Same with at his lesson, but he did finally go, "Oooh, this is the sniffing one!" He continues to have lovely straight go-outs and his stand for exam is pretty solid too. Him and Eva appear to be conspiring to heel six inches in front of me, so I'm beginning to think it may be a handler issue. His moving stand looks good though! He enjoys his lesson and playing around with obedience at home. He's not particularly good at anything yet, but he's learning and is engaged and happy.

Now Haku ... I'm afraid to even ask him to do anything now. Once again, at his lesson he just DID EVERYTHING PERFECTLY. Which I consider a state of being that will only exist for a certain amount of time before it implodes, and any actual training will cause that implosion sooner rather than later. The worst I could say for Haku today was he really didn't want to have eye contact in heeling, but he tried really hard to FAKE eye contact. So heeling wasn't the best, but I really don't care - all the exercises were just ... easy. No issues whatsover, he was relaxed, happy and confident. We did everything once, big parties and then put away. It's freaking me out. The trial is coming up very quickly. We only have one more lesson before then, and a fun match next weekend. Right now I'm just going to try to delicately maintain what we have and see what happens.

And Eva got to come to obedience! We kept it light and simple, she hasn't done anything for weeks. She was VERY happy to play, her heeling was, once again, forging and her finishes need work, but she's pretty good with the novice exercises. I'm glad she got to do SOMETHING, as it's Eva's 6th birthday! So she got a bagel and some obedience - better than nothing! Still don't know about her rear right leg, Ellie didn't see anything while she was moving, but felt like she could have been shifted on her fronts. Still taking it easy.

Then Bright looked really good at 24 on some international exercises today. I think she only knocked one bar, so not too shabby. She has a UKI trial at 22 this weekend, then next week move up to 26 to start getting ready for the Big Trial the end of the month. She'll be running premier at 26, so it will let me get a good feel of how she does at the higher heights in a competition environment. And it's not at Ridgefield, where she's been a little weird this year - I'm hoping it's all Happy Bright, all the time down there.

Though weirdest thing, Bright split open the end of her tail! Go figure, Bright with her short little tail ends up with a Happy Tail injury. It doesn't seem to be bothering her though, hopefully it will heal up without an issue.

Hm, pinwheels

Let Eva run today, knock on wood, she seems sound so far. It was accidental, I just was on autopilot and let the dogs out as I'd been gone most of the day and then realized afterwards I had let her out with everyone else and they were running about the property. Damage done, so we went on a walk. She ran around and I tried not to stare and convince myself there was something wrong. We'll see, I suppose.

Navarre got introduced to pinwheels today, he was sort of all over the place when he first saw it - we haven't done much with straight on jumps. There was much barking (aka swearing) at me. Agility Navarre is getting very sassy and opinionated - it makes me happy. After classes I broke it down for him and he decided they weren't so bad afterall. Get used to them, little puppy, you will see a lot of pinwheels in trials. Though, admittedly, rarely in practice, because I hate them.

Been continuing to experiment with different toys, he REALLY likes his leash, but has been reluctantly branching out. Squeaky balls he doesn't get, he's too delicate with them. He liked a squeaky fleece toy today though. Still, he's starting to play with more enthusiasm with a variety of toys. I don't even bother to bring food to agility anymore, though he LOVES to act all super excited about OTHER people's food. Fickle puppy.

9 month old giant dork

Jumped Bright at 24 today, it's not too bad. I think 26 is a bit too much, but 24 is more forgiving. Though Bright and I were sort of all over the place, I kept taking things for granted and Bright was all about taking what seemed logical. I can't fault her ethusiasm, I'm just not used to it. Shockingly, when I actually cued things, she took them appropriately! Knocked some bars, we'll be working up to the higher heights for the next few weeks.

Navarre got to be demo dog again this week, considering we've worked a lot more on taking obstacles then not taking them, he's pretty darn good at bypassing equipment. To be fair, most baby dogs are, they have no concept of actual agility yet. Considering that we haven't worked on it too much though, his skills looked pretty good. You know, when I could pry him off of the people watching. Still, he was pretty much as excited to do agility as he was to go jump all over everyone - and he really likes jumping all over everyone.

God Navarre is 9 months old. Still squats like girl, no signs of testoterone - he's all giant puppy. Was funny, we were over at Anne's watching the super bowl and she asks why I don't bring him into the house. OMG, she has little knicknacks everywhere and coffee tables and just 1001 things Navarre can break with a single exuberant, oblivous bound. I brought him on leash and he still was like a bull in a china shop. Then today I take Navarre and Bright out in the field at the arena and he's running around and then he just keeps going and going ...where the hell is he going? He went all the way around the entire building, back into the front door so he could go frolic in the arena. Such a dork.

He's not being BAD, by the time I saw what he was doing he couldn't hear me calling him. And he never means to break anything or knock it over - he's just such a big, goofy PUPPY. And you never know when something might catch his eye and he's like, "Oooh, shiny!" and he's off. He's just got a lot of happy oblvious exuberance, he thinks every person and dog is his friend and has no concept of personal space. God, he sounds like a lab.

Though, good lord, what is with the dog and people giving him raspberries? He was just loving getting some attention from Joan today and she makes a weird noise at him, as dog people do - and he was like, 'Oh no, I'm outta here!" and ran out of the arena. Interesting to note, there are a couple noises that he freaks out about - people making funny raspberry noises, and tubas. He still hates both. And I've listening to music and a tuba (or tuba-like) intstrament comes on - he gets all WEIRD. And he's not a dog that gets weird about much, but there you have it.

It was very relaxing just having Bright and Navarre today. As it was so warm I had to have the car open while I was teaching and without Eva or Haku, no car barking. Those two are such little shits in the car when I'm not around, and I don't want Navarre learning that behavior. I am not ready to have such warm weather that I have to worry about the dogs in the car though! Not yet, make it stop!


Curly tail!

Turns!



Navarre is fickle, he did not want the Manner's Minder - so we took the MM away. Then I brought it back to introduce turns and suddenly he's all, "Oh, the manners minder is so fun!" I think that, ultimately, he likes the combination of the MM and the toy. When it was just the toy there was not enough ... anticipation. He lost his enthusiasm to drive to the toy because it was the same every time. Now, when you go to MM and then if it's a really good hit occasionally you get EXCITING THROWN TOY, somehow that is better in his mind. At least, right now that's what he's into. So fickle.


Look, my dog running a board in a slightly different fashion! How could this ever get old?

The good news is that apparently he really does have a concept of criteria, and can make the appropriate decision to adjust his stride and go all the way down before he turns. It's not super fast and exciting, but I actually don't care if he has a 1 second dogwalk, I don't particulary want a one second dogwalk - I want him to be careful, thoughtful and, well, hit the contact every time. That's easier to do if you're not trying to get from point A to point B in as little time as possible. The rumor is that we may be approved for low dogwalk work soon ... exciting.

And we'd better hurry up, it already felt HOT today. Winter is my dog training time, you can train any time of day because the dogs don't get too hot and tired. And Heather doesn't get too hot and tired. I kid you not, I was harassed by a bee today. I'M NOT READY. Back to winter, please, and then 5 months of Spring. It's not too much to ask. Dogs had such a wonderful time today though, such a BEAUTIFUL day. Chickens were happy too, now that there is only two of them, they seem to like me a lot more. I'm really starting to look forward to chicks next month. This is going to be the Year of the Non-Dramatic Chicken. At least, I certainly hope so.

Fenwick is feeling SO SPUNKY after his adjustment! London actually seems stiffer, but, knock on wood, still no limping from Eva. I pulled her from the trial this weekend, but I'm still hopeful that maybe she didn't break herself. She's not ready to get back to agility though. Eva only has two speeds, sedate and crazy - so I'm not sure how to ease her back into things to test it out.


Just look at those pants - he's got a full head of hair back there!


Navarre and Bender had such a good time together


Navarre and Skeeter ... well, not so much


"Oh, is this mine?"


"Play with me!" pleads Navarre. "Drop dead," says Skeeter

Fenwick goes on an adventure



LOVE having only standard and jumpers at an AKC trial - ah, the good old days. Without FAST the day does go insanely ... well, fast. I knew we were going to be done really early today, so I brought Fenwick and Eva to see the chiropractor. I like this lady that has been coming to trials, she's from up in Vancouver. Still, Fenwick doesn't travel well these days, wasn't sure how he would do hanging out in the car - he has such seperation anxiety. I actually think he did fine the car, especially after when I left him intially free in the front, he just climbed up back and found a box of salmon skin chews and finished that off. There I found him, looking very satisfied indeed. He was less happy to be left in a crate after that, but surprisingly chill.

What really surprised me was how Fenwick seemed to have no sense of recollection about the trial grounds. He had been there so many times for so many years, I thought he would get a kick out of being at a trial again. He had no idea where he was, who these people were, why there were other dogs - poor guy was just lost. He really has gotten very old. He did get a lot adjusted, I've been concerned with him since he overdid it swimming and just started moving in slow motion. He has gotten better, but just too much for him now. After his adjustment (his neck really needed work) and a good long walk he's stretching and looking much more limber. And he only growled once.



As for Eva, she has been on lockdown since her limping incident, and while I worry it's her knee, I wanted to see if they could find anything else. Her right hip was really tight - though whether that was a cause or an effect, I don't know. Didn't have her mess with the knee, other than just a cursory look - if there is an issue, fucking around with it can do more damage. She was walking and standing normally, fingers crossed that continues and the adjustment helps her out.

Then for whatever reason, after all the weirdness yesterday, Bright was perfectly fine today. Small children everywhere, but she was just spunky, happy and ready to play - and totally unconcerned about any children anywhere. So I don't know. I've never been so happy to see Bright blow off my stopped contact cue and drop a bar - she was just having a good time. She did drop a bar in both runs, and it's funny how she looks exactly the same in her videos today then she did yesterday. In fact, she actually looks SLOWER today. But, trust me, she was much happier and, yes, literally faster. Bright is a very deceptive looking dog when she runs. I just hope we continue to have Happy Agility Bright, I do love her so. We have a UKI trial at her own barn next weekend, so I expect Happy Bright to definitely put an appearance there. Then our 26 experiment ... we'll see how it goes.

There is going to be a lot of unknown about the end of February trial, Bright jumpnig 26 and Haku's second try at Utility. I brought him today to practice obedience around distraction and he was ... perfect. Suspciiously so. WTF? Admittedly, we didn't do too much, as I was not going to ruin a good thing. But articles he nailed his first one with no issues whatsoever. His second article he went out, grabbed it, but then decided to make sure it was correct, sniffed the others, then went back for the right one. I mean, come on - that's making sure! Signals in the aisleway - perfect, first time. Go-out at the practice jump - PERFECT, dead straight (no targets). And the jump, he was looking at one jump so I indicated the other and he was perfect!  We stopped there, considering what last week looked like, this was way beyond my expectations today. I wasn't even going to bring him as I didn't want to overwhelm him with the exercises AND the environment. So, yeah, nothing like a good training session to make you feel like everything is possible again.

And it's sunny, 60 degrees, the grass is growing, the birds are crazy - and it's time for the superbowl! A good day.

Bright says, "Stopped contacts are for sissies!"


And talk about a late dropping bar:

Children everywhere!

So Navarre is still only 20 1/2 inches - he's just gotten so LONG lately he seems huge, but he hasn't gained any height over the last month. He's only 9 months though, so we'll see - but I don't think he's going to be tall so much as substantial. He had a good time at the trial today, played at the practice jump a few times, hung out by the rings, watched some agility up in the bleachers ... before he was ejected for being too loud. Happy boy!

And even happier, London got to come to the trial today! Now there is a dog that just loves to go on adventures and meet new people and he's just smiles, smiles, smiles. He so enjoyed getting to watch some agility again. Got him adjusted, he has been STIFF, and we haven't had our regular adjustments for a long time. Afterwards Tammy gave him a massage too, so hopefully he's feeling a little more limber.

And Bright was all super fierce at the practice jump ... and super freaky at the rings. Standard wasn't as bad as jumpers, where she was trying to pull me out of the arena. I think it was the 4-H kids they had as ring crew. They weren't super small kids, but Bright was taking no chances. I knew something was up when she actually stopped on her dogwalk and teeter today. Her jumpers run she was all worried and was looking at the judge and scoping things out as she ran. I mean, she wasn't horrible, but not her normal self. You never know when those evil childrens might come up behind you and murder you mid-jump, you know.

Cautious Bright got a double Q, which is number six according to my records - but who the hell knows? I had been thinking we were working towards finishing her MX and T2B titles - but apparently she finished those last year. I guess I just suck at record keeping.



Navarre and his kitties

The first time I saw Navarre grooming Fizban, I wasn't sure that was what he was actually doing. He seemed so persistent about it I was worried he was going to nip him or be too rough. However, you can't clean a cat's ears without their permission - and Fizban seemed to REALLY enjoy it. Since then I've seen them at it and they both seem to quite enjoy it. Navarre does both ears THOROUGHLY, and Fizban is like, "Yes, this is the ear cleaning I've been looking for all my life."



Navarre would like to be friends with all the cats. Isis is not having any of that, Dio ... well, I don't think he noticed. Dragon doesn't quite know what to make of it. He's let Navarre do a little ear cleaning, but he's not quite sure about Navarre's intent. The feeling goes both ways, Navarre is never quite sure if Dragon is playing with him or not. He doesn't get too rowdy or pushy, but you can see they're both just a little confused:


Check out those luxurious pants!

In other exciting developments, Navarre has finally chilled out about the vacuum. He was quite the vacuum killer when he was younger, so I had to put him away when I used it. And then he would just bark his head off. Finally though, he has learned to not try to take out the vacuum. He still herds it, but no more barking, biting, and attempting to carry it off.


Good boy


Then I groomed Fenwick today. He hates it - and I can't find any tools that actually effectively remove the hair. Like I can just take my fingers and pluck it out and it comes out like a dream - but any sort of brush or comb or device seems to go right through with very little effect whatsoever. He still has a ton of undercoat that needs to come out, but I figured t hat was enough Fenwick torture for one day.


And then I did Brisbee's nails (the horror!)


Shedding profusely is hard work

Prepping



Bright is SO HAPPY that classes are back on. Classes mean Special Bright Time. She gets to hang out and help me build courses - and then test courses! When did my serious little girl learn to love agility so much? We practiced at 20 and 22 this week and her jumping looked really good. The goal is to work up to 26 as we're entered at the end of the month. Assuming we get the last jumpers Q we need at 26, then I get to contemplate what height we want to do after that. I have been out of agility for quite some time - I need a lot more work than Bright at this point.

Obedience tonight, at least it's not just me - Haku couldn't do a single exercise. Well, okay, moving stand - for some reason he never has an issue with that one. But all the issues we continue to have at home were right there for our lesson too. Which somehow makes me feel a little better. Also the fact that EVERYTHING is broken at the moment gives me the feeling that there is really nowhere to go but up from here. I was feeling a little frustrated, but that's not going to help anything - so I apologized to Haku and told him I would help him as much as needed for as long as heeded. Haku is special, he learns in his own way in his own time - and getting frustrated never helps anyone. Admittedly a lot of my frustration comes from not wanting to see Sad Haku, and no matter how positive my response is to an issue - if there is a mistake, there will be Sad Haku. Breaking things down, rewarding the pieces, helping him out when he's confused - we'll see where we are by the end of the month. One can never really know what Haku might do.

Navarre cracks me up, he gets so disgusted when I try to bring out toys in obedience. The dog that will barely touch food in agility is all about food in obedience. Always a mystery, that boy. We did our first drop on recalls today! And he was a star. I do think we're going to have more issues with anticipation though. Navarre likes RULES, and you could see the wheels turning in his head as he tried to discover the new rules of this game. For now though, most precise drop on recall you've ever seen with the most adorable, perfectly executed foldback down ever. He's all business. And let it be said, with pretty much zero training whatsover, he has a perfect go-out. I mean, yes, he knows something is out there, but Haku couldn't go in a straight line to save his life today and he's been working on this for YEARS. Navarre is like a little missle, dead straight, you ask him to mark and he just LOOKS STRAIGHT AHEAD. I could make a comparison of how we actually had to have Ellie go and point out where Haku's target was to get him to look straight today - but that would just be rubbing it in.

Navarre's heeling looks pretty good, still working on his finishes, but they're cute. Stand for exam looks great, though he still thinks way too much about his recall. He's enjoying everything more though, but I think I'm getting the hang of how Navarre learns. You HAVE to go through the slow, almost bored looking stage with Navarre - with EVERYTHING. He has to process, he has to think, he has to know what you want. This is SERIOUS BUSINESS for him. And once he knows the behavior you can then make it into a game, but you can't rush it - and he really hates it if you try to get him 'up' to train when he's not to that stage yet. Think of it as he's the nerd that wants to read all the rules of the board game before you play. And even still when you start playing, he's very concerned that he makes sure he's doing everything right. However, after he's played the game a few times and knows the rules and how it's played - THEN he gets to the 'fun stage'. Unlike Fenwick, who never read ANY rules for ANY game and had a fabulous time playing by his own rules. Different dogs. ;-)

I don't remember if I wrote about this, but our running contacts hit a snag last week when we switched from the manners minder to a toy. You don't up and change the rules on Navarre, even when it's something that I THOUGHT he would really like. But we appear to have worked through it and he's on board again. I don't know if this is the right method for Navarre, but now that I think about it more, maybe it is. Working with the MM probably was a good place to start, even though it SEEMED like he just 'hated it'. He needs to have that time to figure out the game, and the goal is to actually have consistent contacts with CRITERIA with Navarre - and I think he has the right temperment for it. Right now he figured out how to run straight and hit almost every time. I can see bringing the MM back out and starting to work different angles - and he will be REALLY SLOW, and refuse to eat the cookies ... but I think he will have a good understanding of criteria, and seems to retain when he gains more speed and excitement. Or maybe not. Who knows? We have all the time in the world to play around with it.

A cute comparison video of Navarre about a month ago and Navarre today:


Brisbee's new crate came today, Dragon approves:

The young and the old



Mark the day, for the first time I felt that I actually had a dog for Navarre's puppy class today. Not a WHOLE dog, but a fun dog none-the-less. Navarre is growing up and starting to be able to focus in public (well, at least today). And, wow, let me say he's got some long, luxurious pants. I think he's going to end up a handsome booger, though right now he's suddenly super long and skinny. He's going to be a LOT of dog ... but a pretty one. More to love! Gosh he's a troublemaker today though, he's eaten a roll of toilet paper, pooed on the floor (I assume it was him), stole a chewie from Brisbee and jumped up on my lap and then stuck his head in my cup of kefir. Navarre likes kefir! Ah, puppies.

In other good news, Eva looks totally fine today. Though I'm not letting her do anything. Well, I'm TRYING not to let her do anything. This morning straight from the crate she bounced out and I didn't see anything. I gave her more metacam today, and more crate rest (because since she can't go play outside, crate rest is really the only thing she can do anyway). But she has jumped off the couch and bounced around a little tonight and I didn't see anything. However, a limping and SAD stafford like she was is such an alarming sight, I don't trust it. Staffords have to be REALLY broken for them to notice, so I don't trust her apparent soundness. Still, it's never a bad thing not to see any limping. More rest for Eva, but I'm a little hopeful she didn't actually break herself.



Fenwick is looking alarmingly old recently. He's suddenly shedding profusely, his weird eye can be squinty, he seems super 'thick' lately, he seems more fragile and sensitive and, well, just old. And Brisbee is growing all sorts of lumps and bumps, seems cold and shivery all the time and keeps getting progressively nuttier - but in a happy way, so it's not that bad. He is getting a special fancy crate as he really has gotten senile and will often pee in the house at night. And then London is having a hell of a time with the front steps at night, I don't think he has any depth perception in the dark anymore and he gets 'stuck' halfway down or up the stairs and I have to go help him. Our little geriatric ward. Though I suppose if you're going to have one old dog, might as well have a few more at the same time. I will say, with all the deaf dogs, it sure is nice and quiet for the most part - they sleep through most excitement.



I can't figure out why I constantly mix up Navarre and Haku's names. None of the other dogs, just them. Those are two names that do not sound at all alike. Yet, all the time, I'm sitting there looking at Haku and wondering why he's not releasing on his name ... and I'm calling him Navarre. And the same Navarre, I call him Haku all the time. It's a mystery. Good thing they know what their names are. Though maybe not for long.



Semi-serious puppy


A true winter dog

Navarre is growing up, and he can be such a SERIOUS guy when it comes to rules. He's just such a study in opposites, as he can be very independent and 'why should I?'. Yet he's also incredibly sweet, devoted and social and, once he knows the rules, quite the stickler. So he's finally getting around to learning some basic manners, like waiting his turn and staying while I leave the room - or leave the house. Yet it's not something I've really actively worked on - and he used to be pretty terrible at waiting his turn. Until he decided that's what good dogs do. Now he won't budge ... at least, in certain situations. Have I mentioned how he's a very situational dog? Anyway, he continues to baffle me with conflicting personalities, while impressing me with how incredibly solid he can be ... when he thinks he should be.

He also impressed me today by simultaneously barking and obsessing about another dog WHILE he peed, because I asked him to potty. That takes talent. And he got be demo dog at class - and didn't get all weird about it (like Bright, aka, Worst Demo Dog Ever)! When it comes to tunnels, he's pretty good at them. Still working on finding backside entrances though, he has to think really hard! Folks that hadn't seen Navarre since last year were AMAZED, apparently he looks like a totally different dog. Go ginormous puppy!

I'm feeling discouraged again about Haku being really ready for the obedience trial at the end of the month. Continue to run into the same issues over and over again. Which is what happens when you actually try to practice. Random article misses, messing up signals, taking the wrong jump, apparently having no clue how to do a straight go-out. And often all in the same practice session. And I get it, things happen, no one is perfect - but I do feel like he has a good understanding of the exercises now, so it's more discouraging when he'll randomly appear to have no clue what we're doing. And he doesn't LIKE to be wrong, and so mistakes that don't mean anything become this HUGE DRAMA. No one likes Sad Haku, so it makes me just not want to practice. Which is not a bad option - Haku learns in mysterious ways. Whatever he does at the trial is fine, but I'd like to go in feeling more like a team, which I have not this week.

Then Eva was limping this morning, which is always worrying when a stafford is limping. I gave her some meds and she was much better tonight, but who knows what it all means. Other than no action for poor Eva, which makes HER sad. Sigh.


The few, the proud

I ordered my baby chick set-up, which will not be fancy - but should hopefully do the job. Babies will be fun, hopefully. I've been considering how I want to introduce the babies to our existing pair when they're old enough, and I think I'll probably end up putting the two adults in their own x-pen in the coop and letting the chicks have the run of the place for a while - then see how they do together. I'm feeling optimistic that this will all work out and we'll have happy Chickentopia again. Sexy has even starting laying again!


Hang on, Sexy, I'm bringing you new friends ... in a few months


Some things never change


Love my tiny girlie


Eva heard someone was talking about her ears


ZOMG SUPER DORK


Troublemaker puppy

Cats and serpentines



I did wrap up January in style, Sarah and I checked out the annual Portland cat show yesterday. So many people! Everyone loves cats, it's true. And who wouldn't? I don't really agree with a lot of cat breeding, much like I don't believe in a lot of dog breeding. Breeding mutated animals for cute looks is never a good idea - though we seem to think it is. Hairless, brachy, drawf, tailless - just don't. Breeding for temperment, sure - but that always seems to be a by-product rather then the goal. Maine coons have their share of issues, making anything giant is rarely a good idea - they have hip displaysia and heart issues and bad teeth. Of course, they also have wonderful personalities. As do many non-purebred cats, of course - but one of the main benefits of getting a purebred anything is having an idea of what you'll get.



Anyway, so, yeah, I have a love/hate thing going on with cat shows. I've been going to them since I was kid. Still have no idea about the judging and what it all means (though it does seem like every cat wins something - no losers at the cat show!), and I don't have any interest in that part. I do like cats though. And every time I go I secretly think, "Maybe a Bengal someday ..." because that would just go over so well. They are spunky, that's for sure. Our kitties will keep us busy for hopefully another 20 years, so going to cat shows is how I get my fill of kitties for the year.





I did get to see one of the new 'Werewolf' cats. More mutation breeding. I thought this cat was really tired from being shown, but apparently her eyes were so bad she couldn't keep them open. Maine coons at least are fairly 'natural' compared to some, I suppose. And I did end up getting to see quite a few, I wasn't there for too long as it was pretty chaotic, but turned out we got to see several rings of maine coon judging. Fizban really would have loved being a show cat, and I say he's way more handsome than most of the cats there. Not that I'm biased or anything. Got to see Fizban and Dragon's breeder, she just had one cat (who was apparently distantly related to Dragon) who was super cute, sweet and fun. I do love her cats.

I did get to tell Susan that this cat right here has gone 6 months without any accidents:

I think the prozac reboot actually did the job. I haven't wanted to jinx it, and it's always possible he could start again - but really does seem much more comfortable and confident now. Love my Dragon!










Many more cats ....

Navarre is such an interesting guy, I got the green light to get rid of the manners minder with his dogwalk and switch to a toy target. Which, initially, he seemed to think was pretty fun, and, hurrah, no more head checking! And then he decided he didn't want to use the hollee roller anymore (by running off and finding a frisbee). Okay, fine, use the frisbee. And he thought this was awesome ... for a session. And then you could see the wheels turning as he realized the 'thrown frisbee' reward was never coming immediately as he exited the board. And he started to resent having to go get the toy and bring it to me, and started HEAD CHECKING AGAIN. And I'm like, you can't head check - the frisbee is RIGHT THERE. YOU ALREADY HAVE IT. And there we are now, where he's not really driving to the toy but sort of running past it, turning around, looking at me - and then I tell him to bring the frisbee and he's like, "Ugh, do I have to do all the work around here?" And walks it slowly back to me to throw. So, huh. He LOVES playing fetch with his frisbee, but for some reason this set-up is now 'wrong' to him. The journey continues.

He'd better be careful or I'll bring back the manners minder - and only the MM. Navarre and food with agility is PAINFUL. In certain situations he'll work happily for food. Agility is not one of those. Which is why I've been putting off doing some of the one jump work we need to do, because we needed to start with food. So we finally did and he WALKED the entire time. He's not necessarily unhappy or unwilling, he just finds agility for food BORING. But the good news is that he learns quickly, so we can now do serpentines! And if there is a frisbee involved, he can even do them with enthusiasm.

Are you getting the impression that Navarre has me well trained? You may be correct. However, I like the fact that he has opinions and is happy to tell me what he likes and doesn't like. There is no mistaking his opinions, he's quite clear. We continue to learn about each other, and have a good time together. Though, wow, watching some video of him today - he's so BIG. He looks like London! They grow up so quickly - and he's only 9 months!

We worked on threadles and serps today - he's starting to look kind of like an agility dog!



Bright and Eva got to play too, I've been working on threadles with Bright - never hurts to go back to foundation. Now, Eva, well, she says someone should have done this foundation with her. And the serpentine, OMG, could not get her to collect even once. We've got a couple weeks until the UKI trial ... we might try practicing a bit.



I have continued to work on hugging just a little with Bright and Navarre. I went back and forth with this, but I think it can only be a good thing for them to learn to be comfortable with another dog coming into their space. And they're already way better than they were originally. Bright has actually gotten way more 'hug happy' than Navarre.

Tidy feet

Spicy pho is really good for colds, let me say. And it's the bowl of soup that never ends

Found yet another mat in Navarre's pants today, and he already has epic toe tufts - yet surprisingly little tail fluff. Time will tell how much grooming he requires. Perhaps practice for my future Keeshond. Bright is finally growing a coat, which is just so weird that it already makes her look so dramatically different. She grows profuse hair on her butt and shoulders, and gives her the weirdest outline when you're used to seeing, well, just Bright. Can't help but assume that THIS bustle is the bustle that will last forever. Hello, spay coat.

I did border collie feet today. Can we mention how good Navarre is for this sort of thing? Perhaps too good, I have tackle him to keep him from shoving his way in when I'm trying to work with the other dogs. In honor of the new feet, I took a picture:


Look at all those trimmed toes! It won't last long


Brisbee the Phantom Pillow Crusher


So cute with so little patience for nonsense anymore. Navarre just got up onto the bed while Isis was there and she slapped the shit out of him. Girls, they are so full of drama.


Okay, maybe not that fluffy ... yet


And one last seldom photographed Brisbee

Bring on the chickens


Not taken today

Today was supposed to be all sorts of rain, but turned out to be another lovely Spring-like day. I keep thinking I have such limited time to work on Navarre with his dogwalk (as no manners minder in the rain), but I'm ending up with plenty of time. He looks pretty good on the low table/board with motion from a variety of distances, with me behind, ahead and running with (well, when he doesn't just run around the whole set-up completely - have I mentioned how wide he is?). However, I don't think this means much. First of all, just having a table and board is basically putting a stride regulator right at the beginning of the behavior, I think smart dogs will figure out how to make this set-up 'go' without any real concept of 'hitting' the desired portion. I think Navarre is pretty smart. Second, just training a straight off running contact is not what I consider the difficult part of the process. The dogwalk by itself is the easy part, what I've never been able to do is get a consistent RC in a sequence where the dog actually knows where they're going as they exit the board. I have never been a fan of (or any good at) turning the dog AFTER the contact. If Navarre is going to have a running dogwalk, it needs to be independent and able to be handled like any other obstacle. Otherwise I'll just train a straight off RC, then use a stop for everything else. I'd like to THINK Navarre has a basic concept at this point (we've done 20 short sessions now), but it's hard to say. At least he enjoys it now! We, uh, may not be using the manners minder much at this point.

I went ahead and ordered my Sussex chicks from the organic feed store in Portland. I'd like to think they'll be healthy and humanly raised - but who the hell knows? They'll be in March 2nd, so I've got a month to get ready. I ordered 10, with the assumption it's always better to have too many than too few, if we have issues or roosters or assholes. I have mixed feelings about it all, I think chicks are cute, but a lot of work - and I worry I'll have issues. I don't want any more chicken issues. But I do like having chickens, and we have one sweet set-up for chickens - we should have chickens (and more than two). I think I'm going to go with a cheap, premade brooder I found online. Stick that on top of a tarp in the puppy room, it can expand pretty big as they grow - I think it will work. Once again, the plan is that these chickens will be with us for some time. You know, baring floods and other acts of god.

Obedience today, I think Haku has to go back to 'lightly scented' articles. Which we were doing at one point, but then he needed a retrain and came back with heavily scented. Now he's bringing me the article we used yesterday, and refusing to go near the newly scented article. So new plan, I will give each article four twists in my hands, nothing on the edges, and try not have yesterday's articles out in the pile at all. Then, shockingly, I need to be more consistent with heeling. By that Haku has gotten more and more into 'scanning' the environment while he heels, and I haven't said anything about it because he still heels perfectly find. However, I think his brain is not really engaged, and then we go to signals and he's just not 'there'. Definitely felt a lot better all around when eye contact suddenly became part of his heeling criteria. A little weird with his pivots today, which surprised me as he's been so good - but working on the heeling focus will help all around, I think. LOVELY fronts though - what's up with that? Directed jumping we put the jumps 'long ways' instead of what he normally sees. And Haku was doing his 'look into the corners' go-out look - everywhere but straight ahead! But once I finally got him looking straight, LOVELY go-outs. Now, if they just let us screw around for 3 minutes before sending on this exercise in a trial, we're good to go. And the jumping was MOSTLY good - he didn't go for any incorrect jumps! But the bar jump was close to the wall, and the angle he was approaching was very flat - he chose to abort the first time. I understand, and he got it the second time. But, hey, moving stand was lovely as always! A month to go before his next trial ... I'd like to feel a lot more prepared by then.

Eva did great! We worked a couple times this week and she was so happy. Her fronts are looking much improved, and at her lesson her heeling was better. Attittude was great all around though, so at least she's having fun. We will continue to work on getting some control of her forging, tucking in her finishes, and still needs a little work on her stays.

Navarre may have been pretty full and sleepy, as we did have much running around today. Then I had let him outside by himself because he tends not to potty when the other dogs are outside. Next thing I know, I see him carry something up to the bottom of the porch and start EATING IT. And I couldn't tell what it was and I go outside and see blood and chunks and OMG WHAT IS HE EATING? But by the time I got down to him it was gone. I'm imagining chunks of some creature and thinking about parasites and whatever else he might have eaten. I watch him carefully after that, but he doesn't seem ill or anything. And I let the dogs out to potty again and Navarre disappears. I go out to find out what he's up to and, mystery solved, he had found where I was defrosting the raw dog food on top on the freezer and had been eating that. Made me feel so much better! He's such a little troublemaker ... Anyway, not his best performance in obedience today. Tried to do scent articles in a new place and he no clue, but very nicely brought me every article in case that's what I wanted. This was also with Haku's articles, which Navarre had never used. He just didn't seem to recognize the exercise at all. And we did some gloves, which he was pretty lackluster about - but he enjoyed playing tug and retrieve games with them. His heeling looked pretty good, stand for exam was really solid. He's coming along, but I think I need to start using a lot more toys in his obedience. Navarre is never shy about saying that he could care less about what I have.

Bright has just been working conditoning, she'll get back to agility next week. She's really not a fan of this arrangement, she's been the baby dog that gets to do all the things for way too long. That girl can SCREAM when she's mad, let me tell you. We have a fairly action packed February for her though, so she should be happy.


Everyone looks good with a BPR


"Mine!"


One happy Bun showing off his manly scar ...  from walking into a fence

Chickens again

My dogs are sissies. This is not a bad thing, it's what allows me to have a big pack like I do, they are all basically pacifists. Poco was my hardcore girl, but she was so levelheaded and fair that it just made her that much more awesome. When the chips were down though, Poco had no back down in her, that girl was made of steel. My other dogs are made of fluff. Wonderful, sweet, candy coated fluff - but fluff all the same. Which is why I was surprised as hell to see Navarre charge and go after a giant coyote today.

I had let the dogs out this morning and when I looked out to see if they were ready to come in I see a mob huddled by the door, not pottying at all. All the dogs were hiding on the deck - but not Navarre. I ran outside to find him and turned the corner of the house and see Navarre, serious as hell, charge at this huge coyote that was at the chicken coop. Luckily the coyote took him seriously and ran - and Navarre chased him halfway down the field, then made sure he was gone before coming back to me.

So, yeah, scary as hell - the coyotes around here are super huge, and have very little fear - they are often just hanging around in broad daylight. They could care less about me yelling at them, I have to get my gun to get them off the property. The dogs have always had a lot of respect for the coyotes, they don't try to mess with them in general - though Eva has tried barking at them through the fence. Eva CAN be hardcore, but she's a marshmallow at heart (and I love her for it). I could see Navarre doing some puppy 'What is that?' barking, or maybe even a, "Oh look, a dog - let's play!' - but I was surprised he went straight to serious protection, as that boy is just so ... floppy. And sweet. And dorky. And apparently pretty hardcore.

The good news is that this is actually the first time six years that a coyote has been on the property when the dogs were out. Obviously we have a bit of a different situation these days as we don't have access to our 'dog yard' right now, but I don't expect this is something that is going to be an issue. Though, for god's sake, sissy dogs, don't leave the puppy to defend the chickens all by himself - where was his backup? It is true, for all that Navarre is still very much a puppy, he does have a presence to him, he's definitely got 'leader' in his future. I think the rest of the dogs are okay with that, since losing Poco no one has stepped up to the plate.

Poor chickens, just two lonely chickens in the coop - and they don't even like each other. They sleep on seperate perches on the roost, they just seem lost. Two chickens is not a flock. I have been debating about the best way to proceed, as my last set of chickens was just one tragedy after another - and I certainly don't want that again. I did very much enjoy my Poodletopia chicken that Heidi raised - I mean, to eat. I finshed off the last of her today as treats for the dogs - they very much approved. That chicken tasted really good, despite having NO drippings whatsoever in the pan when I slow roasted it. Poodletopia chickens have no fat apparently! But really a fabulous chicken, and made chicken stock too - because it seemed the right thing to do so no part of the Poodletopia magic was lost.

That said, I probably can just go get an ethically raised chicken from New Seasons for a heck of a lot less drama then raising my own. I mostly do like my chickens for their 'pet' qualities, though the eggs are nice too. This last set of chickens was a mix of older store bought, raised from chicks and brought in later chickens - and I think that was part of the problem. I think a better plan is to raise chicks, all the same breed and age. I have the puppy room - it can raise chickens as well as it can raise puppies. And if I get any asshole chickens, I can eat them or send them to Poodletopia to be egg producers. But I want PET chickens, who get along with me and each other. I just want GOOD chickens.

So there is a place in Portland that you can pre-order small amounts of chicks from. I figure if I get 10 chicks, that gives me some wiggle room for roosters and assholes. And this breed seems to be very charming and friendly - I really want charming and friendly:

http://www.backyardchickens.com/products/speckled-sussex

So chicks in March? Gives me enough time to get things set up for them. And Prettier and Sexy better enjoy their new siblings when the time comes - or they're out of here. No more asshole chickens, I'm taking a zero tolerance stand. That shit is traumatic as hell. Happy chickens only around here. HAPPY I SAY.

Woke up sick today, was planning to go visit my dad at the beach, but that's out now. I enjoyed my years when I rarely ever got sick - but apparently those days are over. Sore throat and tired today, tomorrow I expect the cold to really get going. Could be worse timing, I suppose, but hoping to be done with this in a few days.

But look how cute my puppy is:


Secret confession time: This is what I really hoped his ears would end up like. It's not really prick, it's not really airplane, it's just fricken adorable. However, it should be noted that his ears continue to constantly change all day long - and I'm beginning to think they always will. I do love his many looks, he never ceases to charm me.

Looking more real

I am not a fan of the 35mm lens, I've tried to learn to love it, I have a nice one - but I just don't like it. I feel restricted, everything has to be right up on top of me, I end up doing boring posed shots that look they were taken with a point and shoot. I see other photographers do amazing things with a 35 ... but it's not for me.


These dogs don't mind posing


Fenwick and Brisbee refuse to pose, though London is vaguely willing (and I got very wet taking this bad picture)

Fenwick is feeling better, I let him run around outside today. We stayed away from the water though and didn't do anything too crazy. He was happy and perky and moving fine, so hopefully whatever ailed him is better now.

Definite progress with Navarre and his dogwalk training - I can run now! And he's kinda running too. Truly, I don't plan to post 10,000 videos of my dog runinng a board - but today felt like a milestone, the first time that I felt like it looked kind of like the real thing:


No idea what is up with the disco flashing film, but I think it just adds to the overall festiveness of it all. We are kind of doing our own thing, yes, I still throw the toy when he has an exceptional hit where he's NOT looking back at me, ignoring the MM completely - and so-so hits continue to get the dreaded MM reward. We've lost an awful lot of frisbees out in the lake at this point. I had high hopes from the 'Kong Flyer', but it's already fraying. Poor construction.



And we actually got to do a little sequencing, and not quite as ridiculously wide! However, Navarre made it clear if I'm not going to actually THROW the toy, he's not giving me the effort. Navarre wants thrown frisbee toys, everything else is just a cheap imitation. I am missing out basement at the moment, there is a lot of one jump work I'd like to do, and the basement was just perfect for it. No rush, I suppose. Navarre just turned 9 months today!

My favorite part - Navarre is not easy. And he's fairly unforgiving, if you're unclear he will bark and bite you - or maybe just leave, depending on his mood. I can't tell you how much I love this about him!  He's a really fun boy, and he's only going to play games he finds interesting. This can actually be frustrating, because what games Navarre wants to play can change from day to day (and sometimes moment to moment), so every training session is an adventure to see what Navarre I have today. Our adventure has just begun though, we have a lot to learn about each other.


Happy dirty winter dogs

Callen



Look at this adorable Kelpie puppy! Just look at him! So much cute awesomeness! This is Vivienne's new puppy, he's 10 weeks old fun, confident, bold, sassy - I love him. It's time for the passing of the torch, one can hardly look at Navarre at this point and think 'puppy'. Luckily we've got new blood coming in, Callen and one more mystery puppy to be revealed in February! Other People's Puppies are the best - all the fun of a puppy with none of the responsibility.

So looking forward to watching Callen grow, hopefully he will come back to visit often because Navarre LOVES him. A lot more than Callen likes Navarre at this point. But they had a good time together, and I think once Callen gets some substance to him he's going to totally run circles around Navarre. Gah - I love puppies!


Fierce growling tugger!


Not afraid to tell Navarre where to go - and notice how he's up on the table, this puppy never once went UNDER anything - this puppy is all about being ON TOP.


OMG, so adorable!


Nicely built puppy - I think he's going to be one powerful, fast boy


Loves his food!


Loves his toys!


He's only got eyes for Vivienne


Rawr!

Rose City review



We don't normally have this much water on the property, when we do get a lake we usually have just a few days to take advantage of it and it's gone. This year though ... it's just there, all the time. And we have been doing much swimming and water romping - and I think I broke Fenwick. We had been out yesterday, he had been running around, bounding through the water, swimming - then that evening he was in slow motion. I can't point to anything specific that hurts, but I went to check him out and he yelped. I think just too much crazy water action for Fenny, and London is really stiff too - doggies need a break from swimming! Though Navarre isn't tired of it at all - the benefits of youth.


The old ready to ambush the young



Dropped by Rose City yesterday, it is a fun event. Glad I didn't enter Bright, but fun to visit and watch some agility, do some shopping and be amazed at the crazy world of conformation. I was lucky enough to be there for what seemed like All Puppies, All the Time in the conformation rings I was watching. And puppy conformation is AWESOME. Serious conformation folks in dresses dragging around oblivious frisky puppies - that's entertainment. And I got to see baby Afghans - gah! I do love the Afghans, but the dog I fell instantly for was this one:



He just radiated happiness and personality. And, of course, I could see the Fenwick. And I fell in love. I have always enjoyed the Keeshound, even if I can never properly pronounce the name. I do love the spitz, but that hair ... Still, looking at this dog, I could actually see having one, hair and all. Once again, obviously I'm in no position to even be thinking about another dog for many years, and I think that's why I'm so open to the idea. But I'm officially putting them on my list and will start asking around. You never know.


And Afghans, still on my list (though not the hairy conformation ones) - these babies were so cute!


Even their asses are cute!

I'm happy to say I found my new favorite brush. I have found this is one area where quality counts, and the Chris Christensen I found at Rose City years ago has served me well, but the pins were getting pushed in and London is just requiring MORE these days. So I went on a search for a new brush, something slightly 'firmer' then my old one, but still gentle enough not to irritate - and I found The One. And it's amazing how cleanly it goes through London's thick coat, with so little effort and does such a nice job!

Side by side comparison, the Chris Christensen and the Greyhound Pro:



I don't particularly find the longer handle to be useful, like when I was going through his tail I actually held the brush around the head to get the best leverage. Still, love this new brush for London's coat, just what I wanted!

And Haku got a gift from Rose City too:


Haku is a terrible gulper - I wasn't sure if I would like this bowl, but it's been wonderful, at least with kibble and water. I'll have to see how it does with ground raw. When I feed raw Haku literally eats a pound of ground raw in two swallows. Only took me 6 years to finally get him one of these, but very happy with it. I think I'll get one for Eva too.


Navarre's new conditioning trick


I would never make a good agility photographer, that's for sure


This was pretty horrifying, they didn't make these guys walk/waddle very far around the ring


A very cute pair


I like how puppies just stare up at their people


Eva's brother Pirate!


Okay, baby frenchies are damn cute - I wish they had noses!


I'm not a fan of hair, but this little girl was adorable


This one just looked pissed

Running contacts

I drafted a videographer today for some exciting running contact action. Yes, now you too can see Navarre run a board. Sort of. Running is a relative term.



Yes, marvel at Navarre's complete and utter lack of interest in the manners minder. Be amazed at all the head checking to see if a more exciting toy is forthcoming. Watch as he pretends to eat the food in the manners minder to get the toy to be thrown. Then be totally surprised when the trainer, once again, throws the toy without asking him to at least pretend to eat the MM treat - and then imagine why Navarre would head check so often with such stellar consistency.

So, yeah, the manners minder has failed to impress me once again. Mostly because it fails to impress my dogs. They're fully aware that I'm in control of the MM, they have very little interest in getting a nugget of food out of an emotionless machine. Still, yes, I know the head checking is my fault. I'm just hoping we get to lose the MM soon and move on to something Navarre actually gives a damn about.

The good news, Navarre is starting to catch on to the game. His consistency with no motion on my part starting from the table was near 100%. His success rate with the added speed of the cone is really good as well - but with a lot of head checking. Me stationary ahead or behind, he does great. Adding motion on my part was hard, and I'm happy I've achieved a lame jog - anything more than that he starts flying. But now that I think he has an idea of criteria, I think it should be fairly easy to continue to raise criteria ... assuming I can get him to stop looking at me. He seems to be enjoying the game, we'll see if any of this has any relevence once he actually starts running.

BEAUTIFUL day, up towards 60 degrees - the birds were going nuts. Tonight, suddenly it's deafening with all the frogs. I say Spring starts in Oregon in February - but it may be starting early this year. I only hope this doesn't mean another long, hot summer. Lots of swimming and romping for the dogs, and Navarre and Colton discovered they have similar happy, dorky play styles. Good times!


Check out that new Big Purple Ring!


Colton is all grown up and looking handsome!


The two best swimmers - and see that look in Navarre's eye? Haku won't have that toy for long


Eva is READY. Very ready.


Happy boys running around


Bindi - Stalker in the Shallows


Colton loves the water!

January can be lovely



For as much as bypass surgery seems like something from a sci-fi novel, the recovery process seems much less advanced. I hope my dad will get to go home soon, but definitely not something that is an easy process on any level. Hopefully in a couple months he'll be feeling the benefits - but certainly not now.

Today ended up being a lovely day, 50 degrees and dry for the most part. With our lake about the half the size of the field, a great day for much dog romping and swimming. Even Fenwick was swimming - and getting the toy! I do feel bad seeing how much better everyone feels back on the joint meds. The meds had been downstairs in the flood and got packed away in the cleanup and I finally dug them back out recently. I don't notice any difference with the young dogs, but really a huge difference with the old dogs. Still haven't quite got our routine back, been an adjustment. I didn't necessarily use the downstairs for a ton of things, but it was where I trained the dogs, fed the dogs, pottied the dogs (well, the door to outside), cleaned up muddy dogs, and the crates were down there to put them away when they were wet and muddy. I also could put them downstairs with the dog door open if I was going to be gone for longer than normal. I used to be up and down those stairs 50 times a day, seems weird not to do that now.

I did bring up some of the big crates from downstairs, Navarre has outgrown the medium sized one that Bright likes to sleep in at night (her preference). So London and Navarre were battling it out for the big crate - and London and Bright LOVE their crates. I rarely ever PUT them in their crates, but they love sleeping in the them. London would get so annoyed when I put Navarre in his. So now I've got TWO giant crates in my room, as Navarre is big boy, he needs the big boy crate. Also upgraded Eva to a big crate in the living room, not that I think it makes any difference - she just sleeps in a little ball no matter what size, but it makes me feel better. She's been VERY leaky lately, after being fairly dry for quite a while, she had been able to be out a lot more and nap on the couch. But unfortunately she's back to extra leaky, and I feel bad she's in a crate so often, even if she wolud have just been napping anyway. Castle Eva is pretty swank, though I doubt she cares.

In other Eva news, she's continuning to be super happy to play with obedience. I don't work with her much, and pretty much everything she does I just say, "Wow, how amazing!" but she hasn't gotten weird about it yet, and it would be nice to keep it that way. Actually the funny part is that, at home, she's really heeling BEAUTIFULLY. At her lesson, she continues to act like she's absolutely certain I want her a foot in front of me. All the novice exercises, at home, are super easy for her. We had to brush up on heeling and fronts - and I guess her finishes could still use some work, but she really is fun to play with when she's not feeling emotional. I will say, after starting off with heeling at her lesson today, and not being able to get her to heel 'normally' at all, I tried again later with steak IN MY HAND and suddenly she was perfect. Hm. And the big news, I've been continuing to have her tethered while I work Haku and she's getting more and more relaxed. You can tell because she's getting annoying, she's trying to barge in, not trying to leave the room. At least, this week. I know it can change, but it's been really fun having something to do with her one-on-one again. Also entered her in a crapload of agility in a few weeks. Maybe not the best idea with no training, but hey.

Haku had a lot of good at his lesson today, but blanked on his down signal first off - doh! And I had been feeling so successful! Oh well, the rest went fairly well. Been proofing using a verbal finish signal and he's doing pretty good with that - as long as I only ask him to go to the right ;-) But it is solving a lot of issues I was having with finishes, so we're going to keep working with that. Now, if only I could find something to magically fix his chronically askew fronts (always with his butt towards my right!). Articles were perfect, directed jumping was pretty darn good (one early turn and sit). Gloves were great, moving stand is always good. I really am feeling good that he knows what the exercises are finally. Not saying we're going to do them perfectly every time, but definitely got the first step. Heeling needs work too (anticipating about turns again), sounds like a week for working signals.

Did I mention that Navarre was doing the full article exercise? I didn't ask him to, but he was SUPPOSED to be on a stay while I was working on Haku with his articles and Navarre ran out and grabbed it first and brought it to me. Well okay then, I will take that. It did add some incentive to Haku - two dogs, one article. Overall Navarre is just looking better all around at obedience, which is more coinciding with maturity then anything we've been doing. We did use the cooler at obedience today, and he was fine with it - but not SUPER EXCITED about it like Haku. But then, Haku is SUPER EXCITED about most things. Navarre still enjoyed it, and gave me some really happy, precise sustained heeling. He's still somewhat crabbing inward, permanantly ready to turn left, but not as bad as he was. And Navarre's flip finshes are super cute - he really is getting into the game more. His novice exercises are coming along, very proud of him.

In agility he is much slower at the arena then at home. I think it's a combination of a lot of things, including a lot more distraction. I also think he likes his frisbee, which is what we use to play at home - but rollers and agility equipment don't really go together, so I don't use it at the arena. He does like draggy toy or ball ... but about half as much as frisbee. The good news is that his tunnel commitment was great, but his jump commitment not nearly as nice. And, to be fair, I know I need to reward jumps/standards/wraps instead of rewarding straight ahead and tunnels all the time. Just need to be more thoughtful about what I'm rewarding.

Playing around with our online class homework when we can, finally got some video for our motivation class of recalls and play. I'm really liking the class so far, and I think it will be really helpful for us. Lesson two is tunnels ... Navarre likes tunnels. ;-) Running contacts are ....progressing. I think he has a glimmer of understanding, but we had to stop and take a detour because his rate of frisbee 'jackpots' was so high that he wasn't even bothering to look at the manners minder, so he was starting to run off the board and then flip around and look at me. My fault, I had been letting him have the toy without going and actually eating the treat in the MM as long as he was headed towards it. So we had to backtrack and work that piece, and he's still not thrilled with this development. Then we've also started a new game where we have cone wrap with speed onto the board - and, ZOMG SO WIDE AROUND THE CONE. So, yeah, definitely noticed a trend - Navarre can either go fast around the cone (SUPER WIDE) or he can walk around the cone and be tight. Hm. Anyway, having much more fun with this exercise now that it's a little more dynamic, but still haven't had the 'lightbulb' moment. Too much standing water to work any Justine skills, but looking forward to getting back to playing with those too.

Was a very nostalgic moment today, took Bright out to work a little on the table/dogwalk plank I had set up for Navarre. Somewhere along the way she has just got so INTO it. She LOVES the game, and that was not always the case. I remember baby Bright, and doing the flatwork and play and she was so ... unopinionated about it. Now she is just so much fun, and so HAPPY and so in the game (and SO PISSED when it's not her turn). They do grow up. And, yeah, it was a dumb exercise because Bright can do plank work in her sleep, stopped or running - it's not the behavior that throws her, it's the sequencing that needs work.


Just don't fuck with Fenwick. Just don't.


Brisbee missle!


Eva knows how to make her toy very enticing


Doesn't matter how many toys Haku has - they'll never be as good as Eva's


Happy senile!


Eva is always popular