Girls are weird



I think Bright is going through a phase, though I'm entirely sure. I remember when she was pretty young she also had a phase where she was just doing her own thing. Like we would be hiking and she wolud just take off in her own direction and wasn't following the group. Which was very out of character for her, as she is my little shadow and, as previously noted, so very EASY in most everything.  I don't remember how long she was in that phase when she was younger, but she did grow out of it.

Then she's continued with her rather uncharacteristic behavior in agility recently, I don't even know how to describe it because she's not technically WRONG. She just makes these big assumptions about where we're going and is just not, well, Bright. Not focused and precise, and sort of on autopilot. Not easy, not responding to cues, just taking whatever. And if there is one thing I've come to count on with Bright is 'easy' so it's very jarring.

And then I lost her yesterday, for about 15 minutes, somehow she got over into the nursery (no idea how she did that), and she doesn't fit through the fence so obviously couldn't figure out how to get back. And then took off running and I don't know where she went, couldn't see her, she didn't come when I called. She eventually found her own way back, coming from the front of the property while I was calling for her down by the river. I can only assume she ran out the front of the nursery and back down the road to our place. This is not something that has EVER happened in the entire time we've lived here. And of all the dogs in the household Bright is the LAST dog I would expect to go escaping into the nursery. And of all my dogs she's the dog I would most worry about getting lost as she could just freak out and run if she didn't know where she was.

So, yeah, don't know what to make of it, she's definitely got a different feel to her at the moment. And it's not necessarily a BAD feel, but it's not the dog I know so I'm just not sure what she might do. She seems perfectly happy and content, just sort of ... out there. I'm assuming it's a phase and we're just going to ride it out.

We did go and get to practice some fun courses today, and Bright had a great time if not particularly accurate. We are entered in a UKI trial and a USDAA trial in May, which may make for some interesting runs.

Introduced Navarre to his 5th new dogwalk today! Pretty cautious at first and needed more exposure than he's needed with other new dogwalks before he really started giving me what I know he can. Straight exits looked pretty good, turns he just wasn't giving me what he does at home, even with several tries and breaking it down. So we let that go, but I didn't want to reward turns that weren't what I really wanted. Not sure what the difference was with this dogwalk. Also played on the end of a very loud teeter and he was happy to do that. Good exposure for the baby! Always fun to have an agility play day.

USDAA regional down in CA this weekend. I do miss having actual local 'events' to go to. The NW Regional used to be a fun four ring trial in Oregon with lots of folks coming from out of state. And people were really COMPETING, not just trying to qualify. Very different feel than just weekend after weekend of the same old AKC trial, there just aren't any 'special' trials left in the area. And the regional was outdoors! I think there is one outdoor trial left in Oregon. I've been in agility so long I already have, "Back in my day ...." stories. 6'3" aframes, 18 inch weavepoles and how long was that chute? 18 feet? Something ridiculous like that. I also remember when I started agility we were there until like 8pm at night - what the hell were we doing all day to have trials go that late? All of my memories of my first trials were of me being SO COLD. Has the world just gotten that much warmer, or do I just not notice any more?

Some kitties being cute:


For a cat that came to me with no whiskers, he's certainly made up for it


Isis will randomly decide she HATES Dragon - obviously this is not one of those times


Who's number one?


Kitties are obsessed with dog kibble - yet I can't find a cat kibble they actually want to eat


"Feed me!"


Do other cats catch thrown food?

Dogs at large



Oh, Dove and Navarre, they haven't changed much at all. At puppy class this week we had a little party for the puppies that are all turning one and Heidi and I took Dove and Navarre out for some sibling pictures afterwards. Just some quick cellphone pictures to celebrate the occasion. Take their leashes off, set them up to pose, take a few pictures ... and then they spy some dogs running in the field and both just tear off and leave us in the dust, no recalls whatsover. We had to go literally chase them down and carry them out of that. Oh, such troublemakers they are - and together they are exponentially naughtier.


Oh yeah, we had their complete attention here


"Who, me?"

Navarre is getting better at entries with the channel weaves, obviously soft side is harder but he can really find the hard side entry amazingly well and on the softer angles really fun to see him looking for an adjust to find the soft sided entry. The plan is to really work those tough entrances and exits with the open channel. He certainly enjoys his channels!

Back at home we finally got back on our dogwalk. I've been wanting to work on gaining confidence and extending over the board more. Obviously just for raising his own comfort level, but also because he has HUGE ass stride when he actually does move out - and considering how he's really not moving out on the dogwalk I think there is going to be some struggle there eventually. And, sure enough, really working for speed across the board four strides turned into three and he had high hits. Hits that I would have rewarded previously, but now aren't to criteria. So he worked hard to adjust and stay with four strides and really make sure to get that last one in. I can see him doing a comfortable three stride dogwalk with a good hit if he extended more on the upramp - and he certainly is not extending anywhere like I know he can do. I don't necessarily want him to be doing 3 stride dogwalks, but he really is a LONG dog, realistically he's going to need to know how to adjust when he really gets momentum.

Examples of some nice extension today

We also looked at a few turns today, which MOSTLY when well ... at least, the turns themselves. The thought was to turn and send him to the cones - and he was not really responding well at all to my front cross cues. I really do need to stick to my guns and actually TRY to get him to wrap the cone after the turn, instead of just going vaguely in that direction.

I'll tell you one thing Navarre is not good at - being a good canine citizen while waiting to be demo dog at class today. I don't know why I thought he could just hang out tethered to the wall while I taught, but I was ever so wrong. To be fair, that's a very barky class anyway, maybe he was just joining in. ;-) Thankfully Molly worked with him to keep him from being a total nut, but he has been fired from his Demo Dog position. People will just have to use their imaginations.

Meanwhile, I took the still housebound (and not happy about it) Haku to group obedience class this week. He was ever so happy to do ANYTHING - if nothing else this injury has really helped him appreciate obedience. Really enjoying the group class, so many more fun proofing exercises you can do with other dogs. Haku really is loving this class and trying super hard. Really proud how he's handling the new games, he thinks they're great fun. Exercises are looking surprisingly good at the moment, though obviously we haven't worked on directed jumping. We have now worked a little at our newest experimental go-out game ,which is teaching him to hang his head over the ring gates at the stantion. Haku, being Haku, thinks this is SUPER FUN, and quite enjoys choking himself on ring gates. He broke ours at home. No lack of enthusiam there.

The bad news is that Cindy felt that by the end of class, once Haku was tired he looked off in the front again May be time to start looking into making an appointment at the sport rehab, this has been going on for a while.


Look how pretty the dogroom looks with the new mats! Which was going really well until I got new batch of mats and they SEEM to be just a LITTLE bigger than the others, causing lumps in the floor. Sigh. Still, pretty!


And, look, our house is yellow now! Which is only interesting if you remember what color it used to be


Purple door!


Happy to be free again!


Bonus Brisbee!


Yeah, the grass pollen is pretty ridiculous right now

Happy Birthday Navarre!

Happy (Official) Birthday to Navarre! Firsts of anything are always the most special, and a first birthday really is. So many fun memories of Navarre as a puppy, hard to believe that puppytime is over. Excited for what will come with adult(ish) Navarre, but really enjoyed Navarre as he was growing up.


These two boys, two ends of a spectrum - and I think I've finally learned the lesson that London worked so hard to teach me - no expectations. I never expected Navarre to be anything other than Navarre, and I had faith that we would figure each other out in time. Love these two independent boys so much - and I really appreciate the independence in Navarre that so confounded me with London.


So thankful of the many people that took time to get to know my goofy puppy, the puppy parties and hikes and get togethers were so much fun - and so good for puppy. Navarre has so many friends!


Got his tail!


LOVE that my puppy is such a water dog - really need to make sure he has lots of opportunities to swim this year!


Hiking too, it's time to get back to it


Love Navarre's loud mouth, we'll see if it gets us in trouble - I can't help but love a barking dog


Such a little thinker - for such goofy, oblivious puppy he can be such a serious nerd in training


Friend to all!


Went through a LOT of toilet paper growing up


We'll get you back to sheep again soon, puppy!

Lots of other firsts for Navarre lately. Last weekend he went to an agility fun match and did really well. There were lots of other dogs and after settling down was able to do all his obedience in the waiting area without an issue - didn't care about the other dogs at all. Now, the horses sticking their heads of their stalls were a little alarming, but I understand - floating horse heads would make me nervous too.

Interesting moment when we went in the arena for our turn, I take his leash off and toss to the side, the toy still in my pocket that he hadn't seen. I asked him to do a jump and he ran up to it, stopped, looked at me, and then ran and brought me his leash. Apparently agility is done should be done with a toy in hand, he was just trying to help me out. Still, super happy that he recognized and was confident on the equipment we've introduced. Jumps, table, spread weaves, and the dogwalk! I was really surprised he was so confident on the dogwalk, new equipment, new place, and he did fantastic straight off. As usual, turns needed a little work, but he got them. Really happy with his focus, enthusiasm and generalizing. We did two runs, which included two jumps into an angled entrance at the open weavepoles and he found the entry - so impressed!

Then today we ended up having extra time before classes so brought back out the low teeter, which we haven't looked at since the last time. He nailed it - no problem! Admittedly, I'm pretty much letting him choose his end position, he's been pretty clear from the start he wants to do 2o/2o, but at least he's compromised by doing a bow on the end ... you know, eventually. The important part is that he looks comfortable and confident, seems to know the end position, I can send ahead, run past and run laterally and he's got no issues. He did so well with that, I actually raised it a bit. He was a little cautious at first, but adjusted quickly. Knock on wood, the teeter has been pretty straightforward with him.

Then we ran into a big snag with the dogwalk, he wouldn't do a dogwalk with a tunnel underneath. I feel bad, hadn't even occurred to me when I sent him the first time and he was like, "Nope." So we worked that at a walk for a bit. He definitely gained confidence, and we did a little with turns (still aren't as consistent as straight - he doesn't miss, but he doesn't meet criteria until he's had a couple tries at it), not quite as confident as his without the tunnel though. We had another try after class and put together this little sequence of dogwalk with tunnel underneath, to tire at 12 (also new!) to new higher teeter:


Superstar - so many firsts!

I also think I figured out the mystery of Bright's weird behavior in agility recently. It came to me as I was running her through some weave proofing that started with a tunnel and she would just shoot out and take whatever. And I realized - this is all we do now. Proof contacts and weaves and just little things where I'm just not moving much at all. Because Bright is 'so easy' I don't actually RUN her much at all, we just fiddle around. You know, working independent obstacle performance with me standing still and her taking things on her own. Ah. Yes. I see now that you get what you reward. Shocking thought. And even after I had this thought - did I spend some time actually running Bright through some sequences and reward for responding to my cues? Nope. And that is why we have an issue.


Kitty lover


Love my boy!

Premature Celebration

One of Navarre's siblings wished him a happy birthday on FB this morning, and I just ran with it, assuming it WAS his birthday. Which is technically tomorrow, but that's okay - nothing wrong with a long celebration. I did blatently steal a few photos from FB of some siblings:


This is Stella - adorable head tilts seem to run in the family


Baby Stella


Zeke, who was the big boy of the litter - he ended up about 21.75 inches and 45 pounds


Baby Zeke


Critic (not sure how old she is in this picture) - who was the troublemaking girl as a puppy, I'd be curious if she still is


Baby Critic


And beautiful Dove, of course!


Baby Dove


And Navarre!


Baby Navarre

Karen has another littermate, Kai, at her place, here is some random video of him and Star looking at goats a couple months ago.


Baby Kai


Edit to add picture of Zing! Those puppies sure do have a distinctive look to them, I'd know that face anywhere


Baby Zing

I would always love to hear more about the siblings, but for some strange reason most people don't use their FB account purely to talk about their dogs all the time. Which is just not helpful. Really fun to see the puppies grow up, they have the same sort of goofy sweet energy as they did as puppies that I found so endearing. For myself anyway, I feel like I got the dog that I was expecting when I picked out Navarre - and I just adore him.

Not much

Things have just been rather unsettled lately, will be nice to get back into a routine with the dogs. The house is slowly getting painted, I don't think the color looks too bad, even if it does rather resemble a block of cheese:



We really do need our dog training room back, we have another lesson with Bobbie tomorrow and we haven't worked on hardly any conditioning homework at all. It will be nice to get our house back in order and hopefully Haku back in action too.

No big trialing plans coming up either, I did enter Bright in a USDAA trial next month. A friend wanted an Advanced pairs partner so I decided to see if I could finish up Bright's advanced title. I had just been avoiding games completely, but if I'm going to do Pairs (aka The Stupidest Game), might as well do the others. SO MANY classes you can enter in USDAA trials, pretty crazy. I tihnk it will be a small trial though, should be fun, I hope. No long term goals with Bright, just going back to basics at the moment and sharing Navarre's exercises.

I did get to revisit a couple Justine exercises this week with Bright as I had them set up for class. The white numbers were our nemesis when we did the course originally - the goal 7-11 was to stay on the right, and Bright and I just always struggle with this:


We much prefer to blind between 8-9 and threadle through the end. I like threadles, not so much pushes. With the black numbers the goal was to threadle rear at #4 and the blind cross after, which you could only do if you can really trust your dog to do their job while you push past before they even get to the jump. Obviously doing a blind after three to push to 4 was much easier, but that wasn't the goal!

Haku won't be trialing in obedience again until we REALLY fix his directed jumping exercise - I'm feeling inspired that we really can have a reliable performance now that we have some ideas with criteria. I'm a fan of criteria. Such a good boy, that Haku just melts my heart. He needs to be all better before we start working on anything seriously though.

Excited to start Navarre's Foundation Proofing class next week - should be about the perfect level for him, I think. I love having fun homework to work on. Hopefully continue to progress with his dogwalk as well. Long term goal for him is an official agility trial debut at 18 months. Though hoping to have some UKI trials we can do FEO at low heights before then to train the ring. But essentially looking at six months to get the basics in place, which seems reasonable. Time goes by so quickly though, and you just don't know what issues might come up. If I had to guess, Navarre's big issue is going to be going wide in agility. He's a big, scopey boy. I'm very curious what his jumping is going to look like. Knock on wood, I haven't SEEN any early jumping. But wouldn't that be funny if he did?

Obedience with Navarre we will continue what we're doing, I have no idea if or when he'll be up to actually competing. My assumption is not for years at this point, but he could always surprise me. I see no reason to compete in obedience with him unless he's REALLY into it. We have other activities he enjoys a lot more. Would love to get him on sheep again, but that's always complicated. If I could get regular access I would totally take Haku and Navarre. Alas.


Every day closer to his first birthday!


SO MUCH FIELD


Pointiest girl


Sassy old man


Chickens are getting more white on their heads


Happy matching boys


Everlasting Fenny!

Puppy gone wild



Oh, the drawbacks of training independent obstacle performance. Navarre REALLY likes his weaves, and what did we do yesterday but have him go find and do weaves when I wasn't even in the arena. So, naturally, today in puppy class we tried doing some sequencing, but I couldn't get him to just stop running off trying to find the weaves. Heh. On the plus side, when we did actually work on the channel weaves again in class we started doing some entries and angles and he was really awesome. He might not be able to do anything else, but he is definitely on track to be a good weaver.

I did move Navarre up to 10 inches for the first time. He's not mature enough to really work on jumping, but he can do some very awkward things at 8, so I think just going up a bit higher will help him think about striding and spacing a little more. Not that we were able to do much of anything today, as he was just running around looking for weaves. And he did not feel easy at all, and that makes me happy.

He did do his first rear cross today that I actually asked for. Mostly because he did it anyway when I DIDN'T ask for it, so might as well. I don't think rear crossing will be an issue for him, but getting him NOT to rear cross might be. I should probably just go ahead and teach him how to do it though.

And I got to work on teaching my papillon to rear cross! Many years ago I got to run Bobbie's papillon Churchill, and we had a great time together:



And we've tried a couple times with some of her other dogs, but they wanted their mom. Her young boy Griffin is one AWESOME little guy and I love him. He also seems to enjoy running with me, so we'll see how it goes. It's really fun to run a little dog, and Bobbie has done such a nice job with his foundation. Baby dogs are so much fun!

Took Haku to his group obedience class tonight, Haku was SO HAPPY - he finally got to DO SOMETHING. We didn't do any jumping or anything strenuous, but Cindy felt she could see an occasional limp on his front. So that takes out the trial this weekend, but didn't stop us from doing some low impact obedience today. The break apparently did us good, I was really happy to see him so focused and confident. He seems to quite enjoy the group heeling, which cracks me up. The group signals is great proofing, he had a couple slip ups, but really buckled down and was determined to do it right the next time. Fun game with articles when we combined our articles with another students and worked with two hot scented articles, me and the other handler's. Haku did so well with this! I mean, he was finding things better than I was. At one point the other dog had picked up my scented article by mistake, so when it was our turn again it got accidently put back out in the pile, and he found THAT one - and I was so confused until I realized he was right all along.

Pivots with gloves continue to need work, but we have some homework with that this week. The good news is that throwing treats on the ground was not distracting him anymore, but he still gets transfixed by the gloves sometimes. Constantly 'fixing' his pivots doesn't seem to be effective, because obviously he keeps having the issue. So we're going to work really marking an rewarding that eye contact, and also a gentle touch on top of his nose when he loses focus and fixate on the gloves. It's not really a correction, but a way to bring him back to me. So we'll see.

Then we started talking about retraining go-outs, so our homework is to break out the ring gates and start teaching Haku to hang his head over the ring gate by the stantion. Clear cut criteria - always a good thing. We'll have to teach a different behavior for when there are no ring gates or stantions, but this is one of the behaviors we're going to start looking at.

So things we can work on that are low impact while Haku continues to rest. And it makes me feel good to plan not to trial again until I feel totally confident with the directed jumping exercise.

Baby weaver



Navarre is one of Nature's Weavers, at least, so far. Today we played around with the weave channel for the ... 4th time? Soon he was doing it all by himself. It was actually pretty funny, after I played with Navarre I was letting Bright and Navarre run around in the arena and Navarre would just go through the weaves on his own. Then when I asked both dogs to go weave he would just shove Bright out of the way to go in first - he likes his weaves!



Also did a few dogwalks, straight looks great, with practice he's doing well with the turns. I didn't see any hesitation or caution this week, Navarre is the sort of dog that ponders things inbetween sessions and doesn't seem to hold on to any weirdness.

Bright I just did a little bit with today really quick before classes to try out the course. Still no response to the threadle cue - ha! Well, at least it's easy to dupilcate. Also not so good with a shallow rear cross, but that is not unexpected as we rarely rear anyway. Plan at the moment is to just go back to foundations with Bright, might as well, doing it with Navarre anyway. Nothing currently on Bright's calendar, considering doing a USDAA trial in May. I'm just already so exhausted with hot weather, makes me not want to enter anything (or ever leave the house again). May SHOULDN'T be hot - but it's looking like another hot year.

I do feel really bad for the painters, we're having our house painted this week and it's just been SO HOT. Hopefully it'll start cooling off and they can have some relief. Dogs have been doing really well with the painters, it always surprises me how unconcerned the dogs can be when we have workers at the house. Strange people on ladders putting up plastic on the windows? No problem! But both Bright and Navarre were all alarmed when we got home today and the painters wanted to say hi to them as we came in. I mean, which scenerio should be more worrying? No idea why Navarre was being so shy, not his normal response to friendly people! Really happy with the color I chose for the house so far, I've had a history of choosing bad colors - I hope I can overcome it.

As for the rest of the household, it's been quiet. With the painters and the heat, not much action for doggies. Haku is still on house arrest. I've pretty much written off the obedience trial this weekend, especially considering we haven't done anything for like 2 weeks. Still plan to take him to obedience tomorrow night, as he needs to do SOMETHING, and if we skip the jumping I think it's pretty low impact. Haku on house arrest is pretty nutty though. I'm okay with missing the trial, I'd really like to feel more confident with his directed jumping exercise before we trial again.

Baby chicks are doing really well! When I go in to visit in the coop they run right up, jump on me and like to be petted and talk to me - it's really rather novel. They go up the ramp and into the house and are adorable and sweet. I should probably teach them a recall so we can go on outdoor adventures. I think they're getting too old and wise to just let me gather them each up and put them in a box and transport them where I need to go.

Working on making the basement useable again for dogs. We ended up deciding to leave the downstairs 'unfinished', that way if it floods again it should be relatively easy to clean up. I'm working on putting in mats down there so I can play with dogs - will be really nice to have an indoor training area for what will no doubt be a hot, hot summer. And my multcolored mats are so cute! Who needs walls anyway?

Quickly



Puppies grow up so quickly, sort of like Spring is over so fast. More temps in the high 80s this week, just crazy. Though nice for the chickens, plenty warm for their outdoor transistion. They seem to be quite confident in the chicken coop, enjoying having some good dust baths and laying in the sun. I've been sort of waiting for the other shoe to drop, but, at least so far, raising baby chicks has been pretty fun. Not as fun as puppies, naturally, but I have enjoyed watching them grow and being a part of their lives. I'm assuming if we can make it to 7 weeks we're doing good. Chickens are messy though, took all morning to clean up downstairs - and pine shavings get EVERYWHERE.

Navarre is turning a year old in a week now! He was a year earlier than planned, and not at all along the lines of the dogs I had been looking at. Funny what the heart wants, and I absolutely love my giant dorky boy. Have not seen a litter since that interested me at all. Who knew I was so into dork? He is so much more than that though, and so hard to describe as he continues to be a contradiction in so many ways. Both seriously goofy, powerfully awkward, independently sweet, distractable nerd - he has many layers. He does remind me very much of London in that he is his own dog though, he doesn't care what anyone thinks about him, he's so comfortable in his skin. He has fit into our household so well, with us, with the dogs and with the cats - I have a hard time imagining another dog that could have fit in so well. Very excited about our next year together, hard to believe it's already been a year!


Was funny hanging out with Callan over the weekend, he's 5 months old already and it seems like Navarre was that age only yesterday.


Of course, this is what most of my pictures looked like, taking pictures in the field is overrated at this point


In many ways Navarre and Callan are such opposites, Callan is a nonstop bundle of noisy energy - and Navarre is such a chill puppy by comparison


Looking like a dog already!


See, dogs that don't look super awkward when they hug - Bling and Kirby are one very photogenic pair


I need to teach Navarre to cover his nose - so cute!


Haven't gotten any pictures of Lana since she was a puppy! Time goes by so quickly ...


Very polite red girls Lana and Jill


Love natural ears!

Well that was unexpected



UKI trial today, location Bright had never been to before. Still, she was happy to be there, excited to go play, seemed perky and ready for action. Courses were very doable for her ... and every run was a train wreck. I'm not saying I was perfect, but Bright didn't respond to a single threadle cue, for a jump or tunnel, she ran around jumps, she would both pull off of things and just go off course. It was just ... odd.

I don't know quite what to make of it. It didn't SEEM like stress necessarily, at least, not as she normally shows it. There was no avoidance or nervousness on her part. She didn't seem reluctant to take the obstacles, in fact it was hard to get her to NOT take obstacles in some cases, and then she would just pull right of others. Bright was anything but easy today, and I was just baffled. There were three men gathered near the startline for most of the runs, but she wasn't acting overly nervous about that. And Bright was actually acting equally bizarre earlier in the week when I was attempting to run her through some exercises to see how they flowed before class. I could not for the life of me get her through them, and, once again, she wouldn't threadle and was just sort of spacey.

I have no explanations, but after several runs where I was hoping she would settle in, finally for the last run I just went out with my toy and practiced little things - like threadles, and she had no issues at all then. With the toy she was focused and responding much more like her nomal self. So it's a mystery, and I can only wonder what might be going on - and whether it will continue to be an issue.

I do feel bad for getting frustrated with her at first, as it just was so unexpected and she was so all over the place. I didn't have response for THIS Bright. However, frustration quickly turned to worry when she continued. Dogs always have a reason ... even if I don't know what it is. I think we still had fun, despite a complete lack of any agility whatsoever. Bright loves her some special Bright time. And let it me said, her weaves and teeter were spot on!

Back at home, Vivienne picked up my older chickens today. I decided it would just be easier all around if I didn't have to stress about it and the older chickens never had a chance to pick on the little ones. MAYBE they would have been friends ... but I didn't want to take the chance. And, besides, Vivienne's chicken free range set up is NICE, and both Prettier and Sexy will have lots of potential new friends and rooster companions. And hopefully I will have buddy chickens that don't think I'm always trying to murder them.  So Speckleds moved out to the big coop, it should be about the same temps at night outside as it has been inside - so hopefully they'll be okay.


I don't quite trust Navarre with the baby chicks, or Eva either - but Eva just stays far away from them. Navarre hasn't quite decided what baby chicks are good for (but they obviously think he's fabulous!)


Baby chicks stepping out and feeling sassy


Very trusting chickens - I hope that doesn't get them killed


All five girls - I'm sure everyone can tell them apart


Chickens still don't seem to mind hanging out on top of dogs - maybe that will never change

Puppy milestone



Big moment for Navarre this week, I ended up taking him to Thursday class with me - which meant the arena with no barriers. He had been there a few times just for exposure, but he hasn't done much of anything there. However, not only was super happy to play some agility there this week - when people started coming in with their dogs he continued to stay focused and play with me! I was pretty surprised, new exciting (barking) dogs and exciting people to greet - but he would rather play agility. He really is growing up, I'm feeling more and more confident in how reliable he is with distraction - and he's just such a social butterfly that other people and dogs are a HUGE draw for him. Such a good puppy.

Found a good deal on floppy baby frisbees today - so I ordered 8 of them, as I seem to lose them everywhere and that is THE toy for Navarre. He's getting way more into tugging on the frisbee, but that doesn't mean he wants to tug on just ANY toy - he wants the frisbee. So I got him frisbees - as I pretty much always need to have one around. At least at this point. Not that he won't play with other toys, but it's just not the same at all. He is my first frisbee dog, in that he's the first one of my dogs that prefers the frisbee to all other toys. The rest of the dogs prefer either a ball or a tug - and it still blows me away that Navarre thinks squeaky toys are just 'okay'. He's a very particular puppy.


My posed shots never seem to quite match up with the idea in my head. I've seen such CUTE dog hugging pictures, but my two just look like two siblings being forced to hug for a picture. Which, well, essentially that's exactly what's happening here


Navarre is much better at hugging his rhino


The field is getting tall - taking pictures is getting to be an issue


Stalker in the grass


Flying puppy!


See, this would have been cute if it wasn't for all the grass in my way


Bright is getting HAIRY, she always likes to have a plush coat for summer


Navarre taking his frisbee for a spin on the dogwalk

Oh, and totally random thought, the other night I had a border collie sprawled out on his back snuggled up next to me. But I couldn't tell who it was - but the tiny balls gave it away. Navarre DOES have tiny balls, what seems like VERY tiny balls for his size and age. I don't obviously have any measurements of Haku, but I feel like his were more like balls at this point, and not two little grapes. Navarre did growl at another dog for the first time the other day, an 8 month old puppy that was walking by flailing about to come say hi. It was the growl of an older dog unimpressed with a younger - but when did my puppy get old enough to do that? I certainly hope he doesn't become a dick as he gets older, but those tiny balls ... he may have a lot more maturing to do.

Random cell phone pictures of my cats



Haku had been resting for 4 days, I hadn't seen anything, but I didn't want to take him to obedience unless I knew he was sound. Let him run a bit this evening and, yep, limping again. Front right. He does seem to walk out of it pretty quickly, but he's now offically on the injured list. He's already super bored, poor guy. We'll see what happens, but his obedience trial next weekend may not happen. Which is fine, he's not really ready anyway. Then there's also the fact that there's a UKI trial that weekend I could do instead - which would certainly be fun.

Bright is back from the beach and it sounds like she had so much fun as the only dog. She had exotic resturaunt leftovers whenever they went out and much fetching on the beach. She still got about a C in 'Easy of Pottying' though, she likes things to be JUST SO. Still, I think she made a good impression, Bruce might choose to bring her again.

Bright does have a UKI trial this weekend, which is my favorite venue these days. Then the local trials are pretty sparse until July. I do see there is a USDAA trial in May and June, so that could be fun. Maybe there will be some UKI trials at Poodletopia! Bright and I are in a good place in agility, we have a lot of fun together. Nothing I'm working on with in particular, I SHOULD proof contacts and weaves though.

As for puppy, he has EVERYTHING to learn! Some fun sequencing in puppy class today, he's doing a good job with his serps:




Can't believe it's supposed to be up towards 90 next week, I think summer is going to come extra early again this year. The good news is that I think I'm safe to move the baby chicks outside this weekend. They are almost 7 weeks and it's going to be pretty warm, I think they'll be okay. They'll have their separate playpen for another week or so and then I'll try integrating the chickens. But if those older chickens mess with my babies, they're out of here. I'm not having any more chicken trauma in my household.

Weaves!

I don't plan to teach Navarre to weave for a few months, he's a big boy and he's still maturing. However, I do think he can practice the open channel and independence - and as I had the channel weaves out today, I introduced Navarre. He was a rockstar! Before class we worked with food and recalling until he was recalling the whole 12, did a couple toy tosses at the end and then let him run the dogwalk as a reward (wheee!). After class we were playing around with a jumping sequence, hard work for puppy so we were just hanging out in the arena after that - he tried to offer the weavepoles! Guess who was just offering going through the channel all by himself, independent of me? Good puppy! So, yeah, he was even finding the entrance and driving through to end away from me, he likes to weave! Something to play around with, I enjoyed all the proofing Silvia does with the open channel.

As for the sequencing, it was serp and backside commitment exercise. I really wanted to run it with Bright, but as she's been lounging around at the beach, stealing steak off the counter and being ever so super special, I tried it with Navarre. He did pretty good! Our issues were not with commitment, but with getting him to come in - really happy with what he was able to do. Commitment makes agility so much more fun.

And then Navarre got to go run with Fred in the field - AND HE WASN'T OBNOXIOUS! He's just so oblivous and pushy that I worry about him with dogs that aren't total pushovers like mine. But he really respected Fred and I had no worries about him at all. Really happy to see that, I'm pretty cautious who I let Navarre run with as he can be a lot of dog - but he can be very respectful when he wants to be (apparently).

Haku is so done with house arrest, I teased him last night when I grabbed the dogs and took them out real quick for a photoshoot - and did NOT let them run. Their faces were pretty tragic.


"Want ... to ... go ... run."


Navarre's 'natural ears',


Haven't seen any limping from Haku, but we're continuing to take it easy - he's hard on his body


"Now can we go play?"

Dogwalk drama

Once again, it doesn't matter what dog you take out of the equation, 6 dogs just seems like SO MUCH LESS dog than 7. Bruce's mom has been visiting and they're at the beach this weekend with Bright. I keep thinking I'm missing like 3 dogs when I take them out, and it's not like Bright is a troublemaker. Though it is true that Haku was limping so he's on rest, and that could be part of the issue.



With the perfect weather and the house to myself, seemed like a great time to get some dogwalk practice in with Navarre. Set up some cones with the intention of working turns vs straight exits. Sent Navarre to go to his first dogwalk ... and he throws on the breaks, stops dead and doesn't want to so much as touch the board. Eeek! The last session we had done last week he had fallen off the dogwalk on his first repetition. It wasn't a bad fall, but he had lost his footing and sheered off the side. Nice easy landing, no twisting, no scrambling. I was worried he would be concerned after that, but before I could even do anything he was charging back around, determined to get across that dogwalk. Did a whole great session, ended on a high note, he didn't APPEAR to notice at all. But apparently after he had some time to think about it, he was worried.

Not what I wanted to have happen, but it was a good time to go back to working slow and easy with food and working those contact entrances again. Put up some poles at the entrances and just worked on rewarding squaring up for entries and nice calm walks across the whole board. He didn't have nearly as good of an understanding to go out around the poles as I thought he did, so good to go back to this anyway. So then I left it there. When out playing yesterday he was happily trotting across it for fun - always a good sign. Today we went back out and, knock on wood, he seems to have regained his confidence - and even was doing some 4 stride dogwalks instead of a careful 5. I did leave the guide poles at the end of the contacts and tried to only give him nice straight entrances. At some point we'll need to work angled entries to the board, but not yet.


Such a realistic set up, because I'm always going to be 50 feet in front of him on the dogwalk ;-)


Border collies buddies hanging out on a lovely Spring day!


Beautiful almost birthday boy!


Bender is three now!


Love!


Good friends


Poser level = Expert


Navarre is only going to get fluffier, I assume


Maybe someday he'll be as handsome as Bender ...

Special Snowflake



Had a realization at our new group obedience class this week - I have an excuse for everything with Haku. If I were one of my students, I'd want to slap me. Don't get me wrong, I do think every dog is an individual and you should be an advocate for your dog to do what works best for them - but I'm just ridiculous with Haku. He is my special snowflake, always has been. He is a soft boy, and we have always struggled in training - and I think instead of actually training things, I've spent 6 years just avoiding the issue when I can. Which is not EXACTLY bad, but Haku is not THAT special. I mean, he's special, but I should not have an excuse about why I can't be consistent and clear in my training. There are a lot of reasons to have excuses, but when all the instructor is trying to do is get me to be MORE CLEAR, I should not need drag out 50 reasons about why we can't do something simple. Haku can have criteria, he really can.

Group class has a lot of good things going for it, especially with new perspectives on Haku and what he really is capable of doing - and what I am not doing to help him get there. It's also helpful as I don't want to disturb the other people, so I have my quiet voice on and do LITTLE play sessions and it's helpful for Haku to see that picture which is closer to 'trial Heather'. Interesting to see what he does with group exercises, like doing signals all at once where he has to wait for his random turn to change position - he does get antsy. A nice step up from out private lesson in distractions. And hopefully some new ideas on the whole directed jumping exercise, we're going to try some different approaches after his trial in a couple weeks. Let's just say I have low expectations for the trial. But I'm okay with that - I like having challenges to work on, the group class has given me some renewed energy to actually work on improving our obedience skills. Haku can do this, and I can too - just can't get hung up on how much of a special snowflake my Haku is. ;-)

The good news is while directed jumping did NOT go well at group class, he did really well the following night at his normal lesson. Admittedly, familiar ground, but we did set it up differently than normal. And I'm actually feeling pretty good about a lot of Utility. Articles are not always correct, but he knows the exercise and he completes it confidently and to the best of his ability. Occasionally he will take the article right next to the correct one, but you can tell he obviously is quite confident in his choice. For the most part, I'm super happy with his articles and moving stand exercises. His signals have been getting more and more solid as well. Heeling still needs work though. Gloves aren't quite there yet, he can still get scopey and transfixed on the pivot. Better though ... we are getting better. And would probably make more progress with, once again, me being clear and consistent with criteria and what I expect from him. A-hem.

Navarre's obedience continues to look adorable with things he knows, and slow motion for things he's not sure about. At least you always know what Navarre is still working on! Cracks me up that the reward for his glove retrieve that he WALKS through is ... a glove retrieve, where he RUNS, then tugs. He's still figuring out the pivot and mark though, so for the 'formal' exercise he's SUPER SLOW. He does run on his recalls now, and runs for his fast in heeling. I have every faith that he'll get there, but we're having WAY more fun in agility.

A very productive week for Navarre in agility, and he did a lot of it with the nicer weather and opportunities we had. His first full height dogwalks at the arena, his first full lowered teeters, he also has FINALLY figured out tunnel backside commitment. He figured out a long extension line in his puppy class that I didn't think he was ready for. Today we had an opportunity to play around at a new barn and he was happy and focused. Still working on backside serp commitment, and bypassing tunnels was REALLY hard for him today. Also his backside cue independence is really weak - I think he's finally ready to really proof some one jump work - wrap vs extension vs backside vs threadle vs theadle rear vs serp vs bypass. And maybe at some point I should teach him to rear cross.

Bright should get a mention, she's always doing lots of wonderful - but I do expect that from her. She actually had a ridiculous practice session this week where I could NOT get her to stop auto-backsiding a jump. Sometmise she gets very silly. I have found that I really didn't train things as well as I thought with her, now that I'm proofing things with motion with Navarre I've found that Bright can't do them! Threadles are a big one that we obviously haven't really worked with motion, that I slow down and 'help' her. Bright doesn't REALLY know how to threadle into the non-obvious side of a tunnel either - not like Navarre does. Bright is just GOOD, so I didn't notice. Today we worked on trying out the landing side rear cross wrap that we've been working on. I feel more confident with it, but it's certainly not our best move - but it is sometimes the best move for the course and I'd like to know we can do it if need be. Rear crosses ... never the best move for Bright and me. Maybe I should attempt to change that trend with Navarre.

Dogs have been doing surprisingly well with the crazy temperatures the last few days. 88 yesterday! The previous record was 79. All signs point to yet another early summer that lasts through October. Which is obviously not my preference, but it always helps to be mentally prepared to expect that. The dogs in class and at home are obviously not ready for 88, but my crew still wanted to run anyway. Navarre especially, he really is starting to NEED to do that full out running. Which is actually somewhat scary as he's so powerful when he's full extension - and he can't turn, I do worry about him hitting an oldie around here, especially with the grass getting taller in the field.



Baby chicks are 5 weeks old, but with the very hot weather they've been having playdates in the chicken coop during the day. I set up their own x-pen in the coop and they've been staying out there. My awesome chicks just made themselves at home. Old crotchety chickens are suspcious, but don't seem to be trying to kill them at this point. Then I've been having playdates with the chickens out in the yard, and have slowly been introducing all the dogs. I've introduced everyone except Eva and Navarre, I worry they'll be too oblivious. Haku and London LOVE to stalk the chicks, Bright now wants nothing to do with them and will lay 100 feet away looking suspicious, and Fenwick tried slapping them around a little, then found them uninteresting. Brisbee was not impressed either. Chicks continue to appear to like me. They come and perch on me, snuggle down next to me, and come to me when it's time to pack them up in move in their travel box. I hope it lasts as it's nice to have chickens that like me!


I'm not sure at what age chickens will stop cooperating with being put on dog heads


Haku hopes it never ends (and Haku's drool never ends either)


London is less of a fan of chicken posing


Haku said he could do this ALL DAY


This chicken has crushed London


London says, "Push off."


London still likes chicks though

Contact day



Ended up having a large chunk of time at the arena today, worked on some Navarre contacts. First try at the full height dogwalk at the arena, was a nice set-up for it, straight into a tunnel. No problems with straight ahead, he didn't seem phased at all. He's definitely putting in more strides than he needs to - and I'm not complaining. If he never changes this striding I'm fine with that, but you can clearly see him having to adjust when if he'd extended more on the top ramp he wouldn't have to compress. I assume as he gets more comfortable will experiment with different striding. Having critieria where he's clearly working hard to get the behavior makes me so happy though. It was funny running Bright on the same set-up was actually sort of jarring, I'm so used to having such strict criteria with Navarre that I forgot how ... loose Bright's was.



Turns were tougher with Navarre, and I realized that we were working his 'hard' side. He turns MUCH better to the left than the right. So we had to break that down with food for a session, put him away, and then did a few with a toy and he was doing better - but still not as consistent as I'd like.  Really happy with our full height intro at the arena though, it is novel to having running contacts where I'm pretty sure the dog actually knows what the point is.

We were on such a roll today after classes we broke out the low teeter and did our first 'full' teeters. I thought this might help with solidifying his teeter end position as the hop-ons were sort of all over the place. I do think this was clearer, but he's still not entirely sure about criteria. He's got a good basic idea though! Training obstacles, pretty much my favorite part of agility. Love this age when everything is new - I'm a huge fan of beginnings.



Now we have a different issue, especially coming into summer - Bright has turned into a she-devil if you take another dog out to work. Sweet, easy Bright is not so sweet and easy when I can't bring her because she's too fricken loud. Navarre WILL bark a little when you take another dog, but then he settles down - not so much Bright. She used to be so good, so easy. As Bright gets older she gets naughtier.

More organized than I thought



So after the flood we still have stuff everywhere it's not supposed to be. And it didn't help that I got all 'organizey' afterwards and went through all my stuff and ORGANIZED it. Closets, drawers - all those places that things just get SHOVED and forgotten about. Only now I realize that what SEEMED like cluttered chaos, I actually KNEW WHERE EVERYTHING WAS. I can even tell you now where something SHOULD have been, on a shelf, behind a bunch of other crap. But now everything is in BOXES and somewhere DIFFERENT and I don't know where ANYTHING is. I'm still pissed about it, I just threw away 6 years of carefully organized chaos and replaced it with looking through 50 boxes in closets and garages - and still not finding it. Ugh. Learned my lesson, my stuff may not LOOK organized ... but it is, but only to me. Maybe someday I'll get my cluttered chaos where I actually know where things are again.

I did finally clean the walls around here, this winter has been a muddy mess - and without our dogyard I had seven dogs coming in through the main house. Even if you toweled them off those tails just splash mud everywhere. And I had put off really cleaning it, because what was the point if it was just going to happen again? But the weather is getting warmer, the mud drying out and I'm starting to use the backyard again. Trying to get things under control around here. House gets painted next week, then to start on the basement renovations, which is a whole other issue as to what we want to end up doing with it.

The weather was perfect for playing with dogs today though. Gosh I love spring, makes me so happy - I wish it never had to end. But according to the forecast it's supposed to be in the 80s this week! This does not bode well for the rest of the year. Today though ... it was lovely. Well, in a Spring way. Pretty windy, I was out playing with Navarre when CRASH - big pine tree falls into the road. Makes me glad we don't have too many trees near our house, that was a force of nature.

The seminar with Navarre certainly showed we had proofing to do with our jump skills, and, yeah, needed work. We had to get out the dreaded FOOD. And, yes, Navarre WALKED through all the exercises. Luckily he seems to LEARN with food very well, and it transfers to toys and speed once he has it. Worked backside serp commitment with motion, threadle rears, traditional threadles and then serps vs threadles. Did a few small sessions, as Navarre has to have 'food session', then break and let that sink in, then 'toy session' to really see if he's got it. Some good beginnings, still needs work.

Also did a little dogwalk work today, our first dogwalk class is officially finished and we're going to continue with Susan Koldenhof's online class and look at adding more turns, proofing and sequencing. Today I just wanted to mostly get some dogwalk time in, as he's still working on finding his rhythm and striding across the board. We didn't do much, but he is really trying very hard to be correct and looking a little more comfortable:



Also diligently worked with Haku and obedience. Oh my is it hard to go from Navarre who is a VERY linear learner to Haku who is just ... not. It really is baffling to me what he's thinking, I still have no idea. Today we set up a TINY exercise that was intended to make him successful, no work on his part. And he couldn't do any of it. And I'd break it down into the tinest pieces, as my new goal with Haku is to just make it easy for him - and he just got more and more frustrated. It was sort of comical how badly this 'fun' exercise turned Haku into a worried mess. I guess it's true that he really does just want things to look the SAME all the time, all the fun obedience games that I'd like to play just make him worry. And he's just been like this from day one, my most enthusiatic dog is my most difficult dog to train. Go figure. Ah well, we're always on our path, that's for sure.











Baby dog's first seminar!



A busy week, though I couldn't tell you what I was doing. I'm left with an overall feeling that 'dogs did good'.

Haku had his first night at his new group obedience class. Different environment, instructor, other dogs - all good stuff. Though I did find it amusing the group heeling exercise, it's such a cliche. Haku did well, though apparently there is an aggressive dog that I was given permission to 'kill' if he went after my dog. That certainly did not make me feel comfortable. But we were cautious and kept to ourselves and there weren't any issues. Some new ideas on the directed jumping exercise that Haku enjoyed, but not much we can change before his next trial in a few weeks. I do need to order a vest to wear to make my signals more clear though. So two nights of obedience for Haku, he took it all in stride and seemed to enjoy it.

Then the big news, Navarre's first seminar! This was 'Young Dog' seminar with Desiree, with mostly dogs around a year to 18 months - I wasn't sure what to expect. I can't say I really expected to be working on things like backside serps and things like that, but Navarre tried really hard to step up to the challenge. While we HAVE introduced some backside work, it's pretty much been with one jump and THEORETICAL. Putting them in sequence definitely showed he needs much more work before we're ready for actually using the moves. Thankfully we are signed up for foundation proofing starting in May!

Mostly I was just thrilled that Navarre was focused, happy and didn't run off and jump the barrier to go say hi to all his friends. He had been at this arena once before as a tiny puppy (I believe he learned to do the tunnel there!), but hadn't been since. So really happy to see him generalize his focused agility attitude to a new place with new equipment. That was my main goal for the seminar was getting him out to a new place with new people and dogs and seeing if he could work - and he really is growing up, because he could! He had a fabulous time and the skills I think he's pretty confident with transfered well to the new place. Took a bit for him to work on his downstay while I walked a course though!




Navarre is like a Pantene ad


Feeling back to normal!


A very proud puppy


No seminar for Bright this weekend, but she wasn't too broken up about it


80 degrees on Friday - crazy!

Blind crosses

Pretty funny, from the end board teeter work we've done, Navarre has apparently taken away that teeter means 'lie down'. Nothing to do with the board itself, but just lie down next to it. It was very cute. So obviously some confusion there, brought back out the food and with our new more flexible teeter criteria, I think we finally started to make some headway there. Actually helped to raise the end of the teeter more, surprisingly enough. Once he was jumping onto the teeter, he seemed to 'get it'. And because he's so gosh darn long, he automatically ends up going straight off the end of the board - so bonus there. Though have to keep calling him off the teeter when he's going past it in the arena, looks so much like the dogwalk, I think.

Did a blind cross exercise with Navarre. Well, eventually. In pieces. Everything is new with Navarre, but he's trying very hard. Even at this stage though, I don't worry about blinds with him - I don't think he's one to take me out - and he is so large that he's never going to sneak up on me. His push to blind needs work though, obviously haven't really proofed backsides. Gosh he is fun to run though. He's not any faster than Bright, but he has forward momentum, so it just makes everything feel much more dynamic. And he already is quite confident with his forward drive - off courses, here we come!

My chicks really do seem to like me, this is very novel. With the weather nicer I've got to hang out with them a lot more, either watching tv with them downstairs are hanging out outside. Though there is a problem, I'd like to give them all equal time - but I can't tell who I've already snuggled with. There is one chick that is a little smaller than the rest, but I can't really tell the others apart. It SEEMS like there are 2 that just like to come hang out with me while the others do their thing. But it could be a completely different pair every time, so who knows. They have started pecking at mealworms, though they still love their herbal blend. Outside they seem to be sampling more in the yard too. They are officially 4 weeks old, not sure how long I'll keep them inside. Especially if it's going to be super warm in April ...


Random goofy puppy moment

Bring on the April

April is now ready to begin. I'm looking forward to the Desiree seminar this weekend - Navarre's first ever seminar! I'm mildly optimistic that he'll be ready to work in a new environment - but also realistic. He's not the world's best generalizer, so he may have to work up to that. While I do think he's very enthusiastic to play in known settings, he's less good at focusing without the external clues. And I am glad that I'm playing with Bright at the seminar too, not much on her calendar otherwise, and I do really enjoy working with Desiree. And I'm just so out of practice - challenges, we need them.

Entered the UKI trial as well, just with Bright. Considered doing Eva, but it's not really fair considering we haven't done any agility since, what, last summer? I am happy to say that nothing ever came about from her lameness episode, whatever that was about. I figured after the beach trip we were definitely safe. She's never shown any other signs, so I don't know what happened, but, knock on wood, hopefully not a knee.

Just realized I entered Haku in the obedience trial, but not Eva - didn't occur to me! I still have a few days, I'll think about it. Mostly my hesitation comes from getting stuck at the trial all day if Haku is first thing in the morning and Eva ends up in the afternoon. I do like knowing when my run is going to be, showing up and then having the rest of the day to do other things. I mean, who wouldn't? I'll admit, I waffled a bit about entering Haku, as there is a 2 day UKI trial that weekend I wanted to go to - and that just sounds like more fun. I don't think Haku's performance at this trial will be significantly different than the last, so there is no ... anticipation. But I do think of this as the nicest obedience trial of the year, so it's the one to go to! Haku has just been HIGH lately, and it has not made practicing feel very effective at all. Today we worked on the go-out practice set-up, and it was just ... not productive. Then he cut his mouth on the frisbee so there was blood flying everywhere, we cut it short. He often bites his tongue or lip when playing, so nothing out of the ordinary. The whiter the dog is, the messier they are, I've noticed.

In May Justine's online classes start back up, Navarre is at a really good age for the foundation proofing class, quite looking forward to some new things to work on with him. April is for finishing up the exercises from foundation. We can actually start DOING THINGS. Like, for real! I feel pretty good with Navarre's baby agility/training foundation, but I'm sure there will be things we'll have to go back and fix. Like his fair weather recall. A-hem.

Navarre CAN now wait his turn at Bobbie's. I have expectations of the boy, and he's living up to them, for the most part. He will sometimes still break and then pretend he can't hear me when I try to put him back on his platform. Navarre is the king of selective hearing. Bright and Navarre are a fun pair though, they're just so willing to try. They are both very clear headed problem solvers, and both very much enjoy problemsolving. They don't get anxious or impatient, they just figure it out - very serious little thinkers. So a fun pair to bring to Bobbie's, as we never do the same exercise, it's always something new and different that they have to figure out.


This giant puppy now weighs 39 pounds! And he's very trim, so I'm expecting an adult weight in the 40s.


Bright is a much better side-stepper than Navarre - but not the best strength of either


Bright is a good crawler - Navarre has been working on his 'frog' since watching the Silvia DVD, which wasn't helpful for this!


My favorite part about pictures from Bobbie is the photobombing from the other dogs waiting for their turn


Slack lining puppies!

More reasons that Navarre will probably never do USDAA, he misses the up contact a LOT on the dogwalk - he's just got a big stride. Though it is cute seeing him trying to figure out to shorten that stride to hit on the dogwalk. We started turns on the full height dogwalk, which went pretty well. Once again, this doesn't really mean anything. I did go back and look at the other dogs at this same stage in their training, and they all looked great at this point too. It's when the dogwalk starts being used in ACTUAL sequences that I feel it goes to hell. But my pretend exits are going great! And he can pull to the non-obvious side of the tunnel too. His overall confidence level is improving with the dogwalk, but the striding is still pretty awkward, I think with this method learning striding will take time. But, criteria, I want it.

Theoretically we should also be thinking about adding in the stopped contact at some point, so it's there from the start. But we're having too much fun with the running, and as his dogwalk speed isn't super fast at the moment, it seems so unnecessary to have a stop. Let it be known that I've thought about it though - and that counts for something, right? We shall see where Navarre's contacts take us. I want to have criteria and consistency, so we'll see.

Fenwick had to go out 20 times last night, and still had some diarrhea in my bedroom. Very unusual for him, so always worrisome. Until I thought about what he could have gotten into - and remembered I had the chickens out yesterday. And Fenwick is a hen-house raider. He could have eaten a LOT of eggs, because I don't remember to pick them up. He's feeling perfectly fine and spry today, though it's ever so nice that the weather is warm enough that I could leave the dogs outside in the backyard. It's been a LONG time since we've had our yard. And all the holes I had filled with sand from the flood sandbags are now dug back out again. Thanks, Navarre. Spring though ... it makes me happy. Though, good lord, we're going straight into the 70s this week. I'm dreading having another super hot year, even while I'm enjoying Spring to the fullest.