Okay, maybe not quite that Excellent

I was all cocky from the great focus and teamwork Navarre and I had yesterday. The Excellent course was super doable for us today - with yet another dogwalk straight off into a tunnel - what are the odds? And I ran that Navarre like we knew what we were doing! We, uh, don't know what we're doing. He still needs me to really work every obstacle. Shocking, I know. But he had a great time, did some lovely contacts and weaves and we even eventually did a lot of the course. We won't talk about his table. Heh.

His Open jumpers run was similarly ridiculous - though I hear he actually qualified. You can qualify with a lot of silliness in AKC, that's for sure. I do think there were a couple things going on, one of which was I was clearly not working every obstacle as baby Navarre needs me to do. Then there is also that we were not connected like we were yesterday, he had his eyes all over the place. But there is another big piece that I need to acknowledge - Navarre does not run in collection. Bright does, which means that she thinks everything is a turn unless I tell emphatically otherwise. Navarre, however, is a very drifty dog, he will go forward unless I tell him otherwise. Yes, he actually needs TURNING CUES. Novel concept. There were definitely places were I thought about doing a lot more handling, but figured we should keep it simple at this point.

Lots of great learning opportunities this weekend for both of us, and lots of fun. Baby dogs rock.

Then Bright ... I'm thinking there is something not quite right. She looked off in her jumping yesterday, and also today. She's doing a weird tucking thing. Not all the time, but it's not something she normally does. And she started leaping off her aframes as well - but not the dogwalk. Her times were normal, she wasn't being slow - and didn't knock as many bars as she did at her last trial. But still knocked a few and just didn't look quite right. We went ahead and pulled from premier after jumpers. So would like to get her looked at, I can't point to anything specific, she's certainly not limping or favoring anything I can see. She's never had any rear end issues before, so hard to say. There is enough evidence there that something needs to be addressed though, so we'll take it easy, break from agility for a couple months and see if anyone can find anything going on with her.

I tell you, everyone should train running contacts, as dogs will miss them all the time, never gets called. It's been the same with all my dogs, it's crazy how often they get contact gifts. But, yeah, Bright's aframe has been pretty consistent for quite some time - yet she was clearly leaping from both the aframes she did today. Hm.

Back at home, SUCH a beautiful day. There is still some color left, even after the storms - and it continues crazy warm. I can't even tell you how amazed I am with Brisbee's recovery - he's just FLYING around the field. Fenwick does run, but mostly does the 'old dog trot', but Brisbee just leaping and full out running all over the place - all by himself. He is the HAPPIEST old guy these days.

Apparently Bright was not feeling photogenic today ...

Hello, Excellent!

No cute new title ribbons for this trial - but Navarre is still cute!

We're down in Salem this weekend for the last of Navarre's 'Tour of NorthWest Trials Babydog Extravaganza!' This was not exactly the plan, as his OFFICIAL debut was supposed to be down at the Central Point trial ... next weekend. But taking the opportunity to introduce him to so many new environments and equipment while learning to trial the last couple months really has been a great opportunity. He's made huge strides in confidence over the four trials, and today we actually had a couple runs like I wasn't just trying to keep his focus, but we were actually RUNNING together - and that's a great feeling!

So, yeah, color me surprised that he got his Open standard title today - the baby Navarre in Excellent tomorrow! I'll have to say, I'm almost finding it a little suspicious how every single dogwalk exit he's had in competition been pretty much straight off, no turns at all. I am, theoretically, prepared to ask for the stop - but no need so far. Go figure.

Actually, it was pretty amusing, at the end of Navarre's standard run today it's this big loop going dogwalk-jump-aframe-jump and I wanted to make sure he loaded onto the dogwalk straight as some dogs had struggled, and I was SO BEHIND, and then my hair escaped it's clip so I was so behind AND BLIND. Navarre valiantly held up his end of the deal though, if perhaps a little tentatively.

Weaves were so much more confident today, and he got a weave entrance which Bright missed TWICE - ha! Contacts continue to look good, jumping is looking nice and easy - despite my failed attempts to practice spread jumps. I keep MEANING to, but then forget. He's still very much just taking it obstacle to obstacle without driving forward, but I don't expect anything otherwise until he's really comfortable. I want him to be thinking about his striding and obstacle performance as much as needs.

Navarre went two for two today, nice Open jumpers run as well:

We'll have our glorious Excellent debut tomorrow, then we'll take a break from trialing until next year. Have had so much fun playing with the baby dog! I think he likes trialing and has done a great job adjusting to the new equipment and different locations. We were outside in Utah, and indoors at Ridgefield, Albany and Salem. He's seen all the local venues!

Next year we'll see what USDAA does with their heights as to whether he does any of that - but I doubt they'll have him jump anything less than 24, and he doesn't need to do that at this age. And I am having so much fun with the premier classes in AKC, and interesting courses without having to sit through snooker/gamblers/pairs/DAM makes me VERY happy. And then in USDAA it takes YEARS to get up to Masters with how few trials there are, which is not motivating either.

Yes, really enjoying the combination of both premier and normal AKC courses with Bright. Normal AKC courses are so much more fun when they're not the ONLY thing you're there for. And while some of the premier classes have been a little wonky, for the most part I've really enjoyed them. A true testament, I'm staying all the way to the end of trials to run in premier - because even it goes badly, it's still fun.

Bright had some good and bad today, I will say she REALLY likes it at Salem - probably her favorite venue. Premier standard was fun, she knocked a bar, then I pulled her off a jump. Nice standard run, dogwalk looking much nicer than it had in premier.

I feel like she's jumping weird in this run. Hm.

Jumpers was sort of a hot mess, I shouldn't have been surprised that we biffed it at a rear cross, but we did. Bright did a classic 'pull off the jump and turn right in front of it instead' move that London was so good at. So I stopped and marked that, which really isn't her fault - it's not like we work on rear crosses much. Then she missed the weave entrance right after that, so we stopped and sent her again and she missed it AGAIN - and by that point it just seemed silly to continue, we'd lost all sense of flow - so we left the course. So for premier jumpers I really wanted to get our flow back, and we did, missing a jump I didn't support, but nice weaves and even a rear cross! Happy Bright!


Some random pictures of different Haku/Navarre sleeping poses:

"The Spoon"

"Butt to Butt"

"Holding Hands" Well, okay, Navarre moved - but imagine his little head all snuggled in there

I start off proactively pretty much in the middle of the bed at night - yet I always wake up crammed into a tiny corner, pinned by border collies. Because if I roll over, they just seize the opportunity to take up even MORE of the bed. And yet, they're so cute and adorable, who could make them move?

And Dio, looking lost and confused - but feeling good! We're still good buddies, and he's gotten surprisingly vocal since his stay at the hospital

Loveable Goofball

I continue to be enormously happy that Navarre came into my life. He really hasn't changed, he has that same solid, good energy that he did from day one. And it definitely goes to show that you never really know what sort of dog will be right for you. I certainly wasn't looking for giant dorky goofball at all. The litters and dogs I were looking at were sleek, flexible, athletic, intense dogs - you know BORDER COLLIES. And then there's Navarre, and he's just perfect, but not at all what I thought I wanted.

I just don't think I could go to a breeder that picked out my dog for me. Because I can't say I even know what I'm looking for - but you know a good friend when you meet them! And you don't pick out friends by a laundry list of traits, it doesn't matter what sort of temperament they have, you just feel comfortable and drawn to them. And the same thing with my dogs. Though, let's be fair, London and Bright did NOT get this advantage - they had to grow on me, and I fricken adore them. But it is so much easier from right from the start you're just like, "Yes, I would love to spend my life with this personality."

I feel really lucky to ended up with Navarre, he fits in so well with the household, and he fits in so well with me. And he has his issues, as everyone does, but he's an easy dog where it counts - to live with. He's just such a solid boy, and a trusting boy - it's so relaxing to have another dog that just goes anywhere and is fine with it all. And training with him is so relaxing as well, he's a smart dog, a problem solver, thoughtful, not reckless or impulsive, and not soft at all. He's an oblivious boy who is, none the less, trying so hard - and having a really good time. He's been a funny dog to figure out in that perspective, I still don't necessarily know what makes him tick - and SO slow to mature. But he's only 18 months, he'll be another that really comes into his own around 4, I think.

Navarre just makes me laugh, in all aspects of life. He's just always happy and ... chill. He doesn't let things get to him - he's an eternal optimist. I love his honest and sweet cuddling, where he's not needy, but just genuinely wants to hang out with me. He's always had a very strong sense of self and confidence that I just adore. He doesn't NEED me, but he really likes me. We're very good friends, without really having to try - it's always felt really natural with him. His sweet little face and his earnest expression and ears everywhere - gah. He just gets me right in the feels.

At night, Haku is right next to me, head on the pillow - but Navarre is there too, usually snuggled up next to Haku, but very okay with not being in 'The Spot'. Navarre is a strong dog in personality, but surprisingly he very much respects the other dogs. This is surprising because none of the other border collies have much status, they pretty much will let a stronger dog take control. Bright and Navarre still play like puppies daily, and Navarre gets along well with everyone.

Enormously happy with my puppy - who will continue to be a giant puppy for a long time. Maybe forever. And, no, his balls haven't gotten any bigger. And he wishes people would stop comparing them.

Hard Course!

Knock on wood, Dio is continuing to do well - and perhaps as evidence of that, he has much less interest in hanging out with me. So much for Special Dio Snuggle Time! More good news, somehow Fizban (and you know it was Fizban) managed to break into my room last night. When I woke, Dio was already out and about with all the other cats like nothing had happened. Maybe there was drama with the reintroduction, but I didn't hear it. Dio is about as inoffensive as you can get though, so I wouldn't expect much. He is back being separated so I can monitor his urine output, but, once again, so far, so good. He's not peeing like a normal cat yet, but that's to be expected, he's still on the medication that makes him need to pee all the time. He continues to look comfortable and happy, hungry, and pretty darn normal. And getting less pissed at being medicated. Somewhat.

So Brisbee is doing well, Dio is recovering well, hoping that continues for a while. And Brisbee is doing a much better job of actually pottying outside, which we're all thankful for.

Set up a course from Justine Davenport for classes today, ZOMG, so hard! At least, getting to the weaves was crazy hard:

White numbers

Bright EVENTUALLY got it, like after five tries, and only because she sent ahead and has good independent weave entries. Never could get Navarre over #12. This would be one set up that it's hard to do without good handler ground speed. Still, theoretically, that tunnel is pointing right at that jump to the weaves, a good go-over and weave cue is your friend. Fun course, LOTS of running!

Haven't practiced with Haku for his obedience trial like AT ALL. MUST PRACTICE DIRECTED JUMPING. For reals. He CAN do it, but certainly not without some practice beforehand!

Dio is home (again!)!

Feeling much better about this new and improved Dio back again from the vet today, he seems much more 'normal' and robust, and certainly ready to bust out of the bathroom. Eating like a horse, he's already finished two cans of food today - and wants lots of snuggles. He'll get to be free in the bedroom tonight, lots of Dio cuddles tonight, I think. Fingers crossed he's finally on the upswing. We have more drugs now, which will help. Though, let it be said, Dio might LOOK mild mannered, but I don't think I've ever had a cat so violently protest being medicated. Go figure.

BIGGEST STORM IN HISTORY was kind of a no-show. We had some wind, but almost no rain, and even the wind was sporadic and kind of half assed. But it was fun to have such exciting lead-up to such a POLITE storm. It was so warm out! With the leaves dancing in the wind, and no rain to smack me upside the head, I enjoyed it. I don't think they're expecting anything more exciting, but I'm done believing them. Good thing I didn't need to use that whole jug of water in the fridge - whew!

Younger Dio looking cute

Bring on the storm

Just when the old dogs think they're safe, they get stuck into another family shot

I was out and about today and still couldn't make myself go to the store to be prepared for the incoming 'Worst Storm in Oregon History'. I'll admit to some skepticism, and I kind of assume that even if it does take out power and things, I'll still be able to go to the store at least after a couple days. I can survive a couple days. I put a container of water in the fridge, that was my token effort at preparation. So if this all comes back to haunt me, let it be said, I had plenty of opportunity, but I chose to do nothing, really.

Well, not absolutely nothing. Dio is back at the vet tonight. The good news is that he didn't obstruct again, but he's still just a urinary mess. Today he didn't want to eat and was just peeing tiny bits of blood all over the bathroom. So they had him back on fluids and anti-inflammatories, see what he's looking like tomorrow with more drugs. Sigh, poor little guy.

Then it was waiting to see if he was going to come home tonight or tomorrow, but the weather was pretty decent today, so got the dogs out for much romping. I assume once Hurricane Oregon hits we won't be doing much.

Hugs all around!


Feeling good!

Bright looks good in Fall


Tiny forest dweller

Dio's Home!

Animals really are remarkably resilient, I thought Dio would be traumatized by spending a whole week at the vet. But he just popped out of his carrier, tail up, purring and happy to be at home. He did lose a lot of weight, and his little voice is all hoarse, no doubt from wearing it out at the vet. But it really did surprise me how happy he was to see me, there was much cuddling and purring and head butting.

VERY happy to be home, and he seems to be feeling pretty good. I don't really trust that he's done with all this though, he did go use the litterbox, and he didn't strain - but he didn't go much either. I just hope he doesn't block again. He's now on Royal Canin S/O canned food, which is fine - it's not like Blue Buffalo is a great quality food either (and we tried a LOT of foods to find one they would do well on!).

So, we'll see. Keeping him separate from the other cats for now so I can monitor his output. Dragon is being all dramatic about some weird new cat being in the bathroom - because Dragon is SUPER dramatic. Dragon is more upset about Dio's harrowing health issues than Dio.

He really is a very sweet kitty - so glad he's feeling better and home at last!

Better and Better

Things are looking up! Brisbee continues to improve, moving better, running around, getting bouncier and more back to normal. It's always very worrying with a 15 year old dog when they have something like this, but Brisbee says he plans to make it to 19, no problem.

Dio had his catheter removed again today, and, knock on wood, is so far looking good. If he is peeing freely tomorrow he'll get to come home. As I've said that a lot, I'll admit to some skepticism, but hopefully this is really true. I ordered him a giant jar of Cranimals, he won't be getting to snack on ANY dog kibble - and we'll see what happens. Would be nice if it were a one time thing!

Wore my winter jacket for the first time this morning ... briefly, but still. A very mild and lovely Fall so far - but crazy rain is coming later this week. A lot of confused and angry yellow jackets this time of year, I just want them to die already. I didn't get stung at all this year, and I want to keep it that way. Now, London has gotten stung A LOT - I swear he seems to be deliberately seeking out the ground nest in the field. Poor guy, he has a lot of fluff, so that helps, but when you see London running and biting at his butt, you know he's done it again. And yet, somehow, all the other dogs don't have this issue. Hm.

Will be really nice to have Dio home and things getting back to normal around here with the animals. It's easy to have multiple pets when they're healthy, but very stressful when they're not.

Decided not to go down to the Central Point trial this year, just too much going on to relax and enjoy what is always such a fun trip. In consolation I entered Haku in a local obedience trial - because that's just as much fun, right? So another shot at utility, in preferred at 10 inches.

Navarre has one more AKC trial this month, then we'll take a break, really have been enjoying the baby dog fun. Always lots to work on, but I'm really happy with where we are. Looking forward to another Justine class in November, wanting to work on handling him more aggressively.

And Bright is just fricken adorable, just love the dog she has grown into. Very much enjoying the Premier classes in AKC with her, just give me a little something to think about on course and I'm happy. Now, if they could make it cheaper, that would really be nice - but I don't see that happening. USDAA has yet to reveal their new jump heights, despite saying they were supposed to have them out by the end of September? I still think they're just going to shuffle around the the dogs that already run in USDAA slightly, I can't see them actually changing heights to something that will actually bring in new people.

It was actually sort of weird last weekend, there was an AKC trial, a USDAA trial and a CPE trial all locally, and who knows what going on up north (as they have trials every weekend up there). Still, it was weird I knew the most people at USDAA, then at the AKC trial so many people I don't know - yet I go to way more AKC trials (I've done no USDAA trials at all this year). I will note, everyone in USDAA was happy to work (and I felt pretty silly for driving all the way out there to have nothing much to do) - and, as usual, very little volunteering at the AKC trial. Still don't understand what that's about.

Good News/Bad News

Some good news and bad news on the sick list. The good news is that Brisbee is feeling much better today! While he's still not moving normally, he was running and looking way more comfortable and present. He's continuing to enjoy all the special treats and seems happy and content. Bruce returns tomorrow, which should make him very happy indeed.

As for the bad news, Dio obstructed again last night at the vet clinic. As they were reinserting the catheter there was a bunch of gritty sludge in there - yet no crystals in his urinalysis. As is the norm when a vet calls me, "Well, 99% of the time we don't have this issue ..." Dio is, as usual, very special. The hope is that with the catheter and IV fluids he can pass whatever is up in his junk and get back to normal peeing again. Right now we're looking at removing the catheter on Tuesday, the vet has been really great with taking care of him.

I will admit with everything going on I wasn't doing my focused best at the agility trial this weekend. We all had a good time though, and there were lots of fun courses and things to try and lots of great pieces from both dogs.

Bright was starting to freak me out today as she knocked two bars first thing in premier jumpers - I was worried about a physical issue at that point. Bright does knock bars sometimes, but not usually to this extent. Then I found that she had a, uh, 'dangler' mushed into her pants. Ick. So, yeah, that was fun to try to clean up - but then she STILL knocked two more bars in jumpers - hm. Of course, then I said I would just pull her if she knocked any more, and she didn't knock another bar for the rest of the day. Go figure. And she had a lovely running dogwalk in standard, which I'll take too. But added in an extra threadle in premier standard, just for old times sake. She even broke a startline today! And I totally ran anyway, because it's Bright and she can do whatever the hell she wants. Except knock too many bars, because then it freaks me out.

Navarre was more settled today - exposure does wonders for his baby brain! Which isn't to say he wasn't still totally distracted, but we did TWO whole courses - IN ORDER. Woot! Of course, now I'm spoiled, now that he's done some courses all in a row, I want to do courses all in a row where we're actually, well, RUNNING the courses and not just trying to keep Navarre from squirting out and around things. Really happy with Navarre's obstacle performance, his contacts were awesome, he nailed ALL his weaves all weekend - still cautious, and admittedly I stuck right there with him - but he did it! Obstacles were great, but couldn't really handle because he was just so drifty and unfocused. I think maturity is going to be the answer to that one, I've been thrilled with what he's been able to do, I think it's time to take a little break and focus on our handling skills again.

But, look, Navarre doing ALL the things - IN A ROW:

2nd Open leg - go baby dog!

We also had a great Open jumpers run - WITH A REAR CROSS. And a funky one at that, he did great, just dropped a bar but some great stuff from Navarre. T2B had some great stuff too, including two nice turns off the aframe - but then rear cross implosion. I think I know what we need to work on!

Yeah, that extra backside was all me ;-)

After trial fun with Pixel!

No Longer in Novice

Dio is still at the vet, he's improving though. They took the catheter out yesterday and he has been peeing, but the vet didn't like how full he was letting his bladder get before he went. Sounds like tomorrow is the day, I'm pretty sure he won't ever remember living with us by the time he comes home. I'd like to think Isis misses him, but she seems perfectly happy. Sunshine Kittens are special.

Brisbee continues to be pretty wobbly. He's eating well (so many treats!), seems aware and knows where he is and who I am. He seems to enjoy going for walks and is sleeping soundly. Issues with mobility continue, and haven't gotten much better, but haven't gotten any worse. Seems to have lost all concept of going outside to potty, unfortunately. I'm still hopeful he'll turn around.

In the meantime, Fenwick was CRAZY today, he was tearing around like he was on crack. Which means a whole lot of me yelling at the other dogs to lie down so no one runs into him. Fenwick making joyous sprints hither and yon makes me so happy to see.

Navarre's third AKC trial today, yet another new location and, yep, super distracted baby brain! I'm glad we've been playing in T2B, as he really does need one run to REALLY be nutty with. It's sort of like trying to hold onto one of those wobble tubes, he just shoots off hither and yon, running around everything, looking everywhere - wheee!

So much good today though, we appear to have moved past his 'weaving in public' problem, he nailed all his weaves today - including a speed entry, his hardest approach. Weaves were a little more fluid, still thinking really hard about his job. Contacts looked great! We had three great teeters, 2 nice dogwalks and a lovely aframe. Jumping continues to look comfortable, no knocked bars.

Our new challenge is rear crosses in public, he was not responding to those really at all. I think he had one okay rear cross in jumpers, but probably just because there was nothing else out there at that point. Rear crosses - we should probably work on them! Otherwise, yes, need to work every obstacle. I felt I was doing better at that though, even if it does feel like trying to hold onto a slippery bar of soap. SUCH a baby dog!

Baby dog that finished his novice jumpers title though! A pretty nice run, ran around that last jump again looking for ... something. His leash maybe? Good thing you can have faults in novice! So, yes, it's Open for us - pretty much just because you can have a lot of faults in Novice. We'll be one of those teams looking woefully unprepared in Open. But having fun anyway!

Tammy took some video of Navarre's Open Standard run today, it's kind of comical:

As for Brightypants, lots of good from the tiny girlie. Dropped a bar in every run, I think? Some nice runs otherwise. Tested a threadle cue into a tunnel after one of those knocked bars - not shockingly, she didn't respond to it. Truly, we've reverted to our previous handling system, yelling 'BrightBrightBright!' for everything she does. Somehow that works. Spectacular leap off the dogwalk in Premier standard, which is odd because she had been doing so well with her dogwalk in general and it was the EXACT same exit we had in standard that she had no issue with. Mystery. But, hey, at least I get to say that the issues weren't my crappy handling today, just dropped bars and missed contacts. Lots of fun with my Brightness, so enjoying having premier - and more tomorrow!


I'm covered in Dio hair from going to visit him at the clinic. I can't say he had any idea who I was, which the doctor tried to explain as, "Now, keep in mind he's on a lot of pain meds." Dio seemed perfectly normal to me, just sort of off in his own world. He certainly wasn't happy to be there though, he would very much like to go home. Maybe tomorrow. He's hanging out dripping bloody pee through his catheter at the moment. Not fun times at all, poor little guy. I think Isis misses him, though, once again, it's always hard to tell with those two if they have any idea what's going on around them. Still, good to see him, hoping we can get through this and he recovers quickly. So bizarre.

Then Brisbee is still worrying me as well, he did not respond to his meds as he normally does, he was up all night despite being given three times his normal dosage. He finally conked out when I dosed him this morning yet again. Then was pretty present and aware for a bit, but then started pacing again. Good news, he seemed to respond to the meds this time and is snoring away next me. I just hope he gets through it and back to normal, it's hard not to worry when they're 15 and a half.

In other news, some weavepole proofing with Navarre. Keep in mind, I make no claims he did all this the FIRST time, but it still counts. You can definitely tell when he really has to think about it and when he feels more confident.

Bad Moon Rising

Well, not been a good evening around here. Got home from classes and Dio looked seriously fucked up - off to the vet, he's totally obstructed. So poor little Dio is at the vet tonight getting unplugged and cleaned out. Having gone through this before with other cats I ASSUME all will be well, though not sure when he'll get to go home. Feel so bad for the poor little guy, it's such a painful thing to happen. He looked totally normal last night, ate his dinner, I hadn't noticed anything.

Then, of course, why is a big question as well - and the most important so it doesn't happen again. I had been transitioning the cats off of raw and just onto canned food, so that's a possibility. I felt like I had seen him looking a little off a few months ago when he had been munching on a lot of dog kibble, I made sure that stopped happening and put him on a cranberry supplement for a few weeks. He SEEMED fine after that, but I had been lax with making sure he didn't help himself to the dog kibble lately. Possibly it has nothing to do with diet as well. He's six or seven? Haven't had an issue his whole life, everyone had been doing well. Hm.

Fingers crossed everything goes well and Dio gets to come home tomorrow. Sigh. Then while he was being examined he had a tooth that looked concerning, so something else to deal with after he's recovered.

Then I get home from the vet and Brisbee is crashing into walls, having a major neurological episode - and definitely not wanting to take any medication, let me tell you. Always best to medicate him before he gets to that point, but unfortunately I wasn't there. Very rough next couple hours while the meds took effect, and he's still on his feet, circling around, very confused and vacant. Finally getting quieter though, and ate some dinner. Hopefully he'll conk out and sleep through the night and feel better tomorrow.

I know it's bound to happen occasionally, but I do not like my animals to be sick. Not at all. Would like everyone to be better now.

A fun course

Knock on wood, Navarre's contacts continue to be suspiciously solid. Threw in a stop with a send ahead on the dogwalk today and he nailed it, first try. We have yet to use the stop in an actual competition (though we practiced at the one UKI trial he went to!), but I'm thinking he may be able to do it. At least, if I'm behind. He does have a point that if I'm ahead, why am I using a stop? Third AKC trial this weekend, so far, so good - trialing has been really fun with Navarre!

Weaves continue to be his weakest behavior, but also the one we introduced last and have spent the least amount of time on. He's still very much a baby and I don't want to push it. He's trying really hard, so much that he doesn't really have great flow and rhythm at the moment - but I've seen hints of him actually weaving with conviction, and he looks good. But, yeah, he needs ALL the proofing, entrances, exits, distractions - oh yes, it's easy to fool the puppy. Time enough for all that later.

This has pretty much always been true, but it continues to baffle me why my dogs always have completely different issues on a course then my students do. And in a consistent way, I ran both Bright and Navarre after classes today on this course (based on a European course):

Of course when I set it up I had my assumptions about what would be trouble areas, but almost none of the dogs had an issue going 7-8 without getting sucked to the off course jump after the tunnel. But not only did my dogs require a ridiculous amount of babysitting to get them off of that jump, but I also ran a student's dog in class and had the SAME ISSUE (hmmm). Then the majority of dogs had issues going out to the backside from 13-14, while I had a difficult time getting Navarre from not taking the off course jump way ahead. And, OMG, why did I think that handling long lines of serps would be reasonable? Puffpuffpuff - so much running! Dogs just had to find 20 on their own, I was no where near them at that point. But fun course, really enjoyed it.

Haku is so darn patient

It's funny how toys are not that interesting ... until they're the last toy the dogs can find outside, then suddenly it's a hot commodity

Just love this big dork

Haku does not love Navarre nearly as much, but he tolerates him

Little known fact, while Bright and Navarre are super good friends, Bright occasionally just takes him down when Navarre gets too cocky - which is probably a good thing

The fun part of posing

Hello, October!

October is shaping up to be a very busy month, and always some adjustments when it starts raining again with the dogs (and not ending up with soaking wet muddy dogs). Still, I love the rain, happy to see it back, it's Oregon's natural state. Well, okay, this part of it. Trees have been slow to turn, as it's been so warm. It was funny, all the boxelder bugs were waking up like it was spring - nature continues to be confused.

Haku and Eva are very patient ... for the most part

Navarre has sort of plateaued at this level of gooberness lately - he's turning 18 months in October!

This sort of thing certainly hasn't changed

I'm pretty sure this is the secret to a long life

Looking Fall-like out there

Oh, such a serious little girl

London might look serious, but he's really not!

We have no Finnish weavepole moves

Still haven't watched all of the FCI competition, but I have seen a lot! Apparently there are people out there that just don't enjoy watching agility for hours on end. I just find it so interesting, especially at that level. Naturally, set up a 'FCI-inspired' course for classes today, based on Team Agility by Tamas Traj:

What a fun course! Even having to be squished into the arena, it was still fun. What I specifically wanted to look at was the weaves to the next section, which, once again, being squished into our arena was MUCH easier to get places. Still, Bright and I had practiced the flip away after the weaves into a tunnel move. You know, once. A few months ago. Yeah, needs work. She CAN do it, but it's not something that comes naturally to her. I do think that move gave the best chance of getting a blind between the wall and the tunnel in the competition, definite advantage. Navarre has also been introduced to it now, but the funny part is both dogs, once we put it into sequence did the move great, I got out of there and up for my blind - which neither of my dogs responded to, so it was all for nothing. Heh. Fun practice though.

What we're even WORSE at though, is the 'weavepole grab'. I turned the course around and then the dogs were going through the weavepoles the opposite way, did their turn away into the tunnel and I tried to stay on the opposite side of the weaves and help them by 'grabbing' them into the entrance. Boy, they were determined to enter incorrectly though, especially Navarre, he was so certain that he was correct.

Yeah, definitely not our move - not yet, anyway. Obviously a hole in our training, we'll keep looking at it.

Got to play with a LOT of fun puppies at the trial last weekend - including an adorable afghan hound WITH EYEBROWS.


Pixel says she's still a puppy - 9 months old now!

Gah, splitface!

Cake and Banjo - almost the same age

Bobo is one VERY confident puppy

6 month old dobie




All the things! In a row!

It's so funny that no one knows how to pronounce Navarre's name. That is a consideration when I choose a name, will people know how to say it? I don't want to spend 16 years correcting people, I really don't. It honestly never occurred to me that Navarre could be said any other way. And, afterwards, I guess I could see how the occasional person might pronounce it 'Na-Varr-ee'. But even I wanted to, how would spell his name different to help with any confusion? 'Navar' to me would be pronounced 'ney-var'. Naavaar? Navarr looks like it could be said as 'never', which is a totally different sound.

So, yeah, Navarre apparently does not look like it sounds, but it does to ME. It did find it amusing, we were going in for Novice standard and the gate steward is calling for 'Nazarine'. Which obviously is not my dog, but I finally realize she's talking about us and point out we were right there, and his name was 'Navarre'. And she goes, "You really need to speak up when I call you." Well okay then. Probably would be less funny if I were an actual novice handler. Man, it just sucks to be new in agility these days. Had a student at her first AKC trial, running two dogs. They had put her dogs back to back, so she asked the gate steward if she could move one. The steward tells this novice handler, at her first ever trial, that, no, she couldn't - she had to go find the judge and ask if she could move. Seriously? And the measuring thing has just gotten so informal, good luck with that unless you know a measuring judge personally.

Anyway, had a great time at the trial this weekend. I feel like I hadn't trialed up in Ridgefield in forever, and it was such a big trial, so many people I hadn't seen for quite some time. Sort of an agility reunion. And everyone just seemed to be having great weekends - good times. I felt like the trial moved along pretty well, though, god damn, get rid of FAST or combine it into one - it takes SO MUCH TIME. And it really doesn't help that I just have no interest in it at all.

Got there early to run T2B with the baby, a fun course with a couple aframe exits that we really hadn't trained. Then he attempted to run past a jump, and fixing that put me SO far behind to even be able to help. Still, he did great - and 12 weaves first go! Admittedly, his 'careful' weaves, but that still counts.

The jumpers was a more difficult novice course - having baby dogs run through a box where it's really difficult to get ahead - really? Navarre ALMOST made it though, he ran around the last jump - so close to getting all the way through something! Still, lots of good, got his weaves first attempt and another novice jumpers Q!

Finally, our Open debut - a tough course! Ah, Open, where things are harder than excellent. My expectations were low, but perhaps because I had to really focus and handle, we stayed on target and did ALL THE THINGS. IN ORDER! Our first time putting it together in public, so that made me happy. And he turned off the dogwalk and the aframe, continues to look good with his teeter, did 12 weaves the first time again (carefully!). And I remembered to be consistent and make sure he was behaving on his startline and table. So a Q for his first Open run - what a super star! I'm sure luck has a lot to do with that as well, but hey. This is all stuff he CAN do, but in public is a whole other issue.

Navarre had FUN this weekend, he thinks this a great time. And he's starting to figure out this trialing thing works and getting more and more into it. I'm glad we had a spurt of upcoming trials to play with, it's really good for him!

Navarre Open:

Navarre Jumpers:

Bright did fantastic again today as well, just standard and jumpers. Two great runs, one bobble by Heather when I blinded and didn't support an obstacle. Whoops. Not her fault though, she was a superstar, including stopping on her dogwalk.

Some Bright from yesterday:

Navarre NA!

Navarre is such a PUPPY. Running him at a trial his head is going in a thousand different directions at once. So much to think about, the agility, the equipment, me, and then all those people and dogs out there. So, so much! Yeah, not surprising that I have a very different dog in trials. He's having a lot of fun, loves to come play, is trying very hard and doing some great stuff - but, yeah, puppy brain explosions everywhere (in a fun way!).

Still, even with many detours along the way, Navarre did squeak out of Novice standard today. He had, by grace of the many faults you can have in Novice, a couple legs from his debut in Utah - then picked up another, not very pretty, but still technically qualifying Q today. First baby dog title! Hey, we'll take it, it was definitely a TRUE baby dog title in every sense of the word - and if there is one class you want to get out of, it's Novice standard and the 'end of the day' curse.

If it wasn't for the consistently poor timing of when they put novice, I would be happy to stay in there - two more GREAT novice courses today. I'm shocked, when did this change happen in AKC? Just nice, straightforward, flowing and appropriate baby dog courses. Not that we couldn't find all sorts of other ways to do them, but really been happy with the novice courses Navarre has gotten to play on.

Not to worry, we're still hanging out in Novice jumpers! Though he managed to squeak out a Q in that today too. Well, TECHNICALLY he managed to Q in everything if you count his 'last of the qualifiers' T2B 4 point Q today. But we have yet to pull off a course in flow in a trial yet. Someday, it will happen, I'm sure.

Some baby dog cuteness:

The beginnings of courses are the hardest for Navarre, his brain is just going every which way and inevitably he ends up running around something in the first three obstacles. Once we get past that, he does settle in and get a little more focused. Assuming I actually work the obstacles, as suddenly obstacles WAY on the other side of the arena COULD be what I'm looking for. No lack of obstacle commitment there. I do end up walking the opening of courses eight different ways, trying to choose the handling I think Navarre will be successful with ... I'm not very good at finding that yet (and may be making it more complicated then it needs to be).

Weaving in public, not quite there yet (though he got one set of six first time through though!). However, on his second passes it's like the brain clicks into gear and I thought he looked way more confident and comfortable then he did. He'll get there, no need to do a lot of weave work yet, he just needs exposure. On both the aframe and the dogwalk he was like, 'What's this?' before he ran them - but teeter looked good. So much he just needs exposure to, very much enjoying our baby dog journey.

So tomorrow his first Open run! And I'm really, really going to try to WORK EVERY OBSTACLE. For reals this time. Need to keep that baby brain on course, there hasn't been anything that I felt he couldn't do, but actually doing it is a whole other question. Happy that we've had such nice dogwalk exits, another straight off exit into a tunnel today. His aframes have been very thoughtful but DEEP hits (and no vaulting!). He's been sticking his teeter like a champ too - contacts have been good! However, he has been squirrely on his start line and table, which is all me. I need to remember that Navarre is not Bright - he NEEDS criteria. I will be more consistent in making sure I'm not releasing unless he's in the position I left him. Bad trainer.

Super fun day with the puppy, no real difference between the dog I had today in the loud, busy indoor arena than the dog I had in Utah. He was good at waiting for his turn, he was excited to go in, and he was actually a little less distracted on the startline. Though no Bender running right next to him, that was a tough one! Starting to get our routine down, he's recognizing, "Lets go get your toy!" and looking for it as we weave through the crowds to go find the toy and play. Some tugging on his leash, but I also don't want to hold things up, so I've been doing a tiny tug and then he drops it as soon as I ask him if he wants to go get his toy. And lots of long, happy after run play sessions. Good puppy!

BrightyBright also had a good day, she ended up with a double Q and a nice premier standard. I LOVE the premier classes! Just add a little something here and there and it makes so much difference for me - I love having things to go HANDLE. And so many people entering premier - makes me so happy to see! Of course, this was a BIG trial, which was also fun. We don't have as many of those anymore, but lots of folks from Washington and down south - it was a party at the trial today.

Interesting experiment at the end of the day in premier jumpers. Admittedly, it had been a LONG day and it was getting muggy in the arena, Bright and I weren't at our best. Still, I wanted to try cueing and going and actually trusting her to do her job, which I haven't been able to do since she got weird earlier this year. And, yeah, nope - we had a trainwreck of a run, she just doesn't run the same as she used to! I do think we've learned to adjust, I've learned to be more on top of her and not assume she can do things without me - but funny that she just can't do the things she used to. Good to know, I suppose!

Proud of tiny Brightness, for one run there was someone with their baby right by the ring entrance that was freaking her out, but she went out and ran without an issue. And another ring a family with like a 7 year old girl and Bright also ran well - good girl! See, children won't kill you, I swear! Love my girl, she's the best.

Stayed up until 2am to watch the Large Individual in Spain last night - it was worth it! There is nothing like watching live, and there was some GOOD agility. Very inspiring, agility never ceases to amaze me.

Fun overlay:


FCI World Championships in Spain this weekend, livestream is fairly decent, though not the best resolution. They're trying to have the names and times on the bottom, though that doesn't always come together. I always find it frustrating that they don't have the scores for the DOGS in the team competition, which I'm way more interested in than the team scores. Kudos for the cute British announcer though.

Still my favorite event to watch, which with VOD I'll be able to. Though I watched large team jumping this morning and am currently watching medium team jumping before heading to bed. Medium dogs are just making me cringe though. So many early jumping shelties. I just have such a hard time watching dogs struggle like that. Makes me feel very fortunate that, knock on wood, Navarre doesn't have a jumping issue.

Can't watch too much live, as Navarre's second AKC trial this weekend - and the trial actually FILLED on Saturday. That never happens in our area, so that will be a long day. Feel pretty good about Navarre's novice skills. I do find it amusing, this week in classes we worked on front crosses, then I'm watching this event and it's jarring as hell when someone actually uses a front cross (when a blind cross would work just as well). Blind crosses are just better. Usually.

My FCI watching buddies