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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One week

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

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

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

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

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

Just a handsome babydog

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

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

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

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

Some flying pants

Teenage chest

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

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

Just a mystery. An adorable, squishable mystery.

Navarre vs Bright II

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

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

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


Been enjoying following the results of USDAA nationals, and super excited to see Laura and DareDevil in the Steeplechase finals tonight!

The livestream is free to watch, they're running PSJ right now (so it will be a while until Championship 22 inches):

(DareDevil is at 106.50, though there is plenty of great stuff throughout, of course! DareDevil came in 6th, I believe?)

Picture stolen from FB (I assume Karen took it)



The universe is definitely making its point these days. Went up hiking to University Falls today, been going there for 15 years now. The actual Falls trail I haven't been to for probably a year, and the last time I attempted to go that way it was blocked by logging trucks. I know they've been logging up in there, but still, 'Historical Hiking Trail' and all, I didn't think much of it. It's a big forest, after all.

But, yeah, giant clear cuts, as far as the eye could see. And, yes, technically the hiking trail is still there, but they clear cut all the way up to the trail, so one side was forest, and the other side just nothing - and we never reached the end of the devastation before it just got too depressing and turned around. The place I loved for so long, the trails I knew so intimately are completely unrecognizable. Just ... gone. Definitely a theme in my life at the moment. So, yeah, I get it, universe - moving on.

The dogs still had a wonderful time, and the Falls itself is still magical and beautiful. Can't see really going back there now though, that was a shock. Everything changes, I suppose.

All the ferns dying without the trees

Nothing left

In front of piles of discarded dead trees

By the Falls, these old friends still remain - I have pictures of all the original crew posing on these very logs, 15 years ago

Dogs still love what's left of the forest

All water lovers

Even Bright finally said it was a little too cold in the water to just stand in it (London wouldn't have moved, he would just stand in the water and shiver - waiting for Stick Fairies)

Happy hiker


This Gretchen, my sheep:

She only has one ear, some dog was not very nice to her. But Gretchen, Gloria and Guinevere are good dog broke sheep that now live at Heidi's. And won't be losing any more ears. Hopefully. Gretchen is large and fluffy, and I have never had my feet stepped on so much in all the time I've ever worked with sheep. These girls are ruthless toe crushers. Gretchen may have a little lamb (or two) next year, which will be interesting. And I'm currently planning to eat that lamb. We'll see how that works out.

I was optimistic that Navarre would be less obnoxious on sheep now that he's older, but that was not to be. Still diving in, too close, no real stock sense, not listening. But no lack of enthusiasm! And I can work with enthusiasm. I don't expect him to be a good herding dog, but we'll see what we can do. Surprisingly, shouting and frantically waving a stick still doesn't seem to be conveying the information I want to him.

We now have the practice sheep at Heidi's, so getting there to work with them is now on the list. Haku is, as always, a good boy and very nice to his sheep. I need to get some concrete goals as to what we actually need to do at a competition. Just for fun, ASCA or AKC, something simple. We can practice a little at Heidi's, but other than that we just don't have the herding resources. Or an instructor. So we'll do what we can, and it makes him very happy.

USDAA nationals this week - so many people folks I know are down in Arizona! Excited to follow along with the results. And guess which three amazing puppies are all competing? 2 year old Sparklepuppies! Even Larissa came up from Mexico. Her and Creed had some great times in the Steeplechase Quarterfinals today, it makes me so happy to know they went to such great homes - and that they're doing so well!

This was just an awesome picture to see, the pups with their daddy Hitman, who was also up for the competition:

Larissa, Hitman, Creed and DareDevil - so much red!

USDAA did finally announce their new height changes recently. I was actually impressed, they went farther than I thought they would, and split the 22 inch class, which I thought was a great idea. You could tell how much of a compromise it was, as, OMG, most complicated jump heights ever. There now have jump heights at 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 20, 22 and 24. Good lord. I suppose the theory is that with that many heights there should be something for everyone, but of course that's not really true. No changes with my dogs, though potentially Brisbee could have been a 14 inch jumper in Performance, back in the day, depending on how he measured. Bright still jumps 22, Navarre would jump 24. We'll see if I ever do it. Not anytime soon, anyway.

Other changes that made me happy recently, FAST is getting condensed to one course! I do hope that will really help speed things along, and less FAST is always a win in my book. AKC national requirements for 2018 came out, this will be on the West Coast, I believe, probably in Reno. Doesn't really matter though, good lord, it really is about the equivalent of getting a MACH to qualify, and I just don't trial that often. I'd still like to consider UKI nationals with Bright someday, if it ever comes back to California. The venue has pretty much died around here though, so it would depend on the requirements.

Had a lovely fun weekend down in Poodletopia, so fun to hang out with such an awesome crowd!

Ah, politics

I did my part today, I voted and posted lots of cute doggy pictures on FB tonight. I'm okay with whatever happens, I think it's been an interesting look at our country and our values - and how frustrated people are and how broken our system is.

I think it was quite the wake-up call to me how easily influenced we all can be. Didn't matter who or what you were voting for, the sheer amount of blatantly untrue information that is thrown around is staggering. And I think it's crazy that there is no place to get unbiased news from these days - that's just frightening. People are just making things up, sending it out into the world and suddenly it's 'fact'. But where do you go to get the real story, especially about very complex issues that can't be expressed in a internet meme?

And most of all it's made me sad, as I'm sure it's made many people sad. I did not grow up in a religious household, I had a pretty standard, state schooling. Yet I feel like I was raised to be kind, compassionate, empathetic, and accepting of those with different cultures, religions and ideas. And because of that, I assume most people are raised the same. Yet all around me people don't seem tolerant, kind or respectful of other's opinions - at all. The childish name calling, personal attacks, it's bewildering to me. And it's not helpful. I'd like to think as an adult you'd know that calling someone a 'moron' for their political choices is pretty much the best way to make sure they never listen to anything you have to say.

Life will go on after the election, one way or another - but I can only hope that people are able to step back and take a broader look at our society and what kind of country we want to live in. You don't build a community be alienating each other with blind automatic hatred of everyone that is not exactly like you. Don't live in a bubble, not a bubble of news, or a bubble of ideas or a bubble of people. Chances are, you're missing half the information, half the conversation and half the people that have so much to offer.

And for god's sake, someone please start a unbiased news source, or this is just going to get uglier and uglier.

Here are some cute dogs, playing with a giant stick. Which Navarre thought was WAY too heavy to pick up. Lightweight.

Bright vs Navarre

Spoiler: Bright wins (by a lot)

To be fair, Bright was jumping 12

Navarre seems to be going through a sensitive period, and, as always, it's helpful to have Dove nearby as she seems to be doing the same. The other day I went to run the dogs on some Justine homework, and Navarre just stopped dead and refused to go on after a few jumps. I was all freaked out I broke my dog. I have some theories, and maybe it is actually just me. For all that Navarre is about as sensitive as a brick, I certainly have not been myself since London died. Or maybe that had nothing to do with it. Who can say? All I know is we went to play again today, same location, same exercise - and he seemed perfectly normal. Maybe he's sensitive, maybe I am, maybe we both are. But we had fun today, no weirdness.

And I bought a sheep. Her name is Gretchen. Navarre has not magically gotten better at herding since the last time we went, and shouting and waving a stick at him at him strangely still doesn't help. Gretchen and friends stepped on my toes A LOT.

Ate way too many cookies today. It was a good day.

Little Space Cadets

Dio has spent pretty much the entire day laying among this paper packing material I put on the couch. I would wonder if something was wrong with him, but then Isis started doing it too. Paper packing material is like catnip or something.

Partners in weirdness

Here he is several hours later

Ah, SS Kittens, always so surprised ... at everything


I don't know why six dogs seems like so many less than seven. I keep looking around, like surely I'm missing more than just London. It's been a difficult week, the inevitable meals with a missing bowl, a missing face, a missing bark, an empty crate. Standing there waiting for London to come up the stairs backwards at night before realizing he's not coming.

Yet it still doesn't seem real, having dogs so much older, London seemed incredibly young. And he was, but I also thought we had gotten past the 'danger age'. That scary age around 10 when it seems like cancer catches up to a lot of dogs. But it also seemed like if you could get past that age, usually you got to cruise into the teens.

London and I had PLANS, with so many changes coming up I had already planned out how that was going to work best for London. While he had slowed down and lost some hearing, he remained mentally totally London (a total puppy at heart), clear eyed and ready for action. He hadn't gotten to the 'old' stage yet. Or even 'pre-old'. He was just 'mature', there were many more trips to be had, adventures to go on. And now I'll never again hear him behind me, slapping the floor, demanding action. His expectant, human expressions and the most adorable set of ears you've ever seen.

I could never sum up London in a million words, and I've certainly tried in this journal. Those that knew him know how very different and special he was. There will never be another like London. He had so many relationships with people, as wherever he was he was totally at home there, whoever he was with he was there with them completely. I can't even imagine how many people he ran agility with through the years, and then even herding and obedience - or whatever. He was always, ALWAYS ready to play - wherever, with whoever. Always smiling, always happy, always so confident and self assured. He never had anything to prove, just such a ... good dog.

I'm thankful he never had to suffer or decline, he lived life to the fullest all the way to the end. I feel especially grateful Heidi and I took that trip down to Ashland over the summer with Dove and London, I loved having that last trip with him. I certainly didn't think it would be his last, but you never know. He was my adventure dog, and there was nothing he wasn't up for. God I miss him.

As for the rest of the dogs, I don't think they've really noticed. London was friend to everyone, but he was, as always, his own dog that very much did his own thing. I think everyone just thinks London is around somewhere. And it's hard not to think that myself. Molly brought some Halloween scarves for dogs to class yesterday and wanted me to take one for all the dogs. And it was hard, but also important I think to go ahead and take that new group photo in their adorable Halloween scarves - because you never know. Take the trip, take the picture, give them an extra chewie - you just never know if you'll get another chance.

You can see the hole right where London would have been - he always looked fabulous in a bandanna

Contact Point London Dream 11/29/03 - 10/30/16

London last Friday

London didn't even make it to 13, his birthday was next month. And 13 is nothing, that's not old - and London wasn't old. I wasn't ready yet, hadn't even thought about losing London - we had years to spend together.

He's been doing great, on Friday it was such a beautiful day we were romping outside ALL day. So I didn't think too much when he seemed a little off on Saturday. Eating well, I just gave him a little break. Then tonight I called the dogs to go outside, and he didn't come. I went and found him and he was laying on the floor. Called him again, he got up, walked a few steps, laid back down. I didn't know what to do think, did he really overdo it on Friday? I gave him a tramadol in a pill pocket, which he enthusiastically ate. But his belly felt kind of distended, this was not good.

So we went to the emergency clinic, but I still didn't really think there was anything seriously wrong. I carried him down the stairs to get to the car, and then let him go - but he just went straight to the car and waited, which he never does. He was so okay with me picking him up, very unlike him.

At the emergency vet we took xrays and ultrasounds - he was hemorrhaging from masses in his abdomen. Within a hour, I had let him go. He was so calm and present, and so very London. It was hard to imagine that he really was that sick. Such a good boy, my very good boy, all the way to the end.

Hard to explain what that boy meant to me, we had been through so much, our relationship was so different than my other dogs. It doesn't feel real at all yet, he was supposed to grow old and go on long tottering walks with much loud barking. So many memories, I can't imagine life without him ...

A different time

So much personality, he was my most human of dogs

I will miss him so much, just breaks my heart

We Did It!

193 and first place in Preferred!

So, yeah, qualifying in Utility with Haku is definitely a Big Fucking Deal in my world. Mostly just because of the go-outs. Poor Haku, he has just never really understood the point of go-outs. And I think it's because he's just too honest. I do think he KINDA understands the point now, but I'm not entirely sure what he thinks he's actually doing.

Luckily, there was a 'practice ring' at the trial today, which means we got to warm up our directed jumping before the real thing. And, oh, did we need a lot of warming up. Piff. And I tried to go back to our ring gate go-out behavior, but that was not flying. The practice we have done recently has all been with his 'bring-it' go-out. I do think the ring gate head behavior actually really seemed to solidify his 'bring-it', though. And when we practice his 'bring-it', I never actually have anything out there, but throw the target to him after he gets there. All sort of backwards, but we do things in our way, and it seems to be working - so not messing with it.

Our first time in Preferred Utility, so this was a random order of exercises, which we haven't done before. I liked it though, and Haku was game. I brought him in relatively close to our time in the ring, so not too much hanging around. However, I was just horrified when Haku got super excited watching our obedience instructor work her dog in the ring right before us, and he lets out this HUGE bark right during her signals - oh good lord. There was much mortified apologizing afterwards. And now I know, Haku gets too excited to watch Ellie in the ring!

As for our turn, possibly because he just got in huge trouble right before going in, he was really focused and remarkably quiet. Only two little barks, which isn't bad for him. And this is the big thing, he didn't do anything really weird! He was remarkably calm and not whining, anticipating (much) or making things up. We just DID THE THINGS. All the things! And they pretty much looked like what they look like in practice. A little more antsy feet then in practice, but let's be honest, he's been antsy lately and I haven't really addressed the issue.

But, yeah, I was just amazed when he immediately locked in forward on his go-outs and went all the way to the gates! And he did the jumps like it was no big deal - in the order they're supposed to be done! He only THOUGHT about just going on his own. A-hem.

Anyway, just been a LONG winding road to get to this point, and we seem to continue to have lots of breaks in between trials for this reason or that. It may be that we'll get that Utility title yet, and maybe this year even. Says the person all cocky from getting ONE leg - surely the others will be as easy? Surely.

Super proud of my Haku, such an amazing boy, and such an amazing heart. Deannie kindly took some video, which is a BIG favor in obedience as it's like six minutes of videoing. That's a long time for a dog to work continuously without a reward doing very non-reinforcing behaviors. And I can't really get too excited in the ring or Haku barks - He's a good boy to the bone.

18 Months!

18 months is kind of a magical age, at least in my mind. It's that big transition between counting months to, well, not counting months. At 18 months you've officially arrived in the 'grown up' category. Not that there isn't years more of maturing to do, but the really formative months are done, and now the next big milestone is the mystical '2 years old', somewhere in the distant future. In the meantime, it's hanging out in the shadowy 'teenage' realm, not a puppy, but not really an adult yet either. Time to start calling Navarre a baby dog, not a puppy. Which may SOUND the same, but in my mind are very different. And Navarre will have babydog status for a LONG time.

It's always funny to look back at pictures of my dogs at this age, they look so spindly and narrow. Navarre is going to quite the beast when he beefs up, I think. But, for now, he's still just an awkward noodle.

Love his curly tail!

Will he grow a man-mane? Haku at the same age:

Babydog London (neutered at nine months - never got to try for a man-mane!):

Forever a puppy, really

Puppy that ate half of Bruce's decorative pumpkin today - who knew he was so into squash? So far no lasting effects, and he was QUITE hungry for dinner. Go figure.

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!