Agility Haku!



ZOMG so hot and humid and horrible - this weather should be illegal this time of year.  I had this thought that it wouldn't be that hot, as it's FALL, so maybe it would get hotter in the afternoon, but not for long.  It was a horrid sweltering oven in that arena though, I thought I was going to pass out for my jumpers runs in the afternoon. It should not be in the 90s at the end of September!  It is currently still 92 degrees out. Hmph.

The good news is that Haku doesn't care about the heat - Haku is just Haku, all the time.  And Haku was HAPPY, truly happy - so that was worth it right there.  And he got to bark, and a LOT.  We were lucky enough to have TWO delays on the startline - which meant crazy barking party time for us!  Haku got to be wild and free, and we were both very happy.  I don't think he actually qualified in anything, though I'm still not sure why not in jumpers - but hey, no biggie.  He was like, "Dogwalk contacts are for sissies - WHEEEE!" and even broke his startline!  First time since he was a young thing - and of course I let him do it, we're living it up.

He was actually quite easy to run, as straightforward things Haku does WELL, and I always have plenty of time as I'm just standing there waiting for him to come back after launching way out.  Yet somehow he still managed to be much faster than Bright, who was feeling more tentative than she was at UKI, but wasn't launching over all the jumps. Launching over jumps works well for AKC, so Haku wins the day, he beat her by at least a second in every run.  Haku has a crazy acceleration, I do miss having some forward in my dog - though Bright wins any turning contest by a mile.



So I'm glad we did this, and I'll admit if I didn't have Haku today it wouldn't have been nearly as fun.  Bright was, as always, a very good girl - our only issue was me and a bad front cross off the aframe that caused her to miss a jump in standard.  Bright is just too EASY - we have a lot more fun with more complex courses.  We still had fun, but it was a long day that was very hot.  It was fun to see everyone, but did not make me want to sign up for more AKC with Bright.



I did wistfully think of signing up Haku for more ... then we had jumpers, and, yeah, not something he should be doing frequently, that jumping is just hard on him.  Good thing we have other interests!  But an occasional trial, we might do this again, just for fun.

Hooked on Monkey Phonics

Livejournal can be so fickle.  There seem to be times where you get spellcheck ... and times when you don't.  Very easy to rely on spellcheck to fix those nitpicky words that I can never remember if it's an "e" or an "a" or if "i" before "e" is really a thing.  And transposing of letters, I'm getting more dyslexic as I get older, which seems unfair.  Anyway, I haven't had a spellcheck lately, which is in someways is sort of freeing, but in other ways is sort of depressing, as I realize I don't really know how to spell.  But, hey, in the end it doesn't really matter, I have had my journal for many, many years - I do it for myself, it is a habit that is hard to break.  And I'm just amazed at how much I can write about animals.  Can't remember what happened 2 weeks ago, but 15 years of writing about the everyday life of my pets - OH HELL YES.

I still find it incredibly sweet that Parker snuggles up with the girls at night.  Now the young chickens sleep on top of the coop, crapping everywhere.  I hope when they're older they'll join the others on the roost, but I might see about putting in my extra corner roosts and see if I get any takers.  Chickens are awesome, today I was washing out chicken waterers and they followed me up around the house and then had great fun playing in the puddle I left behind.  I am paranoid about letting them out, as I really don't want them to be eaten - but they love to freerange.  This is the problem with getting too attached to your chickens.

Haku Bonus Trial tomorrow!  I'm kind of nervous, hopefully it will just be good times and nothing that makes either of us worried.  Of course, the reason I entered this trial is I thought one of the judges might have more interesting courses - yet Haku needs happy pinwheels and not much thinking.  Hm.


Will hopefully survive

UKImania begins



Daisy is having a series of UKI trials out at her place, mostly on Thursday evenings.  Today was the first - and it was so much fun!  Loving UKI ... at least, how it's being done out here at the moment.  Did you know there are actually games in UKI?  You might not have guessed, as the trials around here don't offer them.  Do you know who hates games in agliity?  This girl, right here!  But I LOVE interesting courses and small trials - so novel to actually have a trial I know I'm going to enjoy.

Bright and I ran 5 courses, I think there were four or five more in beginner/novice - all took less than 4 hours.  Obviously not many people, but I'm not complaining.  Daisy used both her inside and outside arenas, so that made for easy course changes. I enjoyed having the variety of environments for Bright.  The sand surface in the arena is definitely different than anything we're used to, and Bright dropped more bars than normal - but, hey, she'll have three more trials to figure it out!

Bright has been consistantly more confident and happy since the puppies - I'm saying it's not just a fluke. It's the infamous 'let your dog have a litter to settle her down' syndrome.  Apparently, it really exists.  I still worry what will happen when she goes into heat again - but, for now, so enjoying the practically drama-less Bright.  And, yes, she was happy to be there, happy to say hi to everyone, and happy doing agliity ... just happy.  I can't ask for anything more than that!  We had a great time together, I so enjoyed hanging out with her and running her.

Big news is that Bright was definitely more confident with her dogwalk - way better drive across the board, and she worked hard to adjust to hit - super happy to see that.  And so happy she could do it on her own, as I got caught behind both dogwalks she did today, one when she did not send to a backside, and the next when she didn't do a threadle rear (uh, possible not cued so well ...) so I had to send her up the dogwalk at a funky angle - either way, I was nowhere where I had hoped to be in either case - and she handled it like a total pro.  Aframe had more oomph across the equipment and the teeter was wooden with no rubber - and she had no issues. Oh, and perfect weaves in every run - BECAUSE SHE'S AWESOME.

Really pleased with her overall, she was really with me, doing some barking, moving out and just being so awesome I could squish her, I'm so proud of her.  Did have some more weird running around a jump and just being a little ...goofy.  She did this at the last UKI trial too, not entirely sure where it comes from, while I've certainly pulled Bright off of many an obstacle - running AROUND things is something she's never done in practice.  And as at the last trial she did it to a TUNNEL, at least I'm not worried that it's a jumping issue.  I'm not worried about it, I think it will fix itself, but it is an odd piece of the new and improved agility Bright - running around things.

Still need work on threadles, but I also think this goes back to her needing more support at trials at this point - same with backsides.  Our timing is a little off, but easily fixed if I would just be PATIENT.  Jumping in general could use some work, her form was all over the place and rather 'flingy' and often tucking.  But, to be fair, we have done very little work jumping 22 since she came back from puppies, and 22 is a big difference than 20 for tiny Bright.  I think it's time for some nice big jump circles and rewarding for a nice style - she does seem to respond to that.  I also think I should take her to Tammy's chiro/osteopath, I'm sure childbirth can probably screw up the works.  Though, sometimes I just wish I could watch agility without obsessing about jumping.  Sigh.

Rear crosses - we did some!  Not as many as we could have, and I'll admit that they just feel ... stupid.  I'm STANDING there, just waiting.  That's not handling, that's just watching my dog.  The courses were fun, and there were more opportunities for rear crosses, but while that has been on our list to work on, we haven't actually DONE it - so I didn't think we neded to go too wild with rears.  Still, no particular issues with Bright and rear crosses, I think they're just slower, for the most part.

Did I mention it was fun?  I love coming home with things to work on for both of us, love trying things out and actually having them work!  I'm sure the AKC trial will be fun as well this weekend, but it is just not the same. I have a reason to practice - I definitely need to work on my handling, I love that feeling!

Thanks to Rosie for all the video!

DareDevil update

Big thanks to Carol for shaving London's balls - he says he feels so free and breezy now, and hopefully no more crotch knots!  He also enjoyed a nice romp at the arena, London loves a good adventure.  And now it's RAINING.  LIke, actual rain - I don't even know what that's like anymore, it's been so long.  I remember the year where we had like 45 days of rain in a row - and I was getting a little tired of rain at that point.  But now we've had WAY MORE than that in sunny days - SO TIRED OF SUNNY.  And humid still.  Stupid summer that won't die.

Been thinking about how much training goes into a dog, you don't really notice it at the time, but thinking about everything that Bright has done and everything that we've worked on - well, it would take YEARS.  And it did.  But it was all good times. Feeling good about where we are at the moment, not to say we can do everything, but I know we can probably do it EVENTUALLY.  Getting a more solid contact performance really made us both much happier - criteria, it's a good thing!  Yes, my next dog I will just go with my original plan of running contacts - but, hey, you never know unless you try.

Which goes back to a lot of things, every dog is a guinea pig for something, and Bright got to try a lot of different things - just to see.  And it was freeing in a way, seeing that even using other systems a dog really is who they are, regardless.  Which isn't to say I didn't learn a lot and take things away from everyone - but in the end it's what works best for you and your dog.  Well, mostly your dog.  In retrospect there is a lot I would do different with all the dogs - but learning is a process, and you don't learn without failure.

Puppies, on the other hand, know nothing - so much to do with a puppy!  And speaking of puppies - check out this face:


I don't know what DareDevil is doing with these ears - that's just ridiculous

And, look, video of him with uncle Fireball:

Gah!  Way too cute!

And some Star video with her adorable puppy class:


Creed and Larissa also have adorable video, but none that I can share here.  You'll just have to trust me.  ADORABLE. And LEGS EVERYWHERE.  Growing up puppies make me happy.  I think they're ... 13 weeks?

Practicing



So I diligently rewatched Silvia's conditioning video about training side legs - which I didn't mind doing, as how cute is Silvia? Went to work on it with the dogs ... and Bright and Haku just did it right away, no training needed.  Of course, my goal is to get them to actually target the object with their side legs - that's easier than just spontaneously lifting.  Still, I thought it would be harder.  Still needs work, but pleasantly surprised that went so well.

Haku does continue to get crazy overstimulated with this sort of thing, too much so, have to settle him down.  I do think our rear end work is finally paying off for London, some exercises that he struggled with he's doing much better with.  Bright is always super fun to play with, we've been doing a lot with the fitbone, that seems to challenge her the most.  We did change her paw waves to 'high fives' because she's so damn vigorous with them.  She is also the best pedastal pivoter - well, she's pretty good at most things.  Fenwick is also getting a lot of fitbone time, it's harder for him though - only because he's older, I'm sure.  When he was younger he would have rocked this shit.  And Eva does some, but some backtracking with her this week, she's in a 'can't do anything' phase, which is still better than hiding behind the dryier.  Tried doing some position changes on a platform, but couldn't get her do any positions.

Had fun playing with the opening of the large dog individual course from AWC in classes today. The opening was fun because there were so many ways to handle it.  I may set up some of the small/medium challenges, but this was the only course from large dogs I had any interest in running.  I went smoothly, for the most part.  Bright magically could do tunnel pulls again this week - or maybe actually working on them last week helped.  I still liked serping that opening though, it was fun and easy ... with Bright, anyway.



I still struggle with the pull past to the backside move, so we played around with some different handling options there to see what we could change.  I think I found a way I like, but we'll see how it plays out.  Still working on solidifying cues, Bright is very good for this sort of thing, as she doesn't just make things up - if she's not doing it, my cue sucks or conflicts with something else.  Do apparently need to work on threadling into weaves ... but I already knew that from the JD seminar.  Would help if I just threadled and didn't try to do some weird overhandling front cross thing.

Excited for the UKI trial this week, it's so different than going to a normal trial!  To me it's what a trial should be - no titles, no double Qs, just here is a fun course, see what you can do - and not be there all day either.  Though I guess technically they do actually have titles and qualifications, but hey.  I believe half the courses are run inside, and half outside - so that will be interesting.  And this weekend it's Haku's turn!  We will live it up and enjoy the pinwheels to the fullest.  Haku and AKC are a good match.

Chickens continue to do well, though the Babies have decided to hang out on top of the coop.  Which I guess is better than on top of the food bin - but I don't want to scrape shit of the top of that either.  It was funny, chickens were out today and look outside and see these tiny chickens - I didn't remember the Babies being that small!  But it was a flock of quail hanging out with the chickens, then a flock of smaller birds were right next to them, the the starlings having been crazy flying around in the evenings - it was bird central.

Was a weird day for eggs, got my first 'rubber egg' where the shell is, well, all rubbery.  This one had burst, so there was just the blue rubber sac.  Luckily I had heard about this sort of thing so I wasn't alarmed.  However, there was a double yolk egg that was HUGE - I felt so bad for whoever laid it, that thing was brutal.  Sucks to be a chicken, laying eggs every day.  Still chickens are very happy, and actually friendlier now that Parker is here.  Parker really likes me so he follows me around, which means ALL the chickens follow me around - it's quite cute.  They were way less friendly when it was just Bob.  Parker rules.  Though his pretty tail feathers are all gone - molting or has someone actuallly been plucking his butt?

The Sexies continue to be the boldest chickens, and tonight I went to put everyone away - all the other chickens had put themselves up their roosts - the Sexies were still wandering the yard and were annoyed when I insisted they come in.  Very saucy chickens.

165 pounds of dog food, 6 cases of cat food, 75 pounds of cat litter, 20 assorted crackle and squeaky balls - my pet supply order came in.  It doesn't last as long as you might think. Reason # 8417 not to have a lot of animals - the crazy amount of food and supplies they go through.

So many dog nails



Used to be I had a set day every week that I did dog nails, it coincided with classes or trials - as I try to make sure nails aren't too long for contact equipment (though I'm not one to be a nail nazi, I think dogs have nails for a reason and they're not meant to be tiny nubs).  Then most everyone stopped doing agility, and Bright's nails don't grow super fast - and now the poor dogs just get randomly ambushed.  It starts innocently enough, like today, I see London scratching - next thing you know all the dogs have been brushed, trimmed and nails done.

It makes me happy though, Poco just ate a whole pig's ear after her nail trim - and finished before Fenwick and Brisbee.  Of course, then she pooed herself a little getting back up - but, hey.  Poco sometimes does not even know she's pooing these days - and what can you do?  She has her good times and bad, she's fragile and like petting a bag of bones.  She often slides down the stairs and can't really lie down or get up easily - so just spends a lot of time either staying down or pacing around.

Yet she's eating (though you wouldn't know it to look at her), continues to want to be involved with all the daily activities, always enjoys a treat, and is always the first out the door ... because she has no stay.  Poco is just really, really, really old - and sometimes it can be hard to see her like this - but I can't fix old, and she continues to say that she has things left to do in this life, and a little old age isn't going to stop her.  Will she make it to her theoretical 18th birthday next March?  It really wouldn't surprise me at all.

We were all out today and the new mailwoman drove up unexpectedly.  I can gather all the other dogs, but Poco ... well, she has no idea what is going on and seems to enjoy walking in front of cars.  I do wonder what that lady thought, seeing Poco - I really am not an animal abuser, she's just really old!  It doesn't help that Poco's eyes are so clear and she's not really 'grey' so much as faded.


Truckin along

In other news, Haku has yet another bizarre hole in one of his pads.  Like the other wound, it's just this small HOLE, how on earth is he doing this?  I assume it will be healed up by this weekend ... unless he gets another hole.  Mystery.  And Bright continues to be DUMPING hair. I am getting a little worried at this point, I know they're supposed to lose their coat, but she's gonig to have NOTHING LEFT.  She does have hair around her head and neck, but her body is down to nothing and she's quickly losing even the remnants of her tail and pant wisps. Naked Bright is kind of creeping me out.


So naked she probably should not go out in public - she might offend someone


Always naked, yet does not give off the same naked vibe


The easy to groom dog


Rock on, Poco!

Livestream mania

Heather should not drink Red Bull - but I'm certainly not tired at the moment, though still oddly paranoid.  Watched the small and large finals tonight, with a little nap through medium.  Large course was the best of the weekend.  Lisa and Hoss are crazy consistent 4 time world champions - they are something.  Jenny Damm certainly is all about pushing and super happy for Desiree and Pace, especially considering it appeared she hurt herself mid-course.  Some damn good agility, feeling inspired to work on those tunnel pulls.

Never actually watched the closing of AWC - apparently there are marching bands.  And a lot of them.

Oh, and I fell in love with this boy: http://www.bordercollie.hr/runo_pics.htm

I do like the croatian sheepdogs in general, but they often seem so stiff - this guy had a lot more flexibility. Naturally, he's neutered. They have his brother but does not have the flexibility.  Sigh.  Still, I would take this dog ;-)



They did have an accidental litter of croatian sheepdog x border collies that seem super fun and athletic.  If it ever accidentally happened again I would look into a puppy. ;-)

Oh, and Bright said she would like to have this dog's babies:

Flashback Saturday

I have most of my photos from the last 18 years or so on Flickr, and they get around. Apparently there are some sort foreign websites where you breed pretend dogs ... or something. I'm not entirely sure, but if I've ever taken your dogs photo, it's probably being used to make pretend internet puppies in some foreign country.  But it does often churn up some really adorable old photos - here is a vague selection from around 7 years ago:


Baby Fred!


A Fenwick that does not even look like a Fenwick!


Memories of giant group trips to Sauvie Island ... and the nude beach (and, look, it's Mr. B!)


I miss this Poco so much - she was such a badass, back in the day


Haku before his ears went up


Blaze and Nova, aussie-ing it up


Brisbee at Haag Lake - always off doing his own thing

So, yeah, tonight I'm out doing a bit of agility with the dogs, and all the dogs were out, but we were just doing little things ... and I had already had to ban Eva and Fenwick.  So I'm running a little sequence with Haku and suddenly there's Brisbee joining us, jumping 20 inches like a boss.  And he's developed this technique in his old age when he comes up and does box turns off my stomach.  And he's actually doing this MORE OFTEN with greater intensity more now that ever.  To say that I don't understand Brisbee is an understatement.

Also, easy to see why it was a no-brainer to retire Haku from agility.  I don't regret our little adventure we're having at the moment, but, yeah, definitely not going to happen often.  That jumping ... it's just so hard on him and so hard to run.  I think he's warmed up and ready for next weekend though, and I think he'll have a good time - but no delusions he can come back to agility, the jumping is really bad.

We continue to have fun in obedience - and we have a new direction with his go-outs.  The 'waist leash', even in the small amount that we've used it at his lesson, makes him dead straight - and he gained confidence in the behavior quickly, no longer worried about the leash.  However, took the leash off  and while he was BETTER, he definitely seemed to recognize the different from when the leash was on or off.  Keep in mind I onl y ever lightly nudged his butt back into line one time - other than that he just ... goes straight.  So now the goal is to order some lightweight ribbon and retrain the behavior with a new word.  He's been outrunning with our current cue for a year - it's time to start fresh.

Eva continues to like obedience lessons as well - now it's getting difficult to shut her up.  Her 'sit' work did not transfer out of the basement, and she was backing up instead, so now she thinks sit means back up.  So going back to that with her on a platform and we will just work ithe positions.  Her sit at heel problem was magically fixed, so just rewarding the heck out of sit still had a good effect.  Eva's Open behaviors all look better than Haku's though, which amuses me.  She has a better retrieve, drop on recall and broad jump.  Haku just has goofy things about all of those.  And this week was back to being weird on the retrieve - though not as bad as he was.  The thing about Haku is that he learns in a very round about way, very slowly.  You do not rush the Haku, he will get there eventually.

Bright is a super star, we worked on turns away on the aframe and she is awesome at it.  Rear crosses .... not so much.  Threadling to the inside obstacle - better!  Going on out of a straight tunnel with me far behind ... not so much - she can do one jump, then the BACKSIDE of the next jump.  Not helpful.  Let me say how much I am not taking her for granted after running Haku - the difference is insane.  I get so tense running Haku, even on one or two jumps, or the weaves or the aframe - EVERYTHING is hard for him in agility.  Then I run Bright and it's like ... wow, it's fun again!  And I can't tell you how much it amuses me that she looks so different without her bustle and all the hair.  She's like a gazelle.

SparklePuppies - 12 weeks!

Look, it's Larissa! I thought her ears would be similar to Star's, but they are doing their own adorable thing:





And Creed - I still don't know what the heck he's doing with that hair - and his 'new' hair doesn't seem curly at all.  He appears to have a crinkly smoothish front half and a light rough backhalf.  Creed is an original.




Look at that face!  Creed is refusing to have any ear adventures.

SO MUCH GINGER PUPPY.

More championships (and heat!)



Championships continues. I watched large individual jumping and small individual jumping last night.  Still was not impressed with the course in large, it was fine, but, eh, nothing that makes you wonder the best way to handle it, it was just getting through it.


Very few eliminations, mostly just random little things here and there, so that means almost everyone is still in it for the final.

Small was a much more fun course, and eliminations galore - I had to turn the sound off because it was pretty much the elimination music constantly. Very different to watch the small dog handlers, where it's more just about a foot race with your dog - and those are some fast little dogs.  Small dog handlers have hustle.  The weave entrance was killer, that's for sure.


This one I would like to run!

We're all just waiting for the last heat wave to pass us by this weekend- September just always has to rub it in that it's still summer.  Still, it's not the same as the soul crushing heat of August, it's finally time to enjoy going outside again.


Brisbee shows how happy he can be


Haku is always happy


The Bun is also known for his serious nature


Here Fenwick taunts Haku by licking the ball he stole from him (this makes Fenwick happy)


Bright showing off that she has the ball


Eva usually has the ball - so kudos to the other dogs for getting in there

Sunshine Kittens - 4 years

Was just thinking about how I have a whole trend towards ginger when it comes to baby animals being born in my house. Sunshine kittens will be 4 years old next month, which is nothing in the world of cats - but Sunshine kittens have had their share of tragedy. You'd think that kittens would be way easier to raise than puppies - but the whole thing ended up being quite the stressful experience as mama Sunshine was a crack addled bipolar simpleton that took horrible care of the kittens.  Which meant I got to pick up the slack - and that was not fun.  Things that should have been straightforward when mom does it become infinitely more complicated when Heather tries to fumble through it - and that was everything, from bottle feeding, stimulating elimination, teaching the to eat and to learn how to use the litterbox.  They were terrible at all of it.  As, I imagine, all kittens are - until they learn it.

So, yeah, our kittens did seem 'different' at 8 weeks, but it had been like 15 years since we had a kitten, I figured they would grow into normal kitten/cat behavior. Sunshine kittens are special.  Though, to be fair, I think the two we kept were the most simple - they looked the most like mom.  Ra certainly was not a stoned kitten, he attacked life head on.  As far as I can tell, other than Buddha and our two, the other kittens were relatively normal. Well, in personality.  Sunshine, who was probably 8 months when she had the kittens, passed away maybe 6 months after that - heart condition.  I'm assuming it's a condition she passed on to Ra, who also passed way too young.  In fact, last I heard, the only kittens I know are still here are ours and Buddha up in Alaska.  That litter had its share of issues, that's for sure - no one could have known.  I know Ra had a great life, and Sunshine and Pax were very happy in their homes in the time that they had - can't ask for more than that.

Isis and Dio continue to be a little more 'there' as they age, and it took three years, but Dio finally acknowledges that I exist.  The kittens are somewhat special and not altogether there, but we have really grown to love them for who they are.  And they're SUPER EASY, you have to give them that.  I'll admit I worry about their hearts, but as they don't really get worked up about ... anything, I figure that can only help.

I do think they've become more normal since we got Fizban, Neko never had much to do with the kittens, but I think Fizban showed them how to be a cat - god knows their mother never taught them.  I also think that Fizban takes advantage of them - it's really easy to do.  But I love that they get along so well.  I am definitely a cat person - they amuse me greatly.  Even stoned kittens.


Ginger!


Blue!


The whole crew - thank god at least some of them were different looking, hard enough to tell the tabbies apart as it was


Gah - kittens!


And this is why, simple or not, we kept kittens - I mean, look at them!  And after all that drama, we were damn well getting a cat out of the deal.


Mama Sunshine RIP

FCI World Championships (so far)


My livestream companions

The puppy room is now a great cozy tv room, so it was fun to watch some of the championships last night ... while taking naps in the recliner.  It's much easier to sleep down there without a bunch of loud puppies, let me say.

I watched Large team jumping on VOD, but didn't pay that close of attention, and it was hard to follow as the names were missing for most of it and no times.  That course was really ... boring.  I mean, I'm sure it was fun to run, and any course has its challenges - but there just weren't that many handling options and the challenges were very doable so there was very little variation from team to team.  A lot of fumbles came from taking things for granted ... just sort of like an AKC course.  I mean, it WAS sort of like an AKC course, with 270s, pinwheels and one backside.



There was some debate about the quality of the surface, and while I saw some slipping, I felt overall the dogs handled it pretty well and were moving pretty naturally. Even when a dog did slip, it LOOKED 'cushioned' at least. There was talk about the handlers 'beating' their dogs as proof the dogs weren't moving normally - but look at that course, it's just pinwheels, the handler is mostly just standing there waiting for the dog, other than the cute exit to the push there was no where for handlers to really hustle to.

I'm always struck at these sort of events how many poor jumping border collies there are - yes, they are an athletic breed, but good jumpers are hard to find.  Was interesting just to see how people either would or would not put an 'international' flair on running this rather straight forward course.  It certainly didn't require anything fancy, and in many cases I think a lot of dogs were given way too many turning cues on sequences that didn't really require it.  But then, it's team, but safe than sorry.  Reav and Tobias Wust had a lovely run, and won the class, I believe.

Then last night I watched medium jumpers, which was fun to see some different breeds and a more interesting course too (though still not super challenging, which I guess I was expecting).  One run that stuck out a lot was a pyrshep Brava - that was just a lovely, connected run from start to finish, beautifully trained dog, fabulous handler.  Fun to see how tightly some of those medium dogs can turn and accelerate.  I also way prefer to dog height to jump height ratio in medium.  So many dogs struggle to jump 26, but most of the medium dogs were obviously jumping at a height appropriate for them.



Sorry, small dogs, I then napped through small dogs and timed it pretty well to watch large team agility.



Once again, not a super complex course - again with an oddly AKC feel to it. And the table was just dumb. It was obviously very slick and then was mulfunctioning - so not a fan of the table, especially at this level.  Though I'll have to say, probably more faults at the table than any other obstacle, so what do I know.  Well, I know that you don't see it hardly ever in actual competition over there, so, once again, stupid choice to have it the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS.

I will say I felt that contact performance overall has improved.  Way more running aframes, to the point that watching someone stop was somewhat jarring.  And while there were more running dogwalks, mostly I was impressed with the amount of TRAINED stopped dogwalks - fast and driving independently. I assume that creepy contacts just don't get the job done anymore - thank god.

Then I went back to sleep, missing the medium dog finale - which was apparently very exciting as USA won!  There was a big controversy with a handler grabbing her dog though, and I'm just feeling really bad for her as I don't think it was meant be a correction at all, but truly just did not want the dog to hit the wing.  Yet the internet just went crazy judgemental saying the most horrible things about her. I don't know the woman personally, but I have only heard the nicest things about her and her relationship with her dog.  And now what should be a wonderful moment for both of them, winning the gold, is ruined by the horrible accusations.  And I get it, from the video you can't really tell what's going on and she does look disappointed and frazzled as she grabs her dog - and I'm sure she was, but I don't think she was physically correcting her dog.  Ah, the court of public opinion.

Planning to watch again tonight, very much enjoy seeing the many different styles of handling - and that French team really deserved that gold, holding to together through the pressure of being one of the last teams to run.  They had such a HUGE cheering section too!



Hoping that the individual courses will be way more interesting then they have been though.

Naked Bright

FCI championships this weekend, I'm signed up to watch, but kind of disappointed that they've now spread the large dogs over four days, so only one run a day for them.  Apparently FCI has been infected by USDAA-itis, where their big event just keeps getting longer and longer.

I still don't think there is one big event that I think of as a 'true' world championship.  FCI has their ridiculous pedigree requirements which really limits the depth of competition.  However, I do think they have the most stringent entry screenings, meaning that, for the most part, dogs that run there are truly some of the best from each country.  While events like the EO may have a lot of the same competition - but also a lot of dogs that are not on the same level, and of course almost every EO has been run in horrible wet muddy conditions which really defeats the purpose as it's not about skill, it's about staying upright.  Then the WAO is a really nice idea, but it's got all those silly games - it's hard to take it seriously.

Hoping to see some fun agility this weekend, love that they have a livestream at so many big events these days.  Will be interesting to see the courses as well.  It essentially has been two years since the last big FCI event, a lot can change in that time.

Tried to take some pictures to show how very naked Bright is - but it's incredibly hard to get her to actually stand up without looking like some sort of weirdly built vulture.


Wispy Bright


Fenwick causing trouble


Poco feeling better today!


Bright will never stand up straight


Did I mention that Fenwick was a troublemaker?


A spunky Brisbee


The old folks kicking up their heels

Babies growing up

I got to see video of both Creed and Larissa today - love seeing them grow!  And it happens so fast, puppies are not puppies for long. Sparklepuppies continue to impress me - and I'm not just saying that because they came out of my dog.  Really happy with how the puppies are turning out, so excited to see the dogs they grow into.  In some ways the time of puppies seem so long ago, but it's only been 4 weeks.

And it's only been a little over a week since Parker and Babies came home - and they are doing great.  I didn't want to jinx it, but the babies really do seem to have been accepted by the older girls.  I mean, they're not EQUALS, but everyone seems content.  And everyone LOVES Parker.  Wow, that boy just has girls all over him - and no wonder, he's a charmer.  And they listen to him and just love to be RIGHT next him, it's like he has his own entourage (especially the Pennies).  He's really nice to the girls, and they shamlessly take food from him and he never gets upset.  Bob had a lot of rules and a huge personal space bubble - Parker is a much more laidback guy. All the girls love Parker, that's for sure.

Why, Wubba and P-Diddy Puff Size were raised by their mama out in the world, and with the flock - and I'm thinking this may be why they blended so well with our crew.  They are bold, confident, but respecful - they speak good chicken.  I can only assume that when chickens are raised with other chickens, they just have better social skills.  And can I say how much I love having mix-breed chickens?  I'm so excited to see what they look like as adults - because I really don't have a clue!  They are Parker babies though, so they should be just fricken charming.  They are very friendly and approachable, which I find surprising as they weren't raised 'with people', but they will come right up to you.  And the dogs - cracks me up that chickens find my dogs to be so non-threatening.  Parker has quieted down, though Bruce doesn't seem to think so.

So much fun watching the chicken interactions, love my pet chickens.  SO MANY EGGS though.  Good lord.  I finally got some bacon though.  Eggs with everything!  And somehow eggs are better when they come out of blue shells.

Poco has had a few bad days, just really out of it, stiff and uncomfortable - not happy.  Yet, ate all her dinner tonight, and still takes herself for a walk around the field even when the rest of us were hanging out with chickens.  It is really tough to see her go through this, as was said recently - getting old is not for the faint of heart.


P Diddy Puff Size


White Wubba


Yellow Why


"Are you talking to me?"


The Sexies turned out BEAUTIFUL.  Though, let's be honest, all my chickens are beautiful.


Blending in


Nom nom nom


Feeling fancy free


I still have no idea what I'm doing with Puff Size - no rush, I suppose

Not quite

Defeated by my own course - Bright and I could not get through this today:



The problem being 16-21 - I couldn't beat her for the backside after the aframe going on the right, but if I went on the other side with a threadle rear, that put me too far behind to cue 21.  I was testing our threadle into tough tunnel discriminations - we need work.  And I think I CAN get to where I want to after the aframe, but it certainly didn't happen the first time.

And Haku ... is still very much Haku.  I would say his jumping is probably worse, but he was not worried about it, so Operation Bonus Trial is still on.

Treadmill fun

I am not a die hard about conditioning the dogs, but I find it a fun activity and it helps that it is also, theoretically, good for them.  Mostly it's just like a fun training game where we get to see, "Can my dog this?" and, if they can't, "How can I get my dog to do this?"  It helps that, for the most part, my dogs think this is a fabulous good time. Which is funny, really, it's EXTREMELY repetitive, can be nitpicky and precise and often very difficult and challenging (more so for some dogs than others!).  It's definitely not a high energy, run and be crazy activity - but they get SO EXCITED.

I do think part of the appeal is the super high rate reinforcement, that never really gets faded out.  At home I probably use hundreds of pieces of kibble of night, and it amazes me when we got to Bobbie's how many treats we end up going through. I was running out and having to borrow some, I have learned to bring a TON.  And, yes, I'm sure they could do with less - but, hey, why not? Finally, I can be the Pez dispenser I've always wanted to be.

So now we do have an excuse to train side legs on the dogs, which has been on the list, but it's not really a priority - as what are you going to use it for?  Well now I have a use for it!  And work on our back-up, which for some reason they always seem baffled when I ask them to back up outside of our basement.  Haku was the only dog that could walk backwards on the treadmill - and even then it sort of blew is mind.  Bright and London were like ... "Wha-?"

The treadmill amuses me greatly, and if they weren't so gosh darn expensive I might get one as you can do so many things isolating indivdual body movements.  Bright impressed me as we had just done a little introduction on her first visit, and today she was spinning, lying down and sitting and doing front feet sidepasses with it - go Brightness!  She was kind of being a bad dog, as she kept just wandering around and trying the equipment when it wasn't her turn.  And, naturally, I didn't stop her.  Bright quite honestly has no concept that rules apply to her - because she doesn't do NAUGHTY things, and I let her get away with it.  Spoiled princess.  Still, she was pretty darn confident with the whole place and everything we did, and actually got out of her stay to go visit with Bobbie, who she had be wary of, so that was cool.  Bright likes coming to play at Bobbies - makes me happy!

Haku and London were also their normal charming, much better behaved, selves.  Really, all the border collies are such naturally good dogs, they are so easy to take places, even in a big group. Having multiple border collies really isn't that harder than having one, really.

Looked at the forecast, another weekend in the mid-nineties this week.  I mean, seriously?  GIVE IT UP, SUMMER.  No one is impressed.  I can only hope THIS is the final death knell of summer and we can finally move on to better things.

Mission not accomplished



I got all ready to go to the obedience match this morning, but then decided not to go.  I have a whole list of excuses, including Haku's foot, too hot and too far - but it really comes down to there is nothing I really felt a burning need to 'test'.  Haku has already proven he can do novice, and while a good trainer would take the opportunity to just reward the basics - that was not enough to get me down there.  My plan was to do both a novice and open run - but we're still working on finishing the open behaviors.  He can do them, but they are not to the point where I could say he can do them at home perfectly - which means I don't really need to test them somewhere else yet.  Would have been good just to see what Eva thought about obedience in public - but no need to rush, she's no where near competing anyway.  So I stayed home - and it felt good.  But perhaps not what a good trainer would do.

But in other news, Eva is now sitting on a verbal only ... a good majority of the time, and her sit out of motion is coming along too.  That's right, we've TRAINED this week.  And she can still be weird sometimes, but not when we're working - only when I'm working with other dogs.  All the border collies can sit up and balance a sponge on their heads, which varying levels of tragic expressions.  Bright can lift all four legs individually, though it could still use some fine tuning.  Mostly because she just gets SO EXCITED, she really is feeling more silly in training recently, I'm enjoying it.  Haku has been doing articles again, using the pegboard - which is probably good. He CAN do articles, but when he gets charged up he just gets crazy about them, so this is a nice way to interupt when he tries to just grab everything and throw it around.  Did try it with Eva and she got weird and sad, so no need to push.

All the dogs have been working on their conditioning exercises - I've mentioned it before, but it just blows me away how everything is so easy for Fenwick at 14 years old.  Fenny was a born athlete, he came home at 5 months like a fricken acrobat - everything he does is easy.  Bright is similar, she never has to throw herself around or struggle, it's almost like doing nothing because it's so easy for her.  As opposed to London - who is very cute, and everything is hard for him.  But he tries very hard.

Bright continues to be getting SO NAKED.  She has ZERO undercoat, you can see straight to the skin and it's like petting straw.  I'm ready for her stop with the coat drop and get back to the soft fluffiness.  Though I'll admit I find it so novel to actually SEE Bright, who is SUPER TINY without all her hair.  There really is nothing to that girl.

Still, puppies were so worth it - Star came to visit today!  It's crazy how much the pups look like miniature dogs at this point.  I assume they'll go through an ugly stage at 4-5 months, but right now they're just mini-border collies.  Star still seems ITTY BITTY to me, but my size guessing skills have never been very accurate.  I do think it's funny when people get fixated on color with dogs - as you don't really notice it at all after the first few weeks.  People tend to be attracted to dogs that look like dogs they already have - because they love those dogs.  I certainly didn't like split faces before I got London - now I just find them adorable.  And red dogs were never my favorite as I like the black pigment - but having the SparkleGingers changed that for me - now I think they're adorale.  As long as they look like a Bright baby.

Mary gets to bring a towel with her when Star says hello - she's an excitement pee-er, and in no small way.  I'm sure she'll grow out of it, but right now she's ready to wee on everyone.  Ah, puppies.  Star is so excited to see everyone though, she is so sweet as she squeals in happiness.  Yet she has also retained her independence, if there is nothing going on she's just off on a mission, exploring EVERYTHING.  She is a fun girl, loves to play and I was so happy to see her and Bright find a new relationship today.  Poor Star didn't know what to do with Bright and would just throw herself down in front of her.  But by the end of the visit she was stalking and chasing Bright, and Bright was giving her the toy and licking her face - it was really cute.  I do think Bright is very aware that Star is her puppy, so it's good to see that they're figuring out how to relate to each other in a new way.  I know I'm biased, but Star is AWESOME, I'm so excited for her and Mary, they're having a great time together.  Though apparently Star has not made any friends with the shelties so far.  I don't think this has damaged her self esteem though.













Haku dock dives!

As Haku has always had his love of water, and was always happy to dive into the pools and lakes he's swam in, I assumed that he would really enjoy dock diving - and I was so right.  There is a just lovely facility up in Washington that we went to today, they had three nice docks on their own pond, all set up with the dock diving and jumping equipment.  Who knew?  Nice folks, apparently they just have open practices that anyone can go to - I wasn't sure what to expect, but had a wonderful time.  Not too many other folks there, we got plenty of time to try it out - and the weather was perfect, suddenly it was GOOD to be hot.  Still, they had a lot of shade around the docks and it wasn't too bad at all - a lovely day.

This was definitely Haku's idea of a good time, I'm really glad we went and I might try to go to their next practice the end of the month.  I don't think Haku is going to take the dock diving world by force - but he really likes it and had no issues jumping.  I tried London back in the day - he just couldn't do it.  He WANTED to, but he was just too darn sensible to jump off a dock.  Haku though, he thought this was fantastic fun.  I don't know for certain, but he probably jumped in the 12-14 foot range, and pretty consistent because he would check himself at the end of the dock before jumping.  He did get more comfortable after a few sessions.  I think with continued practice he would gain confidence, and we could work on getting him to look UP instead of down.  Not that I know the first thing about dock diving - I'm okay with that.

I put dock diving up there with barn hunt as a fun thing to go watch my dog do if it happens to be around - but not something I feel the need to actively pursue.  Still, it was fun and it was neat to watch the more experienced dogs doing the vertical leaps and a BIG mastiff type dog that had some amazing air.  Same with the other border collie that was there, he had LIFT!  Dogs and water are a wonderful combination - assuming they like the water.

Of course, Haku's foot is still not healed - but you never know until he walks on gravel.  It's just a small little thing, but it's not helping to be doing dock diving, I'm sure.  All this afternoon we snuggled and I put cream on his foot - we have no time for healing, we have fun things to do!  Tomorrow I do still plan to go to the obedience match, assuming Haku looks relatively okay.  Monday he has his conditioning lesson, then I really wanted to get him on some agility equipment on Tuesday to practice for that trial that his happening VERY SOON.  NO TIME FOR TINY CUTS ON PAWS.

Very much enjoying all the Haku time - I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I knid of love that boy.

Would be fun to take pictures with better lighting, but backlit with bright noon sunlight and dappled shade ... uh, well, it was a challenge.















Windy



Chickens definitely have their grusome side, which is part of what makes them so interesting.  Sort of like dogs could actually kill us if they wanted to - but we never think about that.  Well, hopefully we never have to.  Chickens can be cannibalistic, it's common for them to just start randomly eating each other - you'll wake up to a picked clean carcass and some very plump looking chickens.  Chickens have a lot of very strict social rules - most of which I don't know about, so it's just fascinating to watch them interact.  And they can be downright mean and violent ... if they want to be.



I tried to bring in some young chickens with my old chickens - and we did everything slowly and carefully.  Putting the new chickens in their own x-pen and letting everyone get to know each other through the barrier for a week, and then watching carefully when actually bringing them together.  And everything was fine ... until it wasn't, one morning it was obvious my chickens had been attacking the new girls, who they had SEEMED fine with.  Those young chickens went back to Paula and were rehabbed back to health - but I was too scared after that to try to add to my older chickens again.



One might think I was leading up to something grusome here - but so far no real issues with the new chickens.  Well, I must say, it helps if you're a rooster, then apparently you just get to walk right in and do whatever the hell you want and everyone likes you.  P-Diddy Puff Size hasn't gotten that reception though, too young maybe.  Though my old girls seemed to accept Parker right away when he was a little guy ...  Still, it's something I'm still very concerned about, the possibility of chickens getting nasty, but I don't know of anything I can really do to help make things easier.  Hopefully they'll figure it out without violence.



Today was a summer day I enjoyed, not too hot and windy, so it was so pleasant to hang out outside - and I couldn't resist letting the chickens join me.  Parker was a little alarmed by the dogs at first, but settled down and enjoyed hanging out with his new harem.  The Babies hung out mostly in the coop, but wandered a bit just outside.  I figured since they had been REALLY free range all their lives they would have the sense to come back in - and they did.

P-Diddy Puff Size continues to look very boy-like, I think he's going to look a lot like daddy Parker.  Baby Why (Yellow) continues to look very girly, and Baby Wubba (White) sometimes makes be a bit concerned with pointier tail feathers than Why, but I'm still assuming she's a girl.


Gossiping teenagers


P Diddy Puff Size already looking cocky


Doesn't even have to try to look cocky


Very girly Why


Hopefully girly Wubba


The eastereggers are just not pulling their weight


Hot stuff

September: The Brownest Month

Okay, so THIS weekend will hopefully be the last of the 95 degree weather. Surely. September - the ugliest month.  Everything is brown and dry and dead and just waiting for Fall. I'm not complaining, as our (hopefully last) heatwave didn't happen on class days, for once. Still, dock diving sounds like a great thing to do with Haku in this weather - but the obedience fun match the next day ... well, we shall see.

We do need some fun match time though, and I think it would be a great place to see how serious Eva is about the obedience thing.  Super fun to have her so back and into training this week, and she was happier than ever in our obedience lesson today. Suddenly I can actually see WORKING on things with the new and improved Eva - but that doesn't mean that she would find obedience in public fun.  Which is totally fine with me, I get it, not every dog will enjoy that atmosphere and I don't care if she ever competes.  But if it is something she seems to enjoy, then it would give us something to do together.

Plenty to work on in the world of obedience Eva.  For instance, she does not actually know what sit means.  Or stand.  She does know lie down though.  These are things an obedience dog should know.  She does, however, have a retrieve over the high jump - and took one repetition to figure out that she's supposed to jump no matter where the dumbbell lands.  Haku took forever to learn that concept.  Eva's homework is learning sit-down-stand, and out of motion.

Eva had lovely dead straight go-outs today, but Haku's were straight too!  I could not find my long line at home so I'll have to go buy something, so I hadn't had a chance to try out the waist leash.  Still, we worked on it again at his lesson and he never did outrun.  Took us a while to figure it out - just the logistics of it all - but he gained confidence and was very straight - but also not super fast.  What we need to do is just find a way to let him know I want straight - I just don't think he's ever had any clue that is what I was looking for.  Going to keep trying this idea.

Our other current nemesis, forging on left turns and inside turns, figured out that first he was curling to look at the food in my other hand.  I'm not sure why, as if I'm working at home I do the same thing - but put all food in my left hand, that helped a lot.  Next, just literally turning his head away from me before turning so I had a response if he started to crowd that was not nagging. I really like having something I can immediately do when he has that issue that lets him know what I want.  He really is a good boy, he tries very hard.  Well, except maybe on his fronts.  Another thing we worked on at home this week that obviously did not transfer.  Dork.  Okay, coming back over the jump for the retrieve, if he has to come over at a bag angle, I get that he can't adjust himself - this is just a jumping mechanics issue and I know he cannot change how he's going to take that jump.  Fixed the drop on recall ... except the front, where he was blatently crooked to keep an eye on his ball.  Oh, and all that sit to stand work we've been doing for conditioning?  Another thing that doesn't transfer, his kickback stand looks much improved in our basement, he can still be somewhat tucked (and therefore unstable) in an obedience context.  Hmph.

Sorry, no chicken pictures (as exciting as they are) - but it's not like they're changing much at this point.  Don't want to let them out into the world until they have a chance to settle in either, so it's not super exciting for them at the moment (though they did get grilled peaches!).  Hung out in the coop today though and it's interesting to watch the dynamics.  The Babies seem to be more comfortable, and, knock on wood, did not see them hanging out up on my food bin today.  I've seen them snuggled down together in a sun patch and more mixing with the other chickens.  They're bold, but very fast. The older girls will tell them to get lost, but I haven't seen any active aggression or chasing them down.  The Pennys RULE the coop - they feel the need to tell EVERYONE off.  I thought having less of them would chill them out since they didn't have a gang anymore - but, no, having less of them makes them feel the need to step up their game.  It appears to be worknig though.

Thankfully, Parker seems quieter today, and he seems more relaxed.  He does not seem to get upset with the other chickens when they come and steal a mealworm right from under him - Bob had a lot of rules, Parker does not seem to be overly strict.  I have only seen one act of chicken sex, actually.  Maybe he thinks these girls are too young to get too busy.

It was fun to sit in the coop with some mealworms and be swarmed with chickens.  Everyone, including Parker and the babies, are all quite friendly and comfortable coming right up to me - Prettier actually flew up onto my shoulder.  I do enjoy the chickens, they are fascinating.

MultiBaby continues to look a little more boyish, his tail is getting more curved.  Not entirely sure what I want to do about it - send him back to Heidi now, or wait and see how he turns out?  Maybe he WILL be the worldest quietest, sweetest rooster.  Because that sounds realistic. Right now I'm renaming him "P Diddy Mini".

Was cute to look back at 11 week old Bright.  It's so funny, at the time she wasn't my dog and I thought she was pretty cute in a girly way, but now I look at her and think she was ADORABLE. Bright and London were definitely dogs that had to grow on you until you really appreciated their quirks, then you can't imagine life without them.



Edit to add Bright at 12 weeks - ZOMG SO CUTE:

I truly don't remember her being this cute