Agility Eva

Well, as long as I'm dedicating to all the agility dogs I've loved before - let's not forget Eva.  Though, technically she never really 'did' agility - we never really had 'good' times, other than before we started jump training.

But wasn't she adorable?

She was about a year old here

And here she is at 3 ... once again without bars, she was so much fun!

Eva loved agility without bars! But even at just 4 inches, she struggled

And, yes, we spent 5 months doing this sort of thing:

And, at home, with perfect spacing and really controlling every aspect, she could look okay, but after 5 months of this, mostly what I taught Eva was to run around jumps - because it was too hard for her to be 'correct' and still jump.  But we tried.  Eva still does love agility ... without jumps.

I'm actually feeling much more at peace with the retiring of Haku and Eva these days.  I do sometimes feel wistful when I see the dogs that they started out with really hitting their prime and having so much fun.  I do think it would be super fun to have three agility dogs at the moment, all very different and amazing in their own ways - because I love agility.  But we got both dogs because we just really love them, so while I'm sad we couldn't do agility together, I wouldn't trade them for the world.  Now, the incontinence thing and resulting issues is a whole other story, but that's still a work in progress.

Missing agility Haku

Okay, more old video footage, it was really fun to look back at younger Haku video - especially of Haku and Bruce:

And Haku loved his T2B:

But, yeah, while his jumping was not horrible when I retired him, he was clearly deteriorating.  It wasn't fun to run him, and the fact that I didn't even want to watch the videos was my sign that I shouldn't be asking him to jump.  Sigh.  Though I'll admit I do think about letting him have a trial here and there, just for fun.  He'd probably very much enjoy getting to bark again.

Obedience Eva

Feeling encouraged about Miss Eva, though it might just be a phase.  I have a theory about her behavior, she got really weird when she was on a lot of hormones attempting to control her incontinence (none of which worked).  This is when she started slinking out of the room and hiding if I did any training (with any dog), when she had her impulse control issues where she wouldn't stay and if you tried to close a door or crate she would try to bite.  I had assumed once she was off the hormones she would return to her 'old self'.  This never happened, even though she hasn't been on any medication for quite some time.  I think because the behavior was associated with certain things, she just became wired to emotionally react that way whenever those situations came up.

The point being, taking her to obedience where she didn't have any previous emotional connections, it sort of let her 'reset' to a certain extent.  This is my theory, anyway.  Every week she gets more 'normal' at the lesson, though she still can get weird when working impulse control or anything that she hasn't seen before.  But not 'leave the room and hide' weird, like she does at home.  And that is the big thing, ever since she decided that she loved the balancing plank she has, for the most part, stayed in the room when I've been working with other dogs in the basement.  I also have been doing little conditioning things with her, and she has been enjoying it.

Nice to actually have Eva around again, though she has had phases before where she gets better and then goes back to the freaky hiding thing again.  I don't want to make it sound like her life is horrible, as she remains incredibly happy to be outside on the property, her weirdness is only inside or trying to do any training with her.  So we will see, but I am feeling encouraged at the moment.

Haku has just been high as a squealing kite for any sort of training lately.  I'm beginning to wonder what he's going to look like going back into the obedience ring this Fall.  My current plan is to take him to Bright's agility trials and start working with more distractions and new places. Calmly. And quietly.

Haku can be very good when his brain in engaged, and sloppy as hell when it's not.  Today we were doing broad jumps and he was high and goofy and super crooked on his fronts.  And Ellie brought out the gates to try to straighten him up and he could care less.  So finally I went got his ball and showed him what he could have - then suddenly his fronts were DEAD STRAIGHT.  I'm not saying this is true of all his obedience, but there are certainly things that he does know how do correctly, but if the brain isn't engaged, it's like he has no clue.  I suppose this sounds NORMAL for most dogs, but this is Haku, the 'good dog' - I find it surprising.

We did actually practice heeling inside circles this week - and he was perfect, at home.  At class he was terrible, crowding and forging and being a total dork.  Once again, once his brain was engaged, he could magically do it just fine.  I think this may be a case of me raising my expectations.  I obviously accept less sometimes.  Hmm.  Though thinking back, earlier in the summer I did feel like Haku was not as excited about obedience, for whatever reason.  Certainly no issue with that at the moment, but I can see where I would have settled for much less when I had less dog.

Did talk about the infamous go-out and my dissatisfaction on Haku's progress with the target.  Before giving up on the target we are going to try a big fat prop - a leash around his waist.  We did this for teaching him to drive in herding, and this is about the same thing - GO STRAIGHT.  If you start to flank, I'm going to control your butt to put you back on the line.  Now, this might be a big failure if Haku gets worried about it - and he wasn't sure with the long line we used in class tonight.  After one straightening he DID go straight, but was perplexed about the exercise.  So we shall see.  Haku really doesn't do ANYTHING in a straight line - so it's a hard habit to break.

Did one dumbbell retrieve and no issues - knock on wood, maybe we're making progress there!  Gloves continue to look really nice, AKC and UKC, though dyslexic me can never remember which glove is which.  Stand for exam is solid - I actually felt we're in a good pace, he's really enjoying himself, looking forward to getting back into actually practicing.  My list for this week:

- Go outs with waist leash
- Articles
- Outside heeling
- Drop on recall

And Eva looked good, her heeling continues to improve, her figure eight is lovely, nice stand for exam, she's figured out the broad jump, dumbbell retrieve is pretty good (need to work on her coming a bit closer on her fronts).  Not bad at all, assuming she continues to be happier working in places other than at home, maybe she can do a pre-novice trial at some point - but I really can't say anything about what she may or may not do.  I certainly wouldn't do anything that she didn't enjoy.

Oh, and Fizban is a platform jumping ROCKSTAR.  I should probably take some video because it's so damn cute.  And his fist bump has gotten a little too excited, as now it's a fist bump WITH CLAWS.  Ouch.

Get lost, Summer

My hope is today is the last we'll see of the 90+ degree days until next ... July.  It has been, quite possibly, the longest 'summer' I've ever had in Oregon in the 19 years I've lived here.  We often have a quite warm September too, so we shall see.  Nothing in the immediate forecast, anyway. September is what I consider the ugliest month in Oregon.  Everything is brown, shriveled and just waiting for the rain, which really doesn't start until October.  Still, the sun had gone down by 8pm today, Fall is coming.  Slowly, but it is there.

5 eggs from the chickens today - they, at least, are enjoying the weather.  Heck, I caught Prettier roosting up next to Bob on top of the coop tonight, the first I've seen any of the chickens actually want to hang out with him.  I'm thinking they might just miss little Bob.  Still, surely Parker will be nice to the girls.  Surely.

London kind of sucks at this move

May have had some help finding the rear pods

Expert balancer

Thinks these are kind of stupid

Turns into a total dork when the camera is around

Can find all the pods on his own - superstar!

Points for personality

Chickens and puppies and things

Another reason having a giant cat isn't real convenient - litterboxes.  Or, rather, allowing cats access to the litterboxes while keeping the dogs out.  We have three litterboxes throughout the house, so this is quite a feat.  When it was just tiny Sunshine kittens, I could leave a gap under a pet gate that kittens could comfortably get through and dogs could not.  Then we got Fizban, who is probably taller than Fenwick - and about athletic as a brick.  He's certainly not going to be jumping over anything, and the gap I have to leave for Fizban to comfortably get under the pet gates is large indeed (and most definitely Fenwick and Eva sized ... and Bright sized, as long as we're outing cat poo eaters).

So when I saw this pet gate it seemed like such a good idea:

However, apparently every dog in the household can fit through that tiny door, and they seem perplexed when I get annoyed at them for doing so.  Total pet gate fail.  Sigh.  Dogs can fit through surprisingly small gaps, let's just say that.

The big Rooster Swap is this weekend.  Bob is heading out and Parker is making his triumphant return.  With two Parker babies.  I'm not sure how this is going to work out, but I'm hoping for the best.  The good news is that I saw Bob banging a chicken today, so at least my girls won't be totally traumatized.  And, yes, it was rather amusing to see Bob trying his hardest - and most definitely required the girl chicken to really help a rooster out.  I now have 2 dozen eggs!  It's only been like a week and I'm already overrun with eggs.  Hopefully I can find some buyers, these girls are good producers.

I finally sat down to teach Bright to lift individual legs.  I thought this would be rather hard for her, considering her fixation of kung-fu - but she proved me wrong.  She was waving with both paws in no time and starting to lift back legs as well.   Bright is definitely one smart girl.  Fizban also gets a gold star, I stuck a jump between two footstools and was having Fizzy jump from platform to platform - and he could do it!  More agile than he seems. Refreshed paw pads with Haku, he did really well, can do all four without too much drama.  London can do front feet, didn't try for rear.  Bright tends to prefer putting both front feet on one pod, and she's so tiny she can do that.

Naked Bright amuses me greatly - she looks so different when you can actually see all those legs!

Speaking of tiny - look who grew some legs!  Little Star doing some restrained recalls:

Aren't they just adorable together?  And the barking - gah!

And look at this beefcake:

DareDevil seems MUCH BIGGER than Star!

Here he is with his VERY LARGE new brother

DareDevil apparently is one opinionated troublemaker piranha puppy.  I'm pretty sure he didn't get that from Bright. ;-)

Most definitely not a troublemaker - sort of the opposite, really

Way back when random video

Was looking for an old video and ran across this random video of Bright's mom Cherry circa 2009:

Cherry's brother London 2009:

Fenwick 2008:

Little known fact, Fenwick has a Teacup Agility Championship ;-):

Exceptionally rare Brisbee masters snooker video!

And random Nova!

Good to be back!

First time hiking since the whole puppysplosion - doggies were VERY happy.  I just took the young dogs (London is still considered young until he's in his teens!).  The dogs didn't miss a beat, and even found some water deep enough to swim in.  It was certainly warm enough, but Fall IS coming, no doubt about it.

Here are some crappy cellphone pics:

I'm getting excited for many reasons for Fall, and I even entered an AKC trial in September.  I'm hopeful as at least one of the judges appreciates the international course design, so maybe there will be something interesting - but I realize that might not happen, and I'm okay with it.  I'm just ready to go play again, and apparently Daisy is having like 3 or 4 UKI trials in October that I'm hoping to get to, so hopeful for fun courses ahead.  Also entered the USDAA trial, still need to get a last leg for Bright to get out of starters, but hopefully there will be some interesting masters challenge classes.

I did consider entering London in the AKC trial, but decided against it - but I am going to bring him to play at Heidi's this weekend, so we'll just keep playing on our terms.  Besides, damn but are trials expensive.  I suppose it's good I only have one agility dog.

Meanwhile, I think the world should know about Fizban's twin brother, "International Winner Supreme Grand Champion Cascade Mtn Blackhawk".  I mean, seriously - just look at all that name.  And as the boys look EXACTLY ALIKE, I think Fizban gets like an honorary championship right there.

Fizban doesn't need to go to cat shows - it's like he's already there.  Here he is winning "Best Cat" in show (or something like that) - which, yeah, obviously. Hawk is now retired, he's DONE IT ALL, he has nothing left to prove.  After I saw this, I went and brushed Fizban.

Have I mentioned how awesome Fizzy is?

The boys are back!

Not an actual picture from this weekend, but I'm sure looks VERY SIMILAR

Bruce and the BC boys had a good time at the beach - but then, isn't that kind of a given?  Beaches are made for dogs.  It was pretty weird not having the big white boys around, basically it was just All Fenwick, All the Time.  Haku and Fenwick are definitely the 'leaders' with the dogs, they bring the action.  Coincidentally, they are also the loudest.  Though London is a close third.  Really, we only have one non-barking dog, and that's Brisbee.  He's not really a dog though, he's a space alien.

It was rather amusing, Bruce bought Brisbee some stairs to help him get on and off his bed, which is pretty high.  Brisbee has had some off and on front end lameness, and I didn't like seeing Brisbee jumping off the bed at that height anymore.  Naturally, Brisbee thought the stairs were stupid.  Well, beyond stupid, he found them incomprehensible, he literally did not know how to use them.  I did get him to finally do it, after much coaxing and a stick of string cheese, but I'm not feeling optimistic he's actually going to use them unless someone insists.  But, hey, we tried - if he really is feeling sore, hopefully he will realize he has an option.

Some serious SparklePuppy cuteness stolen from FB today (10 weeks old tomorrow!):

Star the Sheltie wannabe and Mary (photo by Joe Camp)

Creed and big brother Vette - I mean, seriously, that's just criminal it's so cute

The riders and the non-riders

I taught Bright to skateboard last year.  You know those bulldogs that gleefully ride their skateboards around, obviously loving the speed and exhilaration?  Well, that was not Bright.  Which I suppose should not be a huge surprise.  Bright is not necessarily motion sensitive - she's just not stupid.  Smart dogs are cautious when things move under their feet, because in real life, you might die.

Bright never actually had any issue with the teeter motion, because of how we introduced it, which was she was in total control the whole time, starting with just slamming it with her front feet (which we taught first as a totally different behavior).  She knew what to expect, she recognized that this was a fixed event and that it was supposed to move.  I never have had any worry about Bright flying off the teeter, Bright KNOWS what a teeter is - she is very aware of how it looks different than the dogwalk.  Bright pays attention to things like this. Unlike Haku, who took like a YEAR to figure it out.

So, yeah, Bright can technically 'skateboard', where she very methodically and carefully pushes the skateboard ahead with tiny little mincing steps.  It's about as exhilarating as brushing your teeth, but that is the speed at which Bright wants to skateboard.  Eva, on the other hand, would most definitely love to ride a skateboard down steep hills and over jumps.  Eva thinks balancing and speed is where it's at!  Fenwick too would love to feel the wind in his hair.

It was very funny then, I set up a conditioning exercise which is a plank about 2 feet by 3 feet balanced on a fitbone and a bosu ball.  We had done this in our lesson with Bobbie this week and all the dogs were surprisingly shitty at it.  And Bright had been pretty tentative at the lesson, but I thought it was just the new place.  But no, at home she was equally suspicious, and it was incredibly hard to work on it with her because Eva and Fenwick WOULD NOT STAY OFF OF IT.  As soon as I would turn around they were on that thing in a flash.  I have no idea why it's so exciting, it doesn't really move much at all, just enough to get the dogs to balance.  And Eva normally is hiding behind the dryer for this sort of thing - but the magical 'plank on some shit' apparently is enough to lure her out. And Bright finally decided it was trustworthy, all I can think is that she thought it might be a giant skateboard.

Meanwhile, I had this kids tunnel I never actually used with the puppies and I've been having great fun training Fizban again.  Went back and freeshaped the jump so he can send to it (well, more than he was, I didn't say I was training him WELL), and he loves the tunnel.  Then we started working on balancing on a wobble board and went back and cleaned up his high-five and fist bump.  Have I mentioned how much I adore my Fizzy?  Kittens like to help, but they are not interested in learning much new - Dio loves to jump though.  Isis thinks it's all stupid and she'll just wait and jump on everyone's else's treats.  My plan is to work up to a little agility sequence with a wobble board, tunnel, jumps, a table with a fist bump and possibly hopping from platform to platform.  Not sure Fizban can do that though, he is not one of Nature's Athletes.

FOUR eggs today from the chickens - and the eggs are getting bigger.  We're up to 14 now!

The Penny Challenge

So back to this course, Penny wanted to see 10-13 with staying on the inside, which I took as a personal challenge to actually GET there for the pushes.  My original plan had Bright wrapping to the outside on 10 because it let me hang back, do less turning and running and, theoretically, get more ahead.  However, it's a shitty line as you then have to serp 11 to get the backside of 12.  We COULD do it, eventually, but it involved me really hanging back in the weaves and that's never good for Bright if there is a lot of me standing around.  Still, we did do it, but I don't think without knocking bars.

Plan B was wrapping to the inside at 10, by pushing out of the weaves, or blind/front crossing at the end of the poles - and they all worked much better in the long run as long as I sent and got out of there.  The lesson being, I can get there, if I actually trust Bright to send and move it.  Plan C was a threadle rear on 13, which I think was more of save your ass maneuver if you're not going to make it.  Sometimes it's good to practice safe your ass moves.

Also interesting to try a couple other methods for the opening, which was taken from a course at the EO.  I did forget to try one option, was a blind into the weaves.  I can't say which was faster, but, knowing Bright, they were all probably all about the same, but the ones where I'm moving more are a little faster overall.

I may possibly need to trim the Japenese Maple, though I think it adds a festive, nature feel to the agility

We may or may not have fixed Bright's weird issue where she keeps entering wrong on extreme soft sided entries - that one keeps popping up with her lately.  But I swear it was like a lightbulb came on recently.  Still very much need to work on weave entries with her in general.  We did actually do some dogwalk work though!  And she was suspiciously perfect.  Which isn't bad, but I think what she needs is new dogwalks, she acted completely different on the one at the Justine seminar like she had no clue what I wanted at all.  Still, nothing like a session of 100% in your own yard to make you  feel confident it will come together eventually.

I was recently crushed to learn that the US is now requiring rabies vaccination for importing puppies from other countries.  So the youngest you can import is 4 months now ... unless they're coming from a country without rabies.  I may have a glimmer of a plan to import a puppy in a few years from such a country.  Maybe.  Possibly.  We shall see.  Still, sucks if you want a puppy from Canada.

Bruce and the BC boys are out at the beach this weekend, I'm staying at home with the golden oldies.

A baby Bun at his first trip to the beach ... over 10 years ago.  Crazy.

Training in the ring

I'm not one of the legion of folks that wants to see training in the ring in agility.  I mean, technically you CAN train in the ring, you can praise the heck out of your dog, you can run right out in the middle of your run after they do something fantastic and go straight to a toy or treat right outside the ring.  I mean, there is very little that you can't do that's positive already in the ring.

When I hear 'training in the ring', it's usually not because people want to 'reward more' - they want to 'correct' things. Start lines, contacts, weaves.  Which, I may point out, you CAN technically 'correct' these in the ring too - by actually having criteria and not just going on when your dog breaks said startline or contact.  Now, I for one was THRILLED when AKC implemented their 'three tries' at the weavepoles rule. People were not just sitting there repeating the weaves over and over and over - teaching nothing, taking up huge amounts of time and seriously stressing and demotivating their dogs.  Now, imagine an AKC trial where people can now do things over and over again - only it's not just the weaves, it's EVERYTHING.  Can you imagine how long and painful days would become as people 'corrected' contacts, weaves, startlines, sequences - ZOMG, it's like my agility nightmare.

So, no, I don't want to see training in the ring - in any venue.  Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I do think that trials should be where people actually 'test' their training.  And if it doesn't work - then go home, TRAIN the behaviors, PROOF them in other locations, and THEN trial again.  Not just keep trialing and hope it magically fixes itself.  And, come on, this is AGILITY, there is hardly another dog sport out there that is already so easy to immediately mark and reward your dog while doing it, or stop and run out to get their reward mid-course.  I mean, seriously, it's not like this is obedience where you can't even say, "Good dog" or you're out there for 5 minutes - it's 30 seconds of running around having a party with your dog, really.

Agility/Obedience/Seminar schedule

September 28th: Nancy Gyes seminar (Masters Jumping) with Bright

October 4-5: USDAA Ridgefield with Bright

October 25-26: AKC Obedience Ridgefield with Haku

October (asst):  UKI at Daisy's?

October 13 (Sun): Obedience match (ETK9 Portland)

November 1-2: UKC Obedience Sherwood with Haku

November 9-10: USDAA Elma with Bright?

November 14-15:  UKI US Open in North Carolina?

December 6-7: USDAA Corvallis with Bright?

December 6-7:  Denise Fenzi seminar (dogdays WA)?

January 23-25: ClickerExpo Portland with Haku

Poco shows off

Bright's puppies were never, technically, weaned. Apparently a lot of breeders wean puppies - separating out the mom, fasting her to dry up her milk, making sure the puppies don't nurse using shirts and management. I'll admit I'm not entirely sure why.  I was actually expecting Bright to wean her own puppies about 5 weeks.  I kept hearing about how sharp puppy teeth would lead to moms wanting to nurse less, and eventually telling the puppies no.  As Bright was not super obsessive about the mom thing, I did assume she'd be happy to move on - but that never happened.  Bright nursed her puppies more frequently as they got older, not less.  Yet she also had much less milk, and was pretty much flat chested by 8 weeks - though the puppies were obviously still getting something.  So, yeah, I'll admit I'm still pretty much at sea about the forced weaning thing, assuming the puppies are eating normal food otherwise.  Seems like nature pretty much has this whole puppy thing under control, I don't feel like humans are really adding anything to equation.

Big day in the chicken coop, THREE eggs - including our first green egg!  Even the eastereggers are getting in on the laying frenzy, apparently.  They had the tiniest egg:

So all three breeds have laid at least one egg - there are more Penny eggs than others, naturally.  8 eggs in total so far, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with all these eggs once they really get going.  But they will be PRETTY rainbow colored eggs.

Today was a GREAT day for Poco, and why whenever I see her now I feel like quoting Terry Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax, 'I aten't dead'.  Some days she's just still so totally badass.  Like today when she's barking and bouncing around and chasing the ball and chasing Fenwick and just being ... well, Poco - but how she used to be.  She's still got it - some days, anyway..  And she worries the heck out of me, but she's eating, playing and getting around - and better than she was.  Whenever I think it might be time, she just rebounds and blows me away.  And when she looks good, she looks very good.  Poco is just amazing, and I love her so much.  Been feeling sentimental about all the dogs recently, they really are just perfect for who they are, if that makes sense.  Sometimes it can be easy to forget that, when Fenwick is howling and stealing food off the counter and things of that nature - but if he didn't do these things, he wouldn't be Fenwick.  Perfect for who they all are, really.

"Witches are not by nature gregarious, at least with other witches, and they certainly don't have leaders. Granny Weatherwax was the most highly-regarded of the leaders they didn't have."

Eva is experimenting with a new form of performance art

Best friends forever

Rolled in blackberries today - now he's technicolor Brisbee

Fenwick still leading the way - always in charge. Always.

A beautiful Bun

She may not look graceful - but she can still run!

Things other than puppies

Yesterday was my first day where I wasn't still dealing with puppy aftermath and getting everything back into order and on schedule.  And I had thought it would be a lovely day for a hike.  But instead I did feel sort of sad and mopey instead.  Just give me a week of not having to clean up or manage puppies and I DO miss them.  Sniff.  Still, sounds like everyone is doing really well in their new homes, can't complain.

Anne and Linda came over last night to break my funk (well, that wasn't their INTENTION, but it worked) and we played some agility.  I sure do like agility.  And, lord, am I slow after all this sitting around watching puppies grow.  My original plan for this course didn't work AT ALL:

Which was all about being ahead on the left 10-13 - ha!  I also had this grand vision that I would be able to rear cross the take off side of 6-7, because LONDON would rear cross into that tunnel.  Bright, of course, only rear crossed into the close side - because she's Bright, and actually follows what my body says, not what's right in front of her.

My eventual solution.  Which just goes to show, never assume you can outrun Bright.

Then I thought Bright would get a kick out of running the field with Anne and Linda's border collies, all boys of young and dorky up to mature.  Now here I can see a different Bright than before she had puppies - she was MUCH more assertive and bitchy.  She was being a total bitch to the poor boys that weren't doing anything but attempting to politely return her backside sniff.  And since they are GOOD boys, they all were like, 'Hey girl, whatever you want, just relax!'  And Bright went from chasing them around to feeling too superior and mature to run with a bunch of dorky boys.  She would rather go out of her way to discipline them for whatever. Oh yes, the bitchness has really started to bloom with Bright.  Strangely, she's actually BETTER with Poco since the puppies, she doesn't feel the need to pointlessly posture at Poco.  She's saving it up for dogs that will be more responsive, apparently.

Took Bright for her first session at the rehab place with Bobbie today, along with the boys.  My fear is that Bright would think she was at the vet and totally freak out - but luckily that didn't seem to occur to her.  She was cautious, but wanting to play, so I think this will be something she enjoys.  Heck, she even did the treadmill, just some easy stuff - but one can never tell what might bring on the drama - but apparently not something moving under her feet.

Now, if you want to see something really funny, you should see London on the treadmill.  Keep in mind he's not worried about it, does pretty good with individual exercises - but just WALKING on the treadmill he has got into his head that he has to do the weirdest things.  And we tried to see if speeding it up could get him to stop moving like such a spaz and it was HILARIOUS.  London is a total dweeb about the treadmill.  Haku did very well, moved into a trot and held it for a couple minutes without an issue.  London is the one I want to really use the treadmill though, more for the specific exercises though, so I'm okay if he never just plain trots on it.  We will keep working on it, and getting back into the swing of things with our conditioning playground in the basement.  Where Fenwick rules at everything - and you can't get him off of anything.

Meanwhile, I've been taking both Haku and Eva to obedience, which has worked out surprisingly well.  First they are able to wait for their turns without turning into rabid hyenas, and are even mostly quiet.  Second, Eva actually enjoys training outside of the house, so I can actually do something with her - which is very novel.  She was a little goofy the first couple weeks, but then settled down and was actually doing, well, obedience.  Except for stays.  Then sad, sad stafford comes back.  It was funny, never did go-outs with her - so introduced going to a baited target.  SHE GOES IN A STRAIGHT LINE.  Holy shit it would be so easy to teach this to EVA.  Haku, in the meantime, still outruns like a motherfucker and really has no clue.  I've been pretty open about the whole target method, but it's been a YEAR and he still cant go in a straight line.  It may be time to move to a different method.

As for Haku, he's DEFINITELY goofier with Eva around at obedience, and with TWO other dogs at conditioning today he was a total spaz.  But good to work through.  I think there is an AKC obedience trial in October we'll try to enter to finish his novice title, and a UKC trial in November to finish that one as well.  Hopefully.  In the meantime, goofy Haku has about a 3 second delay on his drop on recall, forges and crowds, has super sideways fronts on broad jumps - and we've already discussed the go-out.  Still, his gloves were spot on, stand for exam is much improved with all the sit to stand work we've been doing, and his retrieve on the flat and over high were spot on - no weirdness!  We just did one rep of each, but no issues with pick-up.  We will get back into practicing!

Tomorrow we'll get out for that hike - time to start getting back into pre-puppy routines.  As for agility, I don't have any burning desires to trial, especially with AKC.  Currently the only trials on my schedule are the next UKI trial in September and the USDAA trial in October.  Don't think there are really any other local non-AKC options. We have a seminar in September ... ugh, which I just saw is the same day as the UKI trial.  Sigh.

Fizban says this crate is just the right size for him

ClickerExpo - Portland

I went ahead and took the plunge and registered for the ClickerExpo in January.  I did it before I could talk myself out of it.

The thing is, while I do consider myself a 'clicker trainer' in general, for the most part when I hear the term 'clicker trainer' at this point I assume they're going to be someone that has a ton of theory about teaching dogs - and almost zero actual practical application of that theory.  "Clicker trainers' in general these days tend to spend so much time working on righteous superiority that they never actually seem to DO anything to any high level of training.  More than probably any other 'type' of trainer I feel the're most likely to be so busy training the scientific theory that they lose sight of the dog right in front of them. Most highly effective trainers that I admire are most definitely 'positive' trainers, but they don't refer to themselves as 'clicker trainers' at this point, and in some cases, don't use a clicker or shaping at all.  There are definitely some trainers at this event that I've been curious about and look forward to seeing what they have to say.

Then just the whole 'Karen Pryor Academy' has continually pissed me off for years because they WON'T STOP SENDING ME SHIT.  Somehow I have them sending me constant spam to MULTIPLE ADDRESSES.  And then I ordered some stuff and ended up with issues - anyway, they just seem ... cheesy and trying their best to be SUPER IMPORTANT.  It's like SG and all that with the marketing, seriously turns me off.

I also use way less shaping than I used to - mostly just because the border collies are not into it like the other dogs.  Normal dogs think it's SO MUCH FUN.  My border collies think it's mostly a waste of time, just want to be told flat out what I want and that food is pretty stupid in general.  They do humor me though.

That said, I always enjoy learning new things and it's been a long time since I've felt I've seen anything 'new', so I'm hoping this will broaden my horizons, so to speak.  I am prepared to be non-judgmental and open to new or different information.  This may take some practice, but I have six months to work up to it.

I signed up for three days and two labs with working spots.  My assumption is that I will bring Haku, and definitely for the 'obedience' lab.  Assuming I don't change my mind as to what I want to do, I didn't put a lot of deep thought into it before registering.  I was too busy being open minded.

I do hope it will be worthwhile and interesting!

Fenwick would have rocked anything with a clicker!

Egg drama

Whew, house is steamcleaned!  I am now taking bets on the first animal to make it all seem like a pointless exercise.

In other news, WILD RUCKUS in the chicken coop today.  Someone has started an egg laying frenzy, and there were TWO tiny eggs when I went out to check to make sure no one was dying.  Light brown and dark brown!  Then both of the Pretties were acting really weird and constantly vocalizing and sounding disturbed.  So either, a) they've been swept up in the excitement of egg fever, or b) they're disturbed that the other chickens are laying eggs and not them (my understanding is that eastereggers often take longer to start laying), or c) they're about to join in the egg laying frenzy, or d) there is something hideously wrong with them and they're going to die. Obviously I hope it's not option D.

Definitely a lot of chicken drama, and when you think of it - can you blame them?  They have to give birth every day, and the first time has got to be disturbing on so many levels.

"No, it's just a myth - surely it won't happen to us!"

Should be thinking the ladies are looking much more sexy these days

Acting the weirdest


Pennies are the cutest

Full of eggs

9 weeks!

Happy 9 week birthday to the SparklePuppies!  Bruce wants to know when Star is coming to visit. ;-)

I celebrated by finishing cleaning and putting away all the puppy stuff ... until next time.

An egg!

Really nice to just relax and hang out with the whole crew again.  The days are getting shorter, we're officially past what is usually the hottest part of the year, Fall is coming and it makes me happy.  Classes are starting again soon, I feel like I've been gone forever, so many things I want to set up.  We can go hiking again!  Very much looking forward to getting back into everything again.

And look what surprise I found today:

Our first tiny egg - and in the nesting box too!  My chickens are obviously very advanced.

And look who finally grew out a wobbly comb to match her sister!  Maybe she was a little younger than Sexy so it took longer?  But, truly, she had no comb at all and then grew this floppy thing literally over the weekend.  Chickens are growing up!

Chickens love the blackberries - and we have SO MANY.  If anyone needs some blackberries, feel free to come pick some. Our feral blackberry patch is IMMENSE.

I think it's been DAYS since I mentioned how much I adore Haku

Fenwick was all about stealing the toy today - he is just as badass as ever


Usually has the toy, but even Eva gets tired, sometimes

New less hairy Bright is a whole new level of wispy - you forget there is nothing to her under that hair (still has her bustle though)

London vs the field


JAG has been having little UKI trials up at Barb's (everything k-9), mostly just Master's Series and Speedstakes (and jumpers today).  I really have wanted to go, as how perfect is that?  So we finally got to go to one today and had a great time despite the HUMIDITY.  SO MUCH HUMID.  But luckily it's just a small trial of limited classes, we were done by noon.  I do very much hope that they start to get more popular and become a regular thing as it's just what I want in agility.  Small trial, fun courses, run a few times and head home.  They're having another trial in September, I hope to go.

Bright was funny today, this was a small trial, not super high energy in environment, but Bright found this was more exciting - she was barking!  She was running around tunnels and past jumps, it was really funny.  The last run she barked in the weaves, over jumps, things she has never done before.  I LOVE barking (in case I haven't mentioned it) - if only I can figure out why exactly she found this trial to be THAT EXCITING.  I think she may just have a girl crush on Kona.

Fun to run happy, barking Bright even if she was being a goofy, though she was still really good - because she's Bright and that's her thing.  She did make some money and is qualified for the Masters Series in the US Open - though I'm not thinking we're going at this point.  We were thinking about it, but that was before taking most of the year off for puppies.  We had fun at the trial though, I can't say how tickled it made me to hear the barking - I have a weakness for it, I'll admit.

We still need to get back to contact and weave training, along with everything else, but having these trials gives us something to work for.

Master's Series:

Fun courses by Barb:

Puppy update

Very happy to hear that puppies are settling into their new homes.  Here, let me shamelessly steal photos from FB:

Glow is now "Daredevil" with Laura Pryse and Karen Moureaux in California.  I hear that he's done some teeters.  He may or may not be the 3rd puppy of the litter has already accidentally done the teeter.  That I know about.

Twinkle is now "Star" with Mary Martin in Oregon - she's up to 8 pounds!  I hear the shelties have been doing a good job of teaching her to bark (notice the teeter lurking in the background).

Brilliant is now "Creed" with Sangie Brooks in Texas.  He apparently has no lack of self esteem, here he is making himself right at home with his uncle.

Glitter is now "Larissa" with Daniel Francisco in Mexico.  She's still settling in but sounds like she's making herself at home and enjoying lots of playing.

I always enjoy hearing how the puppies are doing (hint-hint).  Hopefully I'll get to see a lot of them as they grow.

Meanwhile, today was just bizarre, wasn't quite sure what to do with myself.  I did finally start putting away all the puppy stuff.  There is a LOT of it.  I am going to make the nursery into a little movie room though, it's rather cozy down there, if I do say so myself.  Like my own little dorm room in my own house.  Truly, I decorated that room in my REAL taste - which is not good taste at all, at least in a grown up sense.  And I love it, it makes me so happy down there.

Most of the stuff I got for the puppies I tried to make sure it could be re-purposed for other things, as puppies are only here for such a limited time.  So things just need to be cleaned and packed away or reorganized elsewhere.  Dogs were not helping, they had great fun destroying all the puppy toys or scattering my neat piles of things to the four corners of the basement.  London ATE the sled.  WTF?  Such a troublemaker.  I'm sensing he may have been feeling neglected lately.

It is odd to suddenly not have the puppies around, but I'm not sad, I'm actually thrilled where they ended up.  Have I mentioned they are pretty much all sorts of awesome?  Sparklepuppies for the win!