So many birthdays

Summer of birthdays is coming up, as the majority of my dogs were born in the summer. Brisbee turned 15 this month, Bright turns 5 in June, Haku 7 in July, Fenwick 16 in August. Sparklepuppies are 2 years old in June, as is Dragon. I suppose it's always someone's birthday, but as I'm a great 'rounder-up' of ages, I've long since adjusted to everyone's new ages in my head.

The Haku one does sort of throw me though, six is nothing but a baby, but seven somehow seems way older somehow. At least most definitely mature. Is Haku mature? Have I mentioned how much I just adore that boy? I don't think I'll even have a dog that loves me as much. I feel so lucky to have him in my life, we are just perfect together. Even training these days, we understand each other. I don't expect Haku to learn in a linear fashion, and Haku is way better with not worrying so much about being wrong. We have fun, and that's all it should be.

Haku did have some magical leaps of comprehension in his group class today. I never expect it, but it oftens does happen when Haku just arrives at being trained despite not ever seeming close to that point. We had been working a bit with his new go-out training, but in the basement adding distance or changing the location of the ring gates he just wasn't getting it at all. Today though, he did great, was driving across the whole building and calmly waiting with his head on the gates. Go figure.

I expect after his rehab appointment our list of activities will be quite short, but hoping we can still play with some obedience - Haku needs mental work or he goes kind of crazy. Today we worked articles with Cindy laying in the middle of the pile - that blew Haku's little mind, but he figured it out! This has been a great class for Haku, and expecting more from him does actually have a positive effect for both of us, I think. Though there was a puppy in class today and, OMG, Haku was ENTRANCED. Admittedly, it was damn cute and interactive puppy - but it cracked me up how obsessed Haku was about this puppy. Sorry, Haku, PROBABLY not going to get you a terv puppy. But then, you never know, they are not totally off the table either. They fall into the 'if the right puppy fell into my lap' catagory of dogs.

Navarre in puppy class today, on the sequence we introduced yesterday:

Always makes us look good when we have a chance to practice the day before. Now, I COULD show video of the second half of the course, which we DIDN'T practice - but it did not go as well. This is twice now that he's starting running around the OUTSIDE of a jump in a sequence, and he just gets stuck in that pattern - no idea what's up with that, both times have happened in class in this same corner. The last time it happened when I went back to work on the issue again, he never ran around the jump again. I did not try again with this sequence, but it is a puzzling behavior. And then I learned that my fancy reverse spin onto the dogwalk meant nothing, as I couldn't get him NOT to take the dogwalk when I wanted him to go into the tunnel. Things to work on, I'm so used to him having such good tunnel commitment - ha!

I've got to spend a lot more time the last couple weeks working with Griffon, my little borrowed agility papillon. We're getting a little more comfortable with each other, though he still wants to bring the toy back to his mom and not me. I can usually persaude him though ... eventually. He's actually quite happy to run with me, and I think with more practice he'll trust me more. SUPER fun little guy, hoping to make his agility debut in September - he'll be turning 2 then. Love him! Though maybe not his peeing all over himself thing. Ew. Need to teach him to come put his leash on without being picked up. ;-)

Linear learner

Navarre is such a linear, honest learner than I don't know what to do with him sometimes. Training is THEORETICALLY just bulding on each session in a progressive way - but how often does that actually happen? But Navarre just systematically learns things, and then just ... does them. And, yes, when he's actually 'learning' he's slow and thoughtful, but he really is just packing that information away for later. Just keep waiting for his big 'issue', but it hasn't arrived yet. Well, unless you count that Navarre is not going to anything that he doesn't want to do.

Today Navarre magically figured out soft sided entries. I mean, he had a basic understanding, and was pretty good at easier angles, but didn't recognize it from more severe angles. Until today, where he magically understood it, even though we hadn't worked on it. Navarre likes weaves! We still need entrance proofing, especially with speed, but our next big project is exits. Which we've KIND of done, because he just magically stays in right now, but want to work pushing past the exit, running against his motion, rear crosses, etc. The plan is to really proof the heck out of the open channels so that all we'll have left to do is actually train the weaving part.

Contiuning his handling homework, he's very, well, thoughtful about it. I really thought this whole turning out of tunnels thing was going to be a huge issue - but after he was introduced to the concept, if he has enough information, he just ... does it. Working at 12 inches his collection doesn't look too bad, but he's not really driving at this point. In some ways I want to work on that, but I also know that's how he learns.

Teeter looks GREAT, worked on some distance and independence in a sequence today, he came off once, but after that was fabulous. Just a really comfortable, solid behavior. Dogwalk also feels very comfortable, but not really seeking obstacles afterwards. Which can be good and bad. Did his first tunnel/dogwalk discrimination today - which seemed to go fine ... but maybe he would have taken the dogwalk no matter what. ;-) Tried a couple times to get him to carry out to an offset jump after that, but no luck. Actually handling the dogwalk needs work, and should start proofing his 2o/2o behavior separately again. Sends look great, commitment looks great, waiting on the table ... not as good today. But not as bad as Bright, where I had to go put her ass back on it constantly.

Bright ... oh, she is feral. You'd think the exercise that Navarre did so well with, coming out of a tunnel and threadling, would be easy for Bright. Ha! Once again, it's like she doesn't even notice. We have a seminar VERY SOON, which should be very humbling. But maybe get us back into sync. There is no doubt that Bright is very, VERY happy. Wheeee, says the Brightness!

So, yeah, trials for Bright. Can't believe that it's almost JUNE. This year has just flown by. There is a USDAA show in June, but I just was so checked out for the last one. Having no interest in the games, and the stupid high aframe and all the USDAA crap, meh. I wish there was some UKI, I just want to go run interesting courses! Though, uh, maybe Feral Bright should just go do some AKC, go take what's in front of her. Couple local AKC trials the end of June, beginning of July. Hoping that we'll get more local UKI this Fall and Winter. I'm hoping to 'soft debut' Navarre in UKI in September, just FEO. I mean, it will be at our own arena, I'm feeling optimistic about that one!

Pushy Navarre

Baby pushy Navarre

Oh, the many earsets he's gone through!

This was taken one week after the previous picture - and, of course, neither ears look anything like what he has today

Hm, new plan

So I finally tried out jumping on the new mats downstairs - and it's a no go, too slippery. Hmph. It's not a huge deal, it's not like you can really do that much actual agility down there, but it WAS a nice place to do happy one jump work. You could throw cookies and the carpet was nice and secure for jumping. Oh well.

So then I tried taking the jump into the little room and working on the rug. Which involved putting the bar on a chair so it was really only HALF a jump, and even then there wasn't much room to land. But I figured it wasn't a bad thing, the idea was to bend anyway - what better way to encourage bending then to literally have no other options?

Navarre was not a fan of this set up, too confined. He was not a fan of doing the same thing over and over again for cookies. And he really proved he can cover his nose with great determination. I don't think Navarre will be doing much one jump work in the basement, though the stuff that he did do looked nice - so, hey. He's bendier than I thought.

And London got to be a demo dog and he was SO HAPPY, he does love his agility more than anything. He's doing great, btw, no more throwing up. However, Haku is broken again. He had been doing really well, I had still be taking it really easy with him, but Haku is not exactly good at 'taking it easy', and he turned up lamer than ever. Which is fine, I suppose, if you're going to be broken, at least do it with style. Nothing worse then constantly wondering, "Does he look a little off?" So now there is no question. He does look pretty normal after he's 'warmed up', but getting up he's way off in the front. Going to be a very boring summer for Haku, I think.

Mark the Day

Huge, huge moment for Navarre this weekend - totally unexpected. We were down at Poodletopia playing with some handling homework, and Navarre was a good boy, happy with his focus, trying very hard. Afterwards let Dove and him play, and they had a grand old time streaking around the property as always. And I was just taking pictures, enjoying watching them run. Then it happened, Navarre found his frisbee and he decided he would rather come bring me the frisbee than run around with Dove! And after we started playing, he was just totally about that. Completely unexpected, he's just been such an outwardly focused puppy that I'm always happy when he's focused and playing with me, but for him to OFFER it with his super fun sister around - go Team Navarre! My puppy really is growing up, so proud of my boy.

Today more goodness from the puppy, took him for a quick jaunt to the fun match down the road. Wanted to try him on a new full height teeter (his third!). The teeter there is VERY different, as it doesn't really 'reset', so it's not really weighted correctly. I did try to be really cautious and did some hop into positions to start, and let him literally SEE it reseting before putting him across the whole board - but he still flew off like it was the dogwalk. Heh. Luckily, he didn't seem at all discouraged by this, and went on to many very, uh, aggressive teeters. I was more concerned about confidence than position, and he took shameless advantage. He did great, no issues, feeling good about the teeter. He will definitely need a stop. ;-)  Also did great with some straight off dogwalks and channel weaves. Also happy to work around the other dogs and was generally a good citizen, with some barking and pulling, naturally.

Really happy about the agility dog that Navarre is turning into! Knock on wood, with the tiny jumping that we have been doing, I haven't seen anything weird about his jumping. Moving up to 10/12 inches I'm liking what I'm seeing just naturally. He's not bendy ... but I don't think anyone is surprised at that. Officially moved a jump into the basement to start looking at jump form and actual training - and proofing some handling moves as well. Fingers crossed he's going to be a good jumper. From what I've seen from Luna's previous litters they seem like pretty smooth, comfortable jumpers ... if not particularly bendy.

Another very grown up moment for Navarre this weekend, look who can finally be out together!

Navarre was actually not being an obnoxious, oblivious dork and respecting Hi-Fi's signals to knock it off - another day I thought would never happen!

Now, Hi-Fi doesn't actually LIKE him, but that's not a requirement - Navarre just has to respect Hi-Fi's space

Luckily, Navarre has Dove for all his rough and tumble needs

Hi-Fi has grown into a REAL man - no need to worry about HIS testicle size

My god these two just kill me

Always wet and disheveled

Notice who DOESN'T look all wet and disheveled

Love the Dovie!

Advantage Short Hair

Groomed the dogs today, the border collies are all shedding. Somehow it doesn't seem right that Navarre is shedding - I mean, shedding WHAT? Doesn't seem like he's been around long enough to warrent shedding anything. Then I thinned ear hair and did border collie feet - and nails, of course. I was COATED in border collie hair from top to bottom after all that. Then Eva takes like 30 seconds. Fenny and Brisbee are the only dogs I use the dremel with anymore, and that does take longer than the clippers. Still, Eva definite won in the grooming department - something to be said for a nice short haired dog.

There is something timeless about doing nails, I always get a little nostalgic about it all. Thinking about all the nail trims that have gone before, and how I'll still be doing them when they're old and grey. Nails get thicker and grow faster when they're older. Or rather, they probably wear them down less. London's nails are CRAZY thick, many memories with younger London - so many nail trims through the years.

Luckily Haku remains fairly hairless, he really never has had much undercoat - whose idea was it to have four border collies anyway? Hairy little bastards. Perhaps my warm up for my someday future Afghan Hound:

Such cool dogs - I'll probably never be brave enough to actually do it. But then, you only live once.

Oh, and my new favorite dog treats, discovered after some students were using them:

Dogs go crazy for them, great texture and easy to break into tiny pieces. All flavors have been a hit!

Beautiful full moon tonight, lit up the surrounding clouds:


Every year I think my allergies are so much worse than they've ever been - but they're probably about the same level of badness every year. And, to be fair, they're not horrible, they're, well, allergies. And sneezing IS kind of fun. I'm taking what should be a 24 hour pill every 12 hours, and still so much sniffling and sneezing. Eventually, this will pass. Much like the crazy exploding vegetation everywhere around me. Spring is pretty magical in Oregon, hard to believe everything is going to be dried out and brown soon enough.

I'm expecting another very dry, hot summer. Which does make me long for one of those big above ground pools for both me and the dogs. Probably not going to happen, too much maintenence. But it would be nice if were to magically appear and take care of itself. And the magically disappear after summer. There is the indoor pool in Hillsboro that we only went to once - Navarre and Haku would really enjoy a swim, I think.

Navarre's nose touch is getting stronger, most of my trick training happens while I'm eating chips. I just enjoy my snack until a dog really impresses me - this works well for Navarre, he really works snack time. I would like a bit of a higher foot placement and a bit more duration, but I'm almost ready to cross that one off the list.

And soon I will have LITERAL list. Which, I mean, I actually do sometimes write down things I want to work on - but they get lost in notebooks and things. Or on long winded blog pages. I bought a big white board for the basement, I have grand plans to have concrete behaviors to work on in obedience, agility, conditioning and tricks. Hopefully that will keep us focused and on track. Especially with conditioning, that stuff just falls right out of my head.

Feeling a bit better about getting some goals going again for Haku. Let him run with everyone when Bender was out yesterday and there was much frolicking through the field. Knock on wood, didn't see any limping during or after. We had our obedience lesson tonight, did some directed jumping and didn't see anything there either. I'd still LIKE to keep his appointment with the sports rehab person, but I ended up having to make it for like 5pm on a Wednesday or something horrible like that. That appointment isn't for a few weeks, but maybe I'll see about moving it. Haku is going to be 7 in a couple months, wouldn't hurt to get him looked at.

Anyway, Haku's obedience during his excessive resting has taken on a frantic vibe - but with surprisingly consistent understanding of behaviors. I think the group class has helped tremendously, having exposure to that sort of distraction was huge for him. Now, I never expect Haku to be actually consistent, but feeling so much more comfortable with his exercises. Even feeling BETTER about his directed jumping, which has magically improved with not worknig on it. Still need to get to a feeling of competence before we think about trialing again, but other than directed jumping, pretty happy with him.

I even took Eva to obedience again, as she has started offering behaviors when I'm eating my chips (I'm very popular when I'm snacking). She has been on such a funk for quite some time. Both frantic and overstimulated and not wanting anything to do with training (or using any sort of impulse control). She was definitely stressed for the lesson, but still had fun overall. I wish I could know what might help her out, but she is a mystery.

A little concerned with London, he's been throwing up this week - not a huge amount, but at least once a day, and usually it's just a big load of kibble that he ate hours before. He's still perky, happy, active, and doesn't show any signs of feeling BAD, but he's not a vomiter, it general, so it's concerning. He can throw up when he eats a lot of grass though, and the grass is very long and lucious at the moment, so I'm hoping it's just something like that. Continuing to watch him. Old dogs should not make me worry.

Like Brisbee and Fenwick, good lord those two look good! Active, happy, sassy, doing whatever the hell they want. I know that intellectually they are REALLY old. I know that 15 and 16 years old is usually the upper limits for dogs. They both are pretty deaf and somewhat fragile (and a little senile), but they are just so vibrant and healthy - I feel very lucky and really am not at all worried for them. I think they have years more in them, they are not to the 'scary old' age yet. My dogs have given me this expectation that they will all live to ripe old ages, remain incredibly active and not have any health issues. This is realistic, right?

Some Navarre video

It took a while, but finally got Navarre to touch his nose in a non-reclining fashion. He still feels everything is BEST done on the ground, but he's slowly coming around to broadening his horizons:

This morning vs this afternoon - tentative, but doing better

And, yes, he still does the whole lay on his side and put his head on his paw thing, retrained this behavior from scratch.

Tammy kindly videoed in class for us today, we had played with these courses yesterday so I felt pretty confident with them. Navarre's introduction to weavepole exits - it just never seems to occur to him to pop out. I think at some point he's going to have a revelation about both his dogwalk and the weavepoles, but, for now, he's a very good boy. Oh yeah, and I realized afterwards that the weavepoles were actually half closed - Navarre didn't appear to notice the difference!

Brightness love

Oh, do I love my tiny Brightness. She's going to be 5 very soon and is just such a, well, bright light in my life. She's so cute and dainty, bitchy and controlling, sweet and cuddly, independent and free. She's just so BRIGHT, and I'm always amazed how charming I find all her girlish weirdness. And, yeah, she gets away with murder, really.

She's Bright, she's so easy, she's never really had limits and criteria ... because she's Bright. So now that the hearing scare is over I can start looking at solving our current issues. Yes, Bright has not had a lot of lmits in her life, because she's so GOOD. But she has gotten more and more confident as she's gotten older, and she lacks no self esteem these days. So going on the current theory that she just needs, well, criteria, consistency and structure. And, boy, is that hard to do.

Had Bright and Navarre in the arena practing some agility. Guess which dog could be trusted to stay on the table while I worked the other one? Hint: It wasn't Bright. And what would I do when Bright would break her stay? Well, sometimes I would put her back, sometimes I would let her run around, sometimes I would just scoot her out of the way and let her run around while I worked Navarre - there was no consistency, clarity OR criteria. Because she's Bright, and she's special. It may just be that Bright is a little too special at the moment. She's a good girl, she would probably do whatever I asked if I was clear about what I wanted. Shocking thought, I know.

Guess which dog had better independence in the open channel weaves today? Go Navarre! Really fun to be able to work some entrances AND exits these days. Soft sided entries still need a lot of work though from the harder angles. Navarre loves him some weaves though! And doing pretty good with the handling too, as long as I'm on it. Countdown 5 months until his theoretical 'official' agility debut. I'm thinking the agility won't be the issue - but focusing and staying with me with other dogs running, that's a whole other challenge. Our first big test comes in June, outdoor seminar - will he run with me, or run off to go visit everyone on the sidelines? What if another dog is playing with the hose? Or in the kiddie pool? Or playing with thrown toys and tugging? Not that walls have ever stopped Navarre, but at least they were a visual barrier - outdoors, that will be a challenge. Will be interesting ...

I think the deer come and have wild parties at night in the field, they leave giant beaten down areas for the dogs to frolic in

Little known fact, of all the dogs the ones that like each other the least are Brisbee and London

Anne leaves the best toys at our house

Brisbee, Roller of Dead Baby Possums

Perfectly aged

Shedding so much at the moment!

And one more Fenwick, because he's awesome

She can hear!

Feeling much relieved, there is no evidence of any significant hearing loss with Bright. I mean, I live with many partially to mostly deaf dogs, it's not the worst thing in the world, but I'd really rather not have to deal with another. And now I can stop questioning every time Bright does something weird, she can hear me - she just chooses not to respond. ;-)

So Bright is just being her own special self, and that's perfectly fine. She's a very happy and spunky, so we'll figure it out. Always want to rule out any physical issues before just assuming Bright is being a weirdo. Though, let it be said, she actually was pretty darn good at the vet today. I mean, she was still all dramatic and tragic, but not really in an over the top way as she used to be. And the tragic dog thing works well for testing hearing, as she just sits there, looking ever so pathetic. But after they were done examining her and testing her, she would happy jump all over me and eat treats and wiggle all over the place. Good girl, Brighness - I look forward to talking to her about her current weirdness, now that I know she can hear me.

And, yes, she was weird at her lesson with Bobbie today. Once again, nothing really big, but she just wasn't ... listening. She felt that wait cues were suggestions and that I clearly wanted her to just make shit up instead. Very HAPPY, but also goofy and not her normal focused and precise good girl. Hm.

Navarre is ALMOST 40 pounds, I thought maybe he had already passed that mark? I don't recall, but he was 39.7 today, so very close. Rosie helped me measure him at the trial over the weekend, looked to be still a little under 21 inches. And suddenly looking all super awkward again. Him and Bright were posing for some pictures today for Bobbie and, my god, talk about some unattractive poses - Navarre looks so gangly and silly, and could not get his ears to do anything cute today. Who knew my puppy was so unattractive? I know I didn't until I attempted to get him to look GOOD. Sir Tiny Balls is still very much growing. And I have been assurred by multiple people that his balls will probably continue to grow, and that size doesn't matter. And that I should stop looking at random dog balls to compare to Navarre's.

Need to work the dogs on some much neglected conditioning exercises - like side passes. Oh, do my dogs suck at side passes. But if you're looking for a couple dogs to look super dorky on a treadmill, I've got your dogs right here.

I attempted to teach Navarre to cover his nose NOT laying on his side. We achieved standing, but still puts his nose to the floor and then covers it - it's not graceful. And remember when I said that Haku did not have the same intensity for his ring gate go-outs as his other behaviors? That is no longer true, and he broke the ring gates again today. Love the boy's enthusiasm!

There should be an age limit on rolling in shit, still have to hose down Brisbee almost every time I take him outside. Troublemaker. And what kind of world do we live in that something klils a bunch of baby possums on my path field, then LEAVES THEM THERE? And why doesn't any other critters eat the damn things? Ugh.I can tell you all about the decomposition of baby possums in intimate detail.

Much neglected dogwalk:

Looked at threadle exits today, which he did great with. Really remarkable to watch him adjust to hit in so many different ways. With a lot of extension, like this set-up, he really is doing about 3.5 strides, which means three normal strides then a half stride to hit, which works better with turns. Starting to contemplate adding in the option stop, he is growing up.

Many things

A busy weekend of things not quite planned, but lots of fun. The USDAA trial ended up being very short. Bright had a GREAT time, she loved all the exciting border collie energy and she was barking and growling up a storm - so cute! She gave be a lot of great stuff, stopped and running dogwalks (that actually looked pretty good!), stopped on all her teeters, weavepoles were fabulous, no bars - lots of great stuff. Some oddness, which may mean nothing, but I'm going to feel better after we go to the vet tomorrow and get her BAER tested. She PROBABLY hears just fine, but now I'm all paranoid as she does just continue to be just not quite herself. It will make me feel better to know it's not a hearing issue and Bright is just being her own special self.

Anyway, really disliked the course design on the MC standard:

All the jumps and handler restrictions from 3-7 and the long chute, ugh, it was just ugly. Bright and I almost collided at the chute exit and I just stopped and left, it was just unsafe. But it made me feel okay with not coming back on Sunday, as I just had standard and jumpers, and jumpers is always at the very end of the day. And so silly to enter all those games I had no interest in, was nice to practice some contacts in Gamblers, but I scratched all the rest - just not my thing. USDAA, yeah. I much prefer UKI, but our trial next weekend was cancelled from low entries. Sigh.

Good thing I have a puppy to play with! Navarre definitely has lots to work on. LIke behaving himself around agility rings, which he most definitely wasn't doing at the USDAA show. I do think all that excited border collie energy is contagious, but it's a good thing I'm fast, I just assumed he could work at the practice jump next to the rings ... I was wrong, and had to tackle him from jumping the ring gates. Bad puppy. He did eventually do a little work at the practice jump, and a little heeling through the crowds ... but not much. And sitting near the rings and not being a loud, obnoxious dork? Nope, never did successfully do that. Navarre is still very much a baby.

We did finally work on collecting out of tunnels today, and he did do BETTER, just not exactly 'good'. But my expectations are low, tight is not really his thing. We ran through a few of his homework exercises in a new location with barking dogs crated nearby, and he was trying really hard. Good puppy! We also started the exercises with sit-stays, and, wow, he's pushy. When did that happen? The exercises weren't effortless, but they were better. Always learning something, every day a new challenge.

Was 90 degrees on Friday, went up to the forest with Bender and Anne - then Saturday was 57 and raining, crazy temps

Handsome Bender is even handsome in the forest!

Navarre continues to think Bender really likes him (not actually true, though Bender tolerates him!)

Posing dogs around the fairgrounds

These giant pinecones were falling from the trees - I would hate to get hit in the head with one

Posing with pinecones

Look, Pixel is 5 months old - and has cute tricks!

Jax is friend to all

Hi-Fi and his signature after agility sprawl

Demi puppies at 4 days old! Someday they will be big and hairy, but now they're tiny and cute. It will be fun to watch them grow this summer!


Played around a bit more with the round 5 course from WTT today. I wanted to see if I could get in the blind(s). Was really pretty with the folks that did it well at the event, but definitely not my first choice for handling it. And it certainly didn't happen the first time, or the second time when Bright just ran around the jump coming out of the tunnel. But the THIRD time we did it. And, yeah, not my move, nor did I get in the second blind. I like the threadles! Fun to try it another way though, and I certainly can get more ahead if I really try. Wasn't worth it though, Bright's path was much nicer with the threadles.

Then as we have been working threadles the last couple weeks, I broke it down and played around with Navarre too - he did pretty well! Never attempted it actually racing him, but I was still happy to see him responding so well to the threadle cues.

He is turning into such a fun agility dog and is trying so very hard. Had an interesting experience with him today in self control. As both him and Bright are getting really vocal out in the car when I practice with the other, I want to be able to bring them in and have one dog wait while I work the other (it's been a really long time since I've actually had to deal with this issue!). At this point Navarre is pretty good with this in other situations, but not agility. So today I started with Bright and he almost instantly came off the table. Picked him up and put him in a stall while I worked with Bright, which I had done once before, but I don't like him to bouncing around in there. And apparently he really hates it too, the next time I asked him to stay on the table while I worked Bright he didn't move AT ALL. Unlike Bright, who I let do pretty much whatever she wants to. My special little princess.

Though, wow, now that I have Navarre's lovely running contacts I can't stand Bright's. Navarre's are so pretty! And Bright's, well, I think I should retrain them - she really is just all over the place. In the meantime, I'll be using a lot of stopped dogwalks with the tiny Brightness. Of course, keeping in mind that Navarre's contacts haven't 'broken' yet, which I expect will happen with more sequencing, they won't look nearly as pretty and it's up to me to stick to my criteria.

Meanwhile, Haku has started to solidify his latest go-out method, and is now sending from across the basement to go hang his head over the ringgates by the stantion. It's not as flashy as his other go-outs, as he doesn't drive into position, but I don't know if that will change once he gets more confident. It is a pretty black and white behavior though, so that always makes me feel better. We'll see how it goes.

Haku was pretty high for his group class tonight, but did some nice work even if he was pretty squeaky and barky. We have some fun glove homework to with targets, toys, treats and gloves all at differing distances - I think he will enjoy this one. I must say I'm enjoying our new training room in the basement, having squishy mats is so much fun. The dog nail marks have begun, so we'll see how it holds up. And I know at some point one of those senile old dogs is going to pee down there, and I'm going to want to murder them. But I won't, because I love them and they don't know any better.

Youngest and eldest!


I just love this phase in baby dog training, where it's just so exciting when they can do ANYTHING. Super fun to be able to run Navarre today and he can do almost EVERYTHING out there! Other than the aframe he's been introduced to all the things, and he's at that very fun stage of just beginning to put things together. I'm like, "Wow, he did a PINWHEEL with a teeter at the end! My puppy is a genius!" Doesn't take much to impress me with a baby dog, especially when for so long it was impressive when Navarre actually stayed in the arena.

But, yes, Navarre is rocking the full height teeter, we did our first 'real' teeters with the non-adjustable one today and he didn't bat an eye. He was sending ahead, letting me move laterally and basically being a rockstar. And then we were working on the opening of round 5 of WTT in classes today, where there was a teeter-jump-weave entrance that was tricky:

Navarre was threadling into those weaves like he did that sort of thing every day (with a wide open channel, of course, but still!). So crazy cool that he can magically do all these things, almost like a real agility dog. There was much squishing and exclaiming about how awesome the puppy was today. Dogwalk looked great, finding weave entrances looked great, sending ahead into tunnels looked great - and all at 12 inches! So much fun, love this stage where anything my dog does is super magical fantastic.

Meanwhile, Bright did NOT get her threadle in the opening of that course the first time and it was all,"Why aren't you perfect?" Ah, how things change when we have expectations. The good news, had we gotten TWO chances at it, she was perfect. She actually has a trial this weekend - and a USDAA trial at that. Where somehow I entered her in a bunch of Advanced games ... hm. Which is amusing as the whole reason I did so (as I don't normally enter games) was to pair with a friend coming down for the trial ... who is now not coming. Ha! I'm not sure what to expect from Bright at this point, but hopefully we'll have fun and it won't be too hot. Love my Bright, she makes me so happy!

I wonder if Navarre will ever do USDAA? I had great hopes that they would have finally lowered the aframe by the time Navarre was old enough to compete, but it doesn't look they have any inclination in that direction. That's okay, the new plan is to start getting more UKI in the area, which is much more competitior friendly all around.

Had some tunnel comparisons recently, the tunnels from NTI are lasting about a year to a year and a half. Those are the 4 inch pitch 'competition' tunnels. So I ordered one from Schauenburg in Canada to compare. At least straight out of the box, even though I got the 6 inch pitch, the Schauenburg is heavier than the 4 inch pitch NTI, and FEELS more rugged. Dwight is going to get one for the arena there so there can be a head to head competition, but I don't think anyone really knows where to get good tunnels anymore.

Heating up around here again, up into the 90s by the end of the week. Summer is starting in May again, I'm just going to assume it's going to be another repeat of last year, we'll see Fall sometime in November. 6 months of summer. Hurrah. And then flooding in the winter - ha! Ah, Oregon, you are testing me ...

So many things!

We had nice weather and lots of opportunity this week, Navarre and I jumped right into our new foundation homework. And I do mean literally jumped, at least in Navarre's case. We started out working at 8 inches as this was some twisty work, but instead of slicing jumps, he would literally straddle the jumps as he side passed over them. So then we moved up to 10 inches for our next practice, which looked much better. But then at home I only had the jump height options of 8 or 12, so we went up to 12 inches - and Navarre did great!

So he's actually, well, jumping. And seems pretty good at it, considering we've done pretty much zero actual jump training to this point. I do have some theories about jumping, and one of those is that dogs pretty much jump how they're going to jump. Not to say that jump training doesn't help with teaching them to make good choices, but how they actually jump in general, I think that's just who they are . I also have a much less solid theory that doing low height sequencing as baby dogs helps them figure out striding - which is a totally separate skill from jumping. I don't have as much evidence with this theory, and I am highly biased as I mostly focused on teaching Eva and Haku to jump first, moving up to full height with one and two jump work, then tried to sequence - and they're horrible jumpers. Though, refer back to my first jumping theory, that they are who they are, and probably how they were taught to jump has nothing to do with anything. Still, it can make you paranoid. And low height sequencing is just more fun.

Anyway, so I have thrown a lot at Navarre this week, and he has, mostly, handled it like a pro. Going back to working some one jump work with food though ... oh, that is painful. But obviously in need of practice, it's time to work one jump discriminations with wraps, backsides and threadles. The good news is that hopefully what he finds stupid today, he usually finds fun once he really learns it. Still, at the moment, he thinks this exercise is the MOST stupid.

What I did find with sequencing is that skills that he does pretty well with individually fall right out of his head once speed and sequencing is involved. So a lot of breaking things down and working back up to the full sequence. I'm feeling pretty good about the exercises, though I wouldn't put money on him doing any of them right the FIRST time. Things that we struggled with at first we can do now though! Except for tight turns out of tunnels. He wings out like there is no tomorrow, it's obvious we need to break out the dreaded FOOD and actually train this. Though, to be fair, I don't expect to actually FIX the issue, but, good lord, it can only get better than what it looks like now.

And Navarre's reward for conquering difficult skills is doing fun contacts! He loves his dogwalk and teeter and would much rather do those - they're like pez dispensers of frisbees. Mostly what makes me happy, even if we don't have the smoothest training session and he clearly is brain fried, if we go in for a break he just pesters me to go back out and play. Though I still worry that we're doing too much twisty work and he won't enjoy it. He seems happy as long as I don't try to use food, in which case he runs off and finds me a toy to work with.

So much fun watching tryouts this weekend! Always enjoy it, and even more fun to watch with Tammy and Hi-Fi there. Really had some fun courses I would have loved to run and lots of inspring teams. And lots of good reminders that I really will want to put that optional stop on Navarre's dogwalk eventually. We're kind of in limbo right now with his dogwalk as our online class has sort of disappeared - no idea what happened with that. Would have liked to work with it more, though I suppose we can take it on our own from here. Right now we need to work turns in other locations and start adding it in some actual sequences. At home it looks great though!

Enjoying some Bindi time

My baby growing up

Bindi trying hard not to pose

London is a huge fan of a good roll in the grass

Fenwick getting frisky with Navarre

Tongues away!

Dove and Navarre love

Ended up spending a lovely day with Heidi and Dove. The pups hadn't gotten to really spend that much time together for quite a while, so it was really fun to see them side by side. Dove and Navarre are such free spirits, cracks me up how alike they are - yet so very hard to describe. Yeah, no one tells those two what to do. But I appreciate that quality in them, no lack of self esteem, they're never the least bit worried about our approval. They are strong, confident, independent dogs very much with their own agendas - yet sweet, fun, happy and so very charming. They really are quite unique, and not very 'border collie' like at all - they are their own dogs. More and more they are choosing to play with us though, while still very immature, they are growing up bit by bit.

Lots of good opportunities for Navarre today, we played some agility in the already too hot sunshine, got to go obsess on the sheeps, and even hang out in Heidi's house. This is not something he's had a lot of opportunity to do, and he handled it fairly well! I don't think he hardly broke anything at all - though it helps that Heidi's place is already pretty dog proof.

Agility puppy thinks collection out of tunnels is stupid and unnecessary

We all got watch tryouts together, which was really fun. Great courses today, would have loved to run the big dog course. So glad we didn't go when I saw there were children EVERYWHERE - complete with menacing sticks! Apparently the facility was also being used for children activities this weekend - would have been a total nightmare for Bright.

Navarre is finally tired, him and Dove were non-stop all day long, then Navarre came home and played some more. Crazy puppy.

This one just killed me - two peas in a pod

They even move the same

Look, a photo where they're not all wet and disheveled

See, that didn't take long (water trough buddies)

One very attractive pair, if I do say so myself

Looking slobbery, but still ever so beautiful!

You'd THINK I'd get lots of great pictures of them playing, but I just got a ton of butts, mostly


Super excited to watch Tammy and Hi-Fi on the livestream this weekend! Always enjoy watching tryouts, and what better way to kick off every course then with some Hi-Fi action? Good thing that Bright and I didn't end up going considering Bright's current freestlying lifestyle though. I'm pretty happy to stay local with Bright, especially with UKI, premier and master challenge classes, there are more opportunities than ever before to play on fun courses without a lot of travel. I still might take Bright to the UKI open at some point, if the opportunity arises. I do assume we will get back in sync one of these days.

It is nice to have another dog to play with while Bright is ... finding herself. I'm a big fan of the dual agility dog lifestyle, it's been a while since I really had two. Eva doesn't count as I can't train with her. Baby dog agility is my favorite as well, everything is new and pretty much anything a baby dog does is SUPER EXCITING.

Navarre did his first full height teeters this week, always a milestone. I don't like to spend too much time messing with low height teeters as I want the dog to feel confident they can predict how the teeter will move. I do find it curious that even though it wasn't my intention, Navarre's teeter looks pretty much exactly like all my other dogs' teeters. Up to and including self releasing on the bang. Hm. He's obviously SUPPOSED to wait until release, though the running looks lovely. The down position certainly didn't last long. A-hem.

His first full height teeters (that he actually stopped for):

Knock on wood, other than a little confusion where he was giving me a 4-on performance earlier this week, it was pretty straightforward. I imagine he'll gain confidence with more exposure.

We also started working on our Justine homework, his threadles look pretty good! Never taught him to collect coming out of a tunnel though, so that was ... a problem. Some tough stuff for my big boy, but he tried very hard. We're getting ready to focus on more handling and jumping for a while now that we've got a good start on the dogwalk and teeter.

And later this summer, there are sheep in his future - and hopefully a lot of them! Going to give herding a go, I don't expect him to be good at it, but I think he'll like it and it'll be a lot of fun for both of us. Now, obedience, I think Navarre is done with that for a while. We'll probably come back to it when he's older, but it's just not exciting for him right now and we have plenty of other things to do!

As opposed to Haku, who LOVES his obedience. I'm quite bruised from where Haku chomped down on my hand that was holding a glove. We hadn't been to our private lesson in like a month, but he had been doing so well in his group class. Well, what a world of difference - he was high as a kite for his lesson and being a total dweeb. Possibly because we're just so relaxed at his private lesson that he doesn't see it as 'business time'? Just none of the focus and consistency he had been doing in class.

Though, to be fair, we did fry his brain in group class this week. I love having the other dogs working around him, such good distraction proofing. This week we were doing gloves on one side of the ring while the other dog was doing retrieves over the high jump. Which meant we set up for gloves facing the (very excited) dog doing retrieves before pivoting to the gloves. ZOMG, so hard! He did it though, and I was super impressed with him. However, after that we did moving stand, the exercise he never messes up, and he couldn't do ANYTHING, he had no brain left.

Still has a little limp with exercise, tried him out for a little romp earlier in the week and was limping a bit still - but definitely better. And when he jumped the ring gates six times instead of targeting them in class he showed no ill effects. So he's still on restriction, but I think he's getting better despite himself. Crazy how little flexibility he has in his wrists though. I FEEL like his limp is based lower, like a foot or a wrist, but I could be wrong.

I tihnk I need a white board down in the New and Improved Training Room, to remind myself what everyone should be working on. It's been so long since we've had that space I'm a little overwhelmed! Can work one jump agility, conditioning, obedience, tricks - need to get organized again.

We have had some lovely spring days, though the weather in general continues unseasonably hot - and there are mosquitos like I have never seen in the evenings - they're HUGE. Sigh. I think this summer is going to be even hotter and longer than last summer. Nothing I can do about it but try to enjoy each day for what it is.

Look, it's Skeeter - and she's 8 years old now!

Eva doing her thing

The ever handsome Bender

Bright and her new frosted highlights - it's all part of her new image in life

Terrier on the loose!

Bender pretends his toy is not attached to a stafford

So tiny and cute!

So giant and dorky (but still cute!)

Just a dream

Had a very distressing dream last night, which I don't nomally have. It's still stuck with me so I figure I would write it down. Was driving with my brother to go to a hiking spot that Tammy had taken me to so he could see it. It was getting late, but we would have time for a little jaunt. Drove past one place, but it was really busy, so we kept going to the more out of way area.

To get to the hiking area you had to go through the gift shop, which was like a house. There people were lined up waiting in anticipation, the band was going to sell their instruments. I asked if Bret wanted one, but he just laughed and said it wasn't his thing. Got through the house and could see the hiking, it was a beautiful rocky gorge type area with water, where there was a cave we would go through. First Bret had to use the rest room though, so I waited for him. But he didn't come out, and I got concerned, but didn't want to go into the men's bathroom. Finally I went in, and there was no one there. I thought maybe I had missed him coming out and went looking all over the gift shop for him, getting more and more concerned and frantic, but he wasn't anywhere.

A woman came up to me and was trying to tell me that I wasn't where I was supposed to be and I was so angry for her not realising there was an emergency, I screamed at her, "I don't care, can't you tell that my brother is gone? I can't find him anywhere, he's gone!"

And then I woke up, and I was so confused and upset, as it always takes me a bit to remember where I am. Obviously don't need a dream interpreter for that one, but I miss him still so much.

Cover your nose

One of London's first tricks was covering his nose, it was always a crowd pleaser. Since then I've taught everyone except the bull breeds to cover their nose (I don't think it's physically comfortable for Brisbee and Eva). I shaped it with everyone, and they all ended up solving the puzzle in their own way.

London brought his nose under his foot, while Bright brought her foot to her nose - so the two behaviors look very different:

Also interesting is which paw they choose to use for this, most of the dogs chose a paw and went with it, while Fenwick will cover with either paw or both (bad video taken just now!):

However, after London, Bright and Fenwick - things have just started to get weird. Haku solved the problem by sticking his head under his leg, which was quite different:

And just when I thought I had seen it all, Navarre solved the puzzle by laying his head on his paw - never would have thought of doing it this way - but it does the job!

Now, it WOULD be cute if I could get all the dogs to touch their noses in their own different ways, all at once. But I'll admit none of them outside of London have a strong behavior, or even on cue. It's a fun thing to train, but not much you can do with it after that. Going to work on it a bit more with Navarre though and see where it goes. And maybe refresh the other dogs and go for a group video. Group videos almost always fail, we'd make for a terrible traveling show.

And just because I ran across it looking for these nose video, tiny baby agility London!

88 degrees today, then when it was cool enough to go run around, mosquitos everywhere. Sigh.

Chicks are starting to look a little more like chickens!

Lovely Brightness


And some Dio, since he was left out of the recent kitty pictures


I did some obedience stewarding at the UKC trial today, it was my first go at this sort of thing. They don't let just anyone go and help out in obedience in general. Obedience people like a sterile environment, they don't want some rube bumbling around in the ring, messing up their run. Which means anyone in the ring when dogs are working need to be impeccably trained to do things JUST SO. Well, at least in AKC. UKC is much more relaxed, and this trial was in need of workers, so I volunteered for the day. I wasn't expecting to be there quite that long, but this was 2 rally trials and 2 obedience trials, all on the same day. You could really do a lot of obedience, if you wanted to.

UKC trials are, in general, much smaller and the rules are slightly different than AKC. Like in rally they have some different signs and their rings are bigger. I wouldn't say it was very intuitive, here was a coursemap, and I went to walk a course to see how it ran and couldn't get past the first sign:

Those in the know seemed to have some nice flow though. Still didn't make me want to do rally. The scoring just seemed so random too, just way too subjective and too hard NOT to qualify, assuming you do all the signs in some fashion (and the judge yells 'fault' if you do a sign wrong, so you can go back and fix it). It's fun to watch though, and rally done well is a lovely dance.

I guess I'm just a traditional obedience kind of girl, and it was fun to see the different exercises in UKC. I had seen them before, but not since Haku started utility, so they weren't super relevant. It did really make me want to get back out there with him. Including Open! Which we wolud need to do in UKC, I can't remember if he has one leg in Open in UKC? I feel like he does, but it's been so long ...

Anyway, I can't say stewarding was FUN, but I did feel like a total freeloader from all the obedience trials I've been to and never helped out. Now I can say I've done FOUR trials worth, I'm feeling better, karma-wise. I don't think I messed up anyone's run, which was the goal. Though my eyes were really glazing over by the end, it was a long day of obedience. Always fun to see the different breeds and dogs though, I do like obedience.

Back at home we had a visitor from California yesterday, Tammy was up and brought HER giant puppy, who just happened to be born the exact same day as Navarre! I tend to think of Navarre as a BIG dog, but he really has nothing on Tammy's dogs, and her puppy Goose is no exception. Goose and Navarre were two peas in a pod, just happy dorks frolicking around the property, big smiles and tongues everywhere.

They were an adorable pair!

The Tongue

Dueling tongues

Look how petite Navarre looks!

Incoming - watch your knees!

Happy boys

Oh, and Navarre's daddy had some nice runs at regionals - he is a fun boy to watch. I hope Navarre has his joy in agility, though we'll do it with way more dork and awkward.

I can see some Navarre in that smarmy expression ...

Girls are weird

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some kitties being cute:

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

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

Who's number one?

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

"Feed me!"

Do other cats catch thrown food?

Dogs at large

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

Oh yeah, we had their complete attention here

"Who, me?"

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

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

Examples of some nice extension today

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

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

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

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

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

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

Purple door!

Happy to be free again!

Bonus Brisbee!

Yeah, the grass pollen is pretty ridiculous right now