Navarre NA!

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

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

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

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

Some baby dog cuteness:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fun overlay:


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

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

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

My FCI watching buddies

Haku needs a hobby

Haku without an outlet is such a spaz. We are not doing any obedience classes, I've been busy in general, and the cats are getting REALLY annoyed with Haku. He's just a busy dog, and he might be seven now, but he certainly doesn't seem any calmer these days. Our next project is getting into herding, but still working on getting that up and running, so in the meantime ... total spaz. Definitely needs a hobby.

I'm still planning on doing obedience with Haku, though there is nothing really coming up for a while. But tentatively looking at Preferred Utility debut in December (I think?). We have an obedience match in a couple weeks, I think he'll be REALLY EXCITED. I do feel like we SHOULD get that UD, I mean, we worked on that go-out for years! But I don't care if he doesn't. He certainly can get his UD ... if he can jump. Once things settle down I think we'll get back into our training groove and see what he wants to do.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the two dogs that really don't do well without a lot of attention and action are Haku and Fenwick. No one has explained to Fenwick that he's 16 and free to take it easy. But when he's not getting enough attention, OMG, he's a barking whining whirling dervish of a troublemaker. Let that be a lesson, if you get a puppy that is demanding, loud and high energy, you'd better be prepared to live with that for sixteen years. Love my Fenny, but, yeah, high maintenance. Always has been.

Really though, it is remarkable to me that Fenwick and Brisbee haven't actually entered that truly 'old dog' stage. Not that they're not obviously 'old', but considering their ages, they haven't gotten to that 'fragile' stage, not even close. I've been exceptionally lucky with my older dogs, that's for sure.

Navarre, though the youngest, is still much less demanding than Fenwick and Haku. Admittedly, he's getting more action, we've been enjoying the Silvia 'Beyond Foundation' class, though we're a little behind. I've enjoyed looking at and timing the different options. We got to find and fix a hole in our training with rears vs wraps the other day. Once he finally got the idea, that felt good. Our cue discrimination still needs work, but we've got a lifetime to work on it. Still, the exercises have been good for both of us, and planning to sign up for more Justine online classes in the Fall. We're just getting started, so much to look forward to - love baby dogs! And second AKC trial this weekend, time to get back to some extension! I'm all cocky that he's going to be focused and stay with me, probably good to lower those expectations a bit. Still such a puppy! My goal for the weekend is to WORK EVERY OBSTACLE. I can do this.

BrightyBright will also be trialing, nothing like a baby dog to make you appreciate your experienced dog. I SHOULD have worked on her dogwalk, which has just been all over the place. Shockingly, ignoring the issue has not helped it get any better. Just love that girl, she makes me so happy.

And Fall! It was foggy this morning, and the weather is so lovely, the trees are changing, rain, coolness - oh, I love it. I survived the summer, and barely got my collection of fleeces out of my car before I'm wearing them again. My kind of summer indeed.

Being a 'rounder', I've started calling London 13 to get used to the idea. His birthday is in November, which seemed so far away - but is now getting crazy close!

Stalker in the grass

Yet another toy carelessly left by Anne at our house - it's held up pretty well!

Look at that beautiful puppy!

Fenwick, definitely young at heart

Brisbee, happier now than he's ever been

Fierce girlie!

The little things

If Navarre were a painting project, we have a lot of of the big obvious places painted in, and now it's time to start filling in the edges and the many little nooks and crannies. He knows how to weave in THEORY, but can I move away laterally in sequence? Hard rear crosses? Push past the exit? Well, not quite yet. At least, not the first time. But he can do it, eventually! He's a fun dog to train just because he does just take a few repetitions in general before he goes, "Oh, okay, I can do that!" He doesn't get discouraged or worried if we have to fix something, he's happy to figure it out for the most part.

We're not terribly accurate, my timing is pretty consistently off with Navarre - which I love. I realize it's a funny thing to find fun, but I do. It's fun to not quite know what he'll do or what I need to do - I like the journey. There are a lot of moves that just never were appropriate with Bright that I get to try with Navarre, it's fun! I so adore baby dogs.

I do find it amusing that what we tend to struggle with the most is taking jumps right in front of him in a logical fashion. Sometimes he just gets stuck in loop of backsides and threadles and it's like, "JUST TAKE THE DAMN JUMP". Bright went through a similar phase, the drawback to doing a lot of international foundation - so many possibilities!

This week Navarre learned to turn away off contacts into tunnels. It went really well with the dogwalk, but for some reason he did not think it was at all the same with the aframe. Continuing to work on his stop vs run contacts, slowly making progress. Knock on wood, I think that's going to work out, feeling good about his contacts at the moment.

Jumping continues to look really good! At 20 inches he looks really comfortable, extends and collects nicely, making really good decisions in general. I do think that doing very low height sequencing really does help them understand spacing, rhythm and striding for when height is added very gradually. And doing low height one jump work with a lot of the more complex jumping efforts is really helpful for understanding how to use their body and understand jump mechanics. Much more of a fan of this type of organic jump training then some of the popular grids and props. However, I do think that more than anything, genetics and structure are going to be the biggest influence on jumping. You can 'teach' jumping to a certain extent, but I do think jump style and execution has a lot more 'nature' than 'nurture'. And, yeah, having had dogs that literally can't jump, I did look at Navarre's relatives jumping and was happy to see they were very easy, comfortable jumpers for the most part. So, yeah, luck has a lot to do with it. ;-)

I am so excited to run him again in his next AKC trial next weekend. Hoping to get less running around jumps, but happy with whatever we get - baby dogs are so much fun! Then deciding if I want to enter the USDAA show with Bright, the NW Cup which she has somehow managed to win the last two years - or enter an AKC trial with Navarre down in Albany. Because, BABY DOG. Navarre won't be QUITE old enough to do USDAA yet (by like a week!) - but obviously I wouldn't jump him 26 anyway even if he was old enough. Decisions, decisions.

Though, yeah, wow, is agility undergoing a lot of changes right now! Totally surprised with the chute thing, and that USDAA just ... got rid of it. They have NEVER done anything like that before. And now changing jump heights? Past experience tells me that they will probably still end up doing something stupid with the jump heights, but what if they actually changed to something REASONABLE? Could USDAA actually make a comeback at this point? I do know with Navarre measuring over 21 inches at his first show, I had written off USDAA completely because of the jump heights. Would I do 24 inches with him (as that is what I assume they will be having him jump)? Eh, maybe, but he would jump lower in every other venue, why jump him higher just a few trials a year? I'd like to see USDAA really focus on splitting up their main jump height, and opening up the heights for 18 and 22. Maybe 18-20 inches jumps 18, 20 and above jump 22? I think that would be fun. I can't see that happening though. Really curious to see what they'll end up with, I'd love to see them finally have jump heights for small dogs. But, yeah, low expectations at this point.

And it was crazy once all the venues caved about the chute, the other requests came pouring in - and it's funny how people get all in a lather about the chute, but lowering the dogwalk is heresy and you may as well just go run your dog over lines in the sand. Then CPE gets rid of the chute, tire and triple - I was surprised. And while it does make me sad to see so much of agility go away, I'll have to say that in UKI we would almost never use spreads, chutes or tires - and I never missed them. The challenge of agility is not necessarily in the equipment. If you lower the dogwalk it doesn't make the difficulty any less (which to me is hitting the yellow, not the height). Agility is going to end up looking very different in another 5 years, I think. But you can never make it totally safe, for all that people suddenly thought that the chute was the super dangerous, I can say in terms of obstacles dogs get injured with, it was WAY down my list of what I see dogs getting hurt on.

Though, yeah, just cracks me up all these people wanting lower aframe, lower jump heights, get rid of the table, the chute, the tire, the spreads, and don't want twisty turny courses ... and then they act like NADAC is the stupidest organization ever and would NEVER run their dog through 'hoops'. Heh. I think hoops and barrels would be fun to add to agility, but while people are all about taking obstacles away, they are not keen on adding more of them.

I still love agility, my passion for it hasn't really changed since I started 15 years ago. I would still love agility if you lowered the jump heights, lowered the contacts, got rid of the chute, table, tire and spreads. I love the puzzle aspect, solving it with my dog as a team, and I love the training and communication with my dog. As long as courses stay interesting and the challenge is there, I will still love agility. And as long as they don't outlaw barking. Which I can actually see happening, I don't like the current trend towards making agility more like obedience, where everything outside the ring has to be sterile while the dogs are running. I'm seeing more and more things like where dogs can't do agility if a dog is using a practice jump next to the ring, so obviously the solution is to forbid dogs from using a practice jump.

I do think the more inclusive and popular agility has become, it has been 'dumbed down' to certain extent. Back in MY DAY, there was no fencing, you fucking trained your dog to stay with you before you entered them in a trial. And dogs were playing and barking and tugging all around - and your dog stayed with you, because you trained them to do so. That was expected, and that is what happened - but as soon as they started putting gates people are bringing dogs that have no business being around other dogs whatsoever, much less at a trial. And, yes, I have run dogs that have fear issues with other dogs - I never expected anyone to change what they were doing to make my dog successful. I think people should be partying all over the place with their dogs - I would LOVE to see more of that! I'd REALLY love to see more of that in obedience too - but you won't. Once 'deathly quiet and sterile' becomes the norm it becomes the standard and expectation.

And, look, Navarre's first official competition obedience picture from his debut in Utah!

Photo by Randy Gaines


Daisy followed along in the footsteps of the Summer Cup, making the Oktoberfest into a unsanctioned 'international' competition for cash prizes. Another pretty good turn out and lots of fun! This is definitely my type of agility and I really hope to see more of it in our area. I know it's a lot of work to put on though, so we'll see.

Navarre did GREAT, though I got a little cocky at the end. He was trying so hard through the tricky international courses when we got to the 'steeplechase' course at the end of the day I was not running him like the baby he is ... and it showed. So much good for the baby dog though! Surprisingly, his weaves looked really confident, wasn't expecting that. Contacts looked good, jumping was comfortable and he was really trying his best. Need to work EVERY obstacle - but that's an ongoing theme in my life. So much fun to run Navarre though, he's getting more and more into it and just happy and having a great time. SUCH a fun boy, love my goofy dork and super proud of what he was able to do. He'll make an honest handler out of me yet.

Bright had lots of good too, missed a straight off running dogwalk exit - hmph. Someone should work on her contacts. Then there were a couple bi-directional jumps in the jumpers course, which I'm blaming for me NOT HANDLING IT AT ALL. I didn't really care which side she took, so I ended up basically just not cueing the jump whatsoever. Sigh, bad handler. And then she missed a threadle cue, despite my goal to shout and flail like she had never been trained. But I imagine that one was my fault too! Anyway, two SHOUTS at Bright on that course I felt bad about, not her fault she didn't have the information. Still, Bright ended up third in the combined and third in steeplechase, which was not a bad refund from our entry fees!

Some video:

Bright Steeplechase (where Bright is like, "What's a rear cross?")

Navarre Agility (just pretend all that screwing around in the back of the arena, where I clearly didn't work every obstacle, didn't happen and he did really well!):

Bright Agility:

Karen was out visiting and stopped by to see all the border collies, it was fun to get a group shot - though Haku is off at the beach and missed the event.

A rare shot indeed!

Happy London loves a party

Navarre was being a weirdo, possibly because someone made a raspberry at him

Sister Dove always looking good

Fred says, "My toy!"

Handsome Hi-Fi

Baby Navarre's AKC Debut!

Our big trip to Utah was really fun, dogs are remarkably patient and did really well with the 12 hour trip - including the puppy (who never made a peep!). The house we stayed at was like 100 years old and super cute, so nice to have a place to really relax and a yard for the dogs. Navarre was particularly fond of the coffee table:

Bright earns an 'A' for her travel these days. She just takes it all in stride, no issues pottying in new places, eating, or relaxing in her crate or a new house. It took her a while, but New and Improved Mature Bright is an easy traveler. Navarre gets a "B", while he did great in the car, no issues eating, pottying and all that - he's still SUCH a puppy. OMG, the whining - he doesn't do this at home. And for NO REASON. And he would just ... stop listening. I'd put him on a stay and he would just wander off - repeatedly. Once again, not something he does at home. He just acted, well, REALLY YOUNG. Because he is, that boy is still all puppy.

Oh, and it showed in agility! Luckily, I LOVE the baby dog stage - because I think Navarre is going to be there for a while. We both had a great time at the trial, Navarre passed the most important test - he did not just run out of the ring, though he was awful tempted to go say hi to Anne and Bender. He LOVES Anne and Bender to a ridiculous degree, and the boys were running back to back in Novice.

Luckily once we got moving, Navarre kept his focus and I was super happy with what he was able to do. Contacts looked great! Six weaves were not a problem, but 12 blew his mind. 20 inches did not seem to be an issue, he knocked a few bars but overall looked really comfortable. Happy with his obstacle performance, but, boy was he hard to run! And part of this was we just haven't worked on all extension courses, Navarre was running around jumps left and right. And part of that is being a puppy, and part of that is he was actually being pretty honest - I was REALLY late. Going from living at sea level to 4500 feet was, uh, unexpected - especially in 90 degree weather. I did feel better as the weekend went on, but it was hard to get moving. And I'm just late in general with Navarre, because I've spent 5 years running Bright!

Judge was really nice with great, appropriate novice courses - when do you see that in AKC? The agility folks in Utah were all really nice and the trial was run really well. This was a beautiful horse facility and the surface was great, the equipment was nice and they even had free catered lunches every day - crazy! I would go back, they know how to do agility right.

Some highlights from his debut!:

Just a really fun weekend, I LOVE running baby dogs and having no expectations for them to do anything at all, really. Bright was never really a 'baby dog', she was just such a serious little thing that was all about being precise. Navarre is ALL goofy, dorky, happy, easily distracted baby dog. We're entered in an international competition this weekend, ha! I have much lower expectations now, but will still be good exposure for Navarre even if he is all over the place. And we have another AKC trial later this month, his first indoor trial, that will be interesting!

And Bright was a good girl, no real weirdness or doing strange things, though we tend to end up with one little thing here or there. Some Premier:

So much fun getting to know Cake over the weekend - and she likes Navarre too (and Bright doesn't think she's horrible, which is high praise indeed!). Mudis rule!


Signed up for Silvia's 'Beyond Foundations' class with Navarre. Looking at different options of handling through a sequence, timing and comparing. This has been a lot of fun! And not something I would do on my own, as I'm more of a 'well, that felt better' kind of person rather then a timer in general. This has actually given me a lot of information already, as I ran a lot of different options with both Bright and Navarre, and they both ended up being faster on the same options (which were not what worked for Silvia!).

So, yeah, all our work with independent pushback serps really has paid off, a very effective move for both dogs that seems to give the best information in the least amount of time (and effort). In general both dogs do better staying in extension, but definitely more an advantage for Navarre than Bright, who can accelerate out of turns much faster.

Interesting to note that Bright was seconds faster than Navarre for the most part, but once we narrowed it down to putting together the fastest options, the race was much closer (and didn't hurt that we had some practice under our belts at this point!):

Still pretty thoughtful about 20 inches, but feeling good about our Novice debut this weekend. At least the jumping. Contacts and weaves, well, still in progress - and will be for quite some time, so hey.

Weave puzzle

Had a great opportunity to get Navarre out and about to practice at 20 before his debut next weekend today. Knock on wood, he seems to have adjusted to 20 without an issue, he looks comfortable and only knocked one bar. It did amuse me when I let him and Bright into the arena the first thing he did was run over and go over the wall jump - apparently Navarre needs no introduction to the wall jump.

Lots of good exposure for the puppy. New weavepoles, orange and blue and a funky base, he was pretty cautious and slower but trying very hard. However, had an interesting issue with both Bright and Navarre which I can only assume is my problem after both of them did the same thing:

I didn't think this was a particularly difficult entrance, I was right there to 'help', they had plenty of time to see it - and both dogs consistently entered incorrectly going to wrong side. Every time. It was puzzling then, but I set it up again at home tonight with six open channel weaves - same problem, both dogs. So, yeah, definitely something that I trained. Tried it with a threadle into the weaves, without it, hanging back, going forward - something about this particular set up just consistently told them to enter the opposite direction. Now, take away that little loop before the weaves, no issue, they entered correctly - it was something about this set-up. They both did work through it with the channel weaves at home, but need to revisit it again.

Besides that weave entrance not happening at all, I thought Navarre did a great job and was trying very hard. Just worked jumpers exercises, which worked well. 20 inches, here we come!

I did unfairly assume Bright was just being an airhead with the weave entrance, so I felt bad once Navarre did the same thing. Bright had some silliness, but as long as I was loud and obvious, she was trying hard. I was being a pretty lazy handler as it was so hot, so I can't say I was holding up my end of the bargain.

Had a good time with both of them, it really is fun to have two agility dogs to run. Now, another 97 degree day tomorrow, but I'm hopeful that it's the last of the hot weather we'll see this summer - which has been VERY pleasant, overall. Can't complain about just a few weeks of hot weather.

Haku looked great in his obedience class this week - no issues jumping 10 inches with the panel. Didn't look at the bar jump. But no avoidance at all, and confident early jumping, rather than stuttering. So that was an unexpected, but nice change. I know we're not the most precise team in the world, but he really does do well with obedience. I go back and forth about trying for his UD, and our next opportunity isn't until December. So we'll just see what happens once we get to that point. Having fun and feeling better about obedience, and that's the important part - enjoying the journey.


Bright managed to break off her dewclaw again. And I mean at the base. I saw her licking her foot earlier and, yep, the nail was still barely attached and sideways. Underneath just a pink fleshy nub - ouch! Cut off the tiny flap of nail that was hanging on and she seems none the worse for wear. I'll keep spraying the nubbin but hopefully she'll quickly heal up. The last time this happened it took forever for me to figure out what her issue was, as the nail looks normal unless she knocks it sideways. I'm assuming this is the same nail, which grew back perfectly fine - hopefully will not be an issue this time either. Though I do have to wonder what on earth she's doing to have this happen twice.

Had a pair of coyotes out in the field the other day, it really does seem to party central for them all of the sudden, even during the day. Coyote poop EVERYWHERE. But I think the snakes are making a comeback after the flooding, here is a cute coyote finding a snake:

And you even get some bonus John Oliver if you have the sound on. I just find the similarities between dogs and coyotes to be quite remarkable, that is exactly what my dogs would have done. Well, those that have any interest in hunting snakes, anyway.



There was a snake in the basement the other day. How did he get it in there? The funny part was how I was coming down the stairs (carrying a big basket of laundry) and Navarre just STOPS DEAD in front of me (nearly killing us both). Apparently he can smell snake from FAR away and wasn't having anything to do with it. It was just a cute little garter snake, I gave him a lift back outside. All the cats were transfixed, I think they had been down there harassing him.

Hard to believe that for the majority of the summer last year the weather was like this ALL THE TIME. And, let's face it, probably will be next year. I'm hopeful that we can go back to Super Fun Summer again ... starting tomorrow.

Did have a chance to do a little Justine homework with Navarre at 20 inches though, and he seemed comfortable.

He's extending and bending very nicely so far, and has an interesting ability to land and just STOP. Considering he's pretty drifty I have no idea how those two behaviors go together. Hopefully we'll have a couple more good practices at 20 inches before heading off to Utah for his debut. Assuming that the jumping continues to look comfortable, his dogwalk will be his weakest obstacle. I had planned to have another month to work on solidifying his stop vs run and actually work some running exits. But my goal for the trial is just fun exposure, so hey.

Interesting side benefit of teaching dogs to hug - I didn't pose these dogs, they just start snugging up to each other to get ready to hug

And a Brisbee runs through it

Apparently Haku couldn't find a toy to bring me, so he brought this. I have no idea what this is, but I give him points for effort

Wheeeee says the London



Well, this is more what I expected from this summer, but even then - if we only have a few days of 100 degree weather, that's not too bad. Tomorrow I imagine will be hotter as it's not going to cool down much tonight.

Obedience with Haku this morning before it got too hot, and guess who was all about jumping today? Admittedly it was at 10 inches and he was REALLY early on the bar jump - but no hesitation or stuttering at all, he seemed very happy to play. Which is funny as I had about written off obedience and just gave it a try with the assumption he would refuse the jump and we would move on. But directed jumping at Ellie's place was really easy for Haku today. That includes the go-out portion too. Go figure. Haku is tucked up next to my chair, with Fizban tucked up on top of him. Love that boy, and I will listen to what he wants to do. Today, at least, we had a great time with our obedience.

Dogs were happy to play once it cooled off tonight, the days are definitely getting shorter.

Navarre is not the only that can hug around here

Tiny troublemaker

I can't even tell you how often Brisbee photobombs all my pictures, either in front or a giant white blob in the background

I don't THINK this was the rogue rooster

Waiting for action

Stray Rooster

So this guy showed up today, he's a bold little thing:

The girls were not impressed, but I couldn't get him to leave. For whatever reason Navarre thought he was 'livestock' and was all about stalking him, which he never does to our chickens.

Which was interesting in itself, as this is NOT how he acts around sheep, all careful and slow. I assume he lives next door, though it's always possible someone just set him loose and he really is a stray chicken. He was still roaming around the property crowing when I left this evening, hopefully he found his way home.

With just a couple weeks until Navarre's first trial, went ahead and made the bump up to 20 inches today. We were working little twisty jumping drills in his puppy class today. Definitely a lot more difficult to do things like threadles and backsides with higher heights! Just straight ahead he looked more comfortable, and hopefully we'll have a chance to do a little more practice before heading to Utah. Of course, with the incoming 100 degree weather ... we'll see. THERE is the summer we were missing.

Obedience for Haku tonight, he was so super happy to be there as we didn't go last week. Just not doing any jumping for now, and winding down with classes - after we finish this session we're going to take an obedience hiatus from both classes. We may or may not go back to it, but hopefully we can start working on herding. We had a lot of fun these past years with our obedience journey, and I feel way more confident with it now. Private lessons really were the way to go, I'm thankful Ellie was so affordable we could make that happen.

Been continuing to work on Navarre's independent hind leg squats (going from standing on his back legs, down into a sit-pretty and then back up). We do it before dinner every night and he can now do multiples without an issue - and on a verbal only (as I'm holding his food dish). The funny part is that he has no clue if you ask him to do it somewhere else.

All of the sudden Fizzy is getting his MAJESTIC man-mane - just love this boy!

Memory Lane

Took a trip down memory lane tonight and found this little gem:

I think he was nine in this video, much more confident than in his younger days. Brisbee is struggling to get on the bed and couches these days, though he can still sprint around the property like he's on crack. The old dogs are starting to look it these days.

I feel the need to go to Utah, so road trip for Navarre and Bright. And Navarre will have what I think I may call his Very Unexpected Debut in AKC Novice. He seems very relaxed about the whole trialing thing so far, I think we'll be okay to go play around in the ring. While the UKI trial in September I was planning on turned into a .... non-UKI trial, so no more training in the ring. I think we'll still go play anyway.

As for Bright, I have no idea what she might do at this point. She was relatively normal last weekend, but she's fooled me before. I used her as a demo dog for threadle training today, which of course she had no issues with, because she can do them in her SLEEP ... when she wants to. Sarah was thinking it may be related to her spay, which I didn't think was probable, but then I thought about the timing. Bright actually was spayed late last year, and she started getting weird a few months after that earlier this year ... could it be hormones? Is there anything I could do for her if it was? Does that mean this is just what Spayed Bright is like? Hm.

And one last video from the past, the ever patient Poco and one very weird Dio:

And let us not forget that Haku was on the cover a magazine ... because, yeah, he was:

Navarre's Pre-Debuts #1 & 2

So many great opportunities to ease Navarre into the world of trialing! No sink or swim, we are gradually wading out into the shallows.

The OSCD Summer Cup was awesome! Tammy, Rosie and Heidi obviously worked their buns off to make this event special, and it really showed. Such a fun day of great agility, hard to believe that Poodletopia had its first ever trial. Back when Heidi bought the place, while it was still very 'raw' indeed, she talked about her dreams of putting on happy one ring trials - and the reality was everything that a Poodletopia trial should be. So glad to be a part of it, and really fun to have so many like-minded folks there as well.

It was hot, but I didn't find oppressively so. I wanted to take some pictures and I was out in the full sun pretty much the whole time and didn't feel like I was dying. Certainly helped that we were done by about noon, the really hot weather didn't show up until the afternoon.

Bright thought it was pretty hot, and apparently she had no energy to give to crazy shenanigans .... mostly. There was a LITTLE ridiculousness in steeplechase, but she just has to keep it real. My goal for the weekend with Bright was to run her like a baby dog. Not assuming, not cueing and going, but being very deliberate about everything that I asked. It felt pretty bogged down, but the connection was there, and that's what I wanted. And Bright won cake (and money!)!

Good girl, Brightness - love that girl to pieces. Who apparently cannot be trusted to hang out at the BBQ after, as she was helping herself to things on the table. A-hem. Apparently, 'Easy Bright' has definitely been retired.

Then the big event - Navarre in steeplechase! The ring was just semi-fenced, so this was a real test to see if he would stay with me with other dogs and people all around. As before, he seemed a little baffled why were there, but when it came time to run, he seemed relaxed but very focused. It's VERY different running Navarre, even at this point. He doesn't have the same 'easy' feel as Bright, if I'm late with something it's just not going to happen. But yet he's also very 'with' me, and trying very hard to figure out what I'm asking. It's both very relaxing and very fun at the same time.

Our first 'for competition' run!

You can't see it on the video, but his 'go-on' after the straight tunnel was very impressive! He was pretty annoyed that I didn't whip out the frisbee at the end, so that's something to work on. We missed a jump, but I didn't cue it, he did exactly what I asked! So that just felt really natural and he has a lot of forward drive and obstacle commitment, but it's not frantic, just really comfortable for both of us.

Then more agility today! A teeny-tiny little UKI trial, new place, new equipment - and an added distraction, I had to bring both dogs in so they wouldn't bark in the car when I was running the other. Bright was much better at being tethered and being reasonably well behaved when it wasn't her turn.

Such a small trial with lots of courses, so we ran often and very frequently! Such great exposure for all of us, total agility immersion. I was feeling more confident with running courses again, Bright did really well once again today, and Navarre had so much good stuff!

This is all the running parts of his runs, I just edited out the playing:

So much goodness! Weaves! Contacts! Stopped dogwalks! Running dogwalks! Turning dogwalks! And he was trying so hard with the handling, boy has Bright made me LAZY. If I'm late with Bright, she just slows down and waits for me, running Navarre has made it really clear how very lazy I have gotten. I kept being surprised when he would be RIGHT THERE. Bright wouldn't have been!

Yet overall running Navarre just feels so smooth. Like, literally, he jumps and moves so smoothly that it's like running a hover-dog. This is very different than my other dogs, and it's also like almost being run over by a Prius all the time. He's so QUIET behind me - until he curses at me for being late AGAIN for another blind. Note to self, DO BLINDS SOONER.

So, yeah, so much amazing stuff from the puppy this weekend, and so much to work on too, of course. Mostly I'm continually surprised how relaxed and comfortable this is for both of us. It's just ... fun. No drama, no issues - just fun. Had SUCH a good time with both dogs this weekend, loving having two dogs to run again. And they get along so well, and enjoy their post run romps together.

Here's some Bright so she doesn't feel left out:

Weave comparison

This is me not complaining about Summer when it's just an isolated event. And even still, it's cooling off so nicely at night. I was watching the meteor shower last night and NEEDED A JACKET. Oh, Oregon, stay like this always and I will love you forever.

We have a whole new issue with actual hot weather, Brisbee is now unable to walk on the deck when it gets too hot. Now, he'll voluntarily SLEEP in full sun on the deck, but if you ask him to get up, he just collapses - too hot on his delicate feetsies. You have to go pick him up and save him, poor little guy. None of the other dogs seem to have this issue, Brisbee has dainty feet.

Took some new video to check out what Navarre's footwork in the weaves looks like now that he's a little more confident. Such a huge difference from just a couple weeks ago:

He's still very much figuring it out, but definitely feeling more confident

Groomed the dogs today, in about 30 seconds Haku had reverted to his natural PigPen state. Perhaps because of having an intact boy coat, Navarre always looks tidy

Navarre continues not to waver on his preference with all things frisbee (and only round, thank you very much). He plays with other things, but he's clear about what he REALLY wants

Delicate Brisbee

London keeps finding the ground wasp nests out in the field, poor guy

Navarre is working on his 'casual over the shoulder hug' as opposed to his 'death grip' hug

Looking so grown up!

Summer is Coming (maybe?)

Played hooky from obedience class tonight. To be fair, Haku was a wet, dirty, disheveled, tired mess from going in and out of the pool while running around while I was cleaning the garage. We really weren't fit for going out in public. But we also need to reset our obedience, we had been working towards UKC Open at 16 inches, but now we are, theoretically, working towards AKC P-Utility at 10 inches.

I also assume we'll be winding down obedience and hopefully focusing on herding this Fall. Doesn't mean we won't ever do obedience again, but I feel much more confident I know what I'm doing and can work on my own to get ready to show, should we choose to. We have had fun on our obedience journey, and that's all I care about.

Knock on wood, Haku has had not had any issues since he returned to full activity. And he's been racing like a crazy dog all over the property. Hopefully that will continue, Haku was made for action. And Eva is down to one more day of antibiotics, also have not seen anything with her mysterious throat infection. Everyone is looking pretty good at the moment, though I think London needs to have some lumps looked at. He's at that age that I think it's time to give him a good dental and de-lumping (if he needs it) while he's still young enough that putting him under shouldn't be too scary. I'm not super motivated to do so though, I always worry even if it's in his best interest.

It's sort of anticlimactic at this point, but Navarre has 12 weaves ... again! After going back and working multiple sets of six I set up the 12 again and he was looking way more confident. Still can fall out near 8 or 10, and therefore still sometimes has to slow down to think and make sure he gets those last poles, but the rest of the poles look great, and he's done several lovely, fast, confident sets of 12. Going to tentatively check that one off the list for now, he needs proofing, but weaves always do - I feel like he's got the basics of 12 straight poles. Being a big, long boy I don't want to overdo the weaves.

We're going back to the dogwalk at the moment, straight off looks good! Turns, not so much, and have just started asking for stops again. He's tentative, but slowly improving. The stop is weakest with me running past, turns he CAN do ... after he's warmed up. Pretty much consistently looks awful when I first ask for one though, lots of work to do there. The plan is actually to either ask for a straight off running or a stop if it's a turn, but will continue to look at turns as they definitely show whether he really knows criteria or not. Also been working entries, which also still need work, but I'm less terrified about him killing himself getting onto the dogwalk.

What just kills me about Navarre is continually finding him just sitting on equipment, waiting for it to 'go'. Like for instance this evening, I was in the garage and the dogs had been out doing their own thing for quite some time, they were quite aware that I was not coming out to play. Then out in the distance I hear, "bang!" And I poked my head out, way across the yard was Navarre on the end of the teeter in 2o/2o, just sitting there, ever patient. It's the same with the dogwalk, table or even the weaves, he will just stand in-between pole one and two. It's not like I'm anywhere around, or he's actively 'working' to get my attention. He's just sitting there. Waiting patiently. Forever. Quite confident that someone will come along and make it 'go'. He is such a mysterious boy.

A mysterious boy with his first official 'pre-debut' this weekend! He's entered in the steeplechase event at the OSCD Summer Cup, just jumps and tunnels at 16 inches. An actual run! With no toys or anything and dogs running before and after him. Outside! I'm not sure if there will be fencing or not. Adventure. And then UKI on Sunday at a totally new location on new equipment, we'll run FEO with lots of rewards. Then I'm tentatively planning on another FEO UKI trial in September, and then see what he does at an AKC show the end of the month. Exciting!

And then just because I went through the trouble of photographing Navarre's tiny balls today, for those that are interested, they are below the cut. There is nothing WRONG with his balls, it doesn't effect him in anyway other than they are probably just purely decorative balls. Doesn't effect his testosterone or anything else, he's just going to have really adorable tiny balls that are probably infertile. Which is actually a plus, really.
Don"t click unless you want to see Navarre"s adorable tiny balls ...Collapse )

Living in the Future

Sometimes I think we should be smartest people ever. It's just so insane to me that we have a device we carry around with us that can answer any question you ever have at any moment. And we totally take it for granted. And people don't seem smarter. At least, I don't. Though I probably know a lot more trivia than I used to. Then I'm driving around today, talking to my phone, sending and listening to text by voice. How crazy futuristic is that? I still think I shouldn't have to be driving around though, where the hell is my self driving car? Then I can really focus on chatting and looking up inane questions on the internet. Like, what do people really DO at Elk Lodges?

I'm almost 40 now, and modern day living really is like, well, living in the future, compared to when I was growing up. And, yes, I DID very much enjoy Stranger Things, thank you so very much. Ah, nostalgia.

I've been very lucky to have quite a few very long lived pets, and what strikes me most of all is how happy they continue to be, even into extreme old age. They might be senile, they might be stiffer, but they are just as happy and loving life just as much now as they ever did. And that can only make you feel more at peace with aging and the inevitable that comes with it. Enjoy life for what it is, there is so much dogs can teach you.

And speaking of teaching, ClickerExpo is back in Portland this year - do I have any interest in going again? I certainly learned that the labs are definitely not worth it, but there were several really fascinating lectures that I think about to this day. And a lot of less fascinating stuff, but, hey. It is worth $500 again? Hm. I do like learning new things, but will there be enough interesting content?

So I took all the fleeces out of my car, then today I'm all cold. COLD - in the middle of August! Crazy. Not to worry though, back up to 97 on Friday. This summer is kind of blowing my mind.

Maybe Baby Mamas

We won't be getting another dog for many years, however, it's very possible that the maybe baby momma of my next dog is right now a puppy themselves. Very excited about Tammy and Rosie's mudi, I've been in love with that breed for many years. And they're getting a girl, so, maybe, someday, they could have little mudi puppies! And then just happened to be I chatted about the potential future breeding of some Afghan Hound puppies today. Once again, all these puppies aren't even old enough to go to their new homes yet, but, maybe, someday, they could be baby mommas themselves.

Afghan Hound mama (Kepi):

Who had babies with 30 year old sperm of this guy (Topper):

Which is all sort of magical in itself. And Afghan Hound puppies are so awkward looking, it's comical.

So, yes, theoretically (once again, so far in the future that it's pointless really to speculate), our next dog will be something in a non-border collie. If we did end up with an Afghan, I would have no expectations of that puppy, and I do think a sighthound would be a wonderful buddy for Bruce. The border collies are not so good at just chilling out - I think an Afghan would excel in that department. Which doesn't mean I wouldn't find it really fun to see what an Afghan hound can really do, but I'd be totally okay if they decided what they REALLY wanted to do was hold down the couch. Now, a mudi I expect would be a lot more demanding. And loud.

Ah, theoretical puppies of puppies - pretty pointless to think about, I'd rather play with puppies. Looking forward to squishing the mudi!

We obviously have a houseful at the moment that will keep us busy for a long time. Today I took Bright and Navarre out to do a little filming for some weave proofing homework. OMG, Bright is just such a space cadet these days! Stuff she used to do without any thought at all, I couldn't get her to do even trying over and over again - I had to use the puppy. Who had never even SEEN these exercises before, and he could do them. That Bright, she's on her own agenda these days - definitely not easy anymore! I have downgraded my expectations with Bright for this weekend on tricky international courses to 'Poor'. Silly girl. But, yes, still SO happy.

A great uncle to Tammy's puppy that I met many years ago!

So cute!