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!

Jump heights matter

You have only to look at the small dogs in USDAA to realize that jump heights have a huge influence on whether people will even run in your venue. Bummed to see that the new international venue is just going to be one program, no performance options, with non-standard higher heights. Which basically means that if you have an athletic border collie or sheltie, you're good to go, but probably won't see many others. Which is unfortunate, as it was such a fun idea, to actually run agility for agility.

I will be curious to see what happens with the Summer Cup this weekend, with the whole 'choose your own height' thing. Yes, I will be running Navarre at 16, as he's a baby. Just as when Bright gets older, I will also be running her at 16. And Eva will always jump lower, of course. There are a lot of reasons for running dogs at lower heights, I'm glad there are many venues where they are welcome. The challenge in agility should not be jump height, in my mind.

Raining today! Crazy. Then super unfair to see the forecast is going up to 95 towards the weekend. Grr. Weather should obey my whims. Summer Cup should be fine, being in the morning, but I would have much rather had a lovely, cool, overcast day. And also taking Bright and Navarre to the UKI on Sunday, so we'll have a fun weekend of agility.

Back at home enjoying my break from classes, and this week we've had a frequent visitor:

I think this is a young girl coyote? She's been wandering around our field, not necessarily hunting, but apparently just enjoying pissing off Brisbee. Navarre doesn't even bark at her anymore. Really interesting to watch her move, I recall reading an article from a conformation breeder talking about how horrible coyote structure was. Heh. That is one bizarre world, conformation, and they really are quite secure that what they're doing with breeding dogs is the best for their dogs.

I listened to this radio show about the lack of genetic diversity in bulldogs and all the health issues that the breed has, and was just amazed that people would actually say things like this:

"Dogs that are randomly bred tend not be as well built ... and therefore tend to be less healthy"

"If you breed to [the Bulldog] standard, the dog tends to be very healthy."

"The bulldog's purpose has changed dramatically then, and if you look at other companion breeds, French Bulldog, Pekingese - Pekingese can't run, they're not designed to run, the Bulldog is not designed to run."

"Not designed to run" NOT DESIGNED. TO RUN. Insane.

And here is Eva and Navarre playing, complete with Bright SO wanting to stop it:

Because they're awesome!

Pre-Flight check

There is nothing I like more about agility then the BEGINNING of things, I just love the baby dog phase. Pretty much my idea of winning nationals is taking a baby dog out and doing ALL THE THINGS for the first time. So today was my baby dog nationals at the B Match after the trial in Salem, and Navarre rocked it. Keep in mind, it doesn't take much to rock Baby Dog Nationals.

Navarre was such a good boy! He was pretty chill hanging out by the rings, interested, but not obsessed by the other dogs running. Happy to focus on me, tug on his leash, do tricks, take treats, visit with folks - and would eventually shut up, he was just barking at me, not at the agility. He did not seem overly concerned about the other dogs, he excelled in the 'Waiting To Run' event - gold medal!

Going into the ring he was happy, a little baffled what we were there for, but quickly figured it out. In the Sit-Stay competition he came in first - another gold medal! Uh, well, you know, mostly. There may have been some getting up, but it's okay, you can still go for the gold in Baby Dog Nationals with some standing up as long as the INTENT is there.

We started with jumpers, we made up our own course as this was on the premier jumpers course. So mostly big loops, and he did most of the jumps! And only knocked a couple of them! Gold medal for Taking Many Jumps! And guess who nailed his weaves? TWICE. Yes, that's right, Navarre was a weaving fiend. Once we did a serp to blind threadle thing into them and the second time serp to rear cross - nailed them. Gold medal for weaving! We did a front cross - gold medal! Layered a jump - gold medal! Big long loop around the outside of the arena into the tunnel - GOLD MEDAL! Getting the correct side of the tunnel and leaving all the jumps up is totally optional in Baby Dog Nationals. Totally gold medal material in jumpers.

But what about standard? Would he recognize the dogwalk, the teeter, the aframe? OH YES HE WOULD. Gold medals all around! Now, keep in mind that maybe he didn't recognize them the FIRST time, but that's okay at Baby Dog Nationals. Who had a lovely 2o/2o teeter (eventually)? Navarre! Who ran his dogwalk like a boss every time? Navarre! Who did a MUCH better aframe with a turn to the chute than Bright? NAVARRE. And, once again in standard, weaves - no problem! Navarre is the Michael Phelps of baby dog national medals. SO MUCH GOOD STUFF.

Front crosses? Check! Rear crosses? Check! Blind crosses ... well, maybe next time. He did ALL THE THINGS. I don't think he recognized the triple (he was jumping 16), so more work there is needed with spreads, I think. Actually stopping on the table in sequence - uh, maybe should work on that. Ran his dogwalk with a sort of offset jump exit and he looked fabulous. Also a bit of a push onto the dogwalk from a tunnel and he handled that without an issue. Just so many things! All the things!

So, yeah, this is really what I love about agility, when things start coming together. I was really happy with his attitude, focus, confidence and obstacle performance. And it is rather surprising, if there was a graph of Navarre's progress it would be a very slight, gradual climb for a long time with a sudden surge in the last few months. It still very much takes me by surprise when he's so ... grown up. Sometimes. About some things.

So puppy had fun! And I had fun too. Ran him once in jumpers and twice in standard. The first time in standard just lots of breaking down and rewarding each piece of equipment. The second time we mostly just ran a lot of the course, just like, FOR REAL. At Baby Dog Nationals actually doing the course in order is not required - GOLD MEDAL! ALL THE MEDALS. And he was just so relaxed about it all, before/during/after - that is one unflappable puppy.

What a great opportunity to get him into that type environment, we have work to do, but feeling very optimistic we can play the end of September. Though, good lord, there was the most evil novice standard course. I'm just amazed at the courses AKC has for baby dogs, this was just a nasty piece of work, SO MANY OFFCOURSE OPTIONS, and the dog was never actually pointed at where they were supposed to go. So mean! Time to get prepared for that sort of thing ...

So, yeah, I thought as long as I was going down the match, I might as well bring Eva and Bright too. Which SOUNDED like a good idea. Much like signing everyone up for a couple runs SOUNDED like a good idea. Then it was 7 runs where I was just going from one ring to the other with this dog or that. So exhausted - I obviously haven't been RUNNING agility in quite some time! Puff-puff-puff. And it's not like I was just out there for 30 seconds, I was using all the time. Puffpuff.

As for the girls, they were not at Baby Dog Nationals, which is too bad, as it's much more fun there. Bright I ran the premier course and was thrilled to get through the opening with all blind crosses ... and then she didn't respond to my threadle. DOH. I like how the fact that she NEVER does respond anymore doesn't stop me from expecting her to. And in standard had to take her back to restart the dogwalk as she didn't have a lovely dogwalk like Navarre. Or the aframe! But she thought it was all great fun.

Eva ... ugh. I was actually feeling pretty optimistic about her, as we had practiced a little and her jumping wasn't too bad. Well, scratch that, in this environment it was HORRIBLE. Crashing, early jump everything, just ugly all around. Sigh. The good news is that it was better in standard, though there were only like 4 jumps in standard, and everything was on a turn there. I had her all signed up to go to the Summer Cup next weekend, but I'm rethinking that now. She had a good time, but she should not be doing agility if that's what her jumping looks like. Poor Eva, always gets the shaft.

I had grand intentions of setting up my go-pro knockoff camera to immortalize Navarre's first match doing ALL the equipment. I was much too busy running back and forth though. So you'll just have to imagine the magnificence of Navarre doing ALL THE THINGS in a completely adorable way.

You don't have to imagine with London looks like when he refuses to move when I'm trying to make the bed though:

Upcoming events

Hard to believe it's already August, this year has just flown by. I have been focused on getting through summer ... but it's just been such a lovely summer, I've so been enjoying it! Fall is right around the corner, crazy enough.

Started looking at possible trials, I had a few firm dates in mind, but wasn't really sure what else was going on. And, hm, I might do a couple AKC trials with Navarre before his 'official' debut the end of October in Central Point. There is a trial the end of September that I want to do with Bright anyway, and we'll be there and he'll be 17 months - a good opportunity to see what he might do. Then there is another AKC trial the weekend BEFORE the Central Point, and planning to do that one with Bright too ... it just seems like I might as well throw in the puppy if I'm already going to be there. And then after Central Point there is nothing much going on, so it would give us a good chance to see how Navarre felt about trialing.

Knock on wood, so far he's doing well in new places and on new equipment. At the moment I don't really have any concerns with him. He's a good boy, and a solid boy, and he likes to have a good time - and he likes agility. I THINK he'll enjoy trials, I THINK he'll stay with me, I THINK he'll be reasonably confident on the equipment to play around on a novice course. Of course, you don't really know until you try.

I have signed Navarre up for a fun match in couple weeks at a new place, and entering him in the OSCD Summer Cup (steeplechase only) - may also do FEO UKI with him next weekend as well, but I haven't decided if I want to go to either of the UKI trials (go figure). There is a match after the trial in Salem tomorrow I'm thinking of bringing Navarre to. Can bring a toy and a great opportunity for exposure to working in a trial environment with new equipment.

I have no particular ambitions or goals with Navarre and agility, I don't expect him to be the fastest, but I think he'll have a good time. I think he'll enjoy AKC agility as he has a lot of forward drive, but he has also seems comfortable doing more twisty international style handling. He may never do USDAA, at last measurement he was right around 21 inches. If he can jump 22, then fine, we'll play in the few local trials we have - but I won't jump him 26, and I think 20 preferred should be for dogs that really need the height drop (labs, shepherds, etc). Now, if they changed 26 to 24 I might think about it, but you know that won't happen for another 5-10 years in USDAA.

There is a new venue on the horizon, I'll be curious to see how it plays out. UKI certainly has it's limitations, including you never know what type of courses you might see. It sounds like this new venue the judges aren't necessarily coming up with the courses, but people submit them and then the trial organizers can pull from those. Which would be nice to have some sort of consistency in the difficulty level and flow.

As for me, I'm pretty resigned to agility in the US at this point, by which I mean people are more interested in qualifying for titles or nationals than actually excelling at the course in front of them. If there was a venue that actually promoted RUNNING agility, it would make me happy. I don't know if there is a demand for that though, we shall see. Even UKI it seems people are there only to train in the ring or qualify for nationals. I don't have the interest in national events (though can be fun occasionally!), I just enjoy doing agility for agility - I don't want to travel across the country for that. If there could be local trials where you had the same mindset, I would love that. I have no idea if this venue is anything like that, but I'll be curious to see.

I decided to go ahead and not enter Haku in obedience this weekend. There are only a few UKC trials, and I thought it would be easy and fun for him to do Open, but the jumping thing has me spooked - and trialing with that issue is not going to help. I did sign up to work on Sunday, so I'll work, but I feel better making the decision to skip it with Haku. Depending on how his jumping looks, my next goal is preferred Utility at 10 inches the beginning of September. But until I know what he's going to do with the jumps, I just don't know.

Not going to all these, but so I know where everything is ...

12: UKI Mulino
13: OSCD Summer Cup
14: UKI Wilsonville
20: Agility and Obedience Match Hillsboro

3-4: AKC Obedience St Helens
4: UKI Sherwood
2-4: AKC Agility Utah
10: Oktoberfest
24-25: Ridgefield AKC Agility

7-9: USDAA CAT Ridgefield
8-9: Albany AKC Agility
21-23: Salem AKC Agility
27-30: Central Point AKC Agility
29-30: Obedience Ridgefield
30: UKI Oregon City

19-20: Ridgefield AKC Agility

3-4: Obedience Ridgefield
30-1st: Ridgefield AKC Agility

7-8: Ridgefield AKC Agility
19-22: Portland Expo AKC Agility/Obedience

4-5: Ridgefield AKC Agility

18 inches

Navarre is starting to feel a little more comfortable at 18 inches. It is definitely a 'jump' for him now, really very different feel to the decisions he has to make. And he's trying so hard!

We had the morning to work on Justine homework, he thinks this is really fun stuff:

Just adore that boy, love the dog he's maturing into.

Look, more obedience!

Well, we are nothing if not dedicated, Haku is dropping in on a group class with Ellie for the summer. I wasn't sure what to expect, but very different than our other group class. Way more dogs for one, six dogs and the building is not super large. Then basically we did 'stations', so divide the room into six slices and have everyone working at once. So jumping next to recalls next to dumbbells next to signals, etc. Talk about good distraction proofing!

Haku was VERY high, so we had some barking and whining, and lots of scooting and antsy paws - but he actually was able to focus fairly well considering the new dogs and set up he's never seen before. Especially considering he's had the place to himself for years, this was certainly a shock. All I was looking for was focus and enthusiasm, and he did well. He actually did well with most things, but lost it for signals, that took some working through.

The broad jump was not an issue, and we just did a 12 inch jump for his dumbbell retrieve over the high jump. He didn't seem at all reluctant with that height or jump, no stuttering or weirdness. However, he was very high and the jump was very low. Still, it was nice for both of us to feel successful with that. I obviously don't know what he might do with the 16 inch jump this weekend the trial, but nothing I can really do about it.

The nice part about this class is that with all the craziness everyone was still very positive when things went wrong. It was a more positive environment than his other group class, and I think we both appreciated that. Still don't know what we will happen with Haku and obedience, but it was a fun challenge to see what we could do today. Haku is such a good boy! Also no problem with his out sight stays, very relaxed with the new dogs.

Back at home I find it adorably cute that Navarre is constantly going and standing hopefully on all the agility equipment when we're out and about. You'll find him standing on top of the dogwalk, the aframe, mid-weaves or at the end of the teeter - looking ever so expectant. Today we worked on just a little weave proofing, so he can now weave while I push past the exit and when I walk the opposite direction of his weaving. He's starting to get it!

Here are some random cell phone moments:

Look, it's the river behind our house! Rarely seen by the naked eye

The much less rare Napping Navarre, he's a back sleeper

And here is Navarre and Fizban sleeping all snuggled up next to me - because they're AWESOME


Hm, signs may be pointing to the end of obedience for Haku. He has definitely lost confidence in jumping, preferring to run around the 16 inch jump. The broad jump he's happy to do, but he's stuttering with the other jumps, this is three different sessions now. It could be mental, it could be physical, but considering that we were just at the rehab vet there is not much I can do on the physical front. Saw him stutter to go up the stairs this evening as well. It is sad, but not unexpected - it is a normal progression of the early jumping dog. It's pretty much superman or stutter, and supermanning is a young dog's game. But all around obedience Haku feels ... restrained, and it's just not the same for either of us lately.

We'll go ahead with the UKC trial this weekend and see how it goes. He can jump 16 in UKC, and can go down to 10 inches in AKC preferred. But it may be time to move on to herding, we've had our fun with obedience, but obedience trials don't thrill me. We have five weeks with this class, and we're joining a group class with Ellie as well for a while - I'll re-evaluate in September.

Navarre had a go on a new aframe at the arena for his puppy class today. He supermanned the first one, then was fine. Just did two reps but I was happy with it and he seemed very comfortable. He was a little weird on his dogwalk, which I thought was odd at the time that he slowed down like he was going to stop as I sent him to a backside afterwards. But thinking about it, we spent forever getting him to STOP automatically going to the backside of every jump after the dogwalk, so he may have been confused. Certainly made it easy to get up where I needed to be though! I haven't gone back to work stops on the dogwalk again, want to feel more confident with running again first.

He did 12 straight weaves! Eventually, and really rather awkwardly. But he's in his 'thinking phase', there is no point trying to work footwork until he feels confident he knows what he's doing. And still lots of question in his mind. It's been nice for Tammy to let us crash her puppy class while Navarre grew up, working around other dogs is just not an issue in his mind anymore. And I considering where we started, that's a big accomplishment. He can hang out and wait his turn and doesn't get too worked up or obnoxious. Just mildly obnoxious, which I'm okay with. Good puppy is feeling more grown up all the time.

Next weekend is Navarre's official pre-trial debut. I plan to enter him in the Steeplechase portion of the OSCD Summer Cup, and then apparently they stealth added a UKI trial the next day in Wilsonville - so plan to do FEO there as well. I'm feeling somewhat confident that Navarre will focus and stay with me. Perhaps I should not be that cocky.