Had some lovely birthday celebrations this week, and I'm just going to keep on rolling through the rest of the year - the year of turning 40. Because why not, the party that never ends. Well, until next year, as you can't go around spending all year celebrating 41, because that's hardly a big round even number.
For my actual birthday I got to go play with puppies - Mudi puppies! There was talk of playing inside on yet another soggy spring day, but I was having none of that - throw those puppies outside for their first time, they will have to get used to rain sooner or later. They were about four and a half weeks old, which, let's be honest, is kind of a funky age of giant heads and drunken waddling. Still, their little curls and adorable puppy bobble heads! Puppies are just adorable.
Really nice, outgoing litter. First time outside (and it was not warm), first time meeting us, all new surfaces and tunnel and wobble board - and they just took it all in stride. I was really surprised to see them so into people already, especially Maroon Boy, who was a favorite all around, he loved the people. Fun litter though, I believe it was NINE puppies, which is crazy especially when they all look alike. There were certainly the troublemakers, the loud one (Blue Boy), the adventurous Red girl, the incredibly sassy Purple girl. Will be fun to see them in another couple weeks if I get back there.
If anyone is looking for a Mudi, this is a nice litter. I really like the parents, they are both fun, happy, outgoing dogs that are fast and having a great time in agility. I think there would be some nice performance dogs in that litter: http://www.cruzynmudikennels.com/
We actually went to a trial today! And, boy, was it muddy. And Bright really likes to jump up and hug my butt. With her muddy self. I was pretty coated, from top to bottom, in mud by the end of the day. Dogs had fun, though we were sort of all over the place. I thought the courses were fun, and it was a smaller trial going tall to small, so it ran really smoothly.
I thought that Bright was just being exceptionally goofy going off course in standard by going WAY over to the other side of the ring, but then Navarre did the same thing, but more so, and I decided it must have been me. Though Bright didn't stop on EITHER teeter today, and she found it annoying that I would ask. New and Improved Bright continues to do her own thing, and I can never quite guess what that thing may be. Today was a lot of off courses (and teeter running). Premier I'll take responsibility for, as it was a serp line that I suddenly didn't trust her to actually DO, so threw up a weird threadle arm and ended up causing just what I had been trying to avoid. Lovely running dogwalk though! Standard she did NOT turn into me on her collection cue as we had studiously practiced since the LAST time she had this issue in international league. Yeah, New and Improved Bright thinks that's stupid. And jumpers I rear crossed, and that's all I really need to say about that. Though, to be fair, she DID rear cross, just not the right jump. A-hem. HAPPY though, ever so happy - we had fun.
Navarre was also very happy to be there! Barkbarkbark! And it doesn't help when I run to get him after running Bright and forget to bring treats. I do think he actually is a little more connected with me before our runs though, he just gets bored waiting, he's still such a puppy. He just had standard and jumpers, same issue of going off course, and even farther than Bright on the standard course. It was like running a NADAC dog - whoosh! Contacts looked good, weaves first go, but very thoughtful - I need to remember he sucks at serpentines in competition. Coming into me is not his first inclination at trials, he's definitely multitasking. Jumpers went a little better, more sensible, but slower weaves (into nothing), but dropped a bar when he was doing a bit of sightseeing around a corner and I called him. But that was 2 for 2 in the weave department and didn't run around ANY jumps! Did I mention that Bright did? Just ran past the last jump to get her leash today - I swear, she likes to mix it up.
So, yeah, we had fun, but did not have our agliity groove on. Navarre needs exposure and practice in that busy environment, and the big wide spacing is very different with him as he has such a big stride - can't really replicate that in the tiny practice barns. Admittedly, Bright has been on break from agility, but I just keep assuming that she can DO THIS. She used to be SO EASY, I have yet to really accept New and Improved Bright, and continue to be surprised when she's all, "Wheeee!" We could also use some actual trialing exposure. Which we would have had, if we didn't have to throw away all our entry fees on trials we couldn't go to in January. Now we're going to shift back to international coursework as that's what we have coming up. We'll see if we get back to our AKC groove later this year.
In other news, Haku has been working on relearning his obedienc 'place' cue as a hand signal. So for all his exercises, rather than saying 'place' I'm using just a hand signal, so he's used to seeing that and understands exactly which 'stay' cue I am asking for. The theory being that he never really understood that his hand signal for stay in signals was 'place' and not a 'wait' (where he can move around). So we're being consistent and working on his opposite motion 'place' with leash tension. He's figured out this game, but will still fairly often move a foot, so been playing with that.
On our homework we also have retraining a dumbbell pickup, where he acts like he's never picked up an object in his life. He CAN just calmly pick it up (like in articles), but the thrown dumbbell throws him into a fit of regripping and chomping before he even picks it up. So need to work on that which was not magically fixed by not doing retrieves while he was working on his utility title. Those are our biggest issues at the moment, his next trial is looking like April.
Navarre is doing so well with his baby obedience! We have just been looking at heeling mostly, some fronts and finishes, figure eights. He does think that group heeling is fun, for whatever reason. He was also doing better on his stays, for no particular reason I could see, but I'm not going to complain. Suddenly he can just ... lie there, without rolling about. No grand ambitions for Navarre in obedience, if he does compete, it won't be until he's much older and more mature. He's just a giant sack of goofy puppy still. Step one is heeling in my mind though, and he's made some great strides recently.
As for Bright, we have been taking it easy since her limp at the last trial, doing some front end conditioning at home, as well as some running about, but no agility or toy chasing. We did a little agility on Thursday, and then again today, of course - so signs of the limp. Knock on wood, hopefully it's been taken care of.
Oh yeah, speaking of agility on Thursday, had set up an exercise with a straight tunnel to look at proofing tunnel threadles and bypasses. Navarre used to be REALLY GOOD with this exercise - ZOMG, not anymore! You know when I have to use Bright as a (really terrible) demo dog that things have gone horribly wrong. Really surprised me, Navarre has great tunnel threadles, and I always thought it was because he had such a great understanding of this exercise. Ha! We have homework to do. Remedial homework.