Galentine's Day



Had fun getting together for a NWSICA 'Foods We Love' get together at Poodletopia over the weekend. There was some seriously good food - how could you go wrong? Well, unless someone brought something made with spam.


Three guesses who made the meringue cake vs the spam rolls


All the goodness together


Then we got to play with sheep - this is my sheep, Gretchen, who appears to have a death wish challenging Demi


Hi-Fi is a huge fan of sheep


Navarre thinks he may be close enough, but getting closer couldn't hurt - he got a crash course in learning to bite sheep. My sheep is a bitch.


Callen looked amazing - and he's just a baby!


That is one photogenic dog


When Dove is good, she is very good, and when she's bad, she has a mouth full of wool (but she ALWAYS looks fabulous!)


The Itty Bitty International Committee


Navarre for scale


Wheee!


Last romp of a beautiful Spring day - let 2017 officially begin (without any more ice, snow or sickness!). Suddenly, it's in the 50s!


Happy Valentine's Day!

Hiking in the Rain



I was a bit worried about hiking today, what with the crazy amounts of rain we've had. But I figured a logging road is probably pretty good with drainage, and the weather didn't sound too bad. I actually like hiking in the rain, as long as it's happy Oregon rain, and not freezing cold sideways rain.

It all worked out and we had a wonderful hike - with a bonus dog! We took Rico for the day as well - and he very much approved of hiking. So good for a big puppy like him to be using his body, and by the end he was off roading with the other dogs like he'd been doing it his whole life. That boy just has a good head on his shoulders, he was adventurous but not stupid, and stuck right with us, no issues. I swear, I do think he's about the easiest puppy ever - at least, so far.

In fact, he's such a good puppy, when I decided to see if I could teach him to stay to get some cute pictures of him in the forest (not easy to get pictures of erratically moving puppies in the forest in the rain!), he picked it up SO QUICKLY. And we worked up to this picture, where I was about 20 feet away. Now, as you can see on the faces of the other dogs, he took a few tries to get to that point - but so impressive! And so hilarious that after all that build up the other dogs ruined the picture by looking so put out about stopping mid-hike to train a puppy.



In other news, Bright is such a girl. Dove was over this morning and playing with the puppy, and Bright did NOT approve. And after that apparently Bright decided that Rico was actually an okay puppy, and she will now play with him. On her terms. When she's in the mood. And may stop at any moment. But it's really cute.




Such big ears you have!


So many sticks, so little time


Forest puppy!


Definitely not afraid of a little water


Dog approved


One good puppy

International League Continues ...

It was a very international league week, as I set up that particularly gnarly week two course that we crashed and burned on for classes this week. Let me say, that one did not get easier in a new location, there was a lot to work on with that course. Broke it down and worked the pieces, and I feel more confident about what with what we struggled with. Sometimes there is definitely a big difference between working skills and actually using them in 'real life'.

Bright was the big agility winner this week, she was surprisingly on it with both our revisit and at league tonight. Any issues were pretty much me, I have lost a lot of faith in our teamwork and it's putting me behind. It was nice to be able to confidently get through that evil course with her though:



Now, Navarre has just been kind of pill all week. In agility he's been surprisingly all over the place, and at home he's been kind of naughty and pouty. The other morning he got into the pantry while I was in the shower and ate a whole bag of peanut butter chips. He keeps disappearing around the side of the house when I let the dogs outside, I have no idea what he's doing back there. He rammed into Bindi in the field and made her cry, and then even after getting in trouble for that, he kept going in on her - which he doesn't normally do at all. In agility he was flying off the teeter, popping out weavepoles repeatedly, randomly taking things - just not stuff he normally does.

My theory is hormones, as he is also starting to really chatter on pee this week and other fun boy dog behaviors. But I'm hoping he's just having an off week. I suppose we haven't had the heart to heart about my policy on intact boys - which is you can keep them until they become a problem. I hope he doesn't have a problem.



Still, he did pretty good with league this week, which was a nice flowing course. Our first run I ran him like a baby, but our second run I try to push a little and, yeah, nope - still a baby! He needs to be babysat, he was pulling off and flying past and just couldn't handle it. But fun to try. Admittedly, Bright and Navarre get fricken HIGH at league, as they get crated inside with the other barking dogs and work themselves up into a fine frenzy. Really have enjoyed league, a couple weeks left.

Playing with Puppies



I'm very thankful for those that have let me play with their puppies. They are all so different and it's been incredibly helpful for me to have a chance to work with different personalities and breeds. Dog training is one of those things that you never actually feel like you know what you're doing, because every dog is different and there is always so much to learn. Even with my own dogs, every dog is like learning it all over again - and every student's dog is so unique, it's such a fascinating puzzle. And I certainly love training agility, because we're not trying to get dogs to 'behave', but to really communicate and interact on a deeper level - I feel so fortunate that agility came into my life all those years ago, it opened a whole other world with dogs.


Fizban found a puppy tail!

Got to play with Rico overnight, he is such a nice boy. And, let us mention it, SO BIG. It cracks me up to see this really immature puppy brain in such a giant body. I keep thinking he's so much older than he is, but he's just a baby baby. He just turned 14 weeks today, I believe he's now 3 months old. And probably like 27 pounds. Which is currently on par with a Great Dane growth chart (not kidding, go look it up). I'm pretty sure he's not going to be 135 pounds though. At some point he's going to have to slow down!



Navarre and Rico are total bros, and very well matched. They will romp and wrestle like no one's business, but yet, so far, have remained very appropriate. Navarre doesn't seem to overwhelm Rico (which can happen, he's still just a baby!), and Rico doesn't get too worked up. Just nicely matched. Fingers crossed they remain friends. Because Bright and Haku will not be playing with puppy. Haku especially is like a cranky old man with Rico. I was taking a shower and brought in a toy and the puppy into the bathroom to play while I got ready in the morning, and Haku just barged in, stole the toy, then laid on it, giving the puppy the stink eye the entire time. Poor puppy had to play with my bathroom mats instead. Sometimes I think about, years from now, getting a puppy - but Bright doesn't want a girl, and Haku doesn't want a boy - that doesn't leave a lot of options. A problem for another time ...



Rico remembered our retrieve work, and with just a couple more weeks of maturity, he seemed to get that magic moment of 'Oh, you want me to bring the toy to your hand!' really quickly. We did all the hard stuff the last time he was here, so that was fun to finally put it all together. Rico is not one of Nature's Retrievers, he still has this dubious look when he brings it back to me like it certainly wouldn't be his idea if food wasn't involved. But the boy REALLY likes his food!


Expert Riverdancer!

Food motivated puppies are so much fun to play with, I don't know why I keep getting these dumb border collies that think food is stupid. A food motivated puppy is so much more engaged, but after raising Bright's puppies, I can definitely say it's a genetic trait. Bright's puppies all thought food was pretty stupid too. Keeping in mind that I think it all evens out in the end, the border collies all figured everything out in their own way. Currently Rico is actually way more into food than toys, which is actually novel. But I do assume that will change as he gets older. You know, older than 3 months.


Pretty sure he learned this move from Navarre

Very much enjoyed getting to play with Rico - and then send him home. All the fun of a puppy with none of the responsibility! He's such a ridiculously easy puppy too, totally happy to nap in his x-pen, sleeps through the night, quiet, good with the cats, not destructive, respectful of the other dogs. Good puppy!







Then and Now: Ferrous



Always fun to see the changes from tiny puppy to adult dog. I hadn't seen Ferrous since he was a tiny puppy - and he's three now! He has that same adventurous spirit.


Frisbee lover


Athlete!


Handsome boy


Needs the hardcore frisbees


Hairs away!


Rawr!


15 weeks


3 years

Weaves! (kinda)

So I know people are into the 'standing desk' and other odes to standing. I've never quite understood the appeal, I'm into sitting, in general. But I am used to standing/walking all day teaching, it doesn't particularly bug me, I feel comfortable - but I do get really stiff. Which doesn't seem fair, it seems like I should be 'warmed up' and ready for running, just walking around all day. But I'm not, and it doesn't - and, for whatever reason today, I just never sat down. It was small to tall, but I got there early for premier and then there was just lots of waiting around - and I just didn't sit. And then when I tried to run, yeah, I was pretty sad today. The lesson being, don't stand around all day when you don't have to.

Had fun at the trial today, despite some silly handling mistakes. Not being able to trial does help make it feel more special! We didn't make it on Friday because of the ice storm, unfortunately. And then more snow possible tomorrow - ha! At least I'm not entered tomorrow, which is why I assume the snow won't actually materialize. Fun to see all the baby dogs doing SO WELL, especially some dogs that had been having a harder time - so many great runs and amazing improvement. Agility really does make me happy.

The biggest news on the day, Navarre could WEAVE! Admittedly he popped at 10 on jumpers, but it wasn't because he had no rhythm, he was driving through the poles in both runs like he knew what he was doing. Footwork problem magically fixed! Well, at least for today - would have loved to have run those three runs yesterday, dang it.

Of course, Navarre has reverted to being a floaty sightseer - running around jumps and just not really connected as he had been at the last trial. More like his earlier trials, so that was a surprise. He just felt really green and gooberish, but having a good time. Fell off the table again. Maybe someone should train that. Love running with him, good thing I love baby dogs, as he's going to be one for a while.

Look at those weaves! And then you can stop watching, as it's downhill from there. But, hey, weaves!


Not shockingly, Bright was SO HAPPY, and I'm getting used to this. It's really like running a baby dog! Fun though, her issues were mostly me being pokey today. I thought I could send her ahead down a big arc of jumps in premier - but she took me too literally and took one from the backside - she's too international for international, apparently. Standard I totally forgot I was going to blind cross until it was too late, which didn't stop me from attempting it anyway. That's okay, Bright missed her dogwalk - I'll call that one even. ;-) And jumpers we actually didn't do anything goofy. I'd like to think if we had actually gotten to GO to the AKC trials we entered this year we would have gotten our AKC groove back.


Look, an AKC jumpers course!

And Haku got to play some obedience in the warm up ring - if we ever have to do go-outs in THIS ring, we would do well. He really has mastered the spread out version of directed jumping. Just imagine an agility ring where the only thing there is two jumps, that's the distance he CAN do. At least, in this venue. Because we've practiced here a lot. He was sitting up on his signals today, one early sit on his directed jumping, one wrong jump - but, overall, pretty good. Louder, perhaps, then he should be. A-hem.

One soggy, muddy, filthy day - somehow makes me feel all nostalgic. So many soggy, muddy trials at Ridgefield, especially with London. That dog knew how to get dirty. Always had a good time though, and we had a good time today too.

Did get the dogs adjusted today. May I say Haku is SO GOOD with this - because he's perfect. And Bright, while refusing to acknowledge that anyone is actually touching her, is actually way more relaxed these days with unapproved handling. And Navarre was being a total pill. And crazy how much more muscling he has then the other two, he's one solid boy. Haku's front and feet were all wonky, as usual - but Bright's front and upper back was really off too. I wonder about her jumping off that high bed at home. Hm. Navarre was pretty good. Ah, youth.

Yes, I saw you cruise by that jump to say hi to the judge, Navarre.

Wooosh



Our latest winter storm has been downgraded, hopefully no snow and any freezing rain will be over by tomorrow. As, once again, I'm SUPPOSED to have a trial on Fri-Sat. Crazy winter weather. Hoping it's just bluster, I've just gotten my groove back and am ready for the year to actually begin. That wind this week has been COLD though - brrrr! No question we got a real winter this year.

The dogs have a new game to play at the park: 'Tree'. It's nice to have the surface and room to throw the 'areobee' rings that throw really far. The park also has a few trees, so combine the dogs sends around trees to a thrown areobee we can get crazy running! And I'm surprised how incredibly far all the dogs will send to the tree, Haku especially - when is the last time he did something like that? But, yeah, only have 15 minutes to run the dogs? No problem, we've got 'Tree', they'll be exhausted in 10.

Navarre is an interesting guy, he's getting up towards two years old now, and has been a little sensitive lately. Had someone run him in class this week, which admittedly he doesn't have much experience with. It went well at first, then Navarre went 'weird' and didn't want to come near them. And there were no raspberries in involved (which he still hates, btw). Seeing Sensitive Navarre is always a bit of a shock, as 99% of the time he's just happy go lucky oblivious dork. Though I bet he'd run for Anne - he LOVES Anne. He did happily do some doodling for someone else later in the week, so at least he wasn't put off for life. I think it would probably benefit him to work with some different handlers and get more comfortable with it, so we'll put that on the list. People he knows first though!

Did a couple more little practices at 22 with Navarre, I don't notice any difference anymore. Might take a look at 24 next week and see what he does. There are not very many local USDAA trials, so it would just be an occasional thing. Took a vague look at our schedule through June, LOTS of things in April, LOTS of things in June, not too much otherwise. Turning 40 in March - and that's so close! I keep thinking I should do something fun, but nothing is really coming to mind.

Haku is really entered in obedience the end of the month, down in Albany. He had trialed there once before, which is the only place he was sort of 'sad'. He hasn't done that since, but certainly cemented my preference to slightly high, not very accurate Haku. Which, I'll admit, I reward a LOT. So it should not be particularly surprising when that's what I get. We did some run-throughs at class today and he was just ... himself. And it really hit home that this is what I reward - constantly. I could probably reward some more accuracy. And actually practice. Novel thought.

Speaking of accuracy, tried some experiments with Navarre this week on his dogwalk. His running 'turn' command in tight turn situations is slower and less accurate then using his stop. And we worked on the turn, as he SHOULD be able to do this, but I was disappointed with both the speed and accuracy - he usually HITS on the turn, but not like he should. Straight exits continue to look really good, but it's so nice to have the stop for turns. I do feel like it should be possible to train a fast RC turn, as essentially they should just drive to end (target) and then turn, but Navarre has to REALLY slow down and collect to hit 'accurately', as opposed to driving into 2o/2o. And Bright's RC are terrible, but she still usually gets a foot in anyway. And it makes her very happy! Of course, she's pretty happy these days.

Dove is here at the moment, and Bright just LOVES following her around making ugly faces. Dove seems to like the attention, and will seek Bright out and roll around on her to get Bright's ugly face really going. Being a bitch also makes Bright very happy. And, oh, how she hates it when Navarre and Dove wrestle.


What are you doing will all those legs under there?


Ear curling fun


Navarre in flight


Navarre has no sense of boundaries


Spittle and tongue away!


Aerodynamic

Hiking!



So with Heidi's story about how she was lost in the woods for 24 hours fresh in mind, set off today to check out a new hiking possibility. There is a reason I've been going to the same place for 15 years, I'm not a fan of finding new spots! Often they are hard to find, the directions are vague, the trails not marked or confusing. I don't know if the inclines will be too rough for me, or if there will be unsafe dropoffs for the dogs. Then it seems like every time I try some place new there are like 20,000 other people there. Truly, I've been hiking where I've seen more people on my hike than I normally do in a month. Hiking is popular! There is nothing I find more annoying for both me and my dogs than hiking on leash.



With all that in mind, we got a recommendation for a place relatively close by the Molalla river. Only about 45 minutes from my place, nice easy drive, and no dirt roads even! It's kind of novel to go to a place that is so luxurious it has a parking lot and a bathroom! I imagine it's a more popular destination in the summer, but at least today we only ran across a couple hikers and a pair of horses. Not too bad for a beautiful Friday afternoon - and it was such a lovely hike! Nice gentle inclines didn't hurt my knees up or down, and a beautiful setting. An old logging trail, so it was super wide, which was novel and made it really easy to spot when someone was coming.



The dogs were SO HAPPY, we all really needed this. It was a happy place with a good feel to it. Happy ferns, happy trees. And while it wasn't like it was hiking in the untouched wilderness, it was a man made hike that still felt loved and peaceful. The winter light was so gorgeous through the trees, and the dogs loved exploring the upper trails while I stuck to the main road.



Bright and Haku played 'Stick', Haku would bring me a special stick, then drop it when Bright dived in to steal it from me, then Bright would run off with it and eventually drop it for Haku, and the game would begin again. Navarre thinks 'Stick' is stupid, he would run WAY ahead and then stand there expectantly, then run all the way back, then turn around and do it again. He actually just took off and disappeared around the bend he ran so far when I took the dogs offleash, then didn't come back when I called, so I hid with the other dogs. Then he ran around trying to find us for a while until I took pity on him. He didn't take off out of sight after that. Dork.



Very happy to have found a place close by we can go to, though still looking for other places. I imagine in the summer it will be a much busier place. I do want to find a good place to take the dogs swimming in the river while we're out there, there was actually very little water on the hike itself, which the dogs kept looking at me like, "Where are the clear mountain streams?"









Home, sort of, Home

I really do like my little house. I know it's not that small, but it feels very cozy. We've been here long enough we've started to get routines. I can't say it quite feels like 'home' yet, but more than it did. I'm happy with where I ended up, though it amuses me greatly that after all that angst of attempting to find a house with a reasonable yard, the dogs do absolutely nothing back there. We would have been just fine with a smaller space, they go out, go potty, and then just sit at the door waiting to come back in. They save all their running for the park or the field. The yard remains pristine even with the snow and ice and rain.

Fenwick, Brisbee and Eva seem to be doing well with Bruce. I think we're all a little lost without them, and that is part of the reason the border collies are so quiet. We are all just trying to find a new balance in life. For now, the border collies go everywhere with me. They've stayed at home for short periods of time without apparent issue, but I think we all feel more comfortable staying together at this point.

Fizban and Dragon are doing great, Dragon especially seems to feel more comfortable here then he did at the old house. I can't explain that, as all the dogs that are annoying with cats came with us. But he's just more relaxed and playful, him and Fizban are just tearing around the place all the time. And Dragon is now quite the humper with Fizzy. Go figure. They love being able to get up above the kitchen cabinets and on top of the book cases. They always love their cat towers and snuggle in with Haku and Navarre on the bed at night.

So life goes on, and with the current political climate - yeah, definitely feeling like I'm in some strange alternate universe. "May you live in interesting times." Indeed.



Bright and Navarre get plenty of agility throughout the week, though we could use a bit more focused practice. They usually get to run through exercises to see how they flow and different handling options. Really happy with Navarre's skills these days, kind of magical how it all just comes together. Weaves are probably his weakest skill, which I think goes back to his inconsistent footwork. I still have no real plan to address that, so I'm going with, "Maybe he'll just figure it out with time and experience." Meanwhile, Bright needs work on so MANY things, and I'm pretty much ignoring it all. I like training, but I loathe RE-training. New and Improved Bright needs work on so many things - and she's not terribly interested in changing at this point. But she's also SO HAPPY, and I can't complain about that. Agility is about having a good time, and she's having a blast all the time now.

Haku loves his obedience class, which is Special Haku Time. A solid hour of non-stop obedience, what's not to love? His issues remain the same, and, once again, I rarely have any sort of focused practice with him. He CAN do the things. And he usually DOES do the things in practice at home and at class with many crazy distractions and proofing. He needs to go do the things at fun matches. Instead we'll enter some obedience at the agility show the end of February.

I was remembering Haku when we started obedience (he was 3), he was so sensitive and worried about being wrong. Such a different dog these days, he has LOADS of confidence, no weirdness whatsoever. He really does love his obedience, he can be successful in a way he never could in agility. And Haku NEEDS a job, he's such a nutball. Knock on wood, the jumping at 10 inches seems to be okay. Not GOOD, but not deteriorating.

Our next goal is to find some good local hiking, and with the weather finally acting more like proper Oregon winter weather, hoping to do that soon. I consider February to be Spring in Oregon, so bring it on. Soon enough there will be plenty of mowing and yardwork. I like winter for many reasons!

Slightly higher



Second week of International league tonight - another tough one!


And, once again, being able to do it multiple times did not seem to improve our performance. It's fun to run these courses though, really showing me where we need work. Today I felt pretty confident about most of the course except 15-18. I shouldn't have been particularly surprised with having issues 6-7, Bright took the jump no matter what I did (she had a whole lot of 'wheee!') and Navarre did the bypass off the jump without an issue, but then went for the dogwalk both times. Kind of like the issue we had last week. He can bypass things, but then getting him to the right obstacle afterwards if there are a lot of options, not so good. Something to work on!

I was surprised with both dogs ended up being dorky on 3-4, I wrapped to the inside, ever so confident that we've WORKED ON THIS. Bright did it nicely the first time, but second time she rear crossed (and then did it again at the end - did I mention the 'wheee!'?), and Navarre wrapped correctly, then backjumped! I think I needed to really be more clear what side I wanted him to come to when I did my blind when he was jumping. Really did not expect for both dogs to have such a problem 10-11, it was like the invisible jump. Bright went into the tunnel on my backside send BOTH TIMES. Wheeee!

Anyway, we were all over the place, but lots of good too. Both dogs had nice teeters, and no problems with their stops on the dogwalk, great weave entrances, nice tunnel threadles. Bright got the section I was worried about the first time through - big bonus points to her! Of course, not the second time though. Let me say, these courses are exhausting to run when you have to keep stopping and fixing everything!

Going to make sure at our next league I take a look at the course before hand and really have it firmly in mind. We'll see if we can do a little better, felt not too connected with the dogs today. Still, I'd rather be going offcourse continuously on some fun international courses than doing pinwheels any day.

I'm contemplating doing some USDAA with Navarre this year. I was actually looking through my coursemaps recently and sorting them by interesting bits I wanted to set up. Not many AKC courses made the cut, but even with the very limited amount of USDAA that I do, I found plenty of interesting challenges that would be fun to play with. So the question is, can Navarre jump 24, and do I want him to? He's about 21.5 inches, 20 inches has been really easy for him, he's never jumped higher at this point. He's still a baby, he'll be two in April. He feels SLIGHTLY less like a floppy puppy at this point. Just a little.

So we looked at 22 inches for the first time, and he FELT slower to me, but I think he looks about the same. He didn't seem uncomfortable, but I felt like he did notice the change.

Bright and Navarre at 22:


Somehow 24 does seem much smaller than 26, and it's funny that it's just 2 inches from 22, and I never had an issue with jumping Bright at that height (2.5 inches over her withers). 24 inches is 2.5 inches over Navarre's withers, so, maybe. If he looks comfortable. And there is an actual USDAA trial, which doesn't happen often. With the realization that I usually go batty with all the stupid games at USDAA. Pairs is just the worst.

Got to run my little loaner papillon today, we may be doing trials together, though I have some skepticism that he will actually run for me in the ring. It's never a good sign when every time I throw his ball he takes it and tries to break out of the arena. He's so much fun to run though! So very different then running a big dog. He's getting neutered soon, so I'll be curious to see if that helps with his focus. Such a good little boy though!

I think Haku and Bright are quite pleased the puppy is gone, but not Navarre. He's just a puppy himself, he thought having a Rico visit was AWESOME. We DID get some actual retrieves this morning! Though I certainly wouldn't call the behavior trained. But in my living room with me sitting on the ground with this particular toy, I think I could get him to bring it back to me. Sometimes. Outside of that scenario, well, hey. I think he'll do the 'riverdance' ANYWHERE though - that boy loves his paw tricks! Always enjoy temporary puppies, but, no, does not make me want one for myself. Possibly because Navarre is still such a HUGE puppy - he may never grow up!









Puppysitting



Watching Rico for a couple days while Anne is out of town. He's a good puppy, and really easy. Happy to hang out and do his own thing in his x-pen or the car, sleeps quietly through the night (and naps A LOT), is appropriate with the other dogs. He sticks right with us when out in the field, stalks the other dogs, but not if they go too far and doesn't get himself into trouble. Happy to recall, quiet, not destructive, doesn't pull on the leash - really, quite the easy puppy! No accidents in the house, though I've just been taking him out quite frequently and he's supervised when inside (my house has never been peed on, I don't want to start now!). So, yeah, no real issues other than trying to snark at Fizban over food the first day. He figured out the 'Don't Fuck With Cats' rule, and he's been fine ever since.

I had an ambitious training project for Rico, considering he was only going to be here a couple nights. I wanted to see if I could teach a retrieve. There are a lot of steps to this, and puppies can only train for tiny bits of time, so we'll see how far we get. Only have one more session planned in the morning before he leaves, but he's really cute with what he can do so far. And, technically, he HAS retrieved to hand at this point, but he's not there yet.

Teaching the hold was tough with Rico, because he is all about FEET. So we did train waving with both paws along the way, as long as we were at it. And then it was so cute he would just offer switching off waving right-left-right-left, which looks like he's doing the riverdance. I tried to take some video, but, yeah, videoing and training a puppy does not go well. So we had to do some creative training to get him to actually make the leap to mouthing the toy, so we spent the most time just getting to that point (it was really cute when he was rolling the toy across the room with his nose!). But once we got it he figured out picking up and holding it and it's so cute! And he'll hold it while I reach out and take it - good puppy! He will also take it and hold it if I give him the toy, and pick up and hold on his own.

However, he has not quite made the connection of HELPING me get the toy by bringing it closer. So there has been a lot of Rico smugly holding the toy just out of reach. He's actually brought it in to me a few times, I think the glimmers are there, a couple more days he would probably really get it. Still, his hold is really adorable. Maybe he'll have an epiphany overnight and we can put it together tomorrow, but probably not. We made some good progress though!

Always fun to play with puppies, they are all so different. Will be really interesting to see how he grows. He's CRAZY large, he's just turned 12 weeks old and already weighs half a Navarre. Picking him up is insane, he's so DENSE. Still, because he is such a sturdy thing, I had no worries with him and Navarre romping around like a herd of buffaloes. Those two are CUTE together, they are nicely matched at the moment, and Navarre is actually way more trying to get Rico to play than the other way around. At least he's not trying to hump him anymore! (Though Rico DID try to hump me tonight when he was all excited. Yeah, no.)

I made a cheesy video, because puppies need documentation. I don't have the video skills of other LJers, and this is really only interesting to Anne. Still, he's one cute puppy, and such a good boy.




Future agility star


Nice jumping form!


Giant ears (giant everything, really!)


Bros!


Puppy!

Rose City 2017



I haven't competed in agility at Rose City since Haku was running. So that was quite a while ago. It was a fun event though, London always LOVED the crowds, and it felt like a 'big event' with the ISC competition, back when ISC was still a thing. People would come from out of state, it was a big, crazy, chaotic mess and London thought it was fabulous. London never had any issues with the mats, though we didn't do too many runs. He even finished his MACH at Rose City! That was a fun weekend. It's definitely a different event these days, down to a one judge trial, it was like a ghost town there today.

Been doing agility so long I have 'Back in the day' stories. Heh. But there is one thing that never changes with Rose City - it's always the same vendors! And it is a fun event to go wander around for a bit. I thought about entering Haku in some obedience, maybe run Navarre a couple times just for exposure, but it is a huge pain to deal with the parking and crating and pottying - and it's really expensive.

They do have cozy beds there though, and as Bright is determined to squish into the cat bed I have by the fireplace, I bought her an actual Bright sized bed for her to curl up into (as opposed to squishing the cat bed). She likes it! And so do the cats, so that was worth it. Dragon says it's just big enough for him, so Bright is laying on the hard floor next to it.


Love me some Keeshond smile


Rawr!


These spitzy things were the cutest things I saw all day


Big softy


I have a weakness for sighthounds


Spunky young Saluki


They are so adorable


Ears away!


This is actually a dog


More sighthound love


This whippet seemed annoyed, despite the big ribbon


Vandy and Key all cleaned up and looking pretty


Bonus Pixel!

International League!



I very much enjoyed the last International League that Daisy put on at her place. Was that last year or the year before? Great format, you get two chances to run a fun, challenging course - what's not to like? Really excited to play again this year, but the weather had been pushing it back. Finally got to play tonight!

We were rusty, but we were in good company - great group of people, and we've all been out of practice with the weather (and sickness!). Fun to get back into it, and Daisy's new turf was really nice. Hard to remember what it used to look like, I'm getting used to this turf thing. Tricky with keeping it clean though, we had to stay inside, no going out for romps after - and much barking in the 'crating room'. The dogs were VERY happy to be there, and had a great time.

As expected, Navarre did better than Bright, he's just got the baby dog focus going on. Bright was, as usual these days, just going, "Wheeeee!" But I'm getting used to that.



The course was tricky, lots of off course possibilities - and we explored a lot of them. I found myself baffled by 12-13, which is apparently something we never practice. I either got the aframe when I tried a bypass, or the wrong end of the tunnel when I tried a threadle. Obviously something we need to work on! And, weirdly, both dogs acted like they had never seen a threadle rear before at 17 - and especially with Navarre, who LOVES those, I was really surprised.

I was also surprised that Navarre had no issues with the weaves, which were weird colored and with a giant white base - and he just weaved, like he knew what he was doing. I'll take it. His contacts looked good too, jumping was nice, he was trying really hard and did not want his turn to be over. My super fun agility baby, very proud of him - he's growing up!

Navarre's runs:


And if you combine Bright's runs, we don't look nearly as spastic:


Looking forward to next week, definitely my kind of agility.



Poor Haku, he did get to tag along - and wait in the car. He keeps getting the short end of the stick. His latest is that with the really dry cold weather, his paws cracked on the sides of his big pads on all four of his feet - ouchies! So he's been on rest and being slathered with bag balm three times a day (he's not a fan). They are looking better, and the weather has finally returned to normal. Crazy how warm 45 degrees feels now! The snow is gone, so looking forward to getting back to classes and fun.

But not for Haku, I didn't realize that Preferred obedience was still an OPTIONAL class - and they don't have it at the trial I tried to enter him in. Which is a huge pain the ass, as I entered Navarre and Bright in the agility that afternoon (a Friday, which I never do!) with the assumption that I was going to playing obedience with Haku in the morning. So that sucks, and really lame they don't have preferred, it's not any different than normal, just the jump heights are lower. So who knows when Haku will get to play in obedience again, poor guy. Hopefully he can get back to running soon though!

Winter at Poodletopia


Winter sunset in Hubbard

We did finally get to GO SOMEWHERE yesterday. The roads aren't bad down south here, but they are still a giant mess in Portland. But it's been cold, icy, snowing, and EVERYONE has been sick. Like, really sick. And this has been going on for weeks. But yesterday, we finally got OUT and went and played at Poodletopia - and the dogs were SO HAPPY. And very excited to see the sheep.

Navarre and I had a meeting of words about the vacuum, and we have now had a meeting of words about sheep. He is a good boy at heart, and when I'm REALLY CLEAR he does actually respect that. I'll admit to being a bit wishy-washy about setting limits with Navarre, because he didn't come with a lot of drive to play with me, and he's very comfortable not playing games he doesn't find fun. But he can also be a hard headed beast when he wants to, it's an interesting mix. So if you need Navarre to stop diving in and biting sheep and breaking stays and not lying down, you'd better be LOUD and OBVIOUS.

The point being, Navarre no longer attacks the vacuum, and he was doing much better with the sheep. He still doesn't know what he's supposed to do, but he's checking with me to see what the plan is. Sometimes. And believes me when I tell him to lie down. Had my hardcore voice on. I feel like we can actually sort of work together now. So we'll see how it goes, I don't think he'll be a good herding dog, but I think he'll be enthusiastic!



And as I was feeling all authoritative after working with him, Haku was VERY well behaved, we did our homework of walking the sheep around the pasture, no issues. We did try some driving, but those sheep are ORNERY, they were like, "No." and Haku was like, "Well, okay then." We have on our list to do some sort of herding competition this year, and we will. Not sure when or where, but Haku will get to play with some basic stuff. We'll see about getting into some consistent lessons and making actual progress. It could happen.

Even got to play a little with some weaves too, Navarre had the same issues he did in the trial - so at least that was easy to replicate with some excitement! Was fun to actually do things again, it's been a crazy winter, ready to get back to reality. You know, after this next ice storm tomorrow.


We have enjoyed getting to know 'little' Rico - 10 weeks old now (and 18 pounds!)


Yes, he's already bigger than 6 month old Cake, at 14 pounds


To be fair, Cake is SO TINY - and so cute!


Rico needs a sign on his harness, "I'M NOT A LAB MIX"


Boxing with his giant paws


Dove thought he was big enough for much vigorous romping - he's not quite ready for that!


Rumble was unimpressed, and Rico quickly marked him as a pushover


Aussies, always so bouncy


Bender is not totally sold on this new puppy thing yet - but, of course, lets Rico get away with murder


Now taking bets as to how big Rico actually gets (keep in mind, his parents were normal sized - around 20 inches)

State of Emergency!



ZOMG, the weather drama this year! Though we didn't get too much here, comparatively speaking. Fun to see all the pictures of the snow dumped on Portland though, it is a winter wonderland. It's actually been much warmer, and I'm feeling much better - ready to get back to life. The weather is declaring otherwise though, so maybe we'll get back to it next week. Maybe.

We've been here for a couple months now, and certainly had our share of crazy weather. I've never shoveled so much snow in my life. And I don't own a shovel, so that makes it an interesting challenge. But how often can it snow? Heh.


I'm really not even trying with the snow pics anymore, so over it


Bring me rain!

Pervy Uncle Navarre

So Navarre is one of those pervy dogs that likes to hump puppies. Well, he really wants to hump Rico, anyway. I don't recall him being like this with Cake, but then, he could probably never catch her. ;-)


"Come 'play' with me. You know you want to. It will be so much FUN."


Run, Rico, run!


Haku is, as usual, a terrible uncle that teaches puppies they can do whatever they want with no consequences. Rico was stealing toys out of his mouth in no time.


Saucy beefcake


Luckily Aunty Bright is here to set some ground rules, because you know Bender isn't going to (keep in mind she never so much lifted a lip to her own puppies!)


Wheeee!


He may LOOK innocent ...

So, yeah. Snow. Hm.



I'm tired of being sick. And it's just been such a WEIRD sickness. And I tend to feel good, right about now every evening - refreshed, energized, ready to get back to normal. Then I wake up the next morning and I'm like, "Did I get hit by a bus?" And I drag myself around until, wow, look, it's midnight - party time, I feel great! And for some reason all the dogs and cats are really into the tea I've been drinking, which is really odd. The dogs beg for it when I'm drinking it, and the cats smashed a mug trying to eat the tea bag out of an empty one. Crazy.

So, yes, more snow today, but no big ice storm on top of that as of yet. Snow is just not novel anymore, though I really had no where to go. Even had the weather been nicer, I'm in no condition to be running around with dogs in the cold. Especially running around in the cold with pinwheels.

I know, I know, same old refrain. But I feel like last year we had some interesting Premier courses which made the more straightforward normal courses seem more like something fun to do as long as I was already there. But last weekend the premier courses were just not speaking to me, and the normal courses, just not at all interesting to me. It's such a time and financial commitment to enter a trial, and I have no grand ambitions other than to just have a good time. But when I'm not interested in the courses, boy, do I feel like I've wasted both time and money both - in spades.

But I'm not even saying AKC should change anything, I think it works for them, and works for a great majority of people and dogs. People love the challenge of finishing titles and qualifying for nationals or invitationals. The courses are the right level for the average competitor and dog. I don't want AKC to change, I want there to be other options.

I AM looking forward to International League, if we can ever get it started with all this silly winter weather. And I think there will be a few international 'Cups' this year as well, looking forward to those! The thing is, it doesn't even have to be 'international' style, just give me INTERESTING. You can make such interesting, challenging courses without making EVERYTHING a backside (a-hem, Premier), or having any backsides, threadles or wraps at all! I wish more people just really liked to run challenging courses, and that was what agility was about.

Maybe I'm just being overly hopeful, but I feel like there is change in the wind. Away from titles and organizations and ridiculously expensive trialing fees. It's coming. I think. Agility has been around long enough, and has been done so much, the titles and nationals just aren't as meaningful anymore. At least, to a lot of people. I think. We shall see.


Fizban loves a good snowstorm


"Outdoor Fizban! Let's play!"


"Snow. How novel."


Not as fat as he appears


Navarre not taking a hint

Brrr

Since I've moved in here I've had way more than my share of being stuck at home. What a crazy winter! Then this week we've had both super cold temperatures, and I have a cold too. I can't really complain, as if you're going to get sick, the time to do so is when it's too cold to do anything else anyway. Also looks like yet another storm this weekend, which will probably mean no trial due to the weather. Man, what a winter!



The dogs have been really patient about all of this, they're such good little nursemaids and have been super with doing nothing but sleeping all day. We did finally get out for a run today (okay, the dogs ran, I shuffled along and croaked at them), though it's supposed to be down to like 15 degrees tonight. Brr. Will be interesting to see if we get a real ice storm this weekend.

I didn't realize that old school type 'pet stores' still existed, that sold sad puppy mill dogs. Was in Wilsonville of all places the other day and thought it would be good for Anne's puppy to be carried around a pet store. You know, a NORMAL pet store. With pet supplies and organic free range kibble and ridiculously expensive toys. But, yeah, the 'Critter Cabana' in Wilsonville is just horrifying. They had all these dogs in these TINY plexiglass bins. Like 5 great dane puppies in a space about as big as a large crate. And they looked all horrid and missing hair and there were all sorts of labradoodles and tiny designer mixes and Great Pyrenees of all breeds. It was just the saddest, most horrifying thing - I really didn't think this sort of thing existed anymore. And all the puppy bins were open on top, so you could pet the puppies ... then pet all the other puppies. It was just a recipe for disease, those tiny living spaces and sad little puppies. And all sorts of other animals too, reptiles and birds and fish - and it did not smell good in there. And, yet, people seemed so happy to be there, and I even looked up reviews online and people were like, "What a fun place, I got to pet all the puppies!" I just thought EVERYONE knew buying puppymill petstore puppies was a BAD IDEA. Shows what I know, I suppose.