I have so much to write about and I think just enough time to get it all down! Yesterday was a very busy day. I had an early morning at work and then I went home to pick up Bess and take her in to get her remaining drain removed. The poor girl was sooooo stressed when we got into the vet's office (they're not only an emergency clinic, but also a regular clinic). She was panting like crazy and just shaking. I felt so awful for her! Everything went really well though and she got her drain removed. They flushed the drain sites to make sure that there wasn't anything left from the drain that she took it upon herself to remove. Thankfully there wasn't. The vet was also impressed with how well she was healing up.:) The sobering moment of the day came when the vet talked a little more seriously with me about Bess' wound. If that cut had been just about an inch to the right, I would have been lucky to get her to the truck, let alone the ER in time. She had told me the night that it happened that Bess was really lucky and that she missed some major stuff, just not how close and the severity. Bess did manage to flay one nerve in the area. It should heal fine, but there is a possibility of permanent nerve damage, in which case she would have a permanent slight limp. I'm hoping that everything heals up just fine and that's not an issue.
The latest issue is just keeping the girl quiet. She gets terribly excited over EVERYTHING now! When I come home, it's all I can do to try and get her to hold still and stop flailing everywhere. She can officially start getting walks, but they need to be slow. Yeah, that's going to go over reeeeeeeeal well. We'll probably go back to our obedience training in about a week, since everything we do there is on the flat and she'll be okay to do some more animated heeling by then. Agility is going to be a few weeks though. For obvious reasons. She needs to be really healed up before we start putting any impact on that area. Maybe we'll start working on some shadow handling and rear crosses on the ground. I need some excuse to get my rear in gear on that one! All-in-all, things are looking good for Bessy!
With all this focus on Bess the past few weeks, it would be easy for me to lose focus on Heffner and lose our training steam. Which I do have to admit, I have in part done. Our training schedule has gone pretty out the window between all the vet stuff and my schedule being all over the place. However, my boy gave me a lift up when I needed it the most these past 24 hours! I had originally entered Bess in an obedience match that our obedience club was putting on last night at the fairgrounds of the dog show that's going on this weekend. However, with the results of our little jaunt on Sunday, it wasn't really the best idea to take her. I decided to plug Heffner into her spot even though I had some serious reservations. For one, it was hot. The temperatures were in the 80's. Heffner tends toward the heat sensitive side when he doesn't have a body of water to swim around in. Secondly, I was signed up to be a ring steward in the novice ring for the whole match. That meant that he was going to have to hang out in the soft crate the whole time that I was busy, which was a lot of the time. And thirdly, it was outside and he tends more towards distraction when we're outside. It was less than ideal conditions for any sort of competition that I would consider taking him to. But he totally blew me my mind!!
I have NEVER been more pleased working with him. I really felt like a team with him! And he was so HAPPY the entire time! Even with the heat. Even with all the other dogs around. I had him out in the open working on heeling patterns with all manner of dogs around and about doing the same thing and he was totally tuned in to me! I kept telling him over and over again how proud of him I was. I know that it was only a match, but he just did so well!:o) I even had a friend come up to me and comment on how well he did in his two runs. Her comments were along the lines of him doing really well especially considering that he's my second string dog.:o)
At any rate, I did manage to video both of our runs.:o) I brought my tripod and set it up in one corner of the ring. There were two other obedience rings and a stay ring behind us, so we were kind of on our own little island. Because there was a fence near the ring, I couldn't get the camera set up far enough back to get the whole ring, but you'll see the majority of our runs. I had to cut out all the dead space on the videos because I started it before I went into the ring and stopped it after I got out. So it's a little choppy in places, but you'll get the idea.;o) Here's our first run of the day:
Can you see how happy he is when he's heeling?:) I've kind of started accidentally cuing a word to his happy heeling when we're practicing. I call him my happy prancing pony. When our heeling kind of goes blah, I speed up and ask him where my prancing pony is. Seems to get him every time! And I think it's just adorable! I LOVE heeling with my dogs. Especially when they're this happy and tuned in to me. Our instructor thinks that it would be great if we could really get a full differentiation in gaits as we move through the different speeds. Our slow is definitely a slow walk. Our normal heeling speed is nice and animated. Now if we could sync up our fast speeds so that when I run, the dogs are actually running, that would be quite impressive! Granted, the judge would really have to be prepared for it so that I don't run into anything before they get the command out, but it would most definitely be fun to try! That's on my list of things to work on.;o) His fronts and finishes are also getting a lot better. He just did so much better than I expected! I really expected that he would start to poop out on me with the heat, but he was so ON! I did skip the stays. I knew that would definitely be an uphill battle getting him to hold his sit stay in the heat regardless.
There was a pretty sizable gap in time between our first and second runs. I was pretty sure that he would be fairly tired by our second run, but he was still happy to be out there prancing around!:)
All told, we were there for a little over five hours. Most of which he spent in his soft crate. I am happy to say that there was no whining while he was in the crate. I had him set up a ways off to the side behind the bleachers. He could still see me, but he was out of the main thorough fair and didn't have hardly any dogs pass by his crate. He did have a couple. There was one dog that walked by his crate that he did bark at, but it was quickly over with. So not only was I impressed by how well he worked outdoors in the heat, but I was also impressed with how well behaved he was in the soft crate for such a long period of time, with me spending most of my time away from him. I'm so proud of my big boy!!
And to top everything off, Heffner earned his Rally Novice title today!! I was a little apprehensive because we were now competing in the B class and I knew that we were going to get graded a little harder for things. And we did to a certain extent. I briefly went over my sheet with the judge afterwards while I was waiting to get our finishing picture taken (yes there will be an official picture!!). We missed some points based on my foot work, which I admit I wasn't paying attention to at points. We also got the dreaded Lacks Team Work at one point. There were a few sections of the course where Heffner was more interested in sniffing the ground than doing anything that I was asking. We had to redo one station as well. Overall, it was not a terribly pretty run. The order of the dogs ahead of us got changed a little bit and it threw me off. I wasn't able to record Heffner's run even though I brought the tripod and camera again. We did manage an 89 with those mistakes and got a fourth place! I will take it! I do know that rally is a little bit harder for Heffner because it's so choppy. I can't build ANY momentum with him or else he sails on past the stations. I know this from experience. So it's harder for him to have to do all of the movements at a slower than normal pace. I'm also quite a bit at fault because we don't really practice rally. I may work occasionally on individual movements, but I don't go to any rally classes and it's rare that I do a match or run through with either dog, and Bess is usually the one who gets that. My goal for him is to do several matches or show-n-gos with him before I move him up to advanced. I think we will both be a lot happier if we're more prepared for the situation. And yes, I know, bad handler!
I'm going to spending a fair amount of time at the Canby Fairgrounds this weekend! There was the match last night and the trial this morning. This evening I'll be going back to show Mia at the conformation match! I'm so excited to see her again! I haven't seen her in almost two months! Then I'll be showing her at the all breed show Saturday and Sunday. It should be a fun weekend! The best thing is that when I get home tonight I don't have my own dot to have to prep for the show!!:) I hope that everyone has plans for a great weekend!