Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Today I also had a little discussion with my husband regarding stress management. Something that is a recurring thing with me. I am the MASTER at finding ways to stress out about things. Trust me! More importantly, I really need to figure out a way to better manage my stress at work. It's become this horrible ugly thing that's just not making me happy. However, my schedule is such that I'm not really into looking into a class or an activity that would theoretically help me manage my stress levels. I am, however, looking into things that I can do at home to help. And naturally, I'm looking into ways to incorporate the dogs. Studies have already shown that pets can lower blood pressure. I also just generally feel less stressed when I'm hanging out with the dogs. So I've started doing some reading, and I'm going to incorporate a little schedule for stress reduction into the daily routine. I'll have a whole separate post on it later, once I get things figured out, have implemented the plan, and can actually report on how I think it's going.:)
That's all for tonight. Just happy thoughts.:) Did I mention that I get to go play agility again this weekend with friends??:)
Monday, September 27, 2010
In a way, I'm glad that I didn't get around to posting an update about the trial yesterday because then I didn't have two days worth of mistakes to correct. So here goes. Heffner actually qualified in FOUR out of his FIVE runs this weekend, taking first place every single time!! Woo hoo!! That's right. The Standard run on Friday that I thought I had botched was in fact a qualifying run because you are allowed I believe three faults in Novice. We only had one; the jump refusal. Woo hoo!!
On Sunday we had FAST, JWW, and Standard. We did FAST first and it was a beautiful run! I was so thrilled with how well Heffner was running with me! I decided to throw in the weaves as a sort of warm up for him. I'm not as concerned with qualifying in FAST as the other two classes, so I felt fine potentially "wasting" time. But he nailed the send portion and the weaves immediately afterwards!! I was again, so proud of him! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, Kennedy even videoed it for us!! Yay!!
Next up was JWW. The run didn't start off too hot because I didn't really have Heffner hold his start line stay (I usually run with him) and I had planned on a lead out. So that part didn't go so well. I'm pretty sure that we got two refusals and I think we must have knocked a bar in order to not qualify. Basically, I did a really bad job as a handler on that run. That was the one run that we did not qualify on.
Our last run of the day was Standard. This was the same judge that we had on Friday. And she had a very similar start to her course that she did on Friday. Only this time, we started with a tunnel, then a jump, and then the chute. Not the most motivating way to start a course. Kind of makes it difficult to build up momentum. However, we Qed!! And I have to say, I am in LOVE with the new table rule! All you have to do is get your dog up on the table. There's no required sit or down. Love it!
After the trial was over with, we popped over to my sister-in-law's house to visit and have a fabulous dinner! They live on 5 beautiful acres and the dogs got to get out and run around, which they very much enjoyed. It was a great way to end the weekend!
Saturday I didn't end up going to PetUtopia's Fall Festival. I've been battling a head cold all week. Saturday morning I had to go in to work to do a few things and that pretty much wiped me out. So instead I stayed home, and vegged out on the couch watching old episodes of the Jersey Shore pretty much all day. And yes, I'm pretty sure that I lost several brain cells watching that show. Unfortunately, I think I've also become a little addicted to it. Gah!
Some other exciting news from the weekend is that our instructor got a MACH on one of the collies that she runs! That was really exciting and I have to admit that I started to get a little choked up watching her get the big ribbon.:oP
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, our obedience instructor got a frenchie puppy! He is sooooooo incredibly adorable!!! You can definitely say that she has a fondness for nontraditional breeds. She already has one frenchie who's at the utility level, with one leg so far. I have a feeling that's where she gets all of her patience from.;)
Oh yeah, and Bess still hasn't gone into season and it's driving me nuts. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to have to cancel her rally entries for the 9th and 10th, which is a big bummer. But I'm not about to do anything until she actually goes into season. It just sucks to have missed out on this past weekend with her and potentially this upcoming weekend. Oh well, that's life with an intact bitch!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Sorry that the image is so small, I just scanned it and didn't do anything else with it. Mostly because I haven't tinkered around with anything to figure out how. That will come eventually. The JWW course was our first and was a pretty nice course. There were some tighter turns along the way, but nothing like what they had for Excellent! I am incredibly proud to say that Heffner NAILED the course! We qualified and took first place! He was soooooo good! He nailed his weave entry on the first try and even stayed on course when I almost threw him off a couple of times. It was lovely and fluid and I was soooo proud of him! He didn't get distracted once!
The Standard course would have gone better if I had kept everything together better in my head. Unfortunately we didn't q because we got a refusal on one of the jumps because of a cross that I forgot to put in. And then I'm pretty sure he missed his up contact on the dog walk. It was an okay course, but I did NOT like the beginning. We went from a jump to a tunnel to a chute. Ug! He did it well, but it definitely killed any momentum we could have built up. I meant to put a front cross in before he got to the weaves, but forgot, which put me on the wrong side. I realized this too late to really even try to do a functional rear cross and that's where we got the refusal. Then I didn't get him going up to the dog walk terribly straight so he did a sort of side ways trot onto it, missing the up contact. Oh well. He did stay with me the entire time and was a very good boy. I really can't complain (especially since I'm the one screwing us up!).
No trial tomorrow, but we're going to the PetUtopia Fall Festival. I hope everyone is having a good start to their weekends!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Tomorrow and Sunday I've got Heffner entered in an AKC agility trial. I held off from entering him on Saturday as well because I will be helping Bobbie out with the confidence course that is part of PetUtopia's 1st Annual Fall Carnival! It should all be a lot of fun, but definitely a busy weekend. I'm looking forward to Daylight Savings Time this weekend, except that we're meeting up with some friends Saturday night, which will most certainly negate the "extra" hour of sleep that I would be getting. It'll be fun though!
My work schedule will also be changing starting next week. I was notified of this yesterday. I will be going back to working four tens. The original plan (not mine) was to have me working Sunday through Wednesday. As soon as I heard that, I brought up the trials that I had already entered and would not be getting refunded for simply because I was told on short notice that my work schedule was changing. Thankfully, we were able to figure something out that is beneficial to all and still gets the work done. It'll be nice to have Fridays off without having to use vacation time, however, in my dog world, it's not so great. I'm going to totally have to rework the dogs' training and exercise schedule to accommodate the elimination of our week day morning routine. Or I'm just going to have to start getting up at 4:30am. It's also going to actually be inconvenient for me to be away from work. When you interact with a variety of people who predominantly work Monday through Friday, they just assume that you work the same schedule. Oh well, I'll enjoy it while it's there.
Wish us luck for tomorrow. We just have Standard and Jumpers With Weaves. Heffner has zero AKC Standard q's, so it'd be nice to see some improvements there. If not a q, then I really just want him to be staying with me and showing progress in that respect.
Monday, September 20, 2010
I know that this clip has been around for a little while, but it's just too funny not to get out there again! That little old lady is how I would have looked on Saturday if a wayward squirrel or cat had crossed our path during the race!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I'm also keeping my fingers crossed that Bess goes into season within the next few days. I held off on entering her in two agility trials coming up the next two weekends because she is slated to go into season and it would just suck to have missed out on the opportunity with her if she didn't go in. Aaaaaaaaaaand, I've already sent off entries for other events in October, some of which I won't be able to get my money back on if she's in season for them. I'm pretty sure that she'll go in within the next day or two. She's showing all the signs of it. Gotta love a girl who pretty much sticks to her schedule!
And finally, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I don't lose my mind in October. The way things are looking right now, I've booked every single weekend. Oy! I still have an entry to mail off, but we should get in. It's just going to be some busy weekends. Hopefully Adam will forgive me! On the up side, my November and December are MUCH quieter!!
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Adam was running with Bess because she is "generally" easier to run with and doesn't have the little reactivity issues that Heffner sometimes has. But she also has the need to try and beat her brother, so that was an interesting time of it for Adam. No gentle leader to curb her pulling. Just 120 lbs. of vibrating energy that wanted to cut loose. Like I said, it was not most brilliant moment forgetting those darn things! At one point, I dashed ahead of Adam and Bess so that I could get Heffner past a lab that was slightly ahead of us. Once I got ahead, Adam was having a harder time breaking out of the crowd to catch up to Heffner and I. And of course, Heffner just wanted to RUN. I finally gave up and we just went on ahead. I think he really needed that. After about a mile, he was more happy to nicely stay out in front of me without pulling like a beast.
After hitting the turn around and figuring out where Adam and Bess were, we pulled off into one of the fields along the route and waited for them to catch up so that we could run together. After about two miles of Adam getting hauled along by Bess, he needed a break and handed her off to me. With only a mile left and the two of them still REALLY wanting to go and now running right next to each other and boosting those competitive juices, we just went on ahead. Thankfully they were really well behaved for me, because between the two of them, if a squirrel had crossed our path, I was going to be eating pavement in a really big way!
Along the way, we naturally got some horse comments, some nice dogs comments, and a bunch of people jokingly saying that it wasn't fair that I was getting help with the race. Ha! If people only could fully understand what it's like to run with even one of the dogs when they are raring to go! Trust me, it's a LOT more work than it would seem like. For one thing, I'm only able to swing one of my arms while running. Then there's that whole maintaining balance thing. And the whole trying to maneuver around that many people with one or two giant dogs. And a multitude of other things. I have to put so much more effort into running when I go with the dogs than when I just run by myself.
Anyhow, we all finished the race in one piece! While I was waiting for the rest of my family to finish up (my dad and mom also did the 5k, with my dad finishing shortly behind me; quite impressive for a man in his mid 50's who doesn't regularly go out running!), I hung out by the water fountain so that the dogs could get something to drink.:)
Naturally, the dogs were kid magnets! The two pictures above were taken by a fellow competitor who was nice enough to email them to me.:) There was one boy who was just the perfect height to give Bess a nice hug around her neck. It was so cute and I seriously wish that I had my camera at that point to capture that! Both dogs got a lot of attention and were really well behaved. It helped that they had just run 3.1 miles, so they were a little mellower.;o) There was also this adorable little girl who was slightly shorter than Bess who came up to say hi to the dogs. Bess wanted to sniff her all over and the little girl loved it! Then she went up and gave Bess this tiny little kiss on her shoulder. Seriously adorable! Heffner, not to be out done, very gently went up to her and did these delicate little wuffling "kisses" that he sometimes does. Again, seriously adorable! I was also kind of surprised because Heffner usually couldn't care less about little kids. As long as they don't swarm him, he's just kind of ignores them. But he was so gentle with this little girl. Cute!
After the race was over and everyone was collected, we headed back to my parents' house for a little visiting and relaxing. Shortly after we got there, my sister showed up with a dog that she was watching, Ellie. Heffner met Ellie when he was a lot longer and LOVED her. She was actually the dog that got him to start swimming. We were all hanging out at Hagg Lake and Ellie was swimming around. Heffner wanted to play, and the only way he was going to get her to play with him was by going in the water after her. Which he promptly did!
It's been years since Heffner has seen Ellie, so I was a bit apprehensive with how he was going to behave. I would prefer to err on the side of caution than let him work himself up into a tizzy and potentially hurt another dog. They got to nose each other through the screen door. It was pretty obvious that Heffner wasn't bothered by her, so we let all the dogs out together. Heffner sniffed and then was done. Bess, on the other hand, thought Ellie was the perfect chasing toy! All the pictures that I took of the two running around turned out blurry, but this is the least blurry of the lot.
Heffner demonstrated his amazing slobber skills by slowly creating a seriously long slinger!
After our visit, we all headed down to Corvallis so that I could drop Adam off to watch the Oregon State beavers (our alma mater) home football game. If you live in the area, you're probably cringing right now because you realize how atrocious the traffic getting south must have been. And you'd be correct! The traffic was particularly bad today because not only does OSU have a home football game, but so does the University of Oregon, which is only about 45 minutes to an hour further south. Oh yeah, and U of O is playing Portland State, which is also a local college. So you have massive amounts of people cramming onto the highway to watch football games for essentially three local big colleges. That's a whole lotta people! It added a little over 45 minutes to my normal drive. It was sucktastic!
But I'm home now and the dogs and I are relaxing. I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Our weather is most definitely turning more towards fall! I LOVE this time of year and this weather. The only small problem that I am now going to have to plan around is that our back yard will basically be unusable for the next nine months. It gets way too soggy and gross to do anything on. Which means that I most definitely will be having to look into renting barn time for agility. Obedience work won't be a problem. We actually had some fun today in the house with recalls. I set the dogs up in a variety of spots with me out of sight and then called them to front. Heffner thought it was the most exciting game EVER! I actually have video of him coming hurtling down the hallway that I'll have to post later.:) Bess completed her recalls in an orderly fashion, but definitely seemed to enjoy the variety a little more.
I am also VERY happy to say that I am able to do right finishes with Bess reliably (at least mostly) with a signal only!:) Heffner is still working with the verbal and the signal, but I can tell it's going to come along. I actually think that if I continue these out of sight recalls that he might get the idea faster. He was sooooooooo excited doing these recalls.LOL
Monday, September 13, 2010
I love how this book is written! It starts off with a description of what the VST test is and what you and your dog need to be ready for in order to take the test. There's also some description on scent and how it sort of varies depending on the surface that you're on, what's around you, the time of day, the weather, and the age of the track. Once the basics are out of the way, the author gets into the meat of how to break the training down into smaller portions and how to test for them.
The component part is probably my favorite (in addition to various real life examples that are given throughout). Pretty much every single type of situation that you could come across on test day is gone over. You start simple with just an ordinary vegetated to non-vegetated surface transition. A variety of transition examples are given and suggestions on how to handle.
Once the transitions portion is covered, then the topic of starting comes up. It may seem simple, but you need to be prepared to start in a variety of areas under a variety of circumstances. Starting is also useful for when you will need to restart along the track for any reason.
After starting is covered, turns are discussed. Again, it may seem like a simple thing, but when you've got a turn along a building, hedge, or right after transitioning, it can get tricky. A variety of examples are again given with suggestions on how to handle them.
From there it's a lot of examples of the variety of "obstacles" that you can come across on the track and how to train for it. While I'm obviously very new to this, it really seems like pretty much every possible situation is covered.
What I really like is that it gives me ideas on what to try out with the dogs when we hopefully get to that point. As with agility, I get to a point where I have a difficult time coming up with stuff on my own. This book is chock full of ideas! I also really like that the components are broken down into shorter length tracks. Doing multiple long tracks is a little daunting to think about now, especially just starting out. Having guidelines for shorter tracks that are still effective is really helpful.
My overall opinion is that I like this book a lot and will refer to it in the future!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Our end result was that Heffner had too much standing around time and got too much of a warm up. By the time we got into the ring it was warming up, he was feeling it, and he wanted to lay down. Literally. On the course we had a halt, sit, stand and walk around your dog. He did the halt fine, but would slide right into the down. We actually redid that station more times than we were supposed to and got pretty well docked for it. On the up side, his left pivot was good.:)
Bess did not get enough of a warm up and was HIGH as a kite when I got her out of her crate. So while she was more lively than Heffner, she was also more disfocused than I'm used to with her. The course was also a pretty tight one. To the point where I just about tripped over two of the station signs during my walk through. And I don't mean that it was tight for a giant breed. I really had to check my striding and I think that parts of it would have been tight even for small dog people.
In then end, it wasn't a bad trial. And Heffner was GREAT in his crate! I even left the building with Bess to get her titling picture and he didn't wine, paw at the crate, or make a fuss! We are most definitely making progress!:) For that alone, I was incredibly proud of him. And I'm pleased with myself for not getting overly stressed running both of the dogs with only one dog in between. Sometimes I just get overwhelmed having both dogs and trying to manage them both at the same time. Separately they're fine, together, they can be the gruesome twosome trying to drive mommy nuts!
We also got our pictures back from the August rally trial! The pictures are by Steve Hill at Casual Pet Images. Here they are:
Our ring time ended up being later than expected and we didn't leave Eugene until after 3pm. Which meant that we didn't get home until almost 5:30pm. And then I had to take care of the dogs and head off to a little gathering of friends to celebrate Adam's birthday. So I didn't have a chance to update the blog yesterday. But today I did have some time to put together the miscellaneous video clips that I have of the dogs! I actually took a fair amount of video last month and it ended up spilling over into a second clip since YouTube will only allow up to 10 min. per clip unless you upgrade. I will warn you, the first one is looooooooooooooong, but there are cute moments of the dogs. The second one is much shorter. I hope you enjoy!
And I just had to throw in this cute picture of Trouble curling up to Bess last night.:)
Today I went out to Thriftway to pick up some more pork kidney, since they seem to be the only store around that carries it. I am seriously in love with this store!! They are the next best thing for me to have Willamette Valley Meat Company close to home. They have such a variety of meats and a variety of cuts of meats! And great prices! Not as great as when I buy in bulk, but better than most places. I was able to pick some random pork portions for Heffner and I even stumbled across rabbit! I've been wanting to try some rabbit out with the dogs, but it's something that I don't really want to buy in bulk. I picked up some of the cut up portions and have it thawing in the fridge and will probably throw in a few small pieces for their dinner tomorrow night. It's fun to be able to spice things up a bit! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand, they also had turkey necks!! I have NOT been able to find turkey necks at a regular store outside of buying a whole turkey. So I picked up one of those to eventually try out with Heffner to see how he responds to turkey. I'm probably going to cut it in half because I really don't want to give him large portions of any protein that we were testing out. Thankfully his system is fully settled back down again and things are good.
After I got done mowing the lawn and had curried the dogs, they each got a half of a pigs foot for some fun gnawing in the back yard. Heffner went right to it.
Bess wasn't sure what to really do with it, except play with it a bit.
In the end, she got bored with it and Heffner happily finished it off. I think I'm going to try pulling out the beef bones next weekend and see how Heffner responds to that. While the weather is still holding, I like to give them bones to chew on outside. They can soak up some vitamin D and get some gnawing in without having to be in their crates to contain the goo.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
I don't even know what to update on. I don't have a whole lot I guess. I've been trying to get the dogs back on track with their cardio and training routines. Not an easy task with my work schedule still fluctuating. But at least the worst part of that work load is over (or so I hope!). I kind of thought about doing a training goals for the month post, but that just felt like a whole lot of effort for something when I'm really not even sure how this month is going to pan out. Therefore, my goal for the month is to just get back on track!
I do, however, have an update of sorts on Heffner and his food issues. Right now it's looking like he for sure has an allergic response to chicken products. He has been really solid on just pork products for over a month now and I decided yesterday morning to give a little bit of chicken a try in the form of an egg. Bess had no digestive issues with her egg, so I know that it was a bad batch or something. Heffner ended up having diarrhea last night (thankfully none in the house!) and into this morning. I started him back on metranidazole to ease him through this part because I don't want him to get dehydrated again. I also fasted him this morning to head off any accidents while I was at work. So far so good. He actually had a solid poop this evening. It'll be a couple of weeks before I try another protein source, just to let his system settle back down. I think I'm going to try beef next. I have a feeling that it's going to be okay. I'm not entirely sure that I will try the turkey. I have a feeling that I'll get a reaction similar to the egg.
This weekend I've got both of the dogs entered in one day of a rally trial down in Eugene. We're only doing Saturday because it's Adam's birthday and we're going to go out with some friends that night and I figured that I would be too tired Sunday morning to drive all the way back to Eugene (about a 2.5 hour drive). So hopefully it'll be a good day!:)
Other than that things are plugging right along. Bess is due to come into season at the end of the month, so that will curtail any performance events for her for a few weeks and I've planned accordingly. Since we don't have any activities planned for Sunday I'm hoping to get caught up on putting some little videos together to post to the blog of the dogs just being themselves. And I will also hopefully be able to get caught up on reading every one's blogs too!!