Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Week In Review

Despite how that picture looks, Dominic hates bath. :) It took some cookies and some patience, but he got into the bathtub all on his own.  And in case you're wondering, yes those are whiskers on his face and yes those whiskers stayed put.  As I was attempting to shave him the night before the specialty, I realized this was not the time and this was a "battle" that he should win.  What I should have done was what I do when I'm getting the dogs used to the dremmel.  One toe nail at a time with lots of treats and lots of consistency over the course of several weeks.  I just plum forgot and fell back on what I usually do, which is shave the dog the night before the dog show.  Only Dom has never had his whiskers shaved (as a puppy who needed ring experience, whiskers were the least of my concerns).  So really, I shouldn't have even tried doing it.  In the end, I tried a little.  He made it clear that he was not having it.  So we moved along to the bath, which by comparison was much less terrible.

Last Friday was the Willamette Valley Great Dane Club's annual double specialty.  This was my first time back in the conformation ring in a year.  This was a big deal.  I wasn't aiming to be competitive for the points.  I just wanted to prove to myself that I could handle it and that this part of my life was back under my control.  Dominic was the only one in his class, so we got all the wonderful swag that the club offers for winning the class.  It was pretty sweet!  But best of all was how freaking supportive and amazing the group of dane people are who were at this show!  I had the very awesome pleasure to be cheered on around the ring by the other exhibitors.  They were genuinely happy to see me back in the ring and wanted me to know it.  I can't adequately explain what that means to me.  These people are amazing. :)

Dominic did well enough considering that he's had a year off with not a lot of work.  We have things to work on and I have a plan for how to go about that.  But we had a pretty good time in the ring and I was happy to be there.  This was also my boyfriend Tanner's very first dog show.  I kind of broke him in a little hard. ;) But he was a great sport and even won a couple of collars for the dogs in the most excellent raffle that the club had!

Saturday was Miley's 4th birthday and seeing as how her brother had us to himself the day before, I felt it only fitting that she get a special outing for her birthday.  We went to a local park that is relatively new that I hadn't been to before.  Part of the park is a protected natural area and dogs aren't allowed on those trails, but there were enough interesting things to see and certainly the novelty of the location.  The focal point were these giant vine heads.  Miley wasn't terribly impressed.

I tried getting her to take a picture with me inside the heads, but it's her party and she won't cooperate if she doesn't want to.  Naturally, it wasn't like I was going to let that stop me from getting other pictures.

Sunday was Easter.  And April Fool's day.  The dogs thought it'd be cool to play a fun little April Fool's day prank on me where they found their prey drive.  I have mentioned to other people previously about how great both dogs are out on hikes when they see deer or elk.  They might look at or be somewhat interested in them, but they don't chase.  Wellllllllll, I can say that no longer.  Sunday morning, as we're sauntering along, a lone cow elk crosses our path and trots off into the forest.  The dogs had their backs turned at the moment so were late to the chase.  Given the thicker underbrush, they didn't really go far into the forest, but did very excitedly go check out the cow's path.  Huh, I thought.  That was way more interest than they've shown previously.  And we moved on.  Until a small herd of about 12 elk crossed our path.  And the dogs both took off after them.  I was both shocked that this herd popped out of "no where" and that the dogs were acting pretty reminiscent of Heffner and Bess.  Thankfully both dogs only chased after the herd a short distance into the forest and then came running back.  Clearly elated at the excitement of being "wild dogs."  Tanner was initially very concerned as this was the first time he has been around dogs chasing after elk.  After calling the dogs' names once and them not responding, I knew it wasn't worth continuing to do so until they were ready to break off on their own.  Which they did and quite happily came running back to us.  All is well now.  I just have some recall work to do on hikes under what are now very high level distractions.

The rest of this week has been trying to keep up on house chores, dog chores, a Sherwood Dog Training Club meeting and baking gluten free, vegan peanut butter blondies for the bake off at work tomorrow.  And bucking with the usual tradition of buying the dogs a physical item for their birthdays, this year for Miley I decided I would get her a gift that would also kick my butt into training gear (that is a post by itself).  But hopefully in a way that wouldn't have me overly stressed out trying to fit yet one more thing into a schedule that occasionally has me hyperventilating.  I decided to enroll in a class through the Fenzi Dog Sports Academy!  We're taking the Relationship Walks class.  It meets the criteria for what I can handle right now.  It's online, so I don't have to actually schedule it as well as factor in travel time.  I'm enrolled at the bronze level, so the price works for me.  And I get to go through the course at my pace without having the self appointed or otherwise, pressure of having to submit videos by a certain time.  I also have less guilt if I have a day where training is just not going to happen.  At the bronze level, I feel like I will be able to capitalize on what I've paid for.  Trying to get a handle on juggling everything has proven to be quite the challenge for me and I'm hoping this will help to ease me back into the swing of things. 

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