31 August 2008

Jumping vs Handling work

Most of the time you may notice that when I say I'm working on "jumping" I'm usually working on "handling". Which is not to suggest that I, personally, need work on handling. After all it's pretty effing rare that I send a dog off course (once in a while Kiba decides to take a scenic detour, but usually it's none of my doing). But I'm doing it for two reasons. One is, indeed, to practice my communication skills. I view handling a dog not as a series of commands and behaviors, but truly more like a language. Sure, I expect them to respond in a predictable manner, but if they can't work out what I'm "saying" then my handling is just plain wrong. Handling shouldn't take months of drills to figure out, and in fact I do very few drills. I start with simpler sequences, sure, and do lots of 1-3 jump work, but I don't start every dog with "X" drill and do that for a week, then "XY" and do that for a week. . . just not in my nature. I spend the first year showing the dog how to properly respond to my motion (which is pretty intuitive anyway), and the next year polishing that up on progressively more difficult sequences.

Anyhow before I tangentialized this, I was trying to say that the second reason I work stuff like this is so the dogs practice keeping the bars up while I'm busy handling. I do believe I have a big responsibility to let them know which direction they are going to be heading on landing - the "don't lie" rule - and so they need to be able to set themselves up to jump with a new heading in mind before takeoff. Sometimes that involves me running off while they are still guaging a distance, or converging on their predicted landing area. So we do handling/jumping work. Keeps the lines of communication open, keeps them thinking about the jumps, and keeps me sharp. Sharp is good.

I am a little gung-ho and over-dedicated right now (feeling vengeful, actually) and when I feel this way my mind goes into overdrive and I want to work on what's gone wrong RIGHT NOW (I did mention I am obsessive?) which of course I can't because dogs are dogs and you can't work them 24 hours a day. So instead I broke out the Clean Run and made up some more sequences to be done tomorrow. I'll probably do two in the morning, two in the evening. I work for perfection, the tightest turn that is reasonable, no "shopping" (meaning dog is mentally browsing the available obstacles before coming back to me), and quick acceleration to full speed ASAP on a straightaway. AND the bars need to stay up.
The arrow is just the dog path I am aiming for, where there are options.
Sequences for tomorrow:






Jumping Boot Camp Day 1

My dogs are officially in Jumping Boot Camp this week. Over 5 runs, Kiba managed to knock one bar in FOUR of her runs, at 20", which is quite disappointing, and Drifter knocked 1 in 2 runs. Not horrible but not great either. And Seri just plain needs work. So today I did 2 relatively short sequences, designed to work on converging lines, and pushes with wraps, and turns over the double. It also had the added bonus of working on Kiba and Seri's tendencies to fling out wide if I take off running, as the dogwalk provided a bit of a trap in a couple spots.
I ran this exercise keeping myself on the see-saw side - I did a lateral pull with a dropped shoulder from 1-2 and took off running immediately, rear crossed 5 and sent out to 6 and again dropped a shoulder and took off running. Seri wanted to head for the DW once but after a slight correction figured it out. Kiba dropped #8 the first time. Seri dropped 9 a few times as she was rushing.



Second exercise I did only with Drifter and Kiba, as Seri was hot enough after working through the first one. I only led out to between 1 and 2, but both dogs did very well on working out the wrap on a double at 3. I took off down the line as soon as they saw 4 so I could push out to 7. I didn't go into the "pocket" on the push but hung back so I could control the turn 8-9; deliberately took off a little early while they were jumping 8 to try to proof that bar too but neither dog knocked it. Drifter kept TICKING bars on this sequence and I was correcting it because he's educated enough to avoid it. Kiba did well.

Berks Day 3. Short day.

Well we had a nice but interesting JWW to start the morning. Had a long lead-out and a serpentine at the end. Drifter stayed pretty nicely (he sort of broke on Friday but seemed to know he was wrong and was great afterward). He handled absolutely gorgeous, but hit ONE bar on a slightly converging line. No excuse, really, he doesn't usually knock those. ARGH. I guess it was too much to expect him to Q in JWW 3 days in a row, really, and he Q'd Friday and Saturday, so I'm not real mad about that. Really I'm still seething about the stupid "run-out" call yesterday. GRRRR.

Kiba crashed the 3rd jump, a double. Then ran off course later and I corrected her (meaning I said something gently but firmly and made a face, then continued).

Seri was better, at least. She hopped on and off the table but got back on and did a lovely sit. Nailed all her contacts including the see-saw (yay!) and then ran past the broad jump but I called her back and she did it. So just a table fault and a refusal, which still gets you a Q in AKC Novice. She was much more in control of herself, even fought a little to stay on the dogwalk (it was really wet with dew).

I just wasn't in the mood to hang around for several hours for runs that didn't matter. Seri wasn't schedule to run till 12:30pm or so, and I was done before 9am, so I just came home to enjoy almost a 2-full day weekend. I'm so glad Labor Day is a "real" holiday and I have off from work (paid!)

I am going to look into emailing an AKC rep about the wonky refusals being called. She was fairly consistent in the call, but her explanation involved nothing about turning back on the path or anything, she really did explain it like the runout plane came out as I described. WRONG CRAZY B.

30 August 2008

Berks Recap day 1 and 2

Friday was a half-day afternoon trial. There was a just-lovely drizzle going on most of the day, but at least it was reasonably cool. And we did need some rain.
Standard was first, and both dogs knocked a bar. Drifter's was my fault, I did something unusual for me and opened my big mouth and said something redundant (my body was already indicating the turn, he was clearly reading it, but I still told him "settle settle!" like an idiot. Kiba just knocked one for the hell of it. JWW went well with both dogs winning their heights. Kiba beat Drifter's time by .6 of a second. Wooo!

Saturday opened with Seri's Novice standard, which was sort of a wreck. She broke her stay (I asked for too much) then slid off the see-saw, bounded off the table and into the chute before even thinking about laying down. . . I think she missed her aframe but not sure. . . anyhow. Excellent JWW was next, and again Kiba knocked a bar just for the hell of it. It was on a bit of a pull but nothing excessive and my mouth was not really running or anything, she is just not that savvy about stuff yet. Drifter had a gorgeous run and won his class. Seri's JWW was next and was, again, a wreck. She stayed this time, but knocked 2 or 3 bars and I paused at one point to say "hey, pay attention". She's rushing and forgetting to judge her takeoff, that's all. She doesn't do that at home or at class, so I'm not real worried about it. Stayed on course and nailed her weaves.
Excellent standard was judged by Judy Smotrel. I mention this because I am personally blacklisting her. There aren't many judges I feel the need to do this to, and generally I am pissed by competitors bitching about judges, but this woman clearly does not understand refusal planes. I will now show you part of the course. It did not start at my #1, this was the middle of the course, but I lost a FREAKING double Q due to her ill judgement, so I wanted to put this out there.
Here is the section of course, showing the normal refusal plane:


And here is the made-up Judy Smotrel refusal plane:



Here is what you had to do to not get a refusal. Difficult considering that there was no way to get a front cross in with a fast dog, as I said my #1 was not actually the start of the course, you were wrapping around from a turn and unless you could beat your dog in a foot race you were stuck with pulling past the first entrance of the tunnel and then flipping back into the proper end.



Here is what got Drifter his fault. Pretty effing lame, huh?? He did what I call "wavering". He never lost forward motion, but he sort of wavered (he was sort of making sure that's what I wanted). He never turned back on his path, never stopped, and certainly didn't go past the real plane. He took forever on the table, but that's not a fault. So this stupid crazy woman's stupid crazy refusal criteria lost us our double Q today. That's TWO that I've lost this summer due to questionable refusal calls (Kiba lost one at Tamarack, but at least that was much closer to a real refusal and didn't make me angry). This just pissed me off.
I should also mention she was judging things like this pretty much all day, using her imaginary guidelines. My run wasn't a fluke, just the saddest.




By the way, here are the AKC Judges Guidelines (it's a pdf document)
Pages 98-113 show all kinds of run-out planes. Nothing like this Smotrel Run Out Plane. She told my mom (when she asked about it) that this situation was in these guidelines and had a diagram that was very specific. Guess what? WRONG! JUDGING FAIL!
Here is the definition of a run-out plane:
"The run-out plane is intended to mark the point at which a dog can no longer properly engage the obstacle without turning back on its path. It is defined as a plane that passes across the front edge of all obstacles except the pause table, weave poles, and contact obstacles."
From page 58 on judging run-outs.
I still see no mention of the run-out plane EVER being PERPENDICULAR to a tunnel opening. None whatsoever. So Mrs. Smotrel is on my blacklist permamently. A shame, since the course itself was pretty fun. Oh well.
I think the only other judge I blacklisted was a USDAA judge who faulted me for "bumping" into my flat-coat at Fair Hill one year (late 90's). Thing was, I HADN'T BUMPED HER. So how do you think you see someone bump a dog and fault them, if they didn't actually do it? That's just plain wrong. The kicker? WE WERE CLEAN. I have a thing against Becky Dean because she's gotten several minor Starters rules wrong (wouldn't let me move my dog in STARTERS snooker order once, for example - uhhh, no super Q's in starters, duh). But she judges all over around here and I just haven't been able to avoid her. She's a good natured sort, at least.

29 August 2008

Stupid Ebay Seller Round 2

So I sent my stupid Ebay friend a message yesterday saying if they weren't going to send my item to please give me my money back. So Stupid Ebay Seller instead notifies Ebay that I didn't pay for the item! WTF?! So Ebay sends me an Unpaid Item Notice saying if I don't pay in 7 days they will take away some of my buyer rights. Again, WTF you MORON. I've told you I paid, I've even given a transaction number. Ebay says I paid, Paypal says I paid, only ONE person here isn't matching up. DUH.
So I ask if she is sure ebay links to the proper email address for paypal (it isn't automatically the same one that ebay sends email to, it is in a whole different part of your profile on ebay). So she says well yes of course it is, and she gives me the email (I guess to prove her point). Well guess what, it was NOT the same email that ebay linked her listing to on paypal. So. . . I paid her old email? I'll say it again. MORON!!!!!
But since that account is still a valid account on paypal (close your old accounts people!), I can't just stop payment. She either has to log in and accept it or refund it, or I have to wait for Paypal customer service to tell me what to do (I emailed them). IDIOT. OHMYGOD pay attention to what you're doing.

28 August 2008

Here ya go





ETA: He's a different point in his stride than most dogs I've seen pics of at this point on the dogwalk. Tien was taking that spot down at the Regional in Perry, and on the few that I saw the dogs almost universally were landing from a stride, or their front feet a centimeter or two up. Drifter appears almost a half-stride up on those dogs. I know he only takes one stride on the up ramp, almost universally, so he is obviously just powering really hard going up and over. In this particular case I happened to be ahead of him (the dogwalk was only the 2nd obstacle and I led out) so he is driving pretty good. Love it! Now I just need aframe pictures. Please?!

USDAA Refusal calls changing!

I'm not usually on the edge of my seat to see what this particular blogger has to say, but I am always interested in hearing about USDAA rules changing. At the very bottom of this page, is this little note:

"Note that the USDAA has redefined the criteria for a balking refusal to allow the dog to come to a complete stop for up to two seconds on the approach to an obstacle before a refusal can be called. And so, the judge should be able to say to himself “Significant Hesitation” before calling the fault… rather than “Sig..”. "

Which is, of course, of great interest to those of you who may have dogs who ocassionally "pause for verification" before continuing on!

eBay Idiots

Earlier in the summer I sold some model horses on eBay. I used Paypal, but since I didn't bother to verify my checking account with them, they are basically just holding my money (it's like $60). So I figured rather than let it rot, I'd buy some books and pay with my Paypal balance. (nifty, huh?) So I bid on some books in NJ, won, and paid the day I was notified, using Paypal. Same way I've paid for several other things on eBay this year and last year. It's pretty damned simple, you just click, log-in, and if you have a balance with them you just click a few more times to verify. So Paypal and ebay both agree that I paid for the item on August 13th. Paypal lists the transaction as "Completed" on my end. So nothing happens for a week. No emails from the seller, nothing. So I shoot the person a message saying 'Hey, what's up, did it ship yet?'. She says "No, I was away over the weekend" then follows up with "Oh, and my Paypal says the payment didn't go through. I cant print the shipping label till it does."

Um, sorry, WHAT the F are you talking about, "didn't go through"? I paid, using my PAYPAL balance, which means it wasn't even a card that could be denied or something. No checks to bounce, no nothing. It was money that paypal was holding, and they gave to this person. Ebay also lists the item as Paid for on Aug 13th. So I replied giving her the transaction number and the fact that I had paid with a balance so no way it could be declined or anything. And I have gotten NO response since then. It was last Friday when I emailed her. I emailed her again this last Monday asking if she had gotten paypal "to work". No response. I am going to send her one more demanding that she ship the item this week or use Paypal to issue me a refund. (Paypal can do that too). It's been FIFTEEN DAYS since I paid for this. Don't sell shit if you can't figure out how to make the websites work! IDIOT!

I have never, ever had an issue with ebay before. Now if she refuses to issue the refund OR ship the item (since she seems to think that I didn't pay!), I can contact ebay and/or paypal and tell them what's going on and they will get me my money back. Ridiculous!

27 August 2008

Foods - short list

Went through Petfooddirect.com's natural foods section this morning and weeded out some foods I'll consider switching to next. I tend to go with a rotating approach and switch foods every few months or bags. My local stores don't sell Healthwise so I have to get that online or from a friend who orders wholesale. I like using petfooddirect for 2 reasons - they're close by, about 20 miles away, so foods aren't in transit very long. And because they list all the ingredients on the foods' pages. So even if I don't buy from them, I use them to compare ingredients, protein/fat levels, etc. They don't always have calorie amounts unless the manufacturer lists it on the bag, but that's OK. I find that most of the foods I like have a decent calorie count just because they are high in protein and fat. So I weeded through. What I look for is minimum 26% protein and 15% fat, higher is better for both. Dogs process fats quite well, similar to the way we process carbs, so high fat levels is a plus for me. I also look for relatively simple main ingredient lists, I prefer not to have 6 different grains and 4 different meat sources. I'll take 2 or 3 of each if I like a particular food, and am relatively sure Kiba isn't allergic. I also look to avoid leftover-types of ingredients like brewers rice or hulls. Not nutritionally significant, just to me seems to indicate less quality - I would overlook, say, brewers rice, except every food I've found that has it, also has some other ingredient I'm not fond of. I prefer oats, rice, and barley as grains, but I don't want to see all of them at once at the top of the list! Listings go: food name, protein/fat/moisture/fiber, largest bag size and price on petfooddirect, price per lb, then the first 5 or so ingredients for reference
So here's the list of what I'm looking at:
Artemis Power: 30/20/10/4 , 40lb, $50 - $1.25/lb , chicken meal, rice, chick fat, lamb meal, beet pulp , rice, fish meal
Artemis Osopure Small Breed Puppy: 30/20/10/4, 33lb, $46 - 1.39/lb , chick, chick meal, rice, chick fat, chicory root, rice, fish meal
California Natural Chicken Puppy: 26/16/10/2.5, 36lb, $47 - 1.31/lb, 466cal - 9.91cal/$, chick meal, rice, rice, chick fat, flaxseed
California Natural Lamb Puppy: 26/16/10/2.5, 36lb, $52 - 1.44/lb, 591cal - 11.4cal/$, lamb meal, rice, sun oil, rice
Canine Caviar Chick Adult: 26/16/8/4, 33lb, $45.5 - 1.38/lb, 599cal - 13cal/$, dehydrated chick, millet, rice, chick fat, chicken, fish, alfalfa
Healthwise Active: 30/20/10/3.5, 35lbs, $37 - 1.06/lb, 446cal - 12.1cal/$, chick meal, oats, rice, chick fat, flaxmeal
Solid Gold Hundchen Flocken: 28/14/10/4, 33lbs, $45.5 - 1.38/lb, lamb, lamb meal, fish meal, rice, millet, barley, canola oil
Wellness Just for Puppy: 28/17/11/5, 30lb, $40 - 1.24/lb, chick, chick meal, oatmeal, barley, salmon meal, canola oil, rice

I also avoid foods that contain Menadione - artificial vitamin K. Here's why.
Here's some otherwise decent foods that contain Menadione:
Go! Naturals, Evolve, Fromm, Evangers, by Nature (all dry foods only)
I'm not sure how I feel about the Solid Gold and Wellness using canola oil. Canola comes from corn, which is not really what I'd prefer to see - I'd rather just see chicken fat, honestly. My dogs need fat, and they eat chicken. Corn is such a crapshoot these days I'd rather avoid it. I know on its own it isn't "bad" for dogs, but Kiba is questionable on some ingredients, and corn shipments have been known to go bad, AND they're mostly genetically modified. . . so skipping corn is preferable. I like the foods though. So I'll give it some though. Healthwise Active is one I feed quite often, and for the price it is a GREAT food. The store doesn't carry it, of course.

Hump Day

I know you find that phrase funny. I mean. . .come on. . . HUMP day? What bright bulb thought that one was a good idea? Anyhow, I like Wednesday. It's a good day, as far as weekdays go. The week's half over. Work usually isn't too insane as far as package volume goes. And we have agility class in the afternoon. Seri is entered this weekend. I'm very excited to run her again. I just hope hope hope she runs like I know she can, and not like the whackjob she can be sometimes. Her aframe is a huge question mark. I've really just let her run it and work out her own striding. At the practice field she's sort of hit or miss, maybe 50%. But I don't think she's missed one all year at trials. Not that she's trialed a lot, but still. The excitement seems to help. Odd, I know. Makes sense if you're me though. Anyhow, she really needs to see the aframe more than once every week or two, but I don't have one at home and I always get annoyed with gas prices if I have to drive 46 miles just to work one dog on one obstacle. ARGH. So serious aframe work will wait a bit with her. Everything else is looking good. She's leaving all her bars up at 26 now, so being AKC I've entered 24 so that should be a cakewalk for her.

Tien finally got a picture of Drifter coming up the dogwalk. He looks rather intense. No surprise, I guess. Once I get it scanned I will put it up. I do believe he goes across in a full double-suspension gallop. Not many dogs that do that. Some run with a single suspension gallop (when all four feet are up) but most of them it's only when they are reaching up with their back feet and their front ones have just come up - so it looks like all 4 are together under the dog, in the air. Well Drifter acheives suspension on the extension part too. Crazy dog. And he's not even on the top ramp yet :-0

26 August 2008

Backyard Practice for Today



Lateral lead-out from table (had to do that last weekend) to a front cross 3-4, send and wrap to right around 6, front cross 7-8, push out to 10, wrapped the dog left (between jump and see-saw) on 12, as soon as they took the wrap cue left early to get another front cross 13-14, then run to the finish.

25 August 2008

How to judge a website

Here's a wonderful graph to help you judge a website's author:-)

I know a few dog "breeders" who fit in the center of that chart. . .

Susque-Nango Recap

This trial was in Chenango Valley State Park in New York, not far from Binghamton (this is nowhere near NYC). It's only about 165 miles from home, I made it in 2 and 1/2 hours on the drive up early Saturday morning. Because I am desperately conserving cash right now, I "camped" overnight at the park (at a tent site, with showers and everything). It only cost $16 and I got my own site with a picnic table. I didn't bother with a tent, just slept in the car on blankets and an exercise mat. It was NOT enough cushioning, by the way, and I woke up with a nasty soreness in my lower back. I pretty much walked it off by the time I ran Sunday but it wasn't all that pleasant. The showers were reasonably (surprisingly) good so it was nice to be clean Saturday evening.

On to the actual trial: Saturday started with big dogs, Excellent Standard. This was an odd course in that it started out with a twisty tough bit, then once you got to the table you had a fairly straightforward 10 obstacles to the finish. Well Drifter started out great, jump-dogwalk-to a turn that I even faded out sideways a bit to get to and he still hit his contact and came to me (yay). Got through the hard bit with minimal difficulty, stuck his see-saw, then I headed for the table and he headed for the tunnel. Ick! I called him hard but he then thought I wanted the *other* end of the tunnel so by the time he got the picture and came back to me he'd clearly crossed the plane and got a refusal. He downed right away though. And ran the rest of it lovely. Kiba ran standard clean with only a wrong-way turn once (not close enough to anything to be a refusal).
JWW was a pretty technical course with an odd front cross in the beginning and a weird serpentine at the end. Drifter ran *gorgeous* and won the 24" class - so he missed out on the double by one refusal :-( Kiba was clean in JWW up until the serpentine thing. It was a 3-jump serpentine and after the 3rd jump you came back into the center over jump 2 again then down a straight line to the finish. Well as I was pulling Kiba around from jump 3 back to 2. . . she thought I wanted a rear cross (?) and whipped out left instead of turning right with me, then jumped 3 again. ARGH! I was a little bit mad at her, but that is the sort of stuff she used to do last year before we did a lot of work on "rear cross vs. wrap". She used to be really bad about just guessing which way we would be going, and she's usually wrong when she does that so she really needs to just watch me and not guess!

This trial, while organized well, did not run nearly as efficiently as Fast Times trials run, and so even though big dogs ran first I was not done till 3:30 on Saturday. I resigned myself to being there late on Sunday when I realized that small dogs were first with the same class order.

Sunday I don't think I ran Kiba until about 11:30 or so. Standard again had a tricky section, this time it was the end of the course, with a sequence off the table that set you up to be way behind and having to thread the needle to get the middle jump in a tire-jump-weave sort of discrimination thing. Ick. I determined that I would force a front cross whether I was there or not before the tunnel so that I could control my dogs when they came out. This meant I had to lead out from the table and utilize a lateral send to get the first jump after that. Kiba didn't really want to send out, but after a slight waver she did so, aced the FC, aced the discrimination and was clean! Gave me a terrific flying 2-stride aframe too:-)
Drifter. . .well. . . . maybe he didn't sleep well either. He knocked the 2nd bar (WTF?), didn't want to down on the table, didn't want to STAY down on the table, then knocked another bar. Ick.
Handled well other than that, but still. Come on. 2 bars? In standard? I checked his toe out and he is fine.. .
JWW was a nice course, I think. Lots of crosses but the spacing was fair and the flow was decent. I didn't stay to walk/run Drifter with the 24's so it was up to Kiba to finish up her double Q and tie Drifter with 3. I handled fairly conservatively (I can do that with her!) and she was CLEAN! Hurray! So now she has 3 double Q's, she's caught up to Drifter. She's only got 4 legs in B in each class, and 3 of each are double's! Crazy! She didn't win classes this weekend because there were more fast dogs at 20" than I usually get in my area (I usually have more in 24 though, there were hardly any of those here). But I don't care. she was clean! And she weaved well too, none of that silly "what weave where" nonsense that I got last Sunday.

The drive home sucked. 81 sucks. I want them to fix the damned bridges and get it over with already. There is no reason that fixing 2 short sections of road should take YEARS. I swear, its the same damn lane closures I got stuck at LAST YEAR going up to NE Regional in Syracuse. Yeesh! And I kept trying to find Route 11 to go around (it parallels the highway) but every exit I tried didn't have access, or at least no signs, and I didn't have a map and I sure don't have GPS. So I got to sit and crawl for a while. Took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to get home. Still not a horrible drive but that's 45 minutes extra from the way up!

So now I'm back at work, and tired. I got probably 5 hours sleep which didn't really recover me much from my painful sleep Saturday night (I woke up quite a bit that night because whatever part of me I was laying on would start to ache after a while).

I'm VERY excited about this coming weekend though. The trial is only HALF AN HOUR from my house, it's Friday to Sunday (starting AFTER work Friday, yay!) and SERI is entered Sat/Sun in Novice! Yay! And I'm off Monday for Labor Day, there's nothing going on trial-wise so I'm HOME, AND it's my birthday. Not that I'm doing anything special, but still. Nice of them to schedule Labor Day on my birthday and all so I'd have off from work:-)

22 August 2008

Early to Bed, Early to Rise Makes Jack a Dull Boy

So due to my financial issues I decided to scrap the hotel for tomorrow night and camp at the park instead. It's at a big state park near Binghamton, NY, so not such a difficulty. There are showers/bathrooms available, and I get my very own picnic table. Of course I'm not actually setting up a tent but am sleeping in the car. Safer, more temperature regulated, and less set-up. I'm all about less set-up. Temperature supposed to stick around 60 at night so should be pretty pleasant, actually.

For some reason my eyes aren't focusing quite properly today. I think I might have spent too much time on the fugly horse blog. LOVE that blog. She's a 15 year older version of me who got into horses instead of dogs. Well, and works 3 jobs too. So maybe she's more industrious, but the intelligence and sarcasm is great. And the overuse of the word "asshat" is really charming!

I have to get up at 4am tomorrow to leave for my trial. Ah well. At least I should sleep well here at home tonight. That way I can survive tomorrow night if I sleep not-at-all instead.

After about 5 days of happiness, my shoulder is irking me again today:-( Not *bad* but not *good* either. Say it with me now - "DO YOUR EFFING EXERCISES"

Alright, going offline now cuz I've been on it way too long and that's probably causing my eye focus issue. I feel like if I just blinked a SMIDGE more it should clear up. That and a Mojito, maybe, will do the trick. I highly recommend Bacardi Silver's pre-bottled (like 12oz beer-size) Mojito drinks. They are GREAT:-)

Dog food

I am going to need dog food again soon. I am currently feeding FOUR border collies, AND I'm low on cash and need to really conserve for the final bout of agility insanity in the fall (Fair Hill and Nationals). So any recommendations for food that comes in big bags, is relatively cheap, relatively high in calories (hopefully 400+ a cup, or at least near that), with a relatively short ingredient list?
Alternately I can buy a big bag of "whatever" for Drake, Drifter, Seri, and a small bag of something simple for Kiba. So natural foods, any meat. I prefer oatmeal/oats as the main grain but rice is OK too. No brewer's rice or corn, thank you very much.

I currently have been alternating between Healthwise Chicen and Oatmeal Active (30/20), and California Natural Lamb/Rice Puppy (28/18) or Chicken/Rice puppy (26/16). Drake is on regular Wellness Super 5 mix and is doing well, I may just grab a big ole' bag of that. I usually like higher protein, but I can also toss them meat scraps and cheaper (but still good) canned foods here and there to up the meat.

21 August 2008

Work smarter, and sometimes not at all

I tend to wander on the internet at work a bit much. Today I've been having fun with two blogs. One was recommended to me, the other was a link on the site but has provided tons of entertainment.
The first is funny: http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/
The second is centered on horses, but dog people will also appreciate the tone of what's being said: http://fuglyhorseoftheday.blogspot.com/
Don't worry, its not just a daily "here's a fugly horse to laugh at" blog. Its about responsible horse breeding and ownership and rescue, with an opinionated intelligent and funny writer.

20 August 2008

26 is a Go!

I took Drifter to see his PT at a local agility place today. He has been sound since mid-last week, and he was fine during and after his runs last weekend so I've been training as usual. As I mentioned previously, I'm pretty sure it was the dogwalk causing. His PT and I together had trouble coming up with any reason a toe joint would be aggravated by the act of jumping higher in and of itself - it should take a slip or trip to do that, not just landing. It's NOT a wrist/tendon problem. His wrists are very good. There is some thickening in the joint of that outside toe which is consistent with the old injury, but no amount of manipulation got a pain response from him today, so we are pretty sure he is fine to continue on training. Overall he was in great condition, the bigger jumps don't seem to be having any effect on him. He had some minor tightness in his lower back, but really nothing much. I just have to stretch him more in training at home, I think. I get lazy when the equipment is right out my back door, I'll admit.

So the new regime stands. No dogwalk drills, I will just throw them into sequences a couple time a week to keep them in his head.

-----------

I also realized I have a subconscious (or I guess its conscious now!) conviction that Seri will make World Team one day. She's got everything she needs physically and mentally, she just needs experience. I'm looking forward to a terrific career with that dog!

Arizona

I was fussing with my calendar and I realized it is less than 10 weeks until we leave for USDAA Nationals in Arizona. Wow!

I have 9 days of AKC left till then. Drifter needs 3 double Q's. I'm really really hoping he gets it. I did some jumpers type courses and handling in the yard yesterday at 26 (except for the 2 jumps that are AKC only). I threw in 2 see-saws and one dogwalk, and he did those great too. He gave me a great see-saw on Sunday at the trial, so I'm really hoping he's at least going to continue staying on until the board hits the ground, even if he doesn't quite wait for release. And the improvement in his table is tremendous. So it's really come down to keeping the bars up. We go to see the PT this afternoon and I will see what he thinks about wrapping Drifter's legs with vet wrap or something if I need to work dogwalks. I think what I may do instead is just sequence a couple in here and there to maintain - his behaviour is in a pretty good place right now, I just need to get him more tuned in on me and the bars in jumpers and we'll be totally ready for Nationals or whatever may come afterward (Tryouts?)

19 August 2008

AKC Stats for the summer so far

Drifter has 505 points. About 150 or so from the couple trials I ran in March at 20", the rest are from July/August at 24". He has 3 Double Q's. Since 4/14 running at 24" he is qualifying 56.25% of the time, or 9 of 16 runs. Breaking it down you can see the problem:-)
He is 6 for 8 in Standard, a full 75% Q rate, and the last 3 trials he is 6 for 6.
He is only 3 for 8 in JWW. That's a paltry 37.5%. I know what to work on!!!
Drifter's average YPS in those 6 Standard Q's is 4.79. It would be 4.85 if not for that wacky standard course at Elkhound where he took a 3-mile tour after the chute!
His average JWW time for those 3 Q's at 24 is 6.11YPS

Kiba is only Q'ing 35.7%, 5 out of 14 runs. She has 2 double-Q's though! And she's got 147 points. So she may or may not make Nationals this year. I will have to wait and see. If she doesn't get a few more by the end of September I won't worry about her.

Epilepsy Research

Someone told me recently that they'd heard that a canine DNA test for Epilepsy might be out as soon as next year. Personally I find that hard to believe, since everything I've read suggests it is going to be very difficult to discover the genes involved - not only is epilepsy usually polygenic recessive, but "seizing" itself is caused by several different disorders that can cause a very similar result.

Epilepsy in canines and humans is not very different, and the genetics will probably be similar as well. Since human research is usually well ahead of canine due to funding and human interest, I try to keep abreast of what's going on. So far there is no human DNA test for susceptibility to epilepsy.

Here's Columbia University's brief page about some genetic facts they've discovered.
Worth noting are these tidbits: "In the close relatives (parents, brothers, sisters, and children) of people with generalized epilepsy, the risk of epilepsy is about four times as high as in the general population"
and "Some genetic mechanisms raise the risk of epilepsy without determining the type of seizures in affected family members"
Which perhaps suggests that one gene might raise the risk for multiple types of disorders, which is encouraging.

Here's a pretty in-depth page. I skimmed the childhood conditions since that's not really what I'm interested in.
What I thought was interesting here: "There is a growing body of evidence for a shared genetic susceptibility of epilepsy with other neurological conditions"
. . . "Data from Ottman et al., 1996 suggest a shared susceptibility of idiopathic/cryptogenic epilepsy with cerebral palsy or mental retardation present from birth, as well as with seizures related to alcohol consumption and to fever (febrile convulsions). "

Which seems to say that the same genes may cause a person (or dog) to be susceptible to generalized idiopathic seizures, or they may just have migraines (mentioned earlier in the article), or perhaps they seize when they get a high fever. This seems to provide fuel to my personal theory that dogs (or people) who have "a low seizure thresh-hold" are probably genetically the same as dogs with full-blown generalized epilepsy. It may also mean that dogs who seize when overheating might also be genetically affected! (I would think it depends on HOW overheated the dog is when it happens, perhaps?)

18 August 2008

ADCH Windfall's Daydream




I got my first dog when I was 9 years old. I wanted the same breed my mother had at the time - she participated in obedience, conformation, and did some agility with her flat-coated retrievers and I wanted to participate too. So we hunted around, found a good litter being bred by good breeders, and I got my puppy early spring 1992. I named her Dreamer - Windfall's Daydream. I started out doing all those things I just mentioned, along with a little field training (flatties are versatile to this day). Then in September '92 my mother and another formed an agility training group and soon after my everything-other-than-agility training went right out the window! Dreamer had 7 points in the breed ring, including one major, showed in a few obedience matches (Novice), and did some hunt training but never was fully trained there.

In Agility. . . well she made Top Ten in USDAA, made the Grand Prix Finals, twice - in 1997 and 1999, first at 30" then at 26". The second time we ran clean but the July in Cleveland heat was getting to her and she finished 7th. I lost her in 2001 to mammary cancer, but she was a fantastic dog with loads of drive. She barely stayed at the start, she single-strided her weaves, and was a phenomenal jumper for a 62lb, 24" tall dog.

Money Blows.

AKC is eating me. I am broke, like really low on cash right now. I thought I would be OK but apparently I am not. I pulled Seri from one of the AKC trials in September.
I still plan to run her Saturday at Flexi, and she is entered the last weekend of August as well so she's still getting out there.

I will probably skip Splash and Dash, too long of a drive. I may pull from Del Val GSD Club, depending on how my financial situation looks in a few days. Hate to give up AKC Q'ing altogether, so I'll try not to do that, that one's close enough to home to commute decently.

Bonus with the AZ vacation house is that it's already paid for, so no hotel bill at a later date at least. Should mean I can actually afford to do a couple AKC trials in November if necessary.

If Kiba continues NQ'ing a lot I may just concentrate on Drifter in November. He's been more consistent (shocker, huh?)

I am currently accepting donations ;-)
Support your local Nationals competitor!

17 August 2008

Monticello Day 2

Well made another record time out today, 2 hours and 5 minutes! Exciting huh?!

Drifter had Standard first, and it was jump jump dogwalk to the left end of a tunnel in a U shape, so the end of the dogwalk required a soft pull off the end. This is one of the things I've had to work on lately, so I was a little worried but determined to handle it the way I want to, and not suck back and "lie" by telling him "lie down" (that's supposed to mean a tight turn only). So I grew a pair and ran like hell for the end and caught him coming off by turning my shoulder left and saying his name, and don't you know he did it PERFECTLY. Whew! Ran the rest of the course really well too and won the class. 4.92YPS.

Kiba ran standard well, very quick, except that on the table-weave for some reason she was determined that I was trying to wrap her around me and take her to the aframe, so she got a refusal on the weaves. She really needs to learn to focus on weave poles, she just doesn't look for them properly. If they pop up in front of her she does them, but she doesn't zero in on them like Drifter. She left her bars up and hit her contacts and generally ran pretty well other than that.

JWW was a pretty damned tricky course (I've heard Chris Miele courses are like this?). I thought that might be good for Drifter. Working on a double Q. . . and the bastard knocked the 4th bar. No reason. It was a slight converging line to my path, but only slight and I was at least 10 feet away from him. And he KNEW he was going to the tunnel. I think he just flattened. As he came out of the tunnel I scolded him a bit, then continued on. Well I should've handled differently I guess because after a rear cross we headed down a fast line, then had to pull in for a jump at the same point where we pushed to the tunnel - well after the rear he booked down the line and disconnected from me mentally and missed the pull. Didn't take the tunnel, quite, but missed my cue. So I corrected that by bringing him all the way back to my feet and saying "here" for emphasis. He did the last line quite nicely and at least didn't knock a 2nd bar, so that's something. But another Double Q blown on JWW. My nemesis apparently! the last 3 weekends he is 100% 6 for 6 in Standard! But only 2 JWW legs. 3 one-bar faults. And then today's "bar plus a disconnect". Grrrr. So I guess I should quit worrying so much about my damn dogwalk and start working jumping sequences!

I didn't run Kiba in JWW, they were just walking her height as I was leaving.

16 August 2008

Monticello Day 1

Well I drove an insane 112 miles each way today. Made record time on the way out at 2 hours and 15 minutes with 2 brief stops (ATM then breakfast at McD's).
The way back. . . not so great. Traffic was horrendous through the Delaware Water Gap (a national park along the Delaware river). Vacationers! Tomorrow I may drive the whatever crazy extra miles out of my way to take the highways home. At least i can maintain a speed above 30mph that way, which makes me feel better.

Anyhow I got there on time, set up my stuff in the stall in the adjacent building - nice and cool, matted floor instead of dirt, which was a pleasant surprise. Kiba's JWW was first thing. She was all fired up and flying, very tuned in and one-striding lots of distances. But she knocked a bar. Not a particularly difficult bar, she just misjudged a bit. Oh well. She was booking, 6.42YPS. Would have been 2nd by a tiny smidgeon without the bar. There are lots more fast dogs here than there were at this site last month. Good!
Drifter's JWW. . . he was there, but his mind wasn't quite in sync. . . he was tight on the leadout turn/push, he usually is. Then I made a pretty obvious rear cross, that Kiba read wonderfully, and Drifter didn't read it. I had to yell "HEY!" at him. He recovered without spinning but was quite wide. Then on a shallow shoulder turn he started booking out away from me towards another off course jump which I was definitely not pointing at - he was just following his eyeballs down the ring. Another "HERE" broke off that disaster. Still clean up to the weaves. Then at the 4th to last jump there is a rear cross into a 180, well with him not quite with me I think he didn't catch the cue for the rear on time and tried to do a dramatic mid-air lead change. Didn't work. Bar fell down. With is goofiness he was almost a whole second slower than Kiba. D'oh! But he only ended up with the one bar. 6.14YPS.

Standard was an interesting and fun course. I decided to stick around since I had dragged my ass all the way out there and paid for it. It started out jump-tire-jump-weave in a STRAIGHT line down one side of the ring, and the end of the course was rear cross to a jump-dogwalk-jump-jump in another STRAIGHT line out of the ring! WOOHOO! Since neither dog was working on a double I decided to run it all-out for speed, but with the attitude that any dumb mistakes on their part would be corrected. That means pushing Kiba to run her contacts (I don't correct those unless she leaps, even if she doesn't hit yellow). Well Kiba was a sailing little booger again. Judge didn't call her aframe although I was certain she missed it. Whatever. Then she knocked the bar before the dogwalk. I ignored it and blasted down the dogwalk with her and she ran all the way down the end and off beautifully! Kiba usually has more of a "moving" contact, she doesn't really run through, but she doesn't stop either. It's a handler-dependent hesitation, I guess. But I've been working on her moving through more smoothly, and either I totally lucked out or she is starting to get it. So one bar, 4.8YPS. Yay!

Drifter basically totally nailed the standard course. He wasn't staying real well on the start line - we have an agreement about that but he was close to violating it - but aside from that I have no complaints whatsoever. The not-in-syncness was gone. Table was only a little slow, not bad considering he hadn't been on it in almost 2 weeks, and was laid off for 4 days. I sent him over the jump before the dogwalk and as soon as he committed I TOOK OFF for the end of the ring and he NAILED The DW contact just like he should. Judge didn't even need to run (although I'm sure he did!). Gorgeous. I'm assuming he won, unless somebody else's table was fast enough to make up for my contact speed.

I did do a few dogwalks on Friday and Drifter's toe still looks good. Hooray!

Drifter is now 5 for 5 in the last 5 standard classes he's run, but only 2/5 in JWW. All 3 NQ's are ONE BAR. It's a start. Just got to fix the goofiness. . .

15 August 2008

Change in the wind

I am in the process of updating the look of my blog. Please bear with me, its not done yet but I'm at work and don't have access to my photos here. I'll mess with it later. For now. . just deal! I think the blue might be too much....

Feel the burn!

Drifter ran the Excellent B Standard course at Tamarack at 4.95YPS. That's probably a new record for him in AKC (with a TABLE in it!!!!) I'm very pleased with darn near 5YPS with all 3 contacts, weaves, and a table. Woohoo! He also ran a JWW at 6.64, also very fast, and THAT was the twisty course I thought for sure he'd be closer to 6.0 on.

Kiba ran a standard at 4.7 out there, pretty good for a midget.

Also kind of amusing, the girl who asked if my dogs were confirmation dogs (duh?) also was online bragging about how good her dog was on the BC Boards (I read but don't contribute). But her dog was 2 full seconds slower than Kiba when Kiba Q'd out there. So. . um. . . yeah. Get cracking if you think you're world team material and you can't keep up with either of my dogs. It would have been fun if Denise had run Zippity at 26 - at least then I'd have some competition for time, even though Drifter was at 24, but Zip's laid up so I was really the only super-fast competitor there.

Oh, and Drifter now has 403 points. He needed 400 for Nationals. He has 3 double Q's. I GUESS I'm OK on points?! LOL
I do believe he has enough points for a MACH and a half by now!

As if

Wouldn't it be Insanity if Seri made the IFCS team next year?! HAHA!

She's fast enough!

By the way, "insanity" is her formal nickname. If you know her, you know why. She's looking goooood though, and she has a lot of upward power so 26 isn't very hard for her. She had daddy's big power-jumping ability! Woohoo! Can't wait to bring her back out.

Um.

I had something to say about an hour ago, then work got busy and now I'm having a brain fart.

I am optimistic that Drifter will be able to go on with my WT Tryout attempt. It's his only shot at FCI. Whether he makes it or not, I'll be pleased to attend and put in at least one or two good runs, which he usually good for. I'm hoping maybe it'll be 3 to 5 good runs, and we'll do something truly amazing!

I was told they might be moving Tryouts next year. Possibly to Raleigh, NC. Now THAT would be awesome! However as of right now they have released the 2009 Tryouts premium and it still says Hopkins Arena in MN. Well, I'll deal with that next year. They're AKC, and they're focused on this September right now, so I imagine they still have some leeway to change the site if they want. I hope they do!

I have a love/hate thing with FCI. On one hand I think its stupid that the biggest international agility competition is run by a kennel club that only allows purebred dogs. On the other hand, I am well aware that it really IS the biggest international competition, and that's WHY I want to go. I would love to go to IFCS, but even watching videos from last year it just doesn't seem like that big of a deal to the Europeans yet. I think it will be, eventually, but right NOW - FCI is the name of the game. And another thing about me that's a little "off" - I get frustrated if I think people don't recognize how talented I am, but at the same time I don't really think I'm interested in living the full-time agility trainer lifestyle. I used to think I'd hate it, but I am coming to really enjoy teaching agility so maybe I wouldn't. I'd have to get used to actually making lesson plans though, generally I just show up and wing it (I've heard Paulena does that too!). That can work for classes, but for a seminar you need a plan. People don't want to hear "well, uh, let me see" while you puzzle out their next expensive sequence.

So I guess I could maybe enjoy the lifestyle. I certainly don't mind traveling. BUT that's not WHY I want to compete internationally. The real reason is that I think I'm better than they are! I really do have some major superiority issues. I don't just think I'm better than everybody else, I AM better :-P
That doesn't mean I won't admit defeat if I mess up, or that certain people are also very talented. But I don't really admit that anybody is better than me. I don't necessarily think that's a bad thing, because I go out and compete and don't feel bad even if I do mess up, because it was my fault somehow or other if I lose. I'll never just say "oh well so and so is just really good", because I don't believe that. Sure, they're good, but I'm better, therefore I have lost, they haven't won! Keep in mind I don't go around talking shit on people either, and I certainly root for friends to do well and stuff like that. But that's my mind-set and has been for a while. I admit inferiority to no one:-D

I just dropped my soda bottle on the ground and it got all fizzed up. Suckage! Now it's gonna be flat!

14 August 2008

Verbose

I hope those few of you who read this do realize it is intended as an online journal more than anything. I'm not blogging to entertain millions or to be funny. So if I seem to waffle on certain subjects or meander mentally, well, then you will realize that's just the way I am sometimes. Other times I am extremely adamant in my opinions and pretty much unswayable.

Today is not an unswayable day:-)

So Drifter has appeared sound since yesterday (Wed) morning. And really he looked good Tuesday night too. The 24 hours of jumping on beds/couches and walking around the house didn't seem to bother him. So I took him out to potty in the yard when I got home this afternoon and decided to throw him over a few jumps and do a couple see-saws. He looked great. Flew over 26 very confidently, plenty of power, looked very happy to be doing something. I kept him out of the weaves and off the dogwalk, and only did maybe 12 jumps total. But if he looks good tomorrow I will take that as a very good sign.

After much thought this morning, I have determined that the most likely cause is the dogwalk. Most dogs hurt themselves falling off dogwalks, but with Drifter its different. He's had a running dogwalk from square one, and now that I've been doing more reps, and introducing slightly altered behaviors and really letting him fly, I think it's a bit too much. Friday we did some heavy duty jump work, all at 26, with tough turns and big spreads. No lameness at all. Sunday we did some courses, then I had to solve a puzzle with the dogwalk with him, and while I didn't do dozens of reps, it was more than I'd done in a while - and that was the day he got sore.
Back in June when he got sore was when I first got the DW out and started doing hardcore reps every day. So I guess that's probably my answer. Because now that I think about it, I've been practicing 26" at least once a week since last spring, I didn't just start in June. And I had him checked by his PT several times and mentioned the jumps and the toe and the wrist and the PT didn't find anything horrible so it's got to be the DW reps. Most especially the braking/slowing/turning reps where he is slowing on the downside but still pounding hard. I need to watch him because when he starts to "skip" early up on the plank and miss the contact by half a yard then that seems to be a sign that he's sore. He did that at Keystone on Saturday morning and it turned out his mid-thorasic was sore (probably from Perry, I know 2 more dogs who were sore in the same region from that trial).

So. . . not necessarily dashing my WT hopes on the rocks just yet. I will cut down on the dogwalks and try to make every rep meaningful, and keep it to maybe 5 a day, 2 or 3 times a week and end it. And if the problem does recur. . . then we'll make the decision. He's jumping 26 very nicely at home, it just has to transfer to other places. He did it with 24 at AKC trials, so I think he'll learn 26 after a day or two back in USDAA.

A Good Problem to Have?

So if I decide to leave Drifter down at 22" from here on out (which WAS my original plan, after all, when I dropped him last year), I have a bit of a quandary. See, Kiba will be trying out for IFCS. She is quick and consistent. But she lacks Drifter's blinding speed. Not really an issue in the scheme of things, however . . . Drifter and Kiba will be competing against each other for IFCS points at Regionals. So what? Well if Drifter takes 1st in 2 classes and Kiba gets 2nd in those 2 classes he's just taken 2 points away from her. That could matter! Comparatively, other people who attend different Regionals won't be competing against either of my dogs in 22" and have the opportunity to win full 1st place points since I won't have taken them at those Regionals. I'm not suggesting in any way that Drifter would win every class. And in fact I have no qualms whatsoever about planning Snooker and Gamblers for him to be maybe 1 or 2 points less than Kiba's plan. He requires more training time in gamblers, and he is harder to run in Snooker because he's just basically a powerboat on steroids where Kiba is tighter to me. So maybe in the Team Standard and Jumpers classes I could throw it a little too. . . force a front cross or something. Makes me kinda sad to do that, but I don't want to destroy my own chances at something! Anyhow, I certainly wouldn't do that in Steeplechase or GP Finals at Regionals or Nationals, I'm not THAT interested in throwing things.

Just more stuff to think about!

Better

Drifter is looking better. I am not taking any chances with him this week. I took him swimming yesterday so he could get a workout that wouldn't injure his toe any further. He isn't short-striding on that leg any more and he looks pretty sound at a trot. I've released him from crate rest which I had him on from Monday afternoon to Wednesday morning, and he's loose in the house again for now. I'm letting him loose in the yard to potty as well and if he still looks good on Friday I will do a few jumps and a dogwalk to see how he handles that. If it hurts him I won't bother taking him to the trial this weekend, but if he looks OK he'll come along.

I'm leaning more and more towards leaving him at 22". It takes some of the financial burden off of me, since Kiba will be the only one who would really be "campaigning" and I wouldn't have to worry about paying to drive to FCI Tryouts (sad). It makes me sad to see a dog with such potential never go to Europe, but really there's no guarantee he'd kick ass over there anyway. I'd hate to go and knock a bar in every class. How suck would that be? And he is truly happy at 22. It's still a "jump" that he has to go up and over, but he does them with ease and the whole year he was jumping 22 he had only very very minor pieces out of alignment according to his PT. At 26 he was doing worse things - not horrible, but worse anyway. And now this toe thing. I will not campaign for world team with a dog with a tender toe and wrist. I've seen too many dogs kept up at 26 for too long who broke down earlier than they should have.

I may still change my mind, but for now I'm leaning towards it. And who knows, maybe Seri will come out and be super consistent and go for it young. She turned 2 in June so she's quite young still but she's got loads of potential and tons of desire. We'll see.

13 August 2008

It has been brought. . .

It's come to my attention that I live in a very crowded situation. This is true. A small one bedroom apartment with 2 people and 4 border collies sure is crowded.

So I added up the cost of doing 4 AKC trials in a month and its like $760 or so (2 dogs) plus gas is probably close to $1000. If I were to, say, not spend that, I would save some dough. I don't do AKC all year though so total I'm only spending maybe $3000 on AKC this year (yes that's a lot but still). If I don't do that next year (wasn't planning to anyway) that's $3K more in the bank towards my own place. I'd be perfectly happy renting somewhere if I could have a yard of sorts. I don't relish cleaning out the place I inhabit currently because I've been down there a while and its a mess. It was a mess before I came, and I made it worse. Anyhow, I honestly do believe I'd be *less* messy if I had more space. Like. . . counters, tables, cabinets. . . etc. I have a few of those now, but it's a squeeze. For instance I have exactly ONE table. It's supposed to be an eating table but it collects stuff because stuff has nowhere else to live. Same with my tiny computer desk.

Considering if I drop AKC, and stick to necessary USDAA trials only (Tournaments, no wasting money on classes that aren't necessary to train for tournaments), and no hotels. I bet DJ and I could swing rent in a little house with a yard somewhere. There are tons of big swanky horse farms around where we work, surely one of those has a little house we could rent and they wouldn't mind the dogs being there. Surely! Townhouses around here are crap - they all say no pets or one small pet, but if we found an accomodating one I'd love that too. Don't care, I want more space and a small potty yard. I can practice agility elsewhere, if I can do one jump at home that's better than nothing. Then my mom can have her yard back.

So I think that will be my next-year goal. Once USDAA Nationals are over things calm down quite a bit, which is nice.

12 August 2008

One more post. Not such a gratuitous pic.




This beautiful dog is Kiba's uncle. He was put down due to his idiopathic epilepsy. He was having uncontrollable severe cluster seizures. Don't play games with epilepsy, please. If it's in your lines, be careful. And puppy purchasers - do your research.

Be aware that there are NO concrete statistics out on how epilepsy is inherited. There is no statistic for the chance of a relative throwing it. That means you have to take smart risks, and be informed. There are even multiple types of epilepsy that inherit in different ways! But certainly any dog with close relatives who seize has a higher chance of seizing itself or having puppies who do so, that much is certain.

Gratuitous Pics. Not an RVer. Obsessive though.





Kiba's Cute :-D
First pics are 7 weeks, then 11 weeks (I got her at 12) then 3 months, then grown up. She was not the best purchase I've ever made, BUT there was something in that adorable inquisitive "WHAT'CHA LOOKIN' AT" face that she makes.

I decided not to drive the RV to the trial this weekend. It is a godawful long drive to be going back and forth each day, BUT it is godawful boring to be sitting in the RV for 8-10 hours by MYSELF not knowing anybody to hang out with or anything. Plus. . um. . . 50-75 gallons of gas at 3.73 per gallon? NO THANKYOU.
So I've chosen godawful long drive instead. I did rent a stall so I have a moderately temperatured place to hang out if it rains that will be dry, and the car can be locked and left for the day which is nice.
I emailed the guy in charge of RV money to see if he'd give my money back or tear up my check. I'm hoping, but I'm committed to driving the car now either way so whatever.

I have what I like to call "obsessive energy". If I don't have a specific task to be doing at any given time I will obsess over something for a few weeks at a time. This can be a TV series, a book (or series), but most likely its researching something on the internet - dogs, cars, RV's - or training my dogs.
But lately it's starting to be blogging! I'm posting a lot, and actually enjoying it, and not really caring who reads it or who doesn't. I'm being honest, not PC, and I'm recording events so I can look back later myself and say "oh, wow, look what was going on at thus-and-such a time!".

Something in the water?

There is a severely retarded, @sshole of a man working here. He is actually a driver for one of our contractors, which means we don't have a direct contract with him (drivers aren't employed at FedEx, they are contractors). He is really pissing us off. He doesn't carry a cell phone. (what is this, 1991?). He won't call people before he leaves on our phone. He is too lazy to check the map if he gets a road he's never heard of - instead he just writes "not on map" or "need map" and leaves the package behind. So if you live on a small road in Royersford and wonder why your FedEx Ground package was a day late? Yup, it's this jerk. Ironically, his name is Angel. But he's not. And the most aggravating part of all this is that even if you give him information - directions, a phone number, the business name, a description of the house, whatever - he will still say he doesn't know where it is and leave it behind. AFTER you give him directions!

Today he tried to claim there is more than one "Pebble Beach" road in Royersford PA. Now, we are not THAT far from the beach in NJ, maybe an hour and a half, but there is NO freaking way there are 2 roads by that name in Royersford. Oh, and he claims they are both in the same development by the golf course, and he can't possibly deliver the package cuz he doesn't know WHICH one it goes to. And he doesn't have a phone so he can't call and ask.

I think DJ might slap him soon! (If I don't first!)

Drifter update

Drifter was still limping yesterday. It was definitely less of a limp, but still there. I put him on crate rest for a day or two. He's in a big crate with a comfy bed, but I don't want him hopping on and off the bed and couch. Our floor is pretty hard - concrete with crappy carpet on top.

I am starting to lean towards not worrying about world team with him. He's never been lame like this from his toe before. And I discovered that thinking about not taking him made me a little sad, but not that upset. So it's probably not that big of a deal after all. If I can think about leaving him at 22" and I don't break down mentally then I should probably just leave him there. He's almost 6, not old by any means, but any old physical injuries will start becoming true weaknesses from here on out - he's middle aged now.

But for now I will wait. A friend has recommended I take him to a specialist vet who does horses. But I'm not sure they can do anything. So far my PT has never been wrong in diagnosing something, and they (it's a husband/wife team, both very experienced in people and dogs) wouldn't hesitate to recommend a surgical option or that a dog see a specialist if that's what's required. Fortunately or unfortunately, Drifter's issue isn't something that's really fixable, so far as I can tell. I will get him re-assessed as soon as I can.

11 August 2008

World Team Thoughts

I've always felt that Drifter was World Team material. He is more than fast enough. I'm absolutely sure he is fast enough to place in FCI. Possibly win, even. Not many dogs can say that. But his career thus far has been plagued with consistency issues. A bar here. A flyoff there. An intentional refusal I caused for training purposes. Crap like that. He's not a run-amok dog, he doesn't generally go off course. But. He has been really coming together this last year at 22" and now at 24". And now the wrist issue. In training at 26, which we've been working for about 2 months now - at home he doesn't usually hit bars, but at the field he sure does. So now i have a monumental task before me - deciding whether to leave him at 22" and give up world team altogether, or to keep trying to raise him up and train him harder. I'm not sure I can train him harder, if his toe and wrist will inflame when I do so. This is a new thing for him, I'm not sure what sets it off. Long weekends at trials previously has caused him some very mild tenderness in that spot (if you flex it he whimpers, but no visible lameness at all), but never before this summer has he actually limped from this.
Regardless of his state, I will be giving IFCS team a try with Kiba next year, so its not like my world team hopes are dashed altogether. And Seri will be an FCI contender in a couple years as well - she won't be ready even for IFCS this year, unless her brain has a big revelation between now and next June (possible, but unlikely). So maybe when she's 4ish I will try to get her Q'd for FCI tryouts and go. I almost feel like somehow I've betrayed Drifter's shot at winning the big time if I don't take him to Europe. Like, he could beat the pants off those dogs but they'll never know because he never tried. I don't think we have many dogs here in the states (and especially on the team) who can beat the pants off other dogs in Europe. There are probably 2 on the team this year who can place top 4 in my opinion. Last year I'm not sure there were any who could do that, and none who could win, I'm sure. I'm not dissing those people - they have tremendous consistency, something I lack - but my dog is faster.

If they had an FCI Steeplechase, man, I'd be all over that!

Anyways, my decision this week will be what to do with Drifter. I really can't just wait and wait and hope his wrist holds out. I need to make a decision. What I may need to do is just try it and see what aggravates it. Do one day with lots of dogwalk reps, then flex it a few hours later. And one day with lots of 26" jumps and flex him later and see if one of those is what's doing it.

Driver Blog Episode II

Driving in to work at 3:30am has its advantages, such as less traffic on the roads, zero congestion, and no line at the Wawa. It also has disadvantages. All the idiots who drank too late, then went to their "friend"s house, or to the diner, are driving home at this time, along with other idiots who got up early just so they could be the only ones on the road. Both of these types of idiot are prone to tailgating. And both are pretty dangerous, although I'll say the first type (drunken/hangover/blueballs type) is probably the worst of the two. This morning I had the 2nd type. This guy was probably young, college age-ish (cuz I'm SO much older) or so. He pulled out of a side street just after I went by about 1/3 of the way on my trip. He didn't have his brights on, but his left headlight was misaligned and pointing at my mirror. Now, I knew he wasn't a cop because I caught a glimpse of his car as I went by him, so I kept trucking along at my usual speed of 10-15 over the speed limit (if you're a cop reading this, I just said "at the speed limit") and Mr. Wonky Headlight stays at a reasonable distance behind me, clearly content to at least not "punish" me for my speed by tailgating.
3 miles on I get stuck behind a big fat Cadillac. This vehicle is ranging from 5 under the speed limit to about 5 over. He treats the big sweeping curves like sharp turns where he needs to slow down drastically. He is probably old. And fat. (yes I'm mean). I have NO idea why this guy was on the road at this hour, but I believe I've been stuck behind him before, so maybe a posh job with odd hours? no idea. Anyway, since I'm now going 10-20mph slower than I was previously, I got Mr. Wonky Headlight up my ass. Didn't make me happy. I had to adjust my mirrors to get his damn headlight out of my eyeballs so I could see the road. Sometimes my trick of aiming my driver side mirror outwards will reflect back into the face of the guy behind me and get them to back off, but it didn't work with this guy. He continued with his bumper almost glued to mine for about 5 or 8 miles until Fat Cadillac turned off and I sped up, at which point Wonky Headlight backed off again. So . . . clearly he knew MY speed wasn't the issue, it was Fat Cadillac he should have been mad at - so why was he tailgating me? I don't get it. But I'm onto you Wonky Headlight, and I'm not happy!

----------

Sharon and I managed to get a good training session in before the storms came yesterday (and they came for 6 hours, phew!). But by mid-afternoon Drifter was favoring his left wrist again. I don't know what exactly bugged it, we did some dogwalk work but nothing excessive, certainly nothing more than I've done at home. I'm starting to wonder if he's going to be able to jump 26" next year. If he can't physically do it because of a stupid old tunnel injury then I won't do it, but it would make me sad for sure.

09 August 2008

I used to have a Flatcoat. Now I have a Flat BC?






This is what Drifter looks like when you play frisbee with my pack. He outruns, he flattens, and then he "escorts" the frisbee-carrier back. Then while you hold the frisbee he pretends to balance the other dogs to you. Then the scenario repeats. Now, he will fetch if he's alone, although he's a bit slow, and he will go for it when the other dogs are around IF he thinks he'll get to it first, but he usually ends up giving it to Kiba anyway so he can play Flat Dog some more. He's very good at being Flat Dog.

The funniest part is that on sheep, he is very upright and has a stand rather than a lie down. So just because your dog "herds" other dogs, doesn't meant they'll be the exact same way on sheep! (although he definitely herds sheep, just with a different style)

On another note, my shoulder is still annoying. It's not really in pain anymore but I've got that old tension through the right side of my neck in the ligaments/tendons or whatever it is that runs through there. And it really feels like someone picked up my right shoulder blade and wedged a marble under the bottom of it. It's lifted slightly out from my back from whatever knot has formed in my shoulder from compensating for my useless rotator cuff. I've restarted all the exercises my PT gave me that I slackily stopped doing a month or so ago. I probably will also start icing it once or twice a day as well. It sucks having chronic issues at 25!

08 August 2008

Back to work

So some of you may be curious about my slacker co-worker!
Well she came back after taking a TWO sick weeks in a row, to recover from her mysterious "communicable disease". Kind of surprised she knew that word, actually. She didn't seem to know what it meant, though, since someone saw her out and about in a store or something while she was "sick". The funniest part is that when she comes back she complains about how she's broke. Hmmm. When I need money, I do this nifty little thing called GO TO WORK!

Anyhow, yes she still works here. Yes, she is still lazy. And at this point, pretty much everybody here on the morning side of things is wondering how she kept her job. I don't know anybody that thinks she was actually sick (maybe my immediate boss, she's willing to excuse a lot). So I'm waiting to see if she does it again or gets the message. I heard rumor that there would be a "talk" in the evening meeting last night.

--------

We got the "new" van at the very end of February. It had 26,500 miles on it at that point in time. It is now early August. That's 5 and 1/2 months. I have driven 12,000 miles in the van since we got it. It is at 38,500 or so. Whew! Poor thing didn't know what it was getting into. That's more than the 1st owner drove in a year! I love it, I just have to figure out how to install my grille/guard around the front license plate. I want to keep my pretty border collie plate, but the holder goes down onto the grille area so I may need to cut out a section and figure out how to reattach it again or something. NOT paying professionals for something that frivolous!
Since I acquired the Ody, it has been to GA and back (900 miles each way) and out to Indy and back (10 hours but I forget the mileage), and numerous "local" trials (some 3 hours or so). I'm glad I have no trials farther than 2.5 hours for a while. And next weekend is my adventure with the RV, so that should be interesting!

07 August 2008

So far in AKC

Drifter is averaging 4.71YPS in Standard (out of 4 Q's), and 6.01YPS in JWW (out of 6 Q's). Not too shabby. I don't have info yet from the 2nd day of Tamarack so that will give me one more of each class to factor in, but I do believe he was absolutely booking in that standard class so it won't hurt that average. Not sure on JWW as it depends a lot on what type of course it is, and that one was a little twisty.
Overall this year he is qualifying 60% in AKC. (12/20) That's not bad. I know he was much worse than that in 2006. And the last 3 trials he's running 70% (7/10).

Now Kiba was in Open until mid-April.
But counting Exc A and Exc B both then in Standard she's averaging 4.28, not so impressive but one of those was an NQ with a refusal that really wasn't a full refusal so I factored that in, and one of those was our big loopy Q from Elkhound where she wasted 4-5 seconds so that one was slow. Still, she's over the qualifying cutoff for FCI Tryouts so that makes me happy. (even though she's jumping 20", it's just a benchmark YPS I can think of). In JWW her average so far is 5.91. Not bad. And she's steadily been increasing. Mostly she hovers around 6 like Drifter. Also I see that she has never lost a JWW class when she was clean, even at the 2 large trials she ran in B and Q'd. I don't have the info from her JWW Q out at Tamarack yet, but I know she won. Actually I may have that ribbon in the car.
I'm not doing Q rate on Kiba yet, as she's only done 3 trials in B, and she is moving faster than she was in April and handling better besides.

Class yesterday and bad drivers

Took Seri and Drake to class, and left the "older" dogs home (my older dogs are 3 and 5!). Seri did very well. I am extremely pleased with how she's coming along. She's insanely fast, but her jumping has improved tremendously, she is hardly knocking any bars even at 26", and the ones she does knock are usually the tough ones - converging paths, serpentines, stuff like that. Her aframe could use some work but if I can get her on it more she will improve. We ran a tough course, another tough course, and then before I left I re-ran the first one to see if we could fix our mistakes from the first time through - and she ran it perfectly clean! Very cool! So maybe she will be OK with zero-fault GP's:-) Just have to wait and see!
Drake had a grand old time visiting with people and got to have a port-a-potty cleaning truck rumble right past his x-pen. He didn't care. Everybody said he looked huge compared to last time they saw him (probably over a month ago) even though he's not actually huge.

On the way home, some idiot in a '92-ish gold Camry barged in front of me when his lane ended (right off the bat I hate him - I can't stand people who don't at least make an effort to merge in a polite manner). Then he hit his brakes. Hard. I honked at him. I was already pissed because of the lane barging thing. I don't even think he noticed. Well it turned out that he was braking because the light ahead was red - but the line of cars in front of him was 100 feet up, so he was braking really early. I hate that. So I ended up behind this guy for probably 12 miles or so, and he did it at EVERY red light. He came to an almost complete stop 50+ feet before he caught up to the last stopped car in front of him, then he let off his brakes and slowly crawled up to the end of the line. I HATE THAT I HATE THAT I HATE THAT. I wanted to smash into him so bad. (well, not really, but I do hate that behavior). The reason I originally grew to really despise this type of driving is that I used to drive stickshift cars. I would still, too, if I had a 3rd fun car. Anyways, when you're driving a stick, you really don't appreciate having to do lots of clutch/gas/brake pedal work at like 3mph because it's just a pain in the ass. If you know you're stopping, you just want to stop, not have to keep re-engaging it into 1st and then back on the brake again. Well now I drive an automatic (both the Civic and the Odyssey), but I still hate stopping, then crawling up just to stop again. Stop once! Not twice! I don't even mind coasting slowly up, that's fine, just don't stop, then crawl forward another 50-100 feet!

Why oh why am I the only one who knows how to drive?

06 August 2008

USDAA Changes for 2009

So I've heard the rumors but it's been confirmed in numerous premiums around the country:
You now must run completely fault-free to qualify in Grand Prix. I'm not sure how I feel about that. One one hand I feel like that's probably the way it should be, with all the great dogs out there right now. But on the other hand I feel that you qualify a long time before Nationals, and you are cutting out some of those "wild card" type dogs who are very exciting to see and who maybe just didn't quite keep all their bars up yet 6 months before Nationals. I will also admit that the vast majority of my dogs' Grand Prix Q's have 5 faults, and I honestly don't see anything wrong with that. Toenails in/out of a contact, skimming a smidge too close to a bar, that doesn't seem like it should disqualify you from at least packing up, going to Nationals, and giving it a try. I thought requiring 2 seperate 5-fault or less runs was pretty fair. I'd rather see them require 3 5-fault Q's, I think, then change it to 2 0-fault runs.
I will note that my current main competition dogs did both get at least 2 0-fault GP's, so I would have gone anyway if that had been the criteria this year. But I've got a 2-year old set to debut seriously next spring and I don't know if she'll be able to do that yet, but I'd still like to take her to Nationals just for a wild card, and to have some fun. I'm going anyway!

Another few changes - weave poles spaced at 18/19" will no longer be allowed. The new distance is set at 21", with 1" tolerance either way (which means you could get 22" poles now!) And they've also decided that displaceable tires are perfectly alright as long as they meet the other specs of a "tire" on the course. So hooray for that. I kind of wish they'd decided to go with a 21-24" range on the weaves, since that's what lots of Europe does (24"), but whatever. We'll survive. As whacked out as my dog looks while weaving, he still manages to keep his spine generally in one place so I think we're OK with the poles as is.
Seri will be more of a test, she's like a fast snake through there.

05 August 2008

Exercises from my yard today





I've mislabeled this last one. 2-3 is supposed to be a threadle, then 5-6 is supposed to be the serp/shoulder drop to a front cross at 6-7. Oh well, not doing it again.

Working on discrimination between threadles and serpentines. Trying to convert over to using a dropped shoulder to cue serp's and an outside arm "precue" to do threadles. Drifter needs clearer discrimination between them than the old system was giving him. So far they are understanding this well. (I believe this is a generalized/bastardized fersion of what Linda M does)

On Doctors and Sleep

So I admit it. I watch the new Doctor Who series, and I love it. I've become a BBC America fan lately, as Doctor Who, Torchwood (a BBC spin-off of Doctor Who), and Top Gear are the only 3 shows I religiously DVR and watch ever week. Sadly, Friday was the last episode of Doctor Who Series 4. It was a tremendously good finish, with that sad and dark feel that has become part of the series, but still intelligent and fun. But now, alas, I must wait an interminably long time for new Who. There is a Christmas special every year broadcast in the UK, but we don't get it over here until the following spring, generally. Then in 2009 they aren't doing a regular season of episodes, but rather 3 or 4 more "specials" which are like TV movies. OK, I could deal with that, but my big worry is that they won't play them over here. The newest run of episodes aired on Scifi, but BBC America plays the older series and Torchwood. So, even if they do air here, I am going to have to keep a close eye on the internet to see which channel does it, and when. Scifi does not generally re-air an episode, ever, so far as I can tell. It's possible that BBC re-gains the rights once Scifi premiers it, I suppose.

Sharon and I decided not to go train in NC this weekend. I am feeling the lack of sleep catching up to me. It's always worse in the summer. When you go to bed at 7-8pm in order to get up at 3am, summers are hell because the light messes with your internal clock. I have to force myself to go to bed early and make it as dark as possible to get sleepy. I'm great in the winter when it gets dark around 5-6pm because then I feel like its bed-time.
So this weekend will be a one-training-session at the field weekend. Which is fine, I am pretty pleased with how my dogs have been running. I just need to iron out some minor kinks. I am expecting very good results from now on. I really feel more serious about the whole thing this year (and I was serious before, so that says something) and I feel like the 2 dogs I'm focusing on right now are serious right back to me! So its wonderful. Even Drifter is starting to step to the line meaning to accomplish something. Part of that is, as I've mentioned before, that he wants ME to be serious in order for him to be serious about a run. So in a way AKC is very good for us because I have to be absolutely dead serious about every single run, and he feels that and responds positively. I love that he rises to meet the stress level, rather than losing his mind! With Kiba I am more relaxed because generally I just don't need to run with the same edge to have her be clean, she is out there having fun with me and running her heart out. Drifter really does think of it as a job, it's like he's insulted if I don't take it seriously! Funny dog!

A Privateer or Rico Suave?

So Drake's registered name is Darkfire's Dauntless Pursuit. The explanation there is that Sir Francis Drake was a privateer who was rather ruthless in chasing down pirates and enemy ships, and it is also a nod to the kennel name I had thought of using myself "Dauntless". I like it, it's very fancy sounding but still ties in somewhat to "Drake".

When Drake was smaller a friend was calling him Rico Suave, and just yesterday when I was outside walking him I thought "oh my god, I should have called him Darkfire's Romeo in Black Jeans!" How funny would that have been? Still laughing at myself there. He is a gorgeous dog-puppy right now. He's in transition, beginning to be a beautiful dog, but still has a good deal of puppy showing through. Still got a bit of fuzz although overall his coat is more adultish than a few weeks ago. I will try to get pics today if it doesn't rain and my camera battery isn't dead yet. His hair is very thick, which I was hoping it wouldn't be but figured it would be. He has always been a fuzzbucket.

He loves to lay on top of the couch, and surprisingly, even though he's got to be pushing 30lbs, he still does it without falling. I have a floppy sort of couch but still. I think he's going to finish out about Drifter's size, 20" or so, 35lbs+ (Drifter is 38lbs fully muscled)

04 August 2008

Worse than a case of the Mondays

Here's a tip for you. If you have a cat, especially a cat that is allowed outside, vaccinate it against Rabies. Cuz if you don't, and it gets scratched, or you do, then you have to euthanize it and send the body or head to a lab to get tested for Rabies. See, vets won't treat an unvaccinated cat for injuries.

And if you do have to send your dead cat in for testing, here's another tip. Do NOT ship the corpse through FedEx Ground in a plastic bag inside a barely closed tupperware box. Please. Pretty please. And if you do think that shipping a dead body through a Ground service is a good idea (it should be overnight, from mid-PA to eastern-PA), do NOT ship it on a Thursday or Friday! Because there's a great chance its going to sit in one spot all weekend, and stink up the poor people who work there.

Ship it express, overnight, and have it delivered as early as you can in the morning. Please. Pretty please. And put in something that actually stays closed. With real dry ice that doesn't melt real fast.

-----------------

We had a dead cat that was being sent in for rabies testing. It reeked. I had to call the lab and explain the situation, and they are sending someone over to pick it up. We just can not ask a driver to drive around with that smell emanating from the back of his van for any amount of time. That's just wrong.

So, to Alice Shirk in Dover, PA, a big fat THANKS for not vaccinating your damned cat.

Elkhound Club Recap

Another good weekend, overall.

Drove down Friday afternoon and attended run-through's at A Click Above. Got some good teeter and dogwalk work in for Drifter, and Kiba got some weave practice in a "new" place (they were there a couple years ago). But they ran pretty late - we didn't get back to the house till 10:30ish! Then at 4:30am there was a severely apocolyptic storm. I swear the thunderclap that woke me up went on for about 10 minutes! (seemed that way). I was rather alarmed; coming from a deep sleep as I was, I was convinced that thunder couldn't possibly last as long as it did (it was really long, and loud!) so I jumped out of bed, put on my glasses (trust me, I need them) and looked outside. Don't know precisely what I thought I'd see; a huge metal garbage truck being torn into bits? A gang of teenagers thumping metal trash cans of epic proportions with giant metal sticks? Like I said - straight from a deep sleep ;-) Anyway, what I saw was crazy lightning. So I was properly mollified and went back to bed. And woke up 5 minutes later when the next armageddon blast of thunder rolled through. So all in all, not a great night for sleep. I was surprised at how well the dogs handled the thunder. I was sleeping on the 3rd floor of my friend's townhouse, when I and the dogs generally sleep in the basement with the A/C running 30 feet away (in other words, we don't hear storms). But I'm pretty sure the dogs kept trying to go back to sleep the same as I did.

So despite the lack of sleep I felt OK in the morning. But Drifter didn't. When we got to the site I took him out to walk him and he had some nastily explosive diarrhea. Then he puked his guts out. I'm guessing the strain of holding it in, then pushing it out made him nauseous enough to puke, as he didn't seem nauseous for the rest of the day - no puking and he was drinking plenty. He did keep having liquid stools though. I wasn't sure I should run him, but he didn't look too mopey and he certainly wanted to try. We were indoors, but luckily he refuses to potty on a course, so he would run straight out of the room if he had to explode. So I ran him, I figured if he looked bad I'd just take him off the course - being AKC he only had 2 runs anyway. He ran clean, looked great, and didn't explode afterward! JWW later on he did knock one bar that was totally not my fault, so maybe that was an effect of not feeling well, who knows. I was standing perfectly still and he didn't back off and collect, which he usually does quite well. So 1 for 2 Saturday for Drifter. Kiba knocked a bar in standard, but BEAT DRIFTER'S TIME!!! She had the fastest time of anybody, moving at 4.81YPS in standard. Yay for 3 year old midget mites! I was very pleased despite the bar. In JWW I allowed her to go off course so I could correct it - she has a tendency to look out wide on shoulder turns instead of staying close to me (yes, that's an issue with all of my dogs, I'm working on it), so I didn't babysit it and sure enough, out she went. I called her back, gave her a gentle "excuse me", and then we continued on.

Sunday was a better day! Drifter had solid waste:-) Again we started with standard. I was more confident knowing my dog didn't have a stomach ache. Actually Kiba ran first, and got the lucky non-call of her life. The course had a weird straight line to a chute to a 180 back towards the opening of the chute again, with a dummy jump past the end. And the way the line was, if you didn't have an independent aframe, you had to rear cross the chute to get the jump after the 180. Kiba does not have an independent aframe. She has a fast aframe, but certainly not independent. So I rear crossed the chute. I knew I'd get a spin, no big deal. Well, I didn't get a spin. I got an outrun. I wanted her to turn right. She turned left. So I called her, figuring she'd spin back my way. No. She kept running left. Far left. Towards an off course left. I yelled "lie down!" and she stopped (love that). I called her again. By this time she was probably 40 feet away, on the other side of the chute. She came towards me, and thought I wanted the chute again. Eeek. So I said "Kiba" or "lie down" again (I forget!). She had her head and maybe a toe or two inside the chute opening and she stopped and came to me and took the jump. So. . . a head inside the chute opening should be off course. . but the judge was back behind me to judge the see-saw which was coming up soon, so he didn't have a good read on the plane of the chute opening. . . and he couldn't tell if she crossed it or not, and we were CLEAN! We wasted about 5 seconds mucking about, but were clean, somehow. She was like 5th or 6th place with that nonsense. Drifter ran very well too and I left him on the aframe and ran the proper side to the chute, so he turned right. He still took a 3-mile tour of that end of the ring (he's wide out of chutes, another issue to work on), but at least he came back to me without really eyeballing anything. He had a fast-for-him down on the table (only a second or two to go down!). Then wonder of wonders, both dogs ran clean in JWW. So I quadruple-Q'ed on Sunday!

That brings the tally to Kiba: 2 2Q's, I'll count points later. Drifter: 3 2Q's, and I do believe he already has 300pts or so. OMG Drifter is half-way to Nationals already! And he has 4 Standards towards Tryouts, and 3 JWW.

Remember how I said he was more stupid at the training field than he was at trials? Still holding true! He has been 7 for 10 in July/Aug so far. Awesome! Kiba is 5 for 9, not too bad considering she's only just gotten into B. and 4 of those 5 are 2Q's.

Edited to add: I've been informed that AKC requires an actual paw off course, not just breaking the plane like USDAA. I *thought* Kiba had a foot in the edge of the chute, but I wouldn't swear to it, so I guess she was OK after all. She was, however, certainly toeing the plane of the next obstacle so she was still very close to a refusal. Another dog who came around the chute in a similar manner incurred a refusal fault. Lucky me!