16 March 2011

The other day I spent a couple hours mowing our old riding ring, and DJ helped me set up the dogwalk we just got back from refurbishing (it still had 10" planks! and now it's rubber). There's only a few jumps so far, but it looks like an agility field! Hurray! And it is flat and fenced so this is where classes will be till we begin work on the indoor, at which point I assume the entire field will be too messy for classes so we will have to move back to a less level spot by the house.

It's been nice to actually train my dogs several times in the past few weeks. Seri's dogwalk is still a bit inconsistent - she gets a little too enthusiastic and basically leaps from the middle of the top ramp to the middle of the bottom ramp, at which point she does not have enough room for another stride and just leaves. So we've been working on her understanding the need to control herself and not take a flying kamikaze leap, and just relax and run, and when she does that properly and puts a whole (2-hit) stride on the down ramp, she is very deep in the yellow. Even Drifter's been needing some fine tuning on it, as I haven't specifically *trained* the dogwalk with him in probably 6+ months, so all I did with him was work to re-extend him - too many tough courses and he begins to let up a bit. Some strategic sprinting and toy placement got great results every time and I'm not too worried about it. I also did some work slightly altering Kiba's behavior (she doesn't run, she "moves").

I've also been driving, a LOT, and the van's brakes starting making horrible grinding noises so i took it to the garage, and BAM it needed $1500 of work (brakes, rotors, fluids, wipers, lights, and tires all around). Oh well. Had to be done. Got my inspection certificate for Maryland so I can get it registered in the new state soon. Now it drives quite nicely again.

Strafe is doing very well but I haven't specifically been training him much lately. He gets to go for 15-20min walks around the property every day that I go (not too wet). And he's growing. I am not sure he's much taller than the 19" I last gave, but he's gotten longer lately for sure, and his hair is growing. He has a manly ruff around his neck now.

This weekend we have a USDAA trial, and it's only 2 weeks till I leave for AKC Nationals. i feel underprepared as far as conditioning goes, but my dogs are running pretty well other than that. Luckily AKC Nationals is not the marathon that USDAA is - I am not running in the match on Thursday, so my dogs have 2 runs each Fri and Sat, and between 1 and 3 runs on Sunday. Not too bad of a load; I think they will do fine. They are not fat and flabby, they are lean, a good weight, and they feel pretty good overall. Kiba's back is much looser since we moved and she stopped staring at the "mysterious ceiling noises".

Most of my travel plans for the WAO are set now. I don't really feel as excited about it as i did for IFCS - maybe because it's all familiar now? I am sure it will be exciting when I get there and run. And I'm looking forward to the competition for sure. As usual, I think the hassle of getting the dog into the UK sort of overcomes the excitement of competing until we land and get the dog cleared. At which point the "ohmygosh I'm in ENGLAND for DOG AGILITY" feeling finally kicks in.

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