29 July 2011


After long years of agility and not a few times of "fishing" for them, I actually have a sponsor now! Sea Pet, through the recommendation of a student/friend of mine, will be sponsoring me and i will be appearing on some of their ads! So look for Drifter (or Kiba or Seri) in a Sea Pet ad in your favorite dog sport magazine, and please head over to their site and buy some stuff! Their products are very high quality and my dogs love them! The joint supplement is a nice powder that is easy to sprinkle into food, so no splitting giant pills or anything, and everything's all natural. Their fish oil isn't stinky either! Check them out by clicking the image!

They're actually a perfect sponsor for me, since I've never been a fan of supplements with 67 ingredients and half of them are strange 16-syllable words straight out of chemistry class. I use supplements as needed, and I use a joint supplement on my adults because they are all either older or tend to get sore, but now that I feed "incomplete" ground raw foods, I try to add in things like Kelp, oils, and sometimes vitamins like E or B, or a natural catch-all supplement with lots of ingredients like bee pollen, alfalfa, kelp, etc etc. But I like to rotate through, and since they don't get much salt, the Kelp helps provide the iodine they need.

I stay away from things like Pet Tabs, which have often been found to contain either less of what the dog should have, or more of things the dog shouldn't have (contaminants, IOW).

And I usually balance it all out by giving them a high quality kibble once or twice a week, and sometimes for 5 days at a time. My dogs look awesome:)

28 July 2011

Structure and the Performance Dog

I'll make this brief, so I don't accidentally turn it into a lecture. Structure is something I tend to see first when I look at a dog, so if I'm next to you at a trial and I comment on a dog's body, try not to think ill of me; it's a habit. Structure is ONE of the traits that can make or break a performance dog. A dog with a great mind and horrible structure may get far for a while in a sport like agility, but eventually they will be either limited in speed or ability, or limited by injury. But I also feel strongly that a dog with mediocre structure and a great mind can do amazing things, as long as they are healthy. I feel that horrible structure should not be bred no matter what, but a dog with some minor flaws but a great mind could potentially be bred, as long as they are healthy (and the family is healthy of course). That said, I do take structure into account when choosing a puppy. I want a dog within certain limits of anges front/rear, and there are a few structural flaws I absolutely will not accept because they limit the dog's athletic ability and sometimes make it prone to injury. i want moderate angulation in the rear, and hopefully matched by the same in the front, however many border collies are straighter in the front than they are in the rear, and this is not the worst flaw on earth. i would prefer a dog not be too overmatched because that CAN cause issues in dogs rushing to jumps, their rear overpowering their front, and not having the front end available to flex at the last minute and save the bar.

Structure limits the dog, or enables the dog. I could go on about how each fault affects the dog's motion, but that would be a heck of a long post, and I'll stuff it for now. Maybe I'll prepare a seminar on it some time. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that if your dog is not in pain, or caused pain, by doing what you're doing, there's absolutely no harm in it. I do hate when evaluators tell owners "your dog is put together so badly you shouldn't do agility!". If the dog isn't hurting, and it's willing, who are they to say no?

Structural talk aside, here's a lovely example of a young dog. I like how his rear is nicely angled, but without having that overangulated look that some BC's have. His butt is hairy, so keep that in mind when looking at the angles. His shoulder is quite nice for a BC, and much better laid back than many. Nice neck, nice topline. Only thing he does wrong right now is that he toes out a bit - but he is not even 11 months old right now, and I am absolutely sure he is not done filling out yet, so that will resolve. And if it doesn't, that is hardly a major fault!

Here's Mr. Gorgeous!
All Zet Air Attack Strafe at 10 months, 3 weeks old. 

25 July 2011

Weave entries. A study in opposites.

Not all border collies are the same. in fact, they are probably one of the most widely varying breeds out there, due to the nature of what they are bred for, and how they were created. Some border collies (many of them) have what I like to call a "space bubble". This is like personal space, and they would prefer you not get closer than necessary while running a course. Of course, we must train them to overcome this tendency for some situations, but these dogs will always be more comfortable in situations where they are asked to move away from you than they are in situations where they must choose to work close. Drifter prefers I push him away - it took me a while to get him to allow me in close, and even then it is usually a brief thing - I can of course do push-through's or tight front crosses or serpentines now, but when he was younger he would either hit the bar as he struggled to stay as far as possible while being very close (his bubble was bouncing off mine!) or just pretend he didnt' see me asking him to come in and sort of slide away. Now he is perfectly good, with only ONE exception - weave entries. Drifter has extremely good weave entries in every situation but one. Here is an illustration!

This entry asks Drifter to move away from me while following the line set by my body. He's VERY GOOD at this, and I can send him from much more extreme angles than the 90 degrees shown in this picture:

Drifter is more than happy to move off the pressure of my body and enter his weaves correctly. He has a great understanding of how to find the correct entry and wrap the pole without coming out. I do not have to babysit this entry.

Same entry, with me on the other side, is a nightmare of argument. I say "come to me", he counters with "why the hell should I when I know the poles are next?". he doesn't understand that he must come towards me to get the poles, and this is the only entry he will miss. In fact, he did, at IFCS last year when I chose the hard weave entry over a bar-knocking risk (parallel double jump with NO lower bars at 26").

This is one of 2 sticking points in Drifter's training that i was never able to properly resolve. He just loves weaves, and dislikes coming towards me, so much so that this was just an argument every time. if we had this weave entry, I just went on the inside and pushed out and he was fine. He is almost 9 now, not going overseas again, and now I just don't care to worry about it anymore. (the 2nd unresolvable issue? chutes as the beginning obstacle of a course, but his lead-out is so bad now that it doesn't really matter!)

Now, the study in opposites: Kiba! When Kiba was young and I trained her weaves and entries, she was VERY soft, and was so afraid to be wrong that if she erred twice in a row she shut down completely and had to be coaxed back into working. Thus, I had a very hard time training difficult weave entries with her. Right now her entries are "good", and in most situations if I can show her the entry from somewhere nearby and use my motion to indicate it, she will get it just fine. She understands how to slow down, and how to wrap the 2nd pole at speed, and not pop out. She's pretty good at 90+ degree angles on the "off-side" (the direction not shown in the diagrams) where she can sight on the first pole and go round it. But the "on-side" or "soft-side" as shown is baffling to her. Kiba, however, does not have a giant space bubble like Drifter. She does understand not to cross the line of my path and cut in front of me, but she has much less resistance to coming into  me during a run. Thus, Kiba's right angle soft-side weave entries are best like this:

Which is interesting to me, and just illustrates how different individual dogs can be! I am NOT used to handling difficult sequences that way. Before I considered taking her to the WAO next year, I just assumed her entries were good enough for american agility and left it at that. But Kiba is not a wilting flower in training anymore. And I am thinking about trying to make a team that goes to an event that has weave entries like this! So we need to feel each other out. i will need to learn to "prefer" that handling. In the meantime, I am trying to train the other way, because you can't always be where you want to be on a course, and being on the inside does put you farther ahead.

Kiba's response to Drifter's preferred handling:

In other news, I just heard that Sweden does NOT require a titre to enter the country beginning in January, so if Kiba does not make the WAO Team and i have enough money to afford it, I will take Strafe to the EO. That will be exciting! Many of his relatives have matured and done well quite early, and he seems to be strongly heading the same way, so I think it will be a lot of fun to go show him there and his breeder could see him again too! Downside is that the EO Team is almost 100% self-funded and basically any good handler with the money can go, whereas the WAO Team has multiple sponsors that help reimburse travel costs, and it's a much more exclusive, smaller, more Team-like group of handlers. Each has its own merits and I wouldn't be sad to attend either one but I absolutely know I can't afford both (WAO does not have enough sponsors to cover our entire costs!).

24 July 2011

BHAD and Seri

This past week was brutally hot. I had to cancel class due to the heat index being over 100. Friday and Saturday at the BHAD Trial it was actually over 100F with the heat index reaching the 120's several times. Luckily it is an indoor trial in the air conditioning!

I had Drifter and Seri entered at the trial. Drifter was pretty good, no handling mistakes, no contact or table faults, his only faults were a single bar in Jumpers on Friday and Sunday, so he finished up 4 Q's out of 6, with a QQ on Saturday. He now needs 8 more to reach MACH2 and his retirement from AKC. i did notice this weekend that he is having a harder time recovering from getting hot. I've been seeing this recently, and it's probably due to his age and the heart murmur. His blood pressure was still normal as of last fall and his heart works well, but he needs to be walked longer than he used to need in order to cool off properly. I don't think I'll show him in hot weather anymore.

Seri. Well last Monday when Ria was here, we talked about her shoulder, and she was out a little bit here and there but nothing too terrible. Going into the trial I wasn't too concerned. But after the 2 runs on Friday, she wasn't able to make her weave entries anymore, and started looking stiff coming out of her crate. By Sunday I scratched her from her last run (she was 0 for 5 anyway), and got a nice chiropractor to check on her. She said her pelvis was off, her sacrum was out, her scapula was tight but the shoulder was not actually out, and her neck was out. Also, her hock and "good" wrist both cracked ("self-adjusted") when flexed. Her left wrist (the bad one) is now undergoing some sort of bony changes, and Ria and I are keeping an eye on it, but right now it doesn't hurt her running but does not flex well - causes some pain if you bend it past a certain point.

So her recent trial history... USDAA Regional in June - shoulder stayed in, but wrist needed 5 days to recover. Upper back became locked up between runs at one point.
July - 1st weekend of AKC, hit some bars and I believe her shoulder was out. During the week afterward, it popped loudly and then regained full range of motion. The next weekend at AKC she only hit 1 bar all weekend and actually Q'ed on Sunday.
now this past weekend, all kinds of issues again. She has started throwing her pelvis out this spring, perhaps as she begins to compensate for the front end soreness in shoulder and wrist?

My new plan is to withdraw from the trial I had planned for her in August and spend 3 entire months with no agility, just doing strengthening exercises for core, shoulder, and pelvis. Lots of swimming and walking and Bosu ball and fitness discs and some baby collection jump grids. During this time I will monitor her and see how her body does. if she begins to stop throwing things out, and her shoulder seems strong, I will reintroduce her to agility. I don't think the jump heights of 20/22" will do any harm, I think it's more the weaves and aframe and just her overall manner of running.

If 3 months of strengthening/conditioning isn't able to get her muscles to the point of being able to hold her into place, she will retire from agility until such a time as I believe her body will hold up. If she never reaches that point, she simply won't compete in agility. Even when her shoulder is out, she does not seem to be in pain, so I am not prepared to spend thousands of dollars and months of rehab to get her to do agility again.

I am more and more glad I got Strafe when I did, even though I felt the litter was a little early for me. First Drifter's heart murmur and crooked toes, now Seri just not holding up!

In other news, Kiba didn't look bad after a few weeks practicing at 20" - tight mid-back, but so were most of my dogs, so I think that was from the addition of swimming to their fitness routine.

My leggy, fragile beast.

20 July 2011

Various Stuff

The heat is beastly this week. Index ("feels like") near 100 or over 100 every darned day till next week. I had to cancel class today to avoid human/dog heat exhaustion.

It was great to have Ria here to work on dogs all day Monday. So happy to have her do the annoying boring drive from northern NJ to here, instead of us going to see her, and she is picking up new customers as well. My dogs were all a little sore in the same spot in their backs, most likely from the added swimming. Contrary to popular opinion, swimming is actually rather difficult exercise. It does not "loosen up" your dog - it is actually resistance exercise. I think a lot of people confuse "no impact" with "easy", which just isn't right. Swimming is great exercise because it's easy on the joints, and it builds muscle. But you have to ease into it and limit the amount. I started at about 10min a day, and we're working up to 20min a day, 5x a week (3x for Strafe who still has puppy/adolescent muscles). Right now we're at about 15-16 minutes. We've also stepped up the Bosu/fitness ball work a little bit. The dogs are doing great.

I've put Kiba back on doxycycline for 8 weeks. i can't tell if it's helping her heat intolerance, but she certainly seems to be feeling good, rolling around and playing, so it can't be hurting. It's been a year since she was on it last for her Lyme. What an awful disease. If you live where it isn't prevalent, be HAPPY!!

This weekend we have an AKC trial, which is thankfully in an air-conditioned indoor soccer arena. it won't be COOL in the building, but it will be significantly cooler than the outside temperatures of 100F/38C or so. I didn't enter Kiba in this trial because originally I was thinking she would take the whole summer off because she wouldn't be attending Nationals for AKC, however now that I've got a plan, she'll be running more in the late summer/early fall. But anyway, she is staying home this weekend and I'm showing Drifter and Seri both at 20" again. Drifter is just chipping away at MACH2 (9 more QQ's to go) and Seri is just trying for QQ #1, still. Seri gets a lot of borderline training in the ring because it's necessary to keep her brain between her ears, and not exploding out all over the course. However, IF Seri does qualify for Reno, I will take her if I can work it out logistically (hard to find flights that take dogs in cargo to Reno area from DC area).

Saturday I got my new custom leashes from Rush to Tug for the girls. They are great! Gorgeous, well braided, and Kiba really likes hers;)

15 July 2011

Nothing deep today.

Nothing deep at all. Yesterday and today were much better weather-wise, a little cooler and lower humidity.

I am now Level 22 in Grand Turismo 5. Thought you'd all enjoy that. Sounds strange, but the original Gran Turismo back in 2000-ish is the reason I learned some racing theory and began to apply it to agility. Still trying... but it gives you a different perspective on cornering and when to accelerate. And it got me started in seeing "lines" rather than obstacles, which is how I really see things now. I don't think "jump, jump, front cross, jump" - or well, it's not my whole focus. I think "how do I create THIS line with acceleration from the dog HERE" and the obstacles just fall in line. . .

Ok, well, that's a little deep, but not deep like philosophical deep. Like my overlapping realities theory. (Everyone perceives the world differently, and everyone's set of "facts" is different. I think we end up choosing our friends oftentimes by whose realities most closely align with our own since that makes conversation so much easier and results in fewer arguments and more empathy).

Anyhow, I'm running out of pictures on my laptop to post, so I dug into my old photobucket account that has pics from before my old laptop crashed 18 months ago. Here's my very first agility dog, flying through the tire. She was a flat-coated retriever, got her ADCH title, made Grand Prix Finals twice, and made Top Ten several years when they first created it. ADCH Windfall's Daydream, (1992-2001)

13 July 2011

Actually have a weekend home this weekend. I cancelled class last night (foundation - older puppies) because the heat index was supposed to be over 100F. Today it's hot again, but cloudy, breezey, and less humidity, so we are having classes as usual.

Seri's shoulder and wrist held up well this past weekend, and don't seem to be unusually sore or stiff this week. The stiffness at the end of the range of motion in her shoulder seems to have resolved after it made a loud "crack" sound on stretching one night last week (made me wince, for sure!). So it must have been "out" again. . . seems to be staying in now. Unlike most issues with my dogs, I can't SEE when her shoulder is out. She has a bit of a hackneyed, knees-pulled-up sort of style of moving, and her running style also doesn't change, so the only clues I have are restricted range of motion, and sometimes increased bar knocking or weave entries missed.

Strafe can run the full dogwalk now. I am slowly allowing him to add a bit more speed to it, as that will vary his stride and he will have to learn to adapt to that. I am not allowing him to come at it too madly fast, or from any angles yet, as he is much too young to have a catastrophic fall. He is learning a low see-saw as well, and starting to do some jumping puzzle exercises at 12" (I set up a short jumping exercise that requires him to do something new with his body to clear the jumps, such as a tight 180, or extension into collection). He absolutely LOVES the pool, but my PT says he is too young to swim every day so we are limiting to every other day for now (3 times a week). He is LEAPING in, then he just grabs a toy and toodles around watching the other dogs fetch back and forth. Very funny.

Now that the dogs are used to the pool, I am starting to increase the time they spend in it, and have re-introduced the wrist weights and Bosu ball exercises.

It's now been 9 months since I left my "real" job. I find that money is definitely not easy to come by. I am not a "big name" in the sense of being in demand for seminars every weekend of the year. I don't get invited to camps, and I'm not part of the popular "clique" out there. But I'm getting by. My income tends to come in waves - I'll start a class session, give a seminar, and feel secure for a while, then I'll have a dry spell and feel insecure about it for a while. . . but I'm surviving. And I have enough seminars and such scheduled for the rest of 2011 that i should get by just fine. It boggles my mind though, that some instructors can make so much money that they enter multiple dogs, in every class, in USDAA or AKC trials almost every weekend that they aren't teaching. I can't (and wouldn't) do that. I enter dogs who are trying to qualify for something, and they always get breaks. And I take breaks too. It's better that way. This weekend we'll hike in the morning, do some training, but mostly just relax. Chat with a friend. Read a book. Watch some anime. Perhaps play a video game. Vacuum. Stuff like that.

Against my better judgement (or not?) I am considering taking Kiba to the UKI US Open in November. Contingent on being able to enter without attending a Masters Series local qualifier (we didn't have any), and also contingent on them allowing the WAO competitors to jump 20", which will be closer to the WAO height of 20.6" than the 22" height will be. I am not sure what I'd do if they say it is 22" only. Kiba does fairly well at 20", but only "OK" at 22". I need to keep working her at the higher height to see. i may also run her through another course of doxy. She's been getting hot faster than she should be, and while she cools off easily (not heat exhaustion or collapse type hot, just regular hot), I am wondering if it is Lyme related.

Obligatory picture so my blog isn't too "dry":
Kiba even gets hot swimming in the pool - I don't know if it's a physical thing, or because she really, really WANTS the toy?

11 July 2011

Lower Camden wrap up

This past weekend was a "local" (90-minute drive) AKC trial, indoors in A/C. I do love me some climate control - it doesn't stay "cold" in there, but it stays a good deal cooler than outside, certainly, and I'll take that over outdoor summer heat any day. This site has an interesting footing - it is a newer variety of indoor soccer turf, and it is well padded for impact, but it does not have any of the rubber granule "infill" that the best footings have. It is not "slippery" per se, but it does not have the great grip of a turf with infill, so some of the dogs do have problems if they try to push off without getting their footing first. Drifter and Kiba generally have no problems with it, but I decided to go ahead and run Seri here, since she was at 20". I was afraid to run her there last year after the wrist injury, but I think she did OK, with only minor slips here and there.

Saturday Drifter ran clean in both runs for a QQ. Annoyingly, another competitor with a good dog was there, and he ALSO ran clean in both runs, and I wasn't pushing, and she was, and so Drifter got 2nd place. Oh well, whatever. Actually, Drifter ran lovely clean runs all 4 runs this weekend, so picked up 2 more QQ's towards his MACH2, and he didn't win a single class. I think this might be a new experience for us, a whole weekend of Q's and not a single 1st place. We certainly don't need points. And I don't usually expect to win in JWW...but usually we pull it off in Standard. Then again, me holding him on every see-saw and table (I do NOT want him anticipating the "go") for probably a full second might have something to do with it. Also, the competitor who beat me in Std both days didn't really hold her dog on the dogwalk - just sayin'! Anyways, I am still very happy with him - he is not running at all like a dog who is almost 9, with crooked feet and a heart murmur. I did see the strange dogwalk-skip-to-hit-the-yellow behavior make an appearance on Saturday. This is one of the reasons I'm planning an "early" retirement for him. he stands crooked on his front feet now (seems to be painless though), and at about the time this has become obvious, he has also started changing his dogwalk downramp behavior, which hasnt' changed in years and years. I think his balance has shifted somewhat as he's gotten older and stiffer and possibly-arthritic toes. Anyway, he put in the effort to hit the yellow on Saturday by throwing some feet down and on Sunday his dogwalk was the perfectly normal 5-stride version. He's also now qualified for AKC Nationals 2012, should I decide to take him (unlikely unless I decide Kiba can't go - for logistical reasons i won't take both of them).

Seri, well, we are still working on her mental problems. What people never get to see is that Seri has a LOT of skills on courses - at home. At trials, she turns into the whirling dervish of reactivity, and often takes any arm movement to mean "turn away from me and choose a random obstacle". So we corrected that a few times over the first few runs. I also started adding the groundwork exercise called "if I say 'out' and step laterally into you, that most certainly does NOT mean you are to flip and turn away from me!" to our warm-up routine. She only hit one bar all weekend, and that was when she took an off course jump and realized right before takeoff that she wasn't going the right way. And all the hard work paid off when she finally ran clean in Exc JWW on Sunday, the last class of the weekend, and she even beat Drifter's time by .2 of a second. Still didnt' win (it's a very competitive area, you have to realize!), but I was so happy that she stayed tuned in for the whole run and didn't do anything goofy. She is a very capable dog, when she keeps it together!

07 July 2011

Getting into the pool

 A quick study on how my 4 dogs get into the pool. First up, Drifter showing his, uh, "boat launch style". Basically he walks down the stairs until he achieves buoyancy, then floats away. He loves the water, but in a totally unspectacular, non-dock-diving sort of way.

Kiba always jumps in, but apparently sometimes she has a weird dangling front leg style. . . she's the only dog who regularly takes a quick breathing break on the stairs without being told to.

Seri. Well, she does everything in a fun and exciting way. Seri also loves jumping in, but she's in such a hurry to go forward, that she usually just sort of ends up nose-diving in.

And Strafe. Impressively, only a few days after learning to swim, he is leaping in like a champ. I caught this neat shot and love it!

Please note I was just using a regular point and shoot digital camera (Nikon?? I don't even know), and I set the shutter to be very fast, so they are a bit grainy, but I still think it's neat! Full set of shots from today (Strafe is 10 months old today!) is on my facebook page (you'll have to Friend me first!)

05 July 2011

83% of a year old already. . .

yes, Strafe will be 10 months old very very soon (like Thursday). He hasn't done a lot of training on equipment lately, but he did get to go on an 8-day road trip with me, and handled it wonderfully. Got to experience a long boring day in the car, followed by hanging out with a large pack of mostly-border collies and ignoring the local redneck fireworks displays. He got on his first sanded, non-rubberized plank on a table for a few minutes, and walked around the trial. He is in a stage of development where he does notice things that are "out of place". Which could be anything, but is usually something with a silhouette that stands out. For example, the first day of the trial (indoor soccer building), he saw a very large fan, by itself in a clear area of the floor. Thought that was weird. His usual reaction to "weird" things is to give them the eyeball, and as I talk to him he slowly but steadily walks forward towards them, although when he gets close he initially does the thing where he's putting his nose forward, but leaning his butt backwards, so he's about 10" tall when he first touches and smells it, but without fail, he does go forward and investigate the "scary" object, and once he has done so, he is completely and totally finished with being scared of it. At the trial, he encountered 3 "scary" things over the weekend, and once he smelled each, he totally ignored it and was fine walking up to and by it for the rest of the time. So I'm pretty pleased with that. No goofy barking or running away behaviors, and he doesn't re-spook at the same thing over and over - he remembers that it's "nothing" once he's seen it. He still loves all people he meets, and he's very good at getting them to hug him. He's also still very appropriate with new dogs - he doesn't jump on their heads like some adolescent pups do, he always greets kindly, and if they grumble at him he will grovel on the ground, but not in that totally obnoxious way some pups have either. Most dogs come to like him just fine. And if they don't, he is perfectly happy to back off and leave them alone - he doesn't push it.

Even though he's been done teething for a long time, his ears are still not 100% set. Sometimes they flop forward like this, sometimes they go more sideways, "airplane" type, and sometimes one will stand almost all the way up with just the tip forward. Here's a wet Strafe, after his first swim without DJ playing lifeguard for him (he picked up swimming VERY quickly and loves it!)

Staring at his buddy Kiba, not exactly perfectly stacked but you can see his legs are looking longer. I think he's about 20.5" right now, and his butt might still be a little high so he may yet fill out closer to 21" after all.

And this is what happens if I stand still in the yard with them. "POOL????" they are asking. . .
(I actually don't let them out that gate for the pool, because I don't want them getting too anxious about it when I'm not there - we always go out the farther away gate, by the front door to our house)

04 July 2011

Been a long week!

Last Sunday I drove out to my friend's house in MI. It was a long ride, since Western PA and OH are not really that interesting to drive through (green, but the highways don't have the best scenery), but it was fun to be at her house. Monday I taught I few private lessons, and then Tuesday/Wed I taught full day seminars. It was originally going to be a camp, 3 days long and with 2 instructors, but I think that people are being thrifty with their money, and unfortunately not only did the 2nd instructor get cut from the camp (which hopefully did not hurt the relationship between that instructor and my friend, who is also her friend as well!), but it really wasn't a camp at all, but was 2 full-day seminars on 2 different topics, that we ended up holding in my friend's yard. it all worked out fine, since her yard is flat and has good footing, and the local dirt road is not too busy. I liked the group of people a lot; they were very friendly and asked good questions. I really like a group that asks questions, since I understand that I am sometimes a bit scatterbrained and may forget to say something or explain something fully enough. It's also an essential component to comprehension for the group - since I don't know exactly where their knowledge level is, or whether they've had a certain concept presented in a certain way before. i did some work with rear crosses with some individuals in private lessons, and then got everyone to try a high-speed blind cross in a sequence, which was informative for all of them.

Thursday was a bit of a relaxing day (as much as can be when you aren't really sitting still), since it was originally planned to be a 3rd day of teaching, I wasn't heading back east till Friday. So we walked around Ann Arbor, and got to go boating, an activity which Seri likes VERY MUCH. Friday was the boring drive back to east-central PA to an AKC trial where I ran Seri on Saturday and Sunday. She didn't manage any Q's in Excellent, but she looked pretty good at 20", and ran a good 4 runs in a row without knocking any bars. She stopped on both her dogwalks, hit all 4 aframes, and got 2 Novice FAST legs (she's never run it before).

Another happy discovery was that if I administer Xanax at least an hour before leaving, in a strong enough (but still within prescription strength) dosage, then Kiba actually CAN and WILL sleep in the car. She did so much better and I'm very excited that she can go on somewhat longer trips and not arrive dehydrated and tense. i still would'nt take her on any 3 or 4 day drives, but I think perhaps KY and Tulsa will be much easier for her than they were previously. It also bodes well for my plan to get her to Reno and possibly Belgium.

We have a pool set up at home now, one of those 10ft x 20ft ones, and the dogs love it. Even Strafe has learned to swim very quickly and having a great time. i will try to get a few quick videos of Strafe swimming soon.