I've been busy this past week. Last Wed I flew down to Austin TX and taught seminars and privates for 4 and 1/2 days. Got totally lucky with the weather and while it was chilly in the morning and sunny in the afternoon, and one day it was windy, it was generally really great outdoor agility weather. It was fun but tiring to teach that many days in a row - I've never done it before but I found that I handled it pretty well. I wasn't flat out exhausted at the end of the last day, although it was nice to fly home on a direct flight... the dogs were happy to see me when I got back Monday night.
He is officially running like a grown-up. He's going to be 14 months old in just a few days, and he can now run full courses at 20", including all the obstacles. His dogwalk looks pretty good. He mis-strides it every now and then but it's not common. I haven't worked turns yet since I wanted to get some consistency first. His frame looks great. His see-saw is also solid - again some inconsistency in that sometimes he drives right up to the end of the board, and then sometimes he stops a little early, but I'm Ok with that. He will even out as he gets more sequences with it. His weaves are not perfectly reliable, he will pop out if I get too exciting or too far away, but he's only been doing them about 2 weeks without a lot of practice so I'm sure he'll get better in time.
Ria Acciani was at our house working on dogs Tues/Wed (busy, like I said), and I am extremely optimistic about Seri's future as an agility dog. A few weeks ago I began running courses in training, including all 3 contacts, at speed. And she still looks good. Her shoulder is looking fabulous and holding up well, and her wrist is doing OK - it will always be something I have to watch, there is no 100% healing that will magically happen there, and she will probably have arthritis in it when she's old, but that's OK. She is functionally sound and it only bothers her on extreme flexion. My tentative plan is to keep working at home in training, and then try running a few classes in USDAA in January and see how she does.
As he's gotten older he's gotten hungrier. Now with the addition of being neutered almost 2 months ago, he is now getting fat for the first time in his entire life. He looks great though, he held up really well over the long USDAA week in KY.
Some great pictures of her from USDAA, she has a very photogenic expression, but it is quite clear that she realy does take off early for jumps. This is part of the reason I've put her in P16" rather than making her jump 4+" over her shoulder at 22" in USDAA. She has a lot of ground speed, but doesn't carry a lot of speed over jumps at a high height. At the lower height she is more capable of it. I ran her at 20" in practice again, and she did just fine, so I am not ruling out WAO, she would just need a good deal of jumping practice at that height.
speaking of it.... WAO
Drifter ran so bloody well at USDAA that I had a mini-crisis about not putting his name in for consideration for the WAO Team for this coming year. He is clearly still competitive, and his body is holding up really well for a 9-year old dog. However, he did have one day where his feet were clearly painful, and he was limping quite badly on Friday evening. His toes and feet have slowly become more of an issue, as I remember his toes all being sore after practice day at WAO this past spring as well - I soaked him in a few inches of cold water in the tub at the hotel to help, and after that day he seemed fine. But, clearly, his feet hurt sometimes. This will not get better - he is getting old and having old dog problems now. Ria says he would probably be absolutely fine to compete, however we might need to bring painkillers in case his feet begin to hurt. My general thoughts on WAO are - I would love to go! I have 2 dogs to put up for consideration. Kiba has the advantage of being easier to handle, she stays on the start line, she doesn't have full running contacts so she's a little easier there - I don't have to run like a maniac just to get a turn off the dogwalk. She stays on the see-saw. She eats when travelling! (though Drifter might now, who knows!?) But the big thing is - Kiba, when fit, holds up quite well over a longer competition. She has no major physical issues, no past injuries to watch, she doesn't get sore feet. Usually her back gets a little tight, but with Ria there to help out, she will be good to go. I would have no qualms about running her in 2 or 3 classes a day, for 3 days in a row. Kiba doesn't "argue" with me. I would love, for example, to run her in Individual Pentathlon, Biathlon, AND a Team class or two. But Drifter would not be in that many classes - I would have concerns about his feet getting sore. I also worry that his sore feet will affect his running contacts. That he will fly off the see-saw. That he will get hot and have trouble cooling off (a side effect of his heart murmur, and the reason he won't go to Denver CO). In other words, Drifter COULD go to WAO, but I will be more stressed running him. My only concern about running Kiba is that she doesn' hit bars. . .
I'm busy busy busy again for November. This weekend I am home, thankfully, but after this I'm teaching 2 weekends in a row, trialing, then teaching again 2 weekends in December. And hopefully a trial that will be Strafe's debut! I am excited about that!
AKC Nationals - Drifter and Kiba are both qualified, but I am still adamant that Drifter is not going. Too much travel. If he is still running great next year maybe I'll bring him to Tulsa. We'll see. It does look like I will be running Kiba AND my mom's Trig, possibly at 26", and possibly also take her to Tryouts in May! I am happy to do that, it will be fun to go, even with a dog that isn't really mine. Trig is a nice solid little dog, and jumps 26" pretty easily (she's 20.25" or so tall). Plus it'll be fun to go with Drifter's daughter. Back to Nationals though - the other Nationals, USDAA, has changed their date. They moved it earlier, to the end of September. That should help with fears of snow and hopefully even frost. It does nothing to alleviate the issue of BSL though. And then apparently that Sept 26th is part of Yom Kippur, an apparently very important Jewish holiday. I don't really celebrate any holiday, I think they are kind of silly and I'm not religious, but I can see how it's kind of insensitive to do that. I'm pretty sure they wouldnt' have picked Easter for this event...
There was something else I was going to post, but I forgot. I should add that I keep up this blog in a journal type format because it helps me track my own thoughts, as well as share them with the creepy public world. So stalk away, just don't be too creepy if you see me at a trial ;) I don't want this to become a commercial, instructional, pay-to-play type thing. I am a person, I have thoughts, and if they aren't too offensive, I'll continue sharing them here...