31 July 2012

End of July

Well, I've been on the computer an awful lot lately (discovered a site that allows unlimited streaming of anime ((super nerd, sorry)) for only $7 a month, legally licensed and everything!), but oddly haven't really felt like blogging. I feel as I've been in a bit of a holding pattern this summer. Trial, spend the week doing tiny little training sessions and short walks and swims in the heat, followed by another trial. This past weekend was my first teaching engagement in a while - I have more in August/September, which is good, but May to July was a bit of a drought. I had fun this past weekend - we did some International-styled sequences, and it's always fun to watch people who didn't think they could do such things actually succeed on them. Although I'm pretty sure everyone had at least a little homework as well ;)

My dogs are all doing great. Our walks have been cut down to 15min or less, in the morning, due to the humidity even at 6am. Evening walks have been on leash only, with Strafe and Kiba, as it isn't cool enough to allow them to do more than walk sedately with me. it's slightly cooler this week than it has been, but still classifiable as "warm" for sure.

This weekend is another AKC trial. Hoping to perhaps finish up Strafe's QQ's, but even if he doesn't do that, he still needs a few more scores towards Tryouts, and points for nationals. Kiba has enough points, just needs 2 more QQ's so hopefully she can at least pick up one. I pulled from a 3-day trial the first weekend in September because I'd rather put the money towards my trip to Denver, and it is looking like I shouldn't need that much AKC trialing after all, with Strafe running so consistently for me. I may attend one day of a USDAA trial instead, and try to get some of Strafe's Starter's legs out of the way. I don't care that much about titles in general, but I would like Strafe to get up into Masters fairly soon because you have to have your Masters titles to run in the Masters Challenge classes, which I would like to run when they are offered!

Ryze has continued his pattern of slow growth, and he's sitting, I think, right about 16.25" right now if he stands up all the way. He is over 7 months old and looks older than that, so I am hopeful he's just about done...  if he doesn't grow much more I am thinking that with maturity, "settling", and a proper stand behavior, he could still measure under the 16" mark for USDAA trials. If he gets much more leg though, he'll be a P16" dog for sure. My absolute cutoff remains the 16.75" mark for FCI though. he certainly doesn't LOOK like he has another .5" of growing left to do....

Also, I've given up on getting Kiba to be short enough for FCI Medium. Her legs are just too long. The shortest i can get her consistently is 17.25"...  Oh well, was just a random thought!

If she stands *JUST RIGHT* she's at 16.75" but it isn't a natural stand at ALL...

22 July 2012

My dogs = Awesome

Strafe, 3 days, 3 QQ's, which makes 5 total and 5 in a row...

Kiba QQ on Friday and Sunday, with a single Q on Saturday and 1 knocked bar in the other run. She ran MUCH BETTER this weekend, so the daily massage/stretch/laser sessions are paying off. Regardless, I will rest her tomorrow and we go to get checked by our PT on Tuesday.

18 July 2012

That's it, I'm moving to Scotland!

well, not really. But they tell me it's cool and rainy there right now. As opposed to here, which is super hot and sunny. Our ground is baking, I can't train much because it's too hard and the grass is dying. It's going to be 100F again today and the humidity is awful. It was hot enough I couldn't even walk the dogs when I got up, they would've been panting too hard too quickly. So today is a day off for everybody, I guess. Except maybe a few minutes swimming for Strafe.

Kiba's been doing pretty well since the weekend, so I'm not too worried about running her this weekend. I'm going to bring the laser with us and stretch/massage/laser her every night to make sure she's feeling good. Her range of motion in her shoulders is back to normal and her back feels good too, but nevertheless i'm continuing with "walks only" this week, just to be sure. After the trial this weekend, she goes back to Ria and we'll discuss what to do to build up her weak areas. I have a good idea of what to do, but with the trial schedule I have all summer, it's been hard to start new exercises without the risk of making her more sore initially. We are not trialing next weekend, so I can perhaps begin a few minor things with her to build her up.

The other day I started my work as scheduling assistant for my PT's at USDAA Nationals. This is difficult work but it's worth it - they get an organized work day at the event, I get to trade my work for their work on my dogs. i also like them being organized, it makes me feel better knowing my dogs (along with others) will be done on schedule every day. Not an easy task though - we already have about 65 dogs, some on the waitlist, and I will have to work out when everyone runs, compare that to when they want their dogs worked on every day (or certain days), and work out a schedule that attempts to make everyone happy. Difficult! Right now all I've done is collect names of who is attending and how many dogs they'll have. Later on I have to get into what time of day, which days, etc.

Looking ahead, Fri-Sun we have a trial indoors on nice turf (no slipping for Kiba) in A/C, although the temperatures should drop for the weekend. I like this trial, and I'm hoping for some more QQ's for both dogs. It would be nice to get our stupid AKC qualifications out of the way before we come down to the wire in the fall. Guess next year I'll do more AKC over the winter so I don't have to do a marathon in the summer...

I won't run Drifter in the heat anymore, so he's been enjoying a lazy summer of walks every morning and A/C all day!

15 July 2012

Little Kiba D

Back-on-Track coat with a layer over top to keep her muscles warm and relaxed

Little Kiba D is tired and a bit sore. I actually gave her a painkiller/NSAID tonight to help with any inflammation in her shoulder/back. In an hour or so I will work on her, stretching, massaging, the bit of mobilization I've learned, and lasering any part that is sore/tight. Then again tomorrow morning before deciding if I need to make a not-quite-emergency trip to my PT. I would like to know if she is going to be OK for the 3-day trial next weekend. 

Also, random things I hear at AKC trials:
(when walking Kiba) "Oh, is that a puppy, how old?"
(when walking Strafe) "is that an aussie with a tail? he's so pretty!"


big news first:

Strafe got TWO QQ's! This means he went 4/4 Q's over the weekend. What a good kid! At 22 months old, i couldn't ask for more.

Kiba's right shoulder was quite tight all weekend, and even clicked when i was working on it Sunday morning. She had some trouble with the footing this weekend, even though she has done well at this site in the past. i don't think I'll show her there again. Just like last weekend, she got a single Q each day. Sunday in the 2nd run she slipped, collided with my foot, then crashed a jump, so I left the course to make sure she was OK. I will be evaluating her carefully tonight and tomorrow morning to decide whether to make a trip up to see my PT or not. I wouldn't be as concerned if it weren't for having a 3-day trial starting Friday. After that she is getting some rest from agility for 10 days or so. She just hasn't been 100% since coming back to agility after her post-WAO break. Not sure why, just the old back tightness now tying into the more recent (started over the winter/spring) shoulder tightness, but they're both worse than they were back in April.


08 July 2012

Lower Camden AKC

Just a quick recap. Strafe finished his AXJ on Saturday, and picked up 2 legs in Exc B Standard to use for MACh points and towards Tryouts. Most of his other mistakes were bars -  I corrected all of them, as that does seem to have an effect on him and he will try harder not to knock them. (All I do is pause and make a fussy noise at him, then go on). And Friday morning he had a couple whacky refusal issues in JWW that should be solved with mileage and ring time.

Kiba picked up a single Q each day, with no QQ's -a goofy refusal Friday, a single bar Saturday, and then Sunday morning she lost her mind in Standard. Seriously, fell over in the tunnel, missed her weave entry (but kept on weaving despite me calling her), ran off TWO contacts in a row despite me growling at her, went off course to a table (and promptly lied down and GRINNED AT ME!), what a nutball! She hasn't done anything quite like that since... well, never! But she did run clean and win JWW not 2 hours later. So oh well, good thing I've entered a lot of AKC this summer, as Kiba and I have lost our groove since returning from Belgium, apparently!

This weekend, Strafe and Kiba achieved the same level of consistency, which 1 Q out of 2 runs each day. That says two things, to me - first that Strafe is doing pretty well considering he just turned 22 months old and is in the 26" class already, and second that Kiba is not performing up to my expectation.... so I will need to work on that. She's back in 16", but I really don't think it's a timing thing for either of us. We'll get our "smooth" back soon enough, I'm sure. She and Strafe don't really handle all that differently anymore (definitely a good thing)!

I barely got any video this weekend, and didn't bother to process the snippets I got, sorry. . .

Here's a picture:

Border collie? or wild hare??

02 July 2012

Berks Recap. Only Super-Saunic on One Day

Friday was hot. Like really super duper I feel like I'm going to die hot. And the canvas building has no insulation; it has some fans, but they don't move air all the way through the 300-foot long building. Nevertheless, I needed Q's, so I went and ran. I covered the car with my reflective silver mesh immediately on arrival each day and planted a fan right in front of each dog's crate at the same time, and I have to say, the car stayed pretty cool, comparatively. I sat in there and read a book for a bit each day, without a fan, and was pretty comfortable. The air was moving somewhat.

anyway, Friday was by far the worst day. By the the afternoon it was 98F in the building (I heard it hit 105 after I left) and we sweated just standing still. But on to the agility...

Friday Kiba put in 2 lovely fast runs for a QQ with two 1st places. She pushed her aframe a bit, but other than that I was super happy with our runs; I even chose the more aggressive handling path in JWW but we pulled it off (did lots of blind crosses this weekend and all worked well). Strafe had a NQ-NQ day, Standard was my fault, I front crossed about 2 feet about of place and over-rotated, and he wasn't properly presented with the tire so he ran right past it. Frustrating for me... Then in JWW he just rushed a bit and hit a bar.

Saturday Kiba landed ass-first on the last obstacle of Standard in the morning - it was a long line of jumps on a mild curve going on, ending with the double. Since I consider Kiba to be mildly near-sighted with some minor signs of ETS, this was not a great situation for her, and I stupidly didn't say anything to ask her to add a stride before the double, and she "skittered", took off way too early, and basically sat on the bars. Poor little girlie :( She did run clean in JWW in the afternoon but was definitely a bit cautious, not putting in the blazing time she did the previous day. Strafe had a complete repeat of Friday - he hit 1 bar in JWW, rushing a bit again, and a refusal in Standard, although this time I was not out of place; I turned in early for a front cross and put my outside arm out to the side to indicate the jump, and he got so focused on my shoulders turning in that he didn't notice my "jump" cue with my arm, and he missed the jump and came straight to me.

Sunday Strafe ran first in both runs, and he finally had results that reflected his ability, with a Q in both runs. His JWW run wasn't super pretty, although he was still easily above 6YPS even with a late landing side rear cross from me, and that was his 2nd JWW Q in Exc A. Then he ran clean with a nice easy run in Standard for his AX title. Kiba, on the other hand, hit 2 bars in JWW and just looked ever so slightly "off" to me, so I scratched her from Standard and took her over to the PT type person who was there, whom I've used before with good results (but isn't my "regular"). He found a few minor tweaked bits in her lower back that were consistent with landing on the double the previous day, we straightened her out, and she looked better. Went home happy but also a little sad that Kiba's back has been acting up so much lately.

Now, keep in mind, the ordinary person would not even notice what is happening with Kiba's back - it is VERY minor, but it is persistent, and *I* can see it - I am a very detail oriented person and I watch my dogs like hawks! So this week I will spend another 45min to an hour a day, at least two days, going over her with my own hands to see how she feels. She seems fine today, doesn't look off, and certainly feels very playful and energetic, not like a dog who is sore in any way. . . She's never had a major injury, but nevertheless I don't regard her as a "sturdy" dog, and there is a bit of a history of spinal problems in her close family.

I didn't get any video of Kiba, but here are 3 of Strafe's runs. Of course once again I didn't get the Q's!