Controlled Chaos

Gah. That’s my excuse for being a bad blogger. A week of controlled chaos. Silly stupid I-have-to-pay-attention-to-my-life things have socked me up this week. And it’s going to continue for the next few weeks it seems.

Until we make our escape out to the desert in Joshua Tree where we can unplug for a bit. Actually, sadly, last night I was thinking how many of my little “projects” I could catch up on while out on “vacation”, but no, not allowed! Maybe some dog blogging and dog training and reading books about those types of things but that’s about it. That’s allowed because it falls in the “fun” category. Finishing the recipe book I promised my family last Christmas = Not Fun.

_ The Mustang Cabin is where we are heading in a few weeks. Dog friendly and remote. Sweet. _

We made it to class last night. Forest was good, but sniffy. One thing I dont like about the place we’ve been training for the last month-ish is that she lets dogs “go” in the yard. Thats all fine as I dont get yelled at when Forest marks on something, but not when we’re trying to run a course and he stops and sniffs. If it was my yard, I’d not be so lax (but I have also been referred to as uptight). So… working on the focus and not-sniffing. I tell myself that at trials there doesnt tend to be dog pee and treats scattered throughout the course–usually–so hopefully we’ll be okay.

We also did Rattlesnake Aversion Training last weekend. It was traumatic for everyone. I will probably post about it in more detail at some point, but not now. I am still trying to wrap my head around it.

I have to work all day tomorrow (Saturday)—boo. Then we are heading up to north LA for some Fun Running and Lure Coursing. The trial the following weekend is in the same place so I thought it’d be a good chance to warm up in that environment. Though I am a little wary of getting him too hopped up in Lure Coursing so that when we go next weekend he is thinking about that? I am seriously considering setting up camp faaaar away from the course for agility, then at the end of the Fun Match literally packing him back up in the car, driving around the parking lot a bit, then parking over near the course. Is that insane? Am I an insane crazy dog lady? Sigh.

I will let you know on Monday.

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Thursday Linktasticness

Oh good its Thursday… time to screw around…

  • I havent found the time to make it through this yet, but so far, a really nice in-depth article about HSUS vs. the Ag Industry.
  • And, I am struggling to find anyone/anywhere that really explains—in detail—the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the law against animal abuse videos. The best I have found so far is this NYT article. I understand the slippery slope of free speech, yet am missing the difference between child porn and animal abuse depictions (which is a case Alito made, the lone dissenter)? Maybe there’s a dog agility enthusiast who also happens to be a lawyer who can explain it to me better…
  • I could have used this Behavior Modification training site this morning, before our totally disastrous walk. I even saw it coming, and yet, I managed not to hang on to leashes, dogs ran across streets, harassed multiple dogs, and me—Miss Positive Reinforcement—was not all that positive. Instead I was that idiot dog owner running around screaming “my dog is friendly!!!” as they circled innocent dogs and walkers like little piranhas. Awesome. A certain dog may have gotten exiled back into the house while the another may have had his little butt dragged at a jog all up and down stairs and hills and across the beach… Control Unleashed needs to be visited in a big way by Diego. Pack mentality was in full effect this AM, so anything Forest has learned went out the window in the presence of his BFF. Sigh.
  • Update on Courage’s case. The abused GSD saga continues: Vet Tech gets fired, her previous employers vet hospital have been receiving death threats (no wonder the average public thinks animal advocates are all a bunch of whackos), and the trial is in a few weeks. Courage has gained 20 pounds since being surrendered on 4/7. You can donate to his recovery here.

Just found out my club practice got canceled as someone failed to properly secure the permit for the park on Saturday. LAME. I guess we’ll make our own practice, maybe incorporating the EVIL home weaves… Class tonight.

The Trainer Dilemma

I am struggling still with the whole trainer thing. I think I have unrealistic expectations, not so much in how “much” I will learn from a trainer, but rather of how interested the trainer should be in my progress/activities once I am out of class and/or at a trial.

I grew up riding horses, at a barn, for many, many years. The majority of my childhood until I left for college. These were nothing fancy by any means, but we did ride 3-4 times a week and show on the local B/C circuit. I had the same trainers for years. Really–depending on my age–they were probably 50-75% trainer and 25-50% babysitter. They had a vested interest in how I did, how my horse was, and at the shows, they were right there with us. And this was with a large barn of somewheres in the neighborhood of 30-50 students at any given time…

So I know agility is different than a hunter-jumper barn. And I also haven’t been doing this that long, so maybe I just haven’t found my training hero yet. Having a horse in training is exponentially more financially draining than going to agility once a week and trials a few times a month–so maybe it was a money thing… Or maybe this will be my thing to “go it on my own” in some capacity… But really I am seeking someone who gives a crap once I’ve left their classroom and my $20 session isnt in effect. Someone who at the shows doesn’t have to hold my hand, but at least will actively watch my runs, and give me advice on the course, and not either ignore me or tell me all about how they will run their dog (without any relation to how mine might go)… is this too much to ask?

I went to yet another facility last night. I was proud of myself how I tracked this one down. After old trainer had a strained look on her face when I told her who I had taken a few classes with up here, I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt (even though she drives me crazy sometimes, I still respect her opinion and want to continue in the vein she has started us off in), and kept hunting. I racked my brain for someone I had seen run their dogs up here, around my level, whom I thought was good. One young girl popped into my mind who runs her Mini Aussie and Cavalier. She runs quietly and positively and her dogs do well. So I internet stalked her via our Club and luckily for me she is exceedingly nice and invited me to sit in on her class last night.

Really nice facility, nice trainer (not the head one I hope to take classes with, but I’d be happy with this one too to start). I like that all the main trainers seem to run mixed breed/rescue dogs along with their purebred dogs. That seems silly, but it means a lot to me, to have someone who is interested in overcoming those little unique behavioral issues that rescues come readymade with. So… we’ll see.

I’m not trying to become one of those people who is notorious for trainer-hopping and being in denial of issues that the dog/owner has, just looking for the right “fit”… to be continued.

Astounding Local Dog Abuse Case–Warning–Serious Dropping of F-Bombs!!!

A horrid, horrid animal abuse story has hit the local papers, tv and online sites in OC. A German Shepherd was chained in a backyard for an estimated 5 weeks without food or water. Last week someone got into the yard and took the dog away and surrendered it. The dog was so emaciated he weighed 37 pounds (an adult male GSD should weigh 70-80lbs), had a stomach full of rocks and dirt, and could not lift his head. He is currently in good care and is slowly gaining back weight and according to the photos and videos I’ve seen, seems like a really nice guy despite all he has been through.

Today they arrested his “owner.” She is a 26 year old woman, with a young child. Bad enough right? Wrong. She is a VET TECH. No, you didnt read that wrong. She WORKS at a VETERINARY HOSPITAL.

WHAT.

THE.

FUCK???

I cant even begin to describe the rage I am feeling right now. Horrified. Disgusted. So fucking angry doesn’t even come close. I hope she gets the absolute maximum sentence, plus many more years for good measure. And can CPS come pick up the kid, like, NOW?

Here’s the story which I am sure will keep evolving as Courage gets better and she goes to trial.

Added: this could be a great jumping off point for California’s Proposed Animal Abusers Registry? How effective that could be, I do not know, but not sure that it would hurt either… Hopefully at the very least would keep sick fucks like this woman from getting a job at an animal clinic?

Latest Thursday Linktasticness

What is it about Thursdays that make me particularly useless? And or make my brain go into dog-training-info-seeking-overdrive? My chain of internet wanderings from the bottom up…

Oh, and not part of today’s time-wasters (well not really “wasters” I’m learning stuff, dammit!) but been meaning to post this one for a while: old NYT article on designer dog breeding.

We are hopping in the car shortly to shuttle the dogs off to the Inland Empire for their vacation and our ski trip. Semi-ready for a break, but already looking forward to getting back at training after some time off…

Tried to very nicely talk my co-worker today into ditching her plans for a shock collar and working on Doggie Zen and some “interruption” cues instead… Her massive Golden has serious, serious vacuum issues. He has lately eaten plastic food wrappers, corn cobs, athletic tape, his dog toys… Its going to come back and bite her -hard- one of these days (bad pun, sorry). But I totally sympathize with her plight. We have the same problem though our dogs’ by default-smaller mouths seem to somewhat limit what they hoover. Sent her some Doggy Zen guidelines from DragonflyLlama, hopefully she takes them the right way…

Happy Weekend.

Some More Images

Our Canine Partners group last weekend. Me and Forest second from the right (he was being squirmy, the only unbehaved “All American” apparently). Our friends Cat and her “Swap Meet Poodle” Alfie next to us on the left. They started agility right when we did, and this was their first trial as well.

And some Lure Coursing Pics finally. Its crazy how the dogs instinctive/primal side shows through in images when they are really doing what they were bred to do… I wish he looked this excited/focused in his agility pics! Maybe someday…