Things I Love Thursday, Take One

In the spirit of being positive, and maybe under the influence of a new “motivational” book I have been reading/working in, I am jumping on the “day of the week” posting themes with “Things I Love Thursday.” Hopefully we’ll stick with dog- and agility-related stuff, but I am sure I wont be able to resist throwing in some odds and ends as well. Here goes the virgin voyage:

Dogged Goodness:

Acana Grasslands Kibble — I have been experimenting with the boys, and so far this has been the best. Eating the food is never a problem in our house, its the exit that causes us issues. Mainly with Diego. Seems to come out all okay, no drama, and Diego’s coat looks especially amazing. (On a side note, I need to tape a huge reminder in the kitchen somewhere that says “Do Not Experiment with Diego’s Dinner.” I was all thinking I was super-dog-mom last night and cooked up a scrambled egg, canned salmon, brown rice and parsley omelette for them for dinner. It was scarfed up in seconds flat, with pitiful looks for second servings after. Yet, Diego was not a happy camper this morning and had his first ever accident in my office. Yay for scrubbing half-digested brown rice off of office carpet. My own fault.)

– Forest’s new collar from All Hounds Apparel — he has the tiger stripe one, rawr. It makes me feel better when he pulls on walks like a maniac.

– 2×2 weave training! — We aren’t really “done”, or even close to done, but I think it is going to be soooo hugely helpful in getting Forest to weave independently of me. He seems to really get it, and doesn’t seem at all confused (I was worried that he might be with already “knowing” how to weave, but no issues whatsoever.) Laurie also caught me babysitting his weave entries in class last week, so I need to work on that too. But, so far, I think this is going to make both of us way more confident. Hooray for “systems” that work.

Non-Dog Good Stuff:

mint.com — I have always sucked at managing my money. I pay bills on time, but I am no stranger to a bounced checking account either. Mint is free, online, and helps you track and manage your finances without a lot of effort. I am finding it pretty easy to keep up with, and its really helping me budget and visually see where I am spending too much money. (Ummm, are you shocked the number one red flag is my “Pets” category? Of which agility is a sub-category? Its not pretty, but at least I know I have a problem. Thats the first step, right?)

– hand-me-downs from my grandmother. People probably think I am creepy, but I love that I have been able to have a few things from Nanie that remind me of her on a daily basis. A few of her button-down shirts, necklaces and rings that I wear, a super-retro-regency dolphin soap dish I use for my jewelry, the cricket cage that my sister and I used to play with on the nightstand in the kids bedroom. It makes me feel like she is still around, and I know she would love for me to have those little pieces of her.

White Buffalo — going to see him tonight again, this time with a full band. I dont have much patience for shows these days, but for him, I do. Amazing.

Heading out to the Dogs Allowed to Be Dogs Place tomorrow evening for a car camp out. From there I have to get up and out reasonably early on Saturday AM for more wedding festivities. As in I have to make it from the remote campsite, to a shower and a hairdryer, and to a nice restaurant wearing—as per the invite—a purple or green outfit by 11:30am. Joy oh, joy, this will be fun. I think I can pull it off at this point, but, we’ll see how it goes.

All Grows-ed Up

We had a lovely dog-filled weekend which thankfully set us back right side up after the disasters of weekend last. On Friday AM we had a private lesson, on Saturday a Fun Match and today we drove down to the Fallbrook property for some full on dog time.

We love going out to Fallbrook. Its a long drive from where we are now, but we have access to about 50 private acres so it makes it worth the trip when we can find the time. I tend to avoid it in the summer as now is peak season for heat, nasty stickers, and rattlesnakes, but thankfully none were out in force today–especially the snakes! I actually plan on seeing snakes out there this time of year but today we were snake-free. I hope to never have to test Forest’s rattlesnake training aptitude, even if it means those few shocks were in vain (I still feel horrible to this day about the snake aversion training I put him through, but hope that it can save his life if he ever has a face off with a rattler).

Working on my video editing skillz on iMovie. Can’t figure out how to fade the music at the end… Abrupt ending!

Snakes aside, its one of the few places I feel okay about letting Forest off leash. We are so far from roads or other dogs and our biggest problem is if he spots a rabbit to bolt off after. Its been a bit since we’ve been out there, and we really have been pretty uptight about not letting him off leash anywhere unfenced these days. I worried that that would backfire—but it seems to have done the opposite. Knock on wood, but he was a star today. He was so lovely and stuck with us, we only lost him charging off the trail once, which in itself was a small miracle. And, he came back almost immediately—within 30 seconds. That is so huge for us.Pete has been getting much better about rewarding him for coming as well and we have made a habit of not going anywhere he may be off leash without cookies in our pockets.

He has been such a good boy lately I hate to admit we keep asking/wondering if he might not be feeling well or something. He doesn’t seem lethargic or upset or “off'”, so assuming all is fine, we aren’t complaining. It’s like he just decided all of a sudden to be a “big boy”.  He seems to have settled and maybe a little less obsessed with what else is “out there” in the world, and a little more content to be hanging out with us. It is a good feeling.

On the agility front, we had a good private and fun match—except for the weaves. We seem to have regressed somewhat in that front, probably because learning by channel weaves isnt the best for teaching them independence. If I dont set him up perfectly, he blows the entry. So, we’ll be starting some 2×2 training this weekend and cross our fingers that we can get through at least a few sets of weaves in Open next weekend at our trial. We also have been working on running contacts on the A-frame with the “box”. Its going really well and Laurie said she was impressed with how he was doing on that front.

Monday morning… Ergh.

Back On Track

Not that much to report from this weekend, other than I seem to have possibly found a place to stealth train in mornings and evenings. There is a sports park about a 5-10 minute drive from our place. There is a field off to the side of the others that looks like its probably used for soccer. It is mostly fenced and in the 3 or so times I’ve been by, there hasnt been a soul there. We did a little test drive 20  minute session on Sunday morning, and all went well. My goal will be to sneak out there 1-2 times a week before or after work for some quick sessions.

Pete actually built me a set of weaves last week, which was so cool. I am so excited to use them on the field, but they are quite a bit unwieldily. He hasnt glued them together yet, so I am thinking we can keep them in 2 or 3 sections so I can manage to squish them into the car and haul them around. On top of that, I am waffling back and forth between keeping on with the already learned 6 weaves, or if we should start over with the 2x2s? I did order a bunny fur tug for Forest–we’ll see if he loves it enough to get fired up over it. Maybe I will let that be my guide. It seems pretty important to have toy drive in order for the 2x2s to work… we shall see how things work out.

Lastly, we did get a little bit of “dogs being dogs” time in this weekend. We were able to go to some private property and let them run off leash and bounce through the brush and sniff around for an hour. I wish it had been longer but Pete’s eye is making him miserable so we had to pack it up. Forest actually did not want to get in the car, I dont blame him. We actually pretended to start driving away, he came after us, but then still we had to eventually pick him up and put him in the car. Not very CU of me, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…

I do have to say it surprises me how many performance dogs don’t seem to get the time to be dogs. I haven’t figured out as many spots to do that in our new environs yet, but it seems incredibly important to me. If they have an overall satisfied state of mind by being allowed to act naturally, then why wouldn’t they just naturally be more trainable dogs?

Agility tonight!