Diego Drama, Forest Fun, Pierre Pining…

Poor Diego. He is having a really hard time with the foster sitch. Like he’s devolving into a little unbehaved miserable monster, picking fights and marking in the house and being generally unpleasant to be around. I simultaneously want to throttle him and feel horribly bad for him. I am contemplating sending him on “vacation” to Pete’s parents’ house for a few weeks. He loves it there and will be the center of attention, therefore hopefully happy… And, it would give all of us a much needed breather. However, I feel bad booting my own very first and special dog to make room for a foster. The few people I have mentioned it to look at me like I am demon spawn for even uttering such things… ugh. I dont know…

Though I do recall now, last year, not long after we got Forest, Diego started drinking water like a mad man. Which led to him not being able to hold it for more than a few hours at a time, which became a problem obviously. I took him to the vet multiple times, they said he was possibly, maybe pre-Cushings and charged me a shitboat of money. He got over it and I still probably havent paid off the balance on my card… I wonder if this is his latest “adjustment” phase? Either way, I still feel like a bad dog parent.

Here he is sulking stylishly under my favorite chairs out in the patio. (Make that my favorite totally-un-taken-care-of-chairs. They are beggining to rust from me allowing them to be outside… heresy.)

Cuddling with his “real” brother and Pete…


Diego just wants to be loved and not displaced by other jerk dogs…

In other more happy news, we went to the Fun Match today. Forest was great. Like so, so great. He was happy-time-city, and fast and mostly brave (this time he wasnt a fan of the teeter, but no major misshaps or anything). We played with our cheese on a rope and he was doing some great weaves in the practice area. Hoo-ray Forest. Maybe I am learning how to make agility fun. Or at least am getting a quick peek at it. It is addicting…

Poor Pierre—I drug him all the way out to the Match thinking that I would swing down to the adoption event afterwards and drop him off for a few hours. Well, I had the wrong day–grrrr. So, back out to RSM tomorrow. He, however was a total champ, chilling in his crate and for the most part being an angel while Forest and I played and we drove around SoCA. He is so good, why can’t I find him a home??? The clock is ticking…

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First There Were Two…

…and now there are three. We picked up a foster over the weekend. Totally not planned, just happened. I should have seen it coming–my work hosted a charity dog adoptathon… it was inevitable. The best/worst part is that new dog is so good, its making me wonder if the rescue would take in a used dog and let me keep the upgrade. This dog makes me wonder why I have spent probably now in the thousands of dollars in training on our darling Forest. This dog–Pierre as he is known–came straight from being cooped up in a rescue environment for who knows how long, already basically 90% trained. Not so much in the sit-stay department, but rather in that coveted “I come when called!” department. Shocking. I fell in love with him because of his Forest-esque tendencies, and have come to find out while he has that stubborn bossy MinPin thing going, its in a totally sweet “I just want a mom” way. He is a cutie. And will be finding a home shortly.

I worked at the event all day Saturday, and brought home Pierre that night, having no idea that my cousins, aunt and friends would be descending on our house that night for a get-together. It was fine and enjoyable–and Pierre passed with flying colors (poor guy, not what I had in mind for his first night here)–but anything that I dont have written out in my calendar 14 days ahead of time stresses me out in some capacity. We survived that, then on Sunday AM, Forest and I headed up to a Fun Match in prep for next weekend’s trial.

While he wasnt -that- bad, something about his general disinterest makes me wonder if he has any love/like/mild tolerance for agility at all. He goes through the motions, but seems like he has zero drive. He literally stopped in the middle of the dog walk to chew on his toe. I’ve seen him get fast and drivey, at night at our first trainer’s, but thats been a rare occurrence. So we slog through our 3 practice runs, then go over to Lure Coursing. Where he promptly loses his mind in shrieking excitement. I wish he had a quarter of the excitement for agility that he does for Luring. We’d be set.

I know its early on in our “career”, and that things could progress as we learn, but my biggest fear is that I end up one of those pathetic ladies (in an embarrassingly sloganed tee) dragging her dog around on the course, oblivious to the fact that the dog is obviously totally bummed about the whole thing. Maybe its that Forest isnt one of those “people pleaser” dogs, and he never will be. Having this third dog really highlights the personality differences. Forest will cuddle with you, but it seems more like a “I’m cold” or “I want to lay on something soft” than a want to be cuddling with his person. I am just an end to his means. Which is fine–it doesnt hurt my feelings–but can you have a really good agility dog that doesnt want to throw himself across the tracks for his handler? Yet another question I dont know…

I am debating about signing us up for a match later this month. It closes tomorrow so I gotta make a decision. I dont know whether to push/drag him through it, or back off and give him a break… Ugh.

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.

E.V.I.L., Meet Head Cheese

We are burnt, I think. Or rather he is burnt–Forest that is. Maybe too much agility time in the span of a short ten-twelve days or so.

Yesterday at the UKI Match (fun, flowy courses–we Q’ed in Steeplechase and got 2nd by 3/10 of a second to one of our classmates–yay!) the final straw was the whistle in Gamblers. I knew something was off as soon as we went toward the ring, and quickly figured out it was the whistle freaking him out. He’ll get wiggy-spacey at times, but not scaredy dog freaked out. Worries about making enough points to go on to the Gamble quickly went away and I was more worried about flat out melt down drama. It thankfully didnt get that bad, but he was running the obstacles with his tail tucked between his legs. Poor guy. At the Gamble whistle (which we definitely didnt make the points for, so why did they blow it? I dont really know the rules…), he stopped dead in his tracks. At that point I went and scooped him up seeing no reason to prolong the torture.

He also decided yesterday morning that he hates the weaves at home. HATES. As in will not go near them. Like I-Have-Never-Done-These-Before-WTF? He was fine at the trial yesterday, but Home Weaves Are Evil, apparently. Awesome. I really hope this doesnt translate elseswhere and that this is a phase. Really, really hoping.

In an effort to overcome the Whistle-Fear and Weaves-Hatred, I bought the stinkiest thing the deli guys could find for me today–Head Cheese. I was hoping for some tripe, but that was a no go. The first meat counter guy looked at me like I was a freak so we moved on. Over at the deli section, a slightly odd but very enthusiastic guy was more than happy to help me find the most pungent, funky thing they had to offer–with the criteria that it freezes decent and I could chop it into little bits.

The Head Cheese went over well, but not well enough to get him to do the Evil Weaves today. Thats okay. I think. I gave up and decided to take them to the dog park instead so they could have some dog time. (He wouldnt weave for the Head Cheese, but then was following me around the house all morning crawling all over me. I determined we needed to exorcise the demons somehow.)

We’ll take a break from weaving at hoome for a few days then hope for the best. After tomorrow he’ll get massive agility vacay for over a week as we’ll be out of town and he and Diego will be shipped off to the Grandparents’ house. There they basically run amok and do whatever the hell they want, no holds barred. Always fun bringing them back down to reality after being there (you mean I cant jump up in your face and sleep on your pillow and counter-surf at home?!?!?), but hopefully he’ll be a little more ready to work…

Hopefully.

“Sleeping Is Giving In…”

At least thats how I feel. Between the time change and our action packed weekend I am wiped.

On Saturday we had a Fun Match out in Riverside. We finally got some video compliments of Cat’s husband Frank. He is a trooper. I’ll post the best of the three runs.

My Quick Notes:
Alloted course time 70 sec.
First Run – Missed 2o2o on A Frame (leapt off) so went back for a redo. (Judge said he was in the yellow so I should have kept going–watched the vid. He wasnt even close?!?) Missed weave entry 2x? Bad bobble by me en route to chute but pulled it. Time: 90.8

Second Run – solid, but refusal at table. Good down, put him on my right hand to see if that would help weaves. Still missed them first time, got them on second try. Good other than that. Table DQ’ed us. 60.07 sec.

Third Run – Wanted to get out of there so rushed into the 12″ class. The wheels came off. Good 2o2o, missed tunnel entry. Would not go on table, had to YELL at him as he was sniffing around to get him back. Good down though. Missed weaves at least twice. Also missed chute. Bleh.

On Sunday we went to our first local club practice. Ummm wow. That was a hot mess. Or maybe as I do event planning for a huge part of my profession, I have a short fuse with these types of things. I was worried that it would be a bad combo for Forest—chaos minus fences—so I took it slow. Long walk around the park when we got there, lots of focus work. He was a champ. So good.

We even snuck in a course, which was tough for a novice course (lots of people were complaining). He crushed it. Only hiccup was missing the tunnel entry and powering right on to the table which was nested into the tunnel (and I had been training him heavily on the table earlier as the day before it had been our Detested Obstacle of the Day). That was totally forgivable, and I’m sure I coulda handled it better. He got an A plus.

In between agility stuff we had mad amounts of family time which was all fun and good. Yet exhausting. Leaving for NYC at 8am tomorrow and still not packed. Have agility again tonight, so its going to be a late one…

Two Dogs in the News Links:
Wonder if this diamond will now be on sale?

The hits keep on coming: Another Dog Show Disruption.

Sharing the Love (of Wacky Hobbies)

I finally got some real images of us at work from last weekend, so I couldnt contain myself and sent the email below to my family and closest confidants today….

+ + +

Hello family,

In case you were wondering what crazy dog ladies do on their free weekends (ie. every weekend), well this is it.

Here are some pics from my Practice Trial last weekend. If you have time to kill on April 3rd or 4th, love scenic Bonita and the racket of multitudes of dogs barking ad nauseum, please come and visit us at our first official trial. 🙂

Please do not forward this email as it will surely show up somewhere as future black mail. Thanks for your understanding.

xoxo,
Liz and Forest.

more action packed weaves!

how cute is this dog? (2 on 2 off on the teeter–what a good guy.)

I learned last weekend that this look means “I am about to run out of this tunnel and keep running straight out of the ring.” Still working on that.

All (as of right now not-yet-purchased) photos are by Juanda Anderson of Camera Animal.

Valentines Day = Rabbit Tails, Minced Hot Dogs, and Freeways

I am lucky I have a significant other who cares as much about Valentines Day as I do–which is basically nil. Or maybe I should say he is lucky he has such an apathetic girlfriend as myself. Or maybe that’s just what happens when you’ve been together for a million years. Minimal in the smarmy gushy department.

So, I got up early, stuffed Forest in the car and headed an hour North to Van Nuys for a Fun Match. It was held in a really nice park. The park was huge and we were well out of the way of other goings on, which was great. It was noticeable how just plain nice the people were who were running the whole thing. They did a “debriefing” for everyone first thing , they were mostly patient (except for one of the ring guy who was kind of bitchy, but I think that’s fairly normal) and overall very accommodating to those who were new to the trial scene—which seemed to be the majority of the people there. They also had three rings running at once.

Agility-wise we did okay. Its pretty marked how well Forest is handling the obstacles—contacts, teeter, weaves (sorta/mostly)—our main problem is overcoming the focus factor. I find myself battling internally with the rate of reinforcement. I know I should up it, but I just want too badly to do at least most of the course without having to stop and treat constantly. However, I need to set some goals (for myself) before our first trial in April I think. Slow down, over-treat for now, then work back up to not treating in time for the trial. Only two months away, but I think I can make myself do it.

In the way better than okay department was that they had lure coursing set up as well. I had never seen one in person, so was excited to check it out. The second I saw it, I said “This is SO on.” As soon as Forest got up to the fence and caught sight of the dogs and the lure, he went nuts. I didn’t want to over do it, so we only bought one run (after our first Standard run, but before our remaining three classes). It was amazing. It only took him about 5 seconds to turn on to the lure and getting totally revved up—the girl said “he looks pretty ready…” She hit the button, I let him go and he exploded off like a shot. It was so cool. He went full throttle the whole way around, I love watching him run like that. Unfortunately we don’t have the right venue to do it very often.

When I see this dog run, I think that there is no way he doesn’t have some sight hound in him. It is such a cool thing to see. I actually ordered a doggie DNA test off Amazon last week. I am going into it knowing that it will be sketchy at best, but its really more to cease the bickering between Pete and myself over whether or not he is a Min Pin mix. If it comes back Mastiff and Bassett Hound then we’ll both just shut up.

I told Pete about the luring, he was bummed he missed it. We will keep an eye out for that again, we may be hooked if we get to do it too many more times. I cant wait for the images. Forest is SO sacked out right now. He may even still be tired for tomorrow night’s class which would be perfect!

One more hectic week at work then I may actually be out of the woods for a while. Looking forward to it.