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.

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…

Super-Agility Extravaganza Kick Off Weekend!

Well, extravaganzatastic to me anyway. Yesterday we did Lure Coursing with the little luratic, class tonight and Thursday, our first trial Saturday and Sunday, two more classes, then a UKI trial/match on the following Saturday. Whew.

Note to self: Avoid any trials we want to compete in that have Lure Coursing on site. Our first go last month was probably like the first time one imbibes in a new substance. It may make one feel a little funny, but you arent sure what all the fuss is about. Then the second time, now that you sorta know the drill–WHAMO! Out of your mind.

That’s how Forest was yesterday. This time, the instant that lure fired up and we were on the outside of the course, he started that high-pitched insane dog squeal and started thrashing around like a fish on the line. I took him in for round one, and the girl asked “I cant remember is he fast or medium?” I said I wasnt sure, but the second he took off she said, “Oh yeah, he’s definitely fast!” He was waaay faster this time, which she said was typical. After two runs, he was seriously out of his mind for another hour, even after a cool down walk and being quiet in his crate in the back of the car. However, mission accomplished; he slept in this morning and didnt budge when I snuck out the door for work.

The photog said she got some good shots of him this time, so I hope to have something cool to post up here.

Tonight class at the “first” trainer’s place. She was at the AKC Nationals all weekend, so we’ll hear some good stories I am sure.

I also ended up downloading the Agility iLog app for my iPhone. I think I already love it. Its so simple, menus all right there, totally intuitive on how to navigate around in it. Looking forward to putting it to use over the next few weeks!

And, a news hit on a LA Pet-Store-Turned-Rescue Shop! Good stuff.

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.