“Arrange whatever pieces come your way.”

I heard this Virginia Woolf quote last night listening to my “motivational” CDs on the drive down to class. I like it. A less clichéd version of the whole lemons and lemonade thing…

Class was very good by the way. Forest had his afterburners turned on last night—not sure where they came from but it was fun. Maybe the cool drizzle got him going? His Detested Obstacle of the Evening was the A-frame—his usual favorite! He did a bit of his mountain goat routine (though at least he was “with” me while doing it, not running in the opposite direction), then leapt off twice in a row. Odd, but we slowed down and reinforced and he was fine. I am very excited at our progress, he was also very in tune with me all night, even so much as I could take him off the leash in the middle of the other dogs “parking area” and he didnt bat an eye at them. Yay for progress!

We have a Fun Match on Saturday, the local club practice and our “safety test” on Sunday (please dont rain!), and class again on Monday night before I blast off to NYC for work all next week. 5 more days of “real” obstacle training opps before the trial. I feel pretty good and think we’ll be ready.

On another note, heard this story on NPR this morning. I didnt know Britain had “banned” breeds, and now they are looking to require insurance and micro-chipping for every dog in the country. Great in theory, but eek, can you imagine the red tape? I think education wins out over red tape 99% of the time….


Rain and Superbowl Try to Squash Our Weekend

But, they did not win. Though they may have rerouted our plans.

Were supposed to have our local agility club test on Saturday. It was pissing rain all AM and cleared up just before. However, I assume that the club decided the mud may be too much (or the city told them they were out of luck in using the soaked park) as there was no one there. Boo. What is most annoying to me–though somewhat understandable–is that I am not allowed to be a member of this club until I “test”. I get it, but that also means I get zero communications from said club and have to virtually stalk them and send plaintive emails to try to figure out what is going on. When I asked last week what the status would be of my test if we got rained out, I got back a terse, one sentence answer. Then again I have to remind myself I am dealing with dog people, not people people. Probably wasnt terse to them….

Anyways, we went to the dog park next door instead where I got yelled at by dog people there (I had very teensy and well-secreted treats in my pocket which none of the dogs noticed, but one lady spotted me treating Forest and yelled at me about it, and another guy also blamed my treats for his nasty muddy yellow lab wiping its nasty muddy face on me.) Awesome. Note to self–avoid dog park. However, Forest’s little bit of CU training shone through–he listened to me, and did rather well when he was being endlessly molested by a huge pit bull puppy. I was proud of him, annoying people aside.

Yesterday, we went to my biz partner’s wife’s bday dinner/get-together, which was right smack during the Superbowl  in a very non-Superbowl bar/restaurant. It was lovely. The highlight was when everyone got out their phones. These are all established career-people (in the sports industry). We were among the youngest–early to mid-thirties. Not one person at the table had kids–instead we went around the table showing our dog pics. Hilarious. Lots of very powerful women there, from my work world, all of them ruling it, sans kids. Makes me feel like not such a freakshow…

Agility tonight, yay. Its been a too-infrequent last few agility weeks. There are actually TWO Fun Matches this coming weekend, and we get Monday off. Hooray.

CU #2

Last night was our second Control Unleashed class. It was good. We are definitely not following the book exactly, but thats okay. I think its probably best to be doing both simultaneously regardless. We worked on more focus work, reorienting, and just barely started mat work.

One thing we did that was pretty eye opening was a shaping exercise. We partnered up, one person was the trainer and one was the dog. The “trainer” worked on shaping a behavior on the “dog”.  Man, that was tough. At least the more advanced ones were. It was great to understand what the dog was thinking—as in “what the eff does she want me to do???”—and also measure how accurate your timing and communication is. I was told to shape my partner to take off her earring… needless to say we didnt get all the way there. Regardless though, probably an exercise I would want to do again, as silly as we all looked jumping around and waving our arms like a bunch of looney dog ladies.

So, practice on focus and orienting and mat work this week.

I have my “safety test” this Saturday for the local agility club. Its looking to rain again, so we’ll see what happens. I hope it goes off, I would like to get in some practice as we missed this week of class. Also printed out my first Trial registration form. It looks like greek to me, will probably fill out as much as I can and take to my trainer on Monday to have her help me decode the rest. Early April is looking to be our first “official” trial. Counting down…

Calm After the Storm

Agility was rained out last night. Boo. But instead, I did get to have a leisurely evening, which included taking both dogs down to the cove for low tide and running around like a crazy small dog lady. I am working on reinforcing Forest’s “Lets GO!!!” from a wait in hopes that helps with the “sticking” issue we’ve had. He actually was pretty good about staying with us last night, we also worked on running with me and watching/following my hands.

It would be nice to be able to have some room to work in some obstacles, but I have yet to find the right venue. I dont want him jumping in the sand, as that sounds like an injury waiting to happen. There is a park up the street, but its a little too public and a little too unfenced and close to streets. People don’t drive that fast, but I just envision Forest getting distracted and taking off for a tour of the neighborhood while I decide whether to run after him or leave crazy dog lady obstacles in the park… Am thinking about scoping out some of the local elementary schools as I assume they have fenced grassy areas (at the risk of looking like a pedophile). *sigh*

So P packed up the dogs this AM, and their crates and beds and bowls and leashes and treats and sweaters, and left for Mammoth. He didnt tell me, until this morning, that not only were he and the dogs and all the dog-and-snowboard gear driving up in the truck, but three other people were jumping in as well. Sounds like a grand old time.

No one can ever say we dont expose or socialize our dogs to the joys of new situations. Eesh. I am turning off my brain-imagineering-bad-dog-scenarios function for the next 4 days. They’ll all survive without me is my mantra… (though I did already get a text asking “did Forest poo this morning?” And so it begins…)

So now I am solo at home, at least for tonight, and leave tomorrow for SLC. More time to work on figuring out the Agility Record Book I downloaded last night… oh, and pack. Mleh.

Dogs in the News: Scientists Find a Shared Gene in Dogs with Compulsive Behavior

Oh the Timing. And the Rain…

So just Friday I wrote my woes about registering Forest in the ILP/PAL program for the AKC. That night I filled out the forms in resignation; height, weight, proof of nueter (which fortunately I figured I’d have to wait on til Monday), and a check for $35–all in an effort to dupe the AKC into believing my dog is a “purebred”. I didnt feel good about it in multiple ways.

Well lo and behold, that same day they issued a release stating the Mixed Breeds now will compete with and get titled the same as the “real” dogs. I didnt believe it and assumed someone misread between the lines on the local agillity email group, but that doesnt seem to be the case. We are now able to be legit!

I will continue to support the other organizations as much as I can, but with 4x the amount of AKC agility events around here, this really is going to make my life easier. Forest is already signed up as a mixed breed (male, brown, age 3–that’s all the detail they wanted. Interesting. I guess to the AKC once youre a mixed breed thats all you are, who cares about the details. Whatever.).

On another note things are going to get stir crazy around here. El Nino finally decided to show up all at once this week. We didnt pay attention to the impending storm yesterday and by the time it showed up we still hadnt exercised the dogs. So they got a damp two block walk in the rain and are now going bonkers. Sorry guys.

Also, its looking like no agility this evening, so we really are going to have a frenzied Forest on our hands. However, as I said last week, maybe we were due for skipping a week.

Then again, it doesnt look like it will be my problem–P is taking them both with him to Mammoth for a few days. Which I am glad he’s taking it upon himself to do (I will be in SLC for Oh Arrrrgh!), but I am worried about them being crated for too long and becoming crate adverse. We already disagreed at loud levels about it, so what will happen will happen. I have to choose my battles and will just pray this doesnt undo what little proper crate training has been done. Maybe I’ll make him promise to buy me a copy of Crate Games if things dont go well.

Breathe in, breathe out… I could be in Haiti, or Kabul or Sudan or….