Monday, July 30, 2012


That’s pretty much all the quality conversation I have time for these days.  If you see me, insert above! Please rest assured that though my 'out of office' is on, I’m thinking of you.
I don’t know when things got so runaway busy again. I tried to slow down? Didn’t I? I thought I did? Hm. Maybe The Pup stepped on the “FF” button of my life remote- she has a knack for doing that in reality. Poor remote.  She also has an uncanny ability to hit the combination of buttons that puts on the PIP, SAP, and breaks cable forever. 

Anyways, quick update:

Awesome. Cuteness. Fluffy.  Physically sound (knocking on wood).   Wrapped in bubble wrap for two weeks to remain so. Chicago Regional this week.  Kansas City, MO next week.  Feeling good, not like barfin.

Dogwalks of amazingness.  LOTS of actual training, she may now understand about not bailing off the side early. Shocking. 

Show last weekend= fast smart Dog- Minus her Teeter of Horrors.  Discovered extended spread to be mortal enemy.  Two things then to work this week from within bubble wrap.  Snooker GOLD (8 Q’s from ADCH GOLD! 11 from LAA Silver! WOW!). Start line of Magic continues to be magic.  Very happy with jumping, wrapping, post-turning, and a$$-passing.  Mad Skillz. We gots ‘em. 
We gots a QQ recently too. Drought has seen an end. 
Naughty. However. Will suck it up and run her in Starters Jumpers in a few weeks. Gulp Gulp.  This video may include evidence that she exists still. I forget what's in it. 
Has achieved Mad Crazy Hose Killin’ Bad A$$ status.  Best weekend of her life. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Boiling Point

No Channing Tatum, I'm not actually talking about you (though everyone else on the planet is. Enjoy your moment.)

I knew we would pay for that mild winter. KNEW IT. Karma is a record lack of snowfall followed promptly by record heat. As in, there was a moment that MN was the hottest place to be in the country. Barf. So wrong.

The thing is, ugh, I just don't do heat. And humidity. Not together. So this heat wave led to another impromptu break from any and all outdoor training. Annoyance at this status increased with the realization that I actually trained more in the WINTER than this SUMMER so far.
As of Friday last, the boiling point was reached. Tempers as high as the heat. Snapping doggies. Button pushing doggies. Every which one getting all fat. This would be 'crazy-making' for those of you already familiar with sad-making.

And then, for five minutes, it rained.  Not a moment too late. The world is no longer an oven. Now we can train.
Saturday morning we hit the field at 6:30 am.  Taking NO CHANCES with the heat.

Our BIG challenge for that morning was finally trying to work out some agreement with The Dog on exits off the dog walk. After hemming and hawing for ages I finally decided what I want: run over then off. Straight.

Uh, not earth shattering I know, but the alternatives are teaching turn cues or teaching her to interact with the board further down or adjust her stride depending on what I'm doing. So there was a choice to make and what I truly want it for her is to just go straight off. Running. Still not okay to leap. Not okay to cut out early off the side. I'm trying to finally incorporate a "go" too, that will mean it's ok to power off as far as you want, and take what's in your path as the case may be. Mostly for helping her into nothingness.

I really want that she doesn't check in until after the DW. I would like her independence to increase a bit since her responsiveness overall has increased too. This has made her exits more manageable but definitely don't want her trying to respond while ON the obstacle.

So. How to train this?

The issue so far has been that she gets clever fast and predicts what is coming. I don't think I ever want her to get predictive. Go off straight, look for your cue. In my mind. So at the last seminar, when the predictor starting showing up, I received a great suggestion for proofing I had to try.

Hence- Crazy set up with every possible exit! No way Dog knows what's coming next!
That's not a bug, it's the dogwalk!

It actually worked quite well. Reward finishing the board before she moved on commitment-wise. And it gave me great information on when she is taking cues and what she is taking as a cue. General rule seemed to be NO abruptness on my part. The old adage holds true- treat the last board like a jump. If I cue something big during that section, explosions! But I CAN subtly decel and accel. And I CAN get good response when waiting until after she is off to do something big. That felt good.

Our two tricky exits were the abrupt turn away to the tunnel (with that jump there luring with its siren call) and the weave entry. We had to break down the tunnel turn (NO BAILING OFF THE SIDE!) but eventually worked it out. The weave entry wasn't as hard, that was all about well-timed decel coupled with a strong, supportive weave cue. Otherwise, she did really well with sends and pulls. And awesome discrimination!
Then there was The Pup.





Seriously. She gets it. She gets it all. Thou shalt not leap. Thou shalt not ever leave the board early. She will zoom off straight if I ask. She will pull tightly. She will turn away tightly. Or less tightly. Whatevs. Without ever being really taught to, she will adjust her stride to interact with the bottom most section of the board JUST to make sure she never departs prematurely. Like there was a tiny pole at the end for her to wrap around. One time we had to work the abrupt turn away twice, but it was because she turned in instead. Such a good girl.

I must get video. You must see this. It is a tiny miracle  coming from the ADHD baby who gets all this but doesn’t get that there is not a lingering kibble bit under the stove.

You ate it already Pup. IT’S GONE.
Anyways, good training day.  At least there was one.  The Dog went to class last night but she was being full of herself.  I think she is REALLY tired of the downtime lately. One or two training days in three weeks are ok for me and The Pup, but The Dog needs more or she acts like an @$$; at least, as much as any good doggie can.

Solemn promise to The Dog: Fear not. The time-sucking trial is this weekend. After this we will have doggie smart time again.  We will go swimming  instead of answer emails. We will go for walks and not sort scribe sheets. PROMISE.

Just in time. Regionals, just around the bend. Only a few short weeks to garner her favor again and bring Queen Uppity Fluffy Pants back to earth.

And after that maybe, MAYBE, The Pup will re-debut.

I mean, you GOTTA see this dogwalk!

Sorrow is not getting to chew on the NEW bone. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Waning and Waxing

Like the moon, my goals seem to change monthly! Ga!

While it seems to be good to evaluate and re-evaluate goals per my mental management class, I wonder if what I do would be considered THAT or like… giving up.  

Or being flaky. Uncommitted? I don’t want to be those things but I am a bit transient.  I’m famous for very big ideas and little follow through. It’s not like I am not adverse to hard work. But I feel like reality kind of catches up to me.  Oops, out of money.  Ru-roh, you really can’t show every weekend.  And then I get to thinking…eh… is this really what I wanted? And I wane… 

Here is where I’m coming from today.  Last year, The Dog was really doing well in AKC. Minimally showing and we could have gone to the nationals.  So I thought, YEAH! Let’s go to Tulsa! Show a little bit more, and we are THERE!  Granted, I had the 26” venture (another diverted goal) but we are so not there.  QQ wasteland.   EIGHT MONTHS. 

I sat there Saturday and Sunday, really trying to figure out what the heck the deal is.  She and I are gelling. Her contacts are spiffy.  Her jumping has improved greatly since I improved my handling.   I don’t feel nervous, or bored, or like I am doing any of the weird pinchy over/under handling of yore.  I have found a way to approach AKC that allows me to engage in every course. What gives?  

Things that came to mind (this is the waxing part I think)- well, ok, she was slower.  Not too much but could be a factor. And per the ‘cycle of training and trialing’ we are technically in the preparatory phase not competitive. But the big one:  last year I was running much more in survival mode (aka weird pinchy over/under handling).   Watching runs over the weekend, I saw a lot of that.  My reaction was never again. Then I thought beyond that, so what do I value?  I value the best run possible and I do NOT define best by qualifying or winning or fastest. Just quality.  I am learning now how to have quality on demand.  My hope is that with time that will result in things like qualifying and winning and fastest, but for now, a quality run by my standards will do.  Based on that, I’m not sure my values realistically align with that organization.  After a serious THINK, my thought is that I just don’t care enough about qualifying every single run. Which is kind of the point in AKC; they don’t make a lot of room for the wildcard. 

So anyways.  I think I will take a break from AKC and see what we can get together as far as quality on demand.  I’ll move our nationals goal to 2014- see, not giving up! Just giving time to align with reality.
Speaking of preparatory phase- oof-da! Super unglued on Friday.  Two very wild and crazy runs.  One positive was a nice running DW, right off the bat.   Saturday’s only goal was to reconnect, which we did.  Her JWW run was my favorite of the whole weekend, very fast and tight.  Another rocking DW in standard, this time into nothing.   Yesterday the judge hated our contacts and I wildly contest the calls on her teeter and DW (into super nothingness).  I guess that being "in" doesn't count if you don’t have stopped contacts. Hm. I stand by the run though and only frowned upon the dropping of the panel.   Our last run in JWW was fair, one insane off-course call-off hear the end.  She was all of a sudden very excited about a line of jumps, and adorably sheepish when she came back.

So, thanks to all that, some training comes to mind to get to our quality on demand state:  Everyone’s favorite- Jumping grids! Including but not limited to: jumping into me! Bounce into extension! Speed circles with spreads into tunnels!  What fun.  Also, teeter as always and some tough weave entries. I discovered one we really haven’t worked much.   

Insanely elated with her dogwalks and start lines though.  Driving both! Even breaking the start line, little bugger! 

Our one run on video. The contact-hater judge getting her upper arms workout.  I still like it, happy (almost broken) start line, drivey contacts and an @$$ pass at the end for fun.  

And The Pup's weekend of pouting encapsulated in one picture: 

"SCREW YOU! Not sharing, it's all I have in the world!!!"
She was very angry at no fun time. At one point she got all "WTF" over only getting to do the practice jump and escaped into the ring. Luckily they were just course building, but she definitely wanted more action. Maybe I'll show her again someday.