Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Photos

My handsome boy
 Lyric blended into the leaves a little
 So we also tried her in black and white
 Is this not the most photogenic dog ever?
 And again with different effects
 Fun with photoshop
 Everybody all together-pretty good but Lyric looks a little squinty
 I guess this is what Zodiac thought of all this nonsense

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Things that make you go hmmmm

So....the trial did not go that well.  Friday Legend refused the teeter, yesterday the dog-walk, and today the a-frame.  Except for teeter they other two refusals were early in the course when she is stressed and low on momentum.  We've overcome a lot of that stress but she's never been a dog to be relaxed and come blasting off the start time, not often anyway (sometimes she surprises me).  We have analyzed this to death and it really seems to be just a stress behavior-she drops her head and starts sniffing and everything.  I don't believe she is injured which is what everyone keeps asking, it just does not have that kind of presentation.  Plus, I can't find anything wrong with her. 

So, I needed a plan.  Today I decided if she didn't do a contact I would re-approach like usual and when she did it, celebrate, leave the ring and celebrate some more.  So that's what we did.  I think I will keep doing that at AKC trials for now.  When we get to the NADAC trial we will to the fun run if offered and I will take some of my runs as training runs. I want to just to one obstacle, contact and leave the ring or some variation of that.  I have no idea if that will help but I don't have anything to lose.  Ignoring it isn't working.  I don't think that doing more contacts at home will work either-it's not that she's afraid, she's just....well...Legend. 

Her jumpers runs were great, not super fast but ok for her and for the pretty tight course times we were given this weekend.  She only NQ'd on the run where I pulled her off a jump.

Lyric struggled with weave poles and general speed this weekend.  I think I need to go back to rewarding closer to the ring instead of at the crate.  Now she just associates going to the crating area with cookies and not so much the end of the run.  She did pick up one jumpers Q on Friday.  It wasn't all weave poles either, she also refused the table one day and crashed a jump. 

I was a little demotivated after the weekend, especially following our struggles at champs.  Legend had such a spectacular first half of the year and has slowly deteriorated some over the last few months.  But we've worked through a lot of problems and we will just work on this one now.  I don't know about getting that MACH this year but that's ok.  I want to get it when we are both running happy. 

In the meantime we will continue distance training.  We are having a really fun time working on some new skills (or really proofing and strengthening some skills we have started).  It's really fun to actually be working on something new.  I don't really feel like AKC courses challenge us that much anymore (maybe sometimes Lyric, but not so much me and Legend).  Don't get my wrong-we are far from having a perfect Q rate even if she did do all the obstacles.  I just mean I don't feel like there is much we can't do or need to work on.  I don't leave and think "oh, we should work more on that."  Other than the stress related issues there isn't anything she consistently does wrong.  It will be something different all the time.  But in NADAC there are chances courses that we literally can't do.  We need to train some new skills.  And I'm hoping that learning new skills and being able to work more independently will help continue to build her confidence so that she's not as stressed at either venue.  I really don't want to be one of those people that everyone watches and says why does she keep running that dog!

Anyway, wish us luck.  I'm going to edit some new fall photos to post later.  I feel like I have not taken any photos of my dogs in months!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Champs Photos!

All courtesy of Great Dane Photography

Showing off her nails

You can see both our nails here!

This one is Cheri's favorite

Seriously, it's just a hoop!

I love this dog!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

And just like that

I was having a great weekend.  Friday night I went to a concert with some friends-it was good and we had fun even though I got home late.  Saturday morning Jerry and I got up early and drove to Columbia for the Mizzou game.  We lost but it was a beautiful day and a decent game.  Then we came home and watched the world series game on TV.  Go Cards!

This morning I took Legend to the local AKC obedience trial for another shot at Open A.  I entered this trial at the last minute and spend zero time getting ready so I didn't really have any expectations.  But she did the best she has so far I think.  Her heeling pattern was a little weak and sloppy but her figure eights were nice.  The retrieves and broad jump were nearly flawless and her stays rock solid.  The only thing she failed was the drop on recall.  She didn't come when called either time but did  drop right away.  So I was pretty encouraged.  Her attitude is so good on the jumping and retrieving, you can tell she's not stressed at all.  So I need to keep working on making the heeling and recall more fun I guess. 

Then Cheri and her girls joined us at the house for some agility work and I was pretty pleased with progress we are making on distance stuff.  If we keep at it we may have a bunch of NATCH dogs on our hands!

Then Cheri and I headed out on a short run in the nice afternoon weather.

It was a perfect weekend winding down.  And just like that it was over.  Legend had another seizure tonight.  It was just like last time.  They were starting to eat and then I saw her start to act funny and then it happened.  It was short again and afterwards we went through the same series of events.  Right away she  seems ok, then she's afraid of us, then she's really submissive and needy and within an hour it's like nothing happened.  Except it's not like nothing happened for me.  I'm left to obsess and worry and wonder. 

She's on the outside range of when we consider epilepsy to be the primary cause of seizures.  But with lack of other symptoms, the 8 week interval in between and the normal labwork I have no reason to believe it's anything else.  I could have an MRI done, I just don't think that's really justified yet.  Not to mention the expense for us and the stress to her.  And dogs that start having epileptic seizures later in life are supposed to be easier to control anyway so that's good.  I guess.  Right now I think that if she has any more in the next few months I will go ahead and start her on Phenobarbital.  It's probably not wrong to start her now but I sort of want to deny it for a little longer.  Of course we don't know for sure these are the only two she has had but we have not seen evidence of any others.  She's kind of covered in slobber and pee right now, as was the floor.  So I'm hoping we'd be able to tell if there had been any more.  It's so so odd how both happened right when she started eating.  The other odd thing-she absolutely recognizes the other dogs before us.  She's totally ok with them being around her, but acts like she will bite our arm off if we go near her. 

Could be worse I guess.  Tomorrow is another day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

NADAC Champs 2011: the good, the bad, and the pink

I know, it should really be the good, the bad, and the purple, but you will see why pink later.

The good
We had lots of fun.  The drive was not as long as we expected and we never got lost!  The weather was more or less lovely, rain the first day but after that pretty nice.  The crate space was plentiful and the arena nice with lots of seating. 


I think my favorite part was watching the Superstakes classes run.  Those dogs were amazing.  They were basically  handling entire courses from behind a line that kept them from going no further out than about the second obstacle.  Anyone who thinks that AKC fast classes are hard should come watch these dogs!  It really inspired me to want to work on more distance skills with my dogs which I need to do but I don't know that I need to take it to that level.  I like getting out on the course and running more with my dog, not just directing them.

The photographers were great and I ordered the full CD of my dog since there were so many good pictures.  I can't wait to get it in the mail and post some.

Also in the good department our buddies Cheri and Vixen kicked butt in the double digits division.  They placed in every round and were just 5 points out of making the finals, finishing fourth overall in that division.

And Legend.  Well, we had good parts in every run and most of her runs she had decent speed (for her) and enthusiasm.  And she handled almost all of the distance challenges well.  And she is doing better all the time at not ignoring hoops and just running past them (we hate hoops).

The bad
Legend and I failed to get even one clean run.  Not one.  Not in 7 rounds.  Seriously, we never have that kind of NQ rate!  But I came here with no expectations-just wanted to enjoy it.  And realistically she needed to run clean and hope other dogs made mistakes to even place so we weren't really out anything but pride!  I'm not sure 7 clean rounds (which would have been unreal) would have even gotten us into the finals.  The other dogs are just faster.  And that's ok-we went to have fun and we did.  I was just a little disappointed that we didn't at least do as well as an average trial.  And hey-she had the best looking nails there!

Other thoughts and ramblings
We were told the courses would be long-like 28 obstacles or more.  And as promised the first course was 40 obstacles.  That was tough!  I consider myself in pretty good shape but I was whipped at the end of that run!  It was a fun challenge though and I was a little sorry that the other courses weren't longer.  However given the length of time it was taking I am glad they shortened the courses.  The first day the 20 inch class was last.  I walked around 9 AM and didn't run until 3:30.  I was running round 2 at 9:30 at night!  And they had superstakes after that-we didn't stay that night.  So, obviously shortening the courses was in order, especially when they added in team, as we still had some long days. 

The vendors could have been better but the raffle was great-even though I didn't win any of the big prizes.

And there were lots of pretty ribbons and trophies to be won!

Maybe next time we will take home more than just pictures of them!  "Next time" is to be determined still.  Champs are supposed to be out west next year but the Border Collie specialty is in Wisconsin.  Since only Legend would run in the specialty we are considering going to champs instead if it is less than a 15 hour drive.  If not, I may not go to either one.  After all we are going to Reno and planning a "family" vacation (as in not dog-related) as well. 

and finally...

The Pink
I won Lyric this adorable pink crate in the rescue raffle.  How cute will she be in that!  Funny what makes us happy huh?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh yes I did

 We (ok, Cheri) painted Legend (and Vixen's) nails purple tonight.  Now they are officially ready for NADAC championships.  Legend thought this was not only the highest form of torture but also very humiliating.  I, however, find it adorable!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Time flies

We had a busy weekend!  First of all Barney is doing great-he moves back outside tomorrow.  I think his buddy has been missing him.

My knee has been feeling better (I think I mentioned it was bothering me) but we had a 5K planned for Saturday and I was hoping to at least jog it.  Luckily though my knee felt good and I was able to put forth a decent race.  It was a minute slower than the previous race but since I had not run in 2 weeks and took the first mile pretty easy I was pleased.  Now on to train for some 10k runs next year.

I've got most of my stuff packed and ready for NADAC nationals-leaving Wednesday after work but lots to do between now and then!

And most importantly today is Lyric's birthday!  Can't believe my little powderpuff is 5 years old, but mostly that's because we've only been lucky enough to have her 2 years.  I hope we have her a lot more! They dogs all enjoyed sharing a doggie cupcake in celebration. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Burning through lives

Barney had another medical emergency this week.  When I went out to feed Tuesday morning he didn't eat.  That is not like Barney.  I checked him over and didn't see any obvious wounds or injuries.   Then I checked his bladder-it was not too big but was firm and he cried loudly when I felt it.  Obstructed.  Great.  Barney basically had the same problem Icy had last summer except  we didn't know because he's outside and we don't see what his bathroom habits are.  And, he's a boy cat so the crystals can form a plug and get lodged in the urethra making them unable to pee.  This is what had happened.

So he got to go into the clinic and get anesthetized so I could pass a catheter to relieve the obstruction.  Then he got some fluids, antibiotics and pain meds.  He is spending a few days in the house so we can make sure he continues to be able to pee.  Fortunately we caught this early and he was able to be treated with no complications so far.  The longer the problem goes on, the more severe the consequences.  Now we need to figure out the best plan to keep him from having another problem.  Icy is doing well with simply eating a quality canned food (not even prescription) but I don't really want to feed my barn cats canned food if I don't have to. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Lyric's weekend

Lyric's weekend was somewhat overshadowed by her sister qualifying for nationals but she also has some brags to share.

Lyric went 3/6 and picked up her 2nd QQ. She almost went 3/3 in jumpers with just an off course in a very tricky part in Sunday's run. She runs very hot and cold in standard. Friday and Sunday were relative train wrecks with a lot of letters on her scribe sheet but Saturday was awesome. I think I need to work some longer sequences and courses with her in practice to keep her speed, focus and enthusiasm up. Or maybe she's just a cute toy dog that runs when she feels like it. I think some of it is still stress over knowing the teeter or other obstacles she might not want to do are out there, because her jumpers runs are always so much better.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

From a shelter in Iowa

We did it!  Legend got the last of the points needed to qualify for AKC nationals this year.  This is my first time attending this event.  I'm so proud of my girl.  I never really considered that she might qualify for national events in two venues in one year, we go!  In two weeks to NADAC championships in Illinois and in the spring to AKC nationals in Reno.  For that one we are taking extra time off and making it a sight-seeing cross-country adventure.  If she finishes her MACH this year it's just icing on the cake!

And to think, all this from a little dog left at a shelter when she was just 5 months old.  Her whole life, if she was even going to get the chance to have one, hung in the balance until rescue came along to get her.   Adopting Legend didn't just save her life, it also changed mine.  So if you're wondering where to get your next dog, why not make a life-altering choice?  Adopt.