Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Off to 2009 World Team Tryouts or Bust

whoo hoooo, I am all packed and ready to go on my weekend get-a-way. YIPPIE!!! No unfinished bathrooms, no flooding in the hall way threatening to make our hall way a duck pond, no dealing with my car getting fixed from the accident.
Sooo do you want to know where I get to go??? I am soooo excited, I am heading to the 2009 AKC World Agility Team Tryouts. I was lucky enough to have Alicia ask me to go and I have appointted myself to be Pickles Support Staff. Pickle is amazing and I am really looking forward to seeing his runs with Alicia, and there will be a lot of other really great people that I am really looking forward to watching.
It promises to be very exciting, I have not flown in ages and ages, and I have to leave the house at about 1:30, drive to Alicias and then we will head to the airport to catch our plane around 6 am. YIKES, I am a little nervous about that. When we get to Minnesota we will head over to the venue where there will be practice sessions, then there will be the draw for the run order. Saturday and Sunday will be the runs. www.agilityvision.com -you can pay for live streaming of the event and they will sell DVDs of most of the runs-which is how I watched the tryouts last year, but this year I AM GOING LIVE! hahahahaha. I will try to get lots of pictures!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lizzie-A new place, new dogs, and some fun agility



Today was the Fun Run Books fun runs locally to help collect books for the local group that goes into the schools and libraries and helps kids learn to read by having them read with specially trained dogs. A good cause, a nice day, and some agility what could be better? Little Lizzie run with Alicia today, and this is the dog that last summer could not attend a class because she would zoom off, she could not go to a new place off leash and some days it was hard to get a few jumps in a row. So today, a new place, new dogs, a lot going on, and running with Alicia and she was terrific. When we got to the place Lizzie got out of the car and was in the street, and can you believe this little angel (well, maybe not an angel....LOL) came back the minute she was called. She is really growing up to be such a good girl. It is cute because she LOVES Alicia, she loves to play agility with her. Lizzie is a really fun dog to run especially now that she is so into the game. She is really coming together nicely. I can not wait to see what a couple more months is going to bring!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Friends

My younger daughter is at a hard age. Her older sister and the girls they play with love to play video games all the time. My younger one gets bored so she has taken to taking Cherry out to play with her. They are pretty good friends. They could both sit and throw the ball all day long. Cherry sits and watches tv with her and follows her everywhere, it is very cute. My daughter saved her allowance money for a chuck-it because Cherry slobbers the ball so much, LOL! Cherry had a FHO on her leg at about 7 months because she broke the top of her hip, and I am thinking it looks like she is not putting as much weight to push off on her rear leg lately. I had not been as good lately about doing the balance ball exercises and the sit to stand things, we have been doing more jump training things, so maybe that has to start again-but I think I am going to go through old videos and check it out. I was on the OFA site looking around and Cherry's OFA score is there, she is rated as "fair" on the non affected hip. Playing ball will have to do for Cherry for exercise today..she is going to miss her class because I can not fit all three dogs, and two girls in this tiny little rental car.
video

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bathroom Redo-take 2-non dog related


Well, I tell you when it rains it pours. Literally. A few weeks ago I redid the bathroom, whooo hoo, and it looked gorgeous if I do say so myself. So after I carefully picked out some pretty accessories and came up with a theme, after I carefully painted the whole thing, scrubbed and detailed everything and was finally happy with that bathroom....the bathtub sprang a leak. YEP, so the carpets got all water soaked down the hall way and into the living room. So that meant several visits by the plumber until the problem was finally diagnosed. I must say the plumber is VERY pleasant but I would much rather shoot the breeze with him in a social situation. So at this point we need to replace the bathtub, the carpet, and parts of the moldings. OK. We find a bathtub, and of course almost all of them were 30 inches and we needed 32-so the only 32 inch one that was in store was twice the price, of course, LOL. Today is the day that they pulled out the old fiberglass tub surround and put in the new tub. When they were trying to put the new tub in they had to pull the old tub surround out and to get the new tub in they had to cut a LOT of wall board/plaster out, and a huge hole in the hall wall behind the tub and they had to pull off all the moldings around the door-so add that list to the things that will have to be replaced. In my bathroom I found a toilet 3/4 full of glass because some of my little glass vases had fallen off the wall and broke in the toilet, so I got to fish little glass shards out of the toilet. Talk about a mess. To tell the truth usually when knick-knacks break it is not that bad because it is hard for me to get rid of things and this way some things are purged, it is just fishing them out of the toilet that was a bummer, LOL. Poor dogs spent the whole day in their crates or stuck in the back yard. So at the end of the day I have a pretty new unstained tub that will hopefully hold water, and it is deeper-YIPPIE. I have some beautiful walls of studs and insullation so we can not use the new tub and I have dust everywhere. I am so happy I redid the bathroom a few weeks ago, guess it will just go faster when the walls are patched, the tile goes in, and I can redo it all again. Of course I will be happy WHEN it is all DONE, but it is sure a mess today! The kids are pretty upset that there is a big hole in the wall so there is a nice view of the toilet from the hallway, LOL, so they had to rig up a cover to make sure no one looks!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

OUCH!!!!


After the trial in Pearblossom we were heading home on a stretch of road that is a pretty dangerous stretch. Lately I travel that a lot because it is the way I have to go to get to my agility class in Acton, and how I get to a lot of the fun runs, and things we do like that.

So on the road I see this huge motor home, one of those that is basically the size of a bus, and he is hauling a big, huge trailer like the ones that haul ATV's. Several times this yahoo tried to pass me and another car and a big gas tanker over a double yellow line. I thought to myself, this guy is going to kill someone.

A couple of miles down we got to town and a big intersection, the light turned yellow a way before I reached the intersection, so I stopped right as the light turned red. I felt a HUGE crash, and you guessed it-I think this yahoo had seen the yellow light and floored it to sail through the intersection, and he slammed right into my rear end.

Luckily he tried to go around and he hit about half of my back end and they scooted along the side of my car. It took him all through the intersection and then almost half a block to stop with all the weight he had and how fast he had been going.

I got over to the side of the road and this guy was yelling and swearing about how he could not believe that I stopped-I kept telling him, you mean that I stopped at a RED LIGHT, before a busy intersection???

As soon as I got out of the car I realized I had Liz and Breeze in crates in the back of the car right where the impact had been. Breezes side had been hit from behind and on the side of her. The whole back was smashed and there was no way to get in the car and I could not even see the dogs but I could see their crates were just full of glass. Finally a lady started helping me rip things out of the car and we yanked and pulled the crates until we could get the dogs out. I felt so bad for them, while we were pulling they were sliding and the glass just kept raining down on them.

Thank heavens they were in crates, the windows were all gone and they were freaked, there was heavy traffic, and if they had panicked and ran into the street-it would not have been a good ending. As I was digging to get to them all I could imagine was finding them all cut up or smashed and dead-you know where your mind goes in such instances.

Thank heavens for good friends, my friend Collette dropped everything and ran to my aid so she could take the dogs home for me, I did not know how I was going to get them home. Alicia went to get my stuff from the trial because I had left my whole set up and knew I would not have transportation to the trial the next day. I had double staked my easy up because it was windy, and poor Alicia had to deal with that whole mess.

It could have been so much worse, luckily I did not get hit or hit anyone when I got pushed into the intersection and the dogs were ok, I had crates to contain them because it took a long time until the police were done with us and if the guy had hit us more squarely with how big that thing was and how fast he was going, it probably would have been a different story. Even the fact I left the easy up, that does not fit that well in the car and is always sort of hitting my head or shoulders, gosh if that had gotten pushed up into my head, that would not have been good.

ONE LESSON LEARNED: I am getting crates for the car that open on both ends. Mind open on one side, the back by the tail gate and then on the side, but if I could have opened the back, I could have got the seats down and then got to the dogs a lot easier.

So the picture is just a small part of the damage, it is the back corner of the car where Breeze was-check out how it could twist and pull apart that metal, YIKES, imagine the forces that can do that!

I missed the second day of the trial because I couldn't get there and I really wanted to run Breeze after the great run we had had, but.... luckily there will be a next time.

NADAC trial in Pearblossom

We had a trial in Pearblossom-a NADAC trial that was chosen because they allow some training in the ring. Originally a bunch of people from my agility class were supposed to come, but unfortunately no one ended up being able to come except for Denise and Kody-who did wonderfully and got their novice jumpers title-but ran right before Breeze and Liz so she got gate guard duty for Liz's run and there was no one to video any of our runs. It was really neat to see Kody and Denise who are both new to agility do so well.

So I will have to recap the action with no video proof to back up what I say, LOL!

First run: Chloe-standard novice.
This run was going to be a shoe in for Chloe to get her last leg to get the standard title to go with her novice jumpers. I entered FOUR standard runs figuring I could move up or not run the last two. OOOH well, so much for such plans. The course was VERY EASY, and very straight forward, and I felt very confident and had no trouble making my plans. Chloe has done agility for a long time so this should have been a piece of cake.
HUMMM...what went wrong??? Who knows? Maybe it was the heat, she hates the heat and it was very hot, maybe she hasn't run that much lately? Maybe I did contacts with her just ran her over the Aframe and the dog walk once in the morning before we went because it has been awhile since she did the contacts.
So the course was two jumps to a tunnel that was under the Aframe. The angles were nice so the Aframe was not meant as a real trap.....but it was a great one for the Chloe who always remembers the last obstacle that got her treated and always runs after those. So we go over the two jumps and I go way deeper then I would have to show her the tunnel, I am telling her "tunnel, tunnel" and she sort of backs up and makes a sharp turn to catch the Aframe. Yep, she had to work for that, LOL. Of course the run went downhill from there. I knew we had NQ'd so I decided to just run for fun, I directed Chloe to the tunnel, then over the nice two jumps to the weaves. A really nice little sweeping angle, a very easy entry, a real no brainer. Well, Chloe jumped in at the third pole, and started her weaves. So I put on my cheery, happy voice, at least that is how that voice sounds to me and called her back. Chloe stopped cold and looked at the poles and then looked at me, like I do not know what these are, then tried to dive in at the third pole. I said, Chloe lets move on, and headed for the last of the course which should have been a jump, then the tunnel and her beloved Aframe to two jumps and then to the blessed EXIT where it could all be over. Well, Chloe jumped one jump turned her head and saw a jump that was on the way to the entrance and she was out of there. YIKES! Then I was all thrown so I was going to head out the entrance, because it was right there and I just wanted to get out, well, I didn't realize the leash was on the other side of the field and you never leave without the leash (I had thought I would sneak out, carry her over to the other side), well, I really, really, really ticked off the judge for that. OH well. The worst part was that they just changed the course and run it backwards, so as soon as we got out of the ring it was time to walk the next run.

So the next run went beautifully, Chloe was not her most happy self, a little slow, but doing OK. We got to the second to last obstacle which was a TUNNEL, right next to the Aframe, and do I need to say what happened? I went right up to the tunnel and really tried to block the aframe, Chloe ran around me to make sure she got the Aframe. So our titling dreams were out the window for the day.

Third run was a run with Breeze.
OMG!!!
BAD THINGS:
she ran around the first jump so we did not Q, although we had enough time I could have ran her back and started over, I saw a few people do that, but....that is not my style.
GOOD THINGS:
SHE HELD HER START LINE-she was a ROCK. We have had so much trouble just recently and we have been working on that pretty hard, the rest of the run was a success no matter what happened.
Where Breeze has been sometimes going to a tunnel and she stops and waits until I get up there and really help her in, she went over a jump that I rear crossed, she read the rear cross-a soft cross that sometimes is a little harder for her, but she glanced at me and then I said TUNNEL and she dived right in. The last three jumps were a LONG line of jumps and Breeze likes to go over two and look at me, do a few turns, then figure out what to do, but none of that on Saturday, she hit those jumps and drove to the last jump.
The excitement of the trial only seemed to make her better.

SO GET THIS, We did not Q but Breeze completed the jumpers course in 16.11 seconds or 6.39 yards per second, the fastest time in the trial.I went to look at her time because I was curious as to how fast she can actually run when it is timed and when I walked in before I said anything the girl at the computer said That is one FAST border collie! LOL, then I looked at the time and I realized, she is fast! Just sort of fun when my biggest problem used to be would we make time?


The greatest thing is that this whole run built my confidence up a lot, Breeze was running fast, and there was a lot of ground to cover but I did not feel rushed and I didn't feel panicked at worrying about how to get where I needed to be. It was a nice, really easy flowing course, so not a huge challenge but things fell together for us.

Fourth run-Lizzie's run
Remembering who Liz is, we met our goals there. This is the first time Liz had been to this location. This is the first time Liz has worked without food or treats. We had to go pretty quickly between Liz and Breeze so there was not a lot of time for connecting. Liz completed like six jumps. Liz held her stay, started when I released her, completed two jumps, got a little spacey and wild eyed and raced around the next jump, so I got her back and we did two or three more jumps, the spacey eye returned and I knew I had to get her to do something and then make it my idea to leave. So I got Lizzie over two jumps in a row and knew it was time to Quit. I called Liz, and picked her up and carried her out. I hated to do that because I do not usually carry her and I did not want her to think she was a bad girl, but with no treats and no cookies I was not sure I could keep her with me to the gate and I did not want to end with any type of zoomie.

Friday, April 17, 2009

To windmill arms or to not windmill? Seems that would be an easy decision.

So the consensus is that I am screwed big time, excuse my French, but I may be in a lot of trouble in our trial this weekend, LOL. So last night we had a great private lesson with Alicia, but...it has become clear that Chloe the sheltie is not a border collie, and vice versa. So....doing rear crosses, and Chloe runs pretty much with all rear crosses, Chloe has to have wind mill arms or she doesn't understand it at all and whirls and twirls when I try to change sides. The border collies can not have arm movements with the rear crosses or it totally throws them off and they think I am signaling to go somewhere else. I am doing good to remember to run, so I think when I am running all three dogs this weekend it is going to be a mess. How is that for positive thinking? LOL. Then we hit the border collies. Liz is a haul butt type of dog and she jumps flatter, she is all about speed and just figuring out how to collect and gather up her body is hard for her just lately. I really have to get her attention very early and really work at keeping connected and letting her know everything really early because she just commits every bit of her being to where she is going. Liz slams into my knees if she really wants to get somewhere and let me tell you she feels like a freight train. She is like running a race car. Breeze on the other hand is so handler focused and sensitive to any movement that she does excellent rear crosses, I do not need many verbal cues at all, if I slow down a little or quit driving in the least little bit or cue things too much too early then she will just stop dead in front of a tunnel or pull off something she is practically launching for. So just running those two dogs is weird switching from one to the other.

My one happy thought for this weekend is that our start line stays were very nice in our practice last night. Breeze is holding her start BEAUTIFULLY, and a good thing because there are those horrendously long lead outs to run one of those courses. Breeze was even not running around the first jumps, YIPPIE, so hopefully that all holds up over the weekend. Liz on the other hand is keeping her stay-she has always been pretty good about that but she is going around the first jump now. I do not plan on Q'ing with Liz, if she stays with me for 3 jumps then we are going to be a success, so guess if she goes around a jump it is not a big deal.

So just a funny thing I saw last night--Liz is starting to do the border collie thing on the start line trying to move while holding her stay. I had never seen it, but last night I asked Alicia to try a sequence with Liz and so I was watching and Liz keeps her elbows down but her little butt keeps raising and she is trying to figure out how to scootch. Both of my dogs do a down at the start line. It is obvious that to Liz the start line criteria is to keep the elbows down, her and I have had that discussion before when she thought laying down might be the body sort of down and half way on her front legs, so I explained the elbows must touch the ground and apparently she got that part, LOL. I might not find this so cute and funny in a few weeks, but I thought it was so cute last night. She is really getting into the game, and I will have to put a stop to this now, but.....So the other funny thing is that Alicia held the dogs last week so we could concentrate on the sequence and not the stay....apparently on the start line both dogs get so excited waiting to go that they actually sit and hold their breath waiting for the release.

So I thought I would put a link to this video that probably everyone has seen a thousand times, but watching Liz trying to creep made me think of this video.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I have a good review for Lupine collars!

http://www.lupinepet.com/

whooo hooo Lupine collars! Breeze has been getting way over the top and way too excited about agility, while she is in the crate and it is someone else's turn to play. Her latest problem trick has been to grab what ever she can get ahold of and drag it into her crate and chew it with the displaced frustration from not getting to be the lucky doggie to play agility at that moment. Do NOT get me wrong, I love her enthusiasm and I am very happy she likes to play agility with me, but we have had a fair amount of damage. So last week I bought some thin wood to put around the crates in the car and I moved things so they were not in reach of the crate and thought I had the whole thing totally puppy proof. I got back from running Liz at the fun run and found one of my favorite leashes in six pieces. DURN! Anyway, I thought I remembered that Lupine had a guarantee, and it is cute on their web site it says that they can not help you with the table leg your pup tears up, but they can help you out if your leash or collar gets chewed. So they say that you can mail the sad leash to them and with in 24 hours they will send you a new one, and they cover the postage back to you, or you can bring it to a store. So I went to the local feed store where I bought the leash, no receipt-just a sad story and chewed up leash parts and they said go get another one. End of story, how easy was that. Now just to figure out how to Breezie proof the back of the car, LOL. I think I am going to work on getting everything out of her reach-although I thought I had already done that, and then carry around some stuffed kongs. Perhaps I can get her to get addicted to grabbing and chewing her frustration out on them. I will let you know if that works.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Almost ready for a real trial, Yippie!

Today we went to a show n go, and by George, it went pretty well. I deceided today to think about the things that went really right....
1. I was smart enough to do the novice course, so my baby dogs would be successful, and since we have our first trials coming up a little confidence building and seeing how we would do on the type of course we will be doing sounded like a good idea.
2. I remembered to train my start line (well...except one time I let her go when it was really questionable if the release or the start was first....OK, I admit I think the start definately beat the release...) Anyway, in Breezes family there are a lot of jokes about it being genetic that all the dogs in that line have trouble with start lines because her dad has trouble so it has to be genetic. As much as I would like to blame it on genetics -which would of course mean it is not my fault.....I am thinking I am going to have to be really consistent because she used to stay pretty well but as Breeze is getting more excited about running agility the start line is really getting bad. So today I went back when ever someone wasnt running and did a start line, sometimes releasing her to a ball behind her and sometimes going back and sometimes letting her go.
3. We were at a place that we have been to once before-but definately not a place that is familiar to Liz, and there were a lot of different people, and lots of good smells but Liz did not run off once. She thought about it, but she didnt. Liz even ran with Alicia today and did amazing. We almost got through the whole course, there were a few runs around the outside of the tunnel-who knows why she will do that sometimes, but basically Liz really looked like an agility dog out there. Liz was actually thinking and it is amazing that at this point in time it is like every time Liz goes out to do agility it is more fun for her and more rewarding. Even more rewarding -dare I say it?-more rewarding then running off and the feeling fast movement gives her.
4. Breeze looked awesome physically and looked as sound as can be. She is jumping 16 and will probably do preferred, but she looks good doing it, and Liz is looking awesome jumping at 20 or 22-even though I think she will measure out where she could do 16 because she is a tiny girl.

So I think we are just about ready for Breeze to actually give an AKC trial a go, and none too soon, because we have an AKC trial scheduled and there is a NADAC trial next weekend. Still lots to train but todays show n go actually went pretty well.

After the show n go we went to the beach. Next time it will be Breeze's turn to get her beach video, but I just took one dog down at a time-Liz went first and by the time I brought down Breeze-who went with Hunda and Moose-I didnt bring down the camera so I could play with the doggies too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Renee -you have inspired us and we will miss you

Over time, our little class in Acton has become like a little agility family. We have had basically the same little group for a long time, no one ever misses class and everyone has always been very supportive of each other. It is the type of class where everyone notices that this week this dog did better at staying with their person, or look how fast so and so is going this week and it is the type of group that tells the other people when they see these things. It is just a good feeling to have the same stable little group that comes together to share a mutual interest/activity. I can honestly say I do not feel any sort of nasty competition or anything like this in this class. It is really a neat little corner of the world every Thursday.

One member of our class that has had a definite impact on all of us is our friend Renee. Renee came to class last summer right before I got to substitute teach for the summer. Since Renee joined our class she definitely made a place for herself in our family. Her little poodle Promise is a tiny little curly, springy little dog that can be prone to running off if she gets stressed or is not sure what to do, not unlike my Lizzie, and she had a fear of the teeter so Promise, Renee and I would spend a little time each class with my liver worst treats we saved just for the teeter and Renee and I would work on the teeter. Promise had not quite concurred the teeter, but definitely had got to the point of playing and having fun on the teeter. Renee never game up, she plugged along each week. When everyone wanted to enter the NADAC trial a few months ago, Renee was right there. She really wasn't concerned that their performances were not perfect yet, and she didn't seem at all nervous- she was just always ready to try anything.

I received a call this morning to tell me my friend and class mate Renee had died. Renee will leave a definite mark on me and I hope I will be able to use her inspiration to make me a better person. Renee was 78 years old, and the last time I saw her she gave me a hug and said 2 more days!!!! I knew what that meant because she had been giving me a countdown for the last three months about how long it was until her official retirement. Up until just a few days before her death Renee worked, she boarded dogs, she did in kennel training and she did agility. Renee was always ready to try something new, she was always ready to jump in, and when she wanted to do something I never saw her worry or hesitate. Renee was a remarkable woman and lead a remarkable life. It is just so hard to wrap my mind around the fact that she will not be there this afternoon, driving up in her green van with Promise sitting next to her. She loved Promise her poodle deeply and Promise loved her and I feel so bad for Promise, Renee's family and her other dogs.

I am torn -feeling somehow glad for Renee that her end was quick and she did not have to deal with lots of health issues and that she could be active until the end, because I know that was important to her. I feel so sad that we did not have any notice so we could say goodbye or be somehow prepared.

I hope Renee somehow knows that she has touched our lives and we are the better for it. I will miss you Renee and I know there will definitely be a big hole in our little agility family.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Keep it Simple Stupid

On 4 dog craziness blog she mentioned a shirt she had seen, I think it was a shirt with the saying on it, GREAT DOG, SLAP THE HANDLER, LOL. Alicia gave me a shirt that says RUN FAST-THINK FASTER, LOL. I think both of these things sort of sum up our current difficulties. I used to be able to walk a course and usually pick a pretty good path to take. I used to just go by what "felt" right and it usually was. So lately I have learned a ton and am trying to think about angles, and tight lines and leads the dog is on and converging lines. Of course then I end up using converging lines when I just need to run straight and running straight right along the line I should converge with, and yanking my dog around and giving them impossible angles. YIKES! I just do not have the confidence and seem to keep pulling out the wrong tool at the wrong time. Then when I run Chloe I plan a great course and about half way through I figure out that the border collies could have done that but it was not a good sheltie option. Breeze and I are still getting our timing down and one day Liz wants to be right next to me and the next day she wants to sail wide and when I move close it really pushes her away. A few times I have thought up some pretty rinky dink things and then when I see a nice straight path I feel like slapping myself in the head and saying "I should have had a V8". So after this weekend where I had set up a really bad angle for my dog where I am really thinking I could have hurt her.....I deceided to handle things like how I usually handle them -I fished out all my old Clean Run magazines and any videos that I thought might give some magical answers to my current brain disfunctions! The one thing that just slapped me in the face in my "research" was a statement from Kathy Keats in her Walking the Course DVD. She said something to the effect of "don't make things too complicated!". Humm, interesting. So along with trying to settle down and have more fun again, and maybe try to listen to myself and what feels right more and quit trying to second guess myself all the time. Lately I just look at a critical handling area-as Deanna would call it-and I freeze up trying to think which things should apply in this situation. Alicia also said I should start walking the path of the dog and paying more attention to that again-I know that but I wonder why I do not go to that first?. Hope some of that works and I really hope all this starts gelling together or we are going to be in some pretty serious trouble because we have trials coming up!
video

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Training Hard, Playing Hard


Lizzie continues to get more and more excited, faster and more focused each time she works on agility now. I used to worry about keeping her calm and controlling her excitement but now we are trying to teach her how to handle it and I am getting more comfortable with it. One of the really neat things that Alicia was showing me in our last private was how to take Lizzie, or Breeze and grab their collar and get them reved up and focus the energy on what they are trying to do when they are having trouble. When they are focused on what we are going to do and actually pulling me toward it, and the drive is really high, then I let them go. For instance in the weaves when they come charging at them but are so excited they are half way down the line of poles before they focus on them, and of course by then totally miss the entrance. I have to say....it is really a rush running a dog that is really excited and loving agility.

Cherry got to run at class and boy she was really amazing. I am seeing her FHO affecting her running a bit, when she does any sequences in a circle like say to the left, she can do a nice tight circle of jumps, but when she goes to the right then it really widens and she really has to fight to stay on the line and is way wider. I wonder if that is going to change as she gets more experience and builds up even more? When she gets like that her jumping looks a little worse too, maybe she just isn't used to using her body like that and while other dogs might just start using their bodies like that she is forced to use things she hasn't used before??? It will be really interesting to see how that changes/or doesn't change as time goes on. Cherry was a crack up though in class because she would finish a sequence and just run away right to the weaves and do the whole set out there by herself, I was trying to walk off the course but where is Cherry, she is running the opposite way toward the weaves, LOL, she really loves the weaves!

On Saturday we went to a Pay and Play which was a GREAT opportunity to use a nice field with different equipment. Liz did amazing although she was way more distracted then usual and almost ran off for a zoomie run, but she didn't totally check out so she did great for her. Breeze is looking good and seems to be staying sound, so I think she will be ready for her first AKC trial in May and her NADAC trial in just two weeks. Alicia let me run with Pickle for a small sequence-and OMG, talk about feeling like I was driving a NASCAR race car, geeze louise, Pickle is so fast and so powerful and he just reads things so well, it is such a neat feeling because Pickle just knows his job so well it just feels so much like a dance, it actually felt so much easier then it did with my dogs, and afterwards when I ran with Liz I knew how it was supposed to feel so it really helped. Running with Pickle sure made Liz more focused about running with me, she really remembered how much she liked to run with me after watching me work with Pickle, LOL, a little jealousy can be a good thing. The only really bad part to the day is I planned my one course and just totally missed the boat on how to handle one part of a sequence. You know it just feels like I used to be a lot better with my plans for a run and lately I sometimes miss things that when someone shows me just seem so obvious, it is very frustrating and then I get all worried and get the tunnel vision thing going on where I do not see all the options. That makes me feel really nervous about our first trials coming up.

After the Pay and Play we headed to the beach. This was Lizzie's and Breeze's first beach experience. Pickle showed Lizzie the ropes and how to play in the ocean and I was shocked at how fast she was rushing into the waves and acting like she went playing out there every day. Breeze and Hunda were a little more cautious about the waves, but they loved them too. We did see a hurt sea lion on the beach before some rescuers came to get him-of course Liz felt she could handle the situation by herding him back to the sea herself-she was pretty bummed I made her stay away from the poor guy. After we had worn the dogs out we stopped at a great place for Fish and Chips, then topped out the day by stopping at a road side stand for some super good fresh strawberries to take home. It was really such a beautiful day, such a beautiful place, it was just so relaxing, the company was so good, and watching the dogs all have such a good time, it was pretty close to a perfect day.