Titles Achieved to date...

Monumental A to Z High On Liberty
NW1, NW2, L1I, L1E, L1C, RATI, RATN, RATO, RATS, L1V, L2C, L2I, L2E, RATM,
R-FE/N, PKD-TL, PKD-N, ADPL1, ADPL2, TD, UWP, ADPL3, NTD, TKN, L2V and ADPL4...
26 and counting...


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Agility (4/5)

Class this week was not good.  I really expected it to be better than last week and in some ways it was.  It started out okay, but I found I couldn't keep Gimme focused and she seemed slow to me.  I felt like I was always ahead of her and pulling her along - which is definitely not our normal.  I knew there was something else 'off' during our first session, but didn't know what it was.

During the second session it was even worse and I realized what was different about the first session - it was the lack of connection.  Even when she isn't focused, I usually still feel connected to Gimme.  I can't explain the distinction, but I know it when I feel it.  During the second session, we struggled the whole time.  We'd get good bits but it wouldn't last.  

At one point Gimme came to me and needed a hug and reassurance.  I think she sensed how frustrated I was getting.  Blynn talked to me and said she thought Gimme was just working me and I shouldn't reward her with hugs.  I understand where she is coming from and we talked about it.  On the other hand, I know Gimme and I know when something is off.  

I thought it might have been because I gave her some rescue remedy before leaving home, to see if it would help with the car whining.  It did, but just a tiny bit.  I know a lot of people use RR for themselves and many people use it for dogs right before competing.  Still I also know the affect is highly variable, so I didn't discount the possibility it had a negative affect on Gimme.

On Friday I asked Tonya do animal communication with Gimme to find out what was wrong in class.  Among the many things they talked about, Gimme said about class "I wasn't myself" and "my hips hurt".  I didn't know what the first part meant, but was sure a bodywork treatment was in order. 

Tonya worked on Gimme today, doing both bodywork and energy work.  She did functional corrections from right behind her ears to her hips.  She also found a huge ball of dark/dirty energy around her belly and had to clear a chakra.  Right after the treatment, Gimme immediately went outside and peed a flood - I didn't know she had room for so much inside her.  Interesting, since her full bladder was the reason for the x-ray at the veterinary.  Gimme has been back to her usual self ever since her treatment.

Since its only been a few weeks since her last treatment, I've been trying to figure out why Gimme was so out of kilter when she really hasn't done anything out of the ordinary.  Then it occurred to me, perhaps this was all set in motion during the x-rays at the veterinary appointment.  It wasn't like there was a huge struggle, but she was very tense, resisting what we were trying to do and the x-ray table was very slick, so she was scrabbling for footing at times.  Plus the x-ray was of the area where Tonya found the dark/dirty energy and where the chakra she cleared was located.  

All interesting stuff.  I feel really fortunate to have Tonya so close to us. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Teaching "plop"

I decided after today's appointment, I want to teach Gimme some handling skills specific to veterinary procedures, to help her prepare for those kinds of experiences.  She was not happy about the x-ray and even with me taking charge, she was more anxious than need be.  Sure she bounced back - she IS resilient; still it didn't need to be so unpleasant.

I do have to say with her confidence around people, she isn't bothered by most stuff.  She licked peanut butter the whole time they were doing the blood draw - only pausing briefly in her licking when they actually stuck her with the needle, but not bothering to turn and see what they were doing.  Given what a drama queen she was the first time our vet took her temperature (at 9 weeks), this is huge improvement.  She was totally fine with the veterinarian's very personal exam.  She was a little curious about the vet tech who kept sliding a catch basin under her as she was peeing.  Gimme would turn to look at this weirdo, which would cause her business end to move sideways and no longer be over the basin.  She wasn't afraid, just didn't expect it.

Generally Gimme will let me roll her over onto her back, but mostly I really take my time and it always ends in a tummy rub and booby fluffling.  She even volunteers this position in the morning when she is sure I've waited too long to get up.  There is something about giving her a tummy rub and booby fluffle which wakes me up happy.  Smart Gimme - works every time.

Tonight I started free-shaping her to "plop".  It was a good way to get her started, if not totally effective.  She quickly started throwing "grape" at me (rollover).  It wasn't exactly how I intended it to go, but worked well to set me up to introduce a little hands on while bending over her.  I'd use my hands to interrupt the rolling and steady her on her side, while giving her a steady stream of treats.

From there I got down on the floor with her and lured her into "plop" position and then used a lot more hands on while she got her treats.  She got about 200 treats, so I'm sure the association is a good one.  This clearly falls under desensitization and counter-conditioning.

More than anything, I want her confident about the idea of getting into this position when I ask for it in any location and on any surface (whether or not its on a verbal cue) AND most important, for her to be comfortable and relaxed with whatever handling might need to be done.  

I'd love to hear what things you've taught your dog to help them prepare for veterinary procedures.  Feel free to share, eh.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Duct Tape

Today Gimme had her appointment with the reproduction veterinary.  As many of you know, I've been very clear about having no intention of breeding her, ever.  Its never been part of my plan and the plan hasn't changed.

Originally I'd planned to spay her sometime between 18 and 24 months - giving plenty of time for her growth plates to close.  My reason for not spaying her when the time came has to do with her dog-dog reactivity. I'd read some bitches are exposed to too much testosterone in the womb, which affects their brain development.  And, for those affected, spaying can make their reactivity worse because it removes the main source of estrogen and its temperament softening affect. 

Gimme fits the profile perfectly.  She marks more than any dog I've ever known - as many as 15 times in a 1 mile walk, over any other dog marks, but she also pees frequently in places where there is seldom any other dog marking.  When she is marking, she does so on three legs, aiming well off the ground.  When she is peeing, she squats to do so.  She is also pretty muscular, though she is not masculine in appearance. 
 
I thought I would just live with her seasons, in favor of her temperament, but as time goes on I have noticed a pattern which is presenting problems.  During the period of mothering following her false pregnancy she becomes hyperalert.  Her anxiety goes way up.  During this time we lose whatever progress we'd made in training related to reactivity since the last "weaning".  She effectively spends 1/3 of her life raising pseudo-babies (2 months for two seasons a year).  So while she has improved substantially from reacting at 60 feet down to 15 feet, our progress has stalled.  Following a weaning, I find it has bounced up to 25-30 feet.  Then we spend the next few months regaining the ground we lost, only to start all over again. 
 
I also notice her reactivity level closely follows a pattern related to her cycle and her estrogen level.  She is least reactive when she is in season (highest estrogen levels) and most reactive during the two months of mothering (lowest estrogen on the "whelping" date).  So this certainly supports my belief she may be one of the affected bitches.
 
I understand there are estrogen replacement therapies available, but I have concerns about the side affects with long term use.  And since spaying is a permanent change, its not like we can do the surgery and try ERT to see how it works and then reverse course if it isn't effective.  

Despite my teaching dog training, with a fair number of reactive dog clients, my very successful experience with another reactive dog of my own, and my own education for working with reactive dogs, I have not been as successful with Gimme as I had hoped.  She is four years old and we've been stalled for the last 18 months.  My goals for her are simply to be less anxious in the presence of other dogs and hopefully to be able to work/perform when they are around, without interacting with them.  This led me to conclude the two-steps-forward-two-steps-back nature of her cycle might be at the root of our plateau.
 
So it was suggested I should consult a reproductive veterinary who might have ideas to help us.   Her response was three options:

1. An herbal supplement for bitches with severe false pregnancies. 
2. Spay and try the herbal supplement to ameliorate any tendency toward male behaviors.
3. Spay her and put her on Prozac to mellow out her temperament and make her easier to work with. 

I was disinclined toward option 2 and 3 right away, because of the irreversible spaying.  Frankly I don't find her hard to work with and am certain we are well away from needing doggie Prozac.  So we were left with option 1.

Today we had our appointment and did a full medical work-up.  Gimme got a full reproductive exam, geriatric blood and urine panel and an x-ray.  Doc wanted to do the x-ray because Gimme's bladder was so full when we got there, so she was worried about potential stone blockage.  I wasn't worried, because I was sure Gimme had failed to take advantage of her time in the yard when I got home, since she knew we were going somewhere and was distracted.  She also "likes" to hold onto her urine so she has plenty to mark with when she knows we are going some place away from home.  However, given the prices she quoted (rather low for this area) I thought x-raying and knowing for sure was a good idea.

The x-ray and urinalysis came back normal.  There was a small cloudy area on the x-ray, but no stones of any size.  So now we have the supplement and have to wait until we get the blood panel results on Wednesday before starting her on it.  I hope it helps her, it would make a big difference for us.  So time will tell.

Gimme was not too happy about the x-ray.  The table was way too slippery and they tried to manhandle her into a down.  I took over and laid her down myself.  She still wasn't relaxed, but it wasn't a scary battle.  I was so glad I hadn't turned her over to experience this without me there.  She enjoyed all the PB she got for tolerating it.  She also enjoyed the fact they have a little tupperware dish of PB in every examining room, clearly her kinda place.  Gimme loved meeting everyone and was very generous with her kisses.  The vet loves her and thinks she has a fabulous temperament (toward people), very responsive and sweet, as well as being incredibly beautiful.

You may wonder why I titled this blog entry Duct Tape.  Its because its about fixing something.  And because I am trying a duct tape home remedy for a wart I have - so it was on my mind.  
☺☺☺

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Gimme's 4th Birthday

Naturally Gimme got special goodies to eat for her birthday, as well as a new toy.  Actually she got three new toys, but I've only shown her the one.  They are pretty much the same, just different colors, but were a good deal and looked like something the munchkin would like.  I guess I was right - here's a series of pictures representing just the first two minutes out of 2 hours of non-stop playing. 


This picture of just the toy I was only able to take while she was finally outside attending to business.


And just so you know.  I realize I said the other day if anyone wanted to send her surprise toys, I was willing to get her a third toy basket.  It occurred to me, I was forgetting a basket of toys on the shelf in the closet - so she already has 3 baskets.  We are about to break out into a fourth basket for her toys.  

I knew some of you would naturally be concerned for her welfare, so I wanted to 'fess up right away.  It is simply an inadequacy in memory cells, not toys...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Agility Videos (Apr 11th)

This video is taken from the first class after my finger first blew up and the subsequent stay in the hospital.  I was doing my best, having timed my pain drugs so I could drive to/from class.  Gimme was bothered by how hesitant I was, as I worried about what might "hurt". 

Something happened and the video for our first session was corrupted so early in the tape it wasn't worth editing.  Here's the second one.

It was okay, but not fabulous, I was slow and so  Gimme was not her little speed demon self.  Then Blynn had us work on a more efficient turn for the second jump.  It took a couple tries for Gimme to understand what I wanted, then she did well.  Then we fixed the rear cross on the flat after the aframe.  It was clear just how affected she is by how I am. 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Agility (3/5)

Tonight was most interesting and it started yesterday.  I'd noticed during a walk Gimme had the attention span of a gnat.  It took most of 3 miles to get her able to focus.  Later in the day she worked beautifully with me for two different training sessions, so at the time I didn't give it much thought.

Tonight in class - I swear, the lights were on and no one was home.  Usually when she is so unfocused, I can do the Give Me A Break game (from Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt) and it works beautifully.  However, it really didn't work for us this time.  I finally had her attention for a bit, but it didn't last very long.

She is in season, but its far too early to be "the day" where she loses her brain.  Of course, she's had odd seasons before and I notice she's already loosing her puffiness and showing almost no color, so perhaps this will be a shortie.  I'll know soon enough.

I decided for our second turn to just work on basic stuff to help her get focused.  I wanted to do something where I could reward a lot in a short period of time and I knew exactly what I'd try.  (I told Blynn ahead of time) 

Recently I discovered Gimme is very distracted when I train in the yard, despite being able to focus and train in other more distracting settings.  I think its because she has no expectation of training in the yard.  Thus Kathy and I have been talking about using a "set-up" to help Gimme know when I want to start training versus when I'm in the yard for other purposes.  So for the last four days I've been working on it.  I started in the house to make sure Gimme knew what was expected with no distraction.  Then I did it during walks and then a brief session in the yard yesterday.  It was one of the two beautiful training sessions we did.  

Tonight when I brought Gimme in for her second turn, we just started off doing "set-up" a few times.  Then I added a few steps of heeling.  Then added a wait and release to a jump.  Next thing you know I was able to do half the course with really great focus.  

The difference was like night and day.  I can't wait to show you the video's - I'll probably edit them together to highlight the difference. 

 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The New Toy

We heard about an inbound package from Gimme's Auntie Tana, a special giftie for getting her RATS.  Gimme immediately thought we should go check the mailbox before it got too dark.  She appreciates any gifties which come her way,  insisting she is supposed to get one a day and its my job to make sure she does.  Mostly I give her a dab of peanut butter and tell her its a "gift" and she seems to find this acceptable.  Thank God for peanut butter!

She never follows me to the mailbox, but did for a couple days, including the day the package arrived.  You probably think I'm exaggerating, but I really think she knows much more english than anyone is willing to believe.  I'll share two more stories below which demonstrate her comprehension.

When she saw I had a box, she was glued to me and watched avidly while I opened it.  I got the toy out and set it aside to see if there was a note on the back of the piece of paper.  Turned around just in time to see Gimme slinking out of the room with the toy.  

She slinky walked back and forth from room to room, then finally settled down to enjoy it once I stayed far enough away.  She carries it by the body and really seems to like the way the head hangs down in a convincingly dead manner. 
 
When she discovered the growler in the body, she played it up and down the body like corn on the cob, non-stop for about twenty minutes... until she finally wore out the growler.
After killing the growler, she discovered the squeaker in the head and proceeding to squeak it non-stop for half an hour.  Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeeeeeeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeeeeeeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeeeeeeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak, squeeeeeeak, squeak, squeak... you get the picture...
 
She finally laid down behind my chair with it still in her mouth.  If I turned to look at her, she thumped her tail and tensed up, prepared to make a run for it if I tried to take it.  She loves all her toys, but this is clearly her favorite of all time.  Of course if any of you want to send another toy and try to top this one - do feel free.  I can always get a third toy basket if necessary.  
 
Days later, she still guards it.  Not to suggest she wouldn't give it to me if I asked, but she is making it clear she wants to keep this one for herself.  Just sayin...

Of course a day later when Ted, the bathroom remodel guy, came over to bring me some refund money.  Gimme had to see him - she adores him.  Minutes later she went in the house and came out with her new toy to show him.  Wouldn't let him or I touch it, but she did trot around with it doing its convincingly dead looking head/neck flop.  Ted was appropriately congratulatory and this made her happy.  She can be quite the silly one.
 
So, to demonstrate her command of English.  Long ago she decided she didn't want to go in her crate anymore during the day - I told her she could stay out as long as she didn't make any messes.  About a week later I came home to find a piece of paper from the recycle bin shredded on the living room floor.  So the next day I made her go in her crate while I was at work.  She hasn't done it since, at least not while I'm gone.  Now if I'm home and she's really bored, she'll get a piece of paper out of the recycle bin and shred it in front of me to show me how bored she is.  We've both agreed this is different and hence okay.  When I'm not home shredding paper is mess-making, but when I am home, its communication.  She understands this entirely...
 
Another example - the other night I saw her heading for the bell for the umpteenth time of the evening, so I said, "don't even think about it".  She stopped just short of the bell and waited.  At least I assume this, since there's a piece of furniture in the way, so I couldn't actually see her.  About a minute later she backed into the room, looked to be sure I was paying attention, then very purposefully trotted over to the bell and resumed waiting.  She repeated this maneuver four more times, each time becoming more and more theatrical.  Then finally, she came back over, heaved a huge sigh of exasperation, rolled her eyes, hopped up on the couch and slumped into a down.  After a few more theatrical sighs, she finally went to sleep.

I am subjected to this kind of melodrama almost every day.


She often rings the bell on the front door for her own designs, not actually related to its intended purpose.  She rings it, then comes to see if I've noticed and am on the way to serve her majesty's demands.  She loves me, but recognizes I am severely limited in my skills related to the attentive-to-Gimme's-wants-and-needs department.  I'm sure you can well imagine what a terribly inadequate life she is subjected to.  

Sometimes I remove the bell for a time.  I learned awhile back she often rings it as a ruse to get me to walk away from the computer.  She dashes out the door, makes a 180 on the top step, then races back in to get a toy from one of her two toy baskets, insisting what she really needs is for me to play with her...  

She never fails to amuse.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Nosework (6/4)

Gimme got to do nosework wearing the dreaded panties.  As always, Dorothy had some great exercises for us.  The class was about inaccessible hides... in each case the odor was underneath the "thing" in a place where the dog couldn't get to it.

Our first run was beset with wardrobe malfunctions.  I tried repeatedly to figure out what was bothering Gimme, since she usually pays no attention, but this time there clearly was an issue.  When we finally got back to the car and I took them off, THEN I could see what the issue was.  The pad was set too high, too close to the tail hole, so it was tickling-poking-rubbing-or-something in her delicate area.  We fixed it for subsequent runs and then she was back to her usual self.  To her credit, Gimme was still trying to search even with that very distracting situation.  

Clearly better searching with her wardrobe functioning correctly.  The voice you hear in the background is my instructor, Dorothy.  She describes right off Gimme catching odor and then looking to see if I was getting the go toob out to reward her and since I wasn't, she moved on.  You have to be ready for it or you'll miss the very quick head turn.  I got the toob out and held it behind my back after that.  You'll note how much time she spends licking her leg after each reward.  I try to give her only a little bit so it doesn't take so long, but its so hot out, so a bunch comes out at once.

They moved the big box out into the parking lot, just to change up the search.  I was going to edit off the beginning of this short movie, but decided to leave it intact because I wanted you to see just how far away Gimme was when she first caught odor.  One moment she's trotting along with me, the next her head snaps forward and she's pulling me.  So neat to see.

This last search is three quick easily accessible hides.  It is very easy to "break" your dog's determination to get to source by doing too many inaccessible hides.  Remember when we did the inaccessible hides seminar?  Gimme didn't push to source for a good 9 months afterward.  So on the rare occasions when we do inaccessible hides Dorothy always makes sure we end with a series of readily accessible and fun hides.  

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Agility (1/5 & 2/5)

Gimme has done well in both of her last two agility classes.  She was in season and wearing the dreaded panties this last week.  I can remember for her first couple of seasons how she was so distracted in classes.  Now she has plenty of focus, Blynn even commented this week about how focused she was and right away from the first run.  Methinks we are making progress.

I have just gotten home from the Enumclaw barn hunt grounds.  I discovered I was VERY lucky to have missed the cut-off for mail-in entry.  We went at the crack of dawn today in hopes of getting in with a day-of entry.  I hadn't realized the trial was in conjunction with one of the biggest local area all-breed shows.  This one also sported agility and lure coursing.  If I'd known about the lure coursing, it might have been an option for us - I've been wanting to try it and it was in adjacent fields.

There were many things which made this trial unworkable for us.  First the parking was a substantial hike from the actual location of the barn hunts.  There is no way I could have left Gimme in parking there - way too hot and no shade.  With all the chaos, the hike to the barn hunt would probably have fried her little brain.  The other option would have been to crate her right at the barn hunt, which also would have been too much.

I do have to say, after nearly 4 years of being so enmeshed in meeting her needs, part of me is just amazed at what we ask of dogs for all breed shows.  Watching so many walk along with such composure, completely nonchalant, unaffected by the chaos - it was just an eye-opener. 

The trial site itself was nice for most dogs, but would not have worked for us.  There was no place for a separate "private" blind and Gimme could not have handled being in an enclosed 10x10 canopy space with four other dogs.  I also learned they didn't finish until 10pm last night, so clearly they've got bugs to work out.  

Its a shame really, its the only barn hunt site close to home - just a one hour drive.  All the others have a minimum of 2 hours driving, and many closer to 3 hours.  Ah well.  

I'll be looking over the calendar of events to see if there are any other barn hunts coming up.  The last weekend of September there's a trial in Brownsville, OR, just over three hours.  We have an element trial in mid-September.  I may bypass Brownsville, since there are two trials closer in October, St. Helens again and Newberg, both in Oregon, but much closer than Brownsville.  

So for now, start crossing your fingers for the nosework element trial September 21st.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Gimme RATS

We went to St. Helens, OR, for 4 Barn Hunt trials.  I came home with a new title and a tired dog.

I went down the night before after arranging a private lesson with the trial host to work through any issue Gimme might have after her injury in the tunnel at the last trial.  It was a very good thing I did.  My fee ended up being a "ring fee" more than a "private lesson", which was fine since I didn't really need any help.  It was a good thing I decided to do this, since Gimme started out unwilling to pass under a single bale of straw across two bales!  By the time we finished, she was happily doing a very tight tunnel with 6 turns.  She will never have more than three turns in Barn Hunt and will always have at least 18 inches, which is ample for her.  

After this session, Gimme was fine with tunnels all weekend.  Saturday afternoon she started in, then stopped and looked to make sure I was watching before continuing.  I guess she wanted to be sure I was ready to show my appreciation for her efforts.  I gave her loud and ample praise for every tunnel throughout the weekend.

Our first run was Saturday morning.  Gimme did a great job, finishing in 1:45.  She got First Place and I later learned she earned High in Trial Senior.  Yeah Gimme.

Our second run was in the afternoon.  Gimme finished in 2:40, for another First Place and her Senior (RATS) title.  I filled out the form to move up to Master for Sunday.

Neither of our Master runs on Sunday was successful.  In Masters, you will have between 1 and 5 rats (determined by secret random draw) and have 4:30 to find them all, do a tunnel and climb and then call your finish or clear.  The ring is bigger, as are the piles of straw bales.  Of course the big challenge is to know when your dog has finished searching.

For our morning run, it turned out we had three rats.  Gimme found the first one very quickly and then a bit later found another.  She didn't seem to be having any luck finding any more, though she never quit looking.  I am completely clueless on how much time I have left, so I called finish and learned there was one more.  The judge showed me where it was, so I could let Gimme find it and tease her with it a bit.  It was in a spot near the entrance, 2 bales high and Gimme really needed to work hard to get to it.  I remember she sniffed up there once soon after we entered the ring and then moved on.  I mentally dismissed it and never took her back to the area.  My mistake.

In the afternoon, we had two rats.  Unfortunately someone with two dogs followed right behind us as we came in the building to enter the ring.  I really should have told her to back off, since she was clearly violating the twenty foot rule, but I was focused on getting in the ring.  Gimme was focused on her dogs.  After I released her I repeatedly had to encourage Gimme to return to searching as she would see movements outside the ring and go to ringside to check them out.  We found the first rat, but it took what seemed like a very long time with having to redirect her.  Since we didn't find any more for awhile, I called finish and learned there was one more.  It was in a spot where she had been sniffing and then saw movement outside the ring (people), so she left it see if it was those dogs.  

There is a strong chance we could have Q'd this time, but for the careless attitude of another exhibitor.  I confess I really resent losing the Q, though of course, there is no guarantee we would have gotten it.  Maybe I'm spoiled by how careful everyone is at a nosework trial, still I find too many people at barn hunt are either clueless or inconsiderate or both.  It is annoying to have the same challenges in the sport as everyone else, plus an additional challenge -- avoiding or mitigating the stupidity of others.

Of course, at the end of the day, I still get to go home with the best dog there.  And just so you know... this was Gimme's 6th title this year.  Yeah for the Hottie Spottie...

Friday, August 8, 2014

Nosework (4/4) & (5/4)

Just a quick note about recent nosework classes.

Last week we arrived and Dorothy had set up a ten large tables with chairs.  They hosted a seminar over the weekend and these had not yet been returned to the rental company.  Two tables were flat on the ground, one on its side in the corner and one on its side near the threshold.  Plus all the students were sitting in among the tables.  It made for a very busy search area.  We did three searches.

Twice we had one hide very near the threshold under the edge of a floor mat, with a fan blowing directly across it.  There was a table aligned with the fan about ten feet away.  This set up was used for two of the three hides.  With the table in the corner, odor was placed on legs for the first search and then behind in the tight corner space on a cart.  Other hides were moved around to various places in the room. Gimme did great with all these searches.  She blasted by the threshold the first time and then came back to find it.  The second time I remembered to just stand there for ten seconds and she came right back to find it.  The table in the corner didn't present her with any difficulty - she's never been concerned about tight spaces.

Our task was to remain quiet until after/as we rewarded to get rid of any unintended marker words.  NACSW is marker phobic when it comes to their training - I've never gotten a satisfactory explanation for their concern.  The concern here was not about markers per se, but rather from unintended marker behaviors from the handler when they know where the hide is (such as reaching for treats) or from the observers.  These can be a problem if the dog learns to rely on them and then doesn't get them at a trial.

This week the search was along the front of the building in the shade.  Dorothy had set up five full water bowls and odor was submerged in one of them.  Other hides were in various places, including a good channel hide. We did two searches along there, including one very high inaccessible hide.

Gimme did a double-take at the odor in water, but then left it to search elsewhere.  She later came back, checked again and then gave me a puzzled look which said, "I know what I smell, but it just can't be".  The second time she was quicker to indicate it.  All of the dogs seemed to mistrust their noses when it came to the submerged hide.  They all came back to find it, but Gimme was the only one who didn't need the help of being rewarded for getting close.  She really seems to prefer to figure out things on her own and certainly has the confidence to do so without getting deflated.

For the last search, we each defined a small search area and set a hide.  The most challenging hide turned out to be mine, buried under a pile of leaves next to a curb.  The breeze kind of skips up the curb and takes the odor onto the grass.  Gimme has done this type hide many times in practice, so it wasn't hard for her.  The other dogs struggled.

Gimme and I are leaving for a Barn Hunt weekend, as soon as I get the car packed.  Because of what happened last time with her head smacking in the straw bale tunnel, I got her treated earlier this week. Tonya said Gimme's neck was very badly stuck - it took her a lot of effort to get it moving again and it was rather painful, so Gimme was not what you would call "cooperative". 

I'm so glad I thought to do this.  I learned a long time ago Gimme does not show pain until after it becomes a deep seated issue, which was what happened with the loin issue, caused by her jumping off a 12' cement pylon.  She didn't show anything from her escapade until almost 9 months later, by which time it took 4 treatments to get it corrected and its still likely to need attention now and then.

So we are heading down tonight and I've made arrangements to have a private training session at the trial site.  I want to work through some simple tunnels and gradually transition to more challenging ones.  Gimme needs to know to go slower with these advanced tunnels and their multiple turns; which also make it darker inside.  Plus I want to restore her confidence in tunnels, so she doesn't think they are all broken.

Cross your fingers for us.  I'd like to come home with a new title.