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Monumental A to Z High On Liberty

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year

May the new year bring you: 
comfort on sad days, 
laughter every day, 
true and lasting friendships, 
faith to lift you up, 
confidence when you doubt, 
the strength to know yourself, 
courage to accept the truth, 
and most important...           

         Love in abundance ~

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas

Gimme is all decked out and ready for the white stuff...
                   Let It Snow - Let It Snow - Let It Snow...


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Nosework (3/17), Agility and More

Gimme continues in her false pregnancy.  For awhile I thought it was going to pass without any real affect, but then we ran out of one of the two homeopathic remedies.  To make matters worse the store was out and it was 6 days before I found another place to get them.  So Gimme got a little needier during that time, but now that we are back with both remedies she is steadily improving.

Nose work class was at a local Home Depot.  The searches for the class were nothing special or even particularly challenging.  One hide 8 foot from the start line Gimme found in under 2 seconds.  To say she is fast is an understatement. 

This was our last class with Joyce.  I won't go into detail... just suffice it to say that the differences between her approach to training/instructing and what I would do is substantial in many ways.  No one who was present for the actual situation can really figure it out what made this particularly troubling to her.  I have my own thoughts, but they aren't really a proper topic for the blog.

In any case I have already found a class with another instructor and we start with her on January 6th.  Both of Dorothy's nose work dogs are fast, enthusiastic and confident like Gimme.  She has a number of students that are doing quite well and their dogs seem equally fast and confident.  Dorothy is well known and well respected in the nose work community.  Because she is used to working with faster dog, I think it will be a good match for us.  The only downside is that because so many of her student's dogs are fast - Gimme won't stand out like she has in the past.  She will just have to bring her game up to new levels, eh.

We also went to an agility fun run this week.  Gimme was very distracted for the first run in this totally new location.  The second run she was much better and the third run was nearly flawless.   I don't know if I've mentioned that Blynn is going to be teaching classes here every other Thursday night.  This will be wonderful for us and I'm very excited.  We are currently going every other week AND class in this location will cut an hour off our drive (each way).  I can hardly wait.

Plus Chris is going to start a two night a week agility handlers fitness drop in class.  I'm going to go at least once a week.  I think it will be good to have someone to be accountable for about fitness and weight loss.

Also after the first of the year I will be trying a new massage treatment for my foot called Gua Sha (pronounced gwa-shaw).  This technique is used to break up scar tissue and reduce inflammation.  While my plantar fasciitis has improved a lot with the new orthotics and better shoes, its not resolved and probably won't be until I lose some weight.  I can't lose weight without more exercise and can't get more exercise while my foot is so bad.  So I'm caught in a catch 22.  My chiropractor and I hope that Gua Sha treatment will help enough for me to get back to exercising like I was before.

Also after the first of the year (its going to be a busy and change-filled January), Gimme and I will be trying Barn Hunt.  We are going to Oregon on January 11th for a private lesson and group practice day.  Then we'll be doing four trials the last weekend of January.  I'll sign Gimme up for the instinct test both days, as well as two novice runs a day.  She already has a strong interest in all things rodent as evidenced by her fascination with enlarging the entryways for all the mouse holes on the Weir prairie where we walk.  So I'm sure we'll pass the instinct test.  Amy is pretty certain that we'll be able to get a novice title that weekend as well... Gimme needs to qualify 3 out of 4 novice runs.

We are 12.3 miles from our annual walking goal.  Gimme thinks we could/should do it all tomorrow.  I think we need to spread it out over several days.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Most Clever Girl

Gimme continues to be on-again-off-again with the false pregnancy.  One minute she is fine and seemingly normal, the next she goes all hormonal and fragile.  As a result, I haven't been doing much.  Basically we are sticking to our routine stuff.  Mostly walking (still have 19.5 miles to goal and 14 days to do it in) and our usual nosework and agility classes.

I'm taking an online course with Fenzi Dog Sports Academy called "Relationship Building Through Play".  Denise is known for her focus on play both as a relationship building activity and as a training tool.  While Gimme and I have things we do together that are fun, I wouldn't say we play as such, other than tugging and tossing toys.  Sadly Gimme is too weird and unpredictable right now to actually try any of the things I'm learning.  I don't want to risk her being spooked by something because of her hormonal state and the possibility of creating a permanent icky association.  So, I'm taking copious notes and will have to save trying things until she is back to normal. 

Meanwhile, Gimme is up to her usual smarty pants stuff.  Her nails have gotten a little long, so that they are clicking whenever she walks on linoleum (bad Mommy).  While on the computer I heard her nose at the gate to the kitchen, but I thought I had latched it and didn't bother to check.  When I finished what I was doing and walked toward the kitchen, I saw the gate was nosed open.  Gimme was in perusing the possibilities - walking around silent as a church mouse.  Apparently she has learned to walk silently so as not to attract attention.  Who knew she had the stealth gene.  I just never know what she'll come up with next...

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Nosework (2/17) & Agility Ketchup

Class tonight was about high hides.  Not something we really need, since Gimme is quite prone to going high.  In fact, I'll have to make sure our next practices include a lot of low hides to remind her they can be down there.

Joyce used a bunch of folding chairs and set the hides gradually higher and higher.  Then there was one on an upended crate, followed by hides on chairs on top of a table.  Gimme got them all just fine and her indications were lovely.

We have a very new dog in our class that is still on boxes and they meet before class, then he stays and does a couple searches with us.  Usually Joyce picks up his boxes between our searches.  I asked her to leave them down for one of our searches, while still keeping the hides on the chairs and such.  Joyce thought that was unfair and couldn't understand what I was trying to accomplish. 

I explained that I was testing to see if Gimme would/could refrain from box trashing just because they were there, while the odor was elsewhere. Joyce still didn't understand.  I explained its a test, it doesn't diminish her interest in containers.  I am simply checking to see where she is with the excitement of seeing boxes and having odor in the same area, but not in the boxes.  I wouldn't test if I didn't think she would pass - I don't set my dog up to fail.  If she failed, I would gently encourage her to leave them. 

As it turned out she did great.  Twice she went over to sniff a couple of them and I just let her satisfy herself that there was no odor there.  She left them on her own to look for odor elsewhere and did not even touch any of them with a paw.  I am completely happy with that.

Yesterday was agility and I didn't expect much.  Gimme is right at that hardest part of her false pregnancy - whelping any minute now.  She was very hormonal when I got home last night, but did pretty good in class.  The first round she was more distracted than usual, but the second round she was very focused.  I couldn't have been happier.

I have noticed over the last two classes that when we have problems with a sequence, I always assume it is my handling.  So I try it 2, 3, or 4 more times, tightening up the handling, before concluding its something Gimme doesn't understand.  Then I slowly take her through the sequence one obstacle at a time.  The next time I can do it pretty much at full speed and she nails it.  She is the quickest dog I've ever known about picking up things. 

Well, my girlie wants some Mommy-n-baby time.  When we got home she ran in the living room, grabbed her baby and jumped up on the couch.  Then when she saw me looking, she reached her paw out and patted the couch next to her - showing me where to sit.  It was so obvious, it was quite funny.  Your old maiden auntie couldn't do a better job of patting the couch to show you where to sit.

Anyway, she's been moaning and fussing the whole time I've been writing this... so I think I best tend her to little needy self.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Nosework (1/17)

We had class at Ursula's training building.  Good thing too, because its unbelievably cold out.  Its just 22 degrees and falling rapidly.  After class we met with Linda for a quick walk.  I still have to get in 35.25 miles before the end of the year to make my 500 mile goal.

Class was pretty good.  Our first hide was under a table edge, then after Gimme found it, Joyce set another one.  That second hide was under a chair pushed under the table, just three feet from where the first one had been.  That was a bit challenging for Gimme to sort out.  The third hide was in a bookshelf and in indicating it, a board fell down at her feet.  Gimme jumped away and then went right back in to make sure I knew where the odor was.

Our second search was all about corners.  We haven't done corners in awhile, so it took all the dogs a bit to remember to check them.  Gimme used to be really great about corners, but I can see I've kinda taken them for granted.

The third search presented a good challenge and a wonderful demonstration of thinking-Gimme.  The odor was under the back corner of a chair seat, with the chair pushed into the corner.  Gimme didn't have any trouble finding it, her dilemma was how to indicate it.  She could get her nose to the odor, but not her paw.  So her solution was to place her paw on the front top of the seat, then put her head underneath and put her nose right on the odor.  Then pop out and paw on seat, followed immediately by putting her nose on odor again.

To me that says she is really understanding what I want.  And more importantly, she is thinking about how to communicate to me where the odor is in the best way she can, using the tools at her disposal.  I was impressed that she chose to sequence the two parts of the indication, since she couldn't do them together, like usual.  I totally love my brilliant girl.