Click on any photo on this page to enlarge, click again to shrink
Can you believe this is the
Well, it's finally here,
2016 Short Term Goals
2016 Long Term Goals
- Earn a Q in Open agility
- Earn an open agility title
- Get to level 4 in all CPE agility categories
- Earn a top 10 spot in NOHS Weimaraner placings
- Earn a Q in Novice Obedience
- Breed Corky successfully and finish out 2016 with her STILL being pregnant
- Earn a Congress Top 5
- Have a healthy foal out of Corky
- Compete at the Excellent level in agility
- Break into the top 20 in AKC conformation (Weimaraners)
- Earn a C-ATCH in CPE Agility
- Finish #1 in something
- Earn a best in show or reserve best in show
- Put an open ROM on Corky's future foal
So, enough of this drivel...I am going to do my usual New Year's Day tradition (a tradition I've always kept when I wasn't travelling on this day!) and go
I started the new year right - spending the afternoon with Corky and Tango at the barn.
Tango gave me a completely trouble-free ride. How weird is that? He is probably trying to lull me into complacency for the new year. Whatever the reason, I really enjoyed it. After my ride, I got Corky out. I decided to put her on the longe line and see how she looks. At first, she was FULL of energy, was trotting like a million bucks. She made it about 6-7 circles and then she started looking sore. It wasn't a specific leg, but all-over body sore, looking to center mostly on her back end. I asked her to canter, and she was doing this weird hoppy thing with her hind end and she was swapping leads every couple strides in the back. I changed directions, and she was also doing it the other direction. I know her hocks are sore, but this looks really excessive. The last vet I had out couldn't figure anything out at all, it cost me a lot of money to have him just placate me with some DMSO and wraps. that's not what she needed! Time to start researching more vets in the area to find a good leg vet if this gets worse.
I do have a vet coming out on Thursday of next week to do a culture and ultrasound Corky to see if she is cycling yet.
I should mention that after two really good agility practices (with no contact obstacles), Pretzel has remained 100% sound! I am cautiously optimistic that his shoulder strain has healed. I am trying to rein in my excitement. I have missed agility so much!
I spent the day loading stuff in the car and hauling it from Lima to Columbus. Yeah, I thought I would be
So, I end today with a really good quote. 2015 was my "first wind" of dreams. I made it through, and my second wind of dreams is happening NOW. Every thing I do today hopefully takes me a step forward in achieving my goals. Every thing I do tomorrow keeps progressing me forward. I can't
"Most people never run far enough on their first wind to find out they've got a second. Give your dreams all you've got and you'll be amazed at the energy that comes out of you." - William James
So, since I haven't shared many pictures or videos of Tango lately, here's a shorty from last week. This was our first ride after having over a month off. Yeah, he's out of shape. Those huge wedge shoes and pads sure don't do him any favors in the front end, but he was so willing and easy (which was very unexpected after he's done nothing but play in the field since before thanksgiving!).
I've spent the past few days
Next week starts a fun jaunt - 3 dog shows the next 3 weekends, including a little bit of agility. I am SO looking forward to this.
"Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it." - Ella Williams
Good advice. People are always telling me I "do" too much, I am too busy. Or, that I am too obsessive about my goals and passions (that's a good one - what one person calls
One more thought: Time Management...
Well, I received confirmation that my entry in the Novi, Michigan agility trial was accepted...so in 2 weeks Pretzel and I will be doing conformation and Jumpers at the AKC show up north.
He has not been to a trial since last June. We have not taken classes since the beginning of October (due to his injury), and we are starting off now at the Open level (no more Novice for us!). I have been practicing, but it's not the same. So I have every right to be pessimistic, and expect the worst - we are going in to this trial with many many strikes against us. Yet I feel
Pretzel and I had our first competition obedience class this morning (8am...ugh! Rush Hour in Columbus...double ugh!). I am going to really like this class, I think. As usual, the 4 other people in the class are all experienced in obedience and/or dog training. They all have young dogs (3 of them are 8 month old puppies). Pretzel is actually the old man of the class, being 3+ years old! I guess we are getting a late start (
As I expected, our biggest issue was keeping Pretzel's brain occupied with ME and not the puppies that surrounded us. He was kind of a doofus while we were just sitting around, but when we had a chance to get out there and work, he actually did pretty good. We are working on simple things to start, and I have homework!
The first lesson was the
The next lesson was
Number 4 is
The last item is
I thought I would be overfaced, but I feel pretty comfortable now. Granted, we haven't gotten to the really difficult stuff yet, but if he keep going at this pace and with these building blocks, I think we might actually be able to do this!!!
Tomorrow morning, cross your fingers. the vet is coming out to culture Corky and to ultrasound her to see if she is cycling. I hope I hope I hope!
I scheduled a vet appointment for Corky this morning. On the agenda was an ultrasound to see if she has started cycling, and a culture to make sure she is free from infection. The vet ultrasounded her first, and found that she is indeed cycling. In fact, she had a size 20 follicle already being produced, which means she will probably ovulate in a week or so. Good news - my lighting program has worked! From the ultrasound, he thought that her uterus and everything looked really good. He took a culture sample, and also went ahead and did a uterine biopsy, since she had lost a foal in August. This will give us a little more information. So...the results from those tests will be back in 7-10 days, and I will know if she is ready for breeding or if we need to do some further vet work. Keep your fingers crossed!!!! This was a good appointment today, and as hard as I am trying to stay
Today was a decently warm day, almost 50 degrees! Pretty nice for January, and I took advantage of the weather to spend the day at the barn. Tango rode wonderful, I sincerely feel he has really matured over the past 6 months. He gets down to work and does his job now, even though at times he struggles with what I ask, he doesn't give me too much fuss about it. He still struggles the most with sidepassing. Lifting his shoulders up to cross his front leg is hard for him, but he has been steadily improving. That's all I can ask for!
Corky looked pretty good today (they had been turned out in the indoor all morning), so I took some time to pony her off of Tango. We haven't done this in over a year. As usual, she wasn't thrilled to have to travel that close to Tango, but she did. I
Of course, although these were run-throughs, there weren't any other dogs ringside, and no commotion to distract him, so it wasn't like an actual trial. However, what he showed me really makes me feel optimistic. Just
Now I do my usual scrutiny of Pretzel's gait all evening and tomorrow to check for any soreness. I kept him off the A-Frame completely, but we did do the dogwalk and teeter, focusing on slowing down and approaching the bottom with less speed and impact.
Video from today - please ignore my weird twitching and jumping. I am trying to proof his start line stay (he was a rock star at his stay today!). Do you see what happens when I am late with my cue and my body is too far forward? He jumps the tunnel instead of going into it! Oops ;-) I am really happy with his weave entry (we've been working on that a lot in our backyard).
Pretty cool, my "story" will be published in the "Dog Show Journal" this month. Click here for a sampling of the article.
I have been working on my obedience class exercises with Pretzel all week. I have most of them down other than the "scoot sits" (I am a little confused by them, so I am not pushing it until I really understand what to do). I have also been working on a shaping exercise - getting Pretzel to put his front paws on a plate and rotate his back end around the plate while keeping his front paws on the plate. We started by rewarding every time he interacted with the plate on the floor. Then I upped the requirements and only rewarded when he placed a paw on the plate. Once he had that exercise down, I upped the criteria by requiring him to place both front paws on the plate. Then I upped it again by only rewarding him when he put both front paws on the plate and then kept them there. Now I am at the point that I am asking for movement of his back end, while keeping his front end on the plate. This is all done without any commands or instructions. I basically just stand there with his absolute favorite treat (cheese) and let him try to figure out what actions will earn his reward. It's a really cool way to train, but it requires a
My fumbling attempts at "shaping". We've been working on this for about 5 days. I think he is getting it! I love his expression...you can tell how hard his brain is working to try and figure out what he needs to do to get his reward.
This is our first show of 2016, so it was pretty cool to start the year off with a group placement. Pretzel showed really well in group - he was a little fired up...and that is
We started off the day as a carbon copy of yesterday - Select Dog and best of breed Owner-Handled. I had a long wait until group. The dog show was in a building connected to a casino, which was pretty cool! I put $5 in the slot machine, and ended up leaving with $7.50. A profit at a dog show, how
Pretzel showed awesome in the sporting group. I was SO proud of him. Right in front of me was a woman with a retriever bitch that was in blazing heat - I mean she was dripping blood all over the mats (gross, I know!). Of course, Pretzel was just a vibrating, quivering mass of boydog - he could barely contain himself with his nose right at her butt. The obvious polite, considerate thing to do would have the handler of that bitch let us all know ahead of time that her bitch was in heat so we could arrange ourselves to not have a male behind her, but some people aren't blessed with the considerate genes I guess. I quickly switched with my friend behind me who had a female. Pretzel was still quivering and vibrating in his stack, but I talked to him the whole time and he held it perfectly. I was SO proud of him, I know that scent was driving him crazy but he listened to me and still tried to obey me. What a good boy!
I kept Pretzel on his toes and showing the entire class. I could see that the judge was constantly looking at the dogs in the line as she was going over each dog individually. My days of showing horse showmanship served me well - I never stopped showing. We were rewarded with a
I was so excited to go in the Best in Show ring. I knew that the judge for this ring was not a great one for us, and I was right. I felt he barely looked at Pretzel. But that's OK - getting there was
Saturday and Sunday's breed rings were again a carbon copy of the first two days - Select dog and owner handled best of Breed. We didn't have much luck in groups either day, which is usually what happens to me after I have a big win (I tend to come crashing down in a hurry). It was fun to see my friend get a group two the next day, so if I can't have success I at least want my friends to get some :-)
of course, when we packed up to leave on Sunday evening we had to leave in a blizzard. Lake-effect snow started burying Buffalo early Sunday, so by the time we left it was a white-out on the highway. We ended up having to take an alternate route home to try to avoid going along Lake Erie, but it still took us a LOT longer to get home. Thankfully, we arrived home safely.
Next on my agenda - we are only home a few days and then we head to Novi, Michigan for a HUGE conformation show, and we will also be doing Jumpers With weaves at the adjoining agility trial. This will be our first time competing in agility since June, and we will be doing the open level. I am excited and VERY hopeful. I worked SO hard at retraining Pretzel, I hope and pray it was worthwhile and he is more focused and obedient. If not, it will be so discouraging to me because I will be at a loss as to what to do differently.
Well here we go, our re-debut in agility! The open jumpers course was not too difficult. Unfortunately it had several straight line passages right at the start. So...I lost Pretzel at around jump #2. He got ahead of me, and took off running, grabbing random jumps as he went. Several times I had to call him back to me. In all we racked up 50 time faults, 4 off coyrse jumps, 3 or 4 refusals, it was downright ugly. However, one bright spot was his weaves - he nailed the entrance kn the first try and zipped smoothly through all 12 poles. One good moment in a sea of insanity. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.
Conformation was later that afternoon. It was tough tough tough competiton! We didn't get looked at in the best of breed ring, and the judge really didn't want to give me best owner handled but she did. The OH sporting group was late in the afternoon, and Pretzel was really tired. Bad boy, he tried to pace both directions in the down and back. I corrected him immediately both times, but that was a big factor in keeping us out of the placings. Oh well, as in agility, there's always tomorrow, right?
Today started with conformation. Another TOUGH day of competiton, we didn't get anything in best of breed, and there was a showdown between me and another owner-handler for the ribbon...like I said - tough competition and the judge took a long time in deciding. I was pumped when she picked us...yes!!!
We showed in the sporting group before our jumpers run. Pretzel showed really well for me, I was really happy with him. We didn't get anything, but that's ok - he showed so much better than yesterday!
The jumpers course was perfect for us - twisty and turny with a fun 5 jump circle in the middle. Unfortunately, Pretzel took off after jump #1 and I never got him back. He took a bunch of random jumps, ran around like a crazy dog, and I ended up having to grab him and remove him from the ring. It was horrible. Seriously the WORST run I have ever had with him. Just horrible. He paid ZERO attention to me. All that work, retraining, practicing, all for naught. I don't think I have ever been so upset after a run. I am seriously considering quitting agility. It seems pointless to continue. I CANNOT get him to focus at trials and follow me. In practice, in class, at run-throughs he is PERFECT. At trials, he gets a huge grin on his face and just takes off. I am not the nervous type, I am a musician...I never get nervous when it is crunch time. He isn't getting this craziness from me, I tend to get ultra-focused when it is time to perform. I just don't understand why he can be so I credible everywhere but at the trials. I am so discouraged. So down...
Well, Saturday was more of the same in agility. Pretzel did a few more jumps than he did yesterday, but still ran wild, and I ended up pulling him off the course about 2/3 of the way through. Conformation both Saturday and Sunday were real bummers - I was a big loser...nothing in the breed ring and got beaten for owner-handled Weims. Ouch! It was tough being a complete
I have mixed feelings about the past 4 days. I had a
Erie, Pennsylvania is one
Sunday started off with a bang! Pretzel was a bit naughty in the breed ring, did not want to stand for his stack and it took me forever to get him straightened out. the judge kind of laughed and said "Wow, you had to work really hard for that!". I thought this would hurt us, but the judge must have liked what he saw because he awarded us best of breed (along with BOB Owner-Handled)!!! This was a nice win for me after coming off such a losing show in Novi last weekend.
You can see me laughing in this picture - this is when the judge commented about how hard I had to work to get him to stack!
The judge points to Pretzel as his Best of Breed!!!
I showed in both the regular sporting group and the owner-handled sporting group. My judge for both groups was the same judge I had for breed. I was not sure how to look at that - it could work for us or against us. In the regular sporting group, we got nothing, which was pretty much expected. In the owner-handled group, we ended up getting a group Two behind our friend Taylor and her German Wirehaired Pointer! I love it when my friends and I all place in group.
Taylor and I attempted to get a dual win picture together with both of our dogs. It was difficult because Pretzel decided he was in
On to February 2016!
Comment? Send me a message!