Welcome to my brain...my world! If you've been reading my training diaries for the past 11 years (yes, I was "blogging" before blogging was cool!), then you know to expect the unexpected. What does 2017 have in store for me? I am excited to find out! Hang with me as we go through all sorts of crazy happenings - expecting a foal in February, Noodle's official show debut, Pretzel's return to agility, and who knows what else I have up my sleeve (heck, I don't even know!). I predict fun and frustration, successes and failures, but above all...keep on keepin' on.
By the way, Click on any image on this page to enlarge it.
Updated: December 28, 2017
What a great weekend! Temperatures were very mild for December in Ohio (45-55 degrees and SUNNY), and I spent the entire weekend working birds in the field with Pretzel and Noodle. I am really lucky I have a GREAT field trainer who sincerely loves dogs and trains them to LOVE hunting...no force needed. I just cannot get in to that forced stuff some trainers use. Pretzel, for sure, would never tolerate that kind of training.
Both dogs made some great progress this weekend. We worked a lot on holding the point. For Pretzel, this is fairly easy as he understands the
On Sunday we tried Pretzel out on a pheasant. Up to this point we have been using quail (and a couple chukkars). I had no idea pheasants were so dang BIG and colorful. Pretzel was surprised, but not the least bit intimidated. He always has had the attitude that he can tackle and conquer the world, so what's the big deal about a bird almost as big in the body as he is? We are getting closer and closer to being ready for our first hunt test. Unfortunately, in this area the hunt tests don't start up again until late spring...boo. I hate waiting.
Well, call me crazy, but we entered 3 days of agility and conformation at the show in Cleveland at the IX Center. Pretzel's job was agility, Noodle's was conformation. Well, it was mostly a fail on all counts. Noodle did pick up Select Bitch on Thursday, which was our main bright spot. Pretzel, unfortunately, did not Q on any of his runs for the 3 days. We had good moments and bad moments. For the most part, he was extremely distracted by the large crowds of spectators that were standing on all 4 sides of the ring. This pretty much messed up every one of our runs (some worse than others). Our best run was probably our last run on Saturday when most of the crowds had dispersed. It was Open Jumpers, and we are still searching for that last elusive Q so that we can finish our open jumpers title and move up to excellent. well, it was not to be for 2017. He came close, but missed a jump 2/3 of the way through.
If I had to pick out the positive (and it's hard when I am feeling so down about things), I will say that when Pretzel stressed and 'checked out', I was able to get him back to me each time, and he was coming back quicker and quicker. That's good!
Noodle showed wonderfully for me every day. I can't really complain - for her age she handles the show ring, the crowds, and the excitement very well. I think she kind of likes it! Our down and back needs a little work - she was getting a bit crooked again (I thought we had that problem licked!), but her free stacks were stellar! I am talking
Noodle, unfortunately, is very immature in the body - thin and long. In time 9and LOTS of it), she will mature and get better, but it's gonna be a long and slow process as she is such a picky eater. There probably are very few other bitches that are as strong and fit as her, but that doesn't seem to matter to most judges - they like to see weight. Oh well, she will grow up and get better, and meanwhile she will be smoking the agility and bird fields!
Noodle tested for the "Performer" title for her trick title - this is the highest level available (so far) for trick dog titles. We had to string 10+ tricks together in a routine. She
So now, her official name is:
Speaking in advance: pardon my senseless ramblings.
I am asking myself "Really, how much CRAP does one really need to take for a one-week trip to Florida?" Apparently a vanload. When we drove the Explorer down south, we took an Explorer-load. It is true, our belongings increase to fill the size of the container!
'Tis the night before our Florida trip, the van is mostly packed. I am sitting her reminiscing about last year's trip. What an
This year is going to be oh so different. Pretzel is retired from conformation, and even though we ended up the year in 3rd place for NOHS Weimaraners and were invited to show in the finals, I opted not to do it this year. Instead, it was supposed to be Noodle's year - the inaugural Royal Canin Puppy Stakes. Unfortunately, things don't seem to be turning out the way I had planned with her conformation career, so who knows what will happen? Yes, I am still going (competing against 12 other Weims, most of which will be handled by pros), but I am definitely not optimistic. It will be fun, and I shouldn't be too disappointed since I have zero hopes and less than zero expectations. No folks, it's not negativity..it's called
How bad can it be...we are going to the beach afterwards...yay! I decided on my theme for 2018 -
Welcome to Orlando! The weather is beautiful, as always. We arrived yesterday afternoon, grabbed some crating space at the show (thanks to the wonderful men in orange who shoved some people's over-spread stuff together so we could fit our two crates in), and met a couple friends for dinner at our traditional place to eat outside - Carrabbas (yum!).
Today was the Royal Canon puppy stakes. This is the first year for this event. But first, I went over in the morning to watch the Owner-Handled finals. Man, let me be honest - it killed me watching the Weims show and not being out there with Pretzel. I earned my spot, he deserved to be out there, but I made myself just sit and watch. I won it last year, it was time to let someone else win it. But...watching was tough.
In the puppy stakes, Noodle was a bit, um, energetic shall we say? I had to keep a tight tight hold on her to keep her from galloping. Unfortunately that's the price I pay for leaving on Wednesday and making her stay in a crate for 2 days straight. So, needless to say we didn't do very well. Oh well, it was fun. I was kind of bummed that the judge didn't even bother to have us free stack. I had practiced that and she was giving me some
I left the show feeling pretty down. Just thinking that this was my last conformation show for who knows how long really makes me sad. I hate not having any goal to go for or things to look forward to this winter. I look ahead to the winter and feel dread.
But enough of that! For now, I look forward to....
Welcome to Florida! The house on Goodland is still pretty messed up from Hurricane Irma, so we opted to stay at a dog friendly motel on Marco Island called "The Boat House" - named so because it had boat docks off the back of the motel.
This was the maiden voyage of our "new-to-us" boat. The boat with no name (We are working on that!). It took some getting used to, but the new boat worked great for us. The dogs had a blast, we investigated a lot of new beaches and places to let the dogs run. Things changed a bit in the Ten Thousand Islands since the hurricane. There was definitely some displacement of sand!
It was a week of relaxation, fun, sun, good food, and very very tired dogs (which is always a good thing!). Hre is a smattering of photos from the trip:
Noodle is finally learning to swim correctly!
It took a while, and several days of practice.
Pretzel and Noodle swimming together.
Loving the water!
Shell Island, or officially called "Cape Romano Shoals"
Pretzel first shows how it is done...
...then Noodle gives it a try!
She's got this!
Jumping at Blind Pass
Finally tired enough to sit for a picture
Great way to cool off
Our "new", yet unnamed boat
Cape Romano Dome Homes
Down to only 4 dome homes
(you can see the one barely in
the water that fell during the hurricane)
Me and my kids
Mark and I
Their favorite beach activity
I am excited again...got a chance to rent the agility training building and practice with Noodle and she was
I found out on my last night in Florida that the owner of the bitch who had the litter by Pretzel was having health problems and was having a difficult time taking care of the puppies now that they were active 7 week old pups. So I stepped in to help out. The four puppies will be staying with me (working on potty training, socialization, and big world experiences) until they go to their new homes.
Amazingly, they had no trouble with the hour long car ride. As I soon found out - these are brave, social, adaptable puppies that seemed to be able to handle any new experiences! I had a total of one day (yesterday) to scramble and get a puppy pen set up, and all the needed supplies to take care of them. It was crazy, but we got 'er done! Thanks, of course, to the power of Amazon and Chewy.com shopping on my phone as we drove home from Florida.
Ok, so I knew these puppies would be a lot of work and require a lot of my time. Man, do they EVER! First order of business (pardon the pun) was to teach them to potty on the fake grass (pretty cool thing - it is porous and has a potty pad in a tray underneath to catch all of the liquids). By the end of the day, most of the pups had figured out how to pee on the grass, but poop? Yeah, that was another matter.
Poop poop everywhere. I mean everywhere. On the blankets, on the toys, on the tarp, on the bars of the puppy pen, on my shoes, everywhere BUT the grass patch. Over and over again, all day long. I would sit by the pen for HOURS, and the minute I walked away to go to the bathroom, someone would go and poop on a blanket. This first whole day was a mess - not ONCE was I able to catch a pup pooping, and not ONCE did anyone make it to the grass patch to poop.
You might be wondering why the grass patch? well, the temperatures were around 9 degrees when I brought the puppies home, and the weather forecast had highs in the teens for the next week plus. WAY too cold for those puppies to go outside. So, we improvise. Gotta have a plan (and my plan is when/if I ever breed, I will not have a winter litter!).
Poop or no poop, these pups are adorable. I cannot believe how much they look like Pretzel in the head. Seriously gives me chills. Little blue collar boy attached himself immediately to me and did not want to leave my lap all day long. It is going to break my heart to give him up to his new home, wherever that is. I look at these little bundle of lives and am in awe that these are miniature Pretzels, they have 50% of his genes. My boy will live on through these 4, and I am so grateful.
The puppies made it through the night - no crying! Still, no one managed to poop on the grass patch yet. A work in progress...
The pups had a visitor today - one of my agility pals. I love how social and active they are, not a fearful bone in them! Little pink collar girl is the smallest, with the most ferocious attitude. She is fearless, makes the big boys cry, and is ALWAYS trying to escape!
Red collar girl was the escape artist at her former home - she would climb out of the ex-pen constantly. My extra tall ex-pen seems to have stopped that behavior...so far. She is the girl always in my lap, trying to keep every other puppy from joining her on my lap.
Blue collar boy is gregarious and is ALL about people. He'd rather be with people than the other pups. He is another lap-hogger, and very brave.
Black collar boy is the biggest, with a huge round head just like Pretzel's. He is more cautious than the other pups, definitely a thinker (does that sound like a certain dog I know?). He also was the first one to pee on the grass patch, and the first one to actually poop on the patch. He is the smart one, the braniac of the bunch.
Those are my observations based on the first 24 hour period I spent with them. I can't wait to see how they turn out as adults. I wish I had room to take one. It's so hard...
On a side note - Noodle LOVES the puppies. She is obsessed with them, trying to get in their pen to play with them. She gazes at them for hours. Pretzel, on the other hand, is happy to see them, but as the day wore on he got very stressed because I was spending every waking moment in the pen with them and was ignoring him. I saw how stressed he was becoming, so I made sure he and I had some one on one time. It's a tough balance. The puppies need me the most now, but Pretzel doesn't understand this.
(The photo to the left is Pretzel and his "mini-me" - black collar boy!) Today was a big day in puppyworld. They had their very own photo shoot at a studio this afternoon. I brought them to the studio and turned them loose, and they ran out bold and fearless as can be, exploring everything. I love their bravery! Nothing fazed them. Here is a sneak peek from the shoot:
When we returned (and they finally took a good nap), I decided to let them outside for the first time. the temperature finally reached 20 degrees, so I thought it would be OK to let them out for a short while just to experience the great outdoors. They had a blast! Here is a video and some photos from today:
Well, it's that time of year again. Sometimes i dread this, sometimes i am excited. It's time to evaluate my year, check my goals list and see what i accomplished.
2017 has been an overall kind of crappy year. All that excitement over Corky's foal only to lose it. Then Corky developing partial facial paralysis. Losing my dad was the most horrible thing I could have experienced all year. I still can't get over that. Retiring Pretzel was so depressing, losing sight of having any show goals for the future leaves me feeling lost.
But, it wasn't
Goal assessment time! Here we go!
2017 Short Term Goals
- Earn a Q in Open Agility
- Earn an open Agility title
YES! Earned our Open Standard title
- Get to level 4 in all CPE categories
NO - but oh so close. only need one more Q in Wildcard. Pretty good considering I went to very few CPE trials this year.
- Earn a Q in Obedience (nov or beg nov)
YES! Pretzel earned 4 Q's in Beginner Novice obedience, and a title!
- Achieve Noodle's conformation championship
YES!...and before her first birthday!
- Earn Pretzel's Silver Grand Championship
YES! We hit it in late July.
- Have a healthy foal and healthy Corky
NO! This was a heartbreaker. Still is...
- Stay #1 in lifetime NOHS Weimaraner points
YES, by a wide margin!
- Compete in obedience and rally at WCA Nationals
YES - partially. We competed successfully in Rally, but opted out of obedience.
2017 Long Term Goals
- Earn a Congress top 5
Still a work in progress...need a horse first.
- Compete at the Excellent level in agility
YES! We earned our Open Standard title in June and moved up to Excellent.
- Break into the top 20 in AKC Weimaraner conformation
Still a pipe dream...
- Earn a C-ATCH in CPE agility
Another pipe dream, but this one is closer.
- Put a ROM on Corky's future foal
Yeah, if I could only get one to live long enough...
OK, looking back on this, not too shabby! Makes me feel a little bit better about 2017. I guess i wasn't so stagnant after all.
As for 2018, you will have to wait until tomorrow to see what goals I choose. Heck, even I don't know right now, I am really drifting at this point...