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.
I look at this squirming, mewling pile of puppies and I can't believe they are really pretzel's - they carry half his DNA. My heart just soars knowing that he will be leaving a legacy in something other than my memories and my heart. It also breaks my heart that I can't keep one, but we have no room (nor time) for a puppy right now.
I wonder what sort of lives these pups will have. Will they become the center of someone's life like Pretzel had become? I really hope so. I can only hope they go out into the world and change lives for the better just as Pretzel did mine. I can't wait to follow their journey.
Ugh, breeding is not for the faint of heart. Unfortunately, the two tiny girls didn't make it. The littlest one passed away the next morning, and the second littlest one that evening. Thankfully, the remaining 4 are strong and gaining weight. For a while I was really worried that my horse breeding curse had spilled over on to the dogs. However, since this technically isn't "my" litter, my bad luck should stay put and not affect anyone else. I honestly don't know if I could ever breed my own litter, though. It's downright scary.
Mouse's early delivery made it possible for me to head south to the show in Knoxville, Tennessee that I had entered Noodle just in case. For once, my planning ahead actually worked out! Unfortunately this was a solo trip as Mark had to travel to Florida to help his dad. Just me, Pretzel, and Noodle on the road...the Three Musketeers. Let's hope this Tennessee trip turns out better than the last one a couple weeks ago!
Well, we spent the weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee at the show. Noodle was the only Weimaraner entered, so this was a perfect time to do a lot of practicing and training, with breed and two groups to go to. Let me tell you, she needed the training! Saturday she NAILED several gorgeous free stacks...I was so proud of all our hard work we have been doing on this. then of course Sunday she humbles me by free-stacking like a German Shepherd with a broken leg. Ugh. The groups were large and tough so we didn't get a placement either day, but we got some very valuable training time in the ring, and Noodle had a blast. She really enjoys the attention from people. What a diva LOL!
Today I packed up Noodle and Pretzel in the car and headed 2 hours west to West Alexandria for a field lesson. Today would be Pretzel's first experience in the field and I was anxious to see how he would do. Part of me thought that he might be a pretty stylish pointer, but another part of me was afraid that he would just run around and not actually point anything.
We got Noodle out first and worked with her. She does a great job of hunting for the birds, but not such a great job of resisting temptation and holding her point so I could flush the bird. Yeah,
Next it was Pretzel's turn. Randy planted 3 quail in the higher cover, and I let Pretzel out of the car. he immediately took off running in the field, just ran and ran. I told Randy it appeared he was just running for fun and wan't even hunting. Just then, Pretzel got a whiff of a bird and slammed on the brakes and went into a full point. It was so impressive! He held that point steady so that I could get up to him and flush the bird. Unlike Noodle, Pretzel has oodles of patience!
Pretzel was successful for every bird. I was so excited! he
At the end, we let both Pretzel and Noodle out to hunt together. It was a lot of fun watching them hunt as a pair. I am hoping Pretzel can teach Noodle some self-control. Doubtful, but maybe she will pay attention to the good example he sets!
We are planning to train again the weekend after thanksgiving. I am excited! Another new dog sport...my list is ever-growing.
This weekend I spent two days at a CPE agility trial at the training facility close to my house. I forgot how fun CPE is - so much more relaxed and the people are more relaxed and in it for the fun. We had a blast! We started off the weekend with a perfectly clean standard run. Pretzel ended up getting two Q's in standard this weekend, which was great! We finished at 50% - Q-ed 4 out of 8 runs. I will say at least one of those NQs was completely my fault...I missed a jump (didn't even pay attention to it on the map)...bad me!
Pretzel stayed pretty positive the whole trial. we had a couple moments where he made a mistake and the stressed, but I was able to get him back every time. This is just something I will have to deal with as my sensitive boy worries about being wrong.
Noodle came along all weekend and we worked a lot with focus drills while hanging out between runs. She is improving, I think, at focusing on me and checking back in with me after noticing other dogs and their activity. She just can't resist when a dog is hyped up and on edge, she feels she needs to jump in and join them. It is a work in progress!
This was an off week in agility classes, so my friend and I decided to rent the training facility and train our dogs toegther. Normally I train Pretzel with her as her dog is in Pretzel's class (and he is obsessively in love with her dog!). I felt that this would be a better training opportunity for Noodle.
My friend was a good sport as Noodle broke away several times to cross over to the other side and visit with her dog. Every single time i was able to call her and get her back. yes, that is definitely an improvement. Yes, I would rather she didn't leave me in the first place, but having her willingly come back is a huge bonus.
After my agility practice, I headed north to visit my mom for the day. On my way home, I stopped by Martha's to see my grandpuppies. They are getting more active (and definitely more noisy!) and their eyes are starting to open. Ridiculously cute. I can't believe I am not able to get a puppy from this litter, but the timing is just so bad for me personally. I have to be patient. I do hope and pray that these pups go to wonderful homes who will DO something with them!
I spent 4 days with Noodle driving at the crack of dawn to the fairgrounds in downtown Columbus for the conformation show. Let's just say I am really
"Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do." - Pope John XXIII
So I will find the places where Noodle was meant to excel, and point her in that direction. I cannot make a dog into what
On a good, positive note - Noodle has been progressing well in her agility class, good enough to be moved up to amore advanced class in January. I am taking a few private lessons in the next month to get her caught up with the more advanced class. Today we had an hour lesson where we worked a lot on her collection recall, bend recall, and other exercises. She also had trouble with me doing a rear cross, so that is added to our homework this week. I am pretty excited that she has mastered the 12 weave poles since I started her on 12 a week ago. We started with two sets of 6 separated, and then gradually moved them together. She is pretty consistent, though sometimes she gets going too fast and loses her rhythm by pole 10 and falls out.
She is so over-the-top excited about agility, it makes it a blast to train her. My biggest goal is to NEVER lose that enthusiasm. My second biggest goal is to keep her from leaving me to go visit other dogs. Yep...still w work in progress!
I have been taking some private agility lessons with noodle, as she will be moving up to a more advanced class in January and I need to get caught up with that class. These lessons have been eye-opening. So many holes in my training with pretzel that I am now discovering while going through the training process with noodle. Ahhh...if only I knew then what I know now, Pretzel would be a different dog.
Noodle and I are working on our collection recalls, bend recalls, and something that has been giving me huge buckets of trouble - the rear cross. Now, I was the queen of rear crosses with pretzel, when he was younger and blazing fast I used them all the time (mainly because he was always so far ahead of me). For some reason, I just cannot get my timing right with Noodle. Not sure why, but we are all over the place with our timing and it is messing her up. intellectually, I can see where my timing problem is, but physically I just cannot seem to get it right.
On the plus side, no matter how much I train, she always comes back with enthusiasm!
I rented the agility training building with a couple friends today, and took Noodle over there to practice. To keep her focused, I only practiced by myself - we took turns using the equipment. I went to work on those rear crosses I was having trouble with, and I started nailing them one after another. Not sure what was different, but today my timing was spot-on and I got it every time. I guess I am a lot like my dog in that I do better if I can learn something and then sleep on it for a night.
This weekend it's all about the birds (kind of appropriate for Thanksgiving weekend)! This was Pretzel's second time training on quail, and he knocked it out of the park! Seriously, I cannot describe the thrill I felt watching him go out there and start hunting with massive passion! Well, if you have any doubt about his skills - hear this. Randy (the trainer) planted two birds, but Pretzel found and pointed
Look at his catch - pretty impressive for only the second time being out in the field and the first time ever having a gun shot over him.
Today was Noodle's first time having a gun shot over her. I was pretty proud of both "kids" - neither one gave the gun a second thought. This photo to the left is Noodle's very first retrieve from a shot. Both she and Pretzel retrieved well, but she was a little (slightly) more willing to bring her prize back to us than Pretzel. I will have to work on that. However, Pretzel has a very good solid point that he will hold, whereas Noodle cannot muster enough self-control not to jump in and flush the bird herself. Another thing I need to work on, I guess!
Another day of field training, yay! Once again, Pretzel was a rock star. Noodle did pretty good also. Both dogs have trouble holding their "whoa" and waiting for one of us to flush the bird. Pretzel does a little better, he holds that point for a long time, but when I get close he just cannot resist jumping in to try to get the bird.
It is fun watching them use their instinct. We are doing very little training, it's more fine-tuning what they already know. And you'll be happy to know I conquered my fear and actually touched a dead bird. Yeah, the dead ones aren't nearly as scary as the live ones.
we are coming back next weekend for a little more training. Might as well take advantage of the decent, snow-free weather! I guess I am aiming for our first hunt test to be in April, so we have a long time to get ready, thank goodness.
Today was just one of those days. I should be on a high from such a successful weekend, but for some reason I was definitely on the low. Very very frustrated. It started off in the morning in obedience class with noodle (the rest of the class is getting so far ahead of us, I am thinking maybe we are hopeless at this!), and continued on throughout the day.
"Expectation is the mother of all frustration." - Antonio Banderas
Ok, yeah, I get that. I wouldn't be frustrated if I didn't have such high expectations of everything I do. I suppose I'd be happier and more relaxed if I just didn't set so many goals or try so hard. I wish I could be one of those lackadaisical people that just cruises through life on an even keel - don';t expect much and never be disappointed. Alas, that ain't how I am wired.
Coming up in the next month: A huge conformation show in Cleveland where Noodle will sure get her butt kicked yet again, and Pretzel is going to do agility there - one of the hardest and most distracting places to run. Then we are off to Florida, Noodle competes in the Royal Canin Puppy Stakes against all those big handlers and big time breeders (butt kicking #2 for December). Pretzel goes along just to watch this year, a role reversal from last year! Then we are off to Goodland, Florida and try to have a good vacation despite all of the hurricane damage. We will be scouting out the islands trying to find the perfect beach to get married on next year (provided flower girl Noodle learns to carry the bouquet successfully!). I am worried about my mom, she is not doing well, and she is the glue that holds the family together and I fear that when she is gone, my family will go
Oh well, tomorrow is another day. I am sure I will wake up in a better frame of mind...perhaps.
Well, Noodle's agility class today was a bit of a disappointment. We have been working SO hard, and doing so well in our private lessons, but today's class was a bust. Noodle fed off of the crazy energy of another dog and was pretty wild and disobedient. I ended up not being able to do much of what the class was doing because she was a bit out of control. So frustrating. It's right on course for how this entire week is going. I am really trying to find something good that has come out of this week but so far I am coming up empty.
There are plusses and minuses to being a driven, goal-oriented person. When things go right, it is wonderful to experience the successes and stepping stones towards your goals. When they go wrong, you feel like such a failure and you lose sight of the big picture. I know it is bad to only focus on my failures right now, but it's hard to get out of the slump once you let yourself fall in.
Next month will be better!