It was a scorcher today - 94 degrees plus! I waited until evening and then headed out to the barn to do Corky's feet. It was deserted when I got there, so I put them out in the indoor to check on Corky's progress. I was a bit dismayed to see her trotting pretty lame in the front. I have to remind myself that the surgeon specifically told me i would see periods of lameness come and go as she healed. Don't panic! It's hard not to worry, though.
Cadence sure felt good tonight! She was a bit of a brat when I was trying to get Corky's feet done. She is very brave and bold, and is starting to test her boundaries. I need to make sure I am firm about where my space is, because she is starting to get a little pushy. I'll take that any day over a baby that is terrified of everything!
I am still waiting to hear from the surgeon's office about scheduling her follow-up appointment. I hate that they wait til the last minute to schedule. I need to plan ahead!
We put up 4 foot snow fencing to keep the dogs out of the house addition construction area. Yeah...but Noodle just saw this as a very high agility jump. I watched her jump that fence easily at least 4 times today, including once from a complete standstill. While I admire and love her boldness and athleticism, it is getting frustrating trying to tame her wild ways sometimes! Silly girl...
I spent the day (as I do every week) at my mom's, helping out with things around the house and outside. It always gets me choked up to look at my dad's things still there. It's been almost a year since we lost him. I looked at all of his photographs that he saved. That is something huge we had in common - we LOVED taking photos, the more, the better! I decided that life is just too short to keep putting off what he and I had always wanted to do. So...I headed home, and went online to look at ordering a new DSLR camera, lenses, and sign up for a photography class. It is time. I've wanted to do this for decades, but always had some excuse. No more excuses! I am excited, this will be enhancing an already existing passion, and making it better!
Redirect! That might end up being my theme for 2018. Don't give up - Redirect instead! I am a goal-oriented person. Yeah, that's putting it mildly. A more accurate description would be that I am obsessive about setting goals and working towards them. Sometimes, though, ya gotta face reality and re-purpose your drive into a new or different venture. Easier said than done? Well, just watch me!
What a fun day! My friend Deb invited me to bring my dogs to her parents' house to practice water retrieving. It was a hot and sunny day, perfect day to be in the water.
Pretzel did a couple retrieves, but he was more obsessed with trolling the tree line, hunting for birds. Retrieving an orange bumper was definitely not as interesting to him as finding potential birds!
Noodle was incredibly enthusiastic. It took her a few times to get used to swimming again. We haven't swam since February in Florida, and she started off doing that weird upright swimming style. As soon as she grabbed the bumper in the water, she figured out how to level out and swim faster.
After a few retrieves, I started working on having her hold in a sit-stay while I threw the bumper, and then retrieved on command. She did awesome! She is starting to develop nice self-control. It's about time!
Later in the evening, I headed to the barn to work on Corky's feet. I first turned Corky and Cadence out in the outdoor sand arena to see how Corky was moving. She was moving much better than she was last week, with barely a sign of a limp. Cadence was full of herself, but I did notice that she was coughing a bunch more. I noticed a slight cough every now and then a few days ago, but today it is definitely there. Time to call the vet and get ahead of things!
Cadence is entering the equine equivalent of the "Terrible Twos". She is becoming pushy, and testing her boundaries. This is the time where it is important for me to reinforce the notion that she has her space, and I have mine. Respecting space is probably one of the most important things you can teach a foal, because when they mature to 1200 pounds it's not quite as easy to reinforce that idea!
I had a vet appointment for Cadence today. She has developed a small cough. the vet drew blood (and remarked at how well-behaved she was for that!) and ran some labs in his truck. The good news is she is not sick. Her temp is normal, and everything looks healthy. Apparently, the cough is from allergies - probably dust-related. He gave me some cough medicine to give her, and I am to take her temperature daily to see if it changes.
I had Noodle entered in an agility trial this weekend at the place we always train. Wouldn't you know, we developed a brand new problem to deal with? We got about 1/2 way through our open standard run, and Noodle stopped on her 2 on 2 off on the dog walk. When I released her, she ran behind me over to the judge and started barking at her. Say what? She has NEVER paid any attention to the judge before! I ended yup having to grab her collar and exit the ring. Afterwards, I walked her over to the judge as she was eating lunch and Noodle did her usual climb on her lap and lick her. So confusing! In watching the video, I noticed at the start line Noodle kept looking over her shoulder at the judge like she was concerned. Weird.
We did our jumpers run later that day, and she was totally distracted. She missed the 4th obstacle, and then ran over to the bar setter in a chair, to investigate. I decided to cut my losses for the weekend and not let her develop any bad habits by running her any more. Not sure why suddenly the people in the ring are catching her notice right now, but this needs to be fixed ASAP.
I am wondering if I will ever have a dog without some sort of weird issue or thing that crops up, forcing me to re-train. It gets frustrating when I see other people just breeze through the agility trials with hardly a care or worry, and I am getting to the point where it is stressing me out with all these issues. The problem is, I don't have much guidance as to how to fix them. I wish I had more experience...
On a good note, Cadence's temperature was normal today (around 98.5).
I had my usual Monday late-night training session with Noodle. I had my friend pop in to the training building while I was working her, not only to cause a distraction, but to see how she reacted when someone suddenly burst through the doors. Yes, she was very distracted, but she wasn't upset. I am guessing it is because she knows my friend well, and likes her. Other than that, we had a really productive training session with both Pretzel and Noodle. Pretzel was feeling pretty good and had some good motivation and speed. You just never know with him.
I got my new camera! Nikon d5600, plus a 50mm lens and a refurbished zoom lens. Classes start next week. I am ready to pursue my dream! I experimented with it today, taking random shots of the two best models a person could ask for. Here are a smattering of photos from today:
Noodle's Novice Agility (standard) title showed up on her AKC record, so it is official! I am nicknaming her BGA, or the Bad Girl of Agility. Yeah, I can make a joke about it right now, but what else can I do? I had a talk with my agility instructor this morning, and we are making a plan. Noodle is actually going to start a new class in a few weeks - a "special" class for dogs with issues. Yeah, that's kind of a nice way of putting it. Bratty dogs, dogs with behavior problems, jerks. Whatever. I am hoping this helps curb her crazy drive a bit and get her working with me better...and ignoring everything else. We do have a trial coming up next weekend, in a place I have never been. This could be good, or it could be the biggest regret of my life. I guess we shall see...
Of course I had to go out to the barn and try out my new camera on Corky and Cadence! I was really happy to see Corky trot and canter around with hardly a hint of lameness. This is very good. We head to the surgeon tomorrow for a follow-up appointment. I am already stressed about that. Hauling a baby is so darn stressful!
I have been working on picking up Cadence's feet, and now picking them out with a hoofpick. She does great with every foot but the right hind. For some weird reason she always resists and gets a little kicky when I pick up that foot. Every single time - it is consistently THAT foot she reacts to, no matter what order I pick them up. Horses are so weird. I have been taking her temperature every day, and now that i actually know how to work this new digital thermometer correctly, she has been holding steady every day at around 100.2 degrees. Good! I have been giving her cough medicine every day, but today when she got up after napping in the stall, she coughed a bunch. After that, I really didn't hear her cough much.
Today was the day I dreaded and stressed about all week - time to haul Corky (and Cadence) to the vet for a follow-up on her foot surgery.
The day started off kind of shaky. Corky walked right in the trailer, but Cadence decided to run around the yard whinneying. Of course, this made Corky freak out, and we had to unload her several times while trying to herd the filly in to the trailer. Finally with a little help from some of the barn employees, we got them both safely in the trailer and were heading down the road. Of course it was one of the hottest days in weeks...yuck.
The vet was impressed with how good her feet looked, and how dry and clean I had kept them. I must admit I was pretty proud. I never missed a day in unscrewing those plates and changing the iodine-soaked gauze, and keeping everything perfectly clean and dry. He pulled off her shoes and took x-rays. Things looked pretty good - she had grown a lot of sole back. Although there were still some holes that were pretty deep, overall he decided she had healed enough to put regular shoes and pads on (with black packing underneath the pads). What a relief!!!
The best part of the news is that I don't have to haul her back down there for another appointment! My regular farrier can take over from here. I am beyond happy. To add to my joy, Corky and Cadence loaded up to go home and unloaded at home perfectly. Woo-hoo!
What a fun weekend! We drove about an hour south to a pond that my field trainer arranged to "borrow" for the weekend, and we did some water retrieving training. On Sunday it was especially fun, because it was family day for Noodle -both her mother, father, and sister were there for training. I am proud of Noodle and Pretzel - both did a great job in getting right in the water and retrieving. We have a little work to do on retrieving to hand, but hopefully that will come before September and the retrieving ratings test.
Cadence is still holding on to her baby fuzz. She has patches of black/dark brown showing through, but still lots of red fuzz on top. It is so weird - I have been picking her feet up ever since she was a baby. I have NO problems picking 3 out of the 4 feet up, but she always gives me problems when i go to pick up her right hind, and only her right hind. The other three feet - no problem. Right hind? Kick-kick-kick. So weird.
Well, here goes nothing! We drove 4 1/2 hours north to lapeer, Michigan to an agility trial hosted by the Southern Michigan Weimaraner Club. Gotta support my neighboring Weim peeps, ya know!
I was pretty nervous about Noodle. OK, I was VERY nervous about Noodle. Would she jump on other dogs? Would she jump the ring fence? Would she run around the judge barking? So many possibilities. We started off the day with Novice Jumpers. She actually did pretty good. She missed her weave entry, ran over to check out the bar setter, but came right back. Unfortunately she took an off course jump on the way back, so it was an NQ. We finished super strong, and I was pretty happy.
Pretzel Had his Open Jumpers run...we've been sitting in Open Jumpers for 2 1/2 years now waiting for that last Q for his title. Today was not to be, he had one too many refusals. Oh well, we have two more shots this weekend.
Next was FAST. Noodle was in Novice, Pretzel in Open. Both dogs did awesome, and both Q-ed!!! The most exciting part was that this was Pretzel's last open Q needed for his Open FAST title. He had some nice speed and was really listening to me. I love that! This was Noodle's second Novice FAST Q, just needs one more for her title.
Last was Standard. I didn't enter Pretzel, so Noodle was on her own in Open Standard. Man, she was wild. Our contacts were pretty wild, the 2 on 2 off went out the window. After the A-Frame, she darted to the judge ru jump on him, but slipped and fell and slid like 3 feet! I think this really startled her. She got up, came back to me, and finished the course perfectly. Unfortunately, no Q today.
After the trial, we found a wonderful metropark to take the dogs for a walk. They enjoyed running around o the check cords, searching for birds. I was hoping this busy, crazy day would tire Noodle out, but as you can see from the video below, this did not happen. I swear, this girl has unlimited amounts of energy!
Day #2 was a lighter day. Pretzel only had Jumpers, and Noodle had Jumpers and Standard. The day started off with Standard. Noodle's Open Standard run was really erratic. Contacts were bad again, and we were just discombobulated as a team. She did nail a super nice weave entry, though! We still have some work to do as a team.
Next was Jumpers. Noodle laid down a smoking awesome Jumpers run for a Q, it was such an adrenaline rush to run! Pretzel rose to the challenge (can't let little sister show him up!) and laid down a wonderful Open jumpers run for his final Q for his title! YESSSSSS!!!!!
HAPPY 2nd BIRTHDAY NOODLE!!! What better way to celebrate her birthday than by doing something she absolutely loves! I can't believe she is 2. Still such a puppy...
Noodle started off with Open Standard, and it was a hot mess. Many many refusals, missed jumps, contacts, ugh. I did get her to stick her 2 on 2 off on the dog walk. Finally! She was just all over the place in this class.
Next was FAST. Unfortunately, Noodle knocked a bar in the send bonus or she would have nailed her FAST Q and finished her novice FAST title. Oh well, we will try again at our next trial. Although Pretzel finished his Open FAST title on Friday, I didn't move him up, and he gave me another solid qualifying run in Open FAST. We have a little work to do before being ready for the sends in Excellent FAST.
Lastly was Jumpers. I didn't move Pretzel up, so this was just a fun Open Jumpers for him. He ended up having one too many refusals so it was an NQ. He ended strong and happy, and that's all I really care about! Noodle's run was spectacular! What a rush! Clean run and a qualifying score to finish her Novice Jumpers title! Here's the video:
Cadence turned 3 months old yesterday! With all that went on, I completely missed it. Yesterday was the one year anniversary of my father's death, and my mind was pretty heavy all day long.
I went out to the barn tonight to turn them out to see how Corky was moving and to get some cool pictures, but wouldn't you know it - brought my fancy new camera but left the memory card at home. Duh! So, my phone had to do the job. Good thing these cell phones have such great cameras!
My photography class is going well, although the more I learn, the more I realize how much I need to learn! Everyone tells me it takes a lot of practice, so I went outside this evening and shot hundreds of photos of my dogs (all on manual mode - go me!) in sun and shade. Out of hundreds, I did get a handful of pretty cool shots. Here they are!:
Today was Cadence's first farrier appointment! My farrier was out at the barn so I had him trim up and rasp her feet - not only to even them up but also to start giving her a good experience while she is still young and impressionable. Can I proudly brag that she did awesome? She was a bit unsure about this, but willingly let my farrier pick up and work on all 4 feet (even her right hind that she always fights me about!). Every day i get a little more proud of her, and fall a little more in love. I have such big dreams and plans for next year. A tiny part of me wants to squash those dreams and remind me not to get my hopes up, but I just can't help it. I am going full bore this time, no holding back!
Today was another water retrieve training day! Of course, I brought my camera out there to practice. I find that it is easy taking action shots in bright sunlight (in manual mode). I think I am getting a bit better at this whole photography thing.
Well today, Noodle was the star. The first few retrieves, she wasn't bringing it right to hand. our training plan was to wait her out. I was skeptical, but we waited and did NOT beg or call to her, and eventually she did bring the dummy to hand. Pretzel did retrieve, but wanted to drop the dummy on the bank of the pond. I found that silence does not work for him - he needed coaching throughout the whole process to bring the dummy to me. In true Pretzel fashion, once he had done it 3 or 4 times, he figured enough was enough, and he stopped working. This is so much like doing agility class with him. He just doesn't see the point in drilling something once he has already performed it.
The shooting and retrieving ratings test is in less than two months. I hope we will be ready. The bigger event looming on my mind is the hunt test in early September. It's Noodle's turn to get her junior hunter title. Last night i put three frozen dead quail out in the field to practice with both dogs, and both dogs were miserable failures. Pretzel didn't even bother to point, just dove right in for the grab. Noodle tried to grab, I whoa-ed her, and then she just stood there looking at me, not bothering to go on point. Oh boy... we have a lot of work to do. I am worried.
Some photos from today - all shot on manual mode. Getting a tiny bit better each day!
Tonight we have what I call Noodle's "bad dog class". Ok, technically it is called "Focus and Attention Agility Class". Yup, just what Noodle needs. I will say i am pretty happy with how she acted in class. She gave me ZERO issues. I had complete focus from her for most of the class, she did not pay any attention to the other dogs or people, and was giving me great responses. This girl always seems to surprise me - either in a good or bad way LOL! I just love her to death, she is such a free spirit and her impulse control deficit is getting better...slowly.
It's days like today that allow me to dream again. So many ups and downs in training, I feel like every training moment is like a roller coaster ride. I would love to know if this is normal, or if my friends with their well-behaved, consistent dogs just started out that way? Just seems like so many others have such easy training progressions - just a few blips along the journey but consistently upward. Mine seems to be upward, then a fast downward spiral, then slowly climbing back up only to crash down again. I suppose this is making me a better trainer, right? Dang, I sure hope so! I feel so inept sometimes.