Today as a big day for Pizza - we did a puppy agility seminar for 4 hours that covered a lot of agility foundation skills and fundamentals. It as super valuable for us because we covered a lot of information on building drive and desire to work with you (which is something every dog needs, but especially Pizza). Here is a copy of my notes covering the exercises we did today: Seminar Notes
One of the main things we did to create drive was to encourage the puppy to chase us. Pizza was all over that! She loves to chase me! I need to incorporate that into my daily runs around the property - call her and run away, and reward her when she catches up with me.
Another thing I need to work on is tug/toy play. Because I want to do field work and retrieving, I need to train an "out" command also. The Out command tells the dog that tug time is over and to release the toy into my hand. Yeah...gonna be kind of hard to teach, I think. I haven't done much toy training with my other dogs, so this is a bit foreign to me.
We did some disc work, and Pizza was really good at this since we have done it a lot at home. She was very quick to put her front paws on the disc. The next step is to lure her while moving around the disc, getting her to keep her front feet on the disc while moving her hind feet around the disc. It's harder than it sounds, especially for my clumsy, floppy-legged puppy! This will take time to perfect, and we have plenty of time!
In Pizza's puppy class today we did the dog walk! It was lowered down so it was only about half the height. Pizza's first trip across was very cautious, but after that she got bolder and bolder. We managed to do the little metal teeter twice, I didn't push it past that. We also did the A-frame lowered down, and Pizza quickly became obsessed with going over it! She is a lot like Pretzel in that respect - I could never keep him off the A-frame!
We also did some disc work -Pizza has really gotten the hang of moving her back feet while keeping her front feet on the disk. Next step is to have her swing around and be in heel position. We did a little bit of that and she caught on rather quickly. We also did a fun exercise of sending her around a jump wing, then crossing in front and sending her around a second jump wing. This will be fun to practice with at home.
Speaking of home, we are leaving home tomorrow...heading to Florida by way of Mississippi! Pizza's first Florida experience, first boat ride, first time on a beach. I cannot wait!
Accepting my limitations is sometimes the hardest task I face. I don't like to believe something is impossible. This has driven me for years, but sometimes you have to step back and be realistic. Realism sucks! But in being real, one can re-focus on a new goal with a new purpose. So 2019 will be a year of re-focusing. Setting my sights on new things, accepting my changes in direction, and being happy for the joy of the moment. Sounds good, doesn't it? well...we shall see!
Pizza was VERY unsure about the whole travelling in a motorhome thing...the first day (Thursday) she was very nervous and spent a lot of the day curled up in my lap. By Friday she was an old hat at it and the noise and vibrations didn't bother her anymore.
It was warmer in Mississippi than Ohio, but not by much! Today's show started off with Noodle - she was a bit too pushy and pulled hard on her gaiting, and I let her get away with it which made her look bad. Time to shorten up the lead and take control again! She didn't get a placement in Owner-Handled group, but showed better than she did in breed (there was only us and the #1 dog in the country, so we took our BOS and owner-handled ribbon as expected!).
Pizza was the true star! She loved being at the show. I walked her around a bunch before she showed in the afternoon, and she got comfortable very quickly. She showed great in the 4-6 month beginner puppy class. She ended up taking a puppy sporting group two! So FUNNNN!
Day #2 went even better! I had a better hold of Noodle and was able to control her gait better. The breed results were the same, but group went a lot differently.
First off, the judge didn't like the way i had her stacked and made me stack her more boxy. Made her look ugly, but oh well! Then she scolded me for having bait in my hand on the down and back...she said it made Noodle want to turn in towards me (she did on the end, anticipating the free stack). Then she made me do it again without bait, and then scolded me for turning noodle to free stack and showing her profile, when she wanted to see her front. OK, so i figured we were really done. Then she ended up giving us an owner-handled Sporting group TWO! Will wonders never cease? NOT what I expected, but I will take it!
Pizza showed even better today! She walked into that ring like she owned it. I was especially pleased with how she held her stack for me. She did sit down during the exam, and I ended up showing her bite while she was sitting. that is something we need to work on. She was marvelous in the puppy group ring, gaited so nicely! She is still really floppy and puppy-like with her legs, but then again she IS a puppy after all!
Pizza walked away with another Beginner Puppy Group Two! All in all it was a successful show in the deep south for us, and it was fun going to a place I had never been before. Now we are off to Goodland, Florida, and Noodle and I will zip up to orlando next Friday for the Owner-Handled finals. LOVE Florida in December!!!
Today was our first full day in Florida, and Pizza's first trip on a boat and beach experience. It went swimmingly...until it didn't. Pizza LOVED the water the first time she encountered it. Jumped right in and started swimming right off the bat...amazing!
So cool to see how quickly they find their legs in the water. But then it came to a crashing (or splashing) halt. Thanks to Noodle's over-the-top level of insanity, Pizza got pushed under water. We got her back to the motorhome, and saw her belly was distended from taking in so much sea water. off to the vet we went!
The vet found that not only had she swallowed a LOT of water, there was also some in her lungs. This was beyond what the local island vet could handle, so we headed to the emergency specialists about 40 minutes away. They found that the situation was serious enough to keep Pizza overnight in order to get the water out of her lungs, and to also get her hydrated to remove the overload of saltwater from her system. It was the hardest thing ever to drive away and leave my puppy there. My heart was breaking into a thousand pieces. I feel so guilty because I put her in this situation. I am furious with Noodle, furious with myself, and sick with worry.
Pizza did great overnight, and they called me around 7:30am to tell me she was 100% and ready to go home. I was SO happy to see her back to her bubbly, happy self! The best part? No restrictions! Just make sure she gets plenty of water today, and watch for any coughing.
Today's goal was to make sure that Pizza did not have any fear of water after her ordeal. We decided to leave Noodle back at the motorhome, and just took Pizza and Pretzel out on the boat to the beach. I knew Pretzel would jump in the water and hopefully Pizza would follow him, which she did. Pizza had ZERO fear of the water, it was like her near-drowning experience never happened! I am so relieved, because it is important that my dogs love the beach as much as I do.
We had a wonderful time at the beach, but kept it nice and short so that Pizza wouldn't get overly tired. Needless to say, Noodle was an unhappy camper being stuck back at the motorhome all by herself. I think it is best that when we take her tomorrow, we will keep her on a check cord so we can control where she is going and what she does, and make sure she doesn't tackle Pizza in the water again. Noodle Noodle Noodle...I love this girl to pieces but she finds new ways to break my heart every day. I am sure she was sent to me to teach me a life lesson, but I am not sure what the lesson is. Maybe humility? Heartbreak? I don't know...
Another day in Paradise! Noodle stayed on a leash today, and surprisingly she accepted it well. Some little part of me wonders if she realizes what she had done, and regrets it? Then the other, sane part of me says "duh", she is not human and dogs don't really feel regret.
Regardless, we had a wonderful day on the beach. When we got back, I cleaned up, packed the car, and then Noodle and I headed on a road trip north to Orlando by ourselves for the AKC National Owner-Handled Finals. Noodle qualified by finishing #5 in the country this year (even with such limited showing we did!) so I felt that she deserved to get to show in Orlando at least once!
It was a nice trip, just Noodle and I. We spent the night in a hotel in Orlando, and although there were two double beds, she of course had to sleep cuddled up with me. I do love that.
Today Noodle and showed in the 2019 National Owner-Handled Series finals. Noodle was a bit wild on the gaiting, pulled hard. We didn't get a placement, heck I don't even think we got a look. But it's OK, this girl has my heart and that is all that matters.
Another few days in paradise...what can i say? I am so blessed. It is wonderful to be able to come down here while it is snowing up north and take the dogs to the beach. And not just any old beach, but beaches that are wild and unspoiled and have almost no other people on them. I am truly blessed.
Well, we made it home from Florida safely...got back Thursday night late. On the way home I got a message that Cadence suffered a puncture wound in her knee while outside in turnout. Thankfully the vet came out (I just LOVE this barn - they take care of things if I am not there!) and flushed it, found that it had nicked an artery and bled a ton but did not penetrate the knee joint. Thank God. There is quite a bit of swelling, but today it looked a lot better and she is sound on it. I am very relieved! Always something, either horses or dogs.
I did a bunch of practicing with Pizza today - stacking and gaiting. She is starting to look a lot less floppy in her movement. She is growing in to those big legs of hers. I keep seeing her as this goofy happy puppy, and it takes me by surprise when I look at this stack photo from today and realize what a stunning girl she is turning out to be. Just look at that chest! (and I can ONLY say that about a dog and not be labeled weird and creepy!). I measured Pizza today and she is 21". That is a good size for 4 1/2 months.
I am happy to report that Noodle has settled down and is back to her normal self, playing with Pizza and tolerating her puppyness. I am wondering if some of Noodle's problem stems from a hormone imbalance? IN the days leading up to Florida, I noticed that Noodle started acting "studdy" - lifting her leg like a male and peeing and marking on every tree and fence post. I don't know if there is a connection between this, and her moments when she goes over the top and loses her brain. Bu now she is peeing like a girl again, and her personality is back to the slightly obnoxious but loving dog that she usually is. I am writing this down in hopes that I can maybe discover a pattern. I'm not giving up on her just yet!
Today both Noodle and Pizza had an agility lesson. It's been a long 3 weeks without any sort of formal training. Noodle was actually really good! She was very "fresh", and super fast, which is fun.
Pizza did really well today. We worked a lot with using a tug toy for motivation, and she loved that. We did a lot of running, encouraging her to chase me every time she got distracted and started checking out other things. I need to work on my verbals, not only to get her better at doing what I am asking, but it also forces her to concentrate more. It's all about the focus. I need to come up with separate words for telling her to find the food I tossed on the floor as a reward ("get it!") and also the command to go after the toy I am teasing her with (also "get it"). I think I will stick with "get it" for food, but need a different word for chasing the toy. Ugh....I am not good with remembering new words for things. I was a mess when I went from training Pretzel to training Noodle with different commands.
I worked Cadence today. Her knee still has a little bit of swelling, but she is not the least bit sore on it. She was super wild on the longe line because someone else was longeing at the same time, but after about 15 minutes she wore herself out. I actually did my ground driving while someone else was riding in the arena and she did great! Much better forward motion today. At one time she started walking sideways as an evasion tactic, but we got through that rather quickly. She is doing great at the "whoa" and also backing. I think it is about time to bring my old saddle out and start working her with that. Now THAT should be interesting!
Today was a momentous day in Cadence's education - first time wearing a saddle! I longed her first without the saddle, she was pretty wild. That is becoing the norm with her. the first 10-15 minutes are rodeo times, and then she settles and is ready to work. Unfortunately I had to leave the arena as someone was taking it over for a lesson, so I saddled her out in the barn and then just hand walked her around the barn and outside on the gravel.
She did great today! She didn't even flinch when I tightened up the girth. I walked her for a while with zero issue, then I tightened the girth again and dropped the stirrups so they slightly banged on her side while she walked. Still no issue! Things are looking good! I am feeling a lot more positive about that upcoming first ride...but then again we haven't actually longed in the saddle so I will wait until I get through that milestone. If I remember correctly that is where Corky had issues. She has great until she felt the tight girth around her when she started trotting. Hopefully this upcoming week I will have a chance to actually longe her under saddle.
I spent the day with Noodle at an agility seminar. We worked on different ways to handle various serpentines, and when to use front, rear, and blind crosses in serps. It was pretty interesting. For the most part Noodle did very well. She had a few distracted moments where she left me. I think I take those mistakes too much to heart, because every time it happened I felt immediately negative and stressed about it. In other words, I need to chill! I have her entered in a USDAA trial on Sunday. Just two runs, and this trial is supposed to be small and low-key. We will see what happens. This damn dog is so stressful to run agility. She is so freaking talented, but is it really worth all the stress? I will let you know Sunday!
Well, it's that time of year again! New Year's Eve. Probably my absolute least favorite holiday...least favorite day. I tend to spend the day thinking back and focusing on what I didn't get done, what derailed me during the year, and my failures. That is a stupid way to deal with the day! Yes, I need to look back and evaluate. But after that moment of looking back, it is time to move on, make a plan, and start thinking ahead. Stressing over what already happened or what might have been gets me nowhere .
But...before I move on, I do need to revisit my 2019 goals that I posted on January 1st! Let's see how I did...
SHORT TERM GOALS
1. Earn an Excellent Q with Pretzel (in agility) No, but Pretzel spent the entire year recovering from injury and back surgery, so this one gets a pass.
2. Finish Noodle's Open titles in Jumpers and Standard Halfway yes! We finished our Open Standard, but not our Open Jumpers. Seeing as we only did a small handful of AKC agility trials this year, I am also giving this one a pass.
3. Earn Noodle's Junior Hunter Advanced title No, but I kind of refocused my goal to work more towards her Senior Hunter.
4. Earn Noodle's Grand Championship Yes! Mission accomplished!
5. Show Cadence in Longe Line at Congress Yes, we did it...but the memory still burns.
6. Achieve the 3,000 NOHS point mark with Pretzel Again, no can do due to injury .
7. Obtain my own Pretzel puppy No, not yet. We were close, but had yet another heartbreak in the spring when we lost the litter.
8. Earn an Obedience or Rally Q with Noodle BOOM. Not only a Q, but her Rally Novice title!
LONG TERM GOALS
1. Earn another Top 10 at Congress Not yet. I seriously thought I had a shot this year, but it wasn't meant to be.
2. Break into the Top 20 in Weimaraner conformation Yeah, that ain't happening any time soon.
3. Earn Pretzel's C-ATCH in CPE Not sure if that will be possible since his injury, but I will hold on to my hope.
4. Earn Pretzel and Noodle's Dual Weimaraner Award Pretzel's award may be out of reach, but I feel Noodle might have a shot.
Stay tuned, tomorrow will be a new set of goals...some recycled, and some brand new ones. Looking ahead is so much more fun than looking behind!
What an up-and-down year 2019 has been. Poor Pretzel had the roughest year of all. 12 months in the year, and 4 1/2 of them were spend trapped in a crate. While the back surgery went well, I am still wondering if he will truly ever be "normal" again. If I had known what was in our future, I would have treasured my 2018 moments SO much more - those group placements, show wins, and stepping to the line in agility. I guess I took those for granted just a little bit. Not anymore!