"Your life is made up of two dates and a dash. Make the most of the dash."

If I've learned anything from last year, it is that life is unpredictable. More than ever I recognize the brevity of life, and I am determined to make the most of every healthy, living moment I have! No moment is wasted, because you learn something with every breath you inhale. Breathe deeply!
Friday, July 1, 2022
   New titles!   

Since I would go bankrupt if I entered all three dogs all three days of the agility trial, I decided to split them up a bit. Today was Noodle and Dolphin's day.

Noodle was wonderfully accurate today, though the heat took a lot out of her (it was 92 degrees outside and barely cooler in the building). She started off the morning with a decent Masters Jumpers Q. Next was Masters FAST, the send was a tunnel to a jump, and wrap back to the tunnel. Tunnels are definitely her least favorite obstacle. She managed to do the send great, though when we got there I found that someone didn't set the jump bar in the send. We did it anyways, and went on to finish under time with 71 points. However, the judge called me back and wanted Noodle to re-do the send since someone had forgotten to set the bar. I thought that was a bit unfair to make her do it again, and sure enough, she did NOT want to go into the tunnel again. It took about 5 tries, but we finally got it, and the judge gave us the Q. Noodle was NOT happy! She managed to Q in Masters Standard, though the heat really slowed her down...for our 6th Double Q! It was actually a triple QQQ day for Noodle!

Dolphin laid down a be-yootiful Excellent Jumpers run, to qualify and finish his Excellent Jumpers title! I can hardly believe it...my boy has only been trialing for 9 months and is only 2 years old and he will start working on MACH points at his next trial (Sunday)!!!

Dolphin lad down a perfect Excellent FAST run to Q and finish his Excellent FAST title! Then the wheels came off in Excellent standard - he knocked two bars, fell off the teeter (so I did a fix N go to re-do it), and then missed his weave entrance. I can't be upset, no way! He handled everything so well, I can allow him to have puppy-brain moments.

I'd say it was a darn good day - 6 Excellent/Masters runs, 5 Q's, and 3 titles earned today. It will be hard to top today!

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Saturday, July 2, 2022
   First you are up, then you are down   

The agility roller coaster continued today. Today was definitely a downward dip.

Noodle started off the day with a really nice clean run in Masters Standard. Possibly another double Q in the works? I did a terrible front cross in Pizza's Standard run, which blocked her from getting the weaves, so we had a refusal there. Then she came off the A Frame and went to check out the judge, so I did a fix n go. She nailed her second attempt on her contact, but then sniffed the ground instead of going right up onto the table, and then perched on her 2on 2 off on the teeter and didn't want to go when I released her. Such a odd mix of weirdness in this run.

Jumpers is where the heartbreak started. Noodle was first, she got the first two jumps and did the weaves very slowly, and coming out of the weaves I could tell she was definitely limping, so I pulled her up. In watching the video, it looks like she took the first jump perfect, but started limping after she landed the second jump. It was her right front leg this time, different leg from her injury in May. My heart breaks when she hurts.

Pizza was a bit of a mess in Jumpers, several refusals at the weaves, etc. Ugh.

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Sunday, July 3, 2022
   And the roller coaster climbs up   

By yesterday evening Noodle looked 100%, but I opted to pull her from the trial today. Why risk it? I'm letting her rest for a few days, with some anti-inflammatories to help keep any swelling down.

Today was Dolphin and Pizza, all day. Dolphin started off with Masters Jumpers, his very first Masters level class! He slipped and almost fell at jump #3, causing the bar to come down. Then he sneezed right when approaching the weaves, so missed the entrance. Other than that, pretty good, I guess.

Pizza had a decent Jumpers run, she knocked a bar and then went right past the weaves, but even though there was a bar setter sitting in the corner she turned and came right back to me and we got the weaves done...no visiting (yay!). We finished nice and strong, and if you ignore that little double-blip in the middle, it was a super nice run. I have hope...well, I have always had hope but now I feel like maybe we are making inches of progress? I'll take inches...I'd rather have feet, but inches will do.

Standard was next, and this is the last class that Dolphin is still in Excellent - he just needed one more Q to finish that title and go on to Masters, and he did it! This makes 3 titles for him this weekend, unbelievable! Pizza was a jumbled mess in standard - she ran off the dog walk, blew off her weaves twice, went sniffing after the teeter...messy.

We had one more class - FAST. Dolphin went first, followed my plan perfectly and amazingly got his send into two tunnels and a jump, and earned his very first Masters Q! Pizza, in true pizza fashion, made up her own plan (and it ended up being better!). She blew off the 7-point A-frame and ran to the bar setter. I was able to get her back quicky, and she took the 10-point jump on the way back, and finished the rest of the plan with me, easily earning more than enough points and qualifying in Open FAST to finally finish that title! Now ALL of my dogs are in Master/Excellent classes. How awesome is that?

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Wednesday, July 6, 2022
   Consistently Inconsistent   

Was today a good day or a bad day? Hard to decide.

The morning started off awesome - Dolphin was GREAT in his agility group training (can't really call it a puppy group anymore since he and his classmates are all 2 years old now). He was accurate and fast, and a blast to run! Pizza was really good in her class right afterwards.

Then came some field training with Dolphin. First bird he moved a little but held after I set him back. Second bird he held with no pressure. Third bird he grabbed...twice. So incredibly frustrating. I feel like any little bit of progress we made just went backwards. I am at a loss as to what to do next to get him through this lack of self-control.

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Friday, July 8, 2022
   Yet Another Agility Weekend, Day #1?   

Another agility weekend? Oh yes. It's hard to pass up when these trials are only 3 1/2 miles from my house!

Today was Noodle and Dolphin's day. Noodle was clean, but slow in jumpers. Dolphin slipped on the turf a LOT, knocked like 3 bars (I lost count!), and was all over the place.

Noodle had a great run in FAST (yet another tunnel-jump-tunnel send bonus). She had a solid Q with 68 points. I was a big dummy in Dolphin's FAST. He nailed the send bonus, and when I went to send him into the 7 point tunnel, he bypassed the entrance and went in the other end - the 5 point end. I sent him directly back into the 7 point end, but it didn't count for points as you cannot do the same obstacle back to back, you have to do something in between. There was a jump right there I could have grabbed, but I thought the tunnel, since it was pointed differently on either end, was considered two different obstacles. NOPE! You live and learn. We finished strong, but we were short about 4 points since we missed the 7 pointer...wah!

Last was Standard. Noodle did a great job, and nailed her standard course! This makes another Triple QQQ for her! We are whacking away at that MACH little by little! We almost had a big mishap, as Mark was standing near the exit gate videoing out run, Noodle came out of the tunnel (second to last obstacle) and saw him and ran to the gate. I screamed her name, and thankfully she turned and took the last jump...whew! No refusal, and the bar stayed up even from that awkward angle.

Dolphin went out and laid down a gorgeous Masters Standard run, earned 15 MACH points and beat Noodle! This is his first Masters Q and first MACH points, I am absolutely floored that he is already working on his MACH at 2 years of age. I am so blessed to have him in my life!

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Saturday, July 9, 2022
  Yet Another Day #2 of Agility   

Today was all about the girls - Noodle and Pizza. We only had Standard and Jumpers today, no FAST.

Noodle went first in Standard, and she laid down a really nice, smooth clean run. Way to start off my morning! Then it was Pizza's turn. The course started with a tunnel, and Pizza came out of the tunnel and instead of turning to me, she went straight ahead, took an off course jump, and went to sniff the judge. She came right back to me and finished the rest of the course BEAUTIFIL and clean...what a heartbreak beginning!

Noodle did really well in jumpers, very careful and clean to earn us Double QQ #8! The course started with a jump right in to the weaves. Pizza took the start jump, ran past the weaves and by the judge, but came back and nailed the weaves. The rest of the course went OK - she did knock a bar, and blew her tunnel bypass and went in the wrong end, but she didn't leave me again throughout that course. It was almost like she was determined to blow it right at the beginning of each run, then she could relax and run well. Maybe tomorrow she will just go out and run well and skip that beginning stuff LOL!

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Sunday, July 10, 2022
   Day #3 - all agility-ed out   

Well, today was day #3 of another 3 day agility weekend. I am agility-ed out. I will start with the good for today - Noodle had another nice double Q! The bad? I forgot to enter her in FAST, so we had no chance for a triple QQQ.

Oh, and it gets better from there (*sarcasm*). The brains fell out of my two youngsters. Dolphin knocked TWO bars in jumpers and missed his weave entrance. Then he was sitting on a clean run in standard, and once again missed his weaves...it wasn't like he was running especially fast, it was like he just was mentally lost in space.

Pizza knocked a bar in jumpers (the exact same bar that Dolphin knocked, and it wasn't a tricky angle or anything), and then ran right past the weaves. I chalked that up to stress from knocking the bar. Then she came back in standard and was doing the most amazingly beautiful clean run, the second to last obstacle was the weaves, she nailed the entrance, weaved 3 poles, and then just walked out. What the heck??? It's like she deliberately tried to NQ. I can't figure her out.

FADT was a train wreck. The send was a 3-jump serpentine from about 20' back. Yeah...no way. Dolphin had no forward motion and would not send to the first jump. Pizza didn't even try, instead she went to the nearest bar setter. On a positive note, this was the first time today she left me to go visit a bar setter, so maybe that is an issue that is resolving?

Frustrating day all around, but you'll have that in agility. I will be glad to take next weekend off from agility. Instead, Noodle and I are doing an obedience trial! What the heck? Crazy!

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Wednesday, July 13, 2022
   Not giving up, just taking a breaK   

I think I am going to take a break with Dolphin on field training. He is consistently not getting it - just cannot seem to have enough self-control to not jump the bird after pointing it. He will only hold so long, and usually breaks before I get to him, or even while I am standing right there preparing to flush. Rather than keep beating a dead horse (oh how I hate that phrase), I think he needs a while to grow up a bit.

But on the plus side, he did awesome in agility class this morning, and is doing really well in scent work. This will come...patience!

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Thursday, July 14, 2022

I can't explain the details, only that once again my beloved Noodle has broken my heart. I don't understand her sometimes, and I am just at a loss as to why things seem to have regressed back to three years ago in the matter of one day. It's days like this that seriously make me question whether I have any talent at all at this dog training thing.

Cadence is still not fully healed, she is still not able to be ridden. My 2022 dreams and plans are toast. Here is another area I am about ready to give up on. Maybe it's just not in the cards for me...

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Friday, July 15, 2022
   Obedience/Rally Trial - Dayton - day #1   

Despite Noodle's weirdness this week, we headed to an obedience/rally trial in Dayton today. She was entered in Rally Advanced (getting insurance legs for our nationals qualifying), and also beginner novice obedience (she has one leg, needs two more for her title).

Noodle was slightly "weird" today, but I managed her well. I got her out to practice a little too early for her rally, so by competition time she was a little flat. Still, she did really well and scored a 96 and 2nd place in Advanced A.

Beginner Novice Obedience went OK, but I find it more difficult to keep her engaged when I can't talk to her. She did not do any automatic sits on her heeling or her figure 8, just stood there and looked at me until I told her to sit. I confess I haven't really worked on that very much with her, so that's all on me. Still we qualified with a score of 89, but no placement. If we Q tomorrow, that will be her BN title. I am thinking I might go on for her novice title after this.

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Saturday, July 16, 2022
   Obedience/Rally Trial - Dayton - day #2   

Noodle is still a little bit, shall we say, "sparky" today, but we had a pretty successful day despite her mood. Rally Advanced was a 3rd place with a qualifying score of 96, same score as yesterday. In Beginner Novice Obedience, once again she didn't feel the need to automatically sit on her halts while heeling, and her heeling on the figure 8 was a bit wide and distracted, but the rest went smoothly and we got our last needed qualifying score for her title. Our obedience scores have not been the greatest, and we didn't place again today, but considering I have NOT trained at all for this, I think it went rather well!

I am still in a bit of a mental funk over Noodle's behavior. This sudden 180 degree turnaround is odd, and I can't find a reason why this happened. She is still craving the work and the training time, so I am just going to take a few steps back in her focus work and keep that up while doing our normal daily routine. Just goes to show you can never get too comfortable, can you?

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Sunday, July 17, 2022
   Having FUN   

Yesterday and today I had a bit of fun with Dolphin in proofing his weaves. I am working on doing them from a distance, and also from different angles. It's a blast training him when he is so fired up (he is OBSESSED with that rope ball toy...cheapest toy on earth and he loves it!).

Dolphin working on weave distances in my front yard

@originalcoolrabbit #PremiereRush #weimaranersoftiktok #agilitydog #makingasplash #abouttimeweims ♬ I Feel Good (R3HAB Remix) - Pitbull & R3HAB

This is what happens when the big boy goes too fast and doesn't pay attention!

@originalcoolrabbit Weaves - 1, Dolphin - 0 🐬 #abouttimeweims #makingasplash #agilitydog #weimaranersoftiktok ♬ original sound - CoolRabbit
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Thursday, July 21, 2022
   Baby steps back in the right direction   

I was a little worried about Noodle in class today, but she behaved perfectly...but she was slow. Slow as in crawling-turtle-molasses slow. I think because I had to get after her for her behavior last week so hard, she is over-compensating. We took a massive step backwards in training this week, but we are slowly creeping forward.

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Friday, July 22, 2022
   Putting money in the agility bank   

Today's agility trial was a mixed bag of failures. All three dogs were entered, 3 runs each. In total, we were one for 9 in Qs.

Dolphin, unfortunately, has to go first this weekend. In standard he totally blew his weave entrance (2nd obstacle), and then in a very un-Dolphinlike move he left me during a pinwheel of jumps to go check out the bar setter (who was sitting right in line with the pinwheel...BAD spot!).

Today is Noodle's 6th birthday!!! She celebrated by laying down one of her best master standard runs ever - nice and clean and fast! Pizza ran a few dogs later and was able to completely deflate my good mood by only doing ONE freaking obstacle in the whole run - the tunnel at the beginning. She ran all the way to the far corner to check out the bar setter, then ran all the way across the ring to check both of the other 3 bar setters...then I just collared her and walked her off. Oh Pizza.... *sigh*....

Jumpers was a big fat zero for all of my dogs. Dolphin came out with a nice bit of speed, but knocked two bars - he knocked the first bar in the back part of the course and since his striding got thrown off he knocked the very next jump, which was the triple. Noodle came out next and was NOT the same Noodle. She was a little scattered and distracted. I threw in an ugly rear cross (I was still thinking about Dolphin's run and not the different plan I had for Noodle) which knocked a bar, then she missed a jump (which I didn't correct).

Pizza, in her usual Pizza fashion, managed to break my hart with an almost-clean amazing run. She ran past jump #3 to go check out the bar setter in the corner, but hadn't incurred a refusal YET. On her return, she went slightly past the line of the jump, so a run-out was called. She came back and finished strong and clean, which is a huge improvement over her earlier run. Some day we will get our head together and actually Q. It's been a LONG time since we have Q'ed - February, to be exact.

FAST was a wreck. Dolphin and Pizza did not get the send (jump-tunnel, circle back into the tunnel). Noodle, with must protestation and me cajoling, DID actually get the send, but I spent so much time convincing her that YES she should go into the tunnel, I ran out of time.

As they say, tomorrow is a new day. Well duh, obviously. I would NOT want to relive today all over again. Give me a new day, with fresh mistakes!

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Saturday, July 23, 2022
  A Fresh New Day, Fresh New Mistakes   

Day #2 of 2 at the agility trial, today is a new day but not as new as I would have liked.

Noodle had a good day - earning a really nice double Q with a decent amount of MACH points. She now has 10 Double Q's (halfway there!) and only needs 10 more, along with just under 500 points needed (ugh, that's gonna take a while). She was such a good girl all day. Not sure what happened to her last week, but it feels like the old, good Noodle is back.

Oh Dolphin, had such a good and such a disappointing day all wrapped up into one. Standard was a shitshow - knocked 3 bars, had a refusal (where he leaped up at my arm rather than taking the jump), a wrong course (ignored my turning cues and hopped up on the table), and clew the end of his weaves so I had to restart. Yep, a little bit of everything. But he did have really nice 2 on 2 off contacts, so there is something.

Jumpers for Dolphin was a heartbreak. He got his weave entrance, but in the video he looks like he hit a weave pole and bounced out in the middle of the weaves. Restart, and finished strong, but he was clean up until that, so it was so disappointing.

Pizza actually did pretty decent in standard. She did go visit the judge, but it was in flow. She was running clean, and then just ran right past the weave entrance without even trying. I brought her back around and she nailed them. Heartbreak. Jumpers was the same - blew her weave entrance, visited the judge, and knocked a bar. On the plus side, she was running fantastic - she is definitely my fastest and most athletic dog. We just need to get our act together.

FAST was a bummer for all 3 dogs - all 3 did the two jumps in the send but went into the wrong end of the tunnel...completely expected as I had to push them to go to the far end of the tunnel from about 20 feet away. Yeah...no. So overall, it wasn't exactly y best day, but it wasn't my worst day. The nice double Q from Noodle kept my spirits up. We will just keep plugging along and see if we can get some improvement at our next trial.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2022
   Girls 1n the Field   

It finally cooled down to around 75 degrees today, so I took the girls to do a little field training with a friend.

Noodle got the bulk of the work, because I really want to work on her honoring. Her first honor was so-so, second honor was really good, third honor was OK. She really tries to avoid it if she can. I did find that her second honor was pretty darn good, and it was after she had worked her first bird. I am wondering if that is something I should keep in mind when doing hunt tests? Noodle got to work two birds, the first one was beautiful and steady and had a perfect retrieve (see video below). The second one was a recycled bird that we saw land, she went on a kind of mushy point, and I found the bird had actually been hit and was dead (which explains her point). Noodle was nice and steady and just breathtaking to watch in the field.

Since it was a cool-ish day, I wanted to give Pizza a chance to do a little retrieving. She pointed and held her first bird perfectly. The gunner missed the shot, so he threw a fresh dead bird to retrieve. Pizza did a pretty decent retrieve! She did set the bird down once, but actually brought it to me, which is a BIG deal since it was an already-dead bird (and she hates those!).

Her second bird worked perfectly, and this one she never set down, brought it right to me (with a brief stop to pee, with the bird still in her mouth LOL!). This did wonders for my confidence in her! I think I am doing the right thing by holding off on any major retrieving during training, and only doing it occasionally when the conditions are right. I want it to stay a positive experience for her.

In the evening, I took Dolphin and Pizza to agility run-throughs. It wasn't much of a trial-like atmosphere as there were only a handful of us there. However, I did have a few people sit in the ring as bar setters. Sure enough, Pizza ran to the leash runner, and ran to a bar setter, then missed her weaves. Kind of deja vu from our last dozen trials. Her second run, she ran smooth and CLEAN! I know she has it in her!

Dolphin's first run was a wreck. I had him pretty hyped up with his favorite toy, so he went out there and just obliterated jumps. I think he knocked about 6 or 7 jumps total, enough that we never got past halfway in the course. Looking at the video, he was just careless in his jumping. Our second run went much better. I didn't get him revved up, kept him calm, and so he kept everything up and ran clean, but much slower. I want the speed AND the carefulness. That's my goal with him.

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Friday, July 29, 2022
  "Honor"able Noodle!   

Did a little field training today. I am excited to report that Noodle did a NICE big honor all on her own a good distance away from me. Could we possibly be making progress in our quest for the perfect honoring? We shall see!

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Saturday-Sunday, July 30-31, 2022
  Dog show in Marion, OH   

We did something different this weekend - we hit a dog show in Marion, OH. Saturday was Pizza's day. She actually showed really well in breed, took select bitch and picked up a grand champion point in her quest for Bronze. Due to three judging cancelling, the show ended up running REALLY long with tons of delays...poor Pizza waited over 8 hours to show in the owner-handled group, only to get ignored (and she did show really well, so that is a big plus!).

Dolphin got to show on Sunday, and thank goodness the show got back on track and the wait wasn't very long. He showed pretty well in breed, got Best of opposite, but he was the only male so it was a given. He did nail a really pretty free stack (see video below) which is cool, especially since he has been in the show ring all of about 4 times in the past year.

We went into the owner-handled sporting group, and he showed really well! He had a lot of fun in the ring, which is priority #1 for me, and ended up with a group 4 out of a nice sized competitive sporting group. Good boy!

Today is Pizza's birthday!. As a gift to her, she got to stay home from the show (which I am sure she appreciated after the marathon day we had yesterday). I can't believe my sweetie-pateetie puppy is three years old today! What an amazingly talented girl she turned out to be. Who knew when I agonized over choosing the right puppy from the litter that I would choose my second Master Hunter, my second NOHS Finals winner, and yet another dog that challenges my training knowledge and has forced me to grow. I love her to death...

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