Memorial Day

Now, if Summer were like May, I could so get behind the season. This seems like a particularly special Memorial Day this year, what with our very, very long winter this year. Suddenly, BAM, nice weather. And not even as hot as they said it was going to be! It was actually PLEASANT to be outside. I could SIT ON MY LAWN. I have never sat on my lawn before, it was very novel. Had two lovely BBQs over the weekend, and the concept of sitting outside and relaxing was just so … unexpected.


Got to spend a lot of time with Kip, Mary’s new sheltie puppy! Such a GOOD puppy, he just arrived super confident and bubbly and fun. And ever so attractive – he’s already good at posing! Kip and I will get to spend a lot of time together in June, as he’s staying with me for a couple weeks. My first time spending quality time with a sheltie puppy, I’ll be really curious to see what he’s like.


My dogs didn’t have any issues with him, and Navarre likes him. Though he had that ‘pervy uncle’ look in his eye – he didn’t try to hump the puppy though, and was very appropriate. I hope they become friends, they are adorable together. Bright and Haku, well, I don’t expect them to be big fans, but I’m sure they’ll be fine.


My poor dogs, we made an unexpected stop at the garden store on the way home today, we received some orphan tomato plants that looked like they needed some immediate love. Too warm to leave the dogs in the car, so I gamely brought all three into the very busy garden center (have I mentioned the Memorial Day madness? People have a lot of catching up to do!). So three dogs and a big cart that was a pain to steer – and being stopped every 10 feet because everyone wants to ‘pet the dogs’. Bright was like,”WTF?” Navarre and Haku were okay with it, but they didn’t quite understand the public’s obsession with touching them for no reason.


Still, I give the dogs a lot of credit, new place they’d never been, people everywhere trying to molest them, and they were such good citizens. They heeled next to the cart, didn’t try to jump on anything or get under foot. They sat and waited while I picked out my things and talked to the staff, they ignored the other dogs – they mostly just seemed bored. I have good dogs. Some of them are a little better than others at the moment though.


Navarre seems to be going through a phase of ‘Stay? Never heard the word before.” In certain circumstances he’s perfect, no matter the excitement or distraction he’s just totally reliable (more so than Bright and Haku around agility!). But in other cases, he really does not think it applies to him these days. Like at the BBQ on Sunday, I was having him lie down and stay so he wouldn’t intimidate the puppy when they met. And he WOULD NOT STAY. He was RIGHT next to me, I’m putting him back like 18 times, and was just terrible. I kept thinking he was just entranced by the puppy, but eventually he had to be ejected from the event as he just couldn’t stay to save his life. And even after bringing him back in and being hardcore about it, he was still loosey-goosey about it.


Then, silly me, we were at the checkout at the garden store, the dogs were all waiting nicely, but one of my pots didn’t have a price, but it was so busy no one was available to get the price. So finally I’m just like, “I’ll just go grab another one.” It was like 30 seconds to run over and grab it, and as I didn’t want to weave three dogs past all the waiting people, I just told them to stay and jogged off, totally confident they would stay. Yeah, Navarre was like, “I don’t think so, you’re not leaving me here,” and came and found me Bright and Haku were horrified, they never moved, of course. And had I been thinking, I wouldn’t have left Navarre after his issues at the BBQ, but he HAS been super solid with his manners stays … but not at the moment. So, yeah, Navarre fails the out of sight stay (well, and even the SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME stay), so we have work to do, apparently.







Scouting Mission

May is a rather magical month, it’s pretty much the pinnacle of Oregon. Everything is lush, green, blooming, growing and brand new – green on green on green. And there is always this feeling that this is what it’s SUPPOSED to be like. Raining, sometimes yes, but happy Spring rain with big fluffy clouds and 65 degree temps. Or 90, as is the new norm, apparently. We’ve skipped Spring completely and went from Winter to Summer. Still, this is just such a great time in Oregon, probably my favorite, but I love Fall too. Of course, just when you think it’s going to be this beautiful and perfect forever, SUMMER comes and kills everything into a brown desolate wasteland of heat and sun. Nothing lasts forever, I suppose.


Still, as we did have no transition between seasons, and it’s Memorial day weekend, I suddenly really need to get hopping on finding new hiking spots. We set off early today to check out a couple new places recommended, I’m really liking the early morning hiking thing. Was not really an option, or necessary in the winter (you know, like, last month), but working well these days. And we actually got to go swimming today! Well, the dogs did, the river was too scary before, but things are calming down and we found a nice little spot for a little play today. Haku was so happy! Bright still thinks it’s stupid, but that doesn’t stop her from standing there in the water the whole time. Dork. Still looking for the perfect summer hike, but nice to check out some options, we have another new location scout planned for next week as suddenly it was PEOPLE EVERYWHERE. Alas. Still, I really am loving the Mollala river area, it makes me very happy.


We did try to take it easy today, as Haku was a little gimpy earlier in the week. I think he overdid it playing frisbee at the park. I could still see a little head bob occasionally while we were hiking, but I figure he can rest next week with all the hot weather (again), I didn’t have the heart to leave him behind today.

Because he was a little gimpy, when Haku was being a dork in obedience class this week (CAN’T … DO … SIGNALS … WITH … TOY … BEHIND ME), Navarre got to take over! Oh so many things he doesn’t know how to do! But he had fun, he’s right on track to do some actual obedience when he’s 4 or 5, we will get there. Love my big puppy, such a good boy.


Though Navarre still thinks collecting in agility is for losers. We worked on some very basic extension to collection exercises this week – ha! Admittedly, Bright wasn’t very good either, but at least she got better. She is more bendy though, and Navarre is one of Nature’s Drifters. This week was a whole lot of breaking things down and rewarding collection, and not really feeling like we made a whole lot of progress. We also worked some verbal jump cue discrimination with me sitting, which they finally started to get better at. Mostly just because it was hot!


I did finally enter the dogs in their one June trial, USDAA, and mostly games – ha! The theory being that maybe I can finally finish Bright’s AAD. Of course, at this point I don’t remember if she has ANY Advanced games Qs, which is frustrating on many levels, with the multiple judge thing. But either way, both dogs get to play in Biathlon and Steeplechase, I think they’ll be happy.

June also comes with a Susan Koldenhof seminar, which I have now learned is supposed to be outside, which does not make me happy – maybe it won’t be 90 degrees though. Maybe. The Fenzi Camp also this June, auditing that. Will also be watching Mary’s puppy, which will be fun to play with a sheltie puppy, not something I’ve ever had a chance to do. And also a possibility of more puppy action this summer, we shall see (not mine!). If not, may look into kitten fostering, at first glance they want you to be really close to the facilities, and I am kind of out in the middle of nowhere. So maybe not.

I’m pretty much resigned to Summer at this point, as we’re not waiting until July anymore, I guess. But Fall will come eventually, something to look forward to …


6 Months

Now, we may only have gotten 3 days of Spring, but it has been lovely the last few days. Tomorrow is supposed to be 90 degrees, but, hey. I have officially been in the new house for 6 months. My refrigerator told me so. In the time that we’ve been here, this is pretty much the first weekend where the concept of sitting outside on the porch was actually an option. And there were stars! And suddenly there are neighbors everywhere. Partly because the houses across the street have finally moved in, and partly because suddenly people can actually BE OUTSIDE. The last six months have been … cold. And Wet. So, yes, this weekend I actually enjoyed the sun. I know it won’t last, but it was nice.

I think we’re pretty well settled here. Bright and Navarre do play in the yard pretty much daily these days, Haku just rolls his eyes at them and lays by the door, ever so patiently waiting for me. When did Haku get to be such a serious fellow? On hikes he’s the dog that sticks with me while the others are running willy-nilly, he acts like the other dogs are so immature. He has taken his new role as the oldest very seriously.

Having just the three border collies continues to be very easy. Now that summer is coming (or is here tomorrow, I guess) the dogs will be staying home more. We’ve done some test runs leaving them free in the house and haven’t been any issues. They continue to be very quiet, though the other day I was hosing them off after hiking and there were actually NEIGHBORS outside and they were like, “WTF?” They seem to have learned to ignore the sounds of children, which initially freaked out Bright and Navarre. The dogs seem happy, we have enough physical outlets that they seem well exercised and happy to chill out at home. Once again, we’ll see how that changes as the weather heats up, our trips to the park after classes will be right at the hottest part of the day, so we may end up just running around in the arena instead. Not quite as much full out running there though.

Still like my house, love the covered patio and lots of room for romping dogs inside. The laminate flooring has held up without any issues to the dogs as well. The yard held up well over the winter, but I’ll have to actually do something with the yard this year, not that just having bark and grass isn’t easy to maintain. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about moving into a neighborhood again, but that’s actually worked out just fine, the dogs really don’t care at all about having neighbors. And it rather novel to live so close to actual stores.

The cats also seem happy, with each other and with the dogs. The Navarre and Fizban bromance is pretty ridiculous. I used to think it was just Navarre harassing Fizban, but every night Fizban harasses sleeping Navarre until he gives in and cleans Fizzy’s ears. They are incredibly cute together. Dragon continues to do well, not as confident as Fizban, but he never has been. They run around and chase each other, they love their cat towers and really enjoy hanging out at the the front window. They like to watch the world go by. They still really enjoy their automatic feeder, which goes off six times a day. They go from a dead sleep to tearing off across the house when they hear it. They get their wet food as well, and will steal the food off your plate while you’re eating it. Little piggies.

So life goes on, weird though it seems still. Not sure when it will feel normal, but we’re hanging in there.













Growing Up

While Navarre is still very much a puppy, he is slowly growing up. Today we had a milestone, he did his first full length group obedience stays. No fidgeting, no whining, no sitting up, rolling around, looking at the other dogs – just totally relaxed and comfortable with the exercise. It’s certainly not because of practice, as we haven’t practiced them at all, but we have been doing a lot of ‘manners’ stays lately, and he is just feeling much more settled and mature.

Navarre just looked great and felt so easy with so many of the exercises today. He’s been working up to a full half hour of obedience class. And in obedience you are working the entire time. Heeling is slowly improving … at least, until it’s not, and he reverts back to wildly forging. But especially in class he’s really trying hard. Figure eights are a crack up as he’s so into the people! It’s still ridiculously easy to distract him on this exercise, but he’s getting better and he’s doing better with the proofing. After ‘exercise finished’ he’s like, “Let me go say hi to the posts now!” Such a happy guy. Stand for exam looks great, out of motion looking good too. We did our first retrieves over the high jump! He was surprisingly into this, perhaps the ‘agility/obedience’ combo. Let it be said, Navarre has no issues with his dumbbell pickups, he’s SUPER GENTLE. Not entirely sure where that came from, but it’s a nice change after Haku.

So, yes, recall and retrieves are looking better, and also trying to keep in mind that Navarre is not Haku, he’s a chill guy, no need to expect him to have the same level of enthusiasm. Few dogs do! It’s been a lot of fun doing a different sport with him. A different side of Navarre.

And Haku looked good too, still requires multiple reps before he gets a clean dumbbell pickup at class, but at least he CAN. He did some fabulous gloves today, had them really close together, his pivots and sends were lovely. Stand proofing continues, hard to fool him with a toy thrown behind him now – he can keep those feet solid when he wants to! He very much enjoys his obedience, that’s for sure. I need to actually plan out my summer, but I believe there is not much for him to enter until possibly July or September. There is an outdoor trial that was recommended, which would certainly be different. Not sure if they have preferred though. And Navarre, yeah, he’s still on the 4 year plan until he’ll be ready to trial in obedience. Training is more fun anyway!

I get to go squish a puppy this weekend! I’m so ready for some more puppy action around here, they grow up too fast. And Rico doesn’t count, as he’s already bigger than all my dogs – hard to believe he’s only 6 months old!

‘Sad’ Dogs

Have some fun plans for the summer with trick classes, I really do enjoy training new things with the dogs. Also taking an online fitness class with Bobbie, which should be fun too. Summer is actually my dogs least active time, no one likes running around when it’s hot! But 40 degrees and raining, the dogs can go forever. And Heather too! Next week the HOT WEATHER arrives for real. I can’t really complain, that was one cool and wet Spring, I suppose we’re due some sun. Alas.

In Bobbie’s class she was doing some shaping examples and I realized I had never taught any of these dogs a ‘head down’ behavior. So we played with that this week with the assumption that it would make a cute pose for photos (because that’s what it’s all about, right?). I don’t know how cute it actually is, as they look depressed really, but it was fun to do some shaping again. Looking forward to more!

Interesting fallout from the USDAA trial with Navarre, guess who doesn’t collect anymore? I had given him a break after his big agility weekend and had just been playing with Bright this week, but today I wanted to try some serp options after class and Bright was being a weirdo, so I grabbed Navarre. OMG, he was like, “Collection is for sissies – wheeeee!” So, yeah, we just worked on some simple collection work after that. I’m so used to him being so easy! Always something new in agility.

Bright did actually have lots of good stuff, when she’s not just making things up she’s a good girl:

Haku continues to do well with his dumbbell pickups at the arena, though it’s always nice when he does some munching so he has a chance to see what does and does not get rewarded. I don’t think he totally understands what the criteria is, but I think he’s finally realized that there is something about the pick-up. Amazing what being consistent about what you reward can do. A-hem.

Here is some very unexciting footage of us working retrieves that happened to get filmed today. I was actually pleased to see that Navarre looked actually okay, I felt he was giving it about 50% today, we did a lot of food rewards. Really good retrieves get the frisbee, so/so reps get food, pokey reps get him switched with Haku. He was not into weaving through my legs today, but he was still driving fairly well into his fronts, so I kind of let it go. We’re still experimenting to see what works for him. You’d think that if I were more animated, he would find this more interesting – but, surprisingly, that’s not true. Navarre HATES to be ‘jolly-ed’ along, but he does understand the ‘serious Heather predicts fun stuff’ game.

So we have made progress, but his value for the dumbbell isn’t increasing as I’d like to see. It should be a fairly obvious trade, dumbbell = frisbee, and Navarre loves his frisbee! He’s excited to start the exercise, he’s trying very hard, but the dumbbell (and getting the dumbbell back to me) continues to have very little value for him. My current plan is just continuing on this path, as he is much better than he used to be, but I do feel like there continues to be something missing. I think the problem is that Navarre is an individual, he doesn’t learn like my other dogs, but I keep assuming he magically will! Oh, and his heeling was terrible forging again this week, so, hey.


I Love Baby Dogs

Really had a fun time at the USDAA trial this weekend. We had plenty of baby dog goofiness, but having so many more runs and a variety of course types, we still had lots of goodness too. Navarre got to be a baby dog as well as show me what he can do when when we pull it together. He’s just a fun boy, still a puppy, still does his share of sightseeing, but it felt better this weekend. We will be at this stage for a long time, but that’s okay, I really do love baby dogs!

That Navarre, he’s just my special boy, my big goofy sweetheart, we have a surprisingly ‘equal’ relationship for his age and, well, dorkiness. With Bright it took years before we stepped to the line and it was as equal teammates, I had to work hard to keep raising her up. Now, of course, we have the opposite issue, but hey. Really haven’t had this level with a young dog since London, who was always a self assured guy. Navarre is not afraid to tell me when I’m late, or he thinks I’m wrong, he’s just very much an equal partner out there, and it’s really fun to feel so relaxed and comfortable with each other.

Of course, we can’t seem to buy a starters standard Q, we had a hot mess out there today. Admittedly, he dropped the third bar so I kind of went into training mode. Nice course, totally doable – but not by us. Now, biathlon, this we did really well with over the weekend – go figure! Another fun course with biathlon jumpers today and Navarre did great with it! But starters jumpers, I just didn’t support a jump and, whoops, off course. Oh well. We did end up with 2 gamblers legs, snooker and pairs, so nice to get those out of the way. I’m feeling motivated to go finish his starters title, maybe finish Bright’s advanced title too as long as we’re hanging out in the starters/advanced ring. There are a couple USDAA shows coming up we could play in. Not in as many runs as we did this weekend, but we did have fun working on our agility trial immersion. I missed running Bright though! So I really need to look at my schedule this summer and see if any of these USDAA shows fit in.

Was really happy with Navarre’s skills overall. His contacts looked good, we only did running and I think he did … 7 dogwalks? He fell off the one, but I don’t blame him for that. I’m still not training than entry.  He had some really nice, forward driving dogwalks in gamblers, really happy to see him moving so well across the board. No self released teeters, hooray! Jumping looked pretty good though we continue to have some crazy drifting sometimes, he knocked two bars (in each standard course!). Weaves were a weak point, and you can see why, he just can not pick a weave style and stick to it, he’s still all over the place. So we had two missed entries, one missed pole mid-set, one pop out at 10, and a whole lot of awkward weaving. I still plan to continue to ignore it though, I remember Haku was super awkward for quite a while too, and he eventually found a little ‘half-step’ motion that worked for him. For a baby dog, I’m super happy with his skills at the moment.

Very thankful for all the very gracious videographers this weekend, I really wanted to have some video to look at to see how Navarre progressed and it was so helpful to see!


Navarre’s USDAA Debut

Okay, now I take it back, it was too cold at the trial today. Holy crap, a very cold, wet and windy day in the mid-40s – in the middle of May! I was huddled in my winter jacket in the open sided arena, I kept waiting for it to warm up, but it never did. Brr! What a crazy year it has been for sure.

Still, it was Special Navarre Day, and we had a great time. Heidi was able to let the other dogs out at home, so it was just me and Navarre today. As I almost always have all the dogs with me these days, this felt very strange indeed. Navarre looked a little perplexed, not sure what to do with himself running around with no one wanting his frisbee.

The trial went longer than I had anticipated, but when you have to change the height of the jumps for EVERY SINGLE DOG, it certainly adds up. In the Advanced/Starters ring there was a whole lot of one dog per height, and SO MANY HEIGHTS. Then the table and the aframe, so silly. And, of course, so many course changes in USDAA as well.

Overall, I thought there were some nice starters courses, and the biathlon standard was a fun course too. USDAA and their contact approaches though, ugh. Starters standard, just a terrible approach to the dogwalk in an otherwise lovely flowing course. A bad approach for any dog, much less the babies. Navarre fell off, even with me attempting to straighten him up, it wasn’t a bad fall, but never what I want to have happen. The good news, we got two lovely dogwalks in gamblers, so it didn’t seem to affect him.

And the grand total of obstacles he ran around … only one! The last jump in steeplechase, those last jumps can get us. We had some sightseeing, but overall I felt pretty connected with him. I attempted some different handling moves that I have been hesitant with as I can lose that connection, but he did some GREAT stuff for a baby, and I felt way better about what we could do. I felt he was driving forward rather than spending his time checking things out at every turn.

A lot of ‘almosts’ today, I have no complaints. He skipped a pole in steeplechase, but I just went on, I was thrilled with his teamwork on that course (other than that pesky last jump!). He had a lovely biathlon standard run, but I need to be very careful with that ‘go-on’ cue, he took an offcourse I never even saw as a possibility. But, yeah, that WAS a go-on, that was totally my fault, the rest of the course was fabulous! Standard had the dogwalk fall and a dropped bar … and a whole lot of butt in the air on the table. A-hem. I suppose we should have worked on that one before this trial.  We ended up with a gamblers Q and our first ever pairs Q with Demi, he didn’t seem to have a problem with another dog on course. Great contacts, he was trying really hard on his weaves, jumping looked good – I’m super proud of the puppy!

A Little Spring

Bright certainly is faster in agility these days. If I could get us both pointed in the right direction it would be pretty impressive. We’ll get there eventually, love the new and improved Bright, such a happy girl! I did almost kill her this week. We had some warmer weather, but not crazy hot – in the 70s. The dogs just aren’t used to it though, and I took the dogs to the park and it didn’t feel too warm, and we played a lot of Tree Frisbee (which is a lot of full out sprinting). The dogs started looking tired and I took them home and Bright wouldn’t even stand up to get hosed down, she was overheated. Crazy that  a 70 degree day can do that at this point. She was fine, but we were much more careful after that.

So no complaints from me now that we’re back to 40s and 50s and raining again, stupid warm weather, so inconvenient. Though, wow, a LOT of rain the last few days, went hiking and it was the muddiest I’ve ever seen it up there, and it’s been a very wet winter. Still, no tongues hanging out, just happy muddy dogs in the perfect temperature for hiking.  Does take forever to rinse that Haku off when we get home though, he’s like a mud sponge.


I did groom the dogs this week, Spring shed has finally begun – and Navarre is going all out. To be fair, I don’t think he’s ever really blown his coat, so this is new. I took out an enormous amount of hair and he’s still just coming out in handfuls. I will say this about Haku’s neuter coat, it may soak up the mud, but he has zero undercoat, there is really nothing for him to shed. And Bright is shedding some, but nothing dramatic yet.  When she puts her mind to it, she can really put out the hair though – so I’m sure it has yet to come.

We did a lot of obedience practice this week, I’m happy to say that at the arena Haku’s dumbbell pickups were at 100%, no regripping whatsoever. He’s also BETTER at class … but still does it. So more like 50% there, but when he was regripping it wasn’t ridiculous. So related to excitement, I think. Been doing a lot of proofing for antsy feet, really easy to get him to literally turn when I start running around behind him to go grab a toy, so that was good to work through. Our slow heeling also feels better. Though it’s all kind of immaterial at the moment, the obedience trial that is nearby in June is the same weekend as the Fenzi camp I’m signed up to audit, and that’s four days. Hmph. Agility trial in Salem that same weekend too, dammit. This camp had better have some good information, as we’re missing lots of local fun for it. I do love learning new things though, so I am hoping it will be a fun event.

Obedience Navarre has learned to retrieve the dumbbell and carry it through my legs. We had been playing that game but he could drop the dumbbell before the leg weave. He seems perfectly okay with bringing it with him though, so that’s our retrieve at the moment. He’s still not wildly thrilled about the whole thing, but he’s running. Stand out of motion is doing much better, and he’s accepted the existence of stand in heel position for signals. His down signal is great, sit signal needs work at greater distances, and we’ve only done a tiny bit of the recall. Heeling is doing much better, rewarding behind my back with my right hand did really help with the chronic forging, his heeling is coming along. I like training heeling, it is fun, and that’s where our focus continues to be. Anything else is just gravy.

In agility looked at go-ons this week, and despite the fact that Navarre can have the annoying habit of running around the last jump, he didn’t show any sign of that this week. Bright is way too happy to go-on these days, that’s for sure. Also looked a little at the dogwalk with Navarre, which has been neglected, but it looked pretty good, no complaints. He’s ready for his USDAA debut this weekend. SO MANY RUNS. Time for Navarre to go be a baby, he can run around as many jumps as he wants to and we’ll see if we can get a little less sightseeing by the end of the weekend. Definite points to USDAA, in every run this weekend even if Navarre runs around a jump, we can still qualify. Games, starters classes, steeplechase, biathlon – there is something to be said about not focusing on being clean all the time. And for cheaper runs! I think Navarre will like USDAA.

Look who is all grown up! Ha, just kidding, Rico is only 6 months old, but still quite the beefcake …










We survived the ‘heatwave’, 2 days in the 80s with terrible humidity was good enough for me, can we call that Summer and move to Fall now?

We’re also back to three dogs, having four dogs was no problem at all. It did make me miss London very much, he was always supposed to be with us in the new the house. He would have only been 13 now, which to me is so young. I was talking to someone and they were saying that they tended to lose all their dogs at 13, and that is incredibly sad. 13 is just beginning to get into the ‘old’ stage, that should not be the end. I will take 15 as an average, but not 13. And London didn’t even make it to 13. Sigh. Sometimes when Navarre is sleeping upside down I swear he looks just like London, also quite the back sleeper.

Maybe I was thinking of him because both London and Obi are such happy dogs, and good dogs. Obi was easy to have, he IS almost 8, apparently. Most dogs are pretty easy by that point! Obi’s only downfall has been body slamming, and he’s much better than he used to be – but still nailed Navarre hard once this week. Ah, aussies. I think Obi had a great time while he was here, and was VERY happy to see his people again – aussies do love their people! Though, even though he is an aussie, Obi never barked here at all, not at the neighbor dogs, nothing. There is some sort of magical non-barking forcefield at my house, I guess.

Interesting footnote to moving to Hubbard, my dogs rarely ever poop anywhere but home now. I have a drawer in the bathroom where I put unused poop bags that I have in my pocket at the end of the day, and it’s now overflowing with 6 months of unused bags. I’m not sure where this development came from, they all used to poo everywhere, and agility especially would get things moving. Now, they just don’t go. Even when hiking for hours, we may, occasionally, get an escapee – but for the most part, nothing. They don’t poop at the park, they don’t poop at the arena, they don’t poop at the field, they rarely poop at agility trials. I don’t know how I would train this behavior if I tried. And I keep assuming they’ll, well, loosen up. But, for whatever reason, they poop at home, period. Mystery. I’m not really complaining though.

Had a scary moment last week, had set up for classes and run the dogs through some exercises to see how they flowed. Then sat down on the turf to hang out with the dogs until classes started. And saw this on one of the tunnels:


Holy shit! NTI tunnels are downright dangerous, it scared me to death to think of what could have happened. And what might have happened to a student’s dog had I not noticed before class. This was a new tunnel that was a replacement for ANOTHER tunnel that had already broken.  We’re trying out the ‘sure grip’ tunnel from Clean Run next, I hope it’s safer, as there don’t seem to be any good options for buying tunnels. And yet, there are tunnels out there that are 15 years old that are still going strong – I wonder what they used to do to make them so much sturdier? I certainly wouldn’t trust a NTI tunnel even for home practice though, to think that a leg could have gone through that …

With Haku’s big obedience trial out of the way, Navarre got to come in and start some brand new obedience exercises this week in class. He has now been introduced to the jumping part of directed jumping, which made him bark a lot. 😉 He approves. He’s also been introduced to the stand out of motion, which he does better with than the stand in signals, where he’s like, “WTF? We always sit on our halts, what the hell is this?” He also got to see the obedience broad jump, but we just went straight forward over it. I think he’s now been at least introduced to all the exercises, at least to some extent. He’s done very little with gloves, don’t want to mess with that until he’s got his dumbbell retrieve more solid.

Navarre still thinks dumbbell retrieves are … dumb. You can almost see him rolling his eyes when you send him. He has no problem with the exercise, he’s happy to do it, but he still thinks it’s stupid. He’s faster on the return with the leg weave, but we’re not there yet. Little steps in the right direction, we keep our obedience short and sweet and then trade him for another dog. He’ll get there when he gets there, I’m happy with where he is now, he enjoys it, but he’s not ready to do more than dabble at this point. 4 years old is my guess with him, he’s just such a baby still.

Meanwhile, Haku is on a bit of breather and we’re focusing on more little bits rather than full exercises. Carol has loaned us a tiny dumbbell which we used at the trial, it looks like it’s for a papillon, but it does fit in Haku’s mouth just fine, but he can’t roll it around. I think it helped a little with the regripping on pick up, but the behavior is still there. Haku is equally excited for tiny baby dumbbells as he is for big ones. And we’re doing a lot of focus on antsy feet and slow heeling.

Haven’t decided what our summer schedule is going to look like. I imagine we’ll be doing at least a little obedience in June. There is also the Fenzi Camp in Albany I’m auditing, which hopefully should be interesting. There will probably be at least one agility trial as well, I suppose I should look. Also considering doing some kitten fostering this summer. Because, well, kittens – who doesn’t like temporary kittens? And also will be getting to play with a sheltie puppy – so excited for Mary! Summer is a time of birthdays too, Bright will be turning 6, Haku will be 8 shortly after. Dragon will be 3 (such a baby!). Back with Bruce, Brisbee turns 16 this month and Fenwick will be 17 this summer – crazy. Miss them.

Obi approved of Hiking Friday, though he was less enthused when we got rained on for the last hour of the hike.










It Begins

Tomorrow we’re supposed to get up into the 80s, which is pretty crazy considering I think we’ve MAYBE had one day over 70 in the last 6 months.  Today it was up near 70, but still overcast and pretty humid. Took the dogs out for a run in the field and they were all lying down looking like they were going to pass out in no time at all. I haven’t seen tongues like that in so long it was rather shocking. Add in another 10-15 degrees and we might all keel over from heatstroke tomorrow, we’re just not used to it. So, yeah, bracing myself – but after a couple days we’re back into the 50s, so, hey.


Obi is just such a cheerful little dude, and a nice contrast to my rather serious border collies. I don’t think of them as serious, but especially around the house they are very quiet and reserved. And then in comes Obi, and he’s so HAPPY! And you know that annoys Bright to no end, but Obi doesn’t care, he only knows how to be happy. He loves to play tug and do tricks and get snuggles, he sticks right with us out in the field, happily loads up and hangs out in the car while I teach. He’s happy to come and meet all the new people, yet isn’t pushy or obnoxious, he’s just sweet – and happy. He’s a well adjusted boy, I was calling him 5 years old, but he actually might be 7? I don’t remember. He’s one good boy, glad my parents ended up with him.

Set up a version of Round 1 from WTT at classes this week, that one was interesting to play around with. Fun to try the opening several different ways, I ended liking sending to the left on 4, blind crossing and threadling 6. I can say it’s good I saved my money and didn’t go to tryouts, we did not run it clean. 😉

Some Navarre and Pixel cuteness:






Look at that handsome puppy!