Confidence Camp

Things have been busy. Well, for me, not so much the dogs. We had yet more 100 degree weather and health hazard smoke from the wildfires, then the dogs tore off their pads. Yeah, not been too exciting to be a dog around here recently. But the good news is I’d like to say we’ve FINALLY put that last 90 degree day behind us, and it should be reasonable until, hopefully, next July. I’m kicking Summer to the curb, but unfortunately it keeps kicking back. Maybe this time it will stick.

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Really enjoyed the Summer of Tricks, the classes were so much fun and I can’t even tell you how cute. I do love tricks! So many new trick titles are now out there in the world and the plan is to do more trick classes during winter break as well. It’s been hugely inspiring for me on many levels, we’re continuing to work on putting things on cue. We’ve been enjoying it, but so happy to be back at agility!

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Navarre is the only dog in the family that preserved his pads, so it’s been fun to just bring Navarre to play a little before classes this week. Whether it’s excitement from the break or just being by himself without the others, Operation Chase Me has been going exceptionally well. My biggest concern is he would be lukewarm about the whole thing, but he now actually likes to chase me. The funny part is that he actually does NOT like it when I (accidentally) throw the tug toys, he looks disgusted with me. Frisbees are for fetching, tug toys are for tugging – he’s been pretty clear. And, once again, surprisingly happy to play with any tug toy I’ve brought out. It’s a mystery, but I’ll take it.

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Navarre has forgotten how to collect, however. While we have lots of chasing, we had to break out the food to actually get him to stop launching into the stratosphere. Dork. Still, I’m feeling pretty good that he’s at least warmed up for the USDAA trial this weekend. Now, poor Bright I hadn’t even worked her up to full height with our 2 jump work yet, she’d just been jumping 20 with Navarre. This week was supposed to be about getting her comfortable with 22 again. Well, what shall be, shall be. She just ripped a hole in one pad, and it’s looking pretty good, so hopefully she’ll be healed up for some practice on turf tomorrow.

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Last weekend was the long awaited OSCD Confidence Camp, which was just a whirlwind. I had been half looking forward and half dreading it all year. This was definitely an experiment, and the hope was a weekend of dogs having fun and learning to relax and open up and play. But that’s a tall order, asking dogs with stress or motivation issues to play in a new environment surrounded by new dogs and people – and then ask them to do it for two days! I was worried the dogs would be shut down or overfaced, I worried they would exhaust themselves and I really worried about whether they would come away with more positive than negative experiences. It can be hard with sensitive dogs, good intentions aside, it was a lot to ask.

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What I discovered though is that if you give a camp for more sensitive dogs, the type of handlers that sign up for it are AWESOME. They really want to help and support their dogs, they don’t want to stress or over-face their dogs either – this was one fabulous group of handlers. The energy of the camp was amazing, I was so pleasantly surprised to see everyone so open to trying new things while at the same time completely supporting and making sure their dogs felt safe and comfortable. It really did end up being a weekend of people playing with their dogs, and I can’t think of a better way to spend a few days is just trying to get dogs to feel comfortable and really play.

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I didn’t get nearly enough time with each group, I felt like we barely scratched the surface before we were rotating groups. But the whole scope of the camp is HUGE, and there are so many facets that couldn’t be covered in a week much less half a day. This is the hardest part of agility and training in general, getting a dog that is ready to play. To me the training part is easy if you can get your dog to show up to the party. I hope it was still worthwhile, I hope people had fun and the dogs amazed me going the whole weekend and still engaged and happy.

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Overall I felt good about the event, there are definitely some things to change – like I should not attempt to just lecture about the overall scope of focus and motivation. OMG, way too broad a topic! And I’m a do-er, not a lecturer in general. Talking about broad generalities is not my thing – all dogs are unique, I want to work with them one on one. I wish I could have taken more photos, would have been so fun to just photograph the whole event – people playing with their dogs, there is nothing I find more fun to capture. I did take some pictures at the fun match, but it wasn’t quite the same.

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This may happen again next year, certainly a lot of interest in it – but Tammy ran herself into the ground organizing this one, so, we’ll see. Having Laura up to teach was awesome as well, she’s definitely the right choice for this kind of material! A huge undertaking which so many people helped pull together, it was a very special event.

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With trick classes and camp over for the year, I started back to agility classes this week and I have missed them greatly. I really love agility and I love my students – having a break helps me never feel burnt out on it all. We have a burst of trials coming up in the next couple months but no big plans.

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Lulu and her kittens are doing well, and getting BIG. I’ll have them for one more week before they head back to the shelter to be neutered and then adopted out. I may be biased, but they are awesome. The kittens have turned into tiny cats, they are crazy fast and athletic and climbing and jumping and scamping everywhere. They are also a little more into me these days, like they’ve finally noticed I exist. The have also noticed the dogs exist more, and find them somewhat overbearing. Because they are. More cautious around the dogs, but mostly just spending their time at top speed.

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Little tabby kitten is currently being rehabbed. He crashed the first morning of Confidence Camp, turned out he had a bacterial gut infection. He’s back at the shelter getting antibiotics and bottle feeding – and improving. Poor little guy, scared the crap out of me when he faded so quickly.

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I am looking forward to getting my bathroom back, though it’s worked out great for Lulu and kittens, with the combined area of the bathroom and walk in closet they have plenty of room to tear around when I’m gone. Fizban and Dragon were not as upset about the interlopers as I thought they might be. It’s possible we may add another cat in the future, but not any time soon. I think Dragon and Fizzy would be okay with it, but two cats is certainly easier to take care of than the five I have currently.

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Things should hopefully be settling down and I’m looking forward to getting back into a normal routine – with much cooler weather! Hard to believe we’ll have been here a year the end of November. Life certainly takes you in some interesting directions.

 

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