A Rainy April

Took the boys out herding with Dave again last week, they both had improved. Haku’s outruns weren’t great, but not non-existent. I’m not worried about it, once we get the hang of driving we’ll go back at fix that. The problem is finding an area big enough, of course – he’s fine in our practice arena at Poodletopia. Apparently the slope of the area we were in at Dave’s can cause an issue as well. Mostly he’s just focused on driving, because that’s all we’ve been doing, so he’s anticipating.

The driving was better, and the good news is that we can bumble our way through it, even if it doesn’t go as planned. From what I can gather, as I don’t speak herding very well, there are couple issues. First being that apparently Haku keeps shutting the sheep down on the drive, not sure how to fix this one. The second being his normal issue of once he finally has the sheep driving, the line is right, everything is perfect … and then he’ll just back off and the sheep just wander off. Sigh. Need to continue to work on him continue to move into them – but not at the wrong angle or whatever. This at least we can work on. No issues pushing the sheep off of me today.

Then, ironically, on the fetch then he kept coming up into their bubble TOO much. I can’t win, it’s either telling him to get off of them or telling him to get up on them. Still, he was very proud of himself and it was so much easier to work with these sheep. We had a good time.

Navarre I just passed over to Dave as it’s more helpful for me to see what I should be doing than attempting to have him explain it to me. He used the flag again and today was blocking Navarre into stopping – but not asking him to. There was much flag slapping, and Navarre squinting but refusing to back off. Dave said he was being good, and I will give it a try with our sheep. Just MUCH harder with ours as you won’t be ‘stepping through’ our sheep. At all. Ever. They are a wall of sheep.

I find it very interesting to see the lack of stress with both dogs with herding. Haku can definitely be very sensitive to correction, and Navarre is not a high drive dog, he’s just a big marshmallow – but both are nothing but steely eyed determination no matter how much pressure or confusion there is in herding. Yet London, a total rock in all other aspects of his life, who had never quit anywhere no matter the pressure – in herding it was too much. The pressure caused him to both stress up and stress down and he would totally quit. And I never did all that much with London, and was way nicer about the whole thing with him. So, yeah, go figure.

The interesting world of herding. I do feel less inclined to practice now that I don’t have specific and concrete homework. Not sure when we’ll see sheep again, but now is the time – I’m not looking forward to the heat.

Agility-wise we didn’t do too much this week, just a little bit of running through some exercises to see how they flowed for classes. We don’t have any trial plans until maybe May. We had a lovely hike this week, new wildflowers every time we go. Just not sure if Navarre is broken. As usual, we hiking along, Bright and Haku were playing Stick with a small, smooth but fairly crumbly little piece of wood. For once, Navarre joined in and came over to show me the stick, he was just walking next to me when he yelped really loudly. I don’t know what happened, everyone froze, I thought maybe he hurt himself with the stick, I opened up and checked all over his mouth but didn’t find anything. He wasn’t doing anything to indicate there was any sort of pain in his mouth, I checked him over and didn’t see anything, but then he seemed off for the rest of the hike. Maybe a front, maybe a rear, I couldn’t tell, but definitely not his smooth self – but nothing huge. When we got home I thought I might find a torn pad or something – but no. Maybe some restriction on his front right, but it was hard to say. He did seem a little slower maybe? Possibly hurt his neck or back? Of course, now I can’t see anything, but the dogs haven’t gotten any action this weekend. He’s eating fine, haven’t seen anything amiss with his mouth – ugh. He’s not a yelper though, so something happened – I just don’t know what, and if the stick being in his mouth was completely unrelated.

And in the meantime, all the cats got sick again. Fizban’s eye got goopey, then Marvin stopped eating and Dragon lost his voice again. This swapping sicknesses around is driving me nuts! Still, Marvin never had the not eating sickness, so I’m hoping this is the final round. He’s eating fine again, and once he did I put everyone on antibiotics, we’re doing a full 2 weeks and I’m DONE with cats being sick. So silly to be trading the same damn sicknesses back and forth for FOUR MONTHS.

On the other hand, I think Haku has gained so much weight he tried to get on the bed last night and failed (he made it the second time, my bed is REALLY high). It took a while, but the new food is really kicking in, he’s actually kind of plump. I ordered a new bag, he seems to be doing well on it. And then for everyone I finally broke down and ordered a chest freezer, they’ll all be getting supplemented with raw. The plan is to go pick up a huge amount so that it will last me 6 months or so (and buying in bulk is the only way to make it cheap), as that’s the biggest pain about it all.

I liked the butcher in Aloha, Ponderosa, they had a nice selection and relatively inexpensive with carcasses, bones and ground. As I’m only supplementing I don’t have to worry about it being a complete diet, so we can get all the really cheap stuff. Fingers crossed it helps with Navarre’s teeth, which are the worst teeth I’ve ever had on a dog, they’ve been terrible since he was six months old. This year I’ve attempted to try several ‘home’ remedies, including 1TDC (did nothing), kelp (helped some), brushing (I’ve seen no difference), an oral cleansing gel (maybe helps?) and chews (does nothing). But his gums are inflamed, his teeth are brown, he just has shitty teeth. So we’ll if the bones help. I do occasionally give the dogs knuckle bones, but just a few times a year (that’s what they did this weekend!). That does help, but he needs a lot of help. So, we’ll see, the plan is to add carcasses to his diet several times per week along with weekly knuckle bones. Which will all be easy to do because of my chest freezer!


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