Time to Go

Figgy had been doing pretty well, not the easiest puppy, but nothing outrageous. In fact, her breeder was up visiting just a few weeks ago, everything was fine. The plan was to keep her for a few more months, maybe do some agility foundation with her. She was finally getting food motivated, so we were going to start training cute tricks and body awareness. And then this week happened – and, yeah, time for puppy to go home now.

To be fair, she’s not doing anything out of the ordinary for a puppy, she’s not a bad dog. If she were my dog, it would be annoying, but, yeah everything can be dealt with in time. But there was a flurry of puppy behavior I just don’t want to do deal with, including a sudden and intense fascination with eating shit. It happens with puppies, but Fig has had zero interest in poo … until this week, when suddenly she is not only eating it, but eating so much she’s making herself sick. I mean, seriously? There are four dogs in this household, it’s not hard to find shit. So, yeah, not charming AT ALL.

Then the rains have started, and Figgy took this as magic from the gods for making all parts of the yard nice and diggable – giant mud craters EVERYWHERE. And, of course, all over the dog who wants to come into my house and smears it all over the patio door. She already ate a large percentage of my baby plants, I’d like to keep my remaining ones – and not have a giant mud pit for a yard.

And all of the sudden she’s decided that food is valuable, and I could have food, therefore she must go after any dog that gets near me to protect her now valuable food. She’s not discriminating either, she’ll take on full grown adults. Yeah, not charming either.

And, finally, by just bodily throwing herself at the wall in the arena, she can now ‘get over’ the 3 foot barrier in the most dangerous and frightening way, throwing her body up and over, dragging her rear legs behind her and falling to the concrete on the other side. And once she learned she could do that move, she kept doing it. Which is just Fig in general, she has no regard for her body and I don’t want her to break herself on my watch.

So, yeah, and then there’s the fact we already working on fixing her biting the other dogs when over-aroused (and she IS better!), these are all fixable, but very much NOT FUN puppy issues that require a lot of management and work. The cuteness has officially worn off, she is suddenly more work than I’m prepared to deal with this winter. In the space of week she went from ‘fine’ to ‘obnoxious puppy’.

We don’t have an official date for her return to California, but it will be soon. And we will miss her, she really is a nice puppy – but I also think we’re all about ready for some puppy-free time at this point. We did do two puppies this year, and that’s a lot. The dogs have been tolerant and very good with the pups, but they’re ready to take center stage again.

We did go to an AKC trial last weekend. Just standard and jumpers, which seemed like plenty as we’re easing back into things. It’s fun to run Bright and Navarre on the same course, especially when they both do well – Navarre is edging ever closer to Bright’s times. I thought he would have beaten her in standard today with his running dogwalk, but, no, it wasn’t by much, but she still beat his time (though she knocked a bar, so technically he won!). In jumpers, once again they were very close – but Bright edged him out again. Never underestimate efficiency.

I’m getting easy to please, both courses had one part that I wanted to try to get in a blind cross with both dogs down stream – and I’m happy to say I got it on both courses with both dogs. As long as a course has one thing that makes me wonder if I can do it a certain way, I’m happy. And then all the big long extension loops make the dogs happy, so it’s all good. We had fun, and it helps we’ve been on break, I just appreciate being able to run my dogs in the COOL weather.

Really happy with both dogs, they did some really nice stuff and other than Bright’s knocked bar and Navarre’s enthusiastic tunnel off course they did awesome. Navarre even got a double Q, which doesn’t happen often with Sir Runs Around Obstacles – which even got him high in trial! Very proud of the baby dog, and cool that PAC gives out embroidered fleeces for their awards – you can never have too many fleeces for my money. I liked coming for just standard and jumpers, and our next trial we’re just going for premier in the morning – I could get used to this schedule.

Then it’s supposed to be 85 degrees all week. I’m not amused.

Agility!

Fun to get back to agility last weekend! Bright had her 16 inch Performance debut and that was just fun. Lower jumps = faster dog (and happier dog!), which always makes things more exciting. She did great, including breaking her startline on her standard run and running to her leash mid-course. It’s funny the things that make me happy in agility these days! Such a good girl, she’s at the perfect age – our agility journey is kind of ‘complete’. I love that we ended up with a slightly naughty free spirit on course, it took us years to get there, including her ‘Too Serious’ years and then her ‘Not Listening to Me at All’ years as well. I love that funny little girl, and she loves her agility – VERY happy to be back. She did, ironically, knock a bar in jumpers. She looked good though, no complaints.

Navarre had some lovely stuff at the trial, including some great weavepole entrances and exits which I was thrilled with considering we’ve been off all summer. His contacts were good, though self releasing on his teeter – which I went with, as I prefer a running teeter. We may have to fix it later, but, funny enough, Bright was the only dog I had to go back and fix a running teeter with. Navarre had lots of good stuff, and then just some really weird … tunnel issues. Apparently over the break he forgot how to do TUNNELS. He’d run by them, around them, act like they were invisible – or, if you got him in, consistently turn the wrong way coming out no matter where I was. It was so weird, I had to basically leave two courses where I couldn’t get him to take a tunnel so we could finish up the rest of the course in flow. So, yeah, that was odd. And, yes, he now still needs one last standard Q to finish up his Advanced title – so, once again, doing 2 USDAA trials a year, this will take us another year to finish. Oh well, he obviously doesn’t NEED to be in masters if he we need to go back to Tunnel 101.

Today we went to a Barbara Currier seminar which CAT was putting on. I had no expectations, I had never heard of her, she’s from the east coast. But basically on her bio she had ‘ex-OMD’, and that kind of intrigued me as the whole creepy OMD pyramid scheme thing drives me nuts. I don’t have any issue with the training, but the marketing and cult thing is not my cup of tea. I like free-thinkers, so the ‘ex’ part made me think she may be someone I would enjoy. Still working on finding new ideas to work with Navarre, and everyone has a different perspective, so I gave it a shot.

Turned out to be a fun little seminar, just a half day with 5 people, a good group. Basically we just ran three different courses, no particular focus or outline. That works fine for me as I do mainly want to get specific feedback and ideas about Navarre’s particular issues. Funny enough, Navarre was actually having a lot of the OPPOSITE issues that he normally does, he was pulling INTO me. But I was also working on focusing on my handling and not using verbals unless I felt like they were needed (which is what we were working on before the break). I already knew he does better with more verbals, but this very much reinforced it, ‘Just say jump’ is a good rule of thumb with Navarre – it’s what he learned first, and obviously learned best. But, yeah, if I just indicate a line with motion and body language he runs just staring at me – give him a verbal, he doesn’t look at me at all. Go figure.

So Barbara felt his drifty issues stem from pressure, specifically, looking at him sends him wider. She felt if I stared directly at him when running he pushed wide, and if I look at his feet instead he was tighter. That was one I hadn’t heard before! I do, in general, run my dogs a lot by NOT looking at them directly … but not Navarre, because I’m always trying to ‘catch’ him and being very forceful and direct. So that may have been having the opposite effect. So we’re going to give that a try and add it into our toolbox to help bring Navarre in. We’ll get there, one step at a time. Stop looking at my dog. 😉

It was a fun little seminar, I’d go to her again, she was positive and fun, not too serious and, yes, a free thinker that is not afraid to speak her mind – which I appreciate in people. It’s funny how even hearing all the OMD names for everything just drives me crazy though. ‘Whiskey turn’, pish, just call it what it is, backside blind! And I have no problem with reverse spins, but unless they’re REALLY needed, they just put me behind.

I like trained cues, verbals and independence. At the USDAA trial the courses were nice and wide and fast, which meant I was behind a lot and Navarre is so good at driving ahead and committing to things … unless it’s a tunnel, apparently. I just don’t have a lot of young and spry students, commitment and trained cues are what make the impossible, possible when you can’t physically get there – and that’s a lot of the time for a lot of people.

Anyway, love agility, happy to be back at agility, have homework to get working on. We’ve started our online class with Polona and we’re going to be working on her advice for helping with Navarre as well. I don’t expect him to be a tight turning dog, but I’d like to think in another year, when Navarre is at the ‘Magic Age’ of 4 and a half, we’ll be pretty solid. We can do lots of things, but the running around obstacles and wide loopy lines is our nemesis at the moment.

And absolutely NO complaints about the sudden and dramatic Fall we are having this year. Normally September is pretty dry and warm, but this year it’s all, BAM, FALL. It makes me so happy to snuggle into my fleeces and walk in the rain. I’m so looking forward to using the fireplace and snuggling on the couch with my blankets and a lap-full of cats.

Figgy got out and about at the events last weekend, including some impressive grown up moments … and some less impressive grown up moments. I was super proud of her, I took her out into the big field at the USDAA trial, which means lots of other offleash border collies running around chasing toys. I wasn’t sure if she was ready for that level of stimulation and excitement, but she was SO GOOD. She watched the other dogs, but no running off at all, and was okay with meeting some other border collies as well. It helps that she’s MOSTLY very submissive when meeting a new dog. Well, except today, she was on leash and I was feeding her treats when Moxie came over to say hi. I didn’t think anything of it, but Figgy turned into a little savage beast after being sniffed for a moment. Ironically, I think it was the FOOD that flipped her switch. Now that Fig has more value for food she was like, ‘MINE!’ So, yeah, little Fig tried to take down a full grown border collie bitch (who did not appreciate it).

Then yesterday Linda had her incredibly sweet 6 month old border collie boy, who just had the nicest energy about him. I thought him and Fig would hit it off, but Fig has turned the corner – she saw this super sweet and unassuming border collie puppy and was like, ‘I will OWN you!’ She knew she could boss that puppy around and she took full advantage, telling him off for whatever reason, taking all the toys and being, well, a bitch. She didn’t get to stay out for long.

Not super surprising, she is a female border collie – but I thought the cute puppy stage would last a little longer. Fig is going to grow up to be a bitch. Hopefully not in a bad way, but she’s not the dog loving sweetheart that Aja was, that’s for sure. Fig remains respectful of my dogs, Bright approves of her level of submissiveness and regularly puts the smack down on her if she gets too bold. They they play and have a good time, but Bright is not nearly as lovely dovey with Fig as she was with Aja. So, we shall see what time brings for the newly bitchy Fig. If she causes any issues with my crew she’ll be back to Karen in a flash, but right now I just think she’s just doing normal puppy stuff that may not mean anything in the long run. Time will tell.

Meanwhile, herding had its ups and downs this week. Which reminds me, I really need to buy some boots and rain clothes, herding in the winter is coming. Ah, herding, so many things I don’t like about it – including standing out there in all weather. And then this week it was ‘shout continuously at Haku for 20 minutes straight’ and I did NOT like that. I don’t know what was up with Haku, but he was just totally off in a world of his own, could not take an ‘away’ to save his life and wouldn’t even call off the sheep – which is so not like him.

I’m definitely warming up to the concept of a whistle. Unfortunately I don’t know if Haku has time to learn whistles, but, yeah, that would have been super helpful when he was WAY across the field and I’m just screaming trying to get him information. Did I mention I don’t like screaming? And whistles really do have so much more nuance … well, than I normally use with my voice. I always feel better when I watch herding videos and they are tooting on that damn whistle CONTINUOUSLY. It’s so much harder to fix little things when, first, you’re shouting across the field, and second the dog doesn’t know if your flank means keep going or just move 2 feet to the side. So with the whistle you have a tiny toot that means move a tiny bit and long toot to mean, well, go long. Haku and I are missing that nuance.

Well, we were missing everything at our lesson this week, which was frustrating so we stopped early and I told Dave he was responsible for not yelling at Navarre, who was a total twat when we had him on the new sheep at Heidi’s. My expectations for Navarre were low … and he was so good with Dave. Dammit! So that was interesting, and it’s helpful to see ever since Navarre finally decided that Dave was worth listening to it’s been fun to watch them work together. I do think it’s a matter of consistency, I don’t feel confident with what I’m doing in herding, I waffle from over controlling to under controlling and not wanting to ‘fix’ things when I’m not sure who’s ‘fault’ it was in herding. Navarre just has no fucking clue with me because I’m not consistent at all, so I think he feels the need to take charge and keep control of the sheep. But he finally seemed to have decided that Dave actually knows what he’s doing, and that’s pretty awesome.

The other thing is that Navarre struggles the most with pace and distance, always has. So Dave just works on other things with him, he does outruns and driving and just makes Navarre successful with what he can do well. While I always thought you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) work on other things until the dog was confident with, well, the basics – like balance and NOT running people over with sheep. Dave just pretty much has been making Navarre successful with things he CAN do well, which I think will eventually help him with the things he’s not so good at.

So, this week, Navarre beat Haku in herding at our lesson – which is amusing. It’s funny how I will swing from, “Navarre just never needs to do herding again,” to “Oh, he looks so good!” But the biggest thing, he really does very much enjoy it. Navarre and I have very good self esteem, we can enjoy doing something even if we’re not very good at it – and herding is definitely in that category for both of us. I did talk seriously this week about sending Navarre to Dave for training, possibly in December, which is a good time. I think if Navarre could get the basics down where he was actually somewhat functional, I think he could have a little herding career. I have not had a lot of success doing that on my own though, so I feel like rather than doling out money for lessons where I fumble through it, it’s a better use of money to have Dave actually train Navarre and keep working on my skills with the ever patient Haku.

But the good news, Haku got to work with the new sheep at Poodletopia over the weekend and he was not broken after all. I didn’t have to scream at him, my semi-proficient herding dog was back. Which is good, because as he’s got another AKC trial with Carol in two weeks. Which pretty much fulfills my goals for him this year, I wanted him to go two herding trials – and he will! Next year my goal is to go to at least 2 herding trials with ME, which adds way more complexity.

Collar Graduation

Figgy has pretty much outgrown her puppy collar at this point, so I had to make the decision to either buy her a new one, or see if she’s ready for the collar-free lifestyle.  The fact that I feel she’s ready means that I think she’s grown up enough to make some good decisions. Doesn’t mean that she will, and I’m not going to put her in a position where a wrong decision could be dangerous – but I’m going to test her out and see how grown up she is.

She’s made some good decisions, we let her ‘herd’ the sheep again and then asked her to come away from the pen with the sheep on her own. And she, eventually, made the right decision. And I’ve asked her multiple times the kennel up after her turn was over – and she does – mostly. She’s got some natural goodness in with her naughtiness, I think she’ll be a nice dog when she grows up.

What she has not been doing better with is biting the other dogs when overaroused, such as out running in a group. And as she made Haku bleed the other day, she’s officially on probation until she gets her group privileges back. Hiking is fine (er, mostly), but not when dogs are running. So that’s annoying, as it is far easier to bring everyone as a group – but, thankfully, finally Fall has arrived. Which means that I can start leaving dogs in the car again! So I can do shifts of dogs at the park, and have some place to put naughty puppies if they can’t behave themselves.

Basically with this sort of issue it needs to be an all or nothing rule – no biting dogs, ever, or the fun ends. And that’s a pain for a while, but as long as I’m consistent, hopefully it won’t be TOO long. We shall see.

Training-wise, maybe because she’s not been getting as much physical exercise (for multiple reasons), training has been a bust this week. She’s also busy teething, and I think that can affect things as well. We have started circling a cone, which she can offer, but she’s not really focused on – she’ll just run off to grab toys or harass the other dogs, and that’s fine. I do hope at some point we actually get to train some fun stuff though, I LIKE training dogs. They are ready when they’re ready though, and she IS related to Dove and Navarre, who were most definitely slow to get into training. Can’t rush it though, just hope that she’ll be ready to do something before she has to go home! We shall see.

I am working on cone circling because Navarre has gone back to remedial agility. We are taking an ‘Advanced Agility Exercise’ class with Polona, and step number one is the basic standard circling foundation. So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go back and reward the basics, once again. Funny enough, I just started at the very beginning, free-shaping a cone wrap (admittedly on a very small cone!) and Navarre had NO clue. So we really DID get to restart the whole behavior. And, for now, I even renamed it. I’ve never liked ‘check’, so we are doing ‘dig’ this time.

It’s helpful to see even when looking at this as a whole new behavior, he just can’t bend well. So looking at his honest efforts to circle a small cone, he just isn’t tight. And I looked back at when we originally trained cone and standard circling – and he has NEVER been tight, even when he was younger. He just doesn’t bend that way. It’s amazing to then ask Bright to do it – OMG, she’s ridiculously bendy. And Bright can ACCELERATE through the behavior, for Navarre to go ‘tight’ he has to go to a walk. I had already figured that was the case, but I now have solid proof.

So a fun experiment, now that we’re standing up and it looks more like ‘agility’ he doesn’t have any question what we’re doing anymore, and his commitment is solid – but even on the bigger wing, not tight and not fast. We also looked at a fun exercise from Justine’s latest puppy class, playing ‘tag’ around a barrier – wow, he just can’t turn to catch me around the edges, WOOoosh, so wide, even when he’s TRYING (which, admittedly, sometimes he’s really not!). All good information to have.

Poor dogs, things have been really busy and they really haven’t gotten much action at all. I had wanted to go to the beach this week, but too many things I still need to get ready to start classes next week. We will get there sometime soon, I should stop leaving everything for when I’m ‘on vacation’, apparently. Dogs have had some conditioning and some limited jumping to get ready for the USDAA trial this weekend, but I didn’t enter them in much. Just one day, Bright just has two runs at 16, Navarre has 3 runs at 20 inches, which is pretty easy for an almost 22 inch dog. We are also entered in a half day seminar with some instructor I’ve never heard of, because why the heck not. So, yeah, agility – we’re back! I love agility ❤

And then Heidi got new sheep at Poodletopia! So no more dealing with the old crotchety ladies. Heidi took them to auction this week, kind of sad, they had a lot of personality, we got to know them well. And ‘my’ sheep was the biggest bitch of them all. Grand old lady, I hope that other than being annoyed by dogs occasionally she had a good long happy sheep life. We now have three LITTLE dogbroke babydoll sheep. Much less likely to take us out, and, at least at this point, they actually MOVE. Haku and I don’t know what to make of that – but we can finally work on some driving.

It was kind of funny, my border collie breeder was visiting over the weekend and Dove showed her what NICE things she could do on sheep. And maybe just to prove a point, Navarre was TERRIBLE. Even more than normal, he was high as a kite and not listening whatsoever. At this point I’m pretty used to it. I will look into sending him to Dave this winter and see if he could get Navarre to a functional place to actually do some novice herding stuff. But, if not, that’s okay too – I’m totally okay with Navarre not having any real feel for herding, it’s just his enthusiasm for the activity that keeps me bringing him to play … as long as I’m there anyway with Haku. Love my Navarre, he doesn’t need to turn tight or be a good herding dog, he’s just perfect the way he is.

Oh, I did bring Fig back up to Joan’s pool and she got to do a little more swimming. We made some progress, but she’s still not quite up to jumping in on her own. She likes the water though, and no problem swimming and loves to retrieve the bumpers. I may look into taking her to the indoor pool in Hillsboro this summer, as I do think she’s just one or two exposures away from really feeling comfortable with swimming. We shall see.

So, yeah, I feel like life is ready to resume after being on ‘pause’ for the summer. I always kind of feel that way. And sometimes it’s nice to just ‘stop’ for a while, but we’re all ready to get back to action around here. I’m ready for fall leaves, rain, clouds and fleeces. Good times.

Ready to Launch

The actual ‘summer’ part of Summer went by surprisingly fast this year. I had many plans and things I wanted to get done, but somehow here it is September and I’m scrabbling to get it all finished. Very much enjoyed my summer trick classes, and it was nice to take a break from agility for a bit. I’m excited to get back to it though, and things that seemed so far away are suddenly unexpectedly coming up fast.

Dogs are ready to get back to action, I think. They like hiking and such, but it’s not the same as ‘working’. I am solidifying my plans for what I want to work on with the dogs this Fall, and what trials to enter. I decided to put Bright into Performance in USDAA, no real reason not to and it’s not like we have many USDAA shows to go to. 22 inches is just that much more difficult than 20, and 16 is REAL easy. We’ll stay in 20 for AKC, and while I was going to just do premier with Bright after she got her MACH, in the end I think it’s nice to do more straightforward courses too. And Navarre will also get a little of everything.

As for skills, going back to working come to hand with Navarre and work on his chase drive. Bright needs tune ups on her contacts, stopping and running. Looking into an online handling class, just to keep me motivated. It really does feel like I haven’t really done agility in forever, it was so hot for so long this year that I stopped actually working the dogs long before summer break. I do not do well with heat, that’s for sure.

We have had some LOVELY unexpectedly Fall-like days this week, including even some rain, which is crazy in August. Fingers crossed that we have seen the last of the 90 degree weather, and hopefully won’t see again until next July. September can be a weird month, but I would love a nice Fall for once without the Summer That Won’t Die. We shall see!

Fig is growing at a crazy exponential rate at the moment. She was really butt high last week, and then VOOooosh, the rest of her caught up this week. She’s way outgrowing her male Visla puppy friend of the same age – and any other puppy the same age she’s been around. The good news on the puppy front, she’s been eating consistently! I started using a fish based supplement with the dogs and if you combine her food with that and water she just eats it, without any drama whatsoever. I don’t even know what to do with a puppy that just EATS.

But I think all around Fig is figuring out the rules of life and, being a border collie, is just sort of conforming without thinking much about it. And it’s been real interesting for me as the majority of our everyday life training has involved no traditional reinforcers at all. I’ve basically used all environmental rewards, mostly her access to motion and fun times. She can do some surprisingly mature things for a puppy her age that really has had minimal formal training.

The ‘formal’ training we HAVE done seems to go in cycles. Sometimes Fig is just into it, and we spontaneously train some sort of extraneous trick like hugging Bright because that’s what she was into at that moment. And usually for a few days if I invite her to come train (just once a day) she’s really fun and into it. And then she’ll just switch off, has no interest in the food and just wants to go party. So I put it away for a week until she starts engaging me again. When you CAN get her attention she picks up things very quickly. Tonight she learned about rear feet targeting and holding on with her rear feet while I stretch her forward, and backing up to find the target. Also learned to sit with front feet on a pedestal, and then we worked her first position changes with her front feet on a pedestal too. It’s not really about the food for her when we’re training, it’s a funny thing, there is food scattered all around me and she just ignores it. We’ve also been working stays in everyday life, including out of sight stays and some extreme distance. She’s not perfect, but she is getting pretty darn good.

We are also working on not biting dogs when overaroused out together. Which has been an ongoing issue, and Fig can be pretty good if I’m consistent. It’s been hard to be consistent because this week Navarre decided he just can’t handle me doing any correction whatsoever to the puppy, no matter how mild. So he’s been sulking and refusing to come near us when out in the field and walking behind me when hiking and being ever so dramatic. Not sure where that came from, he certainly doesn’t get this upset if I ever correct HIM, but for some reason with the puppy he just hates it. So much drama.

So I was worried about working him at his herding lesson this week as he’s been so sensitive to me. So Dave took him, but he needed to move these new goats out of the field we wanted to use so he brought Navarre in to help. Apparently these goats have not really been worked, and there was one goat that was HUGE … and not about to be herded by some upstart border collie. And this crazy ass goat was going right up to Navarre and then rearing up on it’s back legs, which made it like 7 feet tall – yikes! At the time Navarre looked more confused than anything else, but they got the goats moved out and the sheep moved in. And then Navarre was being so pushy and annoying. And I think he had some adrenaline from the goat confrontation then he took it out on the sheep and Dave. And when we went back past the goats to leave he decided he had a vendetta towards that goat. Anyway, it was funny how this whole incident kind of ‘reset’ him. When we got home he stopped sulking and hiding and was back to playing with the puppy and being his normal Navarre self. So, go figure, what Navarre really needed to be was challenged by a goat.

As for Haku (aka the Real Herding Dog), I talked to Dave about my goal of trying for border collie trial with Haku, which Dave said should be very doable, and certainly the Ranch and Novice classes. So we went back to working on driving today, which was a little rusty. I blamed all the AKC work and Dave was like, “You know you need BOTH skills, right?” But Haku was looking back at me and not wanting to drive way across the field at first, but he picked up confidence as we went along. There’s a lot more stopping to talk when it comes to driving. But the good news is that we can do it, and it’s not always pretty – but apparently that’s okay. Haku understands stopping and correcting his line. We had more issues with cross drives turning into accidental fetches, but that has been what we’ve been working on. We also discussed how border collie people will mock my herding cues, and how I really could care less.

Then, as Carol is a sucker for punishment, she’s taking Haku up with her to another 3 day AKC trial in September. He’ll be doing the intermediate course, which requires some driving and then the B course as well, which is the same thing he did before, but more spread out. He’ll also be getting a CRATE, because apparently he’s like a puppy that needs a lot of management. Hopefully we can make the whole trip much smoother for Carol this time. It’s a learning process. Hopefully he learns.

Getting Haku ready for that trial we’re doing a little cramming this weekend, Heidi is home so we took the practice sheep out for a spin. Well, first it’s lots of me watching Heidi move sheep around, because I’m no help whatsoever. I really have no stock sense, it’s a good thing I’m not a farmer. But Heidi has her ways, luckily, and separated off the Old Girls. We worked Haku first, and it was interesting that the sheep were not trying to kill me – which is not what usually happens. I think all this work with lighter sheep has given Haku a lighter touch with the heavies, and they appreciated it. Still, these girls are SO dog broke it’s crazy hard to get them off of me, and even if I do, they just want to come back to handler even if it means going THROUGH the dog. And, yes, of all the dogs they have the least respect for Haku.

Anyway, so driving did not go super well as the sheep just kept so wanting to bend back to me and Haku was overflanking and not holding his lines. Still, he was trying, and did some good stuff too. Later on we brought him back out with the old girls and two lambs that had never been worked before (who kept trying to break their necks running through fences). In fact, Haku didn’t even seem to see the lambs as sheep to be herded at first, but when he did he was so gentle and light with them, it was adorable.

Figgy also got to go chase some sheep around today, which is mostly what it was. She, uh, may be more related to Navarre than first anticipated. I’ve seen videos of tiny 8 week old puppies doing natural outruns and balance – yeah, not happening with Fig. But she is very keen on it, likes to stalk the heads and chase butts – a fine start for a baby. And funny enough how she is very strong on sheep, no fear, facing them down – then wouldn’t even go near the chickens, thought they were scary. Go figure.

And Navarre … dude, such a dork. He had been doing better, but he seemed to have carried his goat attitude to the sheep again, and I felt we were just butting heads again. It’s a good thing he likes agility!

We did end up taking Fig to downtown Salem today. I wasn’t sure how she would do, especially with the car chasing thing, but she only tried that a couple times, then just calmly watched the traffic (including so many loud motorcycles!). Figgy actually impressed the hell out of me, she really hasn’t been in this environment before, and she was a little like, “Woah”, but not overwhelmed, freaked or overstimulated. She was surprisingly level headed and relaxed.

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She had no problem settling in at the restaurant, Heidi got her a plate of turkey and worked on her down and settle – and Fig was totally cool with that. She just watched the people and traffic ever so calmly, like this was something she did every day. She met lots of folks that walked by, mostly happily, but sometimes less so. I find it interesting to that it’s always the oblivious folks that she dislikes, and one totally oblivious lady brought her annoying fluffy white dog RIGHT up into Fig’s face – then wouldn’t leave. And Fig didn’t like the dog, and neither the dog or the owner had any clue whatsover. Fig was actually SNARLING at the dog and the lady is just smiling and continued to jabber on and shove her dog at us.

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Very impressed how Fig handled herself throughout the outing, like a much more mature and older dog. She was pretty done by the end though, that was a lot of stimulation for a little pup. It’s amazing that change that happens with puppies around 4 months old, they go from being so much work for those first two months to suddenly having life skills and good decision making abilities and are more like dogs than infants. I am liking the dog that Figgy is becoming.

In other news, Marvin is recovered from his neuter and oddly just WILD these days.  Which I would have thought he would actually calm down (not that he was crazy before), but he is just ripping around the house these days like he’s on crack, and him and Dragon are just chasing and wrestling all the time. Oddly, not Fizban though. I think Fizban may be too rough, while Dragon honestly seems to love getting pummeled by tiny Marvin. It is funny that I got a ragdoll with the assumption he would be a bigger cat, to hold his own with the maine coons – but Marvin is just TINY, he’s not even half the size of the others, I don’t think he’s even 10 pounds and he’s a year now. He’s probably a normal sized cat, I’m just not used to seeing them.

So much more playful and, knock on wood, much more social with me as well. Talkative and snuggly and following me around. I’m really happy to see him coming back to his old self in many ways. Though I could do without the hair, which is falling out in CLUMPS after the neuter, it’s everywhere. He’s eating better too, and just such a nicer cat all around. Really makes me happy. And Dragon continues confident and outgoing without his CBD oil, not snuggly, but friendly and wanting a lot more interaction and pets than he used to. I’m loving my kitties at the moment (though Fizban is still the best, naturally!).