We’ve been here for two years now, or three Thanksgivings. Such a crazy time in my life that was back in 2016 when we moved, I can’t say I’m totally settled into my new life yet. I’m not sure when you get to say that, but life continues to feel very unreal. Got rear ended in a car accident this week, which was not only scary, but incredibly inconvenient having to deal with the insurance and trying to figure out transportation and getting the car fixed during Thanksgiving weekend. Yet, on the other hand, it seems to go right along with the whole kind of unreal feel of life these days. Shit happens, you can’t change that, but you can try to not let it get you down.
I’m thankful that me and the dogs are all fine. I’m also thankful my parents lent me their truck so I can transport dogs around, otherwise the dogs would have had to stay home – and while I think of them as pretty chill, they don’t do well when they don’t have action in their lives at least some of the time.
Went through some pictures from over the year today, we did have a lot of fun. Really glad that Heidi and I had our Reno Nationals trip, and Bright got her MACH too. It was really the Year of the Brightness. Love that girl, she’s so special. Haku retired from obedience and started his herding career, which has been fun with lots of ups and downs, and continues to mystify me. So thankful that Carol took him to some trials so we could make our herding goals for the year. Navarre did a lot of growing up, not really the big goober puppy he used to be. I love the dog he’s grown into, adore that big squishable dork.
We had some fun trials and so much beautiful hiking, I absolutely loved our Friday hikes we all find it hard when we have to miss it (we didn’t miss many though!). We raised two puppies and hung out with a lot more, there was a lot of cuteness this year. Got to hang out with Bright’s very talented (and very nerdy) kids, did some seminars, took a lot of classes.
It was a good year for dogs, there was other stuff going on, but dog-wise, things were good. My crew is happy and healthy, they get along so well and are just so wonderful to live with. They spoil me, they are VERY good dogs. We enjoyed playing with the puppies this year, but all the puppies also made me realize how much I adore my dogs – and how easy they really are!
So while I’m a little early here, what kind of goals do I have for 2019 with the dogs?
Navarre I want to see what we can do in obedience, I’d like to think we’d be able to get through Open, but if he just hates trialing, I’m fine with leaving obedience behind. If he seems to enjoy obedience, we may end up finishing up his Utility training and trying for that, but there is a lot of unknowns with obedience at this point. 2019 we shall give it a go and see what happens.
We have agility, which I just love, and so does Navarre. I don’t have any particular goals with him, we are getting closer to feeling like a team. When we have weekends without running around obstacles I feel like maybe we have arrived. Would be fun to take him to WTT at some point, which involves jumping 24, but I don’t want to do that until we get the drifting under control at 20 inches, as adding 4 inches only makes it worse. We will continue to work on our Justine stuff, proofing and solidifying his trained cues – that’s always fun. Still, mostly just fine tuning with agility and Navarre at this point – and always working on collection, of course.
Herding is another big unknown with Navarre, but I’m much more optimistic about his future in herding now. I don’t really care if he never actually gets to the point of competing, but we will work on it, because having specific goals is fun. So maybe in 2019 Navarre might be able to do … something. That still seems a bit far fetched at this point, but the progress he’s made with Dave has been pretty rapid, and if he does get some skills at herding camp this winter who knows what he may be able to do. I think he’ll be at least a useful dog, which is something I never thought would happen.
So, yeah, who would have guessed my big goober Navarre would have so many different hobbies! He is the youngest (though almost 4!) and the one with the most projects at the moment.
Bright will never do obedience or herding, not her idea of a good time for either one. And that’s fine, we really enjoy agility. Once again, no particular goals in agility. She’s going to be EIGHT next year – and, really, I figure once a dog is 7 you really should stop trying to fix things and start running the dog you have. If you can’t fix it after 7 years, you’re probably not going to! But the good news, Bright looks great, she loves agility more and more every year. Her issues with the environment get less and less and she’s just HAPPY. We’ll do some proofing of Justine stuff with her, but while she’s not old, she’s not a super young rubber band any more, I’m don’t want to do much crazy backside/threadle stuff with her at this point. She can, and she’s very thoughtful and easy on her body, but I do think more straightforward is a good choice for her for the most part.
With Haku we will keep working on herding, I’m feeling somewhat discouraged about it at the moment, as without a bigger practice field it limits what we can do – but it is what it is. Still going to look for more opportunities, but I’m not going to put entering a border collie trial on our goal list unless we have access to someplace we can practice. Maybe I can take him and Navarre to some AKC trials up north at some point, much easier to practice for the smaller fields. Haku will be 10 next year … it’s a big number, but he continues to need the mental and physical outlets or else he, more than the other dogs, gets real nutty. With everything going on we haven’t had our lesson with Dave recently, but we’ll go this week and get back into the swing of things, I hope. I do also want to play with putting Haku on whistles, and try to look for some other training opportunities and see if we can feel a little more confident with what we’re doing. I may check out an online herding option, which is one I wasn’t sure would be real effective, but maybe with a ‘system’ and the whole process broken down for me I’d feel more confident what I’m actually supposed to be training! Ah, herding.
Also training-wise for 2019 I’d like to do a project of videoing all the dogs’ tricks, and maybe getting their trick titles for AKC because it does seem a little lame that I’m an evaluator that trains trick classes that has zero actual trick titles. The dogs can do (almost!) everything on the AKC tricks list, and I know an evaluator if I just want to get it done in one big group – so I may. It’s mostly just money to AKC, but it’s fun to prepare and have a tricks project to work on.
We also haven’t been working on our conditioning exercises, which I think is especially important as Haku gets older, and the two agility dogs really benefit when I’m doing a little something nightly. I tend to go through phases with it, so it’s time to put it back into regular rotation.
Still waiting for the schedule to come out for the Fenzi camp back east next year, which is something I might fly out for if it seems interesting enough. Not sure about what other seminars I may look into. I find online classes are a better use of funds, I get a lot more out of them. I always enjoy the Justine stuff, and Polona was fun this year too. I believe she’s actually coming out in 2019, which would be fun.
Then puppy raising in February, assuming that works out, which is always a big project, but fun. Will be enough time since Fig that I’ll be ready, I think. Always fun to work with a whole new personality, and this is especially interesting as totally unrelated to any dogs that I know.
So, dog-wise, I am hoping for a very fun, busy 2019!
Oh, and, officially, Navarre is sterile. Poor guy, I got him molested at the reproductive vet – which you think he might enjoy … but he was just totally weirded out. And he did not find giant Akita ‘teaser bitch’ to be the least bit sexy – and didn’t even want to be in the same room with her. But sample was taken, no sperm found. Which is not surprising at all, but good to know. The vet didn’t feel like there was any health risks with his tiny balls, so no need to neuter. While it’s clear that he is producing testosterone, it may be that he’s such an easy intact boy because he may not be producing as much. If I were so inclined, it’s possible with hormone supplementing I could get his balls to work – but I have no interest. I like Navarre just the way he is, purely decorative balls and all. He also has plenty of relatives that are reproducing, so if I ever feel the need for a Navarre relative, I have no lack of options. The litter at his breeder right now, with Navarre’s sister and Bright’s brother is SO CUTE. I look forward to seeing them grow.
We did finally have our herding lesson today, I figured the dogs would either be really thankful to be doing something, or be really terrible as they haven’t gotten much action or practice – turns out they did pretty good, considering. The sheep today were not being super cooperative, one of them had their own agenda and they were not at all impressed with my dogs. Far more than my dogs, I need more practice, I was kind of all over the place. Thankfully, I feel like I can pretty much be a shitty handler with Haku and that’s just fine. The theory is that I’ll try to do things ‘right’ with Navarre, but Haku and I just sort of fumble through things in our own way and I don’t worry too much about it. But Haku was happy, he was trying, I was ridiculously inconsistent. We need to work in bigger fields so we can try to drive in a straight line. And I need to make sure I’m using consistent cues. We should most definitely actually practice.
Navarre and Dave did really well compared to the last lesson. Navarre was way better at not being totally ridiculous with pushing sheep over Dave. Now, he wasn’t GOOD, but better than he was last time. Of course, all Dave was trying to do was get Navarre to lie down, which Navarre wasn’t doing AT ALL, but his pace was much improved. They also did a little driving, which Navarre is way too thoughtful about, funny enough. Still, we have homework we can do WITHOUT sheep, which is just working on lying down instantly, and holding position until cued again – even if praised. That we can work on, and he needs to practice for obedience anyway. I like having things that don’t require sheep to practice.
So, yeah, bring on December. Winter has finally arrived, though still strangely warm – but the rain is welcome. All the dry days were freaking me out. We are getting crazy dumping rain, which isn’t super fun, but all part of the Oregon experience.