Hard to believe that 2020 is almost over – man, what a year – for everyone. It’s also the last ‘exciting’ year number I’ll live to see. I got the thrill of 2000, and 2020 is also kind of a magical number (where on earth did those 20 years go in between??) – but after that, I won’t be living to see any more exciting numbers. Realistically, I’ll be lucky to see 2060, but not something you think about as a kid, what’s the last year you’ll get to see. And, of course, what age you can theoretically get to doesn’t mean you’ll get to see it. Losing Bright in 2020 was definitely a wake up call to appreciate what you have today, as the song says, you’re not promised tomorrow. It’s nice to see the end of the virus on the horizon, hopefully the vaccine will be distributed quickly. While it will still be around for a while, at least we can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
2021 will be about settling into the new property, though a lot of the things I want to eventually do there will have to wait until building costs go down. Which is fine, I’m still not entirely sure what I want to do. Life is full of choices, so, yeah, choose wisely. Moving is still kind of a big scary thing at the moment, but I’m sure once we settle in and find our new routines it won’t seem so intimidating. I really do think this is the right choice for us, and we will all be happier there once we get settled. Just have to do all the things to get us there first, I wish I could magically transport everything from here to there …
I actually got to spend the afternoon with the current owners this week and they showed me everything about the property. Just the nicest people that have lived there for almost 30 years, they’ve taken great care of it and it has obviously been a wonderful home for them. I wish it were better circumstances that they were having to sell, but I’m so thankful that I’m ending up with such an amazing property. Can hardly wait to see what it’s like in the spring, they say it’s just amazing. I’m thinking there will be many, many pictures of happy dogs there.
As for 2021 and dogs, hopefully next year we can continue to keep working away at herding, which is what we mainly did this year with the virus. Nursery/ProNovice is the plan with Asher in 2021 – and maybe we won’t ever get there, but we’ll keep working towards Open. Navarre will still continue to play with sheep, and when AKC herding trials resume Carol has reluctantly still agreed to take him and give him an AKC career. I’ll take it! Might not be in 2021 though, as, yeah, who knows when things will be safe to resume activities.
As for agility, well, I don’t have big plans. Going to try some limited trialing with Asher, get him some ring experience while there are very few people allowed in the building. See if we can get through some novice courses. It will be AKC, of course – what else is there? Assuming I’m bringing Asher, Navarre will get to tag along – but no big plans, obviously. Starting with T2B and Novice Jumpers with Asher, if that goes well we’ll try some standard possibly in February. Still need to work on his dogwalk in more complex sequences, and I suppose eventually put his optional stop on too. We’ll keep working on the Justine international exercises, and maybe by this fall there will be more agility to do? We’ll see. It’s always fun, but, yeah, that Asher is such a freight train. I’m very much looking forward to eventually having our own arena! We’ll actually be able to train things, novel thought. Mostly we just sneak in a little practice here and there before or after classes, which works out okay, but it’s not ideal.
Decided to send Fauna back to California, our time together has come to an end. Fauna has been a really nice experience as having her here has shown that the boys do want to add a girl. However, she has also shown me that we don’t need that much bitch. As she has matured she has shown some overarousal issues that I’m just not wanting to deal with. I really do like her a lot, she’s so fun, and so sweet and so much personality! But she’s also had these issues where once she goes over the top she goes too far. So like when she goes after the other dogs when she gets too aroused, or we get to somewhere and she starts SCREAMING hysterically in her crate and you can’t get her to calm down. Yeah, no. And Asher is afraid of her now, and that poor dog has been beat up enough in life – he needs a girl that is going to be nice to him. I think Fauna’s issues can be worked on, but as she’s not my dog and it requires way more management than I want to do, I think it’s time for her to move on. I also think in another household with dogs that would actually set limits, that would be helpful – my boys are too nice. She respects dogs that set limits and tries to dominate those that she thinks she can. So she’ll head off in the next couple weeks, I really will miss her, she’s one of a kind.
Meanwhile, we’ll get to see if Navarre will magically be a different dog now that he’s neutered. You never know what changes may happen with that sort of thing, and especially with the Tiny Balls – how much hormones were even really there to start with? Navarre handled the neuter like all my boys do – which is like a giant sissy. Males, good lord. A spay is such an invasive and major surgery, and the girls always handle it like pros – the boys and the neuters, not so much. So apparently Navarre howled the whole time at the vet, which surprised me. So much for my well trained dog. But he’s never had any sort of surgery, I’m sure this was a shock – and he is just a big baby at heart. And there was much drama just walking out to the car – he couldn’t walk, had to be carried. And then the cone, OMG, the cone. Navarre bashed his way through the house, the back of my calves are seriously bruised, and I’m not exaggerating – he weaponized that thing. We briefly tried a donut collar which was recommended – which didn’t work at all, he could easily reach the incision. So back to the cone, and much bashing into the walls, and my legs, and the other dogs, and the furniture and EVERYTHING.
He had lots of pain meds and he was better about being able to walk without assistance after a couple days. Mostly it was hard because he wanted to cuddle and that was SO not happening with his painful cone wearing self. I took the cone off on day 5 as everything looked good, he clung to me like a baby for extreme cuddling for at least 20 minutes. Navarre needs his love! But too much licking, had to put it back on – alas. This is not the year for vet visits, we’ll stay cautious and keep it on until he’s really healed.
Knock on wood, I think everything went well, though I’m sure he needs a hell of a lot of body work between the surgery and the constant full speed cone bashing. Now we’ll see if there was any benefit to it all, whether it will help with the back inflammation, whether it will help or hurt his relationships at home, whether it will change his coat. So far, so good – time will tell. I want to say he already seems less annoyed with Asher, but it could just be cone depression. Still pees an excessively long time, without a steady stream – but it’s only been a week.
Hiking with only three dogs is very weird, three dogs always seems way too easy and definitely like I’m missing someone. It was a hell of a lot easier to do group pictures without trying to get Navarre to put his damn ears up though – no one can ruin a group shot like Navarre with his pathetic face on. Asher definitely missed having Navarre there, he could kind of play with Fauna, but mostly she just would stalk and herd him – he wanted someone to race. The boys really do like each other.
Speaking of herding, Fauna filled in for Navarre at our lesson with Dave and got to meet some sheep. I had zero expectations of her to do anything – first, she’s only 4 months old, and then she’s related to Bright, who I could never even get to look at sheep. Her dad is from herding lines, but the other half is agility. Then Fauna is very nervous about approaching strange dogs, I thought there was no way in hell she was going to be comfortable approaching giant weird sheep. Yeah, well, I was wrong – Fauna thought sheep were AWESOME and she was right in there controlling the heads and telling them what for. Go figure. I started with her as I figured she would need the emotional support, and she was just holding them to the fence and heading them off. No real interest in getting around them, but very much working to control them. As she was so happy to play, I had Dave work her after that so I could take some video, where of course THEN she wants to bring the sheep to me – AND slam them into me into the fence. Thanks Fauna. So Dave used a paddle to get her going around, she’s definitely an away dog, and she was a little less certain about strange guy with sticks, but still keen.
So that was fun, definitely a different introduction than Asher, who was very slow to turn on to sheep. Fauna definitely can be very, uh, forward – I have to wonder if that would transfer to being more willing to stand up to sheep than my very polite boys.
Very thankful to have a couple opportunities to get Asher to some new locations for agility. Lovely new indoor arena with turf, really interesting to see how they ended up building it. 80 foot wide – so nice! And SO MANY LIGHTS, it was so nice and bright in there, I don’t even know how many LEDs they had up there, but it was row after row. Asher had seen turf when he was a baby at Brooks, but it was good to see that he didn’t have any problem running on this stuff. So, yeah, he was HIGH – he just seems to continue to get more wired as he gets older. I remember how relaxed he was at the first group agility practice we attempted during the summer … yeah, not so much any more. But his performance was good, he was trying really hard, he needed a few reps on a VERY bouncy dogwalk and then he was doing great. No problem with a non-rubberized teeter, a few weavepole pop outs, but would fix it the next time. Jumping was … well, spastic, and not much collection – but he has been worse.
Overall I was very pleased, it left me feeling very optimistic that the trial won’t be too overwhelming. And then Cathy attempted to run him so I could take some pictures, which he was reluctant, but still did it with great enthusiasm. He’s still a mama’s boy though. We have a lot of work to do, but he is a very fun baby dog.
We went to another turf arena the next weekend, learned that Asher has never seen doing a running dogwalk into a wall (maybe 10 feet to the wall?). But the fun part is that as soon as we went into this new area he saw the equipment and he was so excited and ready to work – he’s caught onto the game of ‘agility in other places’. Practiced with some ‘ring crew’ and a judge out there – but border collies are so oblivious. Also practiced getting a measurement, he’d damn well better not go over 22 inches. He was a little suspicious of that, but no issues. Knock on wood, I think he’s ready for his first trial next weekend. Though I wouldn’t say we did a great job of actually DOING THE COURSES, but that’s not my big priority at the moment. Though when it doubt, CUE EARLY, he is such freight train. And definitely not worried about the teeter – but also not good at waiting for a release now!
So bring on his first baby dog agility trials this month, and his first seminar! A baby dog seminar with Desiree, who I have really enjoyed working with in the past. Thankfully he has done some international style stuff, because her idea of ‘novice’ is not the same as mine.
Herding and whistles continue to progress, he’s doing better with his flank whistles now that I changed them to something comes easier to me, and his walk up is good – his lie down he kept being REALLY slow to respond to. The last practice I brought the rattle bottle to back me up – and naturally I never had to use it as he just immediately downed on his whistle. Huh. His driving is still erratic – sometimes good, sometimes bad – that’s our next project this month in addition to solidifying whistles and working on getting him to slow the hell down for his lifts. Still going to shoot for Nursery the end of January, hopefully get up to Fidos to practice the course and the bigger outruns before hand too.
Fauna continues to be fun to train, she loves her training time and is being less of a bitch when a cat or other dog gets too close when she’s working. She gets impatient and can be very vocal about when she doesn’t think I’m doing it right or rewarding what she thinks should be rewarded. Still can be easily distracted as well. Fauna has a lot of opinions on EVERYTHING, and likes to swear at me a lot. She swears when we’re getting out of the car to go somewhere fun, she swears at me when training, she swears at me when she wants to come inside, she swears at me when I’m eating my dinner and she would like some. It is not her most endearing quality, and it is VERY difficult to get her to stop. I reward quiet, I don’t let her practice it, I interrupt it – but she is determined. I don’t want her disturbing the neighbors so EVERY SINGLE TIME she starts swearing at me to come inside when she’s outside I take her and immediately put her in the crate in the back room. We’ve been doing that for TWO MONTHS … she still does it. It’s BETTER, but impulse control and frustration tolerance is most definitely not her thing. Maybe it will get better as she gets older?
She’s getting easier because she has so many more behaviors on her. She understands how to hold a position now, and been trying to work on her tuck sit as she doesn’t have a great rear so trying to build it up in a controlled fashion. She can multiwrap and send around buckets, but still working on transferring the behavior to toys. We finally got our cooperative care nail trims down (she had a lot of opinions on that …). Still working on housebreaking, she seems like she has the idea and then she’ll have a random accident. Not that many though, maybe five or six accidents in the time she’s been here?
But, yeah, I think she’s 4 months old. I think, I honestly don’t know when her birthday is, but she’s 18-19 weeks, I think. She’s starting to get big girl teeth already, it’s crazy how quickly they grow up. She did have one jaunty ear for over a month, but it went down and hasn’t been seen since, now she just has limp teething puppy ears at the moment. If I had to guess, she’s maybe 20 lbs? Maybe more? She doesn’t seem giant, but she doesn’t seem tiny either. My assumption is she’s average sized. Though she’s all legs at the moment and no body, total noodle, her little whippy tail as she does her full body wags is super long too. Very little coat at all, she just has a very short soft coat that is very snuggly. And she is snuggly, when she’s not too busy. She does sleep hard, and she sleeps through the night on the bed – I usually have to wake her up to take outside because the other dogs are bugging me – and sometimes carry her, because she’s like, “Naw, I’m sleeping in today.”
So I do like her, she has a LOT of personality. She’s very funny, confident, happy and outgoing. She’s very different than my dogs, once again – OPINIONS. SO MANY. She’s not really a team player, she wants to know what’s in it for Fauna. Not super fast on the uptake training things, problem solving and deep thinking is definitely not her thing. Once she gets it she’s good to go though, assuming it’s taught in a context where it’s her idea. I don’t think she’ll be easiest to train in anything, I think she’ll be pushy and opinionated and LOUD. I think she’ll be fun, but she definitely has some overarousal and impulse control issues that are going to be a big issue if they don’t improve with maturity. So, yeah, she’s a lot and I think has a lot of potential, been really fun to have here. You know, mostly.