Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Katie and the weave poles

I think some of you need a Katie fix.  Just because you haven’t seen her in a week doesn’t mean she hasn’t been doing her homework.

We’re working on weaves out in the backyard.

She’s got the general idea, the weaving in and out.

It’s just those darn entries that are difficult.  So hard to remember where to start Mom!

I’m using her frisbee as the “treat” at the end of the weaves.  Sometimes she gets so excited getting ready to run that she pops out one weave too early.

We’re working on it.


Katie says – "Look what Daddy built me!"

Earlier this summer husband built Katie a dogwalk and a full size teeter!  And right about that same time I hurt my knee and was spending most of my days reclined with ice on my leg.  I tried running with Katie on her brand new equipment, but that really aggravated my knee.  So all these weeks Katie’s new stuff has been in the garage.  Waiting.

Last night Katie’s dad put the dogwalk and teeter up, set out a few jumps and the weaves and when I got home from work Katie and I played for awhile.

Remember when she was afraid to walk on the board when it was flat on the driveway?  And when putting the board up on bricks freaked her out?  It was only a year ago when she would run the other way to avoid running over the board as it sat on a 2 inch pipe!  Silly girl.

Now my biggest problem is that she runs up and over the dogwalk and then turns around and runs up and over it again!  And regardless of what obstacle I think we’re going to do, she’s doing the dogwalk first!

And maybe all those weeks in agility school working on the dreaded teeter was worth it.  Because look at this!

“I’m not afraid of any ole teeter Mom!”  Watch me!  Watch me!!!!

I’m watching Katie-girl.  And I’m in so proud of you!


Agility review

Another Thursday…another agility class for Katie and me.  Again this week I skipped the Rally class held on Thursday mornings so that I didn’t overtax the Sheltie brain.  Plus I had a ton of garden related stuff to do and it was a beautiful day.   But I’ll blame the Sheltie brain for the missed class just the same.

Again our class was split into two groups, those with more experience (not us!) went over to the other side and worked on contacts.  The rest of us got to start with teeter first.  UGH.  Last time we started with teeter Katie got tired of the game and shut down.  Of course the Sheltie brain had forgotten that, while the human brain tends to dwell on the potential negative outcomes.  So I looked at my dog and decided to assume she’d do whatever I asked.  And when it was our turn she trotted right up that teeter, instructor holding her leash, right out to the end as it gently landed on a couple of stacked up milk crates and got her “Good GIRL!” and treat, then stayed there while I walked a step or two and then jumped off when I released her.  YEA KATIE!!  And it was like that every time, she was pulling on her leash to head up that teeter whenever it was our turn.

But the chute?  What the heck is that Mom?  I’m not going in there!  It’s RED!  MY chute is BLUE!  This is an EVIL CHUTE!  OK.  I’ll go in the tunnel part, but as soon as you’re not looking I’m getting back out of it!  Yes siree!  I am NOT GOING IN THERE AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME!

In fact when we tried to put together a string of stuff, double jump, send to tunnel, weaves, chute, she bypassed the chute and as I was talking to the instructor about how to get her to do the chute she ran off and did the teeter by herself, with NO MILK CRATES to break the teeter’s fall!!  Behind my back!    I ran over there and rewarded her, she was standing 2o2o looking over her shoulder wondering where the heck I was.  Silly girl, you wear me out!

Then we switched sides and our group did contacts.  We started with them jumping on the table to get to the downside of the dogwalk, then tossed a treat onto a paper plate at the bottoms so the dogs would pause, eat the treat, and then get released.  She did it perfectly every time.  “Don’t need no stinking table mom, I LOVE the dogwalk!”  When we finally got to run the whole dogwalk she was thrilled, charging up and over it, and even stopping at the bottom for her praise and treat!  I was so proud of her.

Her reward, at least in her mind, was that we did A-Frame next and she LOOOOOVES the A-Frame!  Though it wasn’t always this way, now whenever she sees it she tugs to run up and over it, so when we got to actually run it a couple of times she was in heaven.  Contacts?  No problem as long as she got a treat.

So at the end we put the two sides together.  Tire, dogwalk, weaves, curved tunnel, A-Frame, jump, double jump, tunnel, weaves, chute, teeter.  Piece of cake, right?  Well, we haven’t practiced tire in a long time.  It was hot.  We’d been there almost an hour.  Katie was getting squirrely.  We had to wait for all the big dogs to go first.  Enough excuses.  She refused to do tire.  It was already after the class hour, and the next class was waiting to start, so after three attempts I just kept going.  She charged for the dogwalk, ran through the weaves, shot through the tunnel, flung herself up and over the A-frame, stopped at the bottom, I said good girl! and kept running, yelling “JUMP.!”  She did not.   I turned to see where she was and she was SITTING at the bottom of the A-Frame looking at me.  “Treat Mom?  Where’s my TREAT!?!?!  I am NOT MOVING until you give me my TREAT!”  So I did (probably the wrong thing to do) and we moved on to jumps and tunnel and weaves and were running full tilt at the chute!  She ran into it!  She got 3/4 of the way through it, I’m yelling “CHUTE!  GOOD GIRL KATIE!  CHUTE!” and she turns around and runs out of it, runs all the way across the ring and out the ring and into the kitchen.


I went and got her and told her she was a good girl and we tried chute once more, no go, then we did teeter for the treats and that was the end of class.

For the most part she had a really good time and so did I.  In the end that’s all that matters.  The fact that she has a chute at home that she runs through with no problem is something I won’t think about right now.


Lambie, the tunnel, and the park

Katie would like to explain to all of you how to play “Lambie in the Tunnel.”  So, as interpreted from Katie-speak:

First you need a lambie.  And a tunnel, cause you all live too far away to share mine.  Not that I’m particularly good at sharing anyway.  Wait!  Mom!  Edit that out!!

Then you get your human to throw lambie into the tunnel.  You can get her (or him) to do this by standing in front of her (him) with lambie in your mouth and making your big brown eyes look pathetic, as if no one has EVER played with you in forever…or at least in the last ten minutes.

This is where it gets kind of theoretical, so listen up.  You can either run around the tunnel to the other side, then run as fast as you can, scooping up lambie as you go through the tunnel, and drop it at your human’s feet.  Or you can chase lambie into the tunnel from the same direction as your human threw it, scoop it up and run back to your human, either outside or inside the tunnel.

Or, and this is the best part, if you want to make your human feel really silly you can just look at her (or him) and stare as if it were beneath you to run through this silly tunnel, much less collect a lambie at the same time!

Then, after you  retrieve the lambie  a few times beg to go for a ride to the park!

After all, you deserve a park trip, given all that retrieving you’ve done.

Enjoy sitting in the shade and watching the little league kids play ball.  Then resist totally when your human says it’s time to go home.

In this way you keep your human in line.  This is very important, as you all know, to any Sheltie-girl ( or boy!).


A different dog

Remember last week when Katie shut down half way through the morning Rally class and about 20 minutes into the evening Agility class?  How I was trying to figure out what happened…was it too much school in one day?  The wrong food, or amount of food eaten prior to the second class?  The heat?  Me???

Today I didn’t take her to the morning Rally class, something I felt a bit sad about.  I really want to try to get our second and third Novice Rally leg, and I need the classes (Katie doesn’t) to keep all those directional signs straight!  I scheduled a mammogram during that time instead this morning, so I guess I was somewhat productive!

Then this afternoon, in between planning and planting trees, I fried up six boneless, skinless chicken thighs, with the intention of cutting one of them up as tonight’s “value” food to be used during agility class.  Katie was very interested in the frying process, her little nose just wriggling.  Plus, since she was so interested in the chicken she totally left her normal  afternoon dinner alone, and eventually I just picked up the bowl and put it aside.  She never really ate much at all prior to class.

We got to school early and walked around the building a bunch.  Got all her business done, got her re-acclimated to the building.  Initially she was a bit hesitant to go inside, but once there she seemed pretty OK.

And the best thing?  We didn’t do any teeter tonight!!!!  WHAHOOO!!!  We started out with a series of  jumps!  Katie loves to jump.  We did the broad jump and a bunch of regular jumps in a pattern.  On our first time up I kept Katie on her leash and was telling the instructor that I wasn’t sure how Katie was going to do tonight, given last week, when all of the sudden I felt a tug from the leash and realized Katie was RUNNING toward the broad jump, the first in the series.  I called over my should as I ran to catch up, “Well I guess she’s going to do just fine!”  And she did.

The other half of the class, those with bigger dogs, was across the ring doing tunnels, weaves and the tire.  It all looked complicated and when we got over there Katie and I went first, so we didn’t get to see anyone else attempt it.  It was a curved red tunnel, then jump, then a double jump, then tire, then another curved (but blue) tunnel, then weaves then jump,  then back through the red tunnel the other way.


I set Katie up in a sit in front of the entrance to the curving red tunnel and as soon as I got her leash off she was racing for that tunnel.  She has a tunnel at home that seems to be permanently set up in the living room and we play all the time “chase the lambie” (her favorite squeeky toy) through the tunnel, so I guess that’s working!   She burst out of the red tunnel, took the next two jumps and the tire at full speed and then totally balked at the blue tunnel in the corner.  It was a dark corner without much light, and the tunnel was dark too.  NO WAY, NOT GOING IN THERE!  She actually turned away and jumped back through the tire, and back over two jumps to get away from me! LOL!  We tried a few times,  but no go, so we skipped the scary blue tunnel and did weaves and jumps and the fun red tunnel no problem!

The second time we got to run the course I ran on the other side (the outside edge of the curve) and we were going so fast she just sailed into the scary blue tunnel and I had to RUN really fast to beat her out the other side to get her into the weaves.  She did the whole course no problem!  WHOOO HOOOO!!!!!!!

Then the whole class got together and we put the two pieces together.  We did the tunnels, tire stuff, then went back through the red tunnel and over to all the jumps.  She even ran through the blue tunnel with me on the inside and I did a front cross after that to get her into the weaves.  KATIE WAS PERFECT!!!!!!!!   And grinning the entire time.  She got a jackpot of chicken and cheese after that last run!  Such a girl!!

So….was it the fact she hadn’t had school in a week?  And no school that morning?  Or was it the chicken thighs?  Or was it that I tried to keep her excited and engaged the whole class and didn’t worry about much?  Or was she just having a bad day last week?

Only the Sheltie knows.


Shut down

Katie and I had two classes today, the Rally class at 11:30 this morning and the Agility class at 6 tonight.  In both classes she pretty much shut down after about 30 minutes.  It was a bit warm, but nothing like how hot it was last week.

In the Rally class she started out sort of OK, but her heeling is all over the place, and when she sits she still sits far away from me.  Just to taunt me I guess.

In agility we started with teeter, not her favorite, though you can see she’s progressing nicely with her teeter in the driveway.  We have advanced from a 2 inch pipe to a 3 inch pipe no problem.  After teeter we were doing  jumps and weaves and she did the sequence twice then refused to do anything more.      At all.  Not happening.  Nope.  No jumps.  No chute.  Nadda.

After her refusal on the jumps I took her outside to pee.  On our way back to class she didn’t want to go into the building.  And she refused to do anything more, actually trotting out of the ring when it was our turn.  So we went home early. Poor baby.  Maybe two classes in one day is too much.  Next week I think I’ll skip the rally class and just try to do the fun stuff in agility.

She dozed all 25 minutes home tonight.  But when she got home and we were telling her Dad about our less then successful day she was all perky and wanted the rest of her chicken!  HA!  Not going to happen kiddo, no worky, no chickeny!  I had thought that cheese I”ve been using, and that I used this morning in Rally was no longer a high enough value food, so I went to the store after the Rally class and bought chicken and cooked it before the agility class!  Can’t say I didn’t try!  But that’s obviously not the problem.

Meanwhile this week if the weather dries up we’ll do our jumping and tunnels and such in our own backyard where things are always fun and not so much work!


Backyard goofing off

Katie’s dad built her a few jumps, and sometimes we take the chute and/or the tunnel out to play.  Last night, given the perfect weather, Katie and I couldn’t resist having a little agility fun in our own backyard.

Which way do I go Mom?

OK.  Let me get this straight.  You want me to run THROUGH this thing?

THIS thing?  For sure?  Run through it?  Right?

OK, I’m all ready!  Just say when Mom!

OH!  Through it?  Not around?  Are you SURE?

How about this tunnel Mom…I’m ready to go..

AUGH!!  I forget!  THROUGH it???

I’m confused Mom, you need to be more specific!

OK!  Now that you’ve explained it THAT way…..

Ahhhh…my little one…you always make me laugh.


Agility! and Rally too!

Guess what?  Katie had a full day of school yesterday.  After so many weeks off, her spring break I guess, we went to Rally class in the morning and Agility in the evening!  I really debated whether to enroll her in the Agility class because we were already committed to the Rally class on Thursdays.   But about an hour before the agility class I asked Katie, who was sprawled out sleeping near my feet, if she wanted to go back to school…and she jumped up, tongue rolling out and grinned at me, then ran for the door.  I took that as a “YES MAMA!!!”

In Rally I’m having trouble with her focus, and she’s surging ahead quite a bit.  So much to see, so many doggy butts to sniff.  I want to get those two more legs for our Rally Novice so I need to make sure we’re working on our heeling every day.  She’s much better when she and I are alone out in the driveway then when we’re in a ring with 8 or 9 or more other dogs, trotting around in a big circle.  But still.

As for Agility?  Well, she wasn’t sure what was up at first.  We are in the beginning agility class (the last one we took was like preschool, pre-agility!)  with about 9 other mostly really big dogs.  There are actually about 15 dogs in the class, but they broke it into two groups, those who had been through this class before, and those of us who had not.  Maybe eventually we’ll all be together, but I hope not, as that would be a BIG class!

We worked on jumps (no problem MOM!) and teeter (I HATE teeter MOM!) and tunnel (ZOOOOOM!!!) and A-frame (Again!  I want to do it AGAIN MOM!) and tire (BOOOOORING!).    We obviously need to keep working on that tiny teeter out in our driveway.  Though before our rally class in the morning she ran up the teeter all by herself, so it might have been more that she didn’t like the stranger hovering nearby then the teeter itself.  Who knows?

Last night she slept great.  No wonder!



Wanna PLAY??

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It’s raining here, so Katie and I are playing inside.  Here are my attempts to get that perfect photo.   First the tunnel – – should be no problem, right?  Well, here’s the first shot I got!  LOL!

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So we tried again.  I couldn’t get the anti-red eye thingy to work, but it’s cute anyway:

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And then the chute, which was even more challenging to photograph.  I put her in a sit/wait  in front of it, then ran around and got ready for the photo, then yelled “CHUTE!” and she’d head through.  Obviously the first couple times I was too quick with the shutter finger!

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And then I was a little late.

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Geeze Mom!  How many times do I have to do this before you get the shot?

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A few more times baby!  OOPS!  Missed you, let’s try that again…

Katie 2616GOTCHA!!

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Later today?  We’re going to obedience class…gotta rest up…

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