Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Shelties and their boxes

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A couple of days ago I ran across a Petco in a part of town I don’t usually shop.  I popped in to see if they happened to have Riley’s (the CowSpotDog) favorite treats and guess what?  They did!  I haven’t been able to find them for quite some time, so I picked  up a few of them for him, and Katie and I packed up a little box to mail to Riley.  Katie was very anxious to make sure that Riley got these treats, as she feels very sad that Riley’s Mom is having such a hard time getting better from surgery.  If you haven’t read about Riley you can here:

Then later in the day two boxes came for Katie, via the nice UPS man.  She was very excited.  She got a TUNNEL!  And a CHUTE!  She could hardly wait while I unpacked the tunnel.  Here she is with it partially undone, when she just had to investigate.

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As soon as we got it open she walked casually through, then asked what treats she was going to get!  We thought she’d have more issues with the chute, but she ran through that a bunch of times in the kitchen with no problem.

I’m sure you’ll get more pictures from us once we take these new toys out in the yard!

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Pruning and teeter

It was a beautiful day today, sunny and in the 50’s, just a bit of breeze coming to us from that storm on the east coast.  So I set about doing a bit of tree trimming.  Probably no one else but me will  be able to tell what I have trimmed out of three ornamental trees.  But I know.  Plus it felt really good to be outside doing some sort of yard work.  I put a few of the trimmed bits from my redbud tree in a stone vase.  Just in case they’d like to bloom a bit early inside.

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Then since it was so nice out, and because I’m leaving tomorrow for 3 weeks and won’t have another chance, Katie and I went out to try her teeter again.  This time no towels to muffle the banging.  She did pretty good.  It’s still not her favorite thing, but if enticed with cheese she’ll slowly trot across.  She stops at the central part to wait for it to drop, and I think that’s quite smart of her.  If I don’t have the treat ready she’d still rather hop off at the middle, but if the treat is waiting for her at the end of the plank she’ll inch her way down to it.

I don’t see the exuberance she exhibited when she figured out the dogwalk though.  I’m not sure she thinks this is fun yet.

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Where’s my treat Mom?

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Is this a good 2o2o?  How long do I have to stand like this anyway?

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I hope she has a good time with her Dad while I’m gone, and that she still remembers how easy teeter is next time I get it out.  She’s a smart dog, I’m sure she’ll humor me.

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Katie's tiny teeter totter

Here’s a photo of Katie on her handmade tiny teeter totter.  Tonight she was persuaded to run across it a couple times, bounced around on it and didn’t seem too upset by the gentle banging of the board against the towels underneath.  She started out jumping off before the end of the board, as it banged on the driveway, but by the end of our short session she would go all the way to the end if I kept my hand with the treat by her nose.  I think I should try a plate with a target on it tomorrow.

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This tiny totter was made using her dog walk board.  Husband screwed a couple of 1×2’s under it so that I can place a 2 inch pipe under, slightly off center, so it always tips back to the right.  It makes a nice banging noise, similar to a real teeter, especially when I take the towel out from under it.  Though when I did that tonight she got freaky, so we stopped.

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A short update.  Today I set up the homemade tiny teeter in the driveway for Katie.  She wasn’t happy about it.  But I had treats (really nothing more than dog food out of her dish that she hadn’t finished, but it’s oh so much more special when handed out piece by piece by her mama than piled in her bowl.) and I was gentle with her, giving her a treat if she’d touch the board, if she’d put her front feet on the board, if she’d walk toward the center.

She still needs me to put all four of her feet on the board, and there’s a towel under each side to soften the banging noise, but she DID sort of run across it on her own twice, over the space of about 3 separate short sessions.  It’s just a board and a 2 inch plastic pipe, but it moves and makes a bit of noise, and she’s not totally freaked out.


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Katie's last agility class – disaster!

Last week would have been the last of our 7 week beginning agility class.  But the club had an obedience fun match that night, so no class.  Instead we went this week.  So Katie had a two week span of no agility (though we did fit the rally match in during this lull) and I was worried that she had forgotten how much she loved to run and jump.  I was pretty much right.

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We started out with teeter, the one obstacle she hates.  Of course the instructors were very careful with her, but still she didn’t want to walk up on that teeter, and that feeling transferred to the A-frame and the dogwalk for awhile.  Once I helped her up the other two she got over the fear, but she never did want to approach the teeter.

The other problem was in the other two rings.  It was week one of puppy socialization and obedience.  There were 10 puppies in the ring just across from us and 10 or more large dogs in the obedience ring separated from us only by a low fence.  The barking and whining and growling was really loud.  Once we did teeter we were trying to do a pinwheel jump set that was set up right next to the fence.  Just as it was our turn a bloodhound inches away across the low fence decided he didn’t like the dog next to him and lunched, growled and barked.  And kept barking and barking and howling as only a bloodhound can.  At the top of his lungs.  His owner didn’t try to control him at all, and Katie, sitting pressed up against my leg was freaked out.  She’s very sound sensitive as it is, and this sound had everyone in the building stopped.  Finally the obedience instructor got the bloodhound under control.  But Katie was inconsolable.  I took her over to the other side of our ring, and the rest of the class did the pinwheel jumps.

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The whole evening was like that.  When we tried to do teeter again, a rottweiler was sitting just outside the ring, staring at us and growling.  Katie didn’t like that either and jumped off the teeter and ran around the ring.  I didn’t appreciate that that dog’s owner didn’t try to control their dog either.  What’s up with people watching other classes that allow their dog to interfere?  If my dog didn’t behave himself while I was waiting for my class to start my dog and I would go outside and have a heart-to-heart.  I wouldn’t just stand there.  Anyway, Katie was totally overwhelmed.

Finally the instructor set up a couple of relay courses, jump, tunnel, jump, table.  We split up into two teams, 3 on each, and were supposed to run this course, sit or down on the table then run it back.  Katie wouldn’t jump over the last jump, because people (our teammates) were standing nearby.  On another time she wouldn’t come off the table after she sat successfully for the count of 5.  Nothing was getting her off the table!  NOTHING.  Two instructors finally came over and sat on the table and leaned her way, and then she came off of it and did the rest just fine.

At one time she decided she wasn’t participating anymore and ran across the room and up the dogwalk.  Once she even accidentally ran up the teeter when she was trying to get away from me.  I think she thought it was the dogwalk.  I spent most of the evening trying to get her to come back.  I finally put her on the leash so that I had some control, but even so she wasn’t going to do anything.  At all.

So this was a disappointing last class.  She was totally freaked and I’m not sure all the work we did getting her happy on most of the obstacles will stick.  In a couple weeks I’m going north to house sit for a few weeks and so I haven’t registered Katie for any doggie school this semester.  We’ll go to drop in obedience classes while I’m home, and the semester after next we’ll try again.

It’s frustrating, isn’t it Katie-girl!

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Katie 2338 Katie, her dad and I went to agility tonight.   I was eager to see if the success we experienced last week when she finally connected with the A-frame would transfer to tonight.  And I was wondering if she’d get comfortable on the tall dogwalk tonight as well  given she only ran it once last week on her own, then got scared.  We’ve done a little bit of dogwalk in the driveway this week, but the weather has really limited the amount of time we had to practice out there.

We arrived early, just as the instructor was beginning to set stuff up.  Katie and I went off to another ring to do a little warming up.  I use heeling and other obedience stuff as a way to get her focused on me so that we don’t waste class time remembering that we’re there to work.  It doesn’t take Katie long to figure out she’s back in school and there are TREATS available if she pays attention.  In fact this evening about half an hour before we  we would normally leave home for school we asked her if she wanted to go to SCHOOL! and she got so excited we had to leave the house early to get her to stop whining at the front door. 🙂  (Can you tell who rules at our house?)

As my husband was helping the instructor get the agility ring set up  Katie and I watched impatiently.  I was so excited to see if she’d run the A-Frame;  husband hadn’t seen her do that yet.  Once it was up and locked I walked her into the ring to sniff it.  She sniffed once, looked up at me and ran up and over it!  She caught me by surprise and I had to sort of trot along after her as we were attached by the leash!  Of course husband had his back to us and missed it.  No problem.  As soon as she got down the other side she grinned, turned around and ran over it again!  He saw that one and we all cheered for her.  The instructor (who had never seen her successfully run it before either) said “Well look at YOU!” and then asked me how she was on the dogwalk.  I didn’t really know as she’d only run it once the week before and then balked.  So Katie and I walked over to it and she sniffed it.  She wasn’t too keen about walking up the ramp until I picked her up and put all four feet on the yellow, held her tummy with one hand and started walking her up.  “OH!” she said…”WALK IT”  I remember THAT!” And she started trotting, went up and across and down the other side without me touching her.  And then turned around and RAN back across it on her own! “No sweat Mom!”

Katie 2341 Class started with dogwalk, and all the dogs trotted right over without problem.  Now we’re focusing on getting them to do the 202o at the end.  Even Katie stopped when I told her to TOUCH!  Then we added the tire to the dogwalk.  No problem.  After that we did a series of 3 jumps and then tunnel; we were practicing pushing and pulling the dog, sending them to the correct entrance of the tunnel which was shaped in a tight U.  Katie loved the jumps, but had difficulty doing tunnel.  There was no room for me to run past the entrance, so each time I slowed or stopped she’d pop back out.  That was frustrating.  She was successful eventually but it wasn’t a sure thing.   The first time she successfully jumped then ran through the tunnel she ran out the other end, and while I was fumbling for a treat to reward her, she spotted the dogwalk across the room and ran straight for it and was up and over it before I had time to react!  We all laughed.   Silly shy little pup, afraid of everything, was choosing her own agility course now!

We also did a combination of table and chute.  She hadn’t seen chute in a long time and the first attempt she ran back out the entrance.  But after that she was fine with the chute and I was always there to reward her when she successfully popped out at the other end.  I was really pleased she didn’t have any real issues with it.  Our only problem was with the teeter.  She’ll run up it, then jump off at the midpoint.  Even when it’s not moving.  I asked the instructor why she was doing that, and the instructor said “Because she’s a smart dog.  She knows it’s going to move!”  So we have work to do on that obstacle, I think it will be our most challenging one of all.

Our last run of the night was tire, dogwalk, A-frame, table with a down,  and chute.  Katie loved every second of it.  This is our next to last class.  I’m going to miss it after it’s finished.  I think Katie will too.  We’re already investigating plans to build some jumps and a dogwalk for her.  Maybe if we’re ambitious we’ll build her a teeter. Looks like this summer is going to be a lot of fun!

If we can just get this darn snow to melt!

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Extra extra…read all about it!

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Last night Katie, her dad and I went to agility.  She missed last week because she was sick, but we’ve been working almost every day on her makeshift dog walk in the driveway.  I was anxious to see if the fact that she’d run back and forth, up and down her home grown dogwalk would translate to running on the dogwalk at school.  I got a bit anxious as I realized they were setting up for school with the full size, high up in the air, dog walk.  She’s never walked on anything that high before.

Then class began and the instructor announced we were starting with teeter.  Great.  Katie hasn’t practiced teeter!  I didn’t want her to get all weirded out right at the beginning of class.  So I was hesitant the first time we approached it, and Katie picked up on that.  They had one end of the teeter propped up on the table, and they were lowering the teeter as the dog walked across it.  Katie has never walked across it in class.  Ever.  So she jumps up on the table right away, then balks at the board.  Nothing doing.  We gave up and went back to the line.  Husband says, “Just run her like it’s her board at home; get excited.”    Good point.  So when it was our turn again I ask Katie….”are you READY?!”  Then we take off at a dead run, I yell “TABLE!”  and she jumps on it, and I’m already yelling “WALK IT!  WALK IT! WALK IT!” and she just runs down the teeter board like it’s nothing and surprises the instructor so much they never lower the board and Katie jumps off the board and laughs at all of us.  Everyone cheers.  We get back in line and I’m hugging her and giving her treats and she’s loving it.  So after that she had no trouble with the teeter, though she’s not thrilled when they lower it.

Next we’re going to do dogwalk, then tunnel, then jump then table.  Sigh.  I have no idea how she’s going to respond to the tall dogwalk.  Turns out she’s not going up there.  No way.  No how.  Not happening.  So they got out a piece of dogwalk and laid it flat on the floor.  Katie was not the only dog not doing the dogwalk, there as a big ole 10 month old lab that wasn’t ready to climb it either.  Katie had no problem with the flat on the floor dogwalk, and successful flew full tilt down the flat dogwalk, ran through the tunnel, did the jump and landed on the table with a flourish every time.  Husband said she looked beautiful.  I don’t  know, I never actually saw her jump I was always calling the next obstacle and running toward the next thing!

Katie 2365 Quick break and then the instructor added A-frame and a jump to the dogwalk, then tunnel, then jump then table.  Sigh again.  She HATES the A-frame.  She won’t do more than put her front feet on it…and streeeeetch out for a treat.  So after some of that I ask if it’s OK to pick her up and put her on the frame.  They said OK, so I did that all evening.  Putting her about 2/3 of the way up and she runs over the top and creeeeeps down the other side, then springs over the jump, races over the flat dogwalk, flings herself through the tunnel, does the jump and lands triumphantly on the table grinning the whole way.  Over the evening we added more jumps before the Aframe, including the tire, and she did everything except run the Aframe and the tall dogwalk.  I was really pleased.

This morning she and I had a Rally class at the same place and the agility stuff was still up in one of the rings.  So I got there early and we worked on A-frame.  A little bit of treat when she stretched up for it…picking her up and helping her walk up the A-frame, then she was over the top and trotting down.  Then putting her a little further down, helping her walk up it and then she was running down.  Then suddenly, after about three attempts I put her on the yellow at the bottom of one side and she raced up and over!  Then the next time we ran toward the A-frame and she just went up and over, then turned right around and went up and over it again on her own!  SUCCESS! You go Katie girl!  She started laughing and running back and forth over it even without treats!

Of course she was a bit wild for Rally class after all that excitement.  But I was so proud of her I didn’t care.  After Rally we went back to the agility ring just to see if she still felt good about it.  I took off her leash and she RAN over to the A-frame and up and over it on her own!  Well!  I said enough of this, let’s work on the high dog walk.  With me putting her low on the walk and holding her until she reached the top she was fine.  She trotted across the top and down the other side, raced to the tunnel, took a jump and landed on the table.  Silly girl.  Eventually she ran up the dog walk, across and down it by herself.  Only once, then she got a bit scared, so we quit and did a few tunnels and jumps just for fun.  I gave her lots of treats and hugs and we went home to tell Dad all about it!

I hope she remembers how fun this was when we go back to class next Wednesday.  I think she will, she really seemed to enjoy running full tilt.  That’s something that is surprising everyone, but not me.  Once she gets something she goes full speed.  I have a hard time keeping up with her now that she’s running full out.  Husband says she’s definitely looking at me for instruction, though I’m too busy to notice WHERE she’s looking.  Such a girl.  Who knew?

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