Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Wrong class

I decided Katie and I needed to go back to school, in order to get that last leg of Rally that she needs to earn her Novice Rally title.  But it’s so hard to find a class I can get to while working full time almost an hour away.  So tonight I decided to take her to a drop in class of novice obedience.  I figured we could work on our heeling and get ourselves ready to try for that last Rally leg.

Except I read the schedule wrong.  And got myself registered for Open Obedience..which is a drop in class, but they are doing stuff we’ve never done.  Like dropping on our recalls…and jumping over stuff to get a dumbell that we don’t even own…

The class started out with the long sits and downs…the very first thing was a 5 minute down with the owners out of the room.  Poor Katie.  She went into her down and then watched me leave with sad brown eyes.  I told the instructor we had never done this without me being in the room, so he let me go back out after a couple of minutes.  She was much less stressed.  This was my first indication I was no longer in a novice class.

Regardless, she did the five minute down and the 3 minute sit without moving.  Good girl!

But heeling?  Well, that’s the reason we need to be back in school for sure!  The instructor honed right in on us and gave me quite a few tips.  Katie didn’t like him and tried to hide behind me every time he was near.  Which didn’t help our figure eights either.

And when I turned around after crossing the ring for our first recall I couldn’t even SEE Katie because a big German Shepard was playing with his Mom, his rear end in front of her and his tail slapping Katie in the face.  And she was sitting there stoically waiting for me to call her!  As soon as I opened my mouth, before I even called her she was on her way to me.  And she didn’t stop and sit in front of me like she was supposed to; she ran around behind me to hide.  Poor puppy.

After that it was pretty much downhill.  The instructor politely suggested that perhaps we weren’t ready for Open.  No kidding.  I thought I was in Novice!  Next week I need to try to get there at 6:30 when the Novice class is running…rather than 7:30 when I THOUGHT novice was happening!

Katie say…”GEE MOM!  What did you get me into anyway?!”  She’s sleeping now.  Probably having nightmares!


Training Challenge #5

Since I’ve been sitting most of the week with my leg elevated and iced Katie and I haven’t done much work on anything.  You can tell.  She wants to GO TO THE PARK RIGHT NOW MOM!!!  But I can’t walk that much, and certainly not on the uneven ground at the park.

So we went to a pet supply store and worked on keeping her attention on me rather than all the good sniffing spots.  She’s a bit of a vacuum cleaner and I’m worried about our next Rally trial, which is a week from today!  (OH NOOOO!)

I did a bit of Rally stuff; heeling, sitting, turning, lying down.  It went OK.  Pretty good I guess given all the distractions.  It all seems to depend on what the treats are.  If they’re tasty and special enough a typhoon could go by and she’d continue to stare at me.  If it’s just her regular kibble….well….lots of stuff is more important and more interesting than her regular kibble or her Mom.

Next Sunday is our Rally trial.  I guess that will be our Training Challenge #6!


Challenge Training Sunday (2); aka more of the same. Except different.

Katie hates our truck.  So it’s been a tough week for her because our SUV, the one with her comfy crate in the back, has been at the shop getting fixed.  That means that any far away adventures she and I might want to experience requires using the truck!  The big blue scary truck!  Her general reaction when presented with the open truck door is to run the other way, pull frantically on her leash and if possible paw at the front door trying to get back inside the safety of her home.  We don’t understand why.  But then there are so many of her sheltie-isms that we don’t understand.

So this week’s training challenge was to get her less afraid of the truck.  And of course to continue to work on the lunging at cars thing.  Because last week’s work sure didn’t translate to her behavior here at home.  At all.

All week, whenever she and I went anywhere we used the truck.  To the park?  Great!  Get in the truck!  See?  Not so scary!  Go for a ride?  Sure!  Get in the truck!  See?  That was fun!  Go get nails trimmed at the groomer?  Get in the truck.  Uh oh.  Big mistake on mama’s part.  She hates the groomer and shook the entire ride.   How does she know she’s not going to the park or the pet store?  I have no idea.  Must be sheltie-vision or something.

All in all though she’s getting over most of her fear of the truck.  A couple evenings ago when I asked her if she wanted to go to the park she ran out the front door and stood expectantly beside the truck.  GOOD GIRL!  And yesterday as we were going out to do her job we walked by the truck and she stopped, looked at the truck door, then at me like -HEY MOM!  Can we go go to the PARK?

So later in the day she and I headed out on another adventure in the big blue truck.  We had to head toward town and get some gas first, which is in the opposite direction from our usual route to the park.  Katie looked at me and was obviously trying to telepathically inform  me that I was going the wrong way.  And that it worried her, because the groomer is on this route, don’t you know.

She did really well at the gas station.  I was worried because it was hot and even though the windows were open I didn’t want her in there too long without the air.  So I fumbled through the transaction, taking longer than normal because I had to keep checking on her.

As soon as I turned on the car she enjoyed the air conditioning!

Then since we were halfway to town I took her the rest of the way in, figuring we could walk on some neighborhood sidewalks where we’ve never been before and work on that lunging at cars problem.

I parked a block off main street and headed toward the residential district.  I totally forgot that this street was a cut through for traffic.  It was nonstop cars.  And several motorcycles.  And quite a few trucks…some pulling giant boats.  NOISY!  Every time there would be a string of cars I asked Katie to sit.  I kept telling her to stay, stay…and when she sat through the whole line she’d get her cheese.  I think I was more freaked out than she was.  There was WAY TOO MUCH TRAFFIC for me!  And it was way too close.  She did really well  but obviously I need more training.

We only went about two blocks, mostly because I forgot to bring a poopy bag with me, and these houses all had beautiful green manicured lawns.  I just KNEW if we went very far I’d have an embarrassing situation on my hands.  So to speak.  We walked back to the car, got a drink and headed out to our nice peaceful park.  She did some heeling work and long sits and downs like an expert.  I’ve got her (and me too I guess!) signed up for a Rally trial Sept 12.

I need more practice.


Change abounds

After I “mastered” the new blog look I asked for help from my friend and administrator extraordinaire Spike.  He fixed my little problem with logging back in, and then later surprised me with a whole new look to the blog.  It’s different than anything else I’ve seen, and as with any change and me, I have to look at it for awhile to see if I like it.  He’s pushing the envelope and he knows how I am about that.  Way to go Spike…keep pushing and I’ll keep growing.

On another front a blogger friend put together a list of 101 things she wanted to accomplish in 1001 days.  She did this a year ago, and at that time I was intrigued.  But you know me, the combination of slacker and fear of change meant I never got around to doing my own list.  So this week she was writing about it being her one year anniversary and how many of her 101 things she has accomplished so far and I thought “wait a minute, it’s been a whole year?”   Suddenly I was motivated to get going on my own list and so far I have 29 things listed.  Just working on that list I found out that Microsoft Word within Windows 7 is TOTALLY DIFFERENT AND I HATE IT!  Oh wait…that’s more change and it’s  Good for me. Really.  Sigh.  If, I mean when, I get it done I might share it with you.  Depending on how personal it turns out to be.

And on a third front…I’m practicing heeling with Katie-girl at the park and in the driveway, all in preparation for a Rally trial I think I’m going to sign us up for in September even though we haven’t been in Rally class since early June.  She seems pretty excited about working again; especially excited about that ole treat bag on Mama’s behind.

If you know what I mean.


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!


Katie's scared of me now. :(

Katie and I went to our Rally class this afternoon.  It’s 1/2 an hour of obedience and 1/2 an hour of working through a rally course the instructor has set up.  Generally not too stressful.

We got there a bit early, and I put Katie in the honor spot on the course (the spot where in Advanced your dog sits or lays down while another dog does the course.)  I told her to stay and I walked the course a couple of times.  Then we did some figure 8’s with the instructor before class because that’s our hardest thing.  We even did some heeling for her, and Katie was, as the instructor said, “GORGEOUS!”

So I had high hopes for the class today.  Katie was so focused.  We were about 15 minutes into the group class when the instructor called for us to do a 90 degree pivot to the right.  Apparently Katie’s tail was lying behind me big feet, and as I stepped back I stepped on it.  She screamed, I screamed and jumped, next thing I know she’s trying to jump into my arms.

I got her sort of calmed down and we continued in our heeling patterns with the group.  Katie was “heeling” at the far end of her leash even with me encouraging her back to my side.  When we stopped and she is supposed to sit..well…she sits at a 90 degree angle, looking up at me as if to say, “SEE?  I’m keeping my tail as far away from your big fat feet as possible!”  It was sort of amusing…but not really.

THEN we got over to the Rally ring and she basically wouldn’t get near me at all and refused to do most of the stuff.  Stuff she knows and normally would do no problem.  SIGH SIGH SIGH SIGH.  Part of it was that it was HOT and by the time we got to the rally ring she was totally stressed out and so was I.  We probably should have just gone home…but I tried to do the course.

Anyone with advice on how to get her over her fear, let me know.    We have a lot of work to do now!  Luckily (I guess) there’s no agility this week because they are doing an agility trial at another location and have to move all the equipment over there.  I’m hoping to go see some of that…without Katie! LOL!


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!


Katie got a little lamb!

Katie 2403 Today was Katie’s first ever Rally trial…Novice A, which means we don’t know what we’re doing!  Seriously!  This morning started out with snow, and it was still snowing when we left for the one hour trip down to the trial venue.  We left early because we figured the roads would slow us up, but we arrived right around 11:00 when the trial began.  They were doing Excellent A & B, then Advanced A & B and finally Novice A & B.  So getting there at 11 when they were just starting Excellent wasn’t such a good idea.  It meant LOTS of waiting for Katie and me.  Lucky thing I bought her a little crate, so we didn’t have to walk around for the entire 5 hours!

I was curious how she’d do waiting around for that long.  She’s never done that before.  Usually we go to school and we get right to work! Go go go is Katie’s mantra.  But she seemed fine with it, wasn’t nervous about the building or the other dogs.  Even did bathroom without balking, so I knew we were good to go.  If we ever got to actually go.

Finally about 3:30 it was time for the Novice walk through.  I was anxious because by this time, after waiting around for 4 1/2 hours, she had begun shutting down emotionally and wasn’t taking any treats anymore so I was somewhat worried about her attitude in the ring.  But nothing could be done about that now.  So I walked the course three times and thought I had a pretty good handle on it, and where she might have issues.

We were the last of the nine Novice A’s so I got to watch everyone before me, and that was mostly helpful.  And I got Katie a bit more excited by bringing out the EXTRA SPECIAL treats as we were waiting in line.  Way better than cheese apparently.  So when we finally got in the ring she was looking expectantly at me and we set off.  She was slow on a couple of sits, and I had to ask her to go DOWN! twice at one station.  She just didn’t feel like it I guess.  Then just three stations before the finish we had to do an about turn heading into a wall, and she decided she needed to smell (for what seemed like a really long time) something on the wall before she’d about turn with me.  GEEZE.  That wasn’t even one of my expected problem places!

All in all though the judge was lenient and we got 98 out of 100 points!  And fourth place because there were 3 people that got 100 points.  So Katie actually placed, and won a stuffed lamb.  When we got home I gave it to her before I took the tag off and she took off running with it.    She’s very excited about having a new toy.

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I’m happy with her and excited for her too.  But I hope she takes a nap soon.  I’m exhausted!

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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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