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Welcome to my world - 2016! Come along on this crazy ride I call "life". Follow my horse and dog training and showing escapades, and my newly renovated life (because all lives need a little remodeling every now and then!).

Updated: December 31, 2016

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Thursday, December 8, 2016

AKC Conformation Show - Cleveland, Ohio

We traveled north to Cleveland to the IX center to a show - Noodle's first "official" AKC 4-6 month beginner puppy show, and Pretzel's warm-up for AKC Nationals next week. Of course, things couldn't work out smoothly...they scheduled the 4-6 month Weimaraner puppies at the exact same time as the Weimaraner breed ring, in rings not even close to each other. So, I enlisted Mark's help! We spent a lot of time practicing this past week, and my biggest worry is not Mark's inexperience but whether Pretzel will behave at all if I am not around.

First came Noodle's puppy class - 5 Weimaraner puppies, and Noodle showed awesome! My only beef with her is that she pulled a LOT on the gaiting because she was so excited. I think she really loved the attention. She ended up winning the class, so we waited for the puppy sporting group.

Mark went off to show Pretzel, and although I wasn't able to watch, I was able to send some friends over to watch and video for me. he did awesome! Pretzel ended up Select Dog with Mark, beating some very nice dogs. I was so proud of both of them. This is good practice for when Noodle starts showing for "real" in January. We need to prepare for potential conflicts in best of Breed when Noodle gets Winners Bitch (thinking positive here!).

I was so proud of Noodle- she went into the sporting group and WON! She loves to show off, and of course she is extremely food motivated so she will do anything for a treat, including stacking and standing still. I had so many nice compliments on her.

We waited to go into Best Puppy In Show, and by that time Noodle was pretty much done with standing still and behaving. She decided to have a bit more fun in the class, and I can't blame her! It was a long afternoon for a 4 month old puppy! What an awesome, successful day both of my pups had.

Love her weird expression!My tired puppy
Weimaraner puppy class results

Noodle's Weimaraner puppy class

Noodle's first win photo!
Noodle's first win photo!

Friday, December 9, 2016

AKC Conformation Show - Cleveland, Ohio

Today we had no conflicts at the show since there wasn't a beginner puppy class, so Noodle had the day off. This would be my last chance to really practice with Pretzel for Florida.

This judge was strict, and that is putting it mildly. Someone showed up late for the class (we had just all gaited around for the first time) and he refused to let him in the ring! I made sure I listened closely to his instructions. Pretzel showed really well for me and we ended up winning best of Breed (and best of breed owner-handled)! This was quite unexpected! I never expect to win, I guess...so it always catches me by surprise.

We waited several hours for the groups. Owner-Handled sporting group was first, and Pretzel showed really good for me. we ended up with a group 3, which was great considering the tough competition. I didn't expect anything in the regular sporting group as the judge has notoriously hated my dog every time he has seen him. It went as expected with the usual people winning the usual awards. I spent the class practicing with pretzel, working on his free stack and experimenting with a few different things, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.

We headed home after groups...time to spend the weekend doing laundry, packing, and preparing for the big trip to Florida. I am so excited for this trip, but on the other hand I really dread taking a 4 month puppy on the road for 2 days to Florida. It's going to be a long trip with having to stop every few hours.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Well, today was spent packing, packing, packing. Fitting two people, two dogs, stuff for 3 days at a show and a week in Florida on the beach and travelling...all in a 2003 Ford Explorer. Yes, I actually got it all in! I occasionally have crazy mad packing skills. However, I know once we get to Florida and unpack, we probably will never be able to fit it all back in again.

My biggest worry is the traveling. I swear I am more stressed about that than the actual show and the whole reason we are heading to Florida! Traveling with an almost-5-month puppy is stressful. How often will we have to stop, will she drive us crazy with crying, how will she behave in the hotels - those are all questions that circle around in my mind. I am preparing for any possible accident in the car, all sorts of messes. Hopefully I won't have to use any of it.

I guess it is a good thing I am stressing and worrying so much about the traveling that I haven't given much worry to the actual show on Friday...

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Arriving in Orlando, Florida

Amazingly, Noodle was pretty well-behaved for our two day journey to Florida. We had to stop every 2-3 hours for her to potty, but other than that she was really well-behaved. Shocker!

When we arrived to the convention center, this sign greeted us in the grooming area. Kind of gave me a thrill! Here we are...a year's worth of work ends right here this weekend. Will I leave happy? Disappointed? I guess we will see.

Noodle has discovered a fascination for looking at herself in the mirror. Each hotel gives her a new view of herself. I am not sure if she is just that vain, or just fascinated with looking at herself.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Orlando, Florida - AKC All-Breed show

Today was our warm-up...the last all-breed show before the finals tomorrow and the nationals on Saturday. Over 30 Weimaraners entered, I didn't expect to get a look and I was correct in my assumption! Pretzel showed pretty good, but with that level of competition (and the vast number of professional handlers in the ring), we were pretty invisible. We were the only owner-handler eligible, so we did get Owner-Handled Best of Breed, so that was something! I won a Royal Canin apron for that win ;-)

We had fun doing a photo/video shoot for AKC who is re-doing their website. Pretzel might get to be the model for their Weimaraner information page, how cool is that? I walked Noodle around the show a bunch, and she was fearless...trying to jump on and greet every person that walked by.We had to wait all day for the OH sporting group. 28 in the group. We didn't get a look, but it was great practice for tomorrow, which is the day that really counts for me!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Orlando, Florida - National Owner-Handled Finals

Today is the day I have been working towards all year - the finals of the National Owner-Handled series. The top 10 dogs from each breed were invited to compete. I am up against some stiff competition, some longtime Weimaraner breeders and others who have used professional handlers in the past to promote their dogs. I have no political power, gotta win it all on my presentation and the quality of my dog!

Pretzel showed like a rock star today. He was fantastic! Beautiful straight down and back, he was up on his stack and stood like a statue. I was thrilled, amazed, and overjoyed to be pointed at for best of Breed. We did it!!! We accomplished a HUGE thing this year. Finishing #1 in points by a landslide, and then topping it out by winning the Owner-Handled Finals!

There were 30 dogs in the Sporting Group. Pretzel showed pretty well, but we didn't get a placement. What a fantastic, phenomenal, overwhelming day! Words cannot describe what I am feeling...

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Orlando, Florida - AKC National Championships

After our awesome day yesterday, I honestly could care less what heppens today. it will end up being a carbon copy of what happened on Thursday - I will be the only non-professional in the ring and I will be invisible. I actually considered just skipping the show and heading straight to the beach.

Well, everything that could go wrong, went wrong in this class (OK, not quite everything, but close!). My shoe started coming off during my down and back, Pretzel's free stack was so bad even after multiple tries that the judge said "Oh well, nice try", and I dropped bait on my go around and had to stop and pick it up. I joked to the people around me that I was tempted to just step over the ring fence and leave the ring right then!

This class was huge - 32 Weimaraners and 13 of them were dog specials. I never give up, so I kept showing if for no other reason than to make Pretzel look good for all of the spectators. Imagine my shock when the judge went through the line to make cuts and she pulled us out! I thought to myself "How cool will it be to tell people that I made the cut at Nationals!". She had us do a down and back again, and individual go arounds. Pretzel was much better this time, and I managed to keep my shoes on my feet and the bait secured in my armband. She rearranged the order, had us all go around again, and then made her placements. We ended up with an Award of Merit!!! Basically that meant 3rd best male dog in the ring. I never in a million zillion years ever thought I would get a look at AKC Nationals, but finally we had a judge that truly judged the dogs. I was the only owner-handled, non-professional in the ring. I still can't believe it! An absolute dream weekend!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Yes, my dogs are truly the luckiest dogs on earth. When I die, I would like to come back as one of my dogs!

After the show, we headed south to Goodland, Florida to take the boat out and take the dogs to the beach. this was Noodle's first boat ride, first time on the beach, and first time in the water! of course, my puppy was fearless. She LOVED every minute of the trip.

A big worry for us was her pica issues. She has an obsession with eating everything outside - mouthfuls of mud, rocks, you name it. I came prepared with a long leash and a basket muzzle. Amazingly, the first 3 days on the beach she was so excited to run around and play in the water, she didn't pay much attention to all of the stuff on the beach. But by day 4, she was pretty tired, and started trying to eat every seashell and other random object on the beach. So, out came the basket muzzle for the last day. Ugh. I sure hope she outgrows this habit. It's unhealthy and dangerous!

beach pictures? of course i have hundreds! Here is a sampling. Click on any picture to enlarge.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas! We celebrated our first Christmas with Pretzel AND Noodle! It was a wonderful day with family. Noodle kind of behaved herself. that's better than we expected haha!

Wednesday, December 28, 2017

Well, on day 4 at the beach Noodle developed hives on her head, neck, and shoulders. I put her on Benadryl for several days (made her nice and sleepy for the 2-day drive home haha!), and took her off last Saturday. Today the hives seemed to be continuing and spreading, so off to the vet we went. It wouldn't be the Christmas season without a vet bill, right? Luckily this one wasn't too expensive. Some antibiotics and we are good to go. She isn't itching them at all, so that is good. No doubt she ate something weird in Florida that caused these. I have a feeling this will be a never-ending saga with her.

On a good note, she is growing! She weighed 44 pounds at the vet today. Mark measured her a couple days ago and she measured 22 5/16". That's a full inch in height gained in 19 days. Cool!

Friday, December 30, 2016

AKC Agility Trial - Zanesville, Ohio

Well, today is the day of reckoning. Our first AKC agility trial after a looooong break for re-training. Pretzel has been a rock star in class, even to the point where he seems kind of bored with it. But he has been really obedient, and we have gotten a lot accomplished this past year-plus.

We started off the morning with Open FAST. This will be a good chance to really test the waters and see how our training is. Pretzel seemed quiet and focused...I had great hopes. We started off, he did the first two jumps then ran to the far end of the ring, sniffing. What??? Are we back to that again? Why is he stressed? I was completely relaxed, he seemed completely relaxed while we warmed up, then I sat him at the start line and the stress came.

Well, the good point of the class was that he got his send bonus (tunnel to jump). the bad points are he took off trotting and sniffing several times and I had a very difficult time getting him back to me, and although he didn't blow a contact, he didn't stop on his two on-two off either. Frustrating!

Next was Open Jumpers With Weaves. Things went really awry in this class, at one point he ran to the ring barrier and I could barely get him back to me. he missed some jumps, blew by the weaves and then jumped out at the 10th pole....ugh. I tried to stay upbeat and positive, I did not correct him when he was wrong, I went on and tried to celebrate the good stuff.

Lats was Open Standard. This class went a little better than Jumpers. We had three sniff-abouts. One was right after he didn't stop on his a-frame contact - he knew he was wrong, took off sniffing, and I called him back (and he went into the wrong end of the tunnel). the second one happened after he blew by the entrance to the weaves. The third one happened towards the end...not sure why. Good points of this run - he did get his weaves perfectly once he got into them. He didn't knock any jumps. He didn't miss any obstacles. Bad points - he did not stop on his contacts yet again.

I left the trial feeling extremely discouraged. All that training and work, and he is exactly where he was a year and a half ago! Not one iota of progress! I can feel my heart breaking little by little....this was such a big dream of mine but i am going to have to face reality that maybe it just isn't the sport for Pretzel. I have a hard time accepting that - he is so talented and athletic, and he is such a star in our classes. I wish I could crawl into his head and see what he is thinking, why he is stressing.

Well, we have another trial entered in 2 weeks - a 2 day trial. We will see how that one goes. We are also entered one day in February. I am not going to enter any more trials unless I see some progress the next time out.

The big question is how do you train a dog that only acts like this in actual trials? Even run-throughs and practice matches he is great.

A couple videos so you can see what I am talking about: the first one is Jumpers, second one is Standard.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's that time! Time to evaluate my goals I set this year on January 1st and see how I did! This has been an incredible year!

2016 Short Term Goals
  1. Earn a Q in Open agility - Nope, didn't get this one done!
  2. Earn an open agility title - haha, not even close!
  3. Get to level 4 in all CPE agility categories - Close, but not quite
  4. Earn a top 10 spot in NOHS Weimaraner placings - Oh yeah, baby...not only top 10, but NUMBER ONE!!!
  5. Earn a Q in Novice Obedience - Nope, didn't try this year, maybe 2017?
  6. Breed Corky successfully and finish out 2016 with her STILL being pregnant - I hate to jinx myself, but so far so good!
2016 Long Term Goals
  1. Earn a Congress Top 5 - Still working towards this. Maybe Corky's baby???
  2. Have a healthy foal out of Corky - Come on, 2017!!!
  3. Compete at the Excellent level in agility - Oh what a dream...
  4. Break into the top 20 in AKC conformation (Weimaraners)- So close...Pretzel ended up #27 for the year. Dang!
  5. Earn a C-ATCH in CPE Agility - Nope
  6. Finish #1 in something - Nailed it! #1 owner-handled Weimaraner in the country for 2016 - in both points and in the finals competition!
  7. Earn a best in show or reserve best in show - We earned BOTH... two owner-handled best in shows, and three owner-handled reserve best in shows!!!
  8. Put an open ROM on Corky's future foal - The key is to get a future foal on the ground first LOL!

Looking at my goals, I didn't achieve a large percentage of them, but the ones I did achieve, I did so with a BANG! 2016 was my most wonderful, best, happiest, successful, exciting year ever. How can I ever top that? Well it all starts HERE!.

On to 2017...