Happy "Gotcha Day", Noodle! It's hard to believe that two years ago today I brought Noodle home, and Pretzel's life has never been the same! Heck, my life has definitely never been the same. Noodle has definitely made me a better dog trainer, and has taught me a LOT about dealing with problems, and handling overdrive. I wouldn't trade her for the world, though. I have faith that things will come together for us in the future and she will be unstoppable. I love her cuddly, loving personality. Pretzel loves her too.
Today Corky had a dental appointment. I was worried that her teeth would be really messed up due to her facial paralysis (which is still hanging on, although she can blink her eye now). Surprisingly, her teeth weren't too bad. They were a bit uneven, and definitely needed floated, but overall it was good. The best part about this appointment is that i put Cadence in a separate stall across the aisle from Corky, and she was perfectly fine with it. I really could wean her at any time, but i want to wait until I get back home from Florida in November. Then the REAL training begins. I cannot wait!
This evening I scheduled a private agility lesson for Noodle. It's been quite a while since we've had a lesson. I feel like we are stagnating...training on my own is fun but without guidance I feel sometimes like I am just spinning my wheels. I came out with several skills to work on, especially obstacle discrimination and using my motion (i.e. slowing down) to cue collection. I tend to run full bore with Noodle and forget about slowing down and getting her attention through the use of motion and speed. I also need to work on my back-up recall. It's pretty rusty, probably because I never ever use it with Pretzel. Time to increase my skills! I was pretty happy with Noodle, although I felt like she had definitely less focus on me than when we train on Tuesday nights. Even though the only people in the building was myself and the instructor, it seemed like she was often distracted by my instructor. That is odd, since she never seems overly distracted when my friend trains with me on Tuesday nights.
I have her entered in the last 2 runs of the day at a CPE trial this Sunday. I may never get to the first obstacle (going to pull her off the course if she doesn't seem 100% focused), but I need to see where we are at right now.
Agility trial today! I entered Noodle in the last 2 runs of the day at a CPE trial, mainly to see where we are with our focus training. I was fully prepared to pull her from the start line if I felt she wasn't focused.
Our first run was Level 1 standard, and it was easy-peasey. We had several bobbles with our focus. First was in the corner where she went briefly to visit the bar setter, but came right back. Then it was on the front side of the course, she went to check out the leash runner. At the end, she checked out the judge right before the finish jump. But each time she came immediately right back to me. She did not stop on her 2 on-2 off contacts (dogwalk and A-Frame), but my focus instructor told me not to stress her out at this point by correcting that. Her start line stay was perfect. Overall, not a bad run, and with CPE rules we actually ended up with a Q!
Second run was Level 1 Fullhouse, and this one was better because I was able to make up my own course to fit her. Her start line was kind of weird - she stood up and took a couple steps towards the start jump and then stopped. She wouldn't back up, she she had to start from there, and managed to clear the jump even from that close of a distance. The rest of the run went very smooth! No stopped contact on her A-Frame, and she did go into the tunnel twice (which just added 3 more points to our score..yay!). What she didn't do was go visit anyone in the ring! SUCCESS! I feel this was a good experience for us. We are not ready to go back to full trial mode, but this gives me an idea of where I am at this point.
I talked to a good agility pal today, and something she unfortunately experienced really bothers me. So I will just say this: ANY average dog trainer can work with and train a highly talented, GOOD dog. but it takes a highly talented GREAT trainer to make a great dog out of a talented one with issues. I can't find much respect for a trainer that is only willing to work with easy dogs. Kudos to those who are willing to put the effort in with the tough ones, and work hard to figure out the best way to train them and make them successful.
Redirect! That might end up being my theme for 2018. Don't give up - Redirect instead! I am a goal-oriented person. Yeah, that's putting it mildly. A more accurate description would be that I am obsessive about setting goals and working towards them. Sometimes, though, ya gotta face reality and re-purpose your drive into a new or different venture. Easier said than done? Well, just watch me!
Today was one of those days that was insanely busy with things happening all over the place, but I handled everything and I actually am finishing the evening feeling pretty darn good about my day!
I started this morning with a private lesson with Noodle at 8am. I learned so much! I have a long list of things to work on. I felt like we made real progress today.
Then off to the orthopedic doctor I went, to have my hand checked. They cut off that horrible cast and put on a removable brace. I am to wear that 24/7, but I can take it off to shower...yay! The verdict is probably no actual broken bones, but rather torn ligaments that need to heal.
The bummer of the day is that I found out from the barn owner that Corky is really lame today. I went out there and she is barely putting any weight on her left front foot. From the way she is resting on her toe, it looks like another abscess. NOT good news, but I contacted my farrier and he is going to try to come out in the next couple of days to pull her shoe off and see what is going on. I am praying it is nothing serious, because I don't want to deal with that foot surgery again!
Did I mention my "rental puppy" I have here for a couple weeks? I have "Maizey" - a puppy from Pretzel's second litter - here for a few weeks for some show training and socialization. She is a very shy, but loving puppy and fit right in with my pack. At first she was extremely intimidated by Pretzel and Noodle, but she soon learned that they are FUN instead of scary, and she even handles Noodle's crazy antics. Today I took Maizey to PetsMart to walk around. I was really happy with how she handled it - tail up and wagging the whole time while watching the other people and dogs. It is so fun having a puppy around again, going to be really hard to let her go in 2 weeks.
Noodle's Focused Agility class went really well today. She did awesome, even when another dog left the ring and came running a beeline to her. She stayed focused on me the whole time with no reaction...yay! It's a long road we are on, but we are progressing.
My farrier came out this morning to check Corky's foot. he pulled the shoe and had to dig around for a while, but did find a tiny oozing abscess. I guess I am glad it is nothing more serious. Abscesses I know and can deal with. It's just a little more worrisome since she had her soles removed. the abscess is in her left front foot, right in the middle of her sole in front of the frog...right where the majority of her sole had been pared away. So now, I soak it and wrap it daily until it clears up, then my farrier can put her shoe back on.
Later this evening I went out to soak her foot. Of course, Corky was having NONE of that. After kicking the bucket several times (literally), I gave up. I ordered some iodine poultice (Magna Paste) and it should be here tomorrow. I will pack her foot and wrap it with this, so there will be no need for messy soaking. I am sure Corky will be happier, and I will stay drier. Just need to figure out how I can wrap her foot with the limited use of my left hand. Damn injuries. Makes me mad!
I had a lot of agility happening today, starting with Pretzel's 8am class. My instructor remarked about how he is so much faster during the second half of class. Yup, my boy is not a morning person, that is for sure! He and I both take a long time to really wake up and become productive.
Noodle had another private lesson today. She started off pretty distracted by the dog and people that were leaving from the class before us. We worked a lot on her serpentine jumping, and getting her more comfortable with convergence (that is when the dog is taking the jump towards you so your paths "converge"). The second half of the lesson we split with a friend whose dog also has focus issues. It was great for both of us, both dogs remained focused and on task even with the other dog standing right near their path. This is HUGE for Noodle, as other dogs are the biggest distraction she can face. Baby steps, my friend. It's all starting to come together, piece by piece.
Today was Maizey's show debut in Urbana! We have been working hard - learning to stack, gait on a leash, and I did a ton of socializing her at pet stores this week. I was thrilled that she walked right into the show rung with confidence and tail-wagging happiness! That is my #1 goal.
Unfortunately her class competition didn't show up, so no chance for points. She showed awesome - held her stack for the judge and did a wonderful clean down and back. They had puppy groups later in the day, and she ended up winning a puppy sporting group three! She has really gained confidence this week, it was wonderful to watch her transformation.
This was probably one of the most terrifying days of my life. I let pretzel, Noodle, and Maizey out front to do their business in the morning, and as usual Noodle and Maizey were playing and chasing each other. Maizey was running, and ran stright into Pretzel, T-boning him. He cried out and fell down, and when he tried to get up, he wasn't able to use his back legs. I immediately got him moving and put him in the car and headed to MedVet.
He gradually started walking better, but he was still wobbly in the hind end and he wasn't wanting to put weight on his front left paw. The vet looked him over, and thought it was just soft tissue injury, and a possible compressed disc. She put him on an anti-inflammatory, and 4 hours later we were on our way home.
He gradually got a bit better as the day went on. I kept him quiet, and he spent the evening laying around and resting. I was SO scared that he had damage to his spine, but it looks as though he is recovering little by little, looking better each hour. I cannot express how thankful I am that it isn't worse. He is so important to me!
This evening, we headed to Congress to watch the hunter longe line. Yes, I am dreaming and anticipating next year with Cadence! It feels SO good to be able to finally go to Congress and have a healthy baby on the ground, enabling me to dream again. I am excited!
I got to see "Chevy" today (Cheyenne's About Time To Fill Up The Chevy). He lives with a horse trainer in Connecticut. He looks amazing!!! Such gorgeous angles, topline, and head. He has Pretzel written all over him. Chevy is the blue collar pup from Pretzel's first littler (Pretzel x Mouse). I so wish they would be willing to show him, but unfortunately they do not want to do that. But either way, he has a wonderful life with some great people, and he looks fantastic. PLUS he has that wonderful, level-headed disposition that Pretzel has. Looks like Pretzel is siring good-minded puppies...that is so important!
Kind of weird...I have a splint on my left hand, Corky has an abscess on her left front, and Pretzel is a little gimpy on his left front. I guess us family members like to stick together. Yep...odd Corky is still pretty sore today. I was hoping to see more improvement. I have been packing her foot with the Magna Paste, and wrapping it in vetwrap and duct tape.
Cadence is getting almost too big to nurse! I really should wean her now, but I want to wait until after I got home from Florida in November. So...a few more weeks living with mom, and then they will be separated.
Noodle did very well in her focus agility class tonight. Several times I was able to call her off of a distraction and get her to come back to me. I am really happy with how things are going. I almost hesitate to mention this, because as soon as I start feeling optimistic, something disastrous tends to happen. I think with Noodle I will never get to that "comfortable" place in my training of her, but I just hope to get a little more secure in trusting her. Baby steps...
What a fun day! "Chevy" (Blue collar puppy from the Pretzel x Mouse litter) was in town for Congress with his horse trainer owner and I got to steal him for the day. He had a LOT of fun playing with Noodle and Maizey. It was so much fun to see another Pretzel puppy in action. So many things reminded me of Pretzel - his solid topline, tail, and fun attitude. I loved seeing him run with Maizey - two puppies from two different litters out of two very different bitches, but with many similarities. This makes me really excited to some day get my own Pretzel puppy. Just waiting on this stinking house addition to get finished...and it is sloooooow going.
Wilmington Ohio Weimaraner Specialty and All-Breed Show
More puppy fun! Marshall (Pretzel x Mouse) and his owners came up from Georgia for the Weim specialty and all-breed show in Wilmington this weekend. They stayed with us, and once again we had tons of puppy fun with Marshall, Maizey, and Noodle.
Maizey showed on Friday at the specialty. She "almost" won best bitch in sweepstakes (the judge selected us, but then realized she had selected another bitch as best dog in sweeps, so she changed her placements and gave it to the other bitch...darn!). Maizey showed great, but it just wasn't in the cards for us at this show. I was thrilled with how she showed - confident and straight as an arrow. She is going to be something very special when she grows up.
Marshall showed wonderfully all weekend. Unfortunately he did not get any points. However, I was as proud as could be with both Pretzel kids. I love their confidence and beautiful structure. I don't need a judge to tell me they are wonderful pups!
After the show on Friday we headed out to do some field work with all of the dogs. Noodle and Pretzel got a chance on a couple birds and did great. The fun part was getting to watch Marshall get turned on by the game birds. By the end of the day he was pointing and retrieving the bird. His owners plan to do some field work with him, so it will be great to see how he does.
Here was the weekend we have been working towards - another shot at getting more qualifying hunt test legs and getting a new title on Pretzel and Noodle. Noodle needed 3 more qualifying legs for her Junior Hunter title, and Pretzel needed 2 more qualifying legs towards his Junior Hunter Advanced title. Both have been training well, though Pretzel had taken a step backwards in training as what usually happens right when I am close to a goal. Murphy's law - training goes equally bad as the closer we get to the finish line!
Pretzel started off the morning with a bang - getting a wonderful high score towards his Advanced title (including a "10" in hunting ability!). Then Noodle's turn in the morning went equally well - earning 2 9's and 2 8's. Boom! two qualifying runs for both of them.
Then came the afternoon runs. Ugh. Noodle was pretty charged up after this morning, and she knew the routine. I set her loose at the start line only to never see her again until 3 minutes left in the test. She took off like a bullet down the backfield, went over the hill, and by the time I got to the bird field she was nowhere to be found. The bird planters saw her go off into the woods towards the left, but neither I nor the judge on horseback could find her. With about 3 minutes left in the test, she came barreling back to me. What a freaking relief. I spent almost 20 minutes imagining every possible scenario as to what could have happened to her. By the time she got back, our brace mate had already found pretty much all of the birds. She hunted hard for the remaining minutes, but found nothing. Her score was a bust.
To add to the disappointment, Pretzel did phenomenal, hunted hard, looked awesome, but the judge dinged him with a "7" in one category (Trainability) which just barely made his average under "8". he is required to have an average of 8 as the minimum to qualify for advanced. Dang! Try try again tomorrow, I guess.
Here we go with Day #2 of the hunt test. I really don't know what to expect. I am pretty sure Pretzel can pull off one more advanced qualifying score...but will Noodle even stay in the county? I am terrified to let her loose, I couldn't bear it if anything happened to her. She can be such a loose cannon sometimes when her drive gets out of control.
Amazingly...Noodle passed BOTH of her tests today with scores high enough to actually qualify for advanced, if that was our goal. She had crazy drive, but she actually hunted ,i>with me both times. By "with me", I mean she at least stayed somewhat within eyesight. He hunted HARD, and threw some really nice points. Two qualifying runs actually finished her Junior Hunter title! That's one thing about Noodle - when she is on, she is on. And when she is not, all hell breaks loose LOL!
In true Pretzel fashion, he aced his two tests today, earning his Junior Hunter Advanced title in the morning, and getting another qualifying score in the afternoon for good measure. It was a true compliment to him when I heard the judge telling the other judge as we were exiting the bird field that she wished the test was longer because she loved watching Pretzel hunt. He threw in some total rock star points that were amazing and gorgeous...I could have cried with pride!
We left Kentucky with two new titles and a great optimistic feeling. The best part was the direction we were headed - not back north, but south to Florida! Time for some boat/beach/island time and...yup...a wedding! Stay tuned, things are about to get interesting ;-)