Monday, March 29, 2010

Learning to Trust

Tonight we had our second agility lesson outside in a non-fenced ring. And there were sheep on the premises. Yes, you read that right. Sheep and no fence, well the sheep were in a fence but the agility equipment is not.

Last week we started by taking a little walk in a field off leash and then moved back to the agility yard. Then Reese saw the sheep and as she started to run up to the fence she was turned away by my trainer. A few more of those and I was able to call her off the fence away from the sheep. 

All by using pressure. Timing is critical and I am still learning the timing. But the pressure definitely works. Works like magic in fact. Worked at home to teach Reese to stay out of the litter box. Works to get her to lie down or to come to me, when she would rather not. Apply the pressure and release and wa'la you have your dog. It really is quite amazing.

After calling her away from the sheep we went to the other side of the yard and did some agility. I was dumbfounded. I really thought it would be the end of June or July before we would be able to work agility off leash with no fence. 

So we arrived for today's lesson and I didn't know what was in store for us. Today we just started right in on the agility equipment. No walk in the field first just went right to work. Reese did lovely, really worked hard, I couldn't be more proud of her. She knew the sheep were there but she stayed on task. She did some really nice sequences with 7-8 obstacles. Bobbled the dogwalk a bit to put it mildly once or twice but got right back on and did it again.

I am still learning to relax. Last summer I learned how my tension effects us when we work stock and the difference it makes if I relax. I had to learn to relax when we worked agility in the barn. Now I am learning to relax in the great outdoors.

At some point you have to trust your dog. Trust that you have built a strong relationship with your dog and trust that your dog will do the right thing. At some point you have to give your dog a chance to try. You might be amazed at the results.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Florence Nightingale She is Not

So a couple weeks ago I had minor surgery on both of my feet. I am not the brave soul type with a high pain threshold, nope that's not me. I have a pain threshold of about a three out of ten.

So the day after the procedure I had to change the bandages and soak my feet. I was pretty apprehensive about what I was going to find under the mummy wrap. My feet didn't really hurt when they were wrapped, but for me it is all about - the thought. I see someone else with a cut finger - and I transpose the pain they MUST be feeling to myself and down I go to the floor!

So I was carefully taking the bandages off, I decided to take the main wraps off down to the small pieces of gauze on the wounds. I decided to go this far on both feet before removing them completely so that I wouldn't pass out or get grossed out when I saw the first one and not want to do the second one.

So I have one foot down to the gauze pieces, which might be stuck to the wound so I will have to be very careful taking those last pieces off. Reese was laying in the bathroom watching the whole production raising her eyebrows from time to time at me like I was such a basket case (she was supposed to be providing moral support and a shoulder to lean on in my time of need).

Ha, right!

She was there in my time of need alright. As I was taking off the outside bandages of the second foot she decided the entire production was going ridiculously slow and decided to speed up the process. 

She jumped up ripped the gauze off the first foot and ran with it.....before I could realize what she had done I was looking at my bare foot - wound and all.  Leave it to a border collie to get er done!

Last weekend I was awakened during the night from the most horrible charley horse in my calf. I reached down and felt the muscles contracting violently in my leg. I think it was the most painful charley horse I have had. Of course I haven't had one for years so who knows - but it hurt.

I was screaming out loud. It was so painful I even passed out a few times when I sat up to try to get it to stop. Luckily I was still in bed so I just hit the pillow. Ms. "Nightingale She is Not" was on the bed sleeping on the other side down by my feet.

As I lay there withering in pain I was trying to get her attention (you would think the screaming and bed thrashing would do it wouldn't you) by grabbing for her. I was touching her tail or her backside something furry, calling her name to get her to come up and lay closer to me for a little comfort while I recovered from the painful ordeal that good ole charley decided to cause.

Did she come to snuggle, nope.
Did we spoon, nooo.
Did she give me a nose touch kiss, not a one.

She didn't even flinch a muscle through the entire ordeal. Just laid there and slept like border collie that had run 20 miles over the Scottish Highlands looking for her missing lamb. (which I can assure you she did not).

So don't call her Florence by mistake. She won't answer - with good reason!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Annual or Not So Annual Kitchen Cabinet Cleanout....

So last night I performed a bit of a daunting task. I cleaned out the cupboards. You know that exercise when you throw out all the old, expired, stale, items that you wonder why you bought in the first place.

I guess because it was supposed to be good for you. 
            It's only good for you if you eat it.

It was on sale
Buying an item on sale is only a bargain if you were going to buy it anyway. If you buy it just because it is on sale then you spent money you wouldn't have spent to begin with.
And you still have to eat it! 

Then there is my favorite reason.  
    It seemed like a good idea at the time.
Nothing I took out was gross which is good, but that is bad because I have obviously been buying too much processed food. How old was the stuff?  I think the oldest item (one item) expired sometime in the fourth quarter of 2005. There were numerous items with expirations in 2006 and 2007 and then a few from 2008. 

But have you noticed when you buy something at the store these days it usually will be expired in a year or less. Often times it expires within 6 months, and I'm referring to things like canned goods. It used to be that you could buy canned goods and the expiration date would be 4 years from now. What has happened? Are the products going onto store shelves that much later in their shelf life? Are the expiration dates shorter - too much botulism popping up with the old date ranges? What's the deal?

I made Reese a couple of crate pad/beds last week. Now all she needs is a new crate for the car.

I stole this idea from a friends facebook status but thought it would be a good way to judge how many people I know are reading this. If  they read it I'm sure I will hear about it so here goes......

Having the whole family together to celebrate a birthday - Fun!
Watching the whole family do the Wii Hula Hoop - Hysterical!
Having it on video for blackmail - Priceless!

Monday, March 8, 2010


I was able to get some video of our lesson last week. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is coming along and we are well on our way. Before this lesson I had started leaning towards a 2o2o contact for our dogwalk. After trying both running and 2o2o I found that Reese really did remember the 2o2o quite well for having not done it much for the last few years and we had so many issues with the running contact.

After our last lesson and all the handling we did I realized what it will really be like to run a course, and I was leaning even more towards a 2o2o. I am going to have so much to think about that I just may want a second to collect my thoughts, my breath, and get my legs underneathe me before I continue on the course. There is so much that I will be thinking about when we start trialing that at this point the running contact would be one more thing to worry about. Life is full of stress, I don't need any more right now.

I discussed this with my trainer and she thought it made sense. So we worked on the dogwalk for a bit. Reese would do a nice 2o2o on one end. Then I would run the whole thing and she did a great running dogwalk off of it, with a hoop on the end. I said to my trainer, "I see that and then I think maybe I should do the running contact." Then my trainer said it. "Well yes, but she will be going twice as fast as that when she really runs it." Me, eyes wide open, "hmmm, wow!"

Then out came the terrier. A little itty bitty white Jack Russell. Thanks Andy and Crackers for helping me. Crackers was going to show me what a real running contact is like. He may be small but he can haul his little patutty booty over that dogwalk at lightning speed. So Andy reved him up and let him go. I got a head start and I started at the dogwalk, (which would never happen in a trial) I'd still be getting to it when Reese was on it.

Then we ran. Crackers up and over and me pumping my legs and arms as fast as they could go. I think we were about even at the end except for one small detail. Crackers was ready for the next obstacle, but me, I was still going trying to slow down before I hit the wall.

Yep, and then you have to run the rest of the course. So after that experience and realizing that Reese would be even faster....yeah, maybe not this time. I think I made the right decision for us.

So here is a little video of a couple sequences we did.