Wednesday, February 27, 2013

No Adjustment!

So. Happy.

Took Lexi to the chiropractor tonight, and this was the first time since her diagnosis in July that she didn't need an adjustment!

When we first started taking her we were going every week, then twice a month, and now are down to once a month.

To find out tonight that she didn't need adjusting was awesome. Makes me feel like we are making progress and doing the right things! Of course we will continue to take her once a month, but I am just so pleased :)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We've Been Diligent

We've been diligently doing Lexi's exercises (especially since practicing in the yard has been impossible because of snow and ice).  Even Bentley gets a little cavaletti work once in a while.

Lovely attention from Lexi

Bentley working

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Trip to the Outlets

As it warms up (well, it was in the 20s this weekend, a bit cold for our adventure!), Jonathan and I have decided to make a concerted effort to do more things with the dogs individually.

We were really good about that when Lexi was a baby, but we've stopped for convenience sake, and I think that's doing a disservice to the dogs.

I'm not sure if I've posted about it before on here or not, but Bentley is a touch reactive.  He reacts when on a leash and he sees or hears another dog.  We were working on it and doing well before we moved to Ohio, but now we live in a house where he can see and hear dogs a lot of the time (not a lot of responsible pet owners in the neighborhood--people just leave their dogs out to bark all day long).  So, for Bentley, we're going to take him on his own walks and take the clicker and reward non-reactive behavior.  We've done this before, but it's SO hard to do in our neighborhood because you get discouraged really quickly because you can't go 5 feet without hearing barking.  But, it's something that we really need to work on because Bentley has gotten worse since we've been here and it's not fair to him to continue to just manage it and not train.

Lexi is a touch sensitive, and has a tendency to worry if we let her.  Walking her with Bentley when he is reacting isn't fair to her, because it enforces her worries.  So for her, we're taking her on separate walks, and taking her out and about by herself a bit more often.  This weekend we took her to an outlet mall (about an hour from here) and we had so much fun!  She brightened so many peoples' days--young and old alike!  She has a blast because she got treats from everyone.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Michigan (Pt. III)

Masters Jumpers:
ARGGHHHHH!  That is me being annoyed at myself for not working my FC better.  Also, why am I standing around so much?  I just need to focus on MOVING and trusting my dog.  I think I say that all the time, but really struggle with it.  I guess it's  question of confidence.

I still got a wide turn with the backy uppy at the beginning, but without the blind she at least didn't go winging off to another jump.  After I send her to the tunnel (9) I just stand and watch her.  Why?  Who knows!

I was really surprised that my arm motion threw her out over 14 in the pinwheel and she went wide and missed 15.  Again, I stood and watcher her.  But it's a question of chicken vs. egg.  Did she go wide because I was just standing there?  Or was I just standing there because I saw her go wide?

Then the end was quite nice--how I collected her out of the tunnel and she ran on ahead of me.

Bentley had a pretty much perfect run.  Can't think of any critiques other than I held my breath briefly at jump 16.  I think Bentley thought about going around it because Jonathan was ahead of him.  I think Jonathan did a really good job this trial of staying ahead and getting front crosses in to keep Bentley motivated.  It worked really well, but it is a little frustrating to see Jonathan so far ahead and see Bentley basically at his "top speed".  Still, this was a really nice run for both of them.  We've discussed that going forward maybe Jonathan shouldn't send him and get ahead of him, but wait for him, and then accelerate away from him.  I think that may help Bentley to accelerate as well.

Steeplechase Round 1:
Well, we saw another one of my dreaded weave entries here.  Bummer.  I'm getting (somewhat) better at the front cross, but that's with a stopped contact.  Really need to train that entry!  I was really pleased with her turn into the weaves after jump 12.  I was really worried about the timing of getting her there without her grabbing the back side of 7, but I decelerated and I don't think she even considered taking 7!

And then, big mistake!  I was so surprised that she got right into the weaves that I was much farther ahead of her than I planned.  I blind crossed WAY too early and pulled her out.  Entirely my fault.  Then I had to slowly get her back to the beginning without her taking any of the jumps.

But, even with that, it was a nice run and a Q.  I love love loved her rear cross at jump 18.

Jonathan and Bentley had a nice run for Bentley's Tournament Master--Bronze (15 tournament Qs, at least 2 in each event).  So proud that we have come so far with our little guy!

If I had to be nitpicky about the run, I would say that he should probably have replaced the rear cross at 9 with a front, and I think he could have saved a second or so heading back into the weaves by asking for a tighter entry.  Bentley has the skills, and doesn't need that much room on the approach (unlike Lexi, who needs the space to line up).

Steeplechase Round 2:

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Michigan (Pt. II)

Well, here I go trying to recreate part of the post that I wrote last night.  It will never be the same!

Masters Standard:
With Lexi, I am kicking myself for this run.  First of all, I was so proud of myself for being brave enough to try a backy uppy to a blind in a trial.  We have practiced that in class multiple times (even in opening sequences) so I thought we had it on lock.  I set it up nicely, and stepped back beyond the plane.  I’m not sure if I didn’t move soon enough so she launched out and away towards the off course, or if she was determined to take that jump regardless of what I did.  I think I should have moved forward right away towards the teeter, even though I did try to catch her eye before moving forward.

I did really like how I showed the front cross was coming as she was getting into the chute.  I think I got a better turn.  I can’t remember which trial it was, but I was having difficulty collecting her out of the chute for a turn, and I realized it’s because I wasn’t cuing it where she could see me. 

I’m not sure why she went around the table, and I’m a little worried about it.  Maybe I’ve watched Diana and Miley too many times, but what she does looks like she is stressing.  Maybe I just didn’t tell her soon enough?  Trouble is we don’t practice the table often.  I can practice it in the house, but that’s not really the same.

Then my lovely little one saved my you-know-what at jump 15.  Not sure if you can tell, but the angle is WAY harder on the course than it showed on paper.  I was all discombobulated (and behind), though, so I didn’t show enough lateral heading towards the dogwalk.

At the end she didn’t get into her 2o2o (which is odd for her) and then came off, so I didn’t allow her to finish.  She tends to rush through her contacts if she thinks she knows what is next, so I didn’t ask her to finish the course.

(We didn’t enter Bentley in Standard)

Grand Prix:
Another frustrating run for Lexi & I as well as Jonathan & Bentley.  We were so close! 

I first walked the course with a lead out, leading out past 2 with Lex on my right the whole time.  But once I got out there, I saw the angle at which she would have to jump the tire, and I didn’t think that was fair to her.  There is a big metal bar at the base of the tire, and I think it would have made it hard for her to judge the jump/maneuver it correctly.  I think the no lead out actually worked out well!

Please take note of the weave entry.  I think we have seen this about 5 times in the past couple trials.  It’s not a good thing for us (my FCs are poorly timed, and Lexi doesn’t have the independent entries), but everyone else, take note and practice!

Anyways, I came over the dogwalk and thought “Oh my gosh! We’re clean!”  And then I remembered the teeter.  The whole time I debated whether or not I should FC prior to the teeter.  If I didn’t, I knew she’d have to switch leads and that might be hard for her and she might choose to run past it.  But, I thought if I forced it, I would show too much motion going forward.  Anyways, I saw her come over the jump really wide so I said her name, and she dropped the bar.  Then I was all out of whack and didn’t work the push to the correct tunnel entry. 

And poor, poor Jonathan.  I know he thought he had it in the bag.  The biggest challenges for him were the contacts, which Bentley miraculously got (although they were naughty).  And then he didn’t work the tunnel entrance.  I don’t think any of the other 16”s qualified, so Jonathan was really bummed.  But it was a great run until the very end!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Michigan Trial (Pt. I)

I am SO mad!  I just spent an hour posting about our trial, and everything was lost.  I even saved it along and along, and I got kicked out.  I came back and everything was gone.

Now it's too late, so you'll just have to read about Gamblers, since that's the only part that saved :(

We went up to Michigan for one day of a trial, and had another tough day.  A lot more "almosts"!  I decided that I don't like traveling (4 hours one way) for one day of a trial, because then when you don't do awesome, it feels like a waste when you don't get the results you want.

Masters Gamblers:
Lexi and I started off the day with a really great gamblers run.  We didn't qualify (it was really hard--the jump was really far from the line and you couldn't get past the weave poles to show any forward motion.  The course map is different from the course.  The weaves and jump were parallel), but I still felt like we were in sync.  And I was able to send her back out to the a-frame, and she went on ahead of me at the end.

Bentley, well, didn't really do so well.  For the second trial in a row I couldn't send him to a tunnel right in front of me.  So we were whistled before even attempting the gamble.  I was pretty bummed and didn't get him in the right mindset, and I couldn't get him out of handler focus and off of my leg.  So no, we don't need to see video of that!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Things I Could Do If...

Things I could do if I wasn't at work 60 hours of the week...

Instead of writing a complaint post, which is what I want to do, I'm going to write about all the things that I could do if I wasn't working 87,679,689,097* hours a week.

*slight exaggeration

  • Train my dogs more than once per week.
  • Do Lexi's exercises every night.
  • Walk the dogs for 30 minutes every night.
  • Teach Lexi to stay which she has completely forgotten.
  • Teach fun new tricks.
  • Keep the house clean (in my old house when I wasn't working at this job I swept the floor twice a day.  I have slight OCD tendencies, so you could see how not cleaning could really contribute to my stress).
  • Make dinner (and not just something frozen).
  • Exercise.
  • Get a puppy.
  • Go to agility seminars (they are always held during the week here).
  • Take private lessons (instructor is booked in the evenings and gone on weekends).
  • Better hygiene (seriously!  My hair would be a lot cleaner if I didn't have to decide between that and walking the dogs!)
  • Spend more time with my mom and sister (only available time is 4-6 days out of the month since week nights I don't get home until so late).
  • Better relationship with Bentley because I could take him for a walk by himself and train him instead of having to decide between 1: no walk because he'll react and there will be too many other dogs out in the evenings so I can't train, or 2: walk with reacting and just picking him up and being totally irritated at everything.
  • Foster a sheltie.
What my ideal day would look like:
9:00 Gym
10:00 Walk both dogs
11:00 Grocery Store
12:00 Lunch
12:30 TV (yes, let's be honest, I'll be watching some TV)
1:30 Lexi training (agility or tricks)
2:00 Bentley training walk
2:30 Read a book (can't remember the last time I did that)
4:00 Both dogs training
5:00 Make delicious, healthy, awesome dinner for my husband
6:00 Dinner + conversation with said husband
7:00 Lexi's exercises
7:30 Short walk for dogs
8:00 TV/PJs/Awesome cuddle time

Of course, problems with this scenario?  How to afford any of it without a job!!!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Old Post!

Meant to post this last week!  Oops!

Well, this was going to be Wordless Wednesday, but I think it's been too long between posts, so I better say something.

Everything has been going well, we just haven't been doing a ton of outside training (where I take all my videos) because of the weather.  Either it's snowy, or the snow has melted and it's muddy.  Kind of a bummer, I really miss it!

Also, with Lexi's chiropractic appointments once a week (on the night we have agility), we're missing 1 week out of every month.  We finally decided that for those weeks we'll rent the building just to get some extra practice in, especially since we're trialing a bit more these days.  I'm also hoping to start private lessons with my trainer in the weeks to come for Lexi & I.  

My trainer asked me to describe Lexi's strengths and weaknesses, and my answer was "Most of Lexi's weaknesses are mine", and her response was "Yes, I agree with that" LOL!  At least I'm aware of it, right? :)

I did get smart and took the iPad to our building rental the other day and took a quick video or two.

There's nothing that interesting in this first video, but I do think it's interesting to watch how we train.  You can see Lexi be a bit naughty on the contact, but on the first try she gets it :)