2012 In Review

Well, it’s 2013… wow. Where has all the time gone to?

Jet and I had an awesome time at Invitationals in Orlando, Florida, last month. Actually, Jet had an awesome year in 2012. Jet ran 3 clean runs out of 4 at Invitationals and ended up ranking #57 in the 16″ height class. Out of about 140ish dogs. Not too shabby for our first time! He also qualified in the T2B run we had at the pre-trial the Friday before. He is such an amazing boy. If you’d like to watch the videos.. they are on YouTube:
YouTube Invitationals Videos

Jet Invitationals

Jet Invitationals

In 2012 We went to a couple of seminars, including Denise Fenzi and Chris Zink. We are going to repeat the Denise Fenzi Seminar this March, too, though this year it’ll be in Idaho, instead of Colorado. So a much closer drive for us.

In AKC Agility, Jet gathered up 19 Double Q’s in 2012, and 509 speed points. Not too shabby. 🙂 He has all his Double Qs towards his MACH, and he only needs 171 speed points, hopefully we’ll gather the rest of those points by sometime this May. He got his MX and MXJ in 2012, and his first T2B title as well. He also got one leg toward his CD. And hopefully we’ll be able to pick the other 2 legs up in 2013.

In UKC Jet got his UWP (United Weight Pull) title, and a Total Dog award, since he placed 3rd place in conformation in the Terrier Group on the same day that he qualified in Weight Pull (though I still don’t like the Danish-Swedish Farmdogs being in the Terrier Group.) He also got 2 legs towards his UKC CD, hopefully we’ll get that last leg in 2013.

We didn’t do any Flyball in 2012, but maybe we’ll do a bit more in the future, I haven’t decided yet.

Jet, Tatum and Quinn and I spent a week at Camp Winnaribbun in August, and had a blast!

As for the other dogs…
Tatum got one leg in Open Standard in May of 2012 in AKC agility, which thrilled me! She’s a good girl, and has come a long way from where she started. She may never get another leg, but that’s okay, as long as we have fun. She pushes the boys around in the house quite well!

Quinn came to join our family in June of 2012. He’s a very sweet, loving, pushy smooth collie boy! I adore him, and it’s good to have a boy smooth blue collie in the house. Since we lost Levi in February of 2012… and I still miss him so very much.

Quinn Park

Quinn at the Park

All in all, 2012 was a very fun year. And I hope 2013 will be just as fun. I hope Jet gets his AKC, ASCA and UKC CD’s in 2013, as well as his MACH. I plan on retiring in August of 2013.. and then, well, the skies the limit! (Well, the money is the limit, actually. LOL).

Chase is probably actually retired from dog sports.. though I haven’t totally decided yet. He is becoming my husband’s walking dog, which is good. As is Muffit, our other Border Collie. They are about 9.5 years old now, so may just have some leisurely retirement years themselves.

Got this picture at Christmas, we have a very nice pack!

The Pack

The pack

Under a Year to Retire

Well, it’s August. I started to work at my current job on August 1, 1988. Wow, so long ago… and I can potentially retire at 25 years. Yesterday was my 24th year at my job. I started working in the welfare office, and now I’m a programmer… after going to school and getting a degree, but since I work for the same government, I get to keep all my seniority, leave benefits, and pension benefits.

Jet, Tatum, Quinn

Jet, Tatum, Quinn

The dogs, I think, will be exceptionally happy to have me home all the time! Above is a picture of three… Jet, Tatum and Quinn. Quinn doesn’t have a very good stay yet, gonna have to work on that for Camp. As we are heading to Camp Winnaribbun on August 25th, for a week of fun in the trees and on the beach! Though I will probably cry a lot, since I’ll miss Levi, and this will be the first trip without him. For some reason, my brain has flashes of planning for him… how he’ll do no the drive, how he’ll be with Quinn… weird stuff, just for a fraction of a second, then I have to catch myself and realize Levi is not going.

I still can’t take his name and put it on the Memory List in my right menu bar. It’s been four months since he died… and, actually, tomorrow, August 3, is one year since Lucy died. Ugh. I miss her very much, still. I miss Levi too. I still try not to think about them very much, as thinking about them just hurts. The below picture is me and my husband, with Lucy, Levi and Angel. All three are gone now. I miss them all. *sigh* (Okay, I moved him in the menu bar… and of course, now I’m balling like a baby again.)

Lucy, Levi, Angel

Lucy, Levi, Angel

But I do love my current family. They are wonderful, and they make me smile. So, one year to retire, then I can play with them every day!

Changing Pack Dynamics

Chase

Chase

It’s been a month since Levi died, I still miss him terribly, and it’s interesting to watch how our pack dynamics have changed. We only have four dogs now, down from our high of seven. Four dogs is like having hardly any dogs at all.

The biggest change I think has been Chase. He’s the oldest now (8.5 years), and he has space issues with dogs he doesn’t know. He will attack without warning when we go out and he’s too close to other dogs. He will still do this. He always hated having foster dogs in our house. So he’s the happiest one of them all that we no longer foster. He’s very relaxed at home now and, strangely enough, he’s becoming our mediator dog. Chase and Levi never got along. Levi would grump at Chase on a regular basis.

But now Chase loves to play with Jet (he did before, but he’s more relaxed about it now). Chase plays with Tatum too, and kinda tolerates Muffit. Muffit barks at Chase when he (Muffit) wants to play, which annoys Chase to no end. But after years, Chase is showing lip and teeth when he gets annoyed. We think that Chase’s warning system was punished out of him before we got him. So he’d just explode without warning. At home he gives warning now (he was giving warning before Levi died too). Chase hasn’t started a fight at home in probably over a year. It’s quite nice.

Jet has been having issues with being unable to stop when he starts fighting. I believe he learned it from Levi. Jet didn’t learn a good way to tell another dog that he’s been hurt or he wants something or needs another dog to stop something. I blame Levi, and myself, of course. Hopefully we’ll work this out. But anyway, a couple weeks ago Jet was going off on Chase, and Chase just stood there in the back yard with Jet latched onto his cheek. This is HUGE for Chase. Before, Chase would have fought back and not have stopped. But now, Chase is like our medium dog that has taken on the role of smoothing everything over. It’s really cool.

Anyone in a multi-dog household understands that dogs fight. It’s what they do. Our dogs have good bite inhibition and don’t break skin. But they sure sound mean. And they don’t fight without reason. People yell at each other, dogs growl and snarl and fight. And our house is kinda small, so the dogs are close together a lot. Maybe we need some wood pergolas to lighten things up, but we can’t afford anything now!

My husband and I aren’t sure who is highest ranking dog anymore. It’s probably Tatum, our only girl. But it could be Muffit, he doesn’t put up with anyone’s crap. It’s not Chase, he’s just the middle ground dog. And I don’t think it’s Jet either, even though he’s intact. Though we think Jet wants to be. It’s one of those flowing easy going packs that just get along. It’s quiet and nice. It’ll be interesting to see how a puppy throws them all for a loop again. Chase will probably have the hardest adjustment, he always does, but hopefully he’ll adjust quickly.

Denise Fenzi’s Awesome Obedience Seminar

Jet and Dare

Jet and Dare

I’m back from Colorado Springs and the Denise Fenzi Seminar. Wow. I got a ton of information and was able to video some of Jet working, too. Jet was a good boy. Silly goof that he is, he’s a clown, and people can’t help just loving him. I just adore him too.

Denise is one of the very few purely positive, motivational competition obedience trainers in the entire country. As a few of us sat around at dinner, we came up with a couple of other names but now I don’t even remember who they are. And I’m talking about Competition Obedience… not just dog trainers or clicker trainers etc. Most competition obedience people still use correction methods thrown in here and there. I have too, but I really want to do what Denise does instead. She is amazing at how well she can come up with ideas to solve problems in training.

One of the biggest things that is sticking with me from the seminar is how so many people are not ring ready for obedience. They train with toys and treats then one day decide to compete and they haven’t done any training without toys or treats or corrections and they expect the dogs to perform well in the ring. Well, that’s not my experience. LOL. She said she even has had a class that is for being Ring Ready. Six weeks of setting up a ring, and all you do is enter the ring, play play play, then leave. So the dogs know that going into the ring is a good happy thing. What to do when you walk into the ring. Have an idea and a plan. Make it happy. I got some good ideas of what to do with Jet.

Basically Jet gets stressed in the ring, so I want to change that. So my plan will be to walk him into the ring, then whip out his new toy and play. Then leave. Do that a couple of times. Then go into the ring, maybe do a dumbbell retrieve, play play, then leave. Then add another exercise that he likes, play play, then leave. So every time we go into the ring it’s a really good experience. Add some “ready… ready… ready…” during and after heeling, to get his excitement up. Do push backs and run. Lots of play and having a good time.

I can even do portions of these things in competition. Like at the end of a heeling pattern, after the judge says Exercise Finished, I can say “ready… ready…” then burst into a run and run to the next exercise. Or do a push back and a touch high. Things to keep him up and happy. It’ll be fun to try. I am probably going to try a couple of these things this coming weekend, as for some weird reason I entered him in Beginner Novice, even though I don’t think we are quite ready. But it’ll be a challenge to me to see what I can do to keep his mood up and keep him happy.

I hope I took good notes, I haven’t looked at all of them yet. Maybe I need a clevis pin to keep them clipped together. I did get some video but I won’t share it. Denise asked us not to, and so that’s okay with me. I’m just glad I have it for my own benefit as I train in the future.

I also entered Chase in Grad Open and that should be fun. Chase is naturally higher in drive so hopefully he’ll be okay through all the exercises. I don’t know if he’ll Q, but it’ll be fun to be in Grad Open and see how he does.

I’m still thinking of a collie puppy, too, and running through my mind the things I can do for foundation work on a new puppy.

On a sad note, tomorrow, March 23rd, will be one month since Levi died. Ugh. time flies. I’m still not used to him being gone at home. I still miss him very much.

Chris Zink Seminar

A couple of weekends ago I went to a Chris Zink Seminar in Grand Junction, Colorado. It was exceptionally good. I am pretty iffy about seminars. Many of them I don’t like. I don’t really have a good attention span for sitting and listening for hours on end. I really don’t like taking computer or work related classes anymore, they just bore me to death and put me to sleep. So I really like it when I find a seminar that is entertaining and interesting both at the same time.

Chris Zink was very interesting to listen to. She was funny and energetic and had a lot of good information. I do like dog information a lot better than computer information anymore.

Just a brief overview of what she went over… She said that the dogs’ sex hormones are very important. She prefers to leave all dogs intact, or with alternative sterilization methods. She has done studies, and was showing other information, that intact dogs tend to be prone to less injuries. And the old belief that dogs’ personalities became more mellow or less aggressive when spayed or neutered is actually incorrect. The information she showed told that dogs spayed and neutered actually tend to show more aggression and more behavioral problems. And the younger they are spayed and neutered, the worse the problems can be. Interesting. Jet is intact, and I’ll be leaving him that way. If I did anything I’d get him a vasectomy. Chris Zink said there are ways to remove a female dog’s uterus only, and leave the ovaries, so that they still get their sex hormones that are really good things. From all my PMS problems over my life, I believe that the sex hormones are important.

Chris Zink also said that a dog’s front dew claws are very valuable when it comes to performance sports, and just life in general. They actually use them a lot more than we realize. I prefer to have dew claws left on all my dogs. Unless they become torn or are floppy rear ones that may be dangerous. But then I prefer the dogs to all be natural and have what they are born with.

She also went over a lot of structure, so I think I can see a dog’s angulation better now. Especially the rear. The front I still can’t see so much. She talked about over angulation and how that can also be bad, like German Shepherd Dogs who are over angulated in the rear and it makes them less stable. So angulation is a good thing only to a certain extent.

The second day we did many jumping exercises and that was a lot of fun to watch. From the new dogs that have never done sports, to the advanced agility dogs. It’s all in her Jumping Books, which I own, and really should read more of. 🙂

All in all I really enjoyed the seminar and I think I learned a lot and I would go again if I could. Though I’d prefer more and different information. And the drive wasn’t too bad, only about 5 hours from Salt Lake City, UT, to Grand Junction Colorado. With a stop to pick up a friend of mine. It’s always more fun to travel with her.

This is just a brief overview. I’m still pretty miserable about losing Levi. I’ve been trying not to think about him much. I have a house in my mind I go to whenever I start thinking too much or getting down. I think it helps. I haven’t been eating much either, though I have been eating sugar. I always eat bad when I feel rotten. If there weren’t so many diet pill side effects I might consider those. But really I just need to eat more vegetables, and stay away from the bread and ice cream. But the bread and ice cream are so much more comforting than vegetables.

I don’t know how long it will take me to get over Levi… but I just miss his face. His sweet loving happy face. I miss everything about him. My heart aches for my Levi.