Thursday, January 27, 2011

Weaves, Frisbees & Fear....

Secret takes up residence under my desk during lunch, hoping that I'll share my pretzels (I do...)

There is no real reason for this entry other than that I haven't posted all week and I feel bad. It's been a quiet, boring week -- But we have a trial this weekend in La Crosse! It is the very last trial that Secret will have to attend as a mere spectator! It does kind of stink that it's only a week and a half before she turns "official" at 18 months, but eh, what can you do?

The fear part of the title is something we've been battling since the beginning, really. It's always frustrated me that I haven't managed to find a way to work Secret through her fears -- Most notably, her major fear of loud noises.

We've had a couple of experiences this week that really have highlighted this, both having to do with trains on our walks at work. Mind you, she is not scared of train whistles or even the fast moving trains that go by 30' away from us on the trail. What gets to her, and absolutely terrifies her, are the stopping trains. Which has actually progressed to be afraid of STOPPED trains because she fears the noises they will make if/when they start up again.

Yesterday we had the unfortunate circumstance to get stuck on the near side of the tracks due to a stopping train. The last time this happened, the train made multiple very loud, scary noises as it stopped and Secret got really spooked by it (heck, even I jumped). Apparently Secret remembered this and as soon as she realized the train was coming to a stop, she was paralyzed with fear. Literally stuck in one place and refused to move. Usually when she is scared, I bring her out of it by asking her to do what she's very comfortable with -- Perform tricks. I tried to get Secret to do simple nose touches to my hand and I couldn't even get her to snap out of her trance until the train had completely stopped, and then she spent the rest of the walk with her tail between her legs until we were well away from that area.

Today we were once again on the "scary side" of the tracks (for whatever reason, stopping or starting trains are not nearly so scary on the trail side) when the parked train began to move. This one wasn't even loud, but when her eye caught the movement of the car, she darted between a pack of lumber to hide. I feel so bad for her that we still struggle with these fear issues and haven't found a way to work through it. I ignore her for the most part, not wanting to "reward" the fear, but it doesn't seem to help.

These odd situations are not the end of the world by any means, but they are a symptom of the larger problem -- Secret's "shut down" switch and my inability to snap her out of it. It's definitely something that will be a long-term project for us, I'm sure. I do worry how it might come into play as she begins her journey into the trialing world of agility, but I also feel that the experiences gained will only serve to help her in the long run.

I often wonder if her siblings have this problem, as they say often times that fear can be genetic... Secret has always been noise sensitive -- Especially compared to Kaiser, whom I swear you could set a bomb off next to and not get so much as a blink.

Anyhow, moving on...

I realized that I haven't talked about Secret's frisbee/disc work in ages! Considering how I used to whine and complain about her lack of enthusiasm for the disc last summer, I figured it was worth an update. She is a disc-loving fool now! We finally figured out the "go around" cue (not sure why it was important to me, but it was) and her catch rate is right up there with Luke's (when I throw them decently...). Even the retrieve has come right along, although she'll still lay down to chew on the disc if Luke is outside or when she starts getting tired. I'm getting better at experimenting with different throw styles and Secret is following right along. We've even started to play with "tricks" like jumping over an extended leg and whatnot.

Do I think we will EVER do competitive disc events? Not likely. At 45 lbs, I don't see doing vaults or anything like that (not to mention that I'm completely incompetent with this stuff), but it's fun to play with. Luke and I once won a toss/fetch competition, but Secret would still struggle with that due to her expecting to play tug with the frisbee each time she brings it back. :o) We're working on it, but right now I think her main reason for retrieving so well is that she wants to tug, so we'll go with it for a bit longer.

And finally, weaves --- A fellow blogger recently started to work on her dog's footwork in the weaves, as she stopped "swimming" when they moved up to 24" spacing. This inspired me to give it the old college try with Secret again. I admit that I pretty much gave up and just accepted the hopping, but I decided to see what would happen if we spent a little time working on it. After all, there isn't much else to do this winter.

So last night I set up the 2x2's in the basement and had them all in the open position. Secret surprised me and actually offered the single step right from the beginning! She did go back to hopping as I started to close the poles, so I think leaving them open while she develops muscle memory is going to be very important. It's also important to keep the sessions very short and only do them when she's "high", because the only way she's going to single-step is if she's driving through (this morning, for example, she was kind of 'meh' when we did a quick session before work -- So she went back to hopping until I got her properly revved up).

So that's pretty much all we're up to right now. Still no word from Debbie about our lessons in Eau Claire starting back up, but I'm pretty sure she said she wasn't seeing her doctor until the beginning of February, at which time she'd find out if she can go back to work. Fingers crossed!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

"Why yes, I *am* awesome!"

Secret said it was her turn to pick the title of today's blog entry.

Oh happy day! I was able to finagle a way to attend the agility run-throughs at Family Dog Center yesterday!! I've been moping around ever since I got the e-mail reminding me about the required first aid training at the shelter that was to take place from 5:00 - 8:30 last night, effectively giving me no time to do agility (which started at 4:00) and be done in time to take the dogs home. It's a wee bit cold to consider leaving them in the car for 3 1/2 hours right now, unfortunately.

Well, my parents came to the rescue and agreed to come pick up the "grandkids" from the dog center and deliver them to my house for me. Happy dance! Even still, it ended up being a time crunch because more people showed up early than I expected and I had to beg my way up in the line to get out in time (I was only 7 minutes late....).

I'm not sure if those beautifully shorn feet are to thank (I should have done a "before" picture), or perhaps finally remembering to use the traction spray, or who KNOWS what, but Secret was awesome last night!

Secret is oddly well behaved for having her feet shaved. I think she likes it....

At any rate, Kaiser did his 10 minutes first to give Secret time to "settle in" and get over herself. She was good this week and didn't bark and carry on while it was Kaiser's turn.

I got Secret out of the pen towards the start of the session of the person prior to us. I sprayed her feet (she didn't seem too bothered by it, unlike Kaiser who acts like you are spraying acid on him) and just futzed around with her a bit. I tried to get her to engage with a toy to see what she wanted to play with, but she was more interested in digging through the bag to see what toys I brought.

Her tail was up and she looked pretty confident and happy when we made our way into the ring. I used the beginning of our time to move the bars up to 16" and threw Secret's tuggy rope for her to play with while I did so. I just wanted her to feel comfortable and relaxed. Also, by allowing her to play & interact solo with her toy, I think she revved herself up a little bit (I think it helps to remove the pressure to play JUST with me).

Secret was HAPPY and SPEEDY and FOCUSED! <3 <3 <3 It was so nice to see that dog again, I've missed her. We focused primarily on jumps & weaves for the first part of our session, as I worried that if I messed too much with contacts that she might start thinking, "Where's my food?" (I did have treats on me just in case.)

But even once we started in with the contact work, she kept the same upbeat attitude. I was pleased as punch with her -- Nailing her contacts, super awesome rear crosses, fast & accurate weaves, etc. She even got both types of discrimination with the a-frame tunnel combination and I didn't have to practically shove her into the tunnel as I have occasionally had to do in the past. lol

I kept telling myself, "Hey, maybe you should just stop now while you're ahead." That's a lesson I should have learned by now, right? But I got greedy.

The teeter was out. It wasn't part of the course, but it was set up down on the far end of the arena. I thought it might be a good way to end our session, as we still had a few minutes left.

Secret immediately offered her touch on the bottom. Yay! Good girl! She went up the plank when asked -- Not too fast, which I would prefer at this point, but then she totally freaked out when it slammed. It was loud. Very loud.

Now, the good news is that I did get her back over it a few times while holding her collar (not dragging her, just not giving her another option). It really sucks when you know you are pressed for time, but have to end on a good note. So that's what we tried to do, and I think it's okay. We might be doing some more rehab teeter work at home, though.

Classes are starting up at the dog center, which means no more agility run-through nights. Boo. So now I guess I just wait to hear from Debbie to see how soon we can start back up in Eau Claire, otherwise we'll just be playing at home for a while!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bling-Bling! Sparklies!

Secret's belated Christmas present arrived last night! Bling-bling! Sparkly bling-bling! PINK sparkly bling-bling. :o)

Towards the end of my time in the horse world, sparkly brow bands were pretty popular. While some may have found them gaudy and undignified, I was obsessed with them. I had the prettiest brow band (with red & clear crystals) for my horse, Norman. I cherished that brow band and was sad to send it off with the new owner when I sold him, but what use did I have for an 18" brow band at that point?

In December I found out that one of my old online horse buddies was branching out into the world of beaded dog collars! She posted some pictures of her work and I was impressed, so I asked if she might have any pink beads on hand. She asked if I wanted light pink or hot pink -- What a silly question, hot all the way!

So Krystl went shopping and this is what she came up with. The pictures do not do it justice in the least, it really sparkles and catches the light beautifully in person. Secret will be the talk of the town at upcoming agility trials. :o) This will be her "public outing" wear, as it is simply too pretty to be a daily use collar.

Many thanks to Krystl Ahrens at Ravenwood Tack/Ravenwood Aussies for creating this beauty! If you are interested in getting one of your own, be sure to visit her web site and send her a note. Custom pieces are her specialty!

By the way, Secret wants to know why the heck she doesn't get any more modeling gigs.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Lazy Weekend

Well, we did nothing this weekend. Which is both :o) and :o( for various reasons. Quiet, peaceful, sleeping doggies definitely get a huge thumbs up. Is there anything cuter?

We got between 2" & 3" of snow Friday night into Saturday, which made me kind of "blah" about driving to MN. Then Luke pulled something while playing frisbee. Then, while de-pooing the yard, I saw that Secret had diarrhea -- This on top of her waking us up around 6:00 a.m. to puke. I figured it was probably not in our best interest to spend six hours on the road that day and instead opted to stay home and be bums.

Between naps, we did go down and play a bit in the basement. Most notably, I utilized a boring old hardcover book and turned it into a teeter weight using duct tape. Not a long-term fix, but good enough to get Secret used to the idea that teeters do, in fact, move on their own. She was, as expected, freaked out by it at first, but she got over it and was doing superbly after several sessions. She has her teeter back!

Yesterday we dragged our butts off the couch and went to my parent's place for dinner. I sacrificed the "lazy" part of my weekend at this point and actually hauled my butt through the snow for over a mile on the trails through the woods. I was pooped, but I had happy dogs! While I might enjoy being pathetically lazy, my dogs do not. I can't really complain since I figure I made them that way, and it's good to have someone to kick my butt and make me move. :o)

Three out of the last four mornings now, Secret has woken up between 4:00 & 6:00 a.m. to puke up some bit of nastiness. I am almost entirely positive that it is from her disgusting habit of eating frozen poopsicles, something I can thank Luke for teaching her last year and that they both have delighted in starting up again this year. I try like heck to keep the yard picked up, but we keep getting snow every day that covers stuff up and I know I miss some. One more reason that I can't wait for spring to get here.... Thank god they only like the rock hard frozen poo, although I can tell you it's pretty dang nasty when it comes back up....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Well crap.

I got two bits of crummy news yesterday. Which do you want first? I suppose the one I found out about first...

The premium was posted for the QCDC February NADAC trial down in Davenport, IA. Yay! Finally! We can enter!

Or not.

When we went down for the New Years Eve trial, part of what made that trial so appealing (and made it win over going to the closer trial in Minnesota) was their "household package" pricing. If your household of dogs ran over 18 runs total, you got each run for $10/run vs. $12/run for single-run pricing. This adds up and makes it much more affordable, especially when you are factoring in gas, hotel, etc.

I figured this was the adopted policy of this facility's trials and expected it to be the same for February. Not so much. The only package they are offering is the full weekend package per dog, and I'm not coming close to running all three dogs in all twelve classes. It would add almost $50 to my already inflated budget for that weekend. I just can't do it. Secret won't be debuting in Iowa next month.

But really, it's not the end of the world because there is a trial here in La Crosse on March 5 & 6. It's only a couple weeks later and no big deal, but I was really looking forward to going down to Iowa because I love the facility. Maybe later this year, I guess.

On to our second piece of disappointing news.

I got an e-mail last night from Debbie, our instructor at ABCTC. She has been experiencing some back problems and recently found out that she herniated one of her discs. :o( She is on strict orders to rest & do nothing until February, at which time she will be re-evaluated and hopefully be able to start teaching again.

So we don't have a lesson this weekend and won't have one for the foreseeable future.

There is a glimmer of hope in this post, though. Because of the change of plans, I tossed out an e-mail to my friend in MN to see if he wanted to try again for that play date we got snowed out of last month. There is, of course, snow in the forecast for tonight & tomorrow morning and we are going to play it by ear, but I am hopeful that it will work out. Secret really needs to get out & work in more places, so it would be really good for her.

But I'm still bummed about the other two things.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Poor Secret. Her favorite spot is the bed in front of my desk. Apparently the boys think it's also the best place to be today, so they are monopolizing the space. Secret refuses to go lay on the other bed, so she's just waiting for them to get up. lol Old habits die hard, I guess.

As planned, we went to the agility run-throughs at Family Dog Center last night. They ran from 4-7 p.m. and we got there right around 5:00. I wasn't terribly impressed with the course that was laid out, but it was better than the last time we were there.

I brought the fabric x-pen with this time because I thought Secret might do better with the boys there vs. in the car. I also thought it would be good to give her time to decompress before it was her turn, so I worked the boys first. She was so naughty when I was working Kaiser. People were starting to show up and a couple of workers kept going past the pen with dogs, causing Secret to bark and bark and bark. I had to leave Kaiser several times during his session to go yell at Secret and tell her to shut up. It didn't help. She really didn't quiet down until I finished and was able to go sit next to her and get after her for any little peep. It's not just her, but all the dogs seem to be horrid in that x-pen together. They are much better off being crated separately, but lord knows I'm not hauling all that gear for run-throughs...

Because there were several people waiting for turns, Secret's 10 minutes got split into two five-minute sessions. Truthfully, it worked out much better that way. Shorter is always better where she is concerned. And coincidentally, she ended up almost pooping in the ring at the end of her first five minutes, so we definitely had to make a quick trip outdoors! Poor girl, she gave me this panicked look and started to circle, but she managed to hold it until we got outside.

The first session wasn't too bad. I stuck with food and we started out doing some foundation jumping drills as a warm-up and to start with something familiar. I kept the jumps at 16" all night for her to keep things light & fun.

We worked through everything that was there. We had a chance to work on the a-frame, dog walk, 12 weaves, discriminations, etc. Nothing was super fast, but she did it all and did it well. On top of that, she did seem to be having fun, which is always good. I failed to trim her nails or shave her feet prior to this, so unfortunately there was quite a bit of slipping. I hate those stupid mats.

She seemed much livelier following her poo break, plus she got a good drink of water while waiting for our next turn. I was armed with more cheese "just in case," but I decided to try to focus on playing with toys for our second session. I brought out the Ringzee and a tuggy rope with a ball attached (that later came off...) and the tuggy rope won.

The second session was great! I focused more on jumping & weaves for this session, wanting to take advantage of the higher level of energy & speed she was offering with the toys. She was by no means running full out on those slippery mats, but she was faster than the first session and she was having fun. We did a few contacts towards the end and those were faster as well. Always good to see! She was just starting to peter out at the end of the five minutes, so we timed it well. I jackpotted her with cheese when we exited the ring.

Bonus of the night -- FDC still had my old style of treat bag in stock! They had the original blue and a red one, so I decided to go with the new color. I should have bought the blue one, too, just in case.... I still may. I'm so attached to this style of treat bag. Why are they so stinking hard to find around here? The new style they were offering had some stupid pouch at the front of the bag (for a clicker?). Just give me a clip-on bag with a drawstring (that works -- of note since the piece-o-crap bag I got from PetCo didn't work) and I'm happy.

Lesson in Eau Claire at ABCTC on Sunday! Yay! I should probably shave feet before then...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The ups & downs of the Teeter

Yeah, I know this blog title is totally corny. And I also know that I take super craptacular pictures in the poor lighting of my basement. Oh well.

Secret made great strides in her teeter angst yesterday. We started with it at the same low setting and she didn't hesitate to approach or perform it at all. Yay! It was a great start, so I went ahead and raised it a bit. Still awesome, so I raised it a bit more. I'm pretty sure that's all I did in that session, as I had to go work the late afternoon shift at the shelter.

We went back downstairs before dinner when I got home and started where we left off. Still no hesitation -- Yay! I think we have this nailed! So I raised it again, pretty much to what I consider "full height" for my weenie 10' plank, and she was still doing great. So we quit and left it at that.

Once back upstairs, however, I got it in my head that I needed a picture for the blog posting I was obviously going to write to document this stupendous occasion. So after I finished cutting up treats to be used for our run-throughs this evening, we went back downstairs armed with the camera (okay, so I use my cell phone for everything...).

Secret was in the middle of going, "Yay, Teeter!" while riding the plank down and moving into her two on/two off position when all of the sudden there was this loud CRASH from the top of the stairs. The boys had knocked over the kid gate I have in place to keep dogs upstairs. Sigh.

Secret was certain that once again the teeter was to blame for this horrifically frightening experience. She flew straight upstairs and wanted nothing to do with any of this. *sob* Not square one AGAIN?!

The good news is that, with MUCH coaxing and MUCH cheese, I finally got her to touch the teeter again. Then I got her to do her bottom position. Then, with about another pound of cheese, I got her to go up & over at the full height. Several times. I took my silly pictures and we were done.

So that is why you might notice that her tail is tucked under herself in these photos. Because she was still, more or less, mostly freaked out by the gate crashing incident. Again, Sigh. BUT, she overcame her fears and still did the teeter, so that's a great step in the right direction.

I suppose the next step (possibly after a few more proofing sessions) is to find something to weight my teeter so that she learns to deal with the rebound. What the heck am I going to use....? I've been trying to come up with an idea and am coming up blank so far. My main issue is that I don't know how much weight I need, so I suppose I just need to experiment. I know I'll need more than "usual" because the crappy PVC base seems to add some tension and it doesn't pivot as freely as, say, a metal base. We'll see.... Time to break out the duct tape for experimenting.

Tonight we go to agility run-throughs at Family Dog Center! Secret seems pooped today, so who knows what to expect.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

More Snow! Yay! Wait.... What?

The world must be coming to an end. I'm happy to have more snow? Why yes, yes I am.

Between last night and right now (where it is still somewhat fluttering to the ground), we have gotten between 2 & 3 inches of fresh snow to cover all that dratted ice from New Years Eve. This is on top of the inch or so of powder that we got during a couple of other "snow incidents" last week. That means it is, overall, much safer outside again. And THAT means that we don't have to go insane in the house anymore!

I actually broke down last night and got out the frisbees. I just couldn't take it anymore. Secret & Kaiser were literally starting to wear a path around the coffee table with their lap racing and Luke would sit and stare at me all night. I determined during poo pick-up that the yard had softened somewhat and I figured odds were higher of them getting hurt doing their indoor antics vs. playing outside. I did take care to keep the discs low and we didn't play quite as long as usual.

Last night was SO MUCH BETTER. Peace. Lovely, quiet peace. It's amazing how a little exercise settles them right down... We didn't even do a basement session because they seemed so zen and satisfied after the frisbee session. And now that we have snow, we can go back to doing this *every single day*. No more coffee table grand prix!

I have done three or four teeter sessions with Secret since my last post. The news is good, I guess. She is now eagerly going back and forth over a super low (8-10") teeter, although she was still apprehensive about approaching it during the last session. We'll see how the next one goes and hopefully move it up some.

A few nights ago I had all three dogs in the basement and I made it a huge game for all of them, taking turns going over the (full sized) teeter. This actually worked and Secret was taking her turn, insisting that she would not miss out on treats that the boys were getting. However.... She walked up behind the teeter as Luke was going over and... WHOMP.... Right on her chin. Sigh. Square one, yet again. That's when I lowered it and started at the beginning.

I'm hoping that our lesson this weekend doesn't include the teeter, but (depending on where she is at home by Sunday) I may ask to have some teeter time with Secret during Bethany's lesson. She needs to learn to do different teeters, there isn't much way around it.

Tomorrow we get to go play at Family Dog Center for the agility run-throughs. There will be an actual course set up this time and it sounds like it will be more organized than the last one we attended. I am super bummed that we will miss next week, though. I got an e-mail reminder from the shelter about the required first aid training class I am attending there next Wednesday from 5 - 8:30. Theoretically I could go to agility at 4:00 and leave the dogs in the car, but eh, I'm thinking that wouldn't be a good idea! It's too bad, too, since classes are starting up again at FDC after that and it will bring an end to these training nights.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We done lost our teeter


Do you recall when I mentioned that Secret got spooked by the teeter at the training center in Eau Claire during our last lesson? I more or less brushed it off and figured I'd just get her back on the one at home and everything would be fine. Well, not so much.

I pulled the teeter over to the matted side of the basement last night (and put a LOVELY gouge in one of my mats, *sob*) and fully expected Secret to respond with, "TEETER!!!!!!!" She is a crackhead about my teeter and has been since the day she discovered how fun it is to slam it back and forth. I could not keep her off the teeter this past summer.

I could not get her near it. When I finally got her to touch it with a paw, she heard it squeak (stupid PVC base) and she went, "Ahhhhhhh!" and retreated. We have regressed horribly. :o( I worked and worked and worked with her and couldn't get her to offer much of anything. She did eventually get all four feet on the plank, but fell apart when it moved. Seriously? That used to be her favorite part.

I held on to her and made her deal with the movement a couple of times -- Not the best decision I've made lately, but I felt so frustrated. She ended on a good note and I didn't push it anymore. I suppose I'll just have to lower the darn thing back down to baby height and start at the beginning again. I can't believe how much that one silly experience dragged her backwards. So frustrating. I guess this is one of those times when I can be thankful that NADAC doesn't have a teeter. I'd be kind of out of luck if Secret's first trial was USDAA...

The good news is that we had some REALLY GOOD jump work last night. I moved the jumps up to 22" and Secret did great! We did all of our foundation exercises with one & two jumps and I am happy to report that she is starting to dig in and accelerate out of the turns! That is a huge breakthrough for our tiny basement space. We also ended with some more ball work -- I'm looking for any way to tire her out that I can right now.

And this is why. Secret is going BONKERS in the house right now. We have gotten just a bit of fluffy snow to cover all the ice from New Years Eve -- Not nearly enough to make it "safe" to play outside again.

What does this mean? This means the dogs are creating their own indoor games to play. Secret & Kaiser are making it a nightly ritual to run laps around the coffee table in front of the couch. This morning they were running laps around the couch, itself. I had my foot up on the coffee table this morning and Secret just leaped straight over me AND Luke during her chasing games. Seriously, she's nuts right now. We are still doing our daily walks on the trail, but nobody is really getting a chance to run full steam because of the ice.

Look what I did this morning! Secret is now officially registered with NADAC and set for her first trial! I did a double-take when I saw her number (assigned randomly/in order through the web site). Kaiser is 09-01183. Hopefully the similarities make it easy to remember, and hopefully I don't screw them up because they are so close. lol

And because I needed somewhere to store Secret's first registration number, I went ahead and made her an agility binder today. :o) I am well known in these parts for my overly-anal record keeping skills. Each dog must have their own binder, in which I keep their registration numbers, title & point counts and trial result sheets. Would it be easier to consolidate into one large binder? Surely, but then I couldn't make these cute front sheets for all of them.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The best way to ring in the New Year!

What is the best way to ring in the New Year, you might ask? What a silly question. Why, at a trial!

I packed up the crew and drove in the freezing rain down to Davenport, IA on New Years Eve. While the weather was terribly crappy at home (freezing rain & 24 degrees), the sun was shining and it was a bright & beautiful 58 degrees when we arrived in Iowa!! (Don't get too excited, a cold front rolled in and the next morning we had wind chills of five below zero.)

In addition to the experience of traveling to a new facility (one of the best in this part of the country, no doubt), Secret also had the brand new experience of sharing a hotel room. I swore off room sharing over two years ago because it never seems to go well, but these days I'll do about anything to save a buck -- So.... We knew our dogs get along and we can at least tolerate each other (snicker, snicker), so we went for it. Secret thought it was AWESOME. Two Border Collies to play with all weekend! And they brought toys! Oh yes, she was in heaven.

We crated at the end of the row where it would be less busy and we could have more of an area to ourselves. Secret did well with this arrangement and wasn't nearly so "rumbly" as she can be in La Crosse with many people & dogs passing us. She met lots of new people as well as a few new dogs and she did very well. I was hoping to play frisbee outside, but it was too windy -- So we made due with tugging and catching games in the aisle and this made her happy.

I've been waffling on whether or not I want to drive down to Iowa for Secret's first trial in February since she is such an unknown at this point, but the boys had such a fantastic weekend that I'm leaning at going for them, if nothing else. Secret should probably only run a couple classes per day at her first trial, anyhow.

Our next lesson with Deb is confirmed! We will be heading to Eau Claire on Sunday, January 16. I have opted to do a private lesson this time, but Secret will still have to share the session with Kaiser. I feel there is so much to cover at this point that it will be better to have the whole hour to myself.

I also learned that Family Dog Center will be hosting run-throughs (with a course, not the messed up "open agility") on Wednesday, January 12 & 19. We will be sure to hit those up, for sure!

I've gotten in a couple of jump sessions with Secret in the basement and things are going great. She still doesn't drive through her turns as much as I would hope for, but she's doing very well with all of the call to heel foundation exercises that Deb gave us. I finally got around to getting her back on the ball again last night as well and she's doing great with that as well.

It totally sucks outside right now. Warmer temperatures and rain took away the majority of our snow pack, then the plummeting temperatures turned everything into a solid block of ice. Last night we got just under an inch of fluff to cover it all, making things downright dangerous out there now. The dogs are going completely stir-crazy.

I complain a lot about winter, but I have to admit that December was actually a very pleasant month and the dogs really enjoyed it. I could deal with a winter like that, even though we got way too much snow. It's all this ice that puts me into a foul mood....