Wednesday, October 31, 2012
We don't have anything going on this weekend. I am scheduled for a stupid five-hour shift at the shelter on Saturday and then have off on Sunday. There is a dog fair in Madison that I could potentially go to with Kaiser to meet up with some Klee Kai friends, but that is up in the air, especially since I just drove to New Berlin last weekend. We'll see. I do have to get entered for our next NADAC trial at FDC, though -- Next weekend! Yay, more agility!
Monday, October 29, 2012
We left the house at 4:45, stopped for hot chocolate (I am sticking to my "no caffeine" rule) & breakfast before hitting the road -- and with a potty stop (for me, sorry dogs!) around Madison we pulled into Think Pawsitive about 7:37. They were walking Masters/P3 Jumpers, so I grabbed my course maps and joined in, letting the dogs sit and wait in the car. Performance was running last, so I knew I had plenty of time to set up and walk the dogs before Secret ran.
Secret rocked her first time in P3 Jumpers! She was happy, eager and pretty fast, too! My head failed me in the start and I almost ruined the whole thing between 3 & 4. My brain said, "FRONT CROSS!" but no.... I walked a rear cross and was NOT in the right position for a front. I managed to stop myself and not push Secret completely off her path, thankfully, although it did slow her momentum through that sequence for sure.
From there I did a front cross between 7 & 8 and then it was really all just single-sided handling from there, managing the approach and pulling her into those slices. There certainly weren't many jumps on this course that were taken straight across, that's for sure!
Secret WON the class! She was 10 seconds under course time. Yay Secret!
Kaiser did equally as well in his first time running P2 Jumpers. The opening was right up his alley and was very motivating for him. Whee, tunnel! His jumping was going really well, too, right up to #8 when I got a bit stalled out by the course design. He seems to have fewer issues if I'm running full out and pushing him. When I stop pushing, he gets sticky at 12". So in other words, we don't like pinwheels in USDAA.
Once we got out of that circle he opened up again and ran well to the finish. Kaiser was the only 12" dog in P2, but he managed to get the fastest time out of all the P2 dogs! I didn't look at Advanced, but there were some fast border collies in that one, so I'm guessing it wasn't close. lol
I thought I'd come up with a Kaiser-friendly course in Snooker, but it didn't turn out that way. My plan was 1-3, 1-6, 1-7. The course was set different than you see in the map, though, because we had to go up and over 2 to get to the second red. I was SO PROUD of Kaiser for *running past a jump* with me -- that's huge for him. But then we both got turned around at the red and he ended up back-jumping it before I could save it. Whistle. Oh well.
So we did jump, dog walk, tunnel, tunnel, dog walk, jump, jump, jump and then were on the a-frame when the buzzer went off. Secret sent nicely out to the teeter but bailed off the left side as it started to tip, so no Gamblers Q for us. In a perfect world I would have been sure to do the teeter in the opening, but in this situation it was FAR more important to use this time to school the dog walk. Secret literally CREPT across it the first time and was slightly hesitant the second time -- but she had no further issues the rest of the day, so WIN.
I managed to keep Kaiser from taking the a-frame in the beginning, but he still earned a refusal at the teeter. He also took the tunnel instead of the chute after #10 and then took the jump after the a-frame instead of the tunnel at the end. Such a Kaiser moment, I tell you. But he got all of his contacts, which is what I cared about going into Standard.
Secret also earned a refusal on the teeter, which didn't surprise me all that much considering that she last encountered it as she bailed off the side in Gamblers. She did take it, though, but then got another refusal as she skirted past the edge of #4 as the teeter bounced behind her. She was clean to the end after that -- even her weaves weren't all that bad.
So, last class of the day -- Standard! People were dropping like flies by this point (it was after 5:00 p.m.), but we need these Q's and we were stuck there until the bitter end. I didn't have much of a dog left at this point, but Secret gave it her best shot. She nailed it! Her weaves were pretty darn slow, and in Masters she probably would have had a refusal at the #10 tunnel because she didn't like my rear cross there, but only contacts are faulted in P2 and she got those! Even the teeter -- she didn't hesitate AT ALL! I was very happy with this run. By virtue of having the only clean 22" run, Secret also won this class!
The only blunder we had was that I insisted on a front cross between the chute and the teeter and he didn't feel like waiting for me. In P2 we would have gotten a refusal at the teeter because he ran past it as I was trying to pull him back around me, but thankfully we don't get refusals in P1 and he got a Q! That completes his P1 Standard title AND makes him a Performance Dog! On to P2 in everything!
But now that means that he & Secret are in the same classes again except for Jumpers. I'm going to have to decide what I'm going to do for the next trial. Secret doesn't do so well running all of the classes, so I may switch them off and let one run some classes and the other do the rest. We'll see... I have time to decide. The next trial is back at Think Pawsitive over Thanksgiving weekend.
Sunday, October 21, 2012
The set of courses from yesterday were ones we've seen before, although I can't say I really remember the Chances course. I definitely remembered the Regular course, though, as it was jammed full of serpentine after serpentine. I felt bad for Secret during our second run because she totally biffed it when I did a blind cross as she came out of a pinwheel. FDC really needs to put down more sand again; the floors were very slick and I ran conservatively because of it.
Video from Saturday:
Today started with Jumpers and I am still kicking myself for trying the bonus line with Luke. Do I not do this every time (lately) that I attempt these? It is NOT FAIR to even try these with Luke anymore considering we haven't practiced distance since spring at best. I didn't even include the attempt in Luke's video because it was such a mess. It had its good parts no doubt, but overall it was just... Ugh. I need to stop that.
Secret was having a great Jumpers run until I got lost on course! Thankfully I found the properly numbered cone and was able to direct her before she gave up on me and went to run her own course. ;o) We recovered nicely and Q'd on that run.
I called Kaiser too early yet again and he cut in then went out took the wrong side of the jump. Once we got past that yucky spot he was golden -- he was a zippy little man this weekend, that's for sure!
The Chances course today had a very high Q rate in Elite, so it stands to reason that Kaiser would be one of the few to NOT get it.... Sigh. Secret's Chances run was LOVELY, though, so that's always awesome to see!! Today she earned her Outstanding Elite Chances title, which brings her just THREE runs from NATCH! Woot, baby dog! She could beat Kaiser yet....
Secret was dragging by the time we got to Regular. Her weave speed suffers the most at the end of the weekend, that's for sure. Her first run was nice for a Q, but we both kind of gave up on the 2nd run. I didn't support the "out tunnel" well enough and she went off course up the dog walk. I noticed on the video that she was really slipping a lot on the turf today -- I'm sure none of that helps with her speed, either.
The boys both had great Regular runs -- Luke got called on his dog walk in the 2nd run because he totally broke his start line and then I was lazy about getting there. As a result, he started to come off the side and then just bailed forward. Oh well, he gets called on the dog walk once in a blue moon these days, so I'm not too upset.
Kaiser was pooped out by the last two classes -- I had added him into Elite Hoopers (Q!) earlier in the day, so he had all five runs on his plate. It works to my advantage when he's tired, though, because he pulled out a Q in both of the last runs. Phew, at least we have a couple of Q's towards Champs next year now! I suppose eventually we'll have to enter some games to get those, too, for all of the dogs.
Video from today:
This week we rest up for our USDAA trial in New Berlin on Sunday! We probably won't get a chance to do too much agility this week, but I do hope to brush up on the table and teeter a bit, like always. I also need to get a hotel reservation made, as I would like to drive over Saturday afternoon and spend the night. Luke will be staying with my parents, where he is sure to be spoiled!
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
I got my hopes up last week when I thought I had another sighting. I had started exploring the wooded trails further away from the shelter when nothing turned up across the highway where we had the live trap. On Wednesday I came across several piles of what I swear looked like Klee Kai poop (trust me...) and not only that, but Secret was marking on them, which I highly doubt she would do if it came out of a wild animal.
So Thursday we went out again and ventured out further. As we came around the corner off a side trail I spotted a small black & white figure ahead of us. I put Secret on leash to keep her from chasing and we started to approach the animal, but it soon turned and scampered into the underbrush off the side of the trail.
My dad's trap was stolen during the day on Saturday. Seriously! Someone took the bait plate out, left it on the ground and took the trap. People suck. Because of that, the shelter wasn't really comfortable leaving their traps out any longer and they picked them up Monday. I went out last night to confirm that the traps were gone and to give it one last shot, but we didn't see anything. I am so bummed that we didn't manage to find Lucy. She is microchipped, though, so you never know; she may show up somewhere.
Today would have been a gorgeous day to walk (which the dogs have LOVED, I should say!), but we have an agility trial this weekend and I opted to stay home and actually do something agility related. I didn't get home until 5:45 and it's dark by 6:45 lately, so I set up a big speed circle with 10 obstacles, including a set of 12 weaves, the teeter and the new small tire that I bought.
I had varying distances between jumps that posed no problem and Secret's teeter was great -- but right from the start the weaves were giving us problems. Strike that, her first time through was on my left and she didn't have any problem. When we went the other way, though, she popped at 10 *several* times for no reason that I can figure. Then, of course, she started to slow down in her weaves because she didn't want to be wrong.
I'm almost positive it's because she is in desperate need of an adjustment. I noticed the other night that she looked crooked just standing in the kitchen, so I'm sure that would affect her weaving! Thankfully we have an appointment tomorrow afternoon to meet with Dr. Engel. Secret should have been adjusted over a month ago, but it's just been too difficult to try to get away from the new job. I got the latest appointment I could this week -- 4:30 -- and my parents are going to bring Secret to La Crosse for me so I can drive straight to Viroqua and save a good 45 minutes. I'm curious to see just how screwed up she is tomorrow! I'm guessing she'll be a mess.
Kaiser was a little bullet tonight -- I hope he's feeling it this weekend. lol
We have two days of NADAC in La Crosse this weekend and then one day of USDAA next Sunday! Agility two weekends in a row, I can't wait! I still have to look into getting a hotel over by New Berlin for next weekend. We wouldn't want to miss Secret's first shot at P3 Jumpers because of more car issues. ;o)
Sunday, October 7, 2012
While I am feeling pretty exhausted, deflated and sad, the dogs would like to say this has been the BEST WEEK EVAH! Mom has actually gotten off her butt and taken them hiking every single day this week! Today they got to go twice! The dogs are like, "Oh yeah, this is awesome!"
There was one day when I just took Kaiser by himself -- Wednesday? Luke and Secret weren't quite so keen on that day, but they got to play frisbee so it wasn't all that bad, I guess.
Today marks one week since the Monroe County Animal Shelter lost Lucy the Alaskan Klee Kai. Myself and one staff member from the shelter have been searching for her on a daily basis with no lucky. Please don't even ask about Lucy's owner.... That is probably the most upsetting part of this whole ordeal. We tracked her down by way of her breeder (who was found via microchip, since the owner never registered it) and after contacting all of us on Wednesday we haven't heard from her since. The shelter, for the record, has NEVER spoken to this woman. How awesome is that? Great to know she cares about the dog. Also for the record, should we find the dog, Lucy will not be going back to this person...
Because we have heard of no sightings since Wednesday, I continue to focus my search in the same area around the shelter -- the industrial park across the road and the quarry/trails behind the shelter. The pictures on the blog today are taken in one of the trails we search every day. It's the oddest thing ever, there are over 20 of these hunting dummies spread around the woods on little hidden trails. The whole trail system seems like a great hiding place for a little dog, which is why we keep looking. Today there was a ton of broken glass on a section of the trail, though, so I'm not sure if we'll risk going through there anymore...
We set a live trap back behind the business where I believe I saw Lucy on Wednesday evening. It remained untouched until I went to check it Friday morning and found an empty trap -- as in, not sprung and no food left on the plate. Crap. Double crap. I called my dad and he went out to re-bait it that morning, taking care to spread peanut butter all over the spring plate so that hopefully something would have to work to get that off and set the trap.
Well, something finally visited the trap again today during the day (it was empty this morning) because most of the food was gone when I went to check it tonight. Come on, can't we catch a break?! I can't tell you why all of the food wasn't taken. It does appear that whatever was in there was skittish/in a hurry. And apparently doesn't like frozen peanut butter. Yes, frozen. It's so cold right now, which makes the situation that much worse.
Sadly, I'm losing hope. I feel so bad for this little dog, but I just don't know what to do anymore. I have probably put in at least 10 hours of searching by now -- I didn't have to work today, so I went out in the morning and again this afternoon. The shelter put out a lost ad in the paper, so we're hoping maybe something will come of that soon. It would be nice to have a sighting so we'd have an idea of where to look. Unfortunately the area by the shelter is just the small industrial area and woodlands.
In other news, today was the last day of NADAC Championships out in Utah. I can't tell you how much it stunk to be stuck here in Wisconsin, especially since several of my friends are attending this year (yes, even WAY out in Utah!). My friend Rich has been sending me his course drawings every day and giving me a run-down to keep me in the loop and while I appreciate it *so much* it also makes me sad. They had good courses again for the most part this year and I think my dogs would have done well again. The good news is that word on Facebook is that the local group has done VERY VERY WELL -- I think every single one of them made the finals! I haven't had a chance to check for final results yet, but how awesome is that?
It definitely made me pretty certain that I want to qualify for and attend again next year when it's back in Springfield, IL. It was a wonderful facility and the drive wasn't bad at all. I'll have to see how this next year goes with Luke as to if he would come again or not. Sadly he'll be just shy of getting to run as a double-digit vet, but he would still be able to run in the 12" Vet class. We'll see. All depends on where my life is at a year from now, too!
We have two trials this month that I should probably start to think about entering. We have NADAC in La Crosse in a couple of weeks and then USDAA over at Think Pawsitive the weekend following that. I only plan to enter on Sunday because they would get to run more classes, but we may go over Saturday night since Secret will be running in the first class (MASTERS/P3 Jumpers!!!) and we all know my history of driving over to that trial in the early morning hours...
In other news, I officially am "cutting back" at the shelter. I didn't really want to quit full out because I do enjoy what I do there and being part of the shelter culture, but I just need to have some time to myself and some time to actually spend with the dogs. Today confirmed that we all need this -- They were so happy to have me with them all day! I finish out the October schedule next weekend and then go to two days a month (one weekend or two single days). I'm hoping that I'll start to look forward to going to the shelter again once it seems like less of a burden....
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
They had managed to scan the dog and found a chip before she disappeared, only to find out that the chip was never registered and was traced to a vet clinic in California. We were able to figure out who bred the dog with that information and therefore track down the owner, but it's just been a very odd situation... Let's just say at this point our main concern is to find Lucy and then we'll deal with the rest.
The lost poster above just has a generic Klee Kai photo, as we hadn't yet managed to make contact with the owner for an actual current picture. She provided one today, so this picture is actually Lucy. For those who aren't familiar, she's more of a "Dark" Klee Kai, which isn't a color we see as often.
We went out searching last night, which the dogs thought was great fun! We parked at a gas station just west of the shelter and took off walking on a road going north. We ran into a snowmobile trail, so I followed it and came across a really old trail of some sort, which we then followed back to the highway at a point east of the shelter -- so we covered a lot of ground! Thankfully Luke helped to find the way back to the car. The path back was pretty thick and obscured and we would have missed the turn if not for him. Secret had gone running right past it.
We heard lots of rustling, but there was a lot of wildlife. We saw several deer on our way out of the woods and thankfully I got Secret back on leash before she registered what they were.
Tonight we went out again, but hit up the area across the highway from the shelter. The first positive sign I encountered was when I discovered a business had placed a water dish and a food dish (that was empty) out on their front sidewalk. Hmm, I thought that was interesting. We explored the land all around the business and didn't find anything, so we continued on our way.
We found this really interesting trail system that apparently belongs to some hunting store nearby. I thought it would be a good place for a Klee Kai to explore and hide out! We followed the trail to the end and then hit the road and continued until we hit the next highway before turning around to go back to the car.
I decided to go back up to the business where I'd found the dishes before throwing in the towel for the night. It was almost dark, so there wasn't much more I could do. As we were walking up the drive towards the dishes I spotted a small figure in the parking lot about 100 yards away or so. My eyes didn't register it well at first and it wasn't moving. As we started to walk towards it the animal took off. I called out, "Lucy!!" and she stopped, looked back at me and then ran into the woods. I think it was her!!
Long story short, my dad brought a live trap over and we set it at the entrance to the woods where she ran off. I called and left a message at the business to let them know what is going on and hopefully get some information from someone there if there have been sightings.
I am exhausted. I really hope we find Lucy soon. I torture Kaiser and squeeze him extra hard because I can't imagine if he was out there scared and alone.
Monday, October 1, 2012
There was quite a bit of buzz online when the Team Jumpers course was posted on Friday. The Team events don't have the same "rules" as the traditional classes, so the judges tend to throw fun stuff at everyone. The main chatter for this course centered around the pull between jumps after the last tunnel. I thought it looked super fun, so I printed it out hoping that one of these days I'd actually have the energy to play with it.
Well, I didn't have the energy, but I pushed through tonight anyhow. I spent about as much time/energy filling Secret's STUPID HOLES in the yard as I did setting the course. I've taken to locking the dog door after we are in for the night to keep her in, as that's when she tends to go out and do the most damage. She is, of course, also ripping up landscape fabric on a near daily basis, but she isn't doing quite so much damage there anymore (probably because we are running low on landscape fabric at this point).
Secret did a great job with this Jumpers course! She tended towards being sticky at the third jump and I found I really needed to support it to get her over it smoothly -- she wasn't so keen on the Ketchkers there today.
I also had to be sure to support jump nine (the wrap) or she'd stop short. Secret has always been good at reminding me to support obstacles. I can tend to get lazy since Kaiser & Luke both tend to be "point and shoot" because their momentum carries them over.
The sequence following the broad jump was fairly embarrassing for me. I thought front crosses were the obvious choice, but lord help me I could NOT get there for Secret (typically because I was stuck supporting the wrap, whereas I could send Kaiser and run). Thankfully, though, she handled the sequence really nicely with rear crosses and other odd combinations I threw at her.
Secret's weaves were lovely tonight, I'll give her that! My course only had six weaves because I couldn't squeeze all 12 in for whatever reason. Partially due to the difference caused by the 24" spacing, but I must have set the right side of the field a little tight. Oh well. I also ran out of jumps, so the two "jumps" after the weave poles (that you can't see on camera) are hoops.
We were 50/50 on that pull through the jumps at the end. When we missed it, it was all my fault (ie: lean towards the jump and expect your dog to take it!). For sure we started to get worse as I got more and more tired. We did take a break around the 7 minute mark and then I brought Secret out for a second go after Kaiser was done. This always recharges us both!
Kaiser was a good little Klee Kai tonight, if you don't count the fact that he wouldn't hold his start line for anything. I edited out the NUMEROUS times I went back and reset him when he broke (and of course, I'm sure all of the times I let him break and kept running helped this so much...).
Kaiser did better than usual with the wraps, but he wouldn't let me Ketschker on him. lol He only crashed one jump on one of the first runs and thankfully he didn't seem to let it bother him too much.
I expected the ending to be nearly impossible for Kaiser because he seems to have it in his head that if there is an obstacle within eyesight, he should take it on his way to me. That said, he did REALLY well! Now, would he do this well in a trial? Probably not -- so who is to blame? Oh yes, probably me. :o)
I am not leaving Luke's video out this time -- Luke didn't get to play tonight. :o( I'm not sure what happened, but this morning he "couldn't" run when we went out to play fetch before work. He wasn't limping, but he was gaiting oddly. He was not reactive to any poking and prodding, so I decided to just let him be and see how he does. He was NOT happy that I didn't let him play tonight. He was running around the yard like a fruit loop while I set up and tore down, though, so he seems to be feeling better. My first thought was Lyme or Anaplasmosis again, but we'll see. I'll keep an eye on him and see if it crops up again.