twisty

I haven’t been posting much over the last week because we haven’t had internet on my computer and posting from my phone wouldn’t be so fun but also because I’ve been feeling all dark and twisty.

Dark and twisty because I’m sick of not being able to do things with Lu. I think the vet is going to OK her for agility tonight but I’m not sure what that means. It certainly won’t mean jumping back into competitions. It will probably mean a slow build-up on low height jumps and no weaves for another few weeks and not too much bending for a while. I’m sick of being paranoid every time she’s racing around with Loki in the yard (which is happening a lot now) that suddenly she’s going to be on 3 legs again. I’m so frustrated that the State Trial was on and I couldn’t go. Well, I could have gone, without Lu, and that just made me sad, so I didn’t go at all. I’m dark and twisty because this whole year basically has been a write-off, and she turns 2 tomorrow and we’ve only done like, 4 trials and haven’t been training in months and I don’t know where we’ll be when we start again. Seeing people have success while I have to twiddle my thumbs upsets me. We have the Shape Up Dogs seminar in October and I put us down for the advanced level because I’d assumed I would have had many months to prepare and train her up. Looks like I might have ONE month to work on all those skills. I’m trying to not be down and angry and jealous, it’s just gotten to me lately – I think the house settlement and moving and everything was so damned stressful that I’m feeling so burnt out and horrible. Bring on the holidays (week and a half to go and then 2 sweet weeks of hiking and adventuring and training with my guys).

 

I’ve made a plan for both my dogs, to keep me focused on what I want to do, following Justine Davenport’s foundations, while throwing in some Silvia stuff and other things I feel are good. I took Lu out this morning and with bars on 200mm worked on threadles and independent sends to the backside of the bar. It was really nice – I did 2 or 3 reps/goes then told her “Ok, have a break!” and during the break she was allowed to sniff and disengage. I’d go over to my bag of toys – as soon as she saw me there, she came flying over and was ABSOLUTELY ready to work. It was lovely. Even if she hadn’t run over I would have sat down and waited for her to ASK me to work. And while I wanted her to work she was happy and connected and engaged, and then I let her go again, let her sniff, changed toys, and had another go – probably about 3 times doing this routine. And then that was it, all done!

Loki I’ve started running contacts now. He could absolutely care less about what’s under his feet, as I suspected. It’s more a challenge to keep him on the plank because, duh, it’s faster to run NEXT TO the plank. I just have to build an elaborate fence system for the next few sessions until I start raising the plank. I’ve also started using a foot target mat when doing cik/cap, and interestingly, I don’t know if HE’S targetting it specifically, but it helps me SEE when he takes off close to the bar because the mat gets all scrunched up. So I am better able to let him know if he’s wrapped well or not, and he can use the mat to help figure out why or why not.

 

I promise I’ll finish my 30 days of Mal… they just won’t have been consecutive days of Mal.

jump cups & frustrations

2 completely separate, unrelated topics in this post today.

Firstly, Lu went to the vet today to have her stitches out, but turns out they’ve all dissolved and fallen out anyway so they didn’t have to do anything. Left me wondering why I was back there, but hey. The worst news is that Lu isn’t allowed to run for another two and a half weeks. No off-lead walks, just gentle exercise. For another 2 weeks. Are you kidding me? One site I found said that dogs with her operation should have 3 weeks rest from the surgery so I’m thinking I bring her timeline forward by about half a week (which means gentle exercise for another week and a half) but even so, for my girl that seems like so, so, long. I definitely think we’ll start doing some Rally-O stuff outside, since heeling happens beautifully inside at a very slow indoors pace, and… not so beautifully outside. 😉

Does she look sick? She could be sick. And if she's sick, it's my fault because I let her run around too much when she should be crated..

Does she look sick? She could be sick. And if she’s sick, it’s my fault because I let her run around too much when she should be crated..

But in the meantime I have this feeling of frustration, I guess, and constant worry. The worry I only really noticed just now when Lu was acting a bit ‘off’, sleeping a fair bit, and then had a strange look on her face like she was going to vomit and I thought for sure she was either sick again with more ulcers for some reason, or she’d torn her internal stitches not half an hour after the vet had told me that they take longer to heal and then in the backyard she takes off running to bark at something near the fence. So now I get to keep my eye on her all day to make sure she’s not bleeding internally or something which would be so my luck, and exactly what I need to have happen. She ate her lunch quite happily, so as long as she’s continuing to eat, drink and poop, she should be ok.

And the frustration is like this deep, brooding anger that I can’t take out on anything or anyone, or blame anyone or anything or even myself for this because there’s nothing to blame- so I just want to be angry that this bullshit has happened at all and turned my summer holidays into a 3 week stress-fest which is excellent because I get to start Term 1 feeling like crap and then have to slog through 9 weeks of new preps and summer heat before I get a break again. I’m frustrated and jealous, too, that my friends get to go to the beach and train their dogs and I’m stuck in here staring at her wondering if she’s going to die any minute because maybe that time that she jumped off the couch has ruptured her stomach or something. And it’s not their fault so they can go and have fun, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be here feeling sorry for myself. Plus I haven’t been sleeping well so that’s also helping me feel really wonderful.

 

Also, I started selling jump wings and I actually got some orders, too (should pay for some of Lu’s vet bill anyway) except I don’t have jump cups and it seems impossible to figure out a design that’s affordable, easy to make en-masse, removable, doesn’t look hideous and will hold up a bar. I’m going to have nightmares about these things. I hate them.

 

 

 

 

Fucking jump cups.

 

rest

Actually, this summer has been very mild with quite a few cool and overcast days- perfect hiking weather since the snakes won't bother to come out!

Actually, this summer has been very mild with quite a few cool and overcast days- perfect hiking weather since the snakes won’t bother to come out!

Well, I’ll say I did pretty well with Lu’s mini-break. I caved and did agility with her on Sunday because it was Penny’s birthday and we were all training together, and I had done some ‘tunnel fun’ at a different park but that was really just chasing a ball with a tunnel inbetween sometimes, so it doesn’t really count.

I’ve been thinking about breaks a bit lately – and especially since Andreja posted on a Facebook group about taking an extended break and everyone was all like: yeah just take a break during winter! Sorted!

Well… that’s problematic for us here in Aus. See, summers get so hot that the agility competiton and training season stops, where winter is prime, prime competition time.

So, you’re probably saying: “well, just take a break off in summer! It’s too hot to train your heat and sun-hating dog anyway! Just go hiking or swimming instead”.

Sorry about the poor quality- only had my phone with me.

See, there’s the problem: can’t hike, pretty sure Lu will pounce on snakes, and anyway, when it’s 40 degrees out (104F), I’m not hiking. It’s just not fun when it gets hot. And, to be honest, I’m not driving for an hour and a quarter to get to the beach every day. I can, however, train early morning before it gets warm- especially while I’m on holidays, and then the rest of the day is probably going to be a write-off.  Look, I understand, if you live somewhere where it gets really snowy and frozen, you’re not going to be going outside either – at least I have the beach as a weekend option, but the thought of not doing ANYTHING active with my girl frightens me. She is not one to sit around for more than a day.

So maybe I’ll use summer as a time for lots of mini-breaks.

cut me a break, seriously.

Warning, warning, whinging ahead.

So, joy of joys, Lu has begun over-reaching on the DW. Sometimes she doesn’t. Sometimes she does.

When I finally start to get the leaping under control, she just has to think up some other ridiculous way to make training difficult. As if not clicking when she doesn’t hit is hard enough, now I get to not click when she DOES hit because her back legs are doing something weird. Sounds great, doesn’t it? So I have to try and train my eyes to see where her front feet hit and then expect a back foot hit too IF her front feet hits in the top third of the plank.

And if that wasn’t all great enough, we had a really terrible jumping session yesterday. Some of it I thought looked OK, but then when I watch the video I see her do this weird thing where instead of landing front-back, she tries to land with all 4 at once almost. What. Why. Can’t she just do something normally? Seriously.

If I can find a screen-shot of her doing this I'll show you.

If I can find a screen-shot of her doing this I’ll show you.

 

Hover-dog landing

Hover-dog landing – maybe this looks normal. I don’t think so.

 

And yet, maybe this is more normal?

And yet, maybe this is more normal?

 

 

Silvia said I should use carpet to warm up for running (and JP rear-feet), and also to put carpet on the end of the DW. I’m hoping the over-reaching is just from her wanting to avoid hitting the end of the plank with her toes or whatever. So that makes me feel better, at least she wasn’t all: OH YOUR DOG HAS REGRESSED YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO CARPET NO MORE HEIGHT NO NO JUST GO BACK TO CARPET AND STAY THERE FOR THREE MONTHS.

Interestingly, I just had a look at our ST video from last time at this point, and it seems like the serpentines are when she started doing weird jumps. I need to remember to drop the bars down when we’re learning serps so she can build up her confidence with them too, and not rush straightening them.  Huh. I’d never noticed how much she started worrying about the bars at that point- straight lines were ok, but when they started getting sideways. Maybe I’ll shape her over a sideways jump like how I shaped her over a straight-line jump to build her confidence. That could help.

Anyway. If I’m lucky she’ll do something like decide to pop out of weave #7, and like, turn around in the tunnel halfway through, and whatever. Can’t something just be easy???

Sometimes I think about planning on breeding her, and jeez I adore her and her personality and she’s so awesome, and so cool, but… I don’t want to go through this jumping thing again. I don’t want to have to go through the whole thing of trying to motivate a dog to play (and look, could be my fault and didn’t play with her enough as a puppy, I don’t know)… and what if that’s what I get in a pup? Rgg. I don’t know. Wah.

falling to pieces

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the post, it just cheers me up because I could go walking in the bush for the first time in over a week.

This photo has absolutely nothing to do with the post, it just cheers me up because I could go walking in the bush for the first time in over a week because it was cold and raining so there weren’t going to be any snakes afoot. (what would you say for snakes? they don’t have feet so they can’t be ‘afoot’ surely… ‘abelly’? ‘aslither’?

I’m sick again.

Oh, fair warning. If you don’t want to read a post about me whinging about life, you should stop now.

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thursday thoughts: football rules

So, having become fed-up with the fact that the two closest agility clubs here are full to the point that they’ve had to close their waiting lists to get in, most obedience clubs don’t let you do agility until your dog is 12 months old (any kind of agility), or run in very strict ‘modules’ that don’t allow anybody to train in a way slightly different to theirs (see this post for more), I decided that I’d start looking into setting up my own training, whether in club-form, small-group lessons form, etc. I’ve done enough foundation with Lu to figure I’ve got a pretty good starting point for other new people, and had an idea of how to run more advanced classes in a ‘workshop’ format, to take advantage of combined knowledge.

So, I got Husband on the phone and we called three of the local shires, to see if they had any sports-grounds or ovals with lights that we could use. Now that daylight savings is over, it’s getting dark by 5.30-6pm, so having classes at 6.30 or 7 wouldn’t work without lights, or without power (if I were to supply my own lights).

Now, you’d assume that all ovals and sportsgrounds would be property of the local council and therefore governed by them, right?

Well, the resounding answer we got was:
“Oh, well, there’s a football club there. You’ll have to talk to them.”

Or,

“Oh, well, there’s a football club there, so they’re in charge of those grounds”.

Or,

“Well, there’s a football club there, and they use the oval every night”

Um…

(and really, every night of the week?? Every. single. night???)

I’m sorry, but I thought that ovals were for the use of the whole community, not just AFL players? What if I had a soccer club? Or a Lacrosse Club (I’m assuming they play on ovals..?) or a cricket club, or some other kind of running-around-on-grass-club that required lights?

No, no. It’s all about football. Which really irritates me because, well, why? I know we’re ‘football mad’ down here, but I’m certainly not- I want to run my dog around with a group of other likeminded, responsible dog people, somewhere with lights, and at this point in time, the only place I can think of is a parking lot because everything else is under the control of football clubs, apparently.

I often wish that agility here would take off more, become bigger, more clubs, better handling, better instructors, more trials to choose from, trickier courses, more international seminars, etc, but when I look at the response I’ve received from our councils in reply to my request, I can see why it’s so difficult to make it go anywhere. Even horses have specific grounds they can use (pony-clubs). Where’s our dog specific grounds?!

Probably being used by football clubs, 7 nights a week.