Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Squirrel Patrol

I'm stealing this photo (and the title) from my husband's daily photo blog, because I love it so much. This is what we imagined the conversation between these two was on Sunday morning as they gazed out into the backyard:

"See any squirrels yet?"
"No. You?"
"No. How about now?"
"None here. Hey, do you see any squirrels over there?"
"Not yet. . . Are there any squirrels on your side?"

And so on.

These two share a brain, I swear, which is truly scary. At least being a Border Collie, Cadence has slightly more concern for my opinions on various matters than Jade does. Being the puppy and the old-timer, the two don't really play or interact with each other all that much. The others entertain Cadence while Jade just makes sure no one bothers him on his couch. I think they found something to bond over here though.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Another Comeback

Had another fun weekend of playing agility with the dogs. Everybody did well and came home with several Q's and placements. It was a weekend for me though of not worrying about the desired Q, or finishing another level, and just enjoying the dogs and their talents. On our only NQ of the weekend, Django and I did a few truly ugly things, but at the same time, we successfully negotiated sections of the course that I had thought would be challenging for us, so I forgot about the few seconds of sloppiness. Django also made me proud on his last run of the weekend, when he suddenly got the heebie-jeebies rights as we went into the ring and tried to bolt and leave at first. Apparently he got freaked out by a motorized wheelchair (which, he has seen a million times as it is owned by a friend and co-agility competitor, but for some reason it spooked him at that moment - I can't explain him; he's a sensitive little guy at times). Nevertheless, he summoned his courage, and ran a decent course and stuck with me. That's what I love most about working with Django. He isn't particularly high drive or tough, but he wants to be right and always does whatever I ask of him happily.

Maebe has done a complete 180-degree turn on her contact performance. Amazingly. After about a year of NEVER hitting a contact in competition, she has become our most reliable contact performer, and is almost rock-solid in her dependability. She turned in some blazing fast, brilliant performances with Lowell which were a delight to watch.

The best part of the weekend though was seeing Tristan run three courses on Sunday. Back in September, we came home (from my grandmother's funeral, no less) to find T looking stiff and gimpy again for the first time in almost a year. We rested him, took him to his acupuncturist, but everything that had ever worked was not working any more. He looked and moved like crap. I bought a Rally Obedience training book, pretty much figuring agility was over for him but maybe we could find something else to occupy his mind.

Last week though I decided to give chiropracty another chance for him before completely giving up on agility. He had previously had a very bad experience with a much-too-rough practitioner, but I had since gotten a referral from a very trusted friend for a new vet to try. He had a nice appointment on Friday, and so we decided to see how he was moving.

Man, if this dog hadn't been built so terribly, he would have been a superstar. He ran courses on Sunday that only Maebe beat him on in time. I believe he had the highest points for his Full House run, and that was without asking him to perform the 5-point A-Frame obstacle at all. His timing on his jumps is not great and he is really thinking, but he was running smoothly and safely, and was SO happy. It was like a half-day of agility put his overactive mind at ease again finally. Every time I watch Lowell and him run now, I prepare myself that there is the possibility that will be the last, but for now he looks like he might have a few more Q's in him still before retirement.

A funny "T" story from the weekend: T is our smartest dog - he is just operating on a different level than the others, I swear. He's also a touch compulsive and crazy, so on Saturday night at about 3 AM when we heard him whining in his crate and heard some rustling of the crate bars, we assumed he had drank too much water, again (he is a compulsive drinker, if given the chance), so Lowell got up and took him out. Three times. He would not go, but continued to whine when crated.

Frustrated and exhausted, we decided to try letting him sleep with us, figuring something was upsetting him that we had no chance of figuring out and we just wanted to get some more sleep somehow. He got up on the edge of the bed looking rather confused and perplexed. He laid calmly, but didn't relax and didn't curl up with us. Then we heard crate bars rattling again and realized that Django was the one fussing. Django bolted for the door when Lowell opened the crate, and apparently was having some digestive distress and was very grateful to get outside. Of course, Django is never wanting to make a scene, but was obviously sitting there uncomfortable and upset. Thankfully, Tristan notified us of the matter. We realized then that Tristan's confused look was really his continued disbelief at how hopelessly stupid we are, and he could not figure out why he was being invited into bed while we refused to attend to Django's needs. Sorry T. Thanks for helping the red dog out - glad you're looking out for the rest of the pack.