Jan 272015
 

antho.ad.08.connerySometimes, it takes years to unravel a training issue.  Sometimes…a decade!

I’ve been running ConneryBeagle in agility for…well, nearly that decade (although he obviously wasn’t competing in those first training months).  He’s almost eleven, winding down his career, and basically has the skills he’s going to have.  I keep him tuned up, but am not introducing new agility things.

That doesn’t mean that Connery doesn’t introduce new challenges to me. Continue reading »

Jan 202015
 

by Doranna

“Oh, I know!” I told myself, all full of excited optimism, “I’ll blog about Baby Tristan’s learning process!”

tb.profile.297As usual, I didn’t take into account the fact that I’d be so caught up in the process itself that the blogging would take second place.  Or third.  Or fourth, because the other boys are still active, too!  And oh wait, that dastardly Real Life.  Oops!  Well, here I am.

Tristan’s been with us three weeks now, making him eleven weeks old (on the 18th, when I’m first typing this).  His nose has finished unfolding, taking him from baby-face to youngster-face.  His hind end has more leg than he knows what to do with, his feet are huge, and his shoulders are trying to decide just how they’ll sit on his body.  He’s still got baby belly, though! Continue reading »

Jan 122015
 

By Doranna

tris.howl.0052Sometimes choice isn’t choice no matter how hard you try.  Sometimes, it’s all you can do to get close.

Sometimes it’s all about the brick wall.

Last time out with the blog, I’d just spent weeks researching and making choices about and preparing for the best way to vaccinate young Tristan Beagle.  Then I called my vet’s office and had a conversation with the front desk.  This was weeks prior to the actual appointment, so there’d be time to sort out any issues.

In this conversation I defined the vaccine I was looking for (ad naseum), made the desk staff person repeat it back to me (ad nauseum).  Then I had her check with the office manager as to whether the vaccine was on hand or would need to be acquired specially, although they’d had it on hand a couple years earlier when Connery got it for [reasons].  Not making any assumptions, me! Continue reading »

Jan 052015
 

by Doranna

I have an uneasy relationship with vaccines.

On the one hand, I have far too much experience with vaccine-damaged animals.

Far. Too. Freakin’. MUCH.

On the other hand, I strongly believe in the protection that vaccines provide.  And I strongly believe that eschewing them as a matter of fact will create a less safe world.

All the same, I feel that we need to be smart about these choices for our individual circumstances, and not pressured one way or the other by either fear-mongering or authoritative nonsense.

I especially feel this way as I prepare to take nine-week-old Tristan Beagle for his first shots! Continue reading »

Dec 282014
 

by Doranna

Waiting is the hardest part.

Choosing is the second hardest part.

But I’ve been really, really lucky.  I’ve had that opportunity to choose.  That’s a whole ‘nother blog and one I’ve got half written, but for now, just trust me.  It is an honor and a rarity to have a choice—never mind first choice—in a show-bred litter.

Connery's Choosing Day

Connery’s Choosing Day

Continue reading »

Dec 232014
 
Connery's first baby picture--about three weeks old!

Connery’s first baby picture–about three weeks old!

Puppy breath.  Slightly sour, slightly tangy, a hint of skunky.  No kind of smell that a person would normally crave.

At least, not until there’s a puppy in your hands and you suddenly realize how much you’ve missed that very thing.

I’ve always timed my puppies carefully, according to the age and need of the current pack.  I stay aware of who’s breeding the sort of dog I like, occasionally reaching out here and there with the intent to wait if there’s something perfect to wait for.  (I waited two years for Connery, for instance…)

I most recently started serious puppy-planning about five years ago, but things got…complicated.  And a little bit Fate-ish. Continue reading »

Dec 032014
 

by Doranna

_DSC3932-(ZF-4919-11231-2-001).SM“The emperor has no clothes” has never been a popular (or easy phrase) to utter.  Not even in agility.

So we’re talking about continuing education (training) in this blog event, but first…let’s talk about those courses.  I promise this leads straight to training!

Anyway, you know the courses I mean.  During walk-through half the handlers are grimly unhappy and the other half are quite blithely and vocally certain that those who are unhappy would in fact be happy if they had only trained properly (or completely, or with the right system, or…). Continue reading »

Dec 012014
 

by Doranna

Post-tracking boyz, synchronized sleeping

Post-tracking boyz, synchronized sleeping

Yep, we had our big once-a-year local Variable Surface Tracking test on Sunday.  Beautiful weather, for sure–the best I’ve ever had for a test.  The best photos do not include me, because I wore a hat all day so no thanks, but the Beagle boyz are the important ones anyway!

Connery was track five of six and Dart was track six, so we watched the first tracks and then waited for Connery’s turn in the quiet of a parking lot distant from the test “home base.” The tracks are laid all over a large campus.

After the tracks are run, the handlers and the club and the tracklayers meet up at the “home base” parking for a tailgate lunch.  We all talk about what went wrong and right and say nice things about each other’s dogs, talk about other tracks we’ve run and what we plan in the future.  Fun, right? Continue reading »

Nov 172014
 

by Doranna

cb.dart.visiting.848My lesson for the month: Plans mutate.

(Probably my lesson for life, but let’s just stick with the month.)

I’d intended to blog about the treadmill thing again today, especially in the wake of my aggravated feet.

Then again, this fall I’d also intended to adopt a socialization-resistant kitten as a barn cat (yes, this cat sleeping here on my office chair), get caught up on my paperwork, get a book started/finished before the end of the year, target completion of Connery’s PACH title, and figure out how to relax when it was time to relax.

And in the really big picture, I once thought to keep beating my head against traditional publishing until I finally found where I fit.

One thing at a time, I guess.

In any event, I’m not writing about the treadmill thing today.  Because things change, and yesterday I went tracking, and as it happens the tracking was all about things changing.

(The meta here is just killing me.)

Continue reading »

Oct 062014
 

by Doranna

speech-bubble-mdThe broken brain.  It is Teh Stoopit.  It looks at things it’s known how to do forEVER and it says, “I got nuthin’.”

When it comes to the dogs, I can often see it coming…if not always.  “Nope, can’t teach this new skill right now, because it will break something that I need in the immediate future.”

When I was teaching agility and rally, I saw broken dog brains all the time.  Dogs learning how to back up would forget how to sit.  Dogs learning to stand from sit would forget how to finish to heel.  Dogs learning to stand from down would forget something else altogether. Continue reading »