Saturday, July 16, 2011

Up, up and away!

Icon and I head to Europe tomorrow.  First stop is Basel, Switzerland where I will be working for a week.  It's my first time there and I hear it is a beautiful city but I'm worried that I won't get to see much of it.  My days are packed with meetings in the office and then in the evenings I'll have to hunker down in the hotel for teleconferences with my SF peeps.   I thought about canceling my weekly meetings while I was in Basel but most of them include people from either Welwyn, Basel or Warsaw so it would be rude of me to cancel just because I'm in their time zone.  I'm sure no one would mind if I canceled them but then nothing would get accomplished the week I'm gone!  I'm hoping I can start some of my days a bit late so Icon and I can get out and do some sight-seeing in the morning before I head to work.

Next weekend Icon and I are going to a local trial in Switzerland.  Marco Mouwen was kind enough to get Icon entered in A3 even though we've never done a local trial in Europe before.  I'm very thankful I don't have to start in A1!   I am a bit nervous about going to this trial though, I'm not sure what to expect (I'm not sure where I'm staying yet either)!

After that I'm meeting up with Laura, Nancy and Susan and we are heading to the lake district near Salzburg, Austria for a couple of days.  It looks like a beautiful region and the fact that The Sound of Music was based there is a bonus.  That was one of my favorite movies growing up!  I can sing any of the songs from the movie on request (but you may regret it if you ask to hear The Goat Herd song).

The final stop on our trip is Bad Hall, Austria for the European Open.  I had so much fun last year, I'm hoping this year is as much fun!  It's an amazing experience; totally different from the world championships, which is a formal and controlled production.  The EO is a huge event and there are so many dogs entered that it's very chaotic but fun nonetheless!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A bit about Rammy

Rampage continues to make me stop and scratch my head in many situations.  He is so inconsistent in his reactions I'm not sure what his trigger points are.  He is brash and confident in some situations and then in a similar situation, for no apparent reason, he will be worried.  I still can't do lessons with him; he is game for one run and then he is DONE.  All of our training is done during a few minutes here and there in my back yard.   I'm sure I'll figure out his trigger points eventually but he's an odd duck.  But an irresistibly handsome and lovable odd duck.

I have decided to add a stop to his dogwalk because he just wasn't accelerating on the down ramp with the running.  To be more accurate, he wasn't extending on the down ramp but it had the same result.  Even when he didn't leap, he was just on the edge of the yellow and that's not something I can live with.  If I could have done something different with his training I would NOT have practiced on the full sized dogwalk in my back yard. Due to the relatively small size of my yard it seems like the next obstacle (even if it was a tunnel) was uncomfortably close for him, which resulted in him collecting on the descent instead of accelerating down.

Rampage picked up the stop instantly in training.  I put a target down, told him to target and *wham* a beautiful 2o/2o.  Fading the target was simple.  I had him doing 2o/2o in multiple environments; at home, at power paws, at swiss park and he was spot on almost every time.

We've been to two trials since I've added the stop and he's stopped in competition exactly... ZERO times.  I figured during our last USDAA trial I would finally make him realize he has to stop since we had so many runs per day, but it certainly didn't work out that way.  Since he can be weird about agility I didn't want to pull him for not stopping, but that will be my approach when we're at our next trial (which might not be until September!)  In retrospect I wish I hadn't been so lax in my criteria for the 2o/2o on the teeter in trials.  He has great drive on the teeter in training, but is hesitant at trials.  If I had addressed that previously then I don't think stopping on the dogwalk now would be an issue.

But Rampage has been giving me some really nice stuff in trials lately.  I'm still hoping that I can encourage the 'happy Rammy' and weed out the 'worried Rammy' at trials (which is the main reason I didn't want to get on his case for not stopping on the DW).  The dork is qualified for USDAA nationals in all 3 events after limited trailing, but we can't get an advanced standard leg to save our lives!

This is getting long but one last thing about Rampage... His jumping has improved quite a bit over the last couple of months.  We've been doing jump grids and core strength exercises and I'd like to think that is why, but I suspect that Rampage just needed to mature.

Some of the good stuff...
We had two bars in this run (The first bar was because I set him up to close to the first jump), but otherwise I liked it!  Rammy likes to go in straight lines, which is a bit odd because he turns so beautifully.

Rampage won Masters Snooker and got his first super q! (Icon helped by going for less points :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

Oy Vey!

It has been a long time since I've posted!  I've been really busy at work and playing with the dogs so no time for the blog.  

There was a new test for Lyme disease released on June 15th by Cornell University.  I hadn't been throwing away enough money on my dogs lately so I decided to get Icon tested just to see what results it came back with.  This test can tell between acute and chronic Lyme infection; I thought that it might give us an idea of how long he had been infected with Lyme.

Well wouldn't you know it, the test came back negative for all three antibodies tested.  Icon has been tested three times for Lyme now, the first one was negative, the second one 'low positive' and then this third one is negative.  Icon almost definitely has never had Lyme disease.  So now I'm back to not knowing what the hell was wrong with him in Minnesota.  On the bright side I don't have to worry about a recurrence of Lyme disease but now I'm worried about a recurrence of "doxycyline responsive something or other."