Thursday, August 20, 2009

best twenty minutes of my life

On tuesdays between working my first job and working my second job, I get to come home briefly and play with the dogs for about twenty minutes. I change from work clothes to jeans, grab a couple balls, sit out in my yard in the warm sun and watch my dogs smile while they chase the balls I throw for them, completely and utterly contented.

Best twenty minutes of my life!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Playing with a sighted dog

I was playing with Jun last night and working on some new stuff . . . I have to say it is amazing how much faster this stuff comes with a dog that can see than with a blind dog!! Wow! I've actually been dreading a little bit trying to do some different stuff with her. Last year, with Lok, I would work for ages and ages on a new throw or trick or sequence and it might come together if my timing and disc placement were absolutely perfect. Some things we were just never able to get. Which was frustrating at the time, because of course I blamed it on myself and how bad I sucked, not realizing I was playing with a blind dog. And what's more, the more we worked, the worse we got!! It was . . . rather disheartening. Then, when I found out he was blind, it was easier to try to work within his limitations and do things he should reasonably be able to do. But even still, it took a lot of work before things would come together.

So, I think that frustration was one of the main reasons I've been slow to start really working with Jun. Also, I've kind of focused on Lok this year because it's his last. And I've been working with Jun on foundational stuff, like switching discs. But after the CCC, I realized that I can't put it off any longer. She's ready. Lok's about done. So last night, I bit the bullet and started trying some different things. And it was easy!! Not automatic, we have work to do, but it certainly was nowhere near the exercise in futility that work with Lok has been. And it was fun!! Not that playing with Lok wasn't fun. But I can see a little glimpse of Jun's potential. She will be able to do all the things I never could do with Lok. And . . . it's really exciting!!

Crazy how much of a difference it makes when your dog's eyes work properly!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

CCC '09 Recap

I can't even describe the awesomeness of this weekend! I LOVE my MNDDC!! We have such a great club, great sportsmanship, great bond, and just really awesome people. It was so cool to have so much support stepping out on the field. The dogs did GREAT!! I was so proud of both of them. Saturday, Jun did well in freestyle. We don't have any routine to speak of, so I mostly just threw a bunch of backhands for her, but she stayed with me and only blew off ONE disc in the whole two minutes!! I considered that a victory for us! Jun also did toss and catch, and I actually threw pretty well. We got 6.5 points. Lok was soooo cute on the field! He had a great time and just played his heart out! The sun was too bright for him and he only caught a few discs out of the 30 or so I threw for him. But we both had a great time playing!

On Sunday, I entered my first Quad (long distance) with Jun. The women's division was three heats of maybe 8 (?) people each. In the first round, it was reduced to 3 people, then 2, then the winner of the heat advanced to the finals. I was amazed when I made it to the second round of our heat. Then I was really incredulous when I made it to the final round of our heat. Then I was still in the game until the very last throw of our heat, when our 36 yard catch got beat by a 42 yard catch and I was eliminated. But, damn, I never expected to do so well at all! I realize it was a lot of luck, since most of those women could throw a lot better and further than me, but it was still pretty cool!

So, yep, we had a really awesome weekend competing and just hanging out with a bunch of great people and cool dogs! We can't wait to do it again next year!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The tips of Lok's ears boing when he runs

. . . like this
it makes me happy :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Jun's Rally Trial

August 1st was Jun's first Rally trial. She did . . . a little better than I expected. Which means that she was only distracted and sniffing for most of her runs instead of all of them. And she only knocked over a couple of signs. Actually, she was able to do each station really well. Her 360 circle lefts were beautiful. She did her sits and downs and stands (without swinging her butt around!!) and her sit/down-stay walk-arounds very nicely all on a single command! Her come-fronts were beautiful!! Her one-two-three step heeling was perfect! Outside the ring, she stayed at my side in a down stay, giving me attention, no problem. It was just moving more than a couple steps that she had trouble with. For the past few days we've been practing heeling starts and having eye contact right away, and once I got her attention back onto me as we finished an exercise I made sure I had eye contact before we started moving and we usually started out with eye contact, but after a couple steps I would lose her and wouldn't be able to get her back for anything. Not light leash tugs, not waving my hand in front of her face, not touching her (which the judge allowed for us in our last run). Sigh. What am I going to do with my easily distractible girl?

The end result . . . we somehow managed to Q in our first two runs. Our last run, Jun was super distracted outside the ring and I was having trouble getting her attention. So right before our run I tried to play with her a little to get her focused on me. We played a little tug with her leash. It must have worked, because this was the only run that she started out focused on me and actually heeled very nicely through the first few stations. I lost her a little bit, but got her back and we did several more stations nicely. Then, on her sit-stay-walk around, which she had done twice already perfectly, she got up. Immediate NQ. It fell apart from there because then we had the looooong stretch of heeling right next to the wall, which she had to sniff the whole way. Sigh. It really doesn't make sense that a dog who isn't paying any attention to the handler for most of the run can Q, yet a dog who has a pretty nice run, except for getting up on a sit-stay fails. Why can every other station be re-tried, but not that one? Oh well.

Oh, and what is it with people that think they should tell you how to train your dog? After my first run, this lady comes up to me and tells me I was moving so slowly in the ring and that it was giving Jun more of a chance to get distracted and sniff. Um . . . ok? Do you know my dog? I don't think so. The faster I walked the more excited and distracted she got. So I walked slowly--it takes more concentration from her and gets her attention better. Thankyouverymuch. THEN, as I was warming up outside the ring with a very distracted dog, she says "do you know you have treats in your hand . . . if you always have treats in your hand, she's not going to do it when you don't have treats in your hand." Ok, thank you again. Actually yes, I DO realize I'm holding a treat. Perhaps I'm doing it for a reason. Perhaps it's what I need to do at this particular moment to get my dog's attention. And as I'm leaving, please don't ask whether I got any ribbons. What kind of question is that? What if I didn't get any ribbons? Actually yes, I did get two Q ribbons, but the number of ribbons I got has nothing to do with how I feel my dog and I did.

Lok came along, just to be my buddy and help me stay calm. He performed his job admirably! Love that dog!