Lizzie gets sheep again

OK, so you know I really hate to keep jinxing things, but for so long I just felt Lizzie was wired different and no matter how much consistency and training I did she was just not able to function when there was anything going on. She was brilliant in private and learned things so well but we just couldnt get her to stay with me in agility, we couldnt get her to come and it took forever to even do that in the back yard, she just taught me so much about being consistent at all times and about not giving up and trying. sooooooo I just thought she would be a real "heart dog" but she might never be able to do anything except tricks in the back yard. I had come to terms with that for the most part, there were a lot of days that if I had something to do with her I would have truly considered finding her a new home. LOL, poor girl. Anyway, I have to say that for all the right things I did with Liz and all the mistakes, I did not give up. WELL, that girl is just turning amazing, and all since she turned 2 1/2. I said it before and I think when she hit a certain age all the lessons that she knew but she just couldnt control herself enough and she was so over threshold so much that it just took a little while until she was physically able to handle herself. But she is just blooming now.
So I take her yesterday to a herding fun day. Her new found listening skills have not been here that long and we were talking real live exciting sheep and an activity she was bred to do. Her parents herd cattle. So I did not hold huge expectations to say the least. Well, then we have a green handler, So we deceide to try our hand, and get in there and the lady helping me told me to have her lie down. I said DOWN, and boom she just dropped, then the lady told me to tell her to STAY, and I did this and tried to fake some confidence that she would indeed stay. We walked away into the sheep and made the sheep start moving around the pen. MY DOG IS STILL HOLDING HER DOWN, with the sheep moving in front of her face, a new environment, lots of dogs and people standing around the pen, and she held her down until I gave the release word. Once I gave the word, boom, she was on it. Anyway, she did FANTASTIC, and even downed on command from across the pen while she was in full flight going after sheep. The person helping me said she was very responsive to when she would move the flag to show Liz to back off or move another way. AT the end some of the herding people actually asked if I would consider selling her that she was a very talented herder. WHO KNEW? Last time I had her tested the instructor said that she would be a very difficult one to teach and that I should take lessons with my other dog, of course she was a lot younger then. Anyway, the maturity sure seems to be showing all over the place.
I took Liz over to the agility field and thought I would practice a little with the new environment and distractions. She did marvelously. Still even with the higher Aframe is leaping and missing the UP contact sometimes, grrrrrr, and wants to hit her contact and jump up forgetting to stay, so will have to do some proofing possibly ALA Rachel Saunders like in her contacts video on proofing. She did the dog walk and was in full run and saw a guy fixing a light near her and stopped and jumped off to go and say HI, after all you have to say HI to everyone you know. The good part is that she came right back to me when I called, so lots of treats and a little tug and right back into fun stuff so she doesnt want to leave me. But what a good girl. It was at the end of the day so sure being a bit tired helped a lot but wow,....I would never have thought this possible even a few short weeks ago.
Our little dog that we have here on rehab is doing well, she did a little herding and she has a beautiful style. Gosh she is a nice girl, and I finally got some pain killers so I can really do her stretches a lot better so think she is going to come along fast and very nicely.
Poor Breeze had to stay home even though the herding fun day was held at the ranch where she was born. I just didnt want to handle three wild BC girls all day and I knew it would be hard to keep Breeze from going over the top with lunging and since we are just starting to condition her and get her back on track, ....felt like it would be best to be conservative and not put her in a situation she could do more then she should considering it has been so long since she has been running.

2X2 weaves, solving the mystery, LOL!

So started reteaching Liz the weaves because she had not been working them consistently and has just started drifting past them. We have done a lot of entry work and she does the first few poles well, ...but she is already a challenge to keep on task because her big brain is always just thinking about so many other things that are more important to I really felt we had to have a solid foundation to keep her doing the weaves well. I am going to put all my steps to date here because I anticipate having to start all over with Breeze. She never had weaves as good as Liz did to start with and she hasnt done any agility in so long and had a short time where she was doing them before her agility training was put on hold. So want to remember how things go with Liz and have something to look back on. Well, so the first step I did was just having her drive straight through the poles, just a set of 2. Did not understand before that she should go straight across and have the treat thrown straight through. OK this was our first problem, first off that encourages her to spend a lot of time just looking for treats in the grass and she starts imaging there are treats, not sure what to do about that. That step went incredably fast even with the treat difficulties. So second step I stuck a second set of 2 weaves right next to the first step, and continued to have her drive through, still it is all just a snap and we were still in the first session, but she is a retrain and I had done some 2X2 work before just at that time I was not totally understanding the steps---not to say that I feel like I do now, I still feel like I am winging it and just trying to see what seems to work.... Soooo step 3 I started seperating the two sets of poles and continue to have Lizzie Lou drive straight across. Still we are looking textbook. Started arcing around and sending her from different places and ooooh yes the entire time I am rewarding for going both ways, toward me and away from me. So started rotating the first set to a more straight entry, then driving through the second set still slightly diagonally so it is easier for her to see that is where she needs to go. So then I finally was able to start rotating the second set, and wha laaa by the second or third session we had four weaves. This is where it got hard, my instructor said to just put two more weaves in and that was a disaster. I lost all my speed, and I lost my happiness, and so I went and looked through all the books and internet sites I could find and finally deceided to add the third set of 2 poles, but slightly offset and turned so it looked like the origional set that we started with, so she wasnt all the way wrapping around those poles but just driving through them. About that time I added in a jump to the front too, and so in the fourth session ? I was able to start moving the third set to a more into line with the others, but that is where we have stopped. BY adding in the third set at an angled approach I got my speed, drive and happiness back. I am going to post videos of some of my sessions on you tube So now it seems we are back on track and the plan is to get the third set straight in line, vary approaches, use jumps, tunnels etc...and start adding in poles one or two at a time, or possibly adding in two at a time but with some distance inbetween and then move them closer, not sure on that one, going to see what seems to work for Lizzie Lou.

How to keep on Track in Life

So the rehab marches on, I have started letting Breeze do a few small, short runs, and gosh it is like opening a can of worms. Once Breeze gets to run even a few feet she just seems to go wild, her eyes get this glazed look and she gets very excited, starts barking and just wants to play!!! Makes me sad I have had to limit her activities so much, but gosh she is looking good. The plan is adding in one aspect of activity every week with like a day in between workouts so that we can see how she tolerates things. We have a new little house guest - a red merle border collie that I am starting on some rehab after she had a FHO a year ago. She is not using her foot that had the surgery, so I am limiting her activity to everything on a leash so I can make sure she only gaits using that foot, I have her on most of Breezes exercises and lots of long walks. Poor girl is not house trained but doing well with the house training, but it has taken a good amount of time, LOL, but then what is new? On the plus side everyone in the family LOVES her and all the dogs think she is great. I havent done much with Chloe, Lizzie is retraining her weaves but I am not doing really well keeping on track when I am working by myself, for one thing I am not even sure of the next steps and the next steps so I am having to play it by ear and try to figure out what will work, so that makes it harder. I also have just gotten so bummed not having my own lessons or classes I should have found a class to take during this break.. BAD ME, not taking care of myself better especially when the first anniversary of some really life shattering events is coming up this week......going to take a break and just take my little Lizzie and try to have an afternoon of just reflecting and trying to work out some of this unfinished business and might look for a new class I can go to so I can reconnect with why I like agility in the first place. Soo that is the plan for this week, that and I am learning how to make videos a little better, that has been very hard to figure out and that sure isnt relaxing by any means! LOL.

YEA, good news for Breeze

so this week we have had some great news with Breeze. She has made amazing progress and has 20 degrees more movement in her hips, her bad hip has 150 degrees and anything over 150 is considered normal. She has also lost half an inch in the good hip and gained half an inch in her bad hip so they are totally equal now, AMAZING. I got big kudos for sticking to the exercises, and I am so happy with how things are going for Breeze. So the plan is to continue with what we have been doing, restrict her activity for another couple of weeks then very slowly see what she can tolerate. Maybe agility???? Who knows, we will see how she holds up. The vet thinks the biggest problem will be how she can handle tight turns, dog walks things like that. Sooo Breeze is amazing doing her ball and disc work, her core strength is just building so much and when I do her massages and stretches her little body just feels so well conditioned. Her gait looks great, who would have thought after this long with such a downhill spiral that things would be turning around so much?

Lizzie is doing well, just seems to be settling more every day, I think a little time off has been good, hopefully our progress will hold up once we start training again. I took her to class last week and she had to sit in a crate watching everyone for a few hours, once they left I was able to let her out and she did just some awesome work and was just interested in staying with me and working, whooo hooooo. It was pretty awesome to see. She is just turning into such a sweet heart. Clicker training just is so good for her. Maturity seems to be good for her too, LOL.

Chloe has sort of got the short end of the stick and hasnt done much work this week, she is such a sweet heart but she does get ignored at times, so working on not letting that happen.

Biggest news of the week is we have a little house guest. We are hosting a little dog -a border collie- that had an FHO repair awhile back and is still not using her leg much so we are doing some of Breezes exercises with her. She is a sweetie and I hope that the exercises and stretches will help her walk more normally on ALL of her legs. Funny how she really has taken a liking to the other border collies, like they all know their own breed. She is a little lovebug, and loves to play and a bit on the wild side, and also not clicker trained and not terribly food motivated so I am working on that.

Our best news is my super awesome instructor will be back this week, that might be bad because I will have to start running around in this horrible heat, but I will be so happy to see her. I have also been subbing in classes for her, so now I actually get to be a student again. I have loved teaching and there are some really cool students, but it is hard to teach and still train your own dogs as much as I normally would. Also I have learned so much subbing, I really see a lot of things by being an observer of other people and their dogs and trying to communicate observations to the people, and having to have some confidence in what I have said and noticed. I am sure going to be rusty running my own courses now though. I think everyone who does training for awhile should do a little time teaching, really sharpens your techniques and opinions and really helps to clarify things in my opinion.

this weeks progress

Ok so training wise:
Chloe: we are still having problems with our weave poles, I swear I am going to figure this out. She was consistently missing pole 9-10, so when she missed it I made sure she got it the next time with a wire tent, or my body position, well, that works and then the minute I move it, wha laa the same problem pops up the next time. So, hummm, not sure what is going on with that. Other than that the class was cancelled this week so I went and worked with Chloe, she was driving to the tunnels, way ahead of me, she is reading my decelerations but still knocking the bar a lot when I decelerate behind a jump, so might have to back up a step (it is usually very rare for Chloe to knock a bar), her contacts a 2O2O that I am not that pleased with was looking marvelous on the dog walk. ON the Aframe she tends to lawn dart and normally she will default to traveling down the down side at an angle which helps but when she gets excited, she goes straight down and cant really handle that. So still more we can work on with Chloe. I am not entering her in trials because she hates the heat so much and I have worked so hard for her enthusiasm and motivation so I am not going to mess with that by having her really start to trial in the heat where I know she will not be comfortable or happy.
Breeze: She is scheduled at the CARE center this week on Friday, hoping that goes well. I got a LOT of pressure about her running this weekend at a trial I took her to just to do some socializing. Why is it that so many people that don't know what is going on and have not seen the problem first hand and haven't even seen the xrays think they know better then the people who have??? FRUSTRATING. She does well at trials but she isn't her normal happy self, I know she is a bit stressed so decided to work on that at some trials while I am waiting to trial again. She is getting a bit batty with her confinement. Poor girl. As soon as I think her gait looks pretty normal, boom she starts some freaky gait so I am just not sure what that is about. Sooo we are just on a waiting pattern to find out what is happening there.
Lizzie: Now here we have some exciting progress. I took her to the yard when class is normally held, but since class was cancelled, there was just a few dogs that came to play with us. There were people waiting for a fourth of July parade around the yard, so some different things and some activity we are not used to. I practiced my Control Unleashed, made sure to get Lizzie's attention before we entered the yard, played some look at that for when I am now recognizing her hyper stressed behavior, and then we went to work. She was marvelous. A couple of times she took off but she was right back with me. We were able to actually do a few sequences and even like the dog walk where I was way behind she drove across the walk and waited in her mat position for me to get there and release her, what a good girl. I took her to a trial on Saturday and we worked on attention and just making her comfortable and working with me. She was very stressed when I got there and surprise, surprise she was all over the place and very hyper. I could not get her to take treats so I forced a few treats into her mouth and put her in a crate where she was out of the heat, out of the way of others and could just watch. I took her out frequently for short periods and she just started doing so well. She was able to walk really well on a loose leash, we played a lot of look at that which just calms her down so well. The only thing I am worried about is that I keep seeing her look at the sable shelties with a look, and she does fight with her sable sheltie sister, so not sure what she is thinking about with these dogs, hope she isn't thinking she needs to go and get one of them. By the afternoon she was able to do jumps and then focus back on me, she was just fine when we practiced measuring her with the wicket, she measures 17 1/2 inches, can you believe she could jump just 16 in AKC??? Lots of time for her to go over the jump, build up even more speed and take off, hahahahhhhaha. We also did the table a bunch of times and she was GREAT, waiting for her release, driving to the table, what a good girl she was. So at home I have not been using her breakfast for agility training, I have been using that for taking her out in the front yard, high excitement place then using it to reward her staying with me, or coming back, she is doing so well. Anyway, so all in all Lizzie is doing great this week.
So got to watch some classmates and friends run this weekend which was a treat. They were so nice and let me hang with them during the day and showed me a lot of support and were very helpful with the work I was doing with the border girls. It was a hard weekend to trial, very hot, a bit on the humid side, not a very crowded trial but crowded enough with the heat. I got to see Breeze brother Batman run with Kristie, he was so good and Kristie is so good, just made me a little sad Breeze is not running but, oooh well. Batman is a beautiful dog and is really coming along very well for sure.
One more week of teaching class, so hoping it wont be too hot. I got an answer back from Red Dawn BC in Texas with two possible agility prospects if I want to get another dog........Found another possibility in Washington but haven't called them, still trying to decide is that is what I really want to do, hoping my CARE center appointment will give me some more info so I can find some answers!!!


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