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Gorgeous autumn weather here in Pittsburgh today.  Big contrast to the weekend, which consisted of pretty much constant rain.  Thank god the agility trial was indoors!

Sputnik had some very good runs over the weekend, although we only Q'd twice.  A particularly nice Snooker run on Sunday that was blown when I very definitively pulled him off the correct jump during the closing and got whistled off.  D'oh!  We did end the weekend with one Snooker leg and one Jumpers leg (that one with a 2nd place after a FABULOUS run!), so I'm not complaining (much).  I did end up with plenty of evidence, however, that I really need to get serious about re-training his contacts -- especially the A-frame.

On the other hand, our weave poles were nice!
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Home
Current Mood:
content content
Current Music:
Sattelite radio air pudding
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We seem to have made a breakthrough in the Education of Darwin!  And not just on the issue of fussing in one's crate.

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Current Location:
Puppy Land
Current Mood:
pleased pleased
Current Music:
Agility Trial Noise CD playing quietly in the background
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Had a pleasant night of recording with Michael last night.  Laid down three scratch vocals for Michael and a bunch of brass players to work with come Friday.  That leaves just a handful of final vocals to do, once all (or most) of the accompaniment work is finished.  Still haven't got a final title for the project yet, but we've got awesome artwork and some really fabulous arrangements.  I'm sure we'll think of something to call the beast before we release it upon the general public!
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Current Location:
Puppy Land
Current Music:
Agility Trial Noise CD playing quietly in the background
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Not as many individual encounters today, but more riding around in the car (something else that will make up a big part of Darwin's life).  Also, a couple discoveries that I plan to deal with sooner rather than later.

Training Details for the Training GeeksCollapse )
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Home
Current Mood:
accomplished accomplished
Current Music:
Silence
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Bedtime of Darwin's second full day at home.  Let the fussing commence.

I'm sitting with my laptop in my bedroom, ignoring the peals of woe from the foot of the bed.  He's going on longer tonight than he did last night, but I'm not terribly worried or surprised.  He's been sleeping for the last hour or so while I did computer work in the studio, so probably feels fresh and awake after being roused to go pee and come over to the house.  That said, he will also probably realize before too long that he is, in fact, still tired.  At least, I hope so.

Darwin and I had a fairly busy day.  He fussed for a shorter period last night at bedtime, and slept straight through without a peep until breakfast.  He then went for a nice walk with his sister Kya, and played for a while in the livingroom with Kya and Sputnik while Alpha Mommy (that's me) ate breakfast.  A little past noon, we left to visit the Westmoreland County Obedience Training Club, where the club was hosting an obedience run-through.

There were tons of people there!  More than I'd expected, which was great.  Darwin got to sniff lots of new smells, meet lots of people and dogs.  It sounds odd, but you have to remember that this is a dog who has only been around border collies (except for my sheltie Brynn).  Meeting your first Standard Poodle, your first Doberman, your first Golden Retriever, and your first Malinois all on the same day is very exciting!  He also got to play a lot with his half-brother Dodge, who's owned by my friend Kathi.  Dodge and Darwin share the same daddy (Robby), but Dodge is out of Karen Herceg's bitch Jenny while Darwin is out of Karen's younger bitch Goody.

Karen came up for the run-throughs with all of her dogs, and the woman who owns one of Darwin's sisters also dropped by with Rave for socializing and fun.  At one point, we had Darwin's sister, half-brother, half-sister, dad, mom, and aunt all cavorting in an open field with a Doberman, a Golden, and a Malinois.  Lots of frisbees flying and mommies laughing.

We also spent a long while just sitting ringside, watching dogs work and chatting with friends.  Darwin's only job was to hang out calmly and chew on his toys.  Other than a brief foray into stealing dog treats and kleenex from an unfortunately convenient purse, he was very good.  He actually slept for a while under my chair.

Darwin and I stayed at the run-throughs for about three hours, then got home just in time to go down to grandma's house for dinner.  Karen the Breeder joined us there.  Darwin slept under my chair some more, then ran around the yard with Karen's dogs (Darwin's mom, aunt,  and half-sister) for a while before we returned home to a fun game of "pick up the poops" in the dog yard with Sputnik and a boomer ball.  Mixed in with all of this were a couple sessions of clicker training with me, a long game of "chase-and-catch-and-tug" with an old towel while I ran up and down grandma's yard, and his try at playing soccer with me and a boomer ball that's taller than he is.  His evening ended with some quiet toy play at my feet while I was on the computer, some more sleeping, and his first introduction to Spike the Cat.  Oh, yes -- and screaming in the bedroom crate.  :)  (He's already quieted down and gone to sleep, BTW.)

If it sounds like raising a Baby Border Collie is a tad exhausting, that's because it is.  I learned with my first Border Collie, Jackson, that the only good dog is a tired dog.  Border Collies are just harder to wear out than many other breeds.  When you add the fact that Border Collies are also more prone to developing weird mental quirks and social misbehaviors, and it can actually be a little intimidating to get them off to a good start.  So much to do.  As the trainer, I have to stay calm and focused.  I have to think ahead, plan for how I'm going to handle all these different things that can come up.  This is admittedly easier with my fifth Border Collie than it was with my first, since I've now had four other examples of what the various trajectories look like.  Still, it's sometimes hard not to react out of emotion, fatigue, and irritation. It's important to remember that no puppy tries to be bad or irritating.  Puppies just do what they do.  If something seems to to work for them, they'll keep doing it.  It's my job to make sure that "what works" for the puppy is what I want to have work.  In other words, to teach the puppy that screaming in the crate doesn't get him what he wants, or that walking nicely on a leash gets him many things he wants.

I once read a quote that said, "The sad part is, they're only puppies once.  But the good part is, they're only puppies once."  That's important to remember, too.  These early weeks go by so fast, and you never get them again.  It's so easy to not notice that you've missed a week of puppy work if you aren't vigilant.

And the price of peace with a Border Collie is eternal vigilance, believe me!  :)
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good good
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blessed silence and puppy snores
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Okay, technically D-Day was yesterday, when I picked up Darwin at the breeder's.  I drove to the breeder's after work, though, so didn't get Darwin home until after 9pm.  Then there were the initial introductions with my adult dogs to do, etc., so I didn't get on the internet to post anything.  Thus the first report today. 
 
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tired tired
Current Music:
sad puppy wailing
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Too tired to post in any kind of detail tonight, but today also went very well. Sputnik was moving well, and seemed even less sore by the end of today than he was at the end of yesterday.

I feel like I should say something more, but can't think of anything. Very happy. :) Going to bed now.

Current Mood:
happy happy
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Sputnik ran today in his first agility trial since coming off the disabled list. It's a small trial, in a venue that's known for being low-key, fun, and kind to less-than-perfect dogs and handlers (you can make more mistakes than in USDAA, times are generous, etc.).

We didn't qualify, but we didn't go to Q. We went to get started back into agility again, and to assess how Mr. Beep is doing on his recovery. He ran great! He was enthusiastic without being loopy, and looked beautiful both jumping and running. I was careful to trot him around to warm him up, massage, and stretch him before each run, and we did nice long sessions with an ice pack afterwards. (Which Sputnik enjoyed, since they involved lots of treats and pets.) We got in three runs, then when I pulled him out of his crate before the last run of the day, I thought I saw just a little bit of a hitch in his giddy-up. It worked out after moving around a little, but I didn't want to run the risk that he'd either hurt himself again or start to associate running with hurting. So I pulled him from the last class, we iced (and ate) again, and called it a day. I was really, really happy with the results, overall.

Kya, KR's young border collie, also did fabulously today. KR has only recently found herself able to really run again since her ACL surgery last summer, and she and Kya showed this off to great effect today. Kya ran fast, and confident, and looked really happy. She got at least one 1st placement, and Q'd 3 out of 4 times (I think). Happiness all the way around!

We're entered again tomorrow, along with Nephew Tony (who is running our older master's agility sheltie, Brynn, in the novice Veteran's classes). I originally had Sputnik entered for all 4 runs tomorrow, too, but I think I'm going to only run him twice, with a long pause between the runs. Again, the point isn't to overdo it. I want him to have a good time, and I want to have a good time, too!

The last bit of fun news for the day was that the Cyclone puppies came up to visit for a little while! Darwin and his sisters (Holly and Rave) turn 8 weeks this coming Tuesday -- I'm bringing him home next Friday. :) I know I've been remiss about posting pictures, even though I've visited the puppies once a week since the whelping. I hope to do a catch-up with several photos soon. Suffice it to say that all the puppies are friendly, playful, and FAT! What comes of momdog only needing to feed three. They were quite the hit at the trial, and endured lots of playing and holding and petting. They also did their first stint as therapy dogs -- our friend, Deb, was involved in a serious car accident about three months ago, where she suffered a shattered pelvis and multiple leg fractures. She's been in a rehab facility since then. Her husband brought her to the trial today, and she had all kinds of puppies in her lap and licking her face. "Puppy breath!" she exclaimed. "My favorite smell!"

Sputnik and Kya are crashed out, and I'm ready to join them. (Running through the park in 90 degree weather chasing an errant owl isn't exactly the best way to spend the day before an agility weekend.) Here's hoping tomorrow goes at least as well as today!
Current Mood:
happy happy
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  • 08:31:16: Friday! One week until the new puppy comes home! Squee! Also, agility trial with Sputnik this weekend. Feeling happy. :)
  • 09:22:08: Teri G just gave me a pen the size of a banana! Now I'll KNOW when somebody borrows it!
  • 09:22:35: Workmen are actually driving an entire shed down the service drive. Jeeze, it's hard enough to back a van down it!
  • 13:13:19: Tiffany in the gift shop is 1cm dilated. The baby could fall out AT ANY MINUTE! And she's at work!
  • 15:21:40: Eurasian Eagle Owl loose in the park. And I thought I started running at the gym for dog agility.
  • 15:22:19: @spicepress It's her first, and I don't REALLY think it'll fall out. Her dr said she had time. We just think it's funny. :)
  • 16:27:06: Owl is safely back home, I'm so hot and sweaty I could puke, and now I smell like penguins. Eww.
  • 20:28:09: The only way I could be more tired would be if I were asleep. Bleh.

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  • 10:34:08: Registrar Girl for today. Just as well. New Scarlet Macaws just came in, and birds are breeding all over the place!

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