Hmm, based on my blog posts, it would appear that I'm running a week behind on life these days. Sounds about right. :)
Peyton and I had our annual USDAA team event last weekend with our Golden friends. After last year's less than stellar performance, I had zero intentions of playing again this year, but Lisa convinced me that it would be a shame to let such cool team t-shirts go to waste. (They are fun shirts!)
Even though our weekend wasn't all that impressive on paper, we had some really great runs and finished the weekend with a team Q.
On a slightly entertaining note, we did manage to get called on 7 up-contacts in 7 runs. That's impressive, I think. :) Silly USDAA.
It's funny, but I think I was most proud of our snooker run, which was at the end of a *very* long day on Saturday. I was tired, Peyton was tired, and the sun was blinding, yet we managed to make it almost all the through the course even after he knocked a bar in the opening. Considering Peyton usually takes any obstacle in his path (and often those that are not), I was really happy that he stuck with me. Unfortunately we were whistled off in the closing when he missed the teeter up-contact, but otherwise it was a fun run. Snooker, fun? Huh. Did I just say that? :) On another positive note, in seven runs, we only had one (little) off-course jump - that's got to be a record! Love my spotty boy.
We did it...our first double Q! Gee, maybe we should take 4 months off more often. :)
We had a great time at the SOTC trial last weekend - some really fun runs and good times with friends we haven't seen in awhile. Saturday was our QQ day - although I wasn't thrilled with our runs, I was super happy with Peyton. In standard, I *almost* missed my walkthrough and while I wasn't exactly sure where we were going, Peyton did a great job of sticking with me and we finished 1st in a large 24" class! Our JWW run had me a little worried (I don't think I've ever seen him so pokey), but again, we managed to be clean with a 2nd place.
I don't know if he was just tired, or hot, or maybe half asleep, but it was a really long day and I'm guessing that he was pretty much toast at that point. Even though he's in good shape, I think we tend to forget how physically and mentally stressful trials can be, especially after a relatively lazy summer. In any case, I would much rather have my happy speedy spotty, but I can't complain - he was trying so hard.
Even though we weren't "clean", I thought our runs on Sunday were much more fun! Peyton was awesome, even though I was suffering from a bad case of over-handling. I really need to do a better job of reading my dog and trusting him when he's actually running well and paying attention. :) Obnoxious handler! BUT - we did have a little bit of a start-line stay in JWW that I was pretty proud of. I think I'm going to start playing with them a bit more this season in trials.
Today is Derby's first birthday! Ahhh, how is it possible my little spotted monster is a year old?
We had a really great day - obedience class this morning followed by swimming and playing with our best Golden friends. We then headed to our favorite holistic pet store where Derby got to see more friends and give out lots of hugs and kisses. This afternoon he got a "special birthday bath" (how's that for a positive spin) and then we had a little party with the "grandparents" complete with puppy ice cream and new toys. Whew! I'm sure he could keep going (and going and going), but *I'm* exhausted.
Without getting all mushy, all I can say is that I just love this spotty boy. :) Even though he sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out, he makes me smile and laugh out loud every single day. I'm looking forward to many fun adventures together!
Speaking of, we've got a month or so break from our weekend dock diving adventures, but I though I'd share video from our last dock diving practice. He's really getting some air! Whodathunk I'd have myself a little diving spotty?
Happy Birthday, Derby pup! Here's to many, many more!
I'm certain that he loves the little monster pup (really), but I'm also certain that Peyton would also be perfectly happy as an only spotty. I'm constantly amazed at how tolerant he is, although he definitely makes his opinion known, complete with heavy sighs and an array of pouty faces. If only he could roll his eyes.. I've seen some big changes in Peyton over the past few months. I can't really put my finger on exactly what it is, but he's been more relaxed in general and extra affectionate, even with people that he really doesn't know all that well. Who knows, maybe at age 5, he's finally figured out how to be (relatively) comfortable in his own skin. I don't dare use the word "mature" though. :)
I think he's had a good summer, even though we haven't done a whole lot - that's what breaks are for, I suppose. He's really enjoyed running around the field while I set up for my classes twice a week and occasionally, we've run a sequence or two (he's my guinea pig for a lot of the courses I set up), but other than that, not much in the way of training. Which is fine until it recently occurred to me that our first trial of the season is next weekend. Oops. I'm guessing that we'll be a tad (or perhaps a lot) bit rusty, but it sure will be fun to get back in the ring.
On an unrelated note, apparently the spotty boys have recently decided that they are master hunters. It all started a few weeks ago when I had Derby out just a little before midnight and he caught a frog (or toad?) and proceeded to run laps around the backyard with it hanging out of his mouth (while I'm shrieking dropitdropitdropitdropitnow). It was dark, but I *think* he finally did drop it considering I didn't see any evidence of frog parts afterwards. My apologies to any neighbors I woke up that night.
Not to be outdone by the little brat, Peyton caught a mouse last week. I didn't see it happen, but heard squeaking sounds and once I realized there wasn't a toy in his mouth, I asked him to drop it (which he did immediately - good boy!) and there was a poor little mouse. Unfortunately the mouse did not survive. Don't tell Peyton, but I'm not convinced that the mouse wasn't a little mentally or physically ill. Really, I don't think he's a natural hunter. :)
This new obsession with catching critters has continued and for some reason my backyard has turned into a frog farm this year. They are everywhere. Derby is thrilled. Me, not so much. I'm pretty sure that they are of the harmless variety, but 1.) I like frogs and really don't want to see them eaten, 2.) frog herding is not how I prefer to spend my evenings and 3.) while practical, all this "leave-it" frog training really isn't much fun. Stupid, suicidal frogs.
So the other night I decided to finally put together a big 'ol long post about the joys (read: frustrations) of adolescent spotty boy dogs and after re-reading it, I wasn't sure that all my random thoughts put together really made a whole lot of sense. That's what I get for attempting to catch up on blogging when I should be catching up on sleep. ;)
Long rambling story short: rather than fighting my (at the time) 9 month old puppy when his brain suddenly decided to move south (and I'm not referring to geography), I opted for a little attitude adjustment on my part and a new training plan that focused on fun with minimal frustrations.
Basically, when the going gets tough, the tough go dock diving. :)
I know I say this waaaay to much, but...isn't he adorable!? :)
Now this isn't to say that I've completely abandoned any other training; I'm just trying to train a little bit smarter not push for more than Derby is mentally able to give me in any given situation. He *is* a good puppy (I can say that now that we're mostly past the I-must-pee-on-everything stage) and I'm really happy with how he's progressing.
Before I start rambling again, we have some fun news - Derby competed in his first "Splash Dogs" event this past weekend! I use the term "competed" lightly because we really just entered to have a chance to play at a new location. I was confident that he would be fine with the environment (dogs, people, etc.) and was pretty sure he would jump, even if it took me going in first. ;)
He did fabulous! In our first "splash" (two jumps), his best jump was over 9 feet and in the finals (2 jumps), his best was 10'6". He originally placed 7th overall in the Junior finals (which I was thrilled with), but we found out the next day that they didn't have him in the correct division so he actually finished 1st in his splash and 1st in the Splash finals! Needless to say, he totally exceeded my expectations.
I definitely had my hands full with all of the new smells and distractions, but once he got up on the dock, his focus was great...and he held his stay! So proud of my little spotty boy. :)
Here's a little video - I didn't get all the jumps, but the second one is his jump in the finals.
I almost forgot - the cute little Dal girl he was flirting with at the end of the video is Emma. It was such a nice surprise to see her and her mom Amy at the event! They live on the East coast and this was their first dock diving competition too (they did great!). Hopefully we'll be seeing them a lot more in the future!
Oh my poor neglected little spotty blog...one of these days I'll get back to regular updates. Hopefully. :) I'm sure y'all are getting real tired of swimming videos, but considering it is very HOT down here, and we haven't been doing a whole lot of training in general, that's about all I've got for the time being.
I'm a few weeks behind, but I thought I'd share Derby's first time diving off the "big kid" dock. At first, he really wasn't sure what he was supposed to do (and boy was he MAD), but after I jumped in, the lightbulb came on. I felt a little ridiculous, but hey - it worked. :)
Last week he didn't think twice about jumping right in - he did great! At this point, he's pretty much jumping from a standstill, but he seems to be getting the hang of it so I'm guessing we'll start adding a little bit of distance in soon. At the very end we introduced the "speed retrieve", which admittedly wasn't super speedy but considering he's not exactly a "water dog", I think he did pretty darn good. And oh my gosh, is he not ADORABLE!?
These videos make me smile. :) So much fun! I do have some other random training thoughts and updates to share, but they will have to wait until my brain is fully functional. In addition to having a crazy busy schedule lately, I've been really sick this past week and am just now starting to feel slightly human again. Soon!
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