Lots of happenings…

Once again it has been far too long since my last blog post.  We recently changed hosting providers so my blog was down for a bit but that is a pretty weak excuse for my lack of posting for so long.  So much has happened, I think the best thing is to just give a synopsis of each dog.

Zip – Poor Zippy has had a heck of a year.  In December 2014 he had cataract surgery on his left eye.  All went well with the surgery but we did a have a few complications after surgery.  At the end of January he had a small hemorrhage which was easily repaired.  However his left eye was constantly red and sore and we couldn’t figure out why.  It turns out Zip was allergic to one of the eye drops he was getting on a daily basis.   We had spent months treating his symptoms not realizing it was his eye drops causing all the issues.  Finally in June we started weaning him off the eye drops but sometime at the end of June/early July Zip suffered from a more severe hemorrhage which caused the retina in his left eye to detach.  A detached retina is unfixable and the prognosis was not good.  Permanent vision loss in his left eye.  Of course I was heartbroken.  I have no experience with blindness in dogs and imagined the worst.  At the same time his left eye was hemorrhaging the cataracts in his right eye were progressing (as we knew they would).  We scheduled his second cataracts surgery for the first week in August and treated the left eye for pain and swelling as there was nothing else to do for the detached retina.  So for the few weeks between the left eye hemorrhaging and cataract surgery on his right eye poor Zippy was pretty much blind.  The one positive thing that came about through all this was I realized that Zip was getting along pretty well even though he couldn’t see.  Yes, we had to be extra careful in the house so he didn’t fall down the stairs and he was always supervised in the yard but true to form, Zip’s spirits remained high and he was pretty happy go lucky most of the time.  I had a bit of hope that should he lose vision in both eyes he might be ok.  Well just over a week ago Zip had his second cataract surgery and it went very well.  According to the doctor, this eye looks strong and the lens replacement as solid, all good signs.  Also, now that we are not using the meds he was allergic to, the healing is amazing.  Both eyes looking great, no squinting or irritation.  All good signs!!  It will be a day to day journey with this latest surgery but we are hopeful that this eye retains vision, fingers and paws crossed for Zippydoodle!

Zorro – Zorro has been having quite a year.  We have been working on drive and confidence in the ring and I think we are seeing some progress.  Zorro has always loved to train and is super exuberant while training but in the show ring he seems to fizzle rather quickly.  We have been doing more training and less trialing and this seems to be the ticket for him.  His RDW is coming along very nicely and I would say he is about 90% accurate at trials.  He has given me super RDW at home in training for some time but it was not carrying over at trials.  Now I am starting to see consistent behaviors at home and at trials.  I think we still have much to improve on building his drive in the ring but I am seeing improvement which is encouraging.  I sometimes feel Zor got the short end of the stick because I was so busy with Zip early on in Zorro’s training that he didn’t get the attention he deserved.  Lucky for me my dogs are extremely forgiving and he is happy to have his turn now.

Roxy – Roxy has had quite a year so far!!  We started trialing in April and what a great time we have had!! Initially we just entered jumpers and snooker classes as her contacts we not quite “finished” yet.  I just wanted to get her confidence in the ring and have a little fun.  Roxy is a thinker and does not want to be wrong so when she is learning a new skill she is usually slower until she figures stuff out.  Once she understands, she really turns on the afterburners!  Love those moments of brilliance!! We have attended seminars with One Mind instructors, Tuullia Liuhto and Anna Eifert and camp at Daisy Peel’s.  All great learning experiences.  Her RDW training has been an adventure to say the least.  If you happen to be one of the lucky few whose dogs just “get it”, that is awesome and I hate you :-).  I was not so lucky.  I have heard many people say that training little dogs with a RDW would be easier (I have NEVER thought that since I have been through this with Zip and Zorro)….nothing could be further from the truth!! Little dogs are just as capable of leaping off a DW as the bigger dogs and Roxy was no exception.  I was determined to stick with it and am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.  July 4th weekend I entered Roxy in all classes for the first time.  I was feeling good about her contact performances and felt we were ready.  Well Roxy lived up to her name that weekend.  She nailed every DW contact and had super weaves as well.  On the last day I did have to reset her weaves as she popped out but other than that her performance all weekend was amazing!! I was so very proud of her!! Of course we left with some homework, one issue being the chute.  The shorter AKC chute is a non-issue but the longer chute that is used in USDAA needs some work.  Lucky for us most times over the weekend the wind was blowing the chute open but I am sure we will not always be that lucky :)  Since the July 4th trial we have attended a couple other shows and she has missed one DW and gave me a high hit on another DW.  I know our work here is not done but at least I feel progress is being made.  She is such a blast to run, we are having a great time so far!!

Roxy Starters Std SMART July 2015

Roxy and Zorro at the One Mind Dogs seminar March 2015

Dasher – Dasher is doing great!! He is enjoying retirement although I am sure he would not refuse anyone wanting to take him for a spin on an agility course.

Summer Wrap Up

Cyno ribbons

Well I think this time I have really blown it with my lack of blog updates.  Its crazy how time gets away from you.  One moment I feel like I am just recovering from our European travels, then in an instant the fall chill is in the air.

The pups and I have had a nice mixture of agility and down time the last few months.  I have been busy training little Miss Roxy in short sessions almost everyday.  Well actually, I always hope to get a training session in everyday, its probably more like four to five days a week if I am lucky.  She is really coming into her own and has been such a joy.  Such a happy pup, always willing to try something new with such gusto!  As of today’s post we can do 12 weave poles and have started to sequence them with jumps and tunnels on both ends.  We are also working on our running dogwalk and teeter.  Roxy and I participated in Loretta Mueller’s running contact seminar in August so we have a plan and we are sticking to it!! The RDW is a process with highs and lows, some sessions are better than others but I am hopeful that we will be successful.  Who knew that such a small dog would have such serious springs on her feet and is not afraid to use them!!  I am also retraining Zip and Zorro’s RDW as I feel we can use some work on them as well.  It’s great for me as it gives me more reps to train my eye and get a feel for what my “perfect hit” is.  Zorro is flying though his retrain which is great.  Zip has his moments of brilliance.  As of today’s entry we had a couple weeks off due to Cyno and me being away so we had a minor setback but I know once we are in regular training again he will be back on track.  In addition to contacts and weaves, Roxy and I are also working on our handling skills.  We attended an Anna Eifert seminar right after Cyno and she did great! She showed me things that left both Anna and I speechless!! Because I train in small increments and short sequences its hard to imagine everything coming together.  I often think to myself, “I don’t know how we will ever learn an entire course!”  But here I am, dog #5, and luckily it is all coming together once again :-)  Here is a short clip of Roxy at Anna seminar:

On the show front, Zip and I have had two major events this summer and early fall.  We attended the Western regional in Prunedale, CA over Labor Day weekend and just a couple of weeks ago attended USDAA’s Cynosport World Games (aka USDAA Nationals) in Morgan Hill, CA.  Lucky for us, Zip had earned all his byes for Cynosport at the first regional we attended earlier this year in Southern CA.  So we came into this regional a bit more relaxed, ready to give it our best but no crazy pressure to perform.  For the team event we were teamed up with our CA teamies, Dave with Boca and Erika with Cadence, team “Zip it!”  We all put in a great showing on some challenging courses and over the course of two days we ended up 3rd overall and on the podium!!

Western regional

Our next big event occurred on Oct 15-19, USDAA Cynosport World Games.  In past years we have had to travel considerable distances to attend this event.  Lucky for us this year it occurred right in our backyard, only 1 hour away!! One of the best parts of the event was getting to see all my east coast friends!  This year’s Cynosport was a little different for us in the fact that Zip and I were not trying out for any of the international teams.  While I still was hoping to make it into a couple of finals, the added pressure of team points was not there.  Our Dog Agility Masters Team for this event was Andy with Crackers and Kayl with Grand Slam, team “Zip is a Grand Slam on Crack.”  The three of us have known each other for a couple of years and both are phenomenal international competitors so I was super excited for the match up.  All three of us put in fantastic team runs but unfortunately each had a small bobble here and there.  At this level of competition a dropped bar or missed contact could really hurt your standings.  As we came into team relay finals we were sitting in 9th place out of 150 teams.  Not too shabby for such a competitive event.  We decided we needed to give everything we had in relay in hopes of boosting our standings if possible.  All three of us put in a great run and we ended up 4th in relay and 7th overall in the team competition. Here is our Team Relay Finals run:

Zip and I put in some great runs in our individual classes as well.  Had a nice run in Master’s Challenge Standard but had a call at the teeter.  It just so happened that the sun was rising as our group was running and blinded many dogs on the dogwalk and teeter.  Not sure if that’s what happened with Zip but I know he lost his footing on the teeter and came off the side.  I had a less than stellar run in Steeplechase finals, sending Zip into the wrong end of a tunnel.  We did made it through a tricky Grand Prix semi-finals course into Grand Prix Finals.  Here is our GP semis run:

Grand Prix finals was a great course and we came in ready to give it our best.  Well, little Zippy did not disappoint.  He gave me 110% and did not put a foot wrong.  I was so very proud of him!! Our run was good enough for 4th place!!   Here is our Grand Prix finals run:

All in all we had a great time at Cynosport this year!  Great catching up with everyone as well as watching all of our friends’ successes.  The best part was being home Sunday afternoon!!

Now that the hustle and bustle of Cynosport is over, time to continue our poodle training!! We have a couple of seminars lined up this winter and hopefully in the beginning of 2015 we will start showing.  Can’t wait for another adventure to begin!!