The adventures of SD Juno and SDIT Kaline (and their human, Colt).

09 September 2012

Saturday Class No. 5 and Tour of Gymnastics Champions

Saturday class was back on yesterday, and Kaline did pretty well. There was a ton of heeling going on, and toward the end of class, Kaline even did some of it off-leash! I was really excited about that. He kept looking up to check in with me, as I've been rewarding him for on walks when he's on a "let's go," not a "heel," and that was awesome. We did regular heeling on the circle, except everyone was going different directions (on purpose). That made for some very useful chaos, as dogs were constantly having to speed up, slow down, and go past other dogs. Kaline has no trouble really ignoring dogs moving past in class ... just have to transfer that to the real world!

We also did figure eights, great for getting dogs to keep pace with you, and meet and greets. The figure eights went quite well, I thought, and the meet and greet was good too. Kaline is still sitting about one step behind where the heel position actually is, but after I move him up enough times, I know he'll get it!

Recalls went pretty well too. He even did one or two off-leash! Of course, I didn't go very far away from him, and as soon as his attention started to wander, I'd move in really close to get it back. I just have to remember to keep both hands down to guide him in. Both hands, and he comes in straight. One hand, regardless of which hand, and he will do a drive-by on my right.

There was also a really cool bit of class where we were only allowed to use hand signals and the verbal cue for "watch." Any command other than watch had to be nonverbal. It was so neat to watch everyone work with their dogs in silence, and Kaline did fairly well. It was toward the end of class, so all he really wanted to do was lie down. So, whenever I would raise my hand in the down/drop signal, he'd drop, but for sit, even though he knows the hand signal, he'd lie there and look at me like, "Are you sure I have to get up? Positive?" Not too worried about that, since longer focus will come with age. I keep having to remind myself that he is only about 4 ½ months old, and I need to keep expectations reasonable. Sounds like a broken record, but it's so important, and I am so terrible sometimes.

Last we did long sits and downs; predictably, Kaline had issues with the long sit because he was tired. Also, Juno kept lying down for Dad, because when he'd signal her to stay, he'd move his hand in such a way that it looked way too similar to the hand signal for down. And Juno is very accommodating, haha.

She also was one of the dogs who took off on a joyride during the off-leash portion (since she qualifies as an "advanced" dog—Kaline was the only one at class not ready for an entire off-leash section). Our class Whippet took off, and even after everyone got reminded to pay attention to their own dog, the Lab was next to go, and then I guess Dad was asleep at the wheel cause Juno bolted after them. Everyone was gotten back safely, the children's soccer game nearby wasn't harmed, and everyone got a good lesson on focusing in the right spot! Also Juno looked pretty gorgeous stretched out running as fast as she could. Whippets, shockingly, are super fast.

After class we went to see the Prius V and give it a test drive. To my dismay, it is pretty much out of the running. The setup inside is a bit weird; the surface in the cargo area is not completely flat like in the CRV and Rav4; the one with leather seats is the second-most expensive option, and with dogs you pretty much have to have the leather seats for clean-up-ability; and the kicker is I barely could close the hatch in the back. Just getting it down the one time hurt, and there is no way I could close it multiple times per day. Ah well. A used 2011 CRV in glacier blue has turned up, so we are going to check it out Wednesday and see if it might be a winner. Faithful Little Tygs On Top is already starting to make weird noises again. Sigh.

Last night, Kaline stayed home while Juno, the 'rents and I joined two friends for the Tour of Gymnastics Champions in San Jose. One of the friends was Amie, with wonderful Pilaf! We had a great time taking the dogs together—it's definitely a plus when you aren't the only one in the group who has to think about feedings, potty breaks and the like. We with dogs ended up in one of the cement boxes, but we could see fine and the dogs had a ton of room to stretch out; the other three were in the row below us.
Juno in the box.

Juno was a champ, and so was Pilaf. Juno has never had an issue with Caltrain, just went right to sleep on my feet on the way there. She did awesome momentum pulling basically the entire night. Once she knows a route, her pulling improves tremendously (a sign we should probably work more on directionals at some point). I was really glad I didn't bring Kaline cause this was definitely a show to pay attention to!
The Shark Tank before the show.

It was loud, with crazy lights, and a good dose of screaming (especially when Aly Raisman's distinctive floor music began to play and a spotlight suddenly picked her out on a corner of the floor). That bothered Pilaf at the beginning, but that was pretty much the only time she got unsettled. She was super. Juno is an old hand at the screaming (she only can't stand it if it comes from rollercoasters, as I discovered on a trip to Great America). She slept most of the time and I got to concentrate on the show. Sam Mikulak, Michigan Man, was not there, I assume because he has to be in school. (Jake Dalton is a junior too, though, and he was in it. Hmm.) Danell Leyva also was MIA. Figures, he does not seem to be much of a team player at all. All the Olympic girls were there, plus Jon Horton, John Orozco and Jake Dalton from the guys' team. Other National Team guys were some of my faves, like Chris Brooks, Steve Legendre and Josh Dixon (Stanford!). We tried to go down and say hi after, but no luck.

On the way home, the girls tucked themselves (or got tucked, as the case may be!) under the seats and Amie and I got to talk service dogs the whole way. It was quite nice, though we were very tired. Poor Amie had no sleep to look forward to either—she had to go to work for ten hours, then a meeting! Yikes.
Juno and Pilaf on the ride home.

I came home to a zoomie baby Doberman, so we played fetch a bit before we had to head back to bed. I was very proud of him that he hadn't made any mess or destroyed anything in his crate, because he was in there for a long time. I tired him out beforehand and made sure he was empty, but still!

Today we did downtown Menlo Park and hit all our favorite handicap buttons. Juno reminds me of Hermione when we're doing buttons. She watches Kaline flub around with this look of mounting frustration on her face, then finally shoulders him out of the way and smacks the button right on with her paw. She knows the answer, dammit! He's getting better at the buttons though, probably because he's getting taller every day. Maybe a little more coordinated too ... I hope!

We also had our usual Borrone's walk/outing with Dad, and today we met Freddie there to talk about dogs as a business. I always end up really discouraged after such conversations, even if they're not meant to be discouraging. I always feel so limited in what I can do, because of my limitations from fibro. The fatigue is a huge problem, almost as big as the problems with my hands. So now I'm wondering if I can ever make it work ... and by the same token, I wonder how I could ever get a "normal" 9-5 job when I probably could not actually work such a schedule long term, spoons-wise.

But anyway, the dogs were good; Juno even let Kaline cuddle with her a bit under the table. We're having a quiet afternoon and I'm just trying to stave off the latest edition of the funk. Another hell week begins tomorrow, and maybe after that things will be a little better.
Dogs cuddling.

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