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

19 May 2013

Juno gets a Rally Advanced leg!

Also, I'm a lazy blogger. Today was our first entry into Rally Advanced B, and despite it being atrocious, we managed a qualifying score. The judge kindly went through the deductions with me, so I can't honestly say I have no clue why we passed ... but still. How did we pass???

First mistake, it was an outdoor trial on grass. This has never been a good thing for us. Second mistake, not actually knowing that they could have a broad jump in Rally. The broad jump is a big reason we're not in regular obedience anymore! I saw that thing when we walked in, and was like, “Well, we're gonna NQ!” Juno walks on/through broad jumps. I was told by one of the stewards that that'd be an NQ. But, remembering that we do Rally not to win things but to have individual fun bonding time, I figured who cares if we totally screw up.

Another mistake, I realized later, was that we may have done too much warming up right before our run. It was a rather warm day and when we got in the ring, Juno was panting. We had a bad start, too. Right as I told the judge we were ready, a huge green bug landed in the middle of Juno's back and at least tickled, perhaps even bit her. So instead of being focused, she was twisted trying to get it off. I flicked it off but she kept stopping to try and scratch throughout the run. And of course there was the usual lagging that happens when she does heeling off leash. So we got a lot of handler error deductions and points off for being out of position. And Juno walked over the broad jump.

The judge said nothing as we left the ring, so I figured I didn't qualify. Then they called in all the qualifiers at the end, and they were missing one the whole time. So just for shits and giggles, I checked the list of scores, and there we were, with an 83 instead of an NQ by Juno's name! I was totally flabbergasted. But yay! Not gonna argue! Our next trial is going to be in the same place; I realize it's not even close to an ideal setup for us, but we need to trial once a month, and this place is only half an hour away, and our friend Marissa is going with her studly boy Hunter. So we gotta go.

The parents have returned, and training with Kaline/work with Juno continues apace. Kaline and I had a bit of a breakthrough about a week ago regarding loose-leash walking and it is going so much better now! I'm super happy about that. He's been doing pretty well on his outings, to various restaurants, stores, etc. Both dogs have basically only been going on short working outings lately, just because we walk the packs and then we crash. We sometimes do stuff at night but that's about it. Kaline also is over his elevator fear finally. We went through a few days where we'd just do about fifteen minutes of riding up and down, up and down, and I think that helped. Elevators are now exceedingly boring rather than scary. They've both been really great at training in the park—I'm working really hard on finding heel with Kaline and on polishing up his recalls.

Our BLD harness shipped this past Friday, so hopefully it will be here in plenty of time for our upcoming Pennsylvania trip! I would love to get Juno some practice in it before we use it on the trip, but it shouldn't be a huge change for her from her Petjoy harness vest in terms of how we'll use it. She's been getting massages lately from our local dog masseur, Carla, who has a Seeing Eye dog named Justin. Juno doesn't always enjoy the massages (it's hard to explain to her that it'll be uncomfortable for a minute and then she'll feel a lot better; she just feels the discomfort and wants to move away) but I can tell that they're helping, and it's great fun talking shop with Carla.

06 May 2013

May begins!

I am mostly enjoying May so far! We've had more good things happening than bad (though of course the bad things make more interesting stories, I suppose).

I've been working on Random Retrieving with Kaline. We use objects I know he'll like, but we do it in odd places. Due to allergy stuff, I've gone out multiple times to buy different pills. They come in boxes, so once I pick my box and commit to buying it (obviously), I start practicing with it. First, Kaline has to do eager, non-chewy take it & hold. The take it is the very important part—he has to reach for the object. The holding he knows, and will do even with objects he doesn't like. Once he's done several good take its, then I drop it and have him do retrieves. I'm working on getting him to paw it less, and just pick it up.

The small cardboard pill boxes are very fun and easy for him. Then I decided to buy shampoo, and that was pretty amusing. He clearly wanted to practice with it, so we did the same exercises, but it was more difficult for him because it was much heavier and the bottle was smooth plastic. He was so determined though! It was really cute.

Kaline accompanied me to a baby shower over the weekend, and that was pretty much a disaster. He was super whiny and fidgety, even though I was able to let him run in this big pasture behind the house in the middle of it. By pet standards, I guess he was a good boy, but certainly not by my standards! It drove me nuts when people were telling me he was being such a good boy, when he was whining all the time and breaking downs constantly. Of course, as soon as we got home he curled up like a little angel and cuddled all evening. Figures.

He was much better the following morning, when we did the usual Sunday public access work. One of the many things I did wrong on Saturday at the shower was to be really tight on the leash all the time (there was a ton of food right at Kaline face level). That, naturally, made him pull all the more. So on Sunday, I tried to be very conscious of the leash and tried to keep it loose as much as possible. Shocker, Kaline hardly pulled at all.

In the afternoon, I took Juno out to meet Marissa and Macro for a socialization outing. We had lunch at Max's and then walked around Stanford Shopping Center. Macro was such a good little boy! He's a very relaxed little puppy. We took him and Juno into Needless Markup, where he was totally unfazed by the tiles and the escalator. He curled up for a doze near the escalator, actually. Nobody could keep their hands off him! He's so damn cute. Teehee!

Something else cute happened on Friday. It was really hot by our fourth walk, so on that walk, all the dogs wore shoes. It was freaking adorable. Many compliments.

Then today. We had our usual four walks, which were mostly nice (mostly because I found out that the "brother" of one of my dogs died, sadly. He was old, though, and it was very fast). Then we finished up the car upholstery saga.

Without going into too much detail, let's just say the car upholstery people don't understand the concepts of: customer service; people not being able to drive two cars at once; people having jobs that last past 4:00 in the afternoon; people not having chauffeurs/people on call to drive them places. My friend agreed to drive me to this place, thankfully. I took Juno rather than Kaline.

We got there, and inside the office was an enormous Labrador or Lab mix, barking its head off. Obviously I wasn't taking Juno into that tiny office with the dog acting that way, so I just waited awkwardly outside. Finally, someone came over to ask why I was there. I explained I was there to pick up the car. The guy goes into the office and leashes the dog, I assume to take it away somewhere while I conduct my business. Nope! He comes out, dog at the end of the leash and straining and bouncing, clearly intending to let the dog just run up into Juno's face.

I kept backing Juno up, asking the guy to keep the dog away from her. He responded by questioning whether she was really a service dog. I replied that all dogs value their personal space, and the majority of dogs really don't appreciate other dogs lunging into their faces. That only got me: “Oh, so she's an attack service dog?” At that point I just gave up, clearly a lost cause. The guy basically blocked the doorway with the dog, and luckily Juno remembered how to heel on the right, so I could be between her and the dog.

In the tiny office, the guy let the dog come over and sniff Juno, who showed admirable restraint and moved so that she was between me and my friend. It was just a metric ton of NOT OKAY. I am debating whether to post a scathing review on Yelp, haha.

Tonight we're going to a reading at Kepler's by one of my favorite authors, the hilarious science writer Mary Roach! It would probably be a good education experience for Kay ... But I want to just enjoy the hilarity! So Juno's going, hehe. We need our quality girl time anyhow.