Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ups and downs

chill had class tonight - i had wanted to go for a walk and train before class too, but i was too tired. this whole having to work to afford my dogs and afford my lifestyle is ridiculous. isn't it time to retire yet?

chill's grandpa (who is about to turn 14) had a seizure this morning :( everyone is pretty upset - i was glad i got to see him tonight at class, but he's not able to walk well since the seizure and we're all holding our breath. old animals are so hard.

chill in class was a mixture of He Who Cannot Control His Teeth and wonderfullness. Who would have ever thought I would enjoy petting a fuzzy. We started with heeling - last week Kathy had me lengthen my heeling leash to try to cut down on his hopping for the cookie. This week that resulted in a jumper collie, since chill viewed that as an open invitation to jump higher (which he can). When he did settle down he was cute though - very nice! I have to remember to make eye contact and also push forward - the problem is i tend to lean over him to my left and it makes me drift. nothing like walking like youre drunk :)

then worked turns - about, right and left, and then about at a gate and then halt at the gate. chill did nicely on some of them - not consistent enough for me, but we will get there. he stopped that weird rain man head movement for the left turns so that was nice, but its hard to move fast when you have multiple dogs doing squares without being roadkill in the way.

worked sit for exam and my dog is retarded and when i tossed the cookie it landed in his ear fuzz and he lost it. must be hard when you have so much fluff it steals your food

(the doberbitches are seeing dead people in the cat room and barking and growling. i now have the official loudest house in the neighborhood).

worked recalls - one at a time, restrained full length. he had some mad speed for this, and the second one even managed an almost nice front :)

so class was nice. im wiped and my body is fighting some plague (for a change). the energizer collie is not tired, however, and would like to herd cats. is it possible herding cats will become a titling sport at any time? because all my dogs would kick ass at that.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

classy dogs

so we're back in classes - consistently, and all dogs.

its still hard going without rah there - it still feels odd. there are times when i accidentally call the other dogs his name, or people who dont know he's gone ask about him. and it seems like half the shows i go to, or judges i see, are milestones for him. this is the judge he finished his first title under. this is the show he finished his CD. this is the show he finished his UD. this is where he earned his highest score... you know. those things. im just nostalgic.

chill is officially in novice. he's doing very well - i have to remember to do things right for him because more than any other dogs ive had, he's VERY sensitive to my body motion. i also have to keep his head up and my hand back with the cookie - when he's up his little feet fly. he's smart, but he's also calculating. we're working on drive for recalls and little tiny things (kathy is grooming me for perfection with him - because she knows im anal retentive and want to be a competitor, we're looking at little things like eye flickers and such... ) he loves his db and we're working on retrieving to hand because he learned from the dobermans (ha) to run with his prize just out of reach sometimes :) also working on fronts and getting perfect ones - that's where i lost points with all my other dogs, and IMO f/f is what separates OTCH dogs from the others.

cherry is in novice on thursdays - she's also doing well. she has momentary "blue" moments - where she sees dead people or has butt monsters (HAS TO ITCH HER TAIL) but she has been working full classes, giving me 100% effort (still aiming for 110!!!!) and she's damned cute when she does it. for her we have to rework left turns to get her back end engaged, and we also have to work on her fronts. i also need to work separately on her transitions and motivational things because we need to have games and things we can do without toys and tugs.

we've done some training outside too, with distraction - outside of my yard, too! (I KNOW DONT BE SHOCKED) - at least one of these dogs may actually be able to show outside. im aiming for 5-10 minutes of great happy active work rather than spending an hour drilling - and cherry gave me wonderful heeling and was CUTE as a button. chill is actually a little more distracted outside because he hears EVERYTHING - cherry spooks more but chill has radar. so i am not getting him 100% on me.

agility we've worked a bit, but right now im trying to decide how best to divide my time and effort  (And finances). i really would like to focus on obedience - its where my true desire lies, and quite honestly i think i might stop agility (didn't we just start?) because i can take them back. we have some foundation things, and i will use the exercises to teach good jumping skills - but i also need much more control - cherry not necessarily but chill is a speed demon and i can see him hurting himself. not sure, jury is out.

plan for the next few months - matches. need to get out in new places and work our skills.

oh, and berlin also went back to class - she's back in nosework. my trainer is glad i brought her back, because she says she's a natural. it's been almost a year since she was in class, but she didn't forget a single thing. we need to work on some corner hides, but she checked everything - walls, tables, inside things - what a good girl! she says she was meant to sniff out stuff :)

Monday, September 3, 2012

things to work on

just a mental note more for me:

need to formalize a retrieve with a front - my dogs will drop their objects and front, not hold them. need to fix that :) no more retrieving without bringing to front!

also - worked weave entrances, bang it (end teeter performance) and fast platz on a table. both baby dogs were great. also worked fronts and recalls with cherry and she was bouncy as hell

berlin may or may not have given me a black eye when she attacked me (aka jumped up when i was leaning down) when we were working.

tonight: fronts. fronts fronts fronts.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

moving on up

this week is chills last week in baby classes - next week he moves up to novice!
and cherry goes back to class this week - i took time off because she needed a month to recover from her spay/pexy, and we reworked some things with privates.
of course, they cant both be in novice so cherry is moving to a different class on a different day.

we started back with agility and foundation work too - both dogs love it (of course)
berlin may be going back to nosework in a few weeks too... (if i can afford it, ha!)

class tonight with chill was good. hes been a little off... hard to put my word on it, but quieter and tiring more than usual. i dont know if this is maturation or if something is wrong. i get this way if my dogs sleep too much ha ha ha ha ha.

anyway in class his heeling is getting super pushy. i need to remember to keep my cookie back because hes starting to heel like rah and kathy yelled at me :) hes pushing and pushing and pushing and i need to start pushing back into his space. hes so funny though for left turns he cranks his head around and i need to break that because its so obvious!!!!

worked fronts and recalls and attention with them - hes having problems when other people throw toys and he's supposed to be focused. one sounded like a db hitting the floor and his ears were ALL over the place... like mother like son. will need to work on that for his entire career im sure. worked stays (sit and down) and chill has forgotten how to stand on command so we have to visit that this week :)

on his heeling i have to remember to make eye contact. all the other dobes besides rah have never wanted eye contact and doing it pushed them back - kathy says i need to look at him and push him because hes starting to forge and get crazy. and hes also starting to anticipate and cheat even when he doesnt know whats going on.

hes such a good boy though and tries.

both baby dogs are in foundation agility and love it - we are working on contacts, flatwork, starting jump grids and boxwork. little geniuses!

videos and pics to follow! we may be going out to the schutzhund club on saturday. berlin wants to bark at people and i think chill wants to bite (i mean herd) everything.

Friday, August 3, 2012


i know it sounds silly in some ways, but on most days its really hard for me to find the motivation to train any of the dogs. for so many reasons - they aren't rah, rah's not here, rah was different/easier/more fun, rinse lather and repeat.

i know what i should be doing, but honestly most days i have the best intentions but i am not.

i need to start. but its so hard.

(even worse that this weekend, rah and i should have been at the all star tournament. and we're not).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

OohRah 6/29/05 - 7/17/12

Rah is gone. It's hard to even write those words, but so many of you knew him that I have to tell everyone, share him with everyone even in his death. 

I still remember the day I met him - in the main office at DRU in NH he barged in and caused a ruckus, falling off the couch. I can't tell you why I brought him home, but he didn't kill cats and Willow didn't hate him so that was a start. I was told this blue dog, taken from a gang in CT and esconced to NH in hiding, was destined to be returned repeatedly because he was nonstop - he needed a job and he needed to be worked. They were right - after four days of no sleep at all, I was all set to return the dog that panted and circled, didn't know how to lay down, and had not slept a wink - then he curled up on the couch with me and I was hooked. 

OohRah was my party boy. It took over a year to see him lay down in the house of his own volition outside of the crate (and I thought he was sick). He was the worst pet known to man - he stole and ate so many things that he was a pro at induced vomiting. Thanksgiving turkey, 6 lbs of chili, a whole pizza, banana cream pies - he was quick, he was stealthy, and he knew how to break into the trash. The night before I lost him, he stole all the tupperware out of the sink methodically to clean them one by one.

OohRah was a big dog. Not just because he stood 32", but he filled a room. He demanded attention, he demanded to be watched, he demanded that everyone focus on him all the time. He was the class clown. If anyone laughed while he showed, he got a glint in his eye and bad things were guaranteed to happen. He was to the end, a showman. Many remember his first venture into obedience at DPCA nationals in 2007 - him biting me in the ring, running around, jumping ring gates. I still remember all the wonderful things said to me, urging me not to give up on the blue dog. He bit me in the ring the day he finished his UD too. 
OohRah was a first for so many things. He was my Novice A dog. He was my first CD, first CDX, first UD, first UDX leg. He was my first dog to get rankings. He was my first blue. He was my first tournament dog. He was the first dog I ever had to get an agility leg, the first to try bitework, tracking, flyball - so many things we did together. Anything I have done, he was the first. 

OohRah was NOT my first dog with DCM. At 4.5 years old, in routine screening with his cardiologist he was diagnosed with occult DCM in the arrhythmogenic form. I was devastated, but it didn't stop us. We had just finished his CDX (a success at DPCA nationals 2009 where he walked away with multiple blue ribbons) and he was preparing for utility. I decided that this diagnosis would not rule our lives - if Rah wanted to show and train we would. And we did. 

OohRah was the third dog in the nation to participate in the Stem Cell Study at University of FL vet school. I made the scariest decision of my life when I let them inject stem cells into his heart, knowing he could not wake up - but he did, and he flourished. He was the first dog to make it to the completion of the study and he did the entire time showing, having fun, and living his life. I am forever thankful for all who supported us and the time it may have given us. I am also thankful for his wonderful cardiologist, Dr. Goodwin at Garden State Veterinary Specialists in NJ - aggressive treatment gave me what time I had. Never enough, but it was time. 

OohRah was a party through and through. Every day I showed him, every time I entered the ring people watched and people laughed. There were many tears shed when we finished our UD - it took a village not because he didn't want to do it - but because he wanted to do it too much. Anyone who watched him could see that. I will forever be thankful to the Walkers for believing in us when so many others didn't and for being with me throughout the way and crying with me each time I needed to (including last night). Every morning, every night - I laughed and thanked whomever you thank for a dog like this. 

Rah was my special boy. There's an emptiness here without him, and I will spend the rest of my life looking for another dog like him. Not just because he was a great doberman, but because he was an amazing dog. He had heart and he gave everything he had and then some. Everything he did, he did for him - he loved the show ring, he loved life, and he loved living it. He was hard headed and obstinate, he ignored what he didn't want to do and ruled the house and my life. I had 6 marvelous years with him, and it will never be enough. 

Rah collapsed running in the yard of a fatal arrhythmia - he had eaten cereal with me for breakfast, barked at the neighbors, and run loose in the parking lot at work. He had almost knocked my coffee over, taking me out while running, and did his "Rah scream" while playing bitey face with his sister as I herded them both into the yard. His last moments were barking and running - He was gone before he ever hit the ground.

Keep chasing your lights Rah, and know that I will miss you more than I could ever say. You will forever be the dog that everyone else has to measure up to - and they will forever come up short. No one can ever be what you were -  my blueberry, my noodle. 

Wherever you are, I hope it's Six Flags forever. More flags, More fun. 

2008 CDSP #11 Nov B
2008 APDT #17 ARCH
2009 F&F All Breed #10 Open A
2009 F&F Working Group #3 Open A
2009 F&F Doberman #2 Open A
2010 CDSP #17 Nov C
2010 CDSP #9 Open A
2010 All Star #7 Super Rally
2011 CDSP #16 Open C

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rah is gone

i dont know how else to do this, or what else to say. but rah died this morning. i still cant believe he's gone.