An apple will do:
An apple will do:
That puts us in the truck this week. No crate. Would they get along unconfined? No need to be worried. It took some talking to get Chico in the back part of the cab, but I made it worth his while. It’s really more comfortable back there.
After the dump, we went for a walk by the brook.
We found a very muddy place.
I had two little foxes.
But Bonney really did the best job of full contact mudding.
Mercifully, she rinses clean with a dip in the river.
Eleven and a half if anyone is counting.
Here’s our run in AKC Jumpers last Sunday:
Ten seconds slower than the first place dog, .85 seconds faster than Chico’s long time agility buddy Ruby, and ten seconds faster than the allowed course time. Second place a Q. So proud of my guy.
Our standard run was not a Q. Chico’s back end still isn’t as strong as it could be so he really wants to avoid the A-frame, which he does. The wrong end of the tunnel that ends the run – that’s my fault. I thought I could get out in front of him and push him to the other entry. Not so much.
Oh well. That’s what the recordings are for, so I can learn.
so many things. We’re playing lots of games that teach her impulse control, and that she has to work for a living. Her sit, down, and “here” are improving daily.
She’s learning to go to the hand that doesn’t have the cookies to get rewarded with the cookies. She’s learning, and I’m learning, to do something before she gets to play with the Big Ball, her favorite toy.I had been letting her burn of energy by chasing the ball around the field all by herself. It’s very cute to see how much she loves it, and it’s very handy to use up so much energy so efficiently, but it isn’t the best way to use the ball as a top level reward. And it is a powerful reward. Also, it is better for her to want to play with me and the ball more than she wants to play with just the ball. Here’s a little video of our lesson last week:
It’s a lesson, and I engage in some self criticism which did pay off in modifying my behavior in later reps.
Yes, you can hear Chico barking in the background. He was in the car, with the Treat ‘n’ Train rewarding him, but he was still miffed that he wasn’t the dog getting my attention.
There’s so much to teach Bonney, and Chico knows so much; it takes planning and effort on my part to have something to do with him too. And he deserves to work for a living too.
We have to take an at least hour-long off-leash walk every day or Bonney has too much energy, and Chico loses condition (keeping him in shape, with a strong hind end is the best thing I can do these days for his agility career), and I don’t feel right about anything. Add a training session or two for Bonney, basic maintenance of my home and filling my belly at least once a day, a visit to Dakota, a dip in the river to cool off – bang, another day has passed. It’s summer and hot enough to keep me on the edge of crabby more days that one would expect in northern New England, but all in all, life is good. The heat has brought in tomatoes and corn rather early, we’re rolling in produce despite a drought – yup, all in all, life is good.
“O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!*”
Chico is working for kibble today!
*From Lewis Carroll’s poem Jabberwocky
The last month has flown by.
It started when we went to the airport to get Bonney on June 21. That day was what I hope is the worst day of her life. In a crate to make a 6:30 AM flight from Denver to Detroit, to change for Manchester, arriving 4 PM. When they got to the airport in Denver, Delta said the crate was too big for the dog. Which no one said, ever. But they did. By the time that was sorted out, she had to wait until an 11:30 AM flight to LaGuardia. Once she got there, she had to wait four hours for her flight to Manchester. Which arrived an hour late. Then there was no one at the freight office. Then there was a man waiting for his suitcase who looked so mad I had no desire to point out to him that DeDe and I had been waiting for the freight office attendant for longer than he had. We finally got the crate and received a dog who didn’t need to pee because she had peed all over her blanket in the crate, and then didn’t want to get back in that box, ever again. Gone were the plans for a two-handler controlled introduction an DeDe’s back yard, and the plans to stay in Cheryl’s travel trailer and do the “yes, she’s coming into your house” part at home in the morning. DeDe and I literally slid her down the chute created by opening the door to the travel crate and the crate in my car, and we drove away at about 1:30 AM. That put us home at 3, and in bed by 4:30.
Within a day the dog who had been called Ellie as a baby, Daisy by her first family and everyone else, learned that here she’s now called Bonney. While we were waiting for her to come, I had this dream (actually, I had it a few times), and in the dream I saw me, Chico and this new dog doing things together, and in the dream, I was calling her Bonney. It seemed like that was supposed to be her name. Maybe that’s why she learned it so fast.
In early July we went to USDAA Regionals. It was three days of activity and noise and hotel. Chico and I both cracked a bit under the pressure, Bonney stayed calm and cool throughout the whole thing. Chico and I had some really good runs. In the company of some of the best dogs in the country we are rather too slow to be in the ribbons, but I am so proud of how well we all did in that crazy, crazy situation. We did Team with Linda and Aeden and it was a great pairing. Aeden is super fast, and Linda trains the heck out of him, she’s much better about practicing than I am – I can tell that. Linda is different from most people, as am I, and we make a great team. She and I seem to be able to be calm, cool, and collected at exactly the moment the other one isn’t; and that is just so handy. Her dog is the one that gets Qs and pulls us up in the rankings and yet she thinks of me as the rock of our team. She really, truly, deeply, means it when she says she is just there to have fun with the dogs and doesn’t care where we stand in the rankings. It’s a neat thing.
Little Miss Bonney is a busy girl and she keeps me and Chico pretty busy too. I have started calling Chico, “Saint Chico” because he is so well mannered, downright suave and debonaire, compared to Bonney.
And that’s enough for now. Just wanted to let you know that we didn’t disappear.
Months ago I was accepted as a foster home for dogs by the National English Shepherd Rescue. They know lots about me, and about Chico, and what we do all day; and after five months, they found a dog that they think will get along in our house.
I believe that Chico and I can learn to love her, and she to love us.
As I write, she should be getting on her first flight in just a few minutes. I’m going to go vacuum the house one more time, and set up some exercise pens to provide safe spaces for both dogs when we get back here this evening.
It’s the height of bloom for ladyslippers. We found this amazing pair of clumps on a walk at White Lake State Park.
Tomorrow we’re taking off for a mini vacation. Agility for the weekend, at the lovely Trapp Family Lodge, then some camping with friends, then some more agility the following weekend.
And I never posted this. We’re most of the way through that trip now.