Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Loss

The world lost an amazing human being today. I can not begin to express my sorrow.

I first met Jon in 1999. I was working on site for a customer and he was hired as a "gofer" for the Senior Project manager who owned the company I was sub-contracting under.

After spending one day with Jon we realized he was much more than a "gofer" and decided to find a way to make him one of the team. I know I wasn't the only one that wanted Jon to do more and soon he was writing training documentation.

I was scheduled to go to Europe to present training and I asked for Jon to come with me and somehow the customer relented. He was a blast and a half in our travels. He told me that he loved traveling with me because I had a back up plan for the back up plan. When everything went to hell in a hand-basket (none of the training materials showed up for our training) Jon and I stood side by side at a photo copier trying to figure out the German commands to photocopy all our materials.

That same trip I remember he sat in the front of the room managing the computer and projector. I stood in the back talking. At one point I was talking to some students not using the projector and everyone started laughing. When I looked up I realized Jon was surfing the web (very new back then) and the entire class was watching. He'd forgotten to turn the projector off. Never a dull moment with Jon.

Another trip to Germany we did together, he and my other friend went to Amsterdam for a long weekend (I didn't want to hang out with a bunch of guys drinking and "whatever" so did my own thing). On Monday, back at the training center, Jon remained red eyed and eventually fell asleep in the back of the classroom snoring! This endeared him even more to the students and they took him out for drinks that evening.

The following weekend Jon and I took a drive and ended up in Switzerland. At the border, we were stopped. Jon was a bit rude to the border guards and they made us get out of the car. As Jon and I stood on the curb, he looked nervous and started sweating. I whispered under my breath, "What is the problem!?" He said back, "I have a little something from Amsterdam in the car." I could have killed him right then and there.

Jon and I took many work trips together. Each trip has special memories. We remained friends after he went on to bigger and better jobs, got married, and started a family. He was an entrepreneur, a joy, and most of all he was a good guy. Most of all, he was simply too young to go.

I can not begin to express my sorrow for his two young girls and his wife as they begin the difficult journey of building a life without Jon. My hope is that they remember the lust for life that Jon expressed in everything that he did and continue to have adventures to honor his memory.

It's an Adventure for Sure

Evidently had a minor virus. Didn't really have any symptoms except for vertigo and thick head. Better today but still a little thick. Not going to the doctor. Got too much to do and they won't have anything to give me anyway. If still wobbly tomorrow will break down and visit the doctor.

Fin does not care that mom can't walk down the hall without touching it. She wants EXERCISE now.

Spent the weekend doing some clicker tricks stuff and sitting on the ground and tossing the toy for each dog.

  • Fin gets the toy brings it back, drops it and ready for another.
  • Maddie chases the toy, grabs it, drops it, barks at me.
  • Rocky get the toy brings it back and then stands just out of reach chewing on it.
  • Tazz gets the toy brings it back lets me take it, but gets tired of running after it after two tosses and looses the ball.

Such is the life of 4 shelties.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

First the Good. This weekend Fin and Tazz both Q'd in Gamble. Tazz on Sat and Fin on Sunday. Tazz also Q'd in Steeplechase. Tazzie was on his best behavior and would have Q'd in Standard if not for the darn table.

Fin's Gamble on Sunday.

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Tazzie Gamble Saturday.

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The Bad. Fin has recently found her inner herder. She is into chasing me and realizes that if she goes around stuff it feels SOOOO good. We all have our little addictions and we all have to kick the habit. Fin is no excepttion. Now, I will take responsibility for some of her "go around" as I perhaps am not indicating the turn soon enough. However, not all is my fault and the two of us have had better "sync" in the past and we'll get through this little training challenge together. Even with all this "go around" behavior she is still a superstar.

The not so bad, Tazzie Standard Sunday.

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The addicted, Fin Standard Saturday.

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Monday, February 15, 2010

Excellent Adventures

Tazzie is now a herding dog. Seems to make him happier. He even gave me a Gamble Q in USDAA Agility this weekend. I couldn't be more pleased.

Today we went out to visit our friends "the sheep." Sheepies still don't have 100% confidence in me and are not sure Tazzie is going to be a good dog, but we are getting there.

Thanks to my friends Susan and Kraig Paulsen, I believe I have found the perfect instructor. A quick 40 minute drive there and in an hour/hour and half Tazz and I get lots of opportunity to learn. Tazz (of course) knows more than me, so I'm working to catch up. Tazz also has "my number" and is less fazed by my pressure than other people. But we are getting there.

Today I had 4 times with Tazz and the sheep. I feel one I actually was pretty ok. One was total chaos and the other 2 just ok. Tazz had an opportunity to train with our instructor (the last run of our hour). Tazz was quite good for him and it was nice to end the day watching what I should be doing.

The following three videos are actually one session:

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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm Not the Only One Improving

Well today we weighed the dogs. One week ago we weighed the dogs. Decided that everyone needed to take a little more off.

Today weighed everyone. Tazz, Rocks, and Fin lost .4 pounds each. Pretty cool! Maddie lost .2 pounds (not bad for a dog that doesn't exercise much). I'm really happy with their progress.

More exercise, less food. Hmmm. Could be on to something here.

Monday, February 8, 2010

An Uneventful Weekend, if by Uneventful you mean packing everything you can into on weekend so you can't remember what you did.

Sat:


Drive two hours, arrive at agility site. Wait. 8:15am Friend runs her two dogs. Wait. 10:15am I get to run, Yeah! Set Fin on the start line, walk out 3 jumps, she breaks her stay and we walk out. Wait. Friend gets her standard on one dog. Gotta go, can't miss OVO. Fin does not get a chance at Standard.


2pm arrive home, exercise dogs, shower, leave by 3. Watch OVO, fun. Dinner afterward. Fun but wondering why I'm out late when I have to get up and do it again tomorrow?


Sun. Drive two hours. Fin did get her two runs. Leave at 1 and come home to watch Superbowl with husband and family. Exhausted by 9pm. In bed by 10.

Fin and I were not meant to be this weekend. The good news is that on Sunday she had a start line stay. The bad news is that she was herdy, unfocused, and all about the chase. Some friends thought she might be hurting, but I think she was just over the top. She has today off from agility (walks and tricks only) we'll see how the week goes. If she acts this way this weekend, I'm going to pull her from the show and see what's what.


My opinion is that I tried to do too much in one weekend which resulted in a crazy dog. Time will tell.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Herding

Took a little trip south today. It was Tazzie's first lesson with a new herding instructor.

Tazz has not had herding lessons in 4 years. He had no problem with his enthusiasm and it is quite clear who has to learn more - me. The instructor did have me working Tazz at the end (after the instructor worked him a little to show me - and clearly testing to see if Tazz had the stuff).

When asked whether Tazz would work for him, I didn't know the answer. Clearly I should know the answer, but in the past Tazz has been hesitant to work for other people. Back in November I put him on goats when presented the opportunity, and he worked fine for the guy then, so I risked it and said timidly, "I think so."

Tazz did look at me a couple times, but his want to get the sheep outweighed his want for his mama. This told me alot. First it told me, he REALLY wants to do this. Secondly it told me this instructor was putting the right amount of pressure on Tazz - enough to not hurt the sheep but not enough to thwart his enthusiasm.

I found the instructor to be very calm and clear in his instruction. Easy to work with. Tazz liked him too.

This will now be a regular thing. Every week Tazz will get to work sheep and I'll learn more. I feel honored that this guy will take time to work with Tazz. I know, I know, this is what he does for a living, but he has too many students and not enough time. I'm glad Tazz and I passed the muster and will get to learn herding!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Rain is Coming Back

I guess I have to admit it is winter. Sometimes living where I live I can pretend that winter doesn't exist.

The rain is coming, not sure how heavy it will be, but I will say that my lawn is not dry from the last group of storms. Very slippery back there. We still have fun, but not doing much agility in the back...way to slippery.

What do we work on?
  • Find it games - I make everyone stay and toss the ball in the bushes and plants. They go find it. This is a fun game and I will use up to 3 balls. EVERYONE likes this game.
  • Ground work - I'm taking advantage and working my circle work with both Fin and Tazz. What I'm finding is that we are real rusty and it is a good thing
  • Tricks - working on tricks. Rollover is looking good. Hide your nose coming along. Grab and wrap, not so much. New one, bring me a specific toy...just starting.
  • Walks - walking is great for me and them. Lots of walks.

I practice walking calmly, not reactive (this is an on-going problem for me). Fin is really coming along. Tazz, well, not so much. Tazz is in BIG trouble and I'm working really hard on making sure he is calmly walking with me and not acting like a jerk.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Taking off the Christmas Excess

I weigh the dogs about once a month. It is a good thing to monitor weight as all my shelties (except Fin) tend to pack on the pounds if you aren't monitoring it. I notice that all the dogs will weigh a little in February, as spring comes, they exercise more and weight isn't a factor. However, I still want to keep them in shape so we do monitor food intake.

Each dog handles the weight control a little differently.
Maddie is ever confused by the food shortage. She does not believe in dieting. She believes that she gets whatever she wants. She pretty much does, but not when it comes to keeping her weight in check. Right now Maddie weighs 25 pounds. I think she should weigh between 23-24 so she's gained a little over the holidays. I don't think this is a food thing, more of a I'm getting up there and wanna walk slowly thing. Starting today Maddie is getting a little extra walk each day. I think I'll walk her with Fin and see if Finny can't get her to move a little faster.
Fin generally doesn't have to diet. She can pretty much eat as much as she wants, but the scale shows her at 20.8 pounds and I really like her to be around 19. So a little bit of a diet and more exercise over the next few weeks and we'll see what happens.

Rocky can be my biggest problem. He was up to almost 50 pounds when he was 2. I asked the doctor what his weight should be at that time (he is almost 20 inches) and the doc said he was fine. Now that he is old, I know better. Rocks is in at 35 pounds today. I like him between 33-34, but 35 is fine. I think the same amount of food and just this cheery weather, and he'll be trim in a month. He is now on Rimidyl every day and he is acting more spry. More chuck-it in his future as well.

Tazz, oh you couch potato you! Tazzie just weighed in at 25. He has been on a diet since Dec when he weighed 26. I'd really like him at 23. Tazz is against all forms of exercise except herding. Tazz is going to go herding now once a week. His food is already down to almost nothing. He just needs more exercise. .
Time...I need to make more time for these guys.