Coming back

May 15, 2012

So, what’s five months or so among friends?
The basenjis are all enjoying the heck out of nosework. Professor started first, then Amelia, then old Mr. Joey joined up when my training club offered an intro class. And the old man loves it. He has some trouble with the vehicles, since we spend most of our time trying to keep him from bumping his nose on parked cars, and some of the interior searches can be hard on a blind dog. But hey, looking for cookies? He’s all over that. And the odor makes it easier for him. We put him on odor earlier than the others, and it really made things clear to him; he didn’t have to sort out which of all the food odors he was looking for, it was the one associated with birch that was available, and he got that very quickly. And it’s nice for him to have a night out with me, all by himself.

Both Amelia and Professor passed their ORTs (odor recognition tests) in February; Amelia is entered in a trial in June. We did a mock trial at the end of April, and Amelia passed all four elements in a very business-like manner. She is SUCH a working girl! Bless her little heart. She did give me one false alert, on one of the practice boxes, but when that didn’t work she just worked her way through each problem. In APDT rally, we’ve abandoned our quest for the ARCH-MX2, and are entering the veteran’s class instead. Shorter courses, not so many sits and downs, and only two courses in a day. In her first weekend in vets, she got 210, 210, 209, and 210. I was proud of her, but it’s sad to realize she really is 12 years old and can’t do what she used to be able to do.

Professor passed both inside elements at the mock trial, and failed both outside ones. Vehicles was my mistake, because I knew where the hide was, but I thought he had to be indicating before I could call alert. I didn’t call it fast enough, and he went off to amuse himself by watching the videographer, and wouldn’t come back to the car. Found out later I could have called it after he left, and if I could have pointed to the hide (and I could have) he would have passed. The exterior was a combination of my error and his finding a path to the odor that I couldn’t follow him through, so I had to call him back, and he never really returned to the spot. On the video, though, he was obviously on the odor until I called him. Oh well, at least he didn’t pee during the outdoor searches! He’s taking private agility lessons, and doing very well. His contacts are good, he’s getting weaves, and we’re starting sequencing. He’s still a bit of an idiot about other dogs (ya wanna be my girlfriend? huh? do ya? huh?) but he’s getting better. I think. I hope. He’s still gorgeous, still looking for that last major.

Just lived through a computer crash, and now have a new hard disk. And I’m about to spend beaucoup de bucks on the car. Arrggghh.

On the plus side, the maintenance guys came and tore down the plywood the squirrels were nesting in on my patio (that was nasty!) The guys cleaned up, though, and the squirrels seem to have left us. Running out with the dogs to harass them whenever they set foot on the patio seems to have discouraged the little fuzzy-tailed rats. Professor actually grabbed one, but it got away. Amelia was disgusted with him.

Long time ….

December 27, 2011

… no blogging. Just a lot of stuff going on. The highlights:

Amelia got her ARCH-MX! In APDT rally, you get an ARCH-MX when, having completed the ARCH, ARCH-X, and ARCH-EX, you then get 10 triple Qs. That’s a score of 195 or better in Levels 1, 2, and 3 at the same trial. Amelia is getting up there, and we’re only showing in one trial a day, so it took a while. Actually, she finished the title at our January trial, but I miscounted legs and didn’t realize it! So at our March trial she got her ribbon (it’s huge and beautiful) and applause. And there may have been a cookie or two in there, too.

In August she turned 12, and in September she finished her BN title at the specialty in Wisconsin. She also got a first in Rally Excellent and a third in Rally Advanced, and was part of the second-place team in rally relay.

Shortly after we got home, she had all her remaining teeth pulled. She’d been having trouble eating, and when the dentist knocked her out, he found that she had a lot of infected teeth. She had quite a few teeth pulled a few years ago, and where there was no opposing tooth left, the remaining teeth were causing sores in her mouth. So we decided to have all the rest of her teeth pulled, since she’s probably not going to get younger and it likely would have to be done sometime. Recovery was a little rough for a couple of weeks, but she’s now back to normal. And she can still flatten the puppy when necessary. But she never used teeth on him, just force of character.

Joey turned 13 in December. He was great on the roadtrip to the specialty, accepting all the traveling and all the strange hotel rooms without problem. His biggest adventure came in October. We were in West Virginia, at Amelia and Professor’s nosework class. I walked Joey and Professor, and when I took them back to the car, Joey caught his eye on the hook of his wire crate. Lots of blood, lots of screaming, Professor having vapors and running around me in circles, Amelia having hysterics in her crate. The folks came running out of the building, somebody took Professor and Amelia, Joey stopped screaming (but continued spouting blood) and we stuffed him into his crate. Kitty came with me, and we drove to the local emergency vet, about 20 minutes away. I loved this guy–the first thing he said was “let’s get some pain meds into him and then we’ll talk”. By this time, Joey was swollen from just below his left ear almost down to his nose, and the eye was essentially swollen shut. The vet’s best guess was that he’d punctured the eyeball and it would have to be removed. Problem–this place is an hour from my home, and I’d have to pick Joey up by 8 am. So we decided to get more pain meds and some antibiotics into him, and take him to my ER which is not only close to my house, but by day is a specialty practice where Joey’s ophthalmologist practices. The emergency vet there also guessed that the eyeball was punctured. The following morning, the ophthalmologist calls me, and surprise! the eyeball ISN’T punctured, he just cut the conjunctiva, and she’s sending him home with antibiotics and painkillers and anti-inflammatories and eyedrops. Whew! In a week, it was impossible to tell which eye it was. She said he’d probably nicked a vein that runs next to the eye, and that’s why there was so much blood.

Joey’s second big adventure is that he started a nosework class at the place I usually train, and he’s loving it. He started on odor early (generally, the dogs start searching for food, then paired odor and food, then odor alone) which made a real difference to him. He doesn’t have the visual clue of the boxes and containers, and is working totally on scent, and the building must just reek of food with all the classes in there. The birch is a distinct scent, and he does much better with it.

Joey and Liza at the MABC Christmas Party, Dec. 2011

Professor is… Professor. I am so stupid in love with this puppy it’s ridiculous. We had a great time at the specialty, even though he was in an awkward teenage phase, physically. He travelled beautifully, and had a good time, no matter what was going on. I was very pleased with how he acted in the ring. Not so much when he decided that coursing wasn’t interesting enough, although the recalls from waaaaaaaay across the field were pretty gratifying. And he enjoyed the straight racing, I’ve got to look into that. We’ve been doing a lot of focus work, we did two classes and are now taking privates from the instructor. He’s developing more and more self-control around other dogs (although still desirous of meeting a young lady to make whoopee). He took a step toward that goal by testing clear for Fanconi, yay! He’s loving nosework, and will be trying for his ORT in February. We put him on a limited ingredient diet of duck and potato, and it’s made a tremendous difference. No big things to report, but he’s doing well in his classes. The maturity fairy has come and sprinkled brain cells on him. And we’ll be trying the show ring again in January.

Liza retired in July, and I’m still trying to figure out how on earth I ever found time to work! But I’ll try to do updates a little more frequently!




A Professor Weekend

February 28, 2011

Well, Professor started a new class on Saturday, with Corally Burmaster. It’s a basic obedience class, and mainly he’s learning to keep his brain engaged when other dogs are present. He truly believes that someday he will find a nice lady dog who’s interested in making whoopee with him. He doesn’t know what whoopee is, but he really wants to find out.

I spent most of the class at a distance, working LAT and GMAB with him, and both really improved his focus and attention. Even the private agility lesson going on in the other ring wasn’t too distracting. But he was a tired puppy at the end of the day.

Sunday we went to our freestyle group, which conflicted a little with rally run-thrus. So I took Professor in and we practiced going in the ring and setting up, then breaking and running out. LAT and GMAB also helped with this. I think (hope?) he’s starting to get the idea that he doesn’t get to interact with all the other dogs.

Amelia got to do three runs, Levels 1, 2, and 3. She did very well. She really likes being the center of attention. When the run-thrus were over we worked on her interactions with the saddle. It’s a child’s western saddle, that we use in her Shine routine. She jumps over it, goes around it, and perches on it. I really need to work on cleaning up our cues, there’s still too much body language in them. But we got to work a little distance, which is impossible in the living room!

Joey came along for the ride, and got to spend a little quality time with his great friend Ruth.

A good weekend, but tiring for all of us. Everybody’s sacked out now.

Busy, busy

February 15, 2011

It’s been a while. We’ve been busy.

All the boxes in the living room/dining area have been unpacked. Most of the boxes in the small bedroom, including three boxes of pictures, certificates, and other “wall hangings” have been unpacked. A few of the boxes in the master bedroom closet have been unpacked; if I can get the rest of them out of there I’ll be able to put in some storage units and unpack some more clothes. There’s also at least one more box of pictures and similar stuff, but I don’t know where. I just know there’s stuff I haven’t found yet.

Melanie and Ruth came over and helped me hang pictures. We’ve got a Dittany corner, a Peabody spot, and an Amelia coursing wall. And baby pictures of Professor over the front door. We left space for Professor’s show pix, if I ever find them. They’re in a box somewhere.

And in the middle of it all, Amelia and I went to BAD’s APDT rally trials. She got three more legs on her ARCH-MX, bless her little heart. She did really well on Saturday; Sunday morning she wasn’t nearly as sharp, and got the leg by the skin of her teeth. So I pulled her from the Sunday afternoon trial. She was tired, but I think she really enjoyed the special one-on-one time with me.

The b’s are getting adjusted. They like the sliding glass door, since it lets the sun shine in on them. When I came back from shopping Saturday, Amelia and Joey were both curled up in the sun, snuggled into their dog beds, and each had a paw curled over his/her nose. It was very adorable.

We’re learning walks, now that the snow has melted a bit. There are still some icy patches; on warmer days, there are muddy patches. But I think once spring gets here (we’re ready!) we’ll have several very nice circuits.  

What is that makes people think if there’s snow on the ground they don’t have to pick up after their dogs??? Ick.

Basenjis are home

January 22, 2011

Yesterday the b’s spent the day at my friend Ruth’s house, crated in her living room (her dogs are in the family room). Joey objected for about 15 minutes, she said, Professor whined a bit, and Amelia just said “whatever” and chewed her chewy. All calmed down and were quiet for most of the day. She even got Joey out to relieve himself and back into the crate (he can be a bit pillish about going in, but it’s always been just passive resistance).

I was at home with the movers. My SIL recommended TwoMarinesMoving; all the employees (and management) are exmilitary. They are appallingly organized. They sent three guys to pack me up and move me. It was complicated by the facts that a)I am a disorganized person; b) not everything is moving; c) I had done some, but not a lot, of packing; d) I have way too many books. WAAAAAAYYYYYYY TOOO MANY BOOOKS!!! I had to run out to the local storage place to buy more small
boxes. Anyway, by the time everything was boxed and loaded on the truck, it was too late to take it to the new place (there are federal regs on how long drivers can work) so they took the loaded truck away to bring back this am.

I went to Ruth’s to get the b’s; she sat me down and fed me dinner (what a friend!) and sent us home to the new place.

Part of the reason not everything in the old apartment is moving is that I got a new bed, so I had a place to sleep. And dog crates for bedside tables. I don’t think any of us slept particularly well, although the new bed is very comfy, but I woke up every time the heat kicked on, and I think the b’s were still stressy.

This morning the marines arrived about 8, I was walking the dogs but just about done with that. So I brought them in and put them in crates while the marines unloaded the truck. Did I mention that I have way too many books? Now all in boxes? Many, many, boxes???

Loved the way the b’s reacted. Amelia is a soldier at heart. She growled at the guy who peered into her crate, watched them come in and out for a few minutes, then curled up and went to sleep. Professor wanted to help in the worst way. Read that either way. But he was pretty good. Joey did his usual protest at being crated, then went to sleep.

I’ve been unpacking all day, and still haven’t made much of a dent. And the guys had to go back in their crates while the Verizon guy put in my new FIOS connection and got the phone hooked up. That took a while, and they weren’t impressed with having another strange person tramping past them. Then I had to get the maintenance guys to come and look at one of the plugs in the kitchen, so more crate time for the b’s.

Now I’m on break, sitting down and reading emails. I have to sit on the bed because the table is still barricaded behind boxes. And the b’s are all curled up next to me, sound asleep. I think we’re home. We can’t find anything we own, but we’re home.

Happy Birthday, Professor!

January 4, 2011

Professor is one year old today. In honor of his newfound maturity, Amelia beat him up over a chewy, and Joey marked over his mark on our walk. My little boy is growing up!

From October, going BoB

He’s such a handsome boy!

Happy New Year

January 1, 2011

Our club does agility run-thrus every New Year’s Day, so out we went this morning. I went early, first one there, so Professor got a chance to come in and run around. He doesn’t know jumps, contacts, or weaves yet (he’ll be a year old on Monday!) but he does love him some tunnels. Actually got started putting a cue on tunnels. And there were a bunch in this course, and he did two back-to-back and came to me for his treat!

Then Prof went back in the car with Joey, and Amelia got to come in and do the run-thrus. She did very well. We ran the advanced course, and when I got the cues out fast enough she was great. Where I umbled and bumbled and didn’t make myself clear, she just doodled around. But she got her weaves and generally ran very nicely. She even got the tunnel/dogwalk discrimination! Which is hard, because she loves dogwalks very much. But she outed to the tunnel, both runs.

One of our club members made a lovely lunch–barbecue, and hopping John for good luck, and coleslaw and lots of goodies. It was delicious.

After Amelia had both her runs, I brought Professor back in to socialize a little. He made a few efforts to run from my lap across the sign-in table to the food table, but never actually got his pointy little nose into the barbecue. And he was very interested in watching the dogs run agility.

All-in-all, a good day. Happy 2011, everybody.

World’s Best Christmas Present

December 27, 2010

The basenjis got the world’s best Christmas Present, EVER! We went to our freestyle gathering today, and our buddy Ruth brought them a ROAST. Cooked. The Whole Thing. They were very impressed, as was I. It’s going to be cut up into training treats. That should hold them for a while!

And Professor got to run around with his buddy Jay, and with Roddy. Jay’s an aussie, Roddy a bc. Misty, the mini-aussie, ‘splained to the Prof why we don’t jump up on the ladies, and he decided to give her a bit of room. We did a little heeling to Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy. He ran off to check stuff out a couple of times, but came right back to me.

Amelia and I just fooled around to In The Mood. Is it possible to hear that music without dancing? I love me some big band music. Good thing Amelia likes it too.

Belated Update

December 25, 2010

Not a whole lot going on. The weather has gotten cold, so tracking is suspended, although Amelia and Professor work on article indications indoors. Not much snow, yet, but it’s been very blustery and windy and generally miserable for all of us.

Thanksgiving weekend Professor went to the dog shows. Beat his brother one day, lost to his brother the next, neither got points. Ah well. Sister did quite well, though, getting points both days, IIRC. Professor was way more interested in promoting a relationship with a girl dog, any girl dog. He’s not sure why he wants to, but he knows for sure there’s SOMETHING there he wants to know more about.

Bought him is own Foggy Mountain dog coat. In his color, black, with a faux leopard skin collar to match his collar. He tells everyone he killed the leopard himself.

His retrieve is coming along very nicely. We’re using Shirley Chong’s method, starting with c/t for just looking at the db, and he’s now getting the db from a short toss and putting it in my hand. He no longer takes off with db to chew it. Putting him on leash for a couple of days, and using a metal scent article in place of the plastic db, solved that problem very neatly.

He’s also learning “sneaky” which is my name for a crawl. It’s supposed to be a good strengthening exercise, and he took to it right away. I’ve already put the cue on it, a bit early, but I don’t want to destroy his downs and make them all crawls. We continue to work on his gaiting and table manners, and he’s learned to wear a muzzle, for coursing.

Both Amelia and Professor continue to love their ball work, on the inflatable egg. It’s very peaceful, and supposed to be very strengthening. Since their walks are getting shorter and shorter (Amelia has wet and potty on cue, and Professor and Joey are getting there) they really need some exercise. Professor enjoys chasing his toys down the hallway, and often brings them back. I keep the box of toys in the living room, and toss toys down the hall into the bedroom, and he gets a little exercise that way. Isn’t spring almost here???

We’ll be moving in January. The good new is, I’ve got permission to have three dogs in the new apartment. Place I’m living in now is not renewing the lease. The bad news is, I’ll have to pack all those books. Ick. I’m going to take the opportunity to get a new couch (yes, I’m looking at you, Professor!) I’ll miss the dog park, although the kids have broken the gate, so I have to stand there holding it while the dogs potter around. But the place I’m moving to has a lot of open space, and I’ll be able to walk right out.

A happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2010

We had a lovely Thanksgiving. I took the guys out tracking; Amelia had a 45-minute-old track, with one open turn and start and end articles and an extra article on each leg. She ran it like a pro, although she overshot the turn (the wind was coming from behind us). Called her back, and she found the turn and both articles. Best of all, she clearly indicated when she ran out of scent. Reading her has been a challenge, so it’s nice to get a clear sign from her. And she did all her article indications!

I laid a serpentine HITT track for the boys in the parking lot, and they tracked the Giant Shedding Pepperoni Monster. Ran Professor first, and he did well until the basketball game started. We were heading toward the b’ball court, and he doesn’t like kids, and he wasn’t thrilled with the noise the ball made. He just stopped and stared for a while, but eventually he got back to work and finished the track. I started it with a pepperoni at each footstep, then every other step, then every third, gradually spreading them out ’til they were five steps apart. He even skipped a few treats.

Joey also chased the GSPM. He fringed the track a little, but generally followed it pretty well. He’s skipping some of the treats, so I guess he’s ready to have them spread them out a bit more.

I was really pleased with all of them, since we haven’t been tracking since last spring.

Then we came home, and the guys had chicken necks for dinner in honor of the day.