Tuesday, February 26, 2008

the big move

We've moved. Finally! The house is huge, but it will require a lot of work to get it in shape. For a myriad of reasons, most of them financial, we have to be living here in the new house as we undertake all the renovations. There's old wood panelling on all the walls and that will have to go, the floors will have to be replaced completely, we need to install new appliances and new cabinets in the kitchen. So it's going to be quite a project. But the dogs are really enjoying the fenced in yard and the extra space inside. It would be nice if we could get most of this done by the time the baby arrives...

I have a couple of clips of Uma from Lack. One is of our unfortunate jumpers run with three bars down and the other one of a more fortunate standard run. You can really see how slippery the footing was.

And a very cool picture by Hania Gajewska:

People still usually can't tell that I'm pregnant, unless they know that is, but I feel as if my belly has doubled in size in the past week and I'm really starting to have problems with things like getting in the car and such :-) The next trial within driving distance is on the first weekend of April and I can't help but wonder if I'll actually be able to run by that time. I'm certainly not feeling very agile now, but I'll probably enter and see how it goes. I'm officially six months pregnant and the baby is due June 24th. We know the sex and have a name and all is going as well as it could be expected to :-)

Eden has just turned 7 months old, but I think there's still a long, long way to maturity. Somehow, she seems to me the most puppish of all my dogs at this age, but maybe I've simply forgotten how it used to be. She's still pretty tiny, she's shorter than Uma at the withers, so she's maybe 18 inches at the most. She'll probably go up to 18.5-19, but certainly no more than that. I've had two really large Aussie girls (Mira and Shansa were both over 21"), so I appreciate this. She is still very, very amazingly outgoing and friendly to both people and other dogs and all kinds of animals. I have yet to see her snarl or growl at anything, she's not protective about her food or toys. In general, she's just a very EASY dog. I don't know what I've done to deserve such an easy dog, I guess I should be getting progressively more difficult dogs as my experience increases but well, here's Eden and she's a lot of fun. On sheep, I'm probably able to do more with her now than with my other dogs. But it's not me, it's just Eden. She doesn't dive in, she doesn't bite, she has very natural circling, she's very easy to push out to get distance and she doesn't shut down when I put pressure on her to push her out. She actually downs when I ask her to. She has cut down on the barking, though she's still not a silent worker. She's a natural at getting sheep out of pens and she actually seems to have a somewhat natural outrun. But really the coolest part is that I don't have to balance all the time between a correction strong enough to get the dog out of trouble, but not so strong that she'd shut down. She really doesn't shut down, plus she's rarely in trouble. I do weird things, which I seen when I watch clips of us together, I'm still gree, but she still manages to get me out of these situations. And she looks very cute doing it :-)

I'm planning on getting a clip of our work every month or so, so that I can track our progress (or lack of it). For now, I'm tempted to take her into a bigger pen:

We also still don't have internet (we should get hooked up in no more than 10 days) and I am suffering from withdrawal syndrome :-) I wrote all this at work instead of actually working :-)I am behind on all my e-mail, so please forgive me if I don't respond immediately. I'm also behind on work... Well...

Monday, February 11, 2008

trial in Lack

We went to a very nice trial in a very very nice and warm indoor arena this weekend. The footing was slippery, but most of the more experienced dogs coped well, the younger ones kept slipping and sliding out of the rinig. Uma coped pretty well, she happened to drop three bars all weekend, all on the same course, an otherwise very nicely run JWW round, where she had a speed of 4.6 m/s (that's a very good speed).
She did qualify with a first place in Standard A2, which gives her her first leg towards A3. This was a nice opening to an otherwise uneventful weekend.
I messed up most of our other runs with sloppy handling, either resulting from lack of training or inborn ineptitude. I'd love to blame my pregnancy for it, but the truth is that was not the case. Well, at least I did get some ideas for what I need to practice.

I did set up a kind of plan minimum for this year, which is to get her into A3 (so two more clean standard runs). Hopefully, this much I can do, big belly, baby and all.

I did get to meet some nice people whom I hadn't seen for a while, including a friend from Wroclaw with her 4-month old baby. The baby was awesome all weekend long, and she gave me some hope that YES, you can bring a baby to trials and everybody will survive this experience. There was also another mom with a 6-month old and the organizers even set up a separate "baby changing, breastfeeding room." I have to say I'm not going to pass up on these trials in the future even if the club doesn't get new carpeting ;-)

Sunday, February 3, 2008

some updates

I had big plans for entering Uma in tons of trials before my belly gets too big, but it seems like it's just not meant to be. First of all, it's just dead season, there's hardly anything available within driving distance. I did enter her in something last weekend, even though she had not practiced for a while because of her injury and the trial was a 6-hour drive. BUT... the car we were carpooling in to split the gas costs broke down on the way to the trial. Of course, it had to be in the middle of the night, 4.5 hours from home and 1.5 hours from our destination. I guess it had to be fate.

I am entered in something next weekend, much closer to home, but on horrible carpeting. But it should be fun anyway and I hope she can cope with the footing and I can cope with the trip. I tire pretty easily now, as I get used to the extra kilograms.

Meanwhile Eden turned 6 months old. Yes, it's amazing how time flies by. I guess by this time I feel pretty confident about knowing her, her strengths and weaknesses and such. First of all, she's an extremely EASY dog. Anything I try with her, she just does it. Anything I ask for, I get. This is really the most evident with sheep. At this point, she works very close and I'm a bit afraid to push her out more, but other than that - she just goes out there and does it. And she doesn't cause wrecks and she doesn't nip and she actually listents to me. She's an active, energetic dog, but she's not hyper or high-strung. I do complain a bit as well. I don't like the fact that she tires pretty easily and there are moments when I'd like MORE intensity, but in general I think there's good stuff there to work with in basically everything. She seems to be a truly versatile gal.

It does help that she's amazingly cute and endearing. She's little, as in short, which adds to the cuteness factor.

I have a little vid of us doing some puppy agility stuff, very low jumps and a tunnel: