I have had the past four days off work and challenged myself to get caught up on blog posts. I think I am pretty much there. I waited to publish all the posts at about the same time - tonight - so that there will be no skipping and jumping chronologically. I should be able to catch up on emails in the next couple of days. It was good to have "time off" and now it is good to be corresponding again.
My blogging, emailing, and Facebooking have necessarily been on hold for the past month. One reason for it was a large annual, work-related responsibility that required a lot of my time and attention. I have completed this project which is great to be able to say.
The other reason is that, on February 1, I began daily training sessions with all four dogs. I have not worked at this type of training in decades and I have been eager to revisit it for several years. But I had really been stuck on HOW? Training methodologies are important to me and things have changed a lot in the years since I was involved. Amidst the myriad of varying information available and my own often highly conflicting views, I had not been able to arrive at the HOW. Not until late last year, that is, when I bought a textbook on learning theory and behavior, ordered some DVDs that I hoped would be helpful (they were!), finally opened a set of excellent horse (yep!) training books I got at Equine Affaire a few years ago, and did some studying on the internet. All of this culminated in the training sessions that began the first of this month.
Things have really clicked (hah!) and my dogs and I are very much enjoying ourselves! But establishing the habit of daily training sessions, planning what to train (first, second, third, etc), how to train, when to train, when to go back, when to maintain, and when to move on, has required a lot of start-up brain power. I spent a good portion of my time at home devoted to this endeavor and I am so glad I did.
It is all coming to me more readily now. I have the basic training structure in place and it has become part of our day. And when I walk past the room where we have been training and see one or more of the dogs sitting there waiting and hopeful for a training session, then I know all the effort to figure out HOW has been worth it. My dogs have craved the training even more than I.
There is a webpage called Dog Vision with some very interesting information on how dogs perceive colors and brightness. How this was all determined seems miraculous to me. But that's my perspective on science anyway. Miraculous. : )
I have known that dogs do not have the visual acuity that humans do. But I have also understood that dogs see movement in low light situations better than people. This is not, however, mentioned in the article.
From a memo posted today by the Companion Events Department of the American Kennel Club:
The AKC Agility staff has finished reviewing the safety concerns posed by the Tire Jump at AKC agility trials. The AKC Board of Directors has approved the regulation allowing the use of a break-away tire for AKC agility trials.
The memo goes on to state that the new tire will consist of two segments connected at the top to allow independent movement of each section, should the dog's actions break the tire open. The setting for the connection is to be 16-20 pounds of horizontal force which shall be confirmed by pulling with a calibrated scale until the segments pull apart.
Breaking apart the tire jump will result in a non-qualifying score (NQ).
Agility exhibitors are very happy with this regulation change. The reason is obvious with just this one example of what can happen when a dog catches so much as toes on the solid tire jump. This is my agility instructor Jennifer Crank and her dog Xtreme.
[Nadja is DC Nadja v Dorndorf L SE, owned by Tina Knoll of Mississippi.]
[Nadja's daughter Babe is ABS3 FC Bob's Babe von Knobydox, also owned by Tina Knoll.]
At today's field trial of the Mission City Dachshund Club of San Antonio, Nadja was called back High and Won the class of nine Field Champion Bitches. Nadja was handled by her owner Tina Knoll.
Babe, handled by Laura Knoll for Tina, placed 3rd in the same class.
Good going and another BIG congratulations to the Knoll tribe for your efforts and successes in Kirbyville, Texas this weekend!!
[Oslo is ABS10 FC Audi Oslo von Dorndorf CA CGC, owned by Stan Knoll of Mississippi.]
[Babe is ABS3 Bob's Babe von Knobydox, owned by Tina Knoll of Mississippi.]
At the field trial of the Mission City Dachshund Club of San Antonio held in Kirbyville, Texas today, Oslo was back High and finished 2nd of 9 Field Champion Dogs. Oslo was handled by his owner Stan Knoll.
And Babe was NBQ of 12 Field Champion Bitches, handled by Laura Knoll for owner Tina Knoll.
Congratulations to all of you!
There is a page on the Dog Show Scores website with a summary of statistics for 2012. Included are all-breed stats for Obedience, Rally, and Agility, broken down by Numbers Entered, Numbers Qualified, and Qualifying Rate per class. I can only imagine how much work goes into compiling and maintaining such a database!
It is interesting to see these statistics. If nothing else, it gives greater appreciation for the efforts and accomplishments of those who participate in these performance sports, especially in some of the more advanced classes.
Also interesting are the numbers showing that the 8" agility dogs have higher Qualifying rates in both Standard and Jumpers than dogs of the other five height divisions. And the 8 inchers very nearly have the highest Q rate in the FAST classes, too.
Taya is 17 days in heat today. I have noticed the past few days that she is leaving a trail of urine when she voids. Normally, she just squats and pees all in one spot but not lately. Some snow allows me to take a photo with a line of urine visible. This one is about 10 feet long, I could not fit it all into one photo frame.
I have never had a female urinate like this. So I have googled a bit to see if I can find whether some bitches in estrus blatantly announce their reproductive status by leaving a long trail of urine. So far, I have not found anything. If anyone is familiar with dogs doing this, I would be interested to know about it.
It will also be interesting to see if the behavior stops in the next couple of days.
[Owl is ABS5 FC Alpine Owl von Dorndorf TD JE NA OAJ SchwhK SchwhKF Wa-T BHP-G LH, owned by Patricia Nance.]
Owl had an appointment today with Dr Mark McCloskey, canine reproduction specialist at the Canine Semen Bank of Columbus. The purpose of the visit was twofold. First, Owl, 8.5 years old, is our choice to father Babe's litter this spring. Second, due to his outstanding individual qualities and his pedigree, I intend to have some of Owl's semen frozen and stored for the possibility of future use. So a good evaluation was the next step.
Taya is in heat so I took her with us. Her presence made collecting Owl very easy. Dr Mark was pleased with the quantity of semen until some blood, too, came with it. He said that Owl has some prostatitis going on and that we should treat the prostate before collecting semen for freezing. Microscopically, Owl's sperm appeared to be about 70% normal and functionally motile. Mark noted that this is quite adequate for natural mating but, ideally, he would like the number of normal sperm to be about 90% before processing for storage. He thinks obtaining this increase is very doable.
Owl will be on 250 mg of Cipro twice a day for 30 days. Then we will reevaluate. I will keep you posted.