the sheltiechick blog

Springfield Agility Wrap-up

Agility in Springfield started out good, got weird, got better, then got worse… then got mostly better, then ended on a good note.

To start, we arrived Friday morning and got set up. Georgie ran in jumpers and snagged that last Q she needed to get her NAJ title. Yay little girly!! What a great way to start the weekend. We decided not to move her up for the rest of the weekend, mostly because she doesn’t have 12 weave poles. I debated moving her up and letting her see some tricky Open courses but not even attempting the weaves, but we decided it was more important to let her see some more Novice courses and just gain more confidence.
Next up was open jumpers. I pulled Payton out of his crate before his run… and promptly freaked out a bit because his face looked SUPER puffy. I asked my CVT friend to look at it and she agreed he was puffy, and thought he had some kind of lumpy nodule on the right side of his muzzle. After some quick discussion, I popped him a Benadryl. The puffiness went down pretty quickly, and he was in a good mood and playing, so I ran him and he seemed happy and fine. After about a half hour, the puffiness went down, and by his standard runs later he was back to normal. We thought maybe just sinuses from environmental allergies? Though I thought there was a possibility that there was a spider in his crate (I had just picked them up from my house Thursday night and loaded them into the car, and they were in my garage where they are definitely spiders.) and maybe a spider bit him.

Georgie then picked up her first ever standard Q, getting her first ever “double-Q,” so it was a good day for Georgie. Payton NQ’d both his runs, but I cut him some slack since his face was all puffy that morning.

That evening we had the great Hotel Tire Building and practiced the tire in the hotel room, and I felt better for what the next day held.

At 2AM Saturday morning, Payton woke me up by jumping in the bed and pressing himself against me, obviously upset. He kept shaking his head and was holding one ear off to the side – his right ear was bothering him. By 2:30AM, I didn’t know what do; he wasn’t settling down while holding him, stroking him, trying to physically prevent him from shaking his head. By that point, his fussing woke up my mom, so I turned the lights on and started trying to come up with another idea. I tried trimming the hair around his ear in case it was bothering him – nope. I tried cleaning it out with a cotton ball, and didn’t see anything gross in there… but when I really looked down inside the ear canal, I could see spots of blood. That’s never a good sign. So I pulled out the phone book to try and find the local emergency vet. I called and asked their advice, giving them the history with what happened with his puffy face, and they guessed possibly still allergies and recommended more Benadryl. I was of course happy to try it and avoid an emergency vet visit, so I gave him another Benadryl and tucked him into bed with me to hold him and see if he would calm down.
For a few minutes around 3:15 or so, it seemed like he was going to settle down… then he started panting again and shaking his head non-stop. At 3:30 it had been a half hour since the Benadryl and he was still pretty clearly in distress, so I put my clothes on and drove to the e-vet.

They had to sedate him to look down in his ear canal to make sure there wasn’t any kind of debris in there; there was nothing there, but she thought there might have been a small tear on his eardrum. So we were sent off with some ABX and some pain killers/mild sedative, and there’s really nothing else we can do except wait for him to get better. She said to have my regular vet re-check him in a week. We returned to the hotel at 4:30 in the morning and he was still quite drowsy from the sedative, so I tucked him into a crate and he slept for most of the night without further issue.

Saturday he seemed okay in the morning, but about mid-afternoon he was getting fidgety again. I gave him some Rescue Remedy and Traumeel and that seemed to help for a bit and got us through the afternoon. During his runs, he ran with as much joie de vivre as he always has and seemed quite pleased with himself – possibly the excitement made for a nice distraction – so I decided to run him instead of pulling. No Q’s, but I hardly expected a lot from him. Georgie ran as well but got no Q’s on Saturday either. He started fidgeting more in the evening, but I pushed it until 9pm to give him his meds again, hoping the mild sedative pill would help him sleep again. He was clearly in a foul mood, pouting in the crate the entire evening. I was exhausted, not having slept much myself the night before, and hated that he wasn’t feeling well and I couldn’t do anything to help him feel better, and it was COLD AS BALLS at the trial and I hate the cold, and I just really wanted to go home. But I’d already paid for my hotel and my runs, so I deemed to tough it out.

Sunday morning, Georgie started the morning with a nice run in novice jumpers, picking up an extra Q. Payton had a fair run in open jumpers but acted like he had no clue what weave poles were, and also shook his head a few times during his run, so I was kind of upset. Since it was quite cool out, I packed up and decided to work out of the car for our last runs so I would be ready to just put the dogs back in the car after their standard runs and go home. I took everybody on a nice long walk around the fairgrounds because there were hours to go between runs. Georgie’s standard run was first and she proved three days might just be too much for her. Payton’s run was next (with one dog between us, yay for Novice) and we had a bobble at the tunnel with Payton deciding the far (wrong) side of the tunnel was the preferred side, but instead of just bagging the run I stuck it out and got him in the right side of the tunnel. He stuck his contacts the best he had done all weekend, decided the table wasn’t worth getting up on right away, but ran the rest of the course pretty nicely.

I left the ring thinking the tunnel had done us in, but a competitor I know was outside the ring and said “No, I’m pretty sure that was a Q.” So instead of putting the dogs in the car and driving off annoyed and ribbon-less, I stuck around to wait and see…

And sure enough, there it was. Payton got the last Novice Standard Q he needed to secure his NA title.

Hurray!!! We aren’t entered in any more trials and probably won’t do anything until next spring, so it was nice to wrap up the season by finally cleaning up that novice title. Payton is officially out of Novice!

Both dogs have MASSIVE homework lists for this winter and so much to do. I also have the tiny matter of a half-marathon in April to prepare for, training for which has taken a backseat to working Payton. Now I will hopefully be able to strike a better balance and get both things done, and by the time we get back at it in the spring, things will be cleaner, faster, and much much better!

I haven’t edited videos yet because I am still exhausted, but glad to have picked up two titles this weekend. Payton is also feeling much, much better now, shaking his head far less, playing and throwing toys at me, and happy to curl up on the floor and get his belly rubbed instead of sulking in a crate. Georgie, however, is rather mad because I won’t let her jump on Payton’s head and chew his ears. Poor poor Georgie.

This Is What Happens At Trials

Payton went under the tire today in his standard run – twice. He did this once in Indy too, but at least that time I got him back and he actually jumped the tire. Today he was like NOPE NOT GOING THROUGH IT MUST GO UNDER NOPE NOPE.

On our way to get dinner, we pulled in and I discovered we were next to a Menards Hardware Store.

So what is happening right now? I bought a ten foot piece of irrigation tubing, scissors, and a roll of yellow duct tape, and I made a tire, and we’re practicing it in the hotel room.

I sent a photo to our trainer and she texted me back “Ha! You’re drunk and you made your own tire!”
And I said THAT IS PRECISELY WHAT IS HAPPENING because I’m totally drinking.

The tubing fit in the trunk of my car. I had to get it up and into the hotel room. I went down to get it out of the trunk and OF COURSE there was somebody sitting in their car idling when I went down there. And I’m like “Ahhhhh no, go away, I don’t want anybody to see this because it’s going to look crazy and ridiculous! Go away!” I fiddled around in the trunk for a little bit and they STILL were sitting there. Okay. Look. I know I’m crazy. But I don’t care. So I pulled the ten feet of irrigation tubing out of the trunk of my car and walked right past this person sitting in their car and took it up the stairs of the Red Roof Inn and into my hotel room.

Indy Trial Wrap-up

Well, Friday night brought on some excitement. I fell while bringing some things in from the car to our hotel room and twisted my ankle. Saturday morning I made an emergency run to Wal-Mart and bought some athletic tape to wrap it up because it still hurt, even though I slept with a pillow under my foot to keep it elevated. Even better – as I was packing up to leave the hotel and MAKE the emergency Wal-Mart run, I realized I was having a migraine aura. Awesome!! I took a migraine med and then a fistful of Ibuprofen, and happily, within about an hour, I was feeling back to normal (minus my sore ankle.) I had to wonder if it’s a GOOD thing or a BAD thing that I know how to wrap my ankle. Yay me for being a distance runner!
So Saturday was… interesting. Very interesting.

Georgie would have her NAJ after this weekend except I was stupid and sent her over a wrong jump. The ending of her course was the same as Payton’s for open jumpers, except in Payton’s course you took THIS jump then that, that, that one… and in her course you just did that, that, and that jump. Well, I sent her over the THIS jump. Bad bad handler ripped Georgie out of a Q and what would have otherwise been her title, because she got another jumpers Q on Sunday.

P came home from all three days with no ribbons and a handful of rotten performances, some for reasons that are just due to inexperienced baby dog, and some due to… I don’t really know what reasons. I wish I was able to point more clearly at what was going on (or what wasn’t going on.) The real plus I came away with for P this weekend: he ran his open jumpers course on Sunday at 5.91 YPS, and that speed is brought down by having to redo his weave entry (all that work on weave pole performance this past couple of weeks, and only ONE TIME did he get his entry the first time – and it was after he already NQ’d his run so OF COURSE) and a second spinning refusal later. Holy crap. I knew it felt really fast, but I didn’t realize until I looked at the times exactly how fast. SCT was 43 sec, his time was 23 sec. The closest time after that was a small border collie at 31 sec. If Payton had run clean and smooth he would have smoked the course under 20 sec.

So just a, um, minor problem of learning how to control the wild man. I’m hoping time and experience will shape things up. Some lady walked past us as I was taking P out to potty and she said “Oh, there’s that wild dog!!” Yeeeeep, that he is. That he is. Sunday on the drive home I announced I want a shirt that says PAYTON SUCKS. And I just saw that AKC is considering rules that will allow people to wear clothing with their dog’s name on it. PERFECT.

Editing the videos together was a little disheartening because they look worse to me than they felt at the time, but I’m probably just being far too critical of two baby dogs.
Georgie completely refused to do the chute this weekend:

And then there’s Payton…

Indy Trial, Day 1

Georgie got her first Q today! She took 1st and Q’d in JWW.

Payton bit on some kind of wonky angle in open jumpers and ran around a jump, we’re not sure what was going on but a lot of dogs even in excellent (the sequence of jumps was the same) were running out. Also missed his weave entry because there’s a huuuuuge fan spinning at this place and it basically causes strobes on the floor, so he came out of the tunnel into the strobes and had to go straight into the weaves – no go. Nailed them the second time though. Darn refusals!

Standard was a mess, it had been a long day and neither dog wanted to do the weave poles with the off course a-frame staring them in the face. Georgie was a bit of an off-course mess (still did really great for a baby dog!) but she stayed on her teeter today!

Ughhhhhh I just really wanted P to get his last standard Q, because I literally ran Payton, ran upstairs to put him back in his crate, grabbed Georgie, went downstairs, shoveled five pieces of hot dog in her mouth, then ran Georgie. I wanted him out of Novice so I don’t have two in the same class anymore! We’ll get it eventually. (BUT I WANT IT NOOOOOOW.)