What Have we Been Up To

COVID put a bit of a damper on our usual obedience, field and rally competitions, but we did fit some in.

In early September, Kiana made her CKC rally debut. With Huib, she earned an 89 and 88. She was excited during her first run, but settled as they went along. In her second run, she was distracted by something near the door, so Huib had trouble keeping her attention. Overall, I think she did a pretty good job!!!

The following day, Arizona tried to earn two passes towards her CDI, intermediate obedience) title. She ran into some issues during her first run. Our heeling exercise was really good!! I lost her on the outside post of the figure-eight, but she caught up and we did a good job. When we did the recall and the jumps, she had a velcro bum. Even though we have practiced this stuff in class and at home, she didn’t realize I wanted her to come for real. I think she thought I actually wanted her to stay where I left her. We had more success in her second run. I added her name onto the cues and that seemed to help. Our heeling pattern was even better than the first run, so I’m quite proud of her. We earned a 190. I know we had our issues, but I still think Ari did a fabulous job!!!

This past weekend we took Kiana to a hunt test. She attempted to earn another pass towards her JH (junior hunter) title. Huib was her handler, as her and I are still having timing issues. Even though she tries to give me the duck, I often miss it before she lets go. We will keep practicing over the winter. Kiana did a wonderful job!!! She handed Huib the duck each time and marked her birds well. I think she’s doing well for 20 months of age. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our little girl. She absolutely loves retrieving ducks.

We have decided to retire Arizona from field/hunt tests. It seems as though retrieving ducks isn’t rewarding to her. We will focus on rally and obedience instead. She appears to really enjoy them.

School is back in session for kids, so I’m not sure what tests and trials will be held this fall. The COVID cases are on the rise again. I had hoped to run Canyon, Rogue and Kiana in field tracking, but we will have to wait and see what happens. The test is in early november, so we’ve got some time.

Field Class

Field class has restarted. We need to be careful about bringing COVID-19 to Huib’s work, so we do one-on-one training.

Last week we only worked with Arizona. We did a couple training doubles on land and in the water, as well as some casting (directing her). So far Ari is only working on the forward (aka ‘back’) direction. Ari did well with the land doubles, only needing a bit of encouragement to go get the second bumper or duck, but in the water she struggled more with the second.

This week we had a chance to work with both girls.

Arizona did some training doubles on land and in the water. Like last week, she did better on land than in the water. She has also started to break (go before I cue her to do so), but we will work on that separately.

Susie feels she is taking advantage of me, so I am wondering if it might be better for Huib to work with her from now on. He will be able to see when she is looking towards her second bumper or duck, and will be able to send her at the right time. Maybe it’s mostly my lack of timing. Who knows.

With Kiana, we worked on singles. We need to fix some of her work. We need to work on walking to the line calmly, not breaking, and on coming straight to me – especially in the water. We had a long line on her, but we had to let go when she went for the bumper, so she still had an opportunity to self-reward. She thinks it’s fun to play with the bumper or bird in the water, instead of bringing it to me.

Even though we have work to do, I absolutely love her enthusiasm and drive!!!

I like that I can ask her to re-do something, and she doesn’t fall apart. I like that I can stop her mid-movement and re-send her without her falling apart. Ari is such a sensitive girl.

So Kiana can no longer self-reward, I think we are going to attach our second long line to the other one. It will then be 70 feet, so I won’t have to let it go.

Wish us luck. 🙂

Chickens

I don’t have too much new to report about the dogs. I started a RebelFire Goldens Facebook page for puppy families, friends and families on the waiting list to share stories and see pictures.

About two weeks ago we got chickens. We got two silky crosses, an Ameraucana 4 olive easter eggers, and 4 barred rocks. One of the silky crosses ended up being a rooster, so he found a new home last week. Yesterday we found out that at least one of the olive Easter eggers is a male, so he’s in search of a new home. We suspect one more of the olives is a boy, so he’ll be moving on as well. In Guelph we are allowed 10 birds and none of them can be roosters. Once the roosters find new homes, we’ll be down to eight hens. We bought them for fresh eggs, and to raise.

Their coop is a little red and white barn, and their run is fully enclosed. We used two Xpens to build it. Huib also put up a 5.5 foot black metal fence to keep the dogs back.

For enrichment, we put in a landscaping rock and a wood thing they can climb on and perch. Huib is also going to make them a swinging perch, and a chicknic table. There are food dispensing toys you can buy chickens, but we’ll wait a bit on those. On warm days, we put frozen fruit kabobs in the run. We can also make ice cubes with corn or peas inside, or hang a cabbage for them to peck at and peel. It’s so neat to see all the things you can do for your chickens.

I joined a clicker training chickens group on Facebook. I’m not sure how much I’ll teach the ladies, but even having them come to their names would be cool. We named them after Disney characters.

Elsa is a silky cross. Arial is an Ameraucana. Queenie (aka Queen of Hearts) is an olive, and Maleficent is also an olive. We haven’t named the barred rocks yet, as they are too small to see any differences.

If you follow me on Instagram (@ruledbypaws), you can see pictures of the ladies. If you do follow us, let me know, so I can follow you back.

Strange Time

I really need to get better about posting here.

It’s a strange time. Everyone around the world is in varying levels of quarantine, as there is a virus (COVID-19) sweeping the globe. Right now, Canadians are being asked to self-quarantine as much as possible, only going out when absolutely necessary.

Huib is a nurse and the Director of Nursing Care at a long-term care home, so we can only stay as safe as possible. He changes before leaving work and immediately washes his hands upon entering the house. We clean all food and packaging, and we only go out for daily walks with the dogs or for groceries once in a while. As I said, it’s a strange time.

Since Huib still needs to work, our daily schedule really hasn’t changed much. I read and do short training sessions with the dogs during the day, and in the evenings we go for a walk and watch Netflix. I miss our training classes, but at least most of it can still be done at home.

If all goes well, we will hopefully be back to our regular training schedule by the summer. I would really like Arizona and Kiana to earn their WCI, and for Kiana to finish off her JH. As for Rogue and Canyon, I’d love for both of them to earn their TDX.

I keep forgetting to post pictures, but you can see what we’re up to by following our adventures on Instagram at @ruledbypaws.

Puppy Update

Arizona’s puppies are now nine days old. They are all happy, healthy and gaining regularly. As of today, they are between 1.8 and 2.1 pounds.

It has been an amazing experience, watching them grow and learn to navigate the world. Right now, they can only crawl, but I think they will all be walking really soon. In the next few days they should have their eyes open and be able to hear, so it will be even cooler to witness.

Arizona’s energy has returned to her pre-pregnancy level, so she’s beginning to spend more tie outside of the whelping box, and needs long walks to reduce her restlessness. She is still a wonderful mom.

Here and here are some pictures of the family, as well as a couple of individual ones. We have assigned this litter the theme of names inspired by songs by P!nk, so their names are: Trauma, Trouble, Fun, Party, Hazard, Escape, Love, Toast, Revenge, and Fire.

Until next time, stay safe and have fun!!!

They Have Arrived!!!

*** This post is backdated ***

At about 2:00pm, Arizona went into labour. She had been restless for the past couple of days, but did not really give us any clear-cut signs the time was coming. As a result, her breeder wasn’t able to make it until after the first puppy had arrived.

Ari was a bit unsure when the first puppy, a girl, arrived. She was interested in licking the puppy, but also wanted to get out of the whelping box, so I sat in it with her, while Huib did what he needed to do with the pup. After each, he tore open the placenta, tied and cut the umbilical cord, and then held the puppy for Ari to clean, before handing it off to me for drying. Once the puppy was dry enough, we weighed it and then put it onto Arizona. She was a great mom once her maternal hormones kicked in.

Her delivery of each puppy went so smoothly, that we were able to leave the prior puppies nursing while the next arrived. She just laid on her side and let her body do its thing. Her breeder was pretty impressed, especially when it only took her five hours to deliver 10 puppies.

The first and last puppies were girls.

In total she had, six boys and four girls. Initially, we thought it was five and five, but after a few days, we realized our count was off, lol!!!

This link will take you to a Facebook post where I share photos of the new family. It is public, so you should be able to view it.

So far the puppies aren’t too much work, but by the time they turn four weeks, things will get very busy!!!

I will try to post semi-regularly. I do post on Instagram and Facebook almost daily.

The Good and the Not So Good

On Thursday evening, Rogue and I got together with D for a run. It was a lot warmer than Tuesday, so I found myself taking longer to catch my breath after a run. Nevertheless, we made it through our workout of: 100 m running and 300 m walking, four times.

*****
On Friday morning we met up with Laura to do some tracking in the field with Rogue and Canyon. It has been about six months or more since either of them tracked in a field, so we were curious to see where they were at.

Canyon struggled with parts of the track that went against the grain, but did amazingly well on other parts. I think with weekly practice, he will be ready to try for his TD this fall.

Rogue’s track wasn’t crazy long, or challenging, but I thought she was fabulous!!! I found her easy to read and I didn’t notice her struggle at any point. I am really hoping to attempt her TDX in the fall. This will be our second try.

*****
On Saturday, Huib and I took Arizona to a UKC rally trial. She only needed one more leg to finish off her RO1 title, so we decided to only enter the one day.

Their first run was awesome!!! She qualified with a score of 96!!!

She lost a few marks for a tight leash, but otherwise their run was beautiful!!!

In their second run, Huib accidentally missed a station, so they did not qualify. Rally is tough, as the signs are pretty close together, so it is easy to miss a station.

Overall, I thought they did a pretty fantastic job!!!

*****
On Sunday morning, we met up with Laura to do some urban tracking. Even though it was pretty hot – 26 – the dogs did a pretty awesome job!!!

Arizona had a short, but challenging track. Laura wanted to get her back into tracking, rather than continuously giving up when it got tough, so she tried to give her a good experience. She added in a bit more hard surface than she is used to, but this did not create any problems. If I had to give her a mark, I think I’d give her an 80%.

Canyon’s track had some long grass and contamination, but neither one caused an issue. I will give him an 85%.

Rogue found one corner a bit tough, but I didn’t have to help her and she figured it out. I thought she did a really amazing job on her track, so she gets a 90%!!!

*****
Yesterday Rogue and I ran with D. According to the schedule we are following, our assignment was: 200 m running and 200 m walking, four times. I wasn’t sure how it was going to go, as my migraines were horrible Sunday and Monday, so I did not get a workout in. It went surprisingly well. I struggled to get through the final 200 m of running, but I did it!!!

D and I meet again Thursday, so we are going to try some new things with the warm-up. We are going to try a slow jog with a walk just before we hit the trail. I’ll let you know how it works.

Last night was our final field class of the season. I’m sad it’s over, but I think we also need to take a break and reassess where the holes in Arizona’s training exist. I thought this was possibly our worst class in a while.

Ari refused to pick up a duck, something she has not done in a really long time, and she seemed to have a lot of trouble locating her marks. I was totally fine with her initially hesitating to pick up a different kind of bird, but to refuse a duck was frustrating!!! I’m not sure why she found the marks so challenging, maybe a break will help us both.

As you can see, it’s been a pretty mixed week so far.

Success and Struggles

On Saturday, Huib and Arizona made their CKC rally debut. They earned a qualifying score of 90 in the first trial, and 83 in the second. In the first trial, they primarily lost points because of a tight leash. Ari still gets distracted and sniffy in the ring. In the second trial, they lost points because of a tight leash, and because Huib went up the wrong side of the weaves – OOPSIE!!! Overall, it was a good experience.

Arizona sitting with a rosette attached to her collar.

This weekend, Ari will hopefully finish off her RO1, which is the UKC version of rally novice. She will attempt to complete her CKC RN at the end of the month.

*****

In training news. I have decided to stop training for the Victoria half marathon, as I was beginning to dislike running, and I really do not have enough time to train. Six weeks is really not enough time for anyone to train for such a long distance.

Instead, I have decided to go back to the beginning and work through one of Jeff Galloway’s training programs. I am going to work through his four week plan that will have me running a full mile. Once I complete that schedule, I’ll move onto his two mile plan. I’m hoping by taking a step back, I will find my love for running.

Sunday, was the first day of my new schedule. It went well. I did a five minute warm-up at 3.1 miles, then did four reps of 0.08 mi (or 100 m) at 4.8 and 0.16 mi (or 300 m) at 3.4, with a five minute cool down at 3.0.

My guide runner is back for the school year, so we got together on Tuesday. D, Rogue and I did a brisk walk warm-up, then did 100 m at a comfortable run and 300 m at a brisk walking pace, with a cool down at a less brisk pace. The weather was nice, with a comfortable temperature of 20 C. Both D and I over-dressed, wearing pants and long-sleeved shirts (I actually wore my jacket over a t-shirt), so by the end, I needed to take my jacket off.

On the weekend, Huib and I went to Mountain Equipment Co-op for new hiking boots and a day-pack for me to use when running with Rogue. I got a really comfortable pair of men’s black/grey Keens. I got a men’s pair, as they only had a limited number of women’s left. I am an 8.5 or 9, but they only had a 10.5 left. My new backpack is medium blue and has a hydration pack built in for summer. I needed a small pack that i could put Rogue’s harness into, while we ran, but that would not bounce around. I use my new pack on Tuesday, and it was perfect!!!

D and I get together again on Thursday.

*****

Last night we had field class. We arrived at 6pm and no one was really ready to work, so we took Ari over to a pond and did some bumper retrieves. I held her, asked her to “MARK,” and Huib tossed in two bumpers. I released her and she went to get a bumper. When she gave it to me, I asked her to “Find your mark, where’s your mark.” When she looked towards it, I released her. She easily swam over to it, so when she returned the bumper, I held her and Huib tossed three bumpers in. She was able to find two, but struggled a bit with the third, so we repeated the three-bumper toss. Ari did a lot better on her second attempt, so we ended the session with a fun bumper toss.

During class we worked on land retrieves. Susie had three gunner stations, so Ari did a double and then retrieved a single bird. She struggled with the double, but Susie told us not to worry, as it was a tough setup. To try and help her learn, Susie had us run through the exact same setup after a couple other dogs had run. Ari still found the double confusing.

Here are a couple pictures from her second run.

Arizona running through a field with a duck in her mouth.

Arizona handing me the duck. I am wearing black pants with an off-white jacket and a pink baseball cap.

We’ll get there someday…

Week in Review

On Thursday, Huib laid tracks for everyone on his way home from work. Both Canyon and Rogue did well, but Arizona didn’t do quite as good. Canyon ran into problems on the third leg, but worked it out. Rogue had to work out a couple spots that were more contaminated, but didn’t really run into any major issues. Ari had a tough time settling into the track, but after the second turn, she did a good job. Her main problem in the beginning was related to distraction, but she figured things out.

After tracking, we got out a frisbee and bumper for a game of fetch. The dogs had a blast. Canyon tends to hog the toys, so we always bring two.

Later on, I attempted to do three miles on the treadmill, plus a 10 minute warm-up and five minute cool down. I made sure to hydrate and eat before my workout, but I still ran into issues – deciding to give up after 2.5 miles. I had a migraine all day, so was highly medicated. I think I ran into a mix of energy problems from the meds, and a bit of a mental block that keeps me from pushing harder. I had to take a 30 second break after 1.5 miles, as my breathing was too heavy, but otherwise it went okay.

I need to figure out how to get over this mental block, otherwise I am not going to be able to do the half marathon on October 8. Already, I think I am leaving things a bit tight.

Yesterday, we took the dogs for a 9.2 kilometre hike along The Avon Trail, near St. Jacob’s. It was forecasted to be about 27, plus humidity, so we packed lots of water. Canyon wore his Ruffwear Swamp Cooler and Palisade’s Pack, but halfway through, he seemed to be warm, so we took the pack off. I think the vest was having trouble keeping him cool with the pack on. The girls wore their Front Range Harnesses, and got to spend a lot of the time off leash. I really think we should get an activity tracker for Ari, as I’m pretty sure she probably did triple the distance we did. Canyon stayed on leash with us, so we didn’t have to worry about him getting into the numerous water and mud holes along the trail.

When we were done, Arizona was so covered in burrs, that we had to combed her out a bit before she got into the car. Since Canyon didn’t get into as much of the taller grass, he had only a few burrs, while Rogue had none. I think her short fur makes it tough for burrs to attach.

This morning, we had tracking with Laura and another person. Rogue did a fabulous job on her track!!! She really didn’t have any problems. Arizona did a pretty good job. She tried to give up two-thirds of the way through, as I think she was warm, but Huib encouraged her to keep going and she finished out. Canyon had an uncharacteristically poor day – at least lately it’s uncharacteristic. He was distracted and really never settled in to track. It might have been because he found a baseball along the first leg, or because there were 30-40 geese hanging out, or maybe it just wasn’t his day. We’ll probably lay another track for him on Wednesday.

Adventures in Running: Training Update

I haven’t talked about my running or swimming much this summer on the blog.

I have been running regularly, but not swimming often.

On June 24th, I did a five kilometre race at Guelph Lake. The route was very hilly, and it was raining a lot, so my time wasn’t the greatest – about 47 minutes. I wasn’t happy with the time, but given the conditions, and lack of outdoor running leading up to the race, I guess it wasn’t that horrible.

On August 11th, I did a 10 kilometre race with my friend Jason and a couple guys he runs with. Overall, the race went well. My final time was 1:26, which is about 8.1 minutes per kilometre. I was pretty happy with my time.

I need to work on my endurance and on finding a pace that i can do for a long period of time. I ran too fast during the first five kilometres, so at about the eighth, I began to struggle. I am still doing races in a run/walk interval, so as I got closer to the end, my walk portion of the interval got longer. I started with a 1/1 interval, but then went to a 30/1 interval, and ended the race at a 30/90 interval – BLAH!!!

On October 8th, there is a marathon in Victoria. I have decided to try doing the half marathon with my friend Jess, and a couple of her friends.

I began training a while ago, but my more serious training started last week. I am using a modified version of Jeff Galloway’s Run/Walk Half Marathon Plan. I had to modify it, as I really only have six weeks to train.

Last week went pretty well. I started with a 1.5 mile run/walk interval, with a 10 minute warm-up and five minute cool down. The next day, I did a two mile run/walk interval with a warm-up and cool down. I cannot do more than two days in a row, so I took the following day off.

On Sunday, I attempted to do a three mile run/walk, with my usual warm-up and cool down. It did not go well, at all!!!

I gave up at two miles. 🙁

Looking back, I didn’t drink enough throughout the day, and I was hungry before I even started, so my hamstrings were uncomfortable and I didn’t have the energy to push through.

On Monday, we went to the Victoria Road Recreation Centre for their 9pm swim. I haven’t gone to the pool in a month or so, but it really didn’t seem to matter. I swam 1100 metres, with my first 500 metres being in about 23 minutes!!!

Tuesday, I made sure to drink three bottles of water and a Gatorade over the morning/afternoon, and ate a bowl of Mini Wheats an hour or so prior to my workout.

I got through 2.5 miles, with my usual warm-up and cool down, without absolutely any discomfort!!! My only issue was boredom, so I listened to music, which mostly helped.

Hydration, nutrition and boredom are going to be my primary challenges with this training. I need to remind myself to drink regularly, and to plan meals, so I’m not just grabbing whatever is convenient. Huib boiled some eggs last night, so that will help. I will need to buy some fruit and figure out other easy, but nutritious snacks.

As for overcoming my boredom. I usually listen to dog training podcasts or music. This works most of the time, but I also find myself obsessing over how much further I need to go – something that will not help when you’re goal is doing 21 kilometres!!!

With my current training plan, I am not worrying about speed, but focusing on endurance and finding a pace that I can do continuously. Right now, I am working at a running pace of 4.6 miles (for 2 minutes) and a walking speed of 3.4 (for a minute). My usual running pace on the treadmill is 5.5, but this is not yet a speed I can do for longer periods of time.

Last night, the humidity and temperatures finally went down to a comfortable level, so we took the dogs for a 5.6 kilometre walk. Every other day is a rest or cross training day for me, so walking is what I chose.

Today, I am going to attempt to do three miles. Please wish me luck, lol!!!

Jess and I haven’t registered for the half marathon yet, as we worry about my migraines causing problems with the schedule. If we decide the half isn’t possible, then we may do an unofficial one of our own, using the same route.

I will keep everyone posted on my progress. i find it easier to remain accountable and motivated when I share my work with others.