Monthly Archives: February 2015

Time off… And I got out of sync…

Jay and I went to Palm Springs for almost three weeks and I did ZERO agility with Rush and Dancer. I ran with them, played ball in the yard with them, hung out on the couch with them, fed them lots of good food, massaged them. Spoiled them, as they deserve, just for being the wonderful companions they are.

Then I came back, did one practice with Rush (and a little with Dancer) and went to an AKC trial with Rush and did four runs a day for three out of four weekend days.

Friday was a flaming disaster. Rush lunged at me for my poor timing, which I richly deserved. We utterly failed to Q. Hardly a surprise, since I was late with every cue, frantically trying to keep up with him instead of giving him the information he needed when he needed it even if I was behind, and in general a mess. I threw away a FAST Q by being greedy for points—I gave him terrible signals and he responded with a lunge and I walked him out…

Saturday I worked with my jumping skills group and worked on zen handling and timing with Rush, then went back to the trial Sunday. Things went better. Rush got a Q in Time to Beat (and 8 points for the fourth-fastest time), and moreover, he responded when I sent him to his leash at the end of runs. There were astonishingly lovely bits to all his runs.

Monday was better than Sunday. Qs in Time to Beat and FAST. He finished his Time to Beat title in style, with the fastest time in the class by almost four seconds. In Jumpers, he took a curve of three jumps to the weaves with me twenty feet away–although my handling was not as elegant in other parts of the course and I had to make him stop and settle for a moment. In standard, he entered the weaves and came straight out the other side, always a sign that I should have made sure he shat before the run. He did then take the weaves and the rest of the run went beautifully–of course.

I am encouraged that we are having so many good parts. It’s down to being (generally) one stupid mistake on my part. This is huge.

Oh yes, and he went to his leash on three of four runs. Progress. Huge progress.

Heads Up! This one is BORING! (Dieting and food and exercise. Like I said. BORING.)

I started this blog (8 or so years ago) with the intent of having it be a training log so that I could keep track of what I was doing. Now it’s become much more of a journal. Anyway. I’m excited (and no one else really cares much) because I’ve now lost just over forty pounds. I like round numbers and that one is divisible by 10 (four times!) which makes it especially likable. I started trying to lose weight by seeing a nutritionist in August of 2012 and that worked for a while–I lost thirty pounds in about a year–then I maintained for a year, then I decided to get serious again (since I’d gained some weight while training for last summer’s bike travel down the Oregon coast) and started going to Weight Watchers, mainly because of the public shaming aspect of it.

All I really did was commit to showing up on Mondays at noon for a meeting, but having committed to that–and paid for it on the automatic payment plan–then I feel like I don’t want to gain weight from week to week. Public shaming. I could stop going, but I’m adverse to wasting money. This is working.

I’ve also decided to be more serious about my running training. I like running. The dogs like it when I run with them. Getting more serious has made a difference. While Jay and I were in Palm Springs (for the annual get-fit-for-spring cycling boot camp that Jay has created for us), I ran two five-kilometer events. Well, one of them was a 6K, but I went through 5K at 37 minutes. A week later, I did the 5K at 35.01 minutes. I am still patting myself on the back for that one. Huge improvement over last fall’s 41-and-change, but of course that was up and down on Mt. Tabor.

Besides going to Weight Watchers, running, and counting all those stupid points (although it’s probably easier than counting calories directly), I’m also a) not eating anything where the first label ingredient is sugar, b) avoiding factory-produced foods as much as possible, c) only eating 7 French fries if I eat any, and d) eating an absolutely horrifying amount of fruits and vegetables. All of this seems to working to the tune of about half a pound a week. So it’ll only be another year to lose the twenty-four more pounds I’m hoping to lose.

And then I just need to keep eating carefully for the rest of my life. Not a big deal at all.

Slow Training

I was thinking about training this morning. Not actually doing any training, mind you, just thinking about it. What I was thinking was “wow, it’s been a while since Rush made any fuss about going into his crate.” I remember when he was a puppy: the crate was a place to sit and howl. I had to pick him up and put him in for a long time. Yesterday, though, he actually ran into his crate when I gave the cue (“Puppy jail!”*). He was faster than Dancer.

How did that change come about? Slow training. I didn’t spend hours every day drilling crate games. I didn’t want to make the crate exciting and thrilling. I want my dogs to go into their crates, lie down, and go to sleep (or just relax) until I come back. I want the crate to be a refuge from the world. When I ask my dogs to go to their crates, I follow them there (or take them there if they’te feeling reluctant), give them a few nice treats, and then walk away. They spend time in their crates almost every day, because my dogs do not get the free run of the house while I’m gone. Sometimes, I close the crate door while the dogs are out of the crate and toss a few treats in, so they want to go in. Sometimes, I send them to their crates (cue “puppy jail!”, as I said), give them some treats, and let them out immediately.

Slow training. I didn’t expect immediate results. I wasn’t trying to get a snappy sit or a perfect set of weave poles. I was trying to make a place in my house a special place. It took time. Rush is three and three-quarters now and he’ll live another ten years (I hope)–it’s okay that it took a while for his crate to become a favorite place. Now he sleeps in there even when he doesn’t have to.

*”Puppy jail” is the cue Elly chose for going to her crate, years and years ago. “Kennel up!”–the traditional cue–resulted in a slow despairing walk to her crate, but “puppy jail!” resulted in a sprint to see who could get there first. Elly had a sense of humor.

Rush in his crate