It’s been a long time since my last blog and you may have noticed some changes in my website and email address in recent months. So let me start by first saying that as of November 2008, Tate and I are no longer together. He moved out and since then, Roxie and I have been on our own. So, now that THAT’S out of the way, on to better topics.
4/18/09 – Roxie trys for Senior Hunter
DAY ONE Well, she failed her first SH test miserably! It was as if she had never had a day of training in her life! She forgot almost every bit of training she has had. So this is what happened.
Once in the bird field, the other dog went on point, which I believe was at the same time Roxie caught scent of a dead bird right next to the other dog. She went straight for the dead bird and ignored the dog on point. That blows the honor. There was no other bird there so both dogs went separate ways. The next bird she ran over and tried to catch. I don’t even think she scented it at all. However, as the bird flew away, she stood and watched it go (hey, she remembered something). I went over to release her and walk her off in another direction. She went for a few steps then turned around and took off after the flown bird. She didn’t get too far and came back with minimal HERE commands. The next bird was sitting out in the open and she went right past it and ended up upwind from it. She was on one side of it and I was on the other. I SHOULD have called her away and brought her back around to it but it all happened too fast. She saw it, and went in for it. Again, with the same exact story as before. At this point the gunner had given up all hope on her and asked if we could at least get her to point to give the other dog a chance to honor. Then she went on point. I said “there she goes” to the gunner and as I was trying to get to her, she went in again and actually caught the bird, and brought it to me (hey, she retrieved!). In the meantime, someone had brought out another dog to help the other dog get his honor. We were done so I leashed her up and left. The gunner said I needed to take her and show her how to point and not catch a bird. Then he said she needed discipline.
What is so disappointing is that pointing and being steady through the shot was the one thing that I was actually confident about. Yesterday, she did perfect in training and on Thursday did pretty well in a natural hunting situation. She hasn’t gone in for a bird in a really long time, not even Thursday when there was a chukar that was just wandering around in the open. She was steady through wing, shot and fall.
Had she broke during one of her weak spots such as honoring or after the shot, I would been disappointed but at least I wouldn’t feel so bad because I knew those were weak spots going in. But this? Going in after the bird??? What the hell is that??! On a positive note, the judges liked her energy and everybody thought she was beautiful. Here are her scores (out of 9):
- Hunting = 7
- Bird Finding = 8
- Pointing = 7 (I was surprised about this since she only pointed once and briefly and the judges were a ways away concentrating on the other dog. Unless they go by what the gunner says)
- Trainability = 5
- Retrieving = 5
- Honoring = N/a
- Hunting = 8
- Bird Finding = 8
- Pointing = 8
- Trainability = 4 (took 3 birds)
- Retrieving = 8
- Honoring = N/a
So now, I’m not sure what to do. We run first tomorrow morning at 8:00. I’m considering arriving at 7:00 to take her in one of the fields to practice but I don’t know if they will let me and I don’t have access to a bird. I’m hoping that tomorrow she is a different dog so she can show those judges and gunners that she DOES know what she is doing (and so do I).
DAY TWO Brad called me this morning at about 5:45. He advised not attending today’s test as he didn’t feel she would improve upon yesterday. He believes that the main reason for her issues was that she has yet to learn how to be off the check cord and e-collar. To prove it, he plans to test her without the check cord at our next training session and watch her break. Of course, she is still only a puppy and I may be expecting too much of her (ya think?). He also felt that the fact that she came upon the dead bird right off the bat and all other birds were “sleeping” that she may have thought this was just a retrieving experience as that was the only thing she consistently did right.
I decided to go ahead and take her to the test since my friend was already on her way. Also, I was in the first brace and didn’t have a number to call in to cancel and I didn’t want to be “that guy”. Plus, I had already paid. So I opted to test her anyway and pray for a miracle.
No such luck. Day 2 didn’t go much better than day 1. Right off the bat, she decided it was playtime with the Brittney we were running with. That didn’t go over well. The other dog went on point and Roxie stopped to honor on her own (yeah one positive!). I went to collar her as we are allowed to do in SH and she stayed there for a minute then when the bird flushed, she tried to chase but I held her back. Part of me wonders if she would have broken if I had left her to stand there and hadn’t touched her. She’s not used to me touching her when she’s in a stand command other to pet her up and then release her. The gunner’s missed that bird and it flew away. When I released her to walk away in the other direction, she turned and chased after the bird. She chased another bird that the other dog flushed. At that point, the judge told me that she was not going to qualify due to the “delayed chase” but I could continue to work her to try to get a point and the other dog an honor. It took a while to find another bird but when she found it, she pointed it for slightly longer than yesterday before jumping on it and bringing it to me (yeah, another retrieve). Once that happened, the judge excused us from the field. Sorry, I don’t have the scores from Day 2 with me.
In all, I have been put back in my place of patience and hard work. Roxie still has a ways to go. Hopefully she will be broke before I go broke! We continue to train and will hopefully be ready for the fall tests.
4/25/09 Well, we trained with Brad today and he proved she did not lose her brains and she DOES know what she’s supposed to do. He was actually impressed with her especially after a weekend of catching birds. He says it shouldn’t be much longer that she’s finished. Let’s hope so.
5/9/09 – Koman Race for the Cure
Me, Roxie and Mom getting ready to race
The 2009 Fins For the Cure Team
For the third year, Roxie my mom and I particpated in the Susan G. Koman Race for the Cure. Also participating this year with me was one of my my best friends, Carrie, her daughter Audrey and her mom George who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
It was a great morning with over 20,000 participants. As always, the survivor ceremony was emotional and inspiring. The emcee of the ceremony was Edie Lambert of KCRA and she told us of a story of someone who has a rare form of Cancer and there wasn’t a treatment for it… but now, he is doing well because of a treatment that was created for breast cancer!
Thanks to everyone who sponsored me. You helped me blow past my goal of $500 and earn over $800 for breast cancer research and treatment. Every dollar earned for the Sacramento race stays in the Sacramento area to help fund research as well special programs to help support those needing treatment and recovering. To see photos from the 2009 race, click here.
Memorial Day 2009
Roxie and I headed to Ft. Bragg for the annual Dolphin Divers of Sacramento Memorial Day camping trip at Green Acres campground. It was the longest I have driven the RV with the most curvy roads (28 miles worth!). We left Thursday after work with the plan to stop in Willits which is about 3/4 of the way and just before the 28 miles of curvy roads. We arrived in Willits at about 9:45pm and stopped at the Safeway. I planned to spend the night in the parking lot and get up early the following morning fresh for the drive. I finished my grocery shopping and with a cart full of groceries, asked the manager if it was ok for me to stay. Ofcourse, he said yes. How could he say no? We arrived Friday morning at camp at about 10:00.
We spent the weekend walking the bluffs, sitting by the fire, reading and enjoying everyone’s company. On Saturday, I took a walk with friends Matt & Sandi. Matt decided he wanted to head for the tressel bridge which none of us had a clue just how far it was! Over 2 hrs later, we arrived back at camp, hot, tired, thirsty with aching feet. Roxie slept good that night! Sunday was more relaxing around camp.
I don’t take these trips to the north coast to dive, but others did. They braved the rough waters and headed in for some Abalone diving. When they came back, they were kind enough to share their catch with the rest of us. Now, in years past, I have not enjoyed abalone and left it for others to eat and enjoy. This trip, I decided to take a chance and try it again. I LIKED IT! We had some spicy fried abalone, some abalone poppers and some abalone fritters! I’m not sure if it was just this weekend’s recipes, or if my taste has changed, but I liked it!!!
We arrived home on Monday, safe and sound at about 5:45. It was a LONNNNGGGG drive home. I wish I had another week up there! To see the rest of my photos of the trip click on the photo above and it should take you to my Flickr album.
Well, that’s about all for the updates. Next week I will have updates on my camping trip to Black Butte Lake with my mom and Jimmy who are joining Carrie’s family-in-law and my second family. It should be a great trip!