Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011 Review: May - August

May: Phoenix finished his UD. The fact that he did it in 4 weekends was great. The fact that he was not overly excited to be in the obedience ring was not. I began a serious exploration of What The Hell Was Going On In My Dog’s Head And Why Is He So Miserable In The Ring. There was a great deal of soul searching and re-evaluation of previously held sacred cows. Phoenix continued to embrace his inner doofus by helping me garden.

Is there a more welcome sight after a long, snowy winter than fresh green hosta leaves unrolling in the spring?

Went to a Renaissance festival and had a great time. Marsha and I agreed if we go again, we'll eat more.

June: Got a lot of help, advice and suggestions about Phoenix’s obedience career from people who A) excel in obedience with dogs who love their work and B) have never trained for or competed in obedience. We trained. We played in the pool. We enjoyed summer. I interviewed a woman who owns a haunted house and she invited me to go on a paranormal investigation. Here, Phoenix is clearly deep in contemplation about the mysteries of obedience and how to get his human to perform to her potential.

July: RAGBRAI rolled through Homestead, vaulting the town’s population from 200 to 20,000 for about 12 hours. I continued to learn, write about and get feedback on training, corrections and making a dog work vs having a dog who chooses to work. I went on my first paranormal investigation. The jury is out on that. Here's the haunted Old Hollis Inn, Marengo.

I put agility classes on hold while Phoenix and I concentrated on our obedience work. In hindsight, I don’t think it mattered what kind of training we did - it was our relationship that needed the most work, not the technical aspects of any training venue. Sometimes we didn't train at all, we just played.

Jamie turned 12 in July.

He attacked bubbles to celebrate.
Seriously. You want fun? Blow bubbles for your dogs.

August: The Farmer field dressed an 1,100 pound steer with his pocket knife in the middle of the night when the creature needed to be put out its misery. Now we have 700 pounds of hamburger in our freezer. Phoenix and I went on lots of walks on hot summer night (Jamie doesn’t "do" hot so he stayed home in the AC).

I continued to explore the shaping/luring/compulsion training conundrum. Got my hair colored for the first time in my life. It turned out red. Like so many things, this was not quite what I had in mind.

Tomorrow: the rest of the year.

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