Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Zorro Dreampark Debut Novice JWW and Standard Legs 2

This past weekend I had one of those "dreams come true" moments. My baby dog came home last summer. We have adventured together, trained together, fallen in love. I have patiently waited years. Three years. To return to one of my favorite AKC Agility trial sites: Dreampark.

The environment is tough. A three ring trial in a dirt footing horse arena. There are literal birds living in the rafters and they fly around through the day. It is noisy with dogs and people and a general din that never stops until days end. There is cat poop buried in the dirt on the edges of the ring. But I know my babydog, he could do it. My girls taught me everything that I know about environmental stress and acclimation. Zorro has natural handler focus, but that's not the whole picture. We have been working on this on every hike, every trial site visit, every walk, every outing since he has been a baby. It has been so very important to me. You get a dog with natural focus, but then you need to support and help that talent grow. Coming from erratic no-frustration-tolerance pitbull Molly, and worried about everything Perri - it was a major priority to reward and support offered focus from Zorro over the last year plus that I have known him.

I entered Zorro in Novice FAST so that he could get in the ring before we had to work on a numbered course. We ran the outside of the ring in a circle, earned 67 points in 13 seconds and Zorro's first Novice FAST leg!

Novice Standard was next. Video is below. I was a little disappointed I did not insist on 2o/2o criteria on Zorro's dog walk. He tried the "four on" on the teeter again but I asked him to meet his criteria. I don't want that slippery slope of poor contact behavior - thank you, Molly, for teaching me the importance of that! I did choose to not front cross in front of the weave poles. Not at a new trial site with a dog who is still growing his confidence on the weave poles. I did a messy turn on the flat to the pause table instead. It was fine, got the job done.

Novice JWW was next and same deal for the weaves. I opted for a turn on the flat after the weaves instead of cramming a cross in before them. A little wonky but it worked out. I am thrilled with his distance to the jump before the speed line at the end. I am trying so hard to let Zorro go do his job and not crowd obstacles. I am a work in progress! We also need a better understanding of "go on" when there is a straight row of jumps. We ran out of "go go go"s for that last jump. One refusal but that didn't take our Q away.

And we get to go back in two weeks! I am so looking forwards to that. The day with Zorro was a bit surreal for me. I have been so used to agility being about supporting my girls' mental states and the whole behavioral side of getting into the agility ring with brains semi-intact. Reactivity. Over excitement. Management.
Zorro has zero concerns in that realm. There is me, there is food, there are his toys and there is agility. Why worry about that other crap?

Brave new world for me. I am so grateful for this exciting journey we are beginning together.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Leash Free Exercise and Garmin Astro 900 Review

I am an enormous advocate of legal off leash exercise for dogs. I am very fortunate to have quite a few places within an hour drive from my home to be able to do so. Perri is a hunter and enjoys spending her time sniffing after chipmunks, chasing squirrels and bunnies. She's never fast enough or clever enough but she certainly enjoys the thrill of the hunt! Occasionally...there are deer. I can often recognize the signs of a deer chase about to begin and Perri will recall to me then. But once she gets started with a chase, there is no recalling her. Usually we are in the rather deep woods, alone, when this happens and she always returns to me in less than five minutes. With tongue dragging. One time with her entire toenail split and quick badly damaged.

Most of the time there is no wildlife chasing. There is running for the sheer joy of it, sniffing, exploring and strengthening mind and body. Perri and Zorro play with each other, chase each other and swim together. Their recalls are strong, and I always have delicious food rewards to give them for recalls. I always feed them for "checking in" with me (returning from their explorations to connect with me.), and they do so often. I have treasured off leash exercise with my dogs ever since Ein was a baby dog nearly 15 years ago.

And so! And so. One day, like any other of the hundreds of hikes I have enjoyed, one moment Perri and Zorro were in front of me. The next they were gone. Gone! There was none of Perri's normal increase in frenzied sniffing and hunting behavior that predicts that she is scenting a deer, there was no barking and screaming. They were just. Gone. I'm not going to go into the details other than for 45-60 minutes I could not find my dogs. For Zorro especially, who has shown not interest in hunting or wildlife chasing, this was highly unusual. I searched and ran and called and ran and whistled and cried for them and cried in misery at my own foolishness in trusting them. In the end, both dogs separately tracked their way back to where my vehicle was parked. And they waited for me there. Perri first, the first time I came back to the car and Zorro second.

I will not compromise on off leash exercise for my dogs. This was a major exception to our normal order of operations. I do not understand, still, what happened. Did Perri go on a very long chase and lose her way back? Did Zorro turn back from his run with Perri to answer my call and then get lost entirely? There was a very heavy wind that day and it certainly could have carried my voice and scent in confusing ways. I still do not believe either dog willfully tried to run away from me for that length of time. Why would they? I do not deny them freedom. This was not their one big chance at having a good run through the forest. And Zorro would literally live inside of my body if he was allowed to do so, "connected at the hip" doesn't begin to cover it.

I had been curious about GPS tracking collars for quite a while, but the cost deterred me every time I researched them. But after that experience I decided I will never feel that way again. And clipping the leashes on for good is not the answer for me. I quickly realized that Garmin was the only company producing anything worth buying for this purpose.

I found a refurbished Garmin Astro 900 unit with one collar. I purchased a second collar separately. I preferred the Astro line of Garmin's GPS Tracking offerings because it is Tracking-only. Garmin also offers an Alpha unit option which is both a tracking and training unit.

The collars are bulky, you definitely can't miss them. I have already gotten questions about them! I was disappointed that the "mini" collar that Garmin makes was not compatible with the Astro 900 unit. (Only with the slightly older and couldnt-find-refurbished-and-cheaper Astro 430 unit.) There is no mini collar at this time compatible with the Astro 900 unit. A bummer since Zorro is a rather petite guy and a slightly smaller collar would have been nice for him. Still, the dogs do not seem bothered by them. I expected Perri to act strange about it but other than worrying when it is first put on, she acts like it is not even there.

Perri finally has her very own antennae!

Two weekends ago I finally got a chance to test drive our new toys! If that would ever happen again, I would now know exactly where my dogs were. No guessing, no running aimlessly and feeling terrified and helpless. The unit is impressively accurate. If one dog is even a foot ahead of the other on the trail, the screen reflects that. The Garmin interface was simple to use and understand. It also helps that the GPS unit that I use for geocaching is also made by Garmin. I was able to add both collars to the unit easily and custom name each collar "Perri" and "Zorro". (You can track up to twenty collars on one unit so, I could have 18 more dogs!) The collars and unit are water resistant. This is good since the dogs do often get wet or run through mud. They will not be swimming in the collars, though! The collars are rugged so they can handle dogs blasting through the woods.

We have done two hikes since getting the collars and I could not be happier with the unit and collars. I have not had much of any cause to actually rely on the collars though. Having GPS tracking is no substitute for proper recalls, leashing around other hikers and preventing deer chasing whenever possible. We did have one rodent excursion from Perri and when I lost sight of her I could watch her path...and breathe a sigh of relief when I saw her arrow turning back to where I was. It was a very cool feeling. The collars themselves are rechargeable and both came with their own chargers. The GPS unit takes AA batteries and after only two hikes (each hike was about 5-6 hours time powered on for the unit), those batteries are nearly dead. This is comparable to the amount of time my geocaching GPS will last with two AA batteries. (a Garmin eTrex20.) When I was reviewing the specs for this review, I see that the Astro 900 is able to be used for Geocaching as well. That is something I will look forwards to trying and a definitely plus in my book.

The collars also track average speed and distance traveled. It is fascinating to see how much more ground the dogs cover versus what I cover. They run back and forth to me so much and it adds up! It is also interesting that while Zorro is given much less time off leash, he still covered more ground than Perri. (These stats were from our first hike with the collars.) I am happy with the battery life on the collars, we had been out in the woods for quite a few hours with only "one bar" lost of battery life. I plan to recharge the collars after every hike.

I may have more thoughts as I continue using the Astro 900 but so far I am thrilled and the peace of mind is worth every penny. Happy trails!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

December Trial Catch-Up

December was a fun month for trialing. We started the month off with a bang at a cluster at the local expo. The girl dogs got to play AKC Scent Work, and Zorro got to play Rally Novice. It was exciting to be busy with so many fun activities for the dogs, even if it meant some stressful conflicts!

Perri was only entered in Novice Containers each day and she absolutely crushed it! Not literally box-crushing though! She earned first place with super fast times both days, no cataloguing and total confidence. It was wonderful. She will need one more Q for her SCN title. The video is her first Container search of the weekend.

Not to be outdone Molly did a fabulous job in Novice Interiors with first places on both days, fast times and earned her SIN (Scentwork Interior Novice) title. She also earned her SBN (Buried Novice) title with a lackluster performance. Our Container performance is still suffering. I changed the way I was handling Molly and tried a tight leash approach. She began alerting with a look back to me. In training this was going really well until it wasn't. In the same training night she had her finest container search of all time and the literal next search was a disaster of false alerting. Of course, this night was the Wednesday before the trial. She was very conflicted in Buried (they're truly "just another container") but got the job done, and abysmal in Advanced Containers. Her better day there was Sunday, she correctly alerted on one container before doing a false alert on a different one. Ah well. Back to the drawing board. I am trying to come up with a way for Molly and I to both enjoy Container searches, with her enjoying the search and not destroying the containers. She is currently on a Container training break although it will be time to start up in the New Year. This video is her lovely Interior search on Saturday.

Zorro was able to earn his Rally Novice trial since the cluster offered two rally trials per day. How fun! He certainly enjoys heeling! Some further training is needed on the Slow Pace, he kept trying to sit. Otherwise we sailed straight through with scores of 97, 99 and 99 for his RN title. Yay! The whole weekend inspired me to enter an Obedience match and perhaps continue to work on some foundation skills for the game as the winter goes along. Zorro loves heelwork and I believe I finally have a dog who will love to play Obedience with me.

The following weekend was our training club's USDAA trial. We weren't able to play much this year. Sunday is a Starter/Advanced trial and I had a family gathering for the holidays to attend later in the day. We barely had enough time to play in the first two classes of the day as it was!

Zorro had his first USDAA measurement at 18 and 1/4" (I believe, I know it was 18 and something!) which puts him solidly in the 20" height class. We will need two more measurements, and one of them needs to be a CMJ. 

We got to play Snooker and Jumpers and I was a total anchor for poor Zorro! In Snooker I sent him on a wrong course and in Jumpers I didn't support a jump with him coming out of a tunnel. I now know he needs a little more support on the reconnection when he comes out of tunnels. Hey, I had a headache and I my attention was divided with fretting over the time I needed to leave. Whatever! He went home feeling great about himself and that's all that matters. 

And today was our final trial of 2019 - Zorro's AKC Agility debut! I admit to having quite a few moments of gratitude washing over me. I am so excited and honored to have a sound agility dog who enjoys playing the game with me. That is such a simple thing, yet it has been elusive for us between Molly's health and soundness issues and Perri's stress.

Zorro had been measured at a trial back in the fall, so we did not have to worry about that. He is a 20" dog until his final measurement when he turns two years old. This trial's format was to have all of the Novice classes at the end of the day. Our first walk through was not until after 3 and since this trial center is nearly two hours away it was great news! Novice Standard was first. Beautiful contacts and table, pinch me! We earned one refusal and I honestly think he was magnetized by the weave poles, they have such a heavy reward history. He then fails his first time but weaves nicely and then I kind of crammed him in with a late front cross for the ending. Great run all around!

JWW was a little bit of a hot mess but we got it done! Z missed his weave entry both classes today but this is his first time ever weaving at a place other than our regular training center so imma chalk it up to baby dog stuff! He was quite happy to weave nicely and I think his entries will come with more mileage.

Today's trial wrapped up our 2019 trialing year. I am so excited for what 2020 will bring for us in adventures, both trialing...fun road trips and hiking outings!

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Molly SCN and Washington Crossing State Park

Today Molly and I ventured out in the freezing cold to play some more AKC Scent work. Today was only our second trial and the hosting club was offering: Handler Discrimination, Buried and Containers, two trials per day. I have not trained Handler Discrimination with Molly but I did enter both rounds of Containers and both of Buried.

This trial was run a little differently, and the dog did back-to-back searches. So, Trial 1 was our first search and Trial 2 was several moments later and a different search. We started with Containers. Molly and I have been focusing all of our Nosework training on polite alerts and respectful searching. No smashing the box, please. It all went out the window today. She flew off the start line of Trial #1 so fast I could barely keep up, sniffing the boxes at lightning speed and came to the hot box with a paw smack and I called alert! I thought, "okay! that was good, she didn't smash it hard, just a little bit. something sunk in."


We went to the next search which was on the dirt footing of the agility ring. Let that sink in. Ugh!! Insane doesn't even begin to cover it. The next search was an embarrassing bowling alley. Boxes flying, a false alert, a box put up on its side, spinning and springing and then finally annihilating the hot box faster than I could even think. We got a fault for all of the destruction but we did pass and that was her Novice Container title.

Next up was Buried. Same thing, back-to-back. The first search was pretty quick! She alerted on the first box on the right and I hesitated a moment but did call it. Sadly the screen/grate on the container of sand was crushed through from her "alert" of perching on it with her front paws. She has never done this when we practice Buried, and my screens are even flimsier. Anyway, the judge said if I had called it faster it would have been a two second search. Ha!

We went to Trial 2, on the dirt footing again.... And she did the exact same thing. Alerted on the first box on the right. Now, I was really nervous. What were the odds the hide was the same place in both trials? What were the odds shenanigans were happening out on the exciting dirt footing and scene of earlier debauchery?? I....asked her to search the rest. And she false alerted on the sixth container of sand, right before returning to the actual hot box. The one she had told me about in the first place. I really did feel terrible, like I let Molly down. On the other hand, I was so absolutely fried doing so many container-type searches in a row with Molly and I guess I just wasn't reading her fact vs. fiction as sharply as I usually can. Sigh.

I feel embarrassed with how destructive Molly is with containers. Doubly so when a judge seems completely disgusted by the whole thing. I know that they have to replace the hot box and reset the search area and I truly do feel bad and Molly and I work on this. I don't just carelessly enter trials and ignore her behavior. The first judge today seemed to truly enjoy Molly's enthusiastic spirit and antics. The second, not so much. All I can say is that Proper Perri balances out the universe when it comes to Containers, she is so dainty and respectful! And now that Molly is out of Novice, Perri will get a turn soon. Well, at least the containers in Advanced will be a little more sturdy than cardboard....

We shifted gears after the trial and visited a new PA State Park! Washington Crossing State Park was nearish, and I have not visited it before. It is another one that is rather close to me, but it was added after I made my goal to visit all then-120 PA State parks. The number is now 121 State parks and Washington Crossing makes #103/121.

The dogs and I walked along the canal trail, we explored some hiking trails on the NJ side and then Perri and I did a nine-step Virtual cache through the historic area back on the PA side to end our day there.

Delaware River

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Zorro Level 1 CPE Weekend!

This past weekend, Zorro and I played some CPE. I had originally not planned to do any CPE with Zorro, but CPE is perfectly set up to allow a team that is not quite ready for prime-time to get into the ring and run on some courses together. While I do feel this can invite teams to trial too soon, it can also greatly benefit new teams. It's all up to the handler.

CPE Level 1 offers Standard class and six different games classes, and none of them have weave poles or teeter required. Zorro has a fine teeter performance, but we have been taking much time polishing and perfecting his weaves.

After work last Friday we made our CPE-Wildcard-and-Standard debut! Wildcard was first and I was thrilled with Zorro's commitment to staying on a line of straight jumps. He is really showing independence as he matures, this used to be very challenging for him and we have worked hard on it.

Standard, we had two wrong courses. This is where I was proud of myself! I didn't yell his name to try to keep him away from the wrong course. I just accepted what I handled and "owned" where I not support  my young dog enough...and moved on.

The trial was offering five classes Saturday and Sunday each. When I first entered, I only entered Friday night. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do a full trial day with my boy and see how we felt. I entered the full day for Sunday: Jumpers, Snooker, Colors, Standard and Jackpot (Non Traditional.)

We started with Jumpers and it was smokin' fast! I do not have a video of it and I so wish that I did, it was thrilling! Such confidence from my guy and the ending was a straight speed line with total commitment. The whole run was sub-20 seconds. Really exciting!

Snooker was next and I felt some hesitation after our second "color" but then he perked up as we started the closing! I took him out to the fenced in area outside for some fetch after that run. I am trying to be supportive of adjusting him to a longer trial day where he is the center of my focus.

Colors was next. Another one I have no video of, but I know it was a Q!

Standard was next and this time we did qualify! Such a bummer we did not Q on Friday night or we could have earned our Level 1 Standard title (And, completed Level 1 - with the Jackpot Q we earned later in the day.) Anyway, this run didn't feel great in a few areas but as I watch it again and again...so much nice stuff! I was confused as to why he hesitated on the top of the second pass over the Aframe, but I think it was because I said his target word while he was up there. I think I confused him, saying that before he had begun descending. And I collected him too tight before we began the closing line. And just before the panel. I do not think he has ever experienced a MAD panel jump. Wall jump, yes! But not this type of panel jump. At first I thought the refusal (not scored in CPE) was because of handling, but the second approach and refusal was confusion at the solid panel obstacle. Third time was the charm and Zorro did nicely in the ending!

We ended the day with Jackpot. We had to do a tunnel-Aframe-tunnel with a small distance challenge of about 5 feet away from each Tunnel. This was worth 15-points, and then Zorro and I earned more than enough points in our opening to qualify (for our Level 1 Strategy title.) Zorro did get to do the teeter, twice, and I also asked him for weave poles. He missed the entry but weaved nicely. I stayed back from my original handling point instead of escorting him to the entry. He knows his entries, but he is green. I was very happy with him! I did not need to ask him to weave, but Jackpot was a good opportunity to do so. I was also pleased that Zorro did an automatic down on the table in both Jackpot and Snooker. In CPE the table is never used as a pause table, but as a "stop the clock" obstacle in certain games. The dog only needs to hit it to stop the clock. They can bounce on and off, they can stand, sit, down. You may ask them for a behavior but only one time and if they do not do it, you need to move on and leash your dog. This is an area where competing in CPE is not supportive of my goals for Zorro, but that is the game! Fortunately Zorro does not have any table training issues and remembered his job. Yay!

We finished the weekend one Standard Q shy of Level 1 completion, with his CL1-H and CL1-S titles and a Perfect Day 5/5 on Sunday. Not bad, baby dog! It was truly a dream weekend and I am absolutely thrilled for our future together! Zorro is so mature and runs agility at trials with such focus. I feel his young age shows in carefulness as the day goes on (rather than zoomies or other classic stress behaviors) and I will see more stamina and speed as we go on together, and as I continue to support him and look out for his needs. We are going to have so much fun together!

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Molly mock NW2 Trial

Last weekend Molly and I went to a super well run mock nosework trial in our area. And when I say in our area, I mean 20 minutes away. Heaven!

I entered us at the NW2 level as that is what we are preparing for. Molly still has some frustration issues with being asked to find multiple hides. I confess I have entered the random draw for two different trials and either pulled out or did not get in. We are not quite trial ready, but being entered in an event makes me focus my training.

The mock trial was different than a typical NACSW format, because we ran all four searches back to back. I thought this might be challenging stamina-wise for Molly.

We did Interiors first and I was thrilled with it. She found both hides, worked hard the whole time and she was funny. We did two different rooms. I also had to remember to call "Finish" after each search. You have to do that in NW2, but the judge can remind you if you forget. Unlike NW1 where the timer is stopped when the judge indicates "yes" to the handler calling Alert, in NW2 the handler calls Finish after their dog has found all hides in the search area (you always know the amount.) and that stops the clock.

Our Vehicle search was next. Two hides on four vehicles, four big vehicles. I was intimidated! Molly went past both hides and I've watched the video and I see none of her normal discernible change in behavior or acting as though she was in odor. I wonder if this was a stamina issue for her. She had just searched two rooms and found three hides and she was being silly and wasting energy blasting around. I am trying to decide what I think about the Vehicle search. The "judge" said she found the hides quickly and kept trying to offer me help but ... I'm not sure. Maybe Molly just needs more experience searching larger vehicles. However, the regular passenger van was not that large.
This search was very uncharacteristic of Molly's regular style of work and I am not sure what to think of it.

We went to Containers next. Molly's confusion from Vehicles bled into Containers in my opinion. I also should have rewarded her first container find much more than I did. Knowing her frustration issues with both containers and multiple hides, separately, I will be gearing my training sessions to reward her extensively at each container hide before asking her to find another hide. I would also like to do reminder sessions for not using he feet to indicate the correct container to me. We have some AKC trials coming up at the end of the year, hopefully Advanced, so I would really like to polish Molly in this area.

We ended strong in Exteriors. This was pleasing to me since we have failed to title in Level 1 Exterior trials twice now! The judge was a long time friend of ours and I told her we had just had some troubles and she said to ask Molly for some tricks to relax her. I said what she would really like is to roll in the grass. I asked Molly to roll over and she did and then I pet her belly until Molly let out a big contented sigh. I knew she was ready then. It was another good lesson for the "staging" area at trials.

Molly found the first hide right away. I asked her to search deeper into the search area and she found nothing. I knew there was the pathway to a door that was part of a doorway that she had not check so I asked her to look there. That "head whip" that I so love about nosework and she found the second hide. So nice!

So we are not trial ready but I have some guidance for sure and a good assessment of where we are. I feel there is a lot I can do with the information that we got about our Containers weaknesses. The Vehicle search...I am just not sure what to think of it. Molly is usually much stronger with Vehicles. Perhaps a fluke! We will keep working hard.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Summer's End

After Perri earned her Coursing Ability title, we turned our attention to Fast CAT. This is a straight 100 yard, timed test. Whatever your dog's MPH is for each run is how many points they've earned. As I have said in posts past, Perri had some worrying issues with the Fast CAT. I figured out that as long as somebody else was releasing her and I was the one to catch her at the end of the 100 yards, she did not have any issues.

That "Perri policy" changed when we went to our next Fast CAT event in June and discovered a new challenge. "Continuous loop" system. The lure is on a closed pulley system, much like regular CAT, but since it is a Fast CAT the 100 yard strip is a narrow snow fenced bowling alley type area instead of a wide open field. (always the case with Fast CAT) Bottom line: with continuous loop, the line that the lure is attached to is always on the ground. Years and years ago when I first introduced Perri to coursing, she was afraid of that line and shut down. Over the years, her prey drive to chase has helped her to overcome that and in regular coursing / CAT events she can keep a bit of lateral distance while still coursing. She cannot do that in Fast CAT. The coursing line is directly on the ground in front of her and at this June event I saw a lot of conflict for Perri. It was a double trial so she did get to do two runs that day, but her first run was sub 20mph because she hesitated nearly at the end of the 100 yards and came through only when I encouraged her. The pause was not long but it was enough to affect her time as well as her enjoyment. Her second run that day I could see her running but there was a lot of conflict and concern about the line on the ground.

"Drag Lure" style Fast CAT
So, drag lure only for Perri. With drag lure, the lure is actually drug along the ground with a four wheeler/gold cart lateral to the fast CAT track and the dog only sees the lure racing up ahead of them. No line on the ground. I don't know the exact mechanics of how Drag Lure operates but I do know it is what Perri prefers! And the only club I have seen offer this style is nearly a two hour drive for us.  (it is more time consuming to run an event with drag lure style.) Thankfully, I love that trial site! We returned last weekend to earn the final points Perri needed for her "BCAT" title. 150 points earned at Fast CAT events and the first title opportunity. There are titles available to be earned at higher point levels but I am unsure if we will be pursuing those.

Perri had two nice runs in the low 20s mph and enjoyed herself, she earned her BCAT title on the first run. She only needed 13 points, I believe.

Overall, Perri enjoys the 600 yard CAT far more than the 100 yard Fast Cat. She likes the wide open field and the turns, she takes them with ease and she barks while she courses and is able to really "open up". We may do more coursing events in the future, as our travels take us to our beloved Freehold Fairgrounds. It has been long since I have been able to play agility there and I have missed it. It is one of the few opportunities to play agility outdoors as trials move more and more to indoor venues.

My favorite coursing photo of Perri! Looking mighty insane while earning her CA title earlier this year.
The closest that I got to agility was having Zorro's AKC measurement done! This will save me from having to show up super super early at his first AKC trial, whenever that may be. He will still need to have another measurement done when he turns two years old. Perhaps we will not even trial in AKC Agility until after he is two, but perhaps we will. That is all up to Zorro and how his training progresses. In any case, Zorro measured 18 3/8" and will be a 20 inch jumping dog in AKC, as I expected. The judge was wonderful and took much time with Zorro, letting him settle down into the measurement and trying to get him under 18". I appreciate judges who are patient and take their time with young dogs.

The last part of our day at Freehold was that the hosting club added dock diving to their cluster of events so Molly got to enjoy that! Two jumps in the Junior division. I had bought a new pack of chuckit balls for her as the Dock season began this year but that pack had been sitting unused due to Molly being on rest for her biceps injury. I couldn't bear the thought of using them for any of my dogs but Molly. We finally got to open the new pack up and I used one new ball for each Splash. Made us both happy!

We have had a fun summer for sure even if it was not entirely what I thought it would be! Not as much Dock but plenty of coursing and Scent Work fun. Zorro's first agility trials. And plenty of hiking. We end our summer trialing season with a sweet day at Freehold. Can't ask for more than that. Here is a final photo of me capturing Perri to get her off the lure. Not the most flattering one of me but I know that one day I will treasure every together photo I have of Perri and I, perfectly imperfect.