Monday, December 28

Awful Merlin Nightmare!

I had a long nightmare about Merlin again last night... I don't know why I keep having them!

I was sitting on a building rooftop with Merlin, drawing the phases of the moon, when my brother came up, and I confessed I was terribly worried that Merlin would fall off the building. It started to rain, so I grabbed my umbrella and opened it up. This scared Merlin, and he backed away from me, right over the side of the building. My brother sort of half-chuckled, and said something like, "Well, there he goes."

I was absolutely TERRIFIED. I was sobbing, heartbroken, and the sense of loss was completely real.

A bit later in the dream, I found Merlin's body at the foot of the building, completely stiff like you see in cartoons, with his legs straight up - it looked like he landed on his head. Then all of the sudden, he started moving a bit, though clearly severely injured. I grabbed him up and drove like a maniac to MedVet.

The dream ended while I was waiting at MedVet - except suddenly Merlin was fine, and I had Popper and Roofus there with me too. There was some sort of play area for dogs, so I put those three in it. Apparently, I had driven to MedVet for my tortoise, who wasn't eating.

Completely bizarre dream. Merlin is getting lots of hugs!!!!

Monday, December 21

Wild Weavers CPE Trial

Saturday, the day after Merlin the corgi's birthday, we went to the Wild Weavers CPE Agility Trial. Merlin was entered in level 2 Fullhouse, Standard, and Snooker, as well as Level 1 Wildcard. We were both really working well together, and Merlin earned himself four Q's in four runs! He had two exceptional runs in which he got first place, one of which was Snooker (I really love snooker!).

The best part of the whole day was how well we were meshing, something that I was wondering when would start to happen. Merlin has almost totally stopped skipping obstacles, and while he can't seemingly "read my mind" yet, I can catch him before his attention starts to wander and get him back on track. His daddy managed to hide quite well for all four runs, so Merlin never did a Daddy check, which is awesome because we've lost many a Q to daddy checks!! That doesn't mean he wasn't scanning the crowd for him, because he was - but he didn't run out into the audience, nor did he run and sit at the gate searching for him. HUGE improvement!

So now all Merlin needs to complete his level 1 CPE title is Jumpers. This is his "cursed" class, because the last two times we attempted it, we didn't Q because of a single jump. The first one, Merlin ran and did a Daddy check right before the last jump and would not return. The second one, which was the last trial, I either totally forgot to have him take a certain jump, or I directed him to it and he didn't take it. The next trial, we are entering him in Jumpers both days, so hopefully we can finish it out. :)

Friday, December 18

Popper's Eye Appt and Happy Birthday Merlin

Yesterday was Popper's ophthalmology appointment at MedVet. Long story short, he does NOT have progressive retinal atrophy (PRA), thank God! He does have some small cataracts in his left eye, which the vet did not think was impairing his vision, but we have to keep an eye on. She said those were inherited, and he'd probably had them since birth. He's four years old - why hasn't a vet seen them before now? So we're going back in six months for a recheck. If nothing else, the visit was worth it to discover those.

After the dilation, she had another test to see if he truly did just have bad night vision. Not only does he not have bad night vision, he has AWESOME night vision. So his nastiness to the other dogs at nighttime is not eye related. At least now I know how to react when one of these incidents occurs... I can probably curb the being a jerk, but if it was PRA, there was nothing that could be done for him. So his agility career is still safe. :)

I've been sleeping with my fish tank light on for him, though, and he hasn't attacked Blossom when she jumps on my bed in the middle of the night. Which is weird. Maybe he's just afraid of the dark?

Today is Merlin's birthday! He turned 5 years old today. We're going to go to PetSmart to buy him a birthday treat, and maybe stop at the ice cream place too!

Wednesday, December 16

Roofus, Rally, and Popper

Monday Roofus went to a rally class at Anything Goes for Dogs. He's enrolled in the next class, next year, but she wanted to make sure that we were familiar with all level 1 signs first, because the next class focuses on level 2.

First, I was uber impressed at the new facility. SO much bigger! She even has a separate area for crating and "massage." It's like a doggie heaven! I went ahead and made a private lesson after our next class for Popper. He's ready to return to agility (Thank God!) and I really needed somewhere, supervised, to do it. A nice gentle reintroduction after his, what, seven week hiatus? It's only a half hour, which should be perfect.

Roofus was great at Rally. He really, really likes it. He is probably the most eager to please dog I've ever seen, and definitely the most ETP dog I own! Once he understands what I want, he is happy to do it. He's such a goofball. :) There were a couple new signs that we didn't know, but Roo handled them very well! We need to work on 90 degree left pivots, though. Nobody could do those - they're super hard!

Today, I set up a series of three jumps in the backyard for Popper, and ran him over them a few times. He was so, SO happy that I was letting him do agility. I thought that he was handling no agility pretty well, and then I saw how excited he was to be running again - an expression of pure bliss! We started off rocky, because he would do a jump and run straight back to me and sit, waiting for a treat. After he got comfy again, he was amazing. I'd point and tell him to go away from me (VERY hard for Popper!) and he'd zoom away like a pro. On our last run (I kept it very short since he hasn't done it in a while, and the ground is frozen solid), I threw in all kinds of crosses and directions and he was PERFECT. I can't WAIT to get back into the agility ring with him!

Monday, December 7

CPE Trial this Past Weekend!

This weekend was a BRAG CPE trial. I had originally entered Merlin AND Popper, but I pulled Popper out because of his groin pull. As a result, we had some really long wait times with Merlin on Sunday.

Saturday we had runs in Jumpers and Fullhouse. In Jumpers, either I completely missed a jump, or I had assumed Merlin jumped it and went on to the next one. So that was an NQ for us. He did very well on that run, though! Jumpers is Merlin's "cursed" class, just like Jackpot is for Popper. For some reason, we find it DEVILISHLY hard to get a Q. In Fullhouse, we had all the points we needed, and one of the tunnels ran Merlin straight at the gate. Merlin ran over because he saw Daddy, and when Daddy moved off, Merlin moved with him - right out of the ring. I called and called, and eventually the crowd shepherded him back into the ring. Well, I wasn't about to let Merlin do more agility as a reward for running out of the ring. I mean, he didn't even come back because HE wanted to, everyone pushed him back in. So I ended it. It's not a big deal, we already have a few Q's in Fullhouse, and I'd rather he learned that running out of the ring means no more agility. He really loves agility, so I think it's an effective lesson.

Sunday was the opposite, and we went 3 for 3. Snooker, then Standard, then Colors. So now we've moved up to Level 2 in Snooker, Standard, and Colors. Merlin even did the tire flawlessly, an obstacle he continues to have problems with. He also earned his first ever blue ribbon! I mean, he has blue ribbons from being the only dog that Q'd in his height class, but this is the first time he ever beat another dog. He got lots of cookies, hot dog, and we stopped for a hamburger for him on the way home. :)

In the Colors run (last run of the trial), he ran to the gate for a "daddy check," but couldn't see Daddy - and came back when I called.. eventually. That's the run we got first place on. :D

We've got another trial coming up in a few weeks, but thankfully it's just one day. This is the first time we ever did both days of a trial, and it was to try to get both dogs to finish their Level 1 titles before the end of the year. Without Jumpers, there is no way for Merlin to earn his... I'd signed him up for another Snooker and another Standard, but not the Jumpers. Oh well. :) If he gets his Wildcard at the next trial, he'll be like Popper - just waiting on that one devil of a run to finish out level one!