Mar 142015
 

0711.connery.teeter.LJIt can be hard to work with genius.

Take Connery Beagle.  He’s honest and hardworking and loves to sing his song of self, and did I mention honest?  By which I mean internally as well as externally.  He’s not so tangled in his inner thoughts that he gets in his own way.

But Dart’s an unusual boy.  He vibrates with atomic intensity, he’s brilliant, and he desperately wants to be good and right.  But he’s so emotional—and so completely devoid of impulse control—that he constantly gets in his own way. Continue reading »

Jan 202015
 

by Doranna

“Oh, I know!” I told myself, all full of excited optimism, “I’ll blog about Baby Tristan’s learning process!”

tb.profile.297As usual, I didn’t take into account the fact that I’d be so caught up in the process itself that the blogging would take second place.  Or third.  Or fourth, because the other boys are still active, too!  And oh wait, that dastardly Real Life.  Oops!  Well, here I am.

Tristan’s been with us three weeks now, making him eleven weeks old (on the 18th, when I’m first typing this).  His nose has finished unfolding, taking him from baby-face to youngster-face.  His hind end has more leg than he knows what to do with, his feet are huge, and his shoulders are trying to decide just how they’ll sit on his body.  He’s still got baby belly, though! Continue reading »

Dec 012014
 

by Doranna

Post-tracking boyz, synchronized sleeping

Post-tracking boyz, synchronized sleeping

Yep, we had our big once-a-year local Variable Surface Tracking test on Sunday.  Beautiful weather, for sure–the best I’ve ever had for a test.  The best photos do not include me, because I wore a hat all day so no thanks, but the Beagle boyz are the important ones anyway!

Connery was track five of six and Dart was track six, so we watched the first tracks and then waited for Connery’s turn in the quiet of a parking lot distant from the test “home base.” The tracks are laid all over a large campus.

After the tracks are run, the handlers and the club and the tracklayers meet up at the “home base” parking for a tailgate lunch.  We all talk about what went wrong and right and say nice things about each other’s dogs, talk about other tracks we’ve run and what we plan in the future.  Fun, right? Continue reading »

Nov 172014
 

by Doranna

cb.dart.visiting.848My lesson for the month: Plans mutate.

(Probably my lesson for life, but let’s just stick with the month.)

I’d intended to blog about the treadmill thing again today, especially in the wake of my aggravated feet.

Then again, this fall I’d also intended to adopt a socialization-resistant kitten as a barn cat (yes, this cat sleeping here on my office chair), get caught up on my paperwork, get a book started/finished before the end of the year, target completion of Connery’s PACH title, and figure out how to relax when it was time to relax.

And in the really big picture, I once thought to keep beating my head against traditional publishing until I finally found where I fit.

One thing at a time, I guess.

In any event, I’m not writing about the treadmill thing today.  Because things change, and yesterday I went tracking, and as it happens the tracking was all about things changing.

(The meta here is just killing me.)

Continue reading »

Mar 252014
 

by Doranna

On the doing of things…

Sometimes life piles up so fast it’s hard to keep up–and it’s hard to remember why you’re doing what in the first place.

cb.bone..506I started this blog while listening to the grind of merry little hound teeth on a Nylabone, while the hound in question (Connery) happily sprawled over the world’s ugliest hotel carpet.

Not kidding. World’s UGLIEST. Continue reading »

Mar 102014
 

by Doranna

In the last tracking blog, in the wake of a difficult experience in El Paso, I was getting ready for another tracking test on the 3rd.  I muttered about some of the challenges of getting tracking tests–finding the tests, dealing with the luck factor, maintaining the focus, blah blah blah.

So, on the third, we took the test, along with five other teams.  This is what we all woke up to:

Ooh.  Look.  Clouds caught up on the Sandias.  Cannot bode well for us.

Ooh. Look. Clouds caught up on the Sandias. Cannot bode well for us.

Continue reading »

Mar 052014
 

A Blue Hound Beagles Blog

(A Dog Agility Blog Event: Starting your puppy)

0405.31.connery.bone.19Talk about awesome reinforcement timing!  This past month, in some weird universal coincidence, big lots of people (okay, a couple) asked me exactly this–when did I start training?  How?  And now here we are, officially chatting about it for the Blog Event!

So here’s my easy answer:  I start my puppies the moment they come home.

Now, anyone who’s gasping, “She puts her puppies over jumps/on the a-frame/dogwalk/WHUTEVER” should just slap their own heads.   Just pause right now and take care of that little chore for me.
Continue reading »

Feb 262014
 

by Doranna

yymm.dd.dart.storycover.28.NOT.SMEarlier this month, we headed off to an adventure: our first tracking test away from home.

Tracking tests are hard to find.  In our area, we have one TD, one TDX, and one VST per year.  (Tracking Dog, Tracking Dog Excellent, and Variable Surface Test.)

Those tests are often overfilled, meaning there’s a draw to get in; non-local tests are five to seven hours away.  And with the passing rates (painfully low), most of us have to take the tests more than one time.  Sometimes lots more than one time. Continue reading »

Dec 052013
 

by Doranna

The kitchen, the night before...

The kitchen, the night before…

When we last saw our heroes (AKA Dart & Connery Beagle), they were preparing to take the imminent Variable Surface Tracking test…not much expecting to pass, given our ongoing family crises, training interruptions, and etc (well, even without those things, because this is hard!). Continue reading »

Nov 302013
 

by Doranna

I almost chickened out.

The VST (Variable Surface Tracking test) is one of those ultimate tests, requiring skill and trust and teamwork (and good weather and good luck!)and still, with all that, the passing percentages wobble around 5-8% of the teams who take the test.

That’s not a lot.

So when things went totally wonky a month ago, I thought hard about withdrawing. (I missed 2/3 of a favorite agility trial when I had an excitingly intractable heart arrhythmia and ended up at the hospital via ambulance, and the next day my family became immersed in an ongoing in-and-out of ICU saga with my dad.) Continue reading »