Performance Shiba Inus

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 6/8/15- Just finished a lure coursing weekend with the young ones. They both love it. Training for agility is still our primary focus, but it's fun to watch them kick up their heals and really use their instincts. The dogs LOVE coursing so much the scream before getting onto the field watching the other dogs before them. I had never been to that show site before so I was worried how Shiba escape proof it would be. It was fine and my dogs were not as bad this time as last time about the catch at the end. Taiko had to sit this event out. I just don't think it's safe for a 13 year old dog. If it were around when he was younger, he would be able to do it. Taiko still gets to play agility, but I can tell his career is winding down. He only runs in CPE at 4" now and he enjoys it. No one tell him he is old. His mind is still young. He will get to play for as long as he wants to.  Taiko finished #7 overall Enthusiast for CPE in 2014. His agility friends Crockett and Nasa were also ranked with him this year. The rankings are impressive since it's all breed ranking and 30 dogs total in the world are ranked. He also just finished his first CS-ATCH a few weeks ago. That is his 19th overall CPE championship title. 2015 is still the year of no goals. We continue to play and have fun experiences together. 

11/26/14- Winter is here. Bleck! I actually like winter typically, but this year it came early and it's very cold. Weave pole training on the youngsters won't happen because we've already gotten snow and I can't fit a 12 set of poles in my basement. Will have to concentrate on the 6 set and make due.  Did an ASCA trial with Katsu and Legend. I was blown away with how well they did. We will definitely put that on the schedule again. I think ASCA is a good venue for us at this point in their careers. It has normal equipment with lots of good lines to get obstacle focus. It also encourages speed. I want my dogs going as fast as they can on course. Our Q rate was not overly high for the day due to off courses (which are not allowed in Novice ASCA), but I was happy to see my dogs taking off courses with speed and enthusiasm. We learned a lot. We have more to learn. Overall though a good experience. 

This weekend we will be doing CPE in LaCrosse. It's my favorite place to trial. Small entry numbers. Low key atmosphere. Just me, my dogs, and the course to conquer. That's what agility is about for me. Do my best on course so my dogs can do their best. All 3 dogs are entered. Not in everything. Again, the focus is experience and fun in the ring. Precision will  come later. 

December will not have a ton of shows on the schedule. Neither will January. Winter this year is far too unpredictable to risk losing entry fees due to weather. So, we will continue to practice and hopefully by February we can start things back up again.  

9/23/14- Fall is here and the days are getting shorter. Young pups continue to do well in their training and gaining experience trialing. I am not rushing things. I need to remember that for us, taking it slow and steady is the best thing. My impatience is not helpful for anyone. I continue to put light goals on the young ones that involves things like: maintain happy enthusiasm and work with me on a course or read this cue better than you did last time. Weave training is in full swing, but that too is not something I am rushing. Late summer allergy season hit hard this year and made training the weaves more difficult because I did not want dogs to linger out in the back yard. Winter will be here soon. I am kind of looking forward to it, but the cold I could live without even though my dogs enjoy the snow. Taiko officially retired from UKC this past weekend. Love (sarcasm) when that guy tells me I am an idiot in public. So once again, no more sits or downs in public for the T-Man. I can't say I am enjoying the whole retirement tour thing. Yet minimally CPE can still be played by all. Love CPE. Young ones can start and old guy can finish his career there.  

6/30/14- The young dogs earned their CGCs last week, Taiko got to play agility this past weekend, and I learned that Taiko finished the years at the #9 overall top dog in Enthusiast level CPE for 2013. Overall a good few weeks. As summer continues, we continue to play. Young ones are being trained in agility, although mostly it is learning to get through the teenage years without losing all our foundation skills we have established. It's also about staying out of the heat (or rain this year) and still keeping dogs exercised. Not an easy feat some days. More shows on the horizon. Katsu is entered in agility in July. The results of that dictate if she is entered again. Legend will be ready in the fall to start (pun not intended). I want them both proficient on the weaves in public by then. We are making progress. Not as fast as I would like due to my work schedule, but it is happening. Happy days ahead for us with new adventures abound. 

 6/9/14- Just competed in CPE Nationals over the weekend. Taiko was his normal wonderful self running with joy on some rather challenging courses. MN weather was not kind to us this time around and I am sure many would consider the monsoon-like rains to be the issue, for Team Taiko, the heat and humidity of Friday was our bigger challenge.  Taiko earned 14 rosettes over the weekend along with a Reserve High in Trial plaque and a 3rd place plaque for level C 12" Enthusiast. This is probably Taiko's last National event. Retirement is around the corner for him. It's not a today thing, but he is not a young dog anymore either. We will continue to play though. Just probably entering less runs and less days. He still wants to play, so play we will. 

4/15/14- It's official. Taiko is retired from all things obedience related. No more sits or downs in public for our T-Man. He finished as he started- with no sits or downs on a WCRL rally Veterans course. He will also never do conformation ever again. Both of these things are certainly fine with him. He never loved competitive obedience and has always hated conformation. One of my friends has reminded me that Shibas always have an "FU gene." Taiko has always been one that humors me and does not show this genetic flaw very often. As he has gotten older, he has shown me that he wants to play agility (also with the rules of no sits or downs) and he wants to explore the woods on long walks. If Taiko could choose an ideal day it would involve tunnels, a-frames, and fields that had lots of gophers holes to dig up and explore. That exploration would probably involve his Labrador friends Derby and Crockett because they help make the holes bigger for easier Shiba entry.  Legend also played rally this weekend earning his WCRL Level 1 title. That boy is really starting to shine. Katsu did not play this weekend because she is trying UKC agility this coming weekend.  

2/26/14- Both the young dogs got their rally novice titles this past weekend on the same day. They are not ready for advanced yet, but they will get there with some age and maturity. There is no RAE in either of their futures, but they are capable of an RE. UKC rally or WCRL and possibly ASCA are where I will spend my rally money. I do think they are capable of the Beginner Novice title in AKC as well, but once again, that will probably not be this year. Honestly, on the right day in the right situation, Legend would do it, but his stays need a bit of work still. Katsu can do it as well, but she doesn't like it nearly as much as Legend. So, I will not force it on her. Barn hunt is starting in MN this summer. We are certainly going to try that. Lure coursing I believe is also in their future. Yet, I need to be able to find a date for that. The schedule is booked through April and May has tentative things as well scheduled. With CPE Nationals at the beginning of June, I don't see any time in the schedule for a new activity.  I am still struggling with the goals for 2014. I think basically this is a year of exposure and training and proofing and no solid concrete goals. Legend needs to start is AKC conformation career at some point. UGH I do not enjoy conformation. We have been enduring the absolute worst winter ever and with a large snowfall last week followed by extremely cold temps freezing it into nasty layers of ice, walks are now too dangerous on the walking paths and the snow is too deep to hit my normal trails without snowshoes (which I do not own). Even if I did own the, the temperatures have not been above 10 F for more than one day a week. It's been rough and there is no end in sight. The first snowfall of the season was on October 6th, and we will probably have snow easily through March. Worst Winter Ever.

1/14/14- So all is going well. Having three dogs in the house is not easy, but we make it work somehow. Katsu is almost 2 years old. Legend is a bit over a year old. Taiko turns 12 soon as well. The dogs are growing up. Katsu and Legend are training for agility and we dabble in obedience, but it will never be our primary focus. Taiko is slowly retiring. I am having that hardest time planning for 2014. I refuse to make title goals for anyone which I have to admit I have done in the past just to keep me heading out the door at 5 am to trials. Now the goals have to be different and I am struggling with the less concrete things are right now. For Taiko, he still enjoys agility and will continue to be running as long as he can. Yet, limiting the number of runs in a weekend is now a reality for him even though he doesn't know I am doing that. The young dogs need positive ring experiences and just more life skills. Yet figuring out what those experiences should be and how to execute that plan has me baffled a bit. So, I am taking them to classes in different places and entering them in some shows just to see what we need to continue to work on. Katsu and Legend have strengths and weaknesses to work through.  Winter too has been just rough this year overall, so let's hope we are on the tail end of the really bad cooped up stuff and move on from there. Here's to 2014! The Year of No Concrete Goals! 

8/9/13- Legend is staying! We all loved him from the start, but we needed to make sure everyone got along. Katsu did not warm up to him at first as she normally does with other dogs and Taiko still is not a huge fan of younger dogs. Legend is no exception, but they are not fighting. Two weeks ago, I trial chaired the MMBC rally trial and decided to enter Legend in the puppy class, since I was there already anyway. He has had two formal classes with me at that point and we have mostly been working on manners and not anything formal obedience. Down was not a solid skill of his and stays were certainly not, but I knew he has always been game to play with me and I could make the ring experience fun, so he showed. I had my GSD friend Tracie warm him up for me since I was busy and we worked down and stay 20 minutes before his run. First time in the ring and first run of the day he not only downed on command, he stayed while I walked around him and qualified! Good boy! Add to it, he did it three times in the same day and titled! Legend has his first performance title.

This weekend Taiko and I are playing CPE agility in Burnsville and Katsu continues to go to classes. The terrier is still in the house and there is no eta on her leaving officially. Katsu and her fight, so it's been tough in the house. Guiness is also staying over this weekend as a house guest. I can honestly say, Four dogs when they get along is fine. Five dogs is far too many though.  

6/18/13- So, where to start? Well, Taiko is the oldest, so he gets top billing. He is doing well. He earned C-ATCH8 not too long ago and is well on his way to C-ATCH9. He still loves the agility game. Rally, obedience, and conformation- he humors me on occasion, but does not love it. I don't blame him. Katsu is doing fine as well, but she has allergies. Food allergies for sure and possibly seasonal as well. Poor girl has to be on a prescription dog food for another 6 weeks and then we do a challenge on the food trial. Also, she just got out of heat and is crabby!

So, the real news is we are on a try to own experiment with a new dog. He is an 8 month old black and tan from Belgium named Legend. We have had him for a week now and I would love to say things are going perfectly, but that is not the truth. The first week with any new dogs is always tough. That is the same here. I do believe it will work out. If we did not have the added complication of having my sister-in-law's dog at the house for the summer, I think things would be going even smoother. There is just a lot of disruption in the house. So, welcome Legend! I hope he can stay.

4/18/2013- Crazy few past months. Taiko is still doing well and continues to compete in agility. He does just love the game so much. Katsu is learning so much. She is taking agility classes right now and appears to enjoy them. Over the weekend, we competed in a WCRL (formerly APDT) rally competition. I put her in to gauge how she was doing n her training with no expectations beyond seeing what she wants to do. Well, she seems to enjoy the show ring ans has some decent heeling skills. We have no precision yet, but her attitude was good and she tried. As she got more tired, she got more distracted. That is to be expected. She did end up titling in level 1. Something I did not expect at all. 

We just recently took care of one of Taiko's nephew's while their owners were on a family vacation. The puppy, Panko, was only 10 weeks old, and although I did not miss the puppy stage, I did realize how much I enjoy working with new dogs- even if they have puppy brains. We also had a temporary foster come through and stay for a few weeks. That was not as wonderful of an experience, but we got through it.

The next few months will continue to allow Taiko to run CPE agility as well as some UKC agility and possibly very little NADAC. With him jumping 8" now, our options are reduced in where we can play. Katsu will continue to train and she is not on the fast path to getting into agility competition. Her personality says she is game to try, but I want her foundation to be solid before we do. Weave training will start once the snow melts- which sadly is not the case yet.  

10/25/12- Still busy. Puppy antics and showing have kept us busy along with classes. Kids started school again and as they get older, their activities outside the house increase. No complaints. Katsu finished her UKC Championship with two wins over Taiko. Youth is on her side. Not that Taiko is looking bad for his age, but Katsu is in full coat right now and Taiko shed out. He will get his winter coat soon. I have switched Katsu to eating a full raw chicken diet. She is a picky eater like her grandfather Goblin. She does not like kibble diets and the ones she was migrating towards were not foods I would feed. So, she is now eating raw. It is so much easier than I ever thought it would be. Granted, I found a source of ground whole chicken, so that is what makes it easy. It's also cheaper than the dehydrated raw that I have had Taiko on for years. Both may go on full raw this winter. It's not that I have ever been opposed to the idea. I just never was able to do it easy enough where I would stick to it. Now I might. 

I moved Taiko down to 8" for jumping in agility. He used to not like it, but now I think he really enjoys not having to jump as high. It is sad he is getting older. Yet, this decision was good for him. I want Taiko to be able to run agility forever.     

8/27/12- The summer has been busy. Katsu is in her 5th class (puppy agility at Animal Inn) and she seems to enjoy agility. Taiko continues to show in agility as well, but no longer takes classes. Katsu's conformation debut was a bust. Her competition did not show up and the show I entered her against Taiko I ended up pulling from. Taiko is looking too good right now and Katsu is in the akward teenage phase right now, so we will wait. Looks like I will have to be patient or travel to make that work. Katsu also came into heat last week. So, our house in on lock down right now. No puppies in our near future.

7/5/12- Katsu is now 5 months old. She has finished three puppy classes and is starting a puppy agility class next week. Entries have been sent for her to compete in her first AKC conformation shows in August as well. Things are very different in our house right now. I have no intention on rushing Katsu's training. The focus is to build relationship and foundation skills. For Taiko, I am debating jumping him at 8" now. He easily jumps 12", but he is getting older. The heat we have had this summer wears him out more than it used to, so outdoor shows will not happen for him this year. There is just too much risk involved at this point. We will still run and play though. Trying to balance the AKC conformation schedule with the agility schedule is not easy. For now, I am splitting the two days- one day for each. Hopefully that works ok for others.    

6/5/12- We are in full swing puppy mode around here. Katsu is a wonderful puppy. She is almost 5 months old now and she is all Shiba and all girl. She has likes and dislikes and is sweet as well as a devil all at the same time. Life is certainly different. Taiko is learning to enjoy her company and we have caught him playing with her now. Not in public mind you, but every so often you hear them wrestling in another room and you peek around the corner and they are enjoying themselves. Katsu has graduated from two puppy classes at this point and is enrolled in a third that will end in June. From there, it is time to decide what to do with her "for real." I had originally intended to do formal obedience and get her stays and heel work perfected. Yet, the idea of going into a level 1 obedience class just does not thrill me. If I am going to deal with a level 1 anything, I think that will be agility. So, I put Katsu on a wait list to start agility. Her conformation "career" will also be starting soon. Now to get her to actually gait and such on lead. She REALLY dislikes the show lead. Apparently in her opinion, "It burns." Add all the dramatics a Shiba can muster to that and it's entertaining- sort of. This is a new adventure for us. A good adventure in many ways. Still, we do miss Kita and the more sedentary lifestyle older dogs allow us to have.      

4/7/12- We brought in a new puppy to the household today. No idea what to call her. I had my ideas, but they were voted down. Today she is called "puppy" and Taiko hates her. Oh well, he will get over it hopefully. It's a new world having a puppy in the house. She is wonderful, but I expect nothing less from a Hi-Jinx puppy. Let the Crate Games begin, and may the odds ever be in out favor!  

3/8/12- It is with such a heavy heart I write about the passing of Kita. There is no way to convey in writing how much our hearts hurt today. On January 2, 2012 Kita had a very bad seizure. She had never had one prior, but we knew it was bad. We took her to the vet, tweaked some medications, and crossed our fingers it never happened again. Unfortunately we were not that lucky. She had more seizures that we were never able to get under control and each one left her weaker and less connected to the real world. Ultimately, she had a minor stroke and we felt the only kindness left for us to give her was a peaceful exit from this world. We never expected her passing to be like this with all her other health issues she has battled, seizures never entered our minds. We will always love Kita. She will always be the first and the one that started this great adventure we have been on for over 12 years. Time will allow us to think of her without crying eventually, but that is not today. Today we grieve the loss of a very special girl. The loss of a sweet companion that has set the foundation for a legacy. That will be how she is remembered. Kita has taught us so very much. More than any dog that will ever follow her. She is foundation to all we know and all that will follow her. Rest in peace sweet Kita.  

12/21/11- Taiko and I continue to play agility. Kita still is Queen of the Sofa! I have still not figured out the new goals for 2012. I want to get the 5000 point title for Taiko at level 5 in CPE and the 10000 lifetime point title. Barring any bad luck, that will happen next year. We will probably go back to level C for CPE then. I have no interest in getting to C-ATCH22 with Taiko and I find the drama associated with level 5 exhausting. Besides, rainbow ribbons rock! I also want to finish Taiko's AKC Excellent Standard title and start earning some PACH points. I have no desire to do enough AKC to get a PACH with Taiko. I enjoy challenging our skills in agility. I just do not think AKC is the venue for us to do that. UKI has come to my area and some say we would do well in that venue. With no aspirations to be on the World Team, handling weird non-intuitive angles on choppy courses does not thrill me. Then there's NADAC and it's Chances problem. I have a dog with decent distance skills. We struggle at discrimination at a distance, but we have distance and Taiko has very good independent obstacle performance. Still, Chances courses by design force me to remove myself from the running equation and even at times the courses force me to handle with only verbal direction- something that does not work with Taiko. With Taiko, less voice is better. Long ago he taught me that I need to work with him to get the best performance out of him. If I start slacking, he will as well. He has a ton of heart, but the game of agility is played with both of us running hard. Oh, and also in Taiko's opinion, the NADAC hoops that are 30' away from me do not exist. In spite of me buying hoops and trying to train them, the only thing they are good for is peeing on. So, we are at a bit of a crossroads on what to do with our agility career. Taiko has met and exceeded all of the expectations I ever had for him. I can certainly teach him new skills, but at this point, I like the communication we have. We know each other so well when running together. He is almost 10 years old and taught me so much. He is not retiring and will continue to run agility. I just think he has earned the right to not need to be schooled on new things at this point. His strengths are numerous and the weak areas will remain weak. Who knows? He may surprise me and prove me wrong in what he chooses to do over the next year. Whatever he chooses is fine with me.  

10/26/11- We DID IT! Taiko and I got the C-ATE title this past weekend! The judge was Mark Giles, the only other person who has ever put this title on a Shiba inu! I am thrilled. Add to it, we got High in Trial for the whole weekend! Shibas ruled this weekend. It's a small consolation prize to not being able to go to Shiba Nationals this year and showcase Taiko to the Shiba fancy in KY. Maybe next year the committee will decide to have agility and rally again at the show so we can attend. I would have loved to go this year. Yet, by the time I found out they were offering performance events, I had already used up my work vacation and could not figure out a way to take 5+ days off of work (drive time, show days, etc it may have been more like 6 or 7 work days needed). Also, I had no one to travel with because I could not take my family with and have the kids miss school and husband miss work. So my awesome dog and me have to stay home. Bummer! Oh, and sending him with for someone else to run him was not going to work. He's not a dog that will run for just anyone. So, our goals for the future are to continue to have fun playing agility. CPE will still be our top venue. AKC will be thrown in for variety and I do want to finish his Excellent titles. NADAC will also be entered occasionally, but above the others.

I still want a puppy and we just fostered two puppies- Phineas and Ferb. Both were puppy mill surrenders to MSIR. I particularly liked Phineas. He really enjoyed being around people and worked really well for food. I hope his new home works that brain and gets him doing some performance things. Classes at minimum, but he could be a competition dog if he was trained right. Ferb was a good puppy as well, but will always be a bit of a wall flower not enjoying the hustle and bustle of a crazy competition life. That's fine. The family he went to wants a sweet loving companion. They should have that.

The rest of the year will slow things down for us. Some shows, some rescue stuff. Mostly, just doing what we have been doing. That is fine by me!           

9/12/11- Once again it has been a long time since I have updated the site. Sorry. Taiko continues to run agility with his normal enthusiasm and we are 500 points away from our CPE C-ATE title. No fosters coming in over the summer, even though the need has been great in our area. We just have not had the time to take any in. Also, as my dogs get older, their tolerance for rowdy dogs decreases, so in fairness to them and not wanting a gated community (tough with kids), fostering is hard for us.

CPE Nationals came and went. I would love to write a report on how much I loved the experience and how well we did. Sadly, the event came and went with me in a bit of a foggy blur. My grandfather passed away the day before the event and a few other major personal issues made that weekend difficult for me. Taiko ran well. I just could not concentrate to the level I needed to for such an event. We had some qualifying runs. Some placements. Overall though, I did not showcase my skills and my dog's talent very well. We did get to run under Mark Giles (Judge and Shiba breeder) on the last run of the weekend. That was a special treat for us.

Started back up running some AKC agility this summer with some successes. Some failures as well (no love lost on that table even at a stand), but I feel we have the skill sets for AKC. I just do not think at almost 10 years old, I want to push my dog on AKC style courses very often. As it fits in the schedule though, we will play in that venue.

We are hitting CPE hard this fall and maybe Kita can come out an play once in a while. Or not. She is enjoying retirement so much. I have puppy fever very badly right now and want a puppy (or better yet, a young adult black and tan female). I still am not much of a puppy person, but right now I am finding them impossible to ignore. Although there are at least 3 litters born lately that I will watch eagerly as they grow up. We tried breeding Taiko this summer and he was not interested, so he is officially retired from those services now. His son Yasha (Hi-Jinx Followinyourpawsprints) has been invited to the AKC Invitational this year. I am so proud of them and wish them luck. Maybe we can get ranked in AKC next year and go as a father son team? Yasha would win though, he has youth on his side.

4/25/11- We have had a few foster dogs come and go from the house. Fostering is a mixed bag for us. We enjoy helping out the breed, but we are now spoiled by our trained good dogs. The last one had never been in a crate before and on top of it, came into heat while we were fostering her. It made for quite a few sleep deprived nights. Taiko and I are inching our way towards our C-ATE. We are also entered in CPE Nationals which is located close to home this year. So this year's show schedule is packed. Plans are being made on the next Shiba star that will enter our household. Nothing is concrete right now, and taking on a puppy is no more appealing now than it was many years ago. So, we shall see what ends up happening.   

2/16/11- Again, sorry about the lack of updates. No news is good news. This past weekend Taiko and I travelled to Kansasville, WI with a friend of ours for a CPE trial. The show site was really nice, it was on dirt, and the courses were fast and flowing. All things my Shiba loves to run. So run he did. His speed can be difficult for me to control though and so off courses were happening this weekend, but he was enjoying running and running fast. It made games like Jackpot and Full House VERY fun to run and we did qualify on those types of courses. What was really great though was on this trip we got to see our very good friends Tracie and her white German Shepherd Dog Mira finish their C-ATCH together. Mira is a miracle dog on so many levels. When she was under 8 weeks old she was stepped on by her mom and her pelvis was broken. No one knew it until she had her hips x-rayed for her OFA evaluation. She had healed, but her hips were graded as dysplastic and Tacie was told Mira would never have a normal life much less be able to do anything like agility. Well, Mira does run agility and it keeps her in shape so she can handle her disability. Then earlier this year Mira came down with a rare and potentially deadly autoimmune disease. She spent a week in ICU and they almost lost her. Once again, Mira proved she could beat the odds and she pulled through. She lost a lot of muscle mass and they weren't sure she could get back into shape to do agility again, but she did. Her first few trials back were a bit rusty, you could tell she loved being on the course with Tracie, but she wasn't always willing to follow Tracie's plan.  This weekend they needed 4 standard runs to complete the C-ATCH. Tracie wanted to get 2 of them at least. First two runs, Mira was flying. She loved the dirt, the cooler temperatures, and fast flowing courses- they were great for a GSD! She got those two runs. Two to go. On Sunday, Tracie was sick. She almost decided not to run, but Mira wanted to run so she ran her and Mira was wild, but they got the qualifying score. The second standard run Mira was up and ready to go. It was a tough course for them, but Tracie handled it well for the Q and title!  I'm so happy for them. That same course Taiko NQd because my head wasn't really in the game. The day belonged to Tracie and her dogs. Yes, dogs. She brought her youngster Nadia with to the show as well and Nadia finished a title at that show as well as proved she is going to be a superstar in the agility ring as well.

Taiko and I will continue to hit CPE pretty hard this year. We hit the half way point of our C-ATE. I *hope* to finish it this year. Many want us to be the first team in MN to get that title. I would be happy just to get it. Taiko is capable of it. We also sent in our entry to be in the CPE Nationals hosted by the MN clubs this year. Hopefully we get in. The goal: qualify at least once in level C at the National level with a Shiba! That's not something that happens every day. One of the judges is a Shiba breeder on the East Coast. His dogs do well in CPE. I want to show him what the Midwest Shibas can do!

9/20/10- Taiko finished his C-ATCH3 this weekend at a CPE trial in St. Cloud, MN. Debated long and hard to put him in level 5 standard to finish this title. I'm not as motivated by the multiple titles of the same thing. Yet, we only needed 2 standard legs to get this title. We had 4 opportunities this weekend and got just that. He made me sweat it out by getting it on the last run of our weekend. His reward was a whole can of food and being able to dig to his heart's content in a rabbit hole in the field near the show site. By focusing on the C-ATCH, we didn't get as many points towards the C-ATE this weekend, but we did get a few level C Qs. After the fact, I enjoy conquering a tough course, but while going through it, it is tough for me to manage my mental game when the whole weekend the courses seem more difficult than usual. In the long haul now, need about 200 Qs to finish out C-ATE. Wish us luck.  

 8/16/10- Taiko and I just finished a full weekend of CPE agility. It was a full 2 ring trial with tons of people, tons of dogs, ring conflicts, worker conflicts, and just for me a difficult trial to manage my stress level. Thankfully, Taiko's a pro at this point and as long as he's able to run a course, he doesn't really care how dismal my handling is as long as I put him on a line of obstacles and stay out of his way. That sadly was a skill set I did not have this weekend and I got shiba scolded more than once this weekend for being out of position and just not handling well. He did well in spite of me, but I hope future weeks go a bit smoother for us. On a more promising note- we hit the 20% mark towards finishing our C-ATE title. A fifth of the way there and I don't feel like it's taken us that long to get to that point. Ask me in a year though if I feel that way still. We won't even have enough opportunities to finish the C-ATE for another 18 months or so unless we travel for CPE or have a 100% qualifying rate (unlikely for us). So, we keep plugging away. It doesn't help that we missed one CPE trial due to a minor eye injury where Taiko had a sliver in his eye. It healed fast, but required a week's rest and trip to the emergency vet. Another try at AKC this weekend- 1 run in jumpers each day and then a few weeks off again. Our fall schedule is yet to be decided. It will be heavily focused on CPE though. 

 8/2/10- Taiko earned his ARCH title this weekend! That's the APDT Rally Champion title. I believe he's the first Shiba ever to earn that title. I won't say this title came easy for us. Granted, there are only 2 shows a year locally so that adds to the length of time it took to get. Then there was of course "off" weekends where we were just not working well together. Taiko is officially retired from the regular classes in APDT Rally. We could go further and try for higher scores and even higher Championship titles, but I'm just not that fond of working him in rally anymore. Honestly, he did really well this weekend. Qualified in all 6 runs I entered him in on some of the toughest rally courses we have ever done. He can play in the Veterans classes where extra commands are not as strongly penalized and we *might* try CDSP obedience again. The next two weekends are CPE agility (indoors thankfully) so he will have fun.  

7/14/10- We took June off from showing, but now have a busy show schedule for most of the rest of the summer. We went back into the AKC agility ring for 2 jumpers runs. Didn't get any qualifying scores, but didn't make any major mistakes either that would make me not go back. AKC is still difficult for me right now with so few runs a day. This coming weekend is UKC Rally and conformation. The weekend after is CPE agility. Week after that is APDT Rally. Then another 2 weekends of CPE agility. Not all are are 2 day weekends. Still it's a busy schedule for me and Taiko. I toy with putting Kita in something every so often, but she is so happy just not coming with us to shows, it just doesn't seem worth it to put her through it. Maybe in November I'll put her in UKC rally for a run or two.

3/7/10- Not much to report right now. Spring seems to be coming our way. That is nice. Dogs get out on more walks and that makes everyone a bit happier. Kita and Taiko are both doing well. The "maintenance" schedule of acupuncture we have Kita on right now seems to be very good for her. I wish Taiko could tolerate acupuncture like Kita does. He doesn't seem to need anything, but some day as he gets more mature he may benefit from it.  

2/23/10- Just finished 3 weekends in a row competing with Taiko. First weekend was APDT rally obedience where Taiko and I were both just not that into it. Typically I enjoy rally, but Taiko had some relatively strong opinions about being on a course without a tunnel present. He just adores agility and rally is a chore for him. There is another trial in the fall. If I had to choose today what we would do, he would not be entered or he'd be entered in the veterans class where the courses are shorter and there are fewer stationary exercises. The weekend after that we did CPE agility. I absolutely love the decision to move to level C. We may never get our C-ATE, but it is fun to get the rainbow qualifying ribbons and Taiko enjoys agility. Then I traveled with my friend Tracie and her GSD Mira to IL for another CPE agility trial. Run 'n Fun is always a good place to travel to for shows. The dogs have fun. The courses were not necessarily "Taiko friendly" but he had fun anyway. It took a few runs to get our act together. Part of the reason I love CPE so much is in many of the games classes you can make up your own course. For Taiko that can be a huge benefit because trappy tight courses just don't work well for us. I vowed long ago to not do hard call offs when running with him so it forces me to handle with more front crosses and lateral distance. Some runs are easier to do that than others and some courses I just can't always wrap my brain around how to meet the presented challenge. Thankfully, Taiko continues to be sound and continues to enjoy running agility with me, so we get to play again in the future.

1/27/10- Tesla, our foster dog, has found her forever home. We were very sad to see her go, but thrilled that the dog that had only 24 hours to live, now has a lifetime of tomorrows to look forward to in her new home. Fostering is not something we will be doing very often. Everyone on the family, including Kita, is missing the little white 3 legged dog that inched her way into our hearts and did not let go.

 12/10/09- Taiko earned his CPE C-ATCH2 this past weekend! We struggle with standard courses, but plugged away throughout the year. Taiko was really ON this past weekend. It's fun to run him when he's fast AND responsive. I don't always have both at the same time with him. This coming weekend we will play in NADAC again. All Elite classes now. Taiko enjyos NADAC more than I do. All that speed and flowing courses. It's a different style of handling and I sometimes mess it up, but he likes it so I keep entering him in it. Working on our plans for 2010. CPE and NADAC continue to be the top venues for us. USDAA games are fun- the down on the table in STD will never happen for Taiko anymore since we haven't done a table in competition for 2 years now. ASCA is a possibility, but I'm not willing to travel to ASCA shows and there's so few each year locally, getting enough opportunities to get our ADCH is difficult: therefore, a bit demotivating. We haven't done AKC in 2 years either, may dabble in it, but only in JWWs or FAST. Tough to commit that much time to a day for one or two runs when other venues let us play up to 6 runs a day. When Taiko starts doing better with limiting runs in a weekend, that venue will become more appealing. Won't do UKC agility anymore with Taiko- it's not our style of agility and would frustrate him at this point in his career.

11/25/09- Tesla is still with us, she's a nice dog and Kita and Taiko don't mind having her around. We have had a few people who would like to adopt her. There just hasn't been anyone who's been the prefect fit yet. Taiko and I have done some rally obedience and agility these past few months. He prefers agility, but will humor me in the rally ring. Kita is living the retired life now. She is doing well with her acupuncture treatments- they really help keep her acting young.  

10/26/09- Again, a long time between updates. Life has been busy. We took in a foster Shiba we call Tesla. She is younger than we were originally told so she's not fitting in with Kita or Taiko as well as I had hoped, but things are not terrible either. Having two females together makes me a bit concerned, but so far my fears really are not needed. Tesla is probably the sweetest Shiba I have ever met in my life. Her biggest problem is she has a bad leg and can't walk on it. It doesn't seem to bother her. She runs, jumps and plays very well with it. I'll put a page up for her soon. She's sweet and will make someone a great dog.  

 9/9/09- APDT Rally obedience was fun, but not a favorite activity for my little black dog. He much prefers agility. This time of year, it's too hot for him to do too much agility since it tends to be outside and black dog melts in the sun and humidity. So, when we got to run a 2 day NADAC trial this past weekend, Taiko enjoyed every single minute of it. He loves the wide open courses where I have to trust him to be far away from me in order to get to the place I need to get to next. This weekend, my timing was a tiny bit off since we have been out of classes for a month. Yet, when I handled well, Taiko did not disappoint me. He was fast, happy, and responsive. We qualified in 6 out of 11 runs and took first or second placements in all our classes. I'm still so happy that Taiko is able to run agility again. This trial last year Taiko was wearing the dreaded Doggleggs Hobbles. This year- not a hint of injury and oh how I treasure that.

 7/13/09- Again, it's been a while since I updated. Played in UKC Rally over the weekend. UKC rally is new and similar to APDT Rally which I have always enjoyed. This was our first time trying rally outside and I will say that presented a different challenge for us. Not sure I will try it again, but we did qualify both times we were in the ring and we even got a third place out of a fairly large class. Taiko does enjoy rally as long as I can keep my ring nerves down. Since I went into this weekend optimistic, but not really caring about the outcome, there were few ring nerves. The courses were fun and didn't have too many stationary exercises.

 In the next few weeks we will be doing quite a bit of rally obedience since it's a bit too hot to do agility outdoors for my black dog. Agility continues to be fun although CPE agility is harder for us now that we are doing NADAC agility. I guess we just continue to train and play. I have seen absolutely no sign of Taiko's shoulder injury reoccurring. I will still never jump him at 16" again, but it is nice to know we can still play the game.

 5/20/09- It's been a while since I updated this site. Really, it's kind of "no news is good news" type stuff. We have been attending shows about every 3 weeks or so since we got back to competition and are taking some private lessons here and there along the way. I have few concrete plans on where to go from here at this point. We have found a new love of NADAC style agility. Open flowing courses that let Taiko really RUN between obstacles. I treasure CPE for all it taught me, but NADAC- wow- that's a wild ride when running Taiko. Doubt a NATCH will ever be in our future, but it will be worth the trip to try.

3/24/09- We participated in another CPE agility trial over the weekend. It was a ton of fun since it was Taiko's first time running on dirt since he was injured oh so many months ago. Taiko LOVES running on dirt. He dragged me to the start line for each run, kicked up his heels during the run, and just had a ton of fun running. Our first few runs of the weekend were not the most graceful we've ever been. My timing continues to improve, but we aren't at the level we were at. Still, we had fun. We had more fun running this weekend than we probably ever have had at a show before. I am so grateful to have my dog back playing agility with me again. Each and every run is something to be treasured.  

3/8/09- Taiko got his CPE C-ATCH title today!!!!! My friend Tracie and I traveled to Spring Grove, IL for a CPE agility trial. My intention for the weekend was to focus on my timing and making sure Taiko stayed sound while running the courses. Obviously we wanted to do well in our standard runs, but I expected to have trouble with something. The courses were of a NADAC style and Taiko LOVES that. He got to run and run fast and the courses had flow. Taiko ran fast, happy, and sound all weekend. The icing on the cake was us getting the title. This whole journey for us through rehabbing from his injury to now has been such an experience. One that I'm thrilled to have had, but it's been a very personal endeavor for us and the lessonslearned have been more than I ever could have imagined. Thank you to everyone who helped Taiko run agility again.

2/18/09- We are back playing in agility again. We took a private lesson last week and Taiko had a blast! It's like he hasn't forgotten anything in our time off. Me- well- my timing stinks. I can't do the right footwork on a front cross and I can't think fast on course anymore. Poor dog. He was wondering who the buffoon next to him was and can he get a less gawky one? Oh well, agility is mostly training the handler isn't it? I'm thrilled to be running with him again.

1/31/09- I competed with Taiko Saturday at the APDT rally trial- our first time back in any competition ring since August of 2008. We did very well qualifying in 5 out of 6 runs. We got placements in 4 out of the 5 qualifying runs. Also we got two Doube Qs towards our ARCH title! YEAH!!!!!!! Didn't pick up a huge amount of points. 24 points overall. Still, I was thrilled with how well Taiko did considering how little obedience practice we've done recently. What he did well on was wonderful, what he didn't do well on did not surprise me at all. Always the exercises that require 4 sits in a row (1,2,3 steps forward and halt & call front 1,2,3 steps back) will force me to use too many commands and will get us NQ'd every single time. Also, courses that require a stationary exercise before we are able to do some healing don't work well for us. That us and I'm just not sure how to train through that issue. Either way, I was thrilled at how well Taiko did.  

1/29/09- Pulled our entry from the CPE trial. Too many family things to do that weekend. Not 100% thrilled about it, but that's the way things work sometimes. Taiko and Kita continue to do well. Walks have been less frequent than I'd like, but they are happening. The high school cross country ski team had a meet last week and now has groomed trails we can walk on in the woods. That has made our lives more entertaining for walks. It's always nice to get off the salty roads and onto a real trail.

1/20/09- Getting excited about the upcoming APDT trail for Taiko as well as the CPE agility trial we are entered in as well. Contemplating what to do about training and getting back into the competitive agility world again. Promised vet we won't be jumping 16" until July at the earliest. Will be having shoulder angles measured on Taiko on the 29th. I don't predict the angles will be as bad as they were. Not seeing any signs of problems at all with Taiko. Kita's been doing well, but she is losing her hearing. Some days are better than others. Granted, with a Shiba, it's not always easy to tell if they are intentionally ignoring you or they really can't hear you.

1/15/09- Taiko and Kita are doing well, but the major cold spell we've been having is making life difficult for all of us. I got some new treat balls and chew items to help them out a bit. It's not 100% effective, but it helps. They both want to get out and walk. Yet, Kita now can't tolerate temperatures much below zero and Taiko's feet freeze up around that temperature as well. Let's hope things warm up soon. 

12/31/08- Last bit of news from 2008. Taiko is going in for his third and last prolotherapy treatment on Friday. The vet is going out of town for January and I had the choice to do the treatment early or late. Not necessarily an easy choice to make, but due to work schedules and future plans, January 2nd was an easier date to travel for us. I am going to be assistant teaching an agility class in January and February. I also entered Taiko in a CPE trial in February. Not doing all classes and not at full jump height, but a way to play with him and figure out how poor my timing has gotten over time. More decisions to be made later. Happy New Year!!!!

12/9/08- Taiko had his second prolotherapy treatment on Friday. He's recovering from it, but this time around he was in a bit more pain than the last time. Now that we just got dumped on with snow, he'll have an opportunity to get better though. Taiko LOVES running in snow. Kita had another acupuncture treatment. She's feeling very well due to it. The future for Taiko looks bright, but now there are the many questions of: When should we get back into agility? Should we try some fun runs soon? What limitations should I put on him (I'm a bit gun shy to just play as usual at this point)? I'm sure there are agility enthusiasts out there that would have their dog entered in the next available show. I'm just not one of those. I'm not making those decisions today. This time of year agility in this area is not very active. For once, that's fine by me.

12/4/08- Taiko continues to do well. If I didn't know any better, I'd be entering him in agility trials. He can walk as far as I'm willing to go and further. We've found new trails to explore in the area. That has been a fun adventure for all of us. Kita has some digestive system issues going on right now. Her normal food is unavailable in the winter and I've been trying to move her to a different food. Looks like the switch didn't go so well. Could also have been some holiday relatives that gave her some unusual food as well though. Either way, she needs some extra TLC this week. Oh I wish we were closer to our favorite vet Dr. Osborn!

11/14/08- No news is good news! Things continue to go well for both pups. Helping Minnesota Shiba Inu Rescue out a bit tomorrow by locally providing transport for a young shiba. There have been some incredible shibas coming through that group lately. We can't get another dog right now, but I'm more open to taking in an MSIR rescue now than I used to be. They have a great program and I would not hesitate at all recommending them to anyone.

11/10/08- Did a 2 mile walk on Saturday and a 4 mile trail walk with the pups on Sunday. Won't do quite that much again for a while. Both Kita and Taiko enjoy it quite a bit, but as the days get shorter and weather gets nastier, the trails become less appealing. It's very nice to be able to walk with the dogs again. They both appreciated it quite a bit. Now it's the hard balance of making sure we don't do too much too fast. Yet, since Taiko's procedure I have not noticed him having any issues at all.

11/6/08- Things continue to look good for Taiko and Kita. Taiko is playing, running, and just overall a much easier dog to live with now that we get daily walks again and some extra mental stimulation. I've learned so much from this whole experience- information that I never would have had before all this happened. My perspective of competition agility has changed and it's impact on my dogs. Even though Taiko's injury did not happen due to agility, how I run him after all this will be different. How different has yet to be determined, but I certainly will run each run with the goal to have fun and enjoy my time in the ring with my dog.  

10/29/08- Taiko had his prolotherapy procedure with the help of Dr. Janell Osborn and Dr. Debbie Brown to help fix his shoulder injury on the 24th. He was a bit stiff and sore the day of the procedure, but some extra slow walks and rest made him feel better. The next day when we went walking on the hilly trail by our house you would have never known he had been to the vet the day before. He was excited, happy and putting full weight on all 4 legs. Kita had a lump removed on the 24th as well and we will find out the results of that at some point. Initial guess is things are fine with her. She had an acupuncture treatment as well. Kita loves her acupuncture treatments. They seem to last about 6 weeks for her. It's so nice to see her walking smoothly. Taiko is supposed to walk quite a bit now. We'll add impact exercises in a few weeks, but we are going to build cardiovascular back up first. Also, he doesn't need to wear his hobbles anymore! Our second prolotherapy treatment (and probably the last) is scheduled for December 5th. Six weeks after that Taiko will be re-evaluated to go back into agility. All indications right now show he'll go back at the same level we left and not need to have any restrictions going forward. Mid January we plan to go back to classes. I don't know if it's too optimistic to think we will be entered in the February CPE trial. I can only hope.

10/10/08- Taiko's again not putting full weight on the right front leg. The two week wait is going to be frustrating. Hobbles back on for walks and any outside activities. Minimally, he's not fighting me to put them on as bad as he used to. Transaltion- the whole house doesn't get woken up with him screaming anymore. It's a small whimper. At this point I pick up the muzzle and he knows what is going to happen. He doesn't run from me though.

10/6/08- Our appointment for the prolotherapy on Taiko's shoulder is scheduled for 9:30 am on the 24th of October. We are driving to Pequot Lakes, MN for this procedure. I'm told the actual procedure will not take that long and he will be going home with me- in hobbles- for the weekend. The journey continues from there. Another procedure will probably be needed. Not sure if this vet waits a month between procedures or 2 weeks. I'll know more on the 24th. Until then, keeping Taiko from injuring himself further and staying on the tendon/ligament supplement is the course of action for now.

9/30/08- Taiko is still wearing hobbles and we are still waiting for contact with the vet. Daily walks are still limited to 15 minutes each, but I'm now going up the large hill next to the high school as part of that walk. Debating taking the hobbles off for the walks. No running without them, but for walking- especially on uneven terrain- I want him using the right muscles and not compensating in the hobbles. He's on leash so it's still fairly controlled. I don't walk him off leash anyway and Taiko doesn't pull very much when he's on leash. Trying to figure out how to minimize/eliminate the inevitable shiba spaz that happens when I remove the hobbles at night. I've tried taking it off in a smaller room and waiting for Taiko to settle down. Yet, once the door is opened, he's rushes out and chases Kita. I suppose I should have him on leash and control that. Still, I wonder if he'd then start up once I take the leash off? I'll try tonight.

9/15/08- Taiko is still wearing the hobbles when not locked up. Started a ligament/tendon supplement recommended by Dr. Osborn. Waiting for a prolotherapy treatment appointment. Hopefully it will be this week. Having trouble being patient letting this injury heal. Took Taiko to a rally run thru Sunday night. Apparently, according to him, you can not sit in the hobbles either. At least not in the obedience ring. The "default stand" was a chronic issue of ours in the rally ring when we were working towards our AKC RAE title. It hasn't been as much of a problem with APDT rally, but the exercises with 4 sits in a row are still not relished by him. Longing for out agility classes and this weekend is a trial we had to pull from. At least we can do our daily walks. Now that fall weather is upon us, both Kita and Taiko have been enjoying the walks a lot more. High heat and humidity have never been appealing to either one of them. They'll still walk, but there is a spring to their step when the weather cools down. They know the much loved snow is on the way soon. To a Shiba, snow is a treat that could last all year long. Chasing mice in snow pack tunnels is ever so entertaining for them.

9/5/08- It's been a long week. Taiko lives in his hobbles any time he's not in the crate- theoretically. I'm doing my best, but he actually won't go to the bathroom in them so I have to have to give him access to the yard once a day to do his business. In order to get Taiko to actually walk in the hobbles I drive him to a nearby park. Once there he forgets he's in them and will walk and run even. Doubt the Dr. would like that. He's even started figuring out he can wrestle with Kita in them- although I think it's uncomfortable because the wrestling sessions don't last long. Adi kitty has enjoyed this week- she has taken to wrestling with Kita again. Normally Taiko breaks their wrestling matches up. Decided to leave the rehab clinic that originally diagnosed this problem and we will not be following their protocols. I believe they are a wonderful place, but their black and white methods were not working with my dog. Underwater treadmill is not an option for us. Taiko's at his limit for being manhandled. I'm investigating other options.

8/28/08- Day #2 in hobbles and x-rays taken at vet to confirm nothing else going on with shoulder. Taiko hates the hobbles and won't walk. Typical shiba passive resistance. First laser treatment last night to promote healing in the shoulder.  Taking things day by day.

8/20/08- Things were not fine after the Chiropractic adjustment. In fact, things were worse for Taiko so I took him to a rehab center and had them go over him extensively. He was diagnosed with a moderate grade medial shoulder instability- probable cause was the rabbit chasing incident in June. He will be in hobbles for the next 3 months along with a major rehabilitation routine. ETA for getting back into agility is now 2009.

8/13/08- Taiko and Kita both got adjustments. Kita is feeling great. Taiko's not as convinced. We have the green light to back to class. Not sure if we will go to class on the 20th, but will if things seem fine. Not going to do a-frame, weaves, and will use a lower jump height initially in class.

8/6/08- Acupuncture and chiro treatment scheduled for Taiko. No longer favoring leg/foot, but I want to get him looked at and on a path to full recovery. This injury originally happened in June. Taiko raced down the deck stairs chasing a rabbit and injured himself in the process. He was proud of his accomplishment, but I don't think the price he paid was worth it. This is a classic example the reason shibas are never tp be trusted off leash in an unsecured area- there was no calling him off that chase and he was so preoccupied with getting his prey that he didn't even notice he was hurt initially.

8/2/08- Attended one day ASCA trial at the Leatherdale Equine Center on the U of M campus. Always a nice site. First run Elite jumpers- we had a small bobble in the opening, but no off courses or anything. Second Elite Jumpers run Taiko started favoring his right front foot so I pulled him from the rest of the runs for the day. He managed to Qualify and place second in both Elite Jumpers runs in spite of the injury. 

7/26/08 & 7/27/08- Attended a local CPE agility trial with Taiko. Qualified and placed in 4 runs. Still working hard to get last 2 remaining Regular level 5 Qs to finish C-ATCH title. Deciding on schedule for September.

 

 

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