Tuesday, May 29, 2012

You Are What You Eat!!!

If this it true, our dogs should be oinking like pigs, and clucking like chickens!!  Hum, now that I think about it, they do make some pretty interesting noises at times. 

 (Maned Wolf)

On Saturday, Cheryl Morris came in from Western Iowa (Council Bluffs) to give a presentation on feeding our canine companions.  Cheryl discussed the 'evolution' of our canines diets, as they adapted to living with humans.  A fascinating discussion on the Canidae (the biological family) in which our family dogs are included, as well as the amazing differences of diets within this group.  From pure carnivores (meat only), to those that east very little meat, even those that eat insects only. 

She talked on both raw (premade/commerical/home) and kibble diets, stressing that you can feed kibble and do it well!  The key is in knowing what you are getting for your money.  Also the importance of adding water to your dry kibble when feeding.  I've now started this with my 'farm' cats that eat kibble, yep, getting the eye roll from Bill.  What can I say....I LOVE my Kitties!! 

Our main focus was getting optimal performance in the ring, but truly, it was a discussion of our dogs diet, throughout all their life stages.

Also discussed were the vitamins and minerals your dog needed, as well adequate hydration.  Hydration is especially important to watch when we travel.  Some dogs don't drink as much as they should when away from home, so she provided us with an awesome 'Keegan' water recipe.  I'll be taking this with me to the next trial!

I would strongly encourage your club, or group to reach out to Cheryl and set up a presentation in your area, it is truly worth the time.  My personal experience with Cheryl is a personal consult on a senior diet for Kruz.  I feed raw, and she tweak his diet a bit, adding a few more carbs, some additional supplements and he's doing great!  

HUGE THANK YOU to Cheryl for coming!!

If you're interested in more information, including Cheryl's e-mail address, please see below:

Cheryl Morris, PhD, has been the Director of Comparative Nutrition at Omaha’s Henry
Doorly Zoo since 2005. She is responsible for formulating and managing the diets of the entire
collection ranging from insects to mammals. Her nutrition laboratory and research focus have
been in the area of raw meat diet formulations for carnivores and utilization of whole prey in
carnivore diets. Cheryl also oversees the Training, Environmental Enrichment, and Interactive
Animal Programs at the zoo. Cheryl completed her Ph.D in Nutritional Sciences at the
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign focusing on dietary factors affecting intestinal health
in the canine. When she’s not thinking about nutrition, Cheryl plays AKC and USDAA agility
with her Toy Fox Terriers (Keegan, Leia, and Shadow) and her rescued Border Collie, Karma.
Cheryl also conducts private nutritional consults for individuals seeking specific advice for their
performance dogs through Evolve Animal Services, LLC (www.evolveanimalservices.com).

Friday, May 25, 2012

I want what I want!!

Gee, now I'm sounding like the Honey Badger!!!  G

video

Nettle is doing well on her weaves, 
and I'm sure I 'could' add the second set at this point.

I'm going to wait however, until I get the footwork I want. 

The poles she's using in this sequence are 24".  
The 2 X 2's I use, are 22". 

USDAA still allows 22" poles, so I want to be 
sure she understands how to handle the difference.
It's surprising, or maybe not, how that 2" can make a difference. 

Anyway, back to Nettle's footwork.  I want her to one stride her poles.  I think this type of striding is more efficient and faster. Nettle is about the same size as Mad Dog, (a bit over 19") and Mad single stepped her poles, thus I don't see any reason Nettle can't.  Structurally, she is very nice, so I'll put a plan in place to 'get what I want'!  

How?  Well, I'm going to go out and dig around in my 'old' equipment to see what I can find.  I know I have at least 2 sets of 6 poles at different spacings, 18" and 20".  The plan is to dig out the 20" later today, and work with them until I get the one striding I want.  Then put her back on the 22 or 24s" to see if she can maintain it, before I move to second set of 6 poles, and then 12.  My feeling is, why increase the level of difficulty (multiple poles), before I get the striding I want at 6.  

Let the games continue!!!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Nettle at 6 Poles Plus a Distraction!

No, not quite ready for chickens!!  Yet! 

video

Kruz wanted to come play too, so he 'supervised'.  

This might have been a bit too much at this point in her training, 
but Nettle worked through it.   She had to dodge around him a couple times.  
Maybe he was the 7th pole?

We'll spend a couple days at 6 poles, to gain some confidence
in her striding.  I'll wait to add Kruz back in a bit later. 

This is so crazy how this actually works!  
Who'd have thunk!!  


Monday, May 21, 2012

Who's Training Who?


Nettle has recently begun her weave pole training with 2X2’s.  She’s catching on quickly, and we’ve progressed to 4 poles, with some pretty difficult entries.  She’s been able to work through all of the challenges I’ve given her, and that makes me very happy! 

It's 6 am - and 50 degrees outside with a north wind - Yep, I'm dressed up! NOT!!  (':


One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from our other dogs is, ‘Don’t make things easier after a failure!’  Let the dog work through it, or they will learn to be helpless.  They learn we’ll come and ‘save the day’!  I wish I would have learned this sooner!  Or at least, really taken it to heart.  I know I’d heard it before, but it never truly sunk in.

Just like people, every dog learns at a different pace, and in different ways.  This doesn’t make one dog smarter than any other, it just makes them different. 

For instance, Seeker blasted through 2X2s in about 7 days, it just made sense to him, and he LOVED doing whatever I wanted to do.  Thus his name “Hail Yeah”, because any time you ask him if he wants to do something, this is his response!  His failures are easy to work through; he’ll keep trying no matter what.  He loves the game so much.  His attention is just on figuring out the puzzle, not about the outside reinforcements.  This is why he can weave through poles with chickens in them; he’s not thinking about the birds, he’s thinking about the game!

Nettle on the other hand, is very distracted by her surroundings.  She likes the game well enough, but doesn’t LOVE it,’ yet’.  Sometimes she’s like the joke, “How many kids with ADHD does it take to change a light bulb? Let’s go ride bikes.”  That’s okay, that’s who she is, and although it makes some things more challenging, it also makes the ‘breakthroughs’ very rewarding. 

Nettle likes to do what pleases HER!  Gosh, who doesn’t!  So, one of the challenges we’ve needed to overcome was ‘bringing a toy right back’ when it’s thrown.  This might not seem like a big deal, but ‘self’ rewarding by sprinting around with a toy isn’t very good ‘team work’.  It’s also difficult to throw a toy with a line on it.  Yep, been there, done that!  Stepped on the line, tripped on the line, and couldn’t throw the toy far due to a knot being in the line!  Trust me; it’s a comedy of errors, that lucky only the neighbors will see!  Honestly, they have probably already seen enough for a life time! 

So, our retrieve work has become no direct return, no cookie.  I might play some tug if we were working on 2X2s and she did a wonderful job…but, no cookie!  Or, as Tracy P says, “No Soup For You.”…which is way more fun!  It’s amazing how this works!  In the video clip, Net does a really nice job with her weaves, but decided a small victory lap was in order.  No cookie, although we did tug.  The next time she came right back.  Good Girl!

I’ve also been very diligent about not making things EASIER!!  This is really hard!  We want to help them understand, but what we are really doing is teaching them by failing, we’ll make it easier!  UGH!  So, I do video tape my sessions, then go back to make sure I’m not moving in such a way to make it easier.  In fact, I try to remain where I released her at this point; just to be sure I’m not tempted to make it easier, knowing I need to add some movement to these difficult entries as well.  I’ll do that tomorrow. 

There is one point in this video that she fails 3 times in a row; she’s looking for something else to do.  Yes, she’s stressed, but she needs to work through it. She sniffs the ground, eats some grass, and at one point finds a leaf that she thinks about grabbing and running with.  In the end, she came back and did a nice job!  It may not look like a hard entry on the video, but I was at pole #3 (second to the last), on the left side, she had to go search for that entry.  I would bet few experience weaving dogs would be able to do that.  This is the one she did the small victory lap, no soup, but we had some play time.

If I would reward those ‘victory laps’ with a cookie, I think I would be increasing the likelihood that she would repeat the behavior.  Now, none of us really knows what our dogs are thinking, but I have tried rewarding for what I thought was ‘finally’ coming back.  Guess what, it just kept getting worse!  Instead of a small lap, I was getting the “Triple Crown” lap around the 120’ by 80’ training yard.  Yep, “I’ll Have Another”!! 

By withholding the cookie reward whenever there is the ‘slightest’ victory lap, those have become less and less likely to occur.  I’ve also been able to ‘unleash’ the toy, which makes tossing into these high winds MUCH easier!  Double bonus!!

Bottom line, if you are one that rewards your dog after they’ve run off to see someone and then comes back, you might want to rethink that.  Verbal praise, sure…but does it really deserve a cookie?  Are you only increasing the likelihood that will happen again?  I guess that’s only a question you can answer for yourself. 

HAPPY TRAINING!!!!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dog Trainers should be Ambidextrous!

You might think I'm kidding, but I'm really not.  Now, I wouldn't expect anyone to become totally equal in their abilities to use each hand, but being better at it can sure help!

Being timely, and rewarding in the proper area is very important to dog training.  In agility, we really don't want to be reaching across are bodies with our right hand to reward a dog on the left, and visa versa.  Why?  You are encouraging your dogs rear end to swing out, and you are no longer facing in the same direction.  It's just not good placement of reward. 

Same for tugging rewards.  You want to when possible to reward at your side, facing the direction in which you're going.  Now, I'm not saying you can never reward in front, but think about the game of agility, you are 'generally' heading in the same direction, side by side.  It's a bit hard to run a course if the dog is facing you in front.  So, by becoming more ambidextrous, you can successfully tug on both sides of your body.

Good news for right handed obedience trainers!!  You are likely pretty good at delivering food rewards with your left hand.  Sorry Lefties....you might not be as proficient on the right, since the majority of obedience work is left oriented.  Reminds me of the days when dogs only weaved on the left!  Yes, it's true!!

Ambidexterity is  a skill we all can improve at.  It would be nice to be able to deliver, tug, throw, (okay, so I know a couple people that can throw with their dominate hand!!) rewards of all kinds with equal accuracy.  Luckily, it's not hard to do!!

Each day while you're doing a task, simply switch hands!  Unscrew a lid, wash the dishes, unload the dryer, etc.  At first you'll need to think about what you're doing, but it can seriously become a natural habit.  EAT with your non-dominate hand!   Trust me, almost all my friends are borderline 'food aggressive', you WON'T STARVE!  I promise!!  It's a great way to improve your dexterity for your 'off hand'.

Another great benefit is if you ever have an unexpected accident, like your horse steps in a hole and you both take a tumble into a ditch, you'll be able to eat with no worries!!  Lucky for me I'd already been practicing!!  I would bet wrist fractures are up there as the most common! Be prepared!

Play kids games, horse shoes (okay, maybe not), bean bag toss, Pictionary, "Operation" is a blast using your off hand!!  Deal cards, make coffee, put toast in the toaster, slide your credit card!  There are so many things we do everyday without even thinking about it, it's clumsy at first, but you'll be surprise how quickly you become good at it.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Running A-Frame

Okay, this is what I'm going to do, PROMISE!!!  
No turning back, no chickening out, no making excuses!!  
This WILL HAPPEN!!!  

Be GONE "STICKY ICKY ICKY A-Frame"! 

Now for planning the strategy!! 

When teaching any behavior, you need to know what you want.  It's not enough to say, "I want a running A-Frame.", although I'm sure some people do, and are able to get it.  For myself, I need to know exactly 'what I want'. 

So, my first question is, what do I 'personally' think of when I think about a running A-Frame.  First is confidence, a dog that runs up and over without hesitation.  Independence, the ability to complete the AF no matter where the handler is.  Along with that, however, a dog that can turn tightly off the AF to accommodate turns as needed on course.  A dog that skims over the top.  I don't want 'air', air looks cool, but wastes time IMO.  Leg separation, striding naturally up and over.  Let the number of hits on the way down "go" and focus on comfort for the dog.  Able to maintain the above criteria in the 'face' of an extremely rewarding tunnel at the end, or any other piece of equipment!!  Able to hit a 90 degree weave pole entry from the AF.  I'm probably missing something...but, those are my thoughts for now. 

I took Silvia Trkman's running contact class last year, in preparation for Nettle, so time to dust that off and go back to the introduction material.  Now, Seeker will only be working on a running AF, so I won't be using a plank, just the AF itself.  

It's also important to keep track of successes and failures, so I have a notebook.  Video is great too, so I have my flip taped on the bottom (now top of course) of a 5 gallon bucket. This will help me watch my criteria, and give me ideas of areas to focus on in future training sessions.  

So, this morning Bill helped me lay the AF flat in the building, just waiting for the games to begin!  I got Seeker's favorite toy, his 'Squeaky Ball', and out we went.  Okay, it was pretty simple this morning, the AF was flat and I tossed the ball out about 10' past the exit.  Released with a 'go' and clicked when he hit in the yellow.  Not terribly complicated.  Worked about 8 reps and stopped.  This afternoon I might put a tunnel on the approach side, just to give him something else to do.  The plan on this point is to move up one chain link at a time as long as I feel the criteria is being meet.  I'll also need to be sure to work front crosses, rear crosses and turns sooner, rather than later. 

My one concern (if you want to call it that), is I have a trial the first weekend in June.  I wanted to pull, but Bill didn't want me to.  So, I told him, "I'm not even looking at my AF, you've got to accept I will say 'go' and what happens happens."  You can't start this, and then not follow through at trials.  That's just not fair to the dog.  

I know it will take time for him to trust that he can run through.  It will take time for me to trust he will run through....and, it will take time for him to figure out the stride he's most comfortable with.  In the end, I know we can be successful at this.  There are so many teams out there with lovely running AFs, so, there's not reason we can be one of them too.  

HAPPY TRAINING!!! 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sticky Icky Icky A-Frame!! UGH!

Well, back to the 'drawing board' with our A-Frame work.  Just when you think you have it licked...the last two weekends have shown that Seeker still has massive confusion when it comes to the criteria for the a-frame.  Let's be honest here, it's NOT HIS FAULT!! 

In DSM over the weekend, he ran so well, but we lost 3-5 seconds per run on a sticky a-frame.  It's going to be difficult to compete at the USDAA Nationals this Fall losing that much time.....

So, back to the drawing board!  First I need to decide, what do I REALLY REALLY WANT!!  2o2o, or running.  Then I need to focus on making that happen. 

Time for some soul searching.  Then time to write out some lesson plans.  Bottom line, it needs to be something that is very black and white for Seeker.  If there is any question as to what I want, he will stick.  Got some great ideas over the weekend, THANK YOU!!!  Now it's time to decide what direction I want to go and stick with it!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Travel Quiz - FOR MEN!!!

If you're a women reading this, which you likely are.....you need to ask your spouse, or significant other what they would do in the following situation.  I'm curious to hear the answer.......

You, a friend and your spouse are returning from an agility trial.  'You', ride with your friend, in her van, and your spouse is following in your van.  Now, there is an 'exchange' exit about 90 minutes into the trip in which "You" get out of the friends car, so she can go home, and you ride the rest of the way home with your spouse. The exchange occurs on the shoulder of the exit.  There is also a gas station a short distance away (1/4 mile tops) that we use as a 'meeting' place to leave for events.

Hopefully you are with me so far.....

So, the Friend is 'flapping her lips', and misses the 'exchange' exit.  The Spouse takes the exit.  

What would your spouse do?

A.  Wait at the shoulder of the exit for you to return.
B. Go to the gas station, and wait for you to take the next exit, and come back.
C. Jump back on the Interstate and follow you.
D. Call you on your cell phone and ask "WTF"!
E. Go Home
F. Don't take the exit, since your friend didn't.

Please respond!!!  Inquiring minds REALLY want to know!! 





Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sunday - WTTO - Wrap up

Some of the signs in the soccer facility were very fitting!!


Yep, even this one!!  
Of course, it was the dogs that were flying!


Sunday started with PICTURES!! Okay, I'll be honest, not my favorite part.  Getting 45 dog/handler teams into a small area, isn't terribly pleasant for most.  Add to that, the dogs wanted to (run agility!), didn't want to be this close to other dogs, and many of the handlers are NOT morning people!  The large dogs then ran third, which means you now had 2+ hours of 'down time'.  

For us, that worked out just fine, I'm a morning person, and Kruz got to watch the small and medium dogs run!  Life IS Good! 

Seeker ran clean in the first run of the day, JWW.  I was very happy with my send to from the broad jump to the straight tunnel that allowed me to get down past the tire for the 270 from 19-20.  A few people tried to layer from 18-19, but the dogs 'correctly' came in over the back side of 20 reading it as a serp.  GOOD DOGS!!  Heck, we'd been doing that all weekend, so why would they think anything different?  Seeker ended up being 16th on this course.


Standard was amazingly fun!  Seeker was fantastic, staying off the teeter (which is his TOTALLY favorite thing), and taking the weave before I was half way up.  Unfortunately I got a refusal at the jump #9 due to 'losing connection', and Seeker came into me.  GOOD BOY!!  It was clean after that, although I was behind, so a bit wide.  


Overall a GREAT WEEKEND!!  

I had a blast doing what I love, 
RUNNING AGILITY!!

Seeker did well on what I thought he'd excel at.  His aframe still needs work, but we'll continue to work through that.  We'll continue to run at 26" for now, as he's qualified at that height in USDAA Nationals that runs in the Fall.  We'll see where we're at next Spring, and will hopefully go again. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

WTTO - Saturday - Reviewed

Saturday morning we had some down time as the small (14" jump height), and medium (18" jump height) run there courses.  Keep in mind, each height has a different course, and different spacing.  It's really quite interesting to watch and the challenges are amazing!  They somehow seem to flow, even though sometimes on paper they don't look like they would.  It's just amazing how the dog/handler teams just seemed to 'eat these courses' up!!


Nettle came into the building for a bit to hang out in the stands.  She discovered the joys of ABC gum, that was kindly left by someone.  Actually she found several pieces.....THANK YOU to whoever left it!  YUCK!!!!

Kruz came in each day as well to watch the medium and small dogs.  He really enjoyed the attention, and his 'judging' assignment!!  Those dogs sure can move!!

Shenna and Shiver were running FEO, Shiver is Seeker's litter sister.  She's a tiny little thing at 18.25", but she can run like the wind!!  Shenna was also the 'announcer' for  those of you listening on the live broadcasting! 

Seeker and I started off with this course, and a clean run.   Our A-Frame contact kind of 'nipped us in the butt' all weekend, so something we continue to work on.  "Sticky" is so HARD to fix!!  It's my doing, so we'll continue to work on it.  I got behind in a couple places (Hello!!  Don't Watch Him! RUN!!!) that I didn't plan on, but was so proud of his weave pole entry and hanging in there for me!  He was also 'sticky' on his teeter, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing on this course!  It was way fun! We placed 16th, so not too bad. 



Round 2 we did very well on as well, I just 'assumed' he'd take the jump after the chute and decelled too much, he ended up with an off course (back side), for a zero.  RATS!!  He was a very good boy. 


For Round 3, I lost track of #4's placement and told him to come after #3, he did!!  GOOD BOY!!  I really can't fault him for coming in tight, something we've struggled with, then he got a titch clingy and we got 2 refusals at that jump.  UGH!!  A 3rd at the poles, when I consider a fluke, it was our easiest pole entry all weekend, and he nailed all the others.  3 faults equate to a zero....so that really hurt!   Oh well, it was super fun as well!


The only down side to running a dog at this height is I don't have much time to watch the other large dogs.  I'm either walking him to warm him up, or walking him to cool him down.  I guess his health is more important than watching, plus, Bill taped a lot of the runs for me!  YIPPEE!!

Saturday evening was Broadway Pizza!!  We went with Seeker's breeder, and good friend Dena Brown.  Michelle and Dave Pappone also joined us, they are always fun to have along.  BWP is awesome, but we'll get thin crust next time and Dena can just DEAL WITH IT!!  VBG

Tomorrow, Sunday's break down. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Friday Recap of the World Team Tryouts


Friday is practice day, you can indicate what 'approximate' time you'd like to practice, and they try to fit you in appropriately.  You're practice is a total 7 minute segment, shared by 3 dogs.  That's right, you are in the ring with 2 other dog/handler teams, and no, there are not any ring gates dividing the area.  Honestly, it's not a problem, these dogs are focused on their 'work', not the other dogs. 

At your scheduled practice time, ours was 4:01, you have 15 seconds to enter the ring and get to your 'course'.  Seeker stated at Course #2, or the one in the middle.  You then rotated after 2 minutes, you had 15 seconds to get to your new course, and a whistle signaled when to start and stop working.  We rotated from course 2, to 3, then to 1. 

You might think 2 minutes isn't much time, but it really is.  It is a good idea to have a 'game plan' before you enter the ring.  In other words, have a specific goal as to what you want to work on.  For most people it seemed to be contacts, weaves and getting a good look at the viaduct jump.  

You could stop training before your 2 minutes were up, honestly, I should have 'saved' some dog for my 3rd course.  You would not think that you could wear a dog out that quickly, but with the energy level and arousal level of the dogs, most were 'spent' by the time there 6 minutes were complete.  Okay, I'll be honest, Seeker's head almost exploded!  He was in HEAVEN!

Think of it this way, the time spent in the practice ring on Friday, is more time than any dog spent in the ring for the next two days completing. 

After your 'work out' time was over, then it was time to just hang out and visit with friends.  Drawing for running order, and the briefing was scheduled at 6 PM that evening.  I drew 28 as my running order for Saturday.  Not a terrible draw, you get to see a lot of dogs run before you, which is nice.  When it reverses order, you still get to see 12 dogs plus the five FEO (For Exhibition Only) dogs, so that wasn't too bad either. 

Tomorrow....Saturday's Courses......

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Throwing Your Old Dog Toys Away????

You might want to think again.......


I'll post about WTTO tomorrow.....too tired tonight!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Redemption!


Yesterday was not a good day for little Nettle.  I'm sure we ALL have days like this, but she was NAUGHTY!!!  With a CAPITAL "N"!! Looking back, I could have/should have handled the situation differently, but alas, it's water under the bridge now!  UGH!

When we're outside, or not otherwise able to watch Net, she's in a large crate in the living room.  Trust me when I tell you, she is not toy poor.  Yesterday she had her nice assortment of chew toys!  Monday I did notice that her crate was closer to an outlet than I thought save, yes, there was a cord pulled in there, so I pulled her crate forward.  The cord, was to a really nice floor lamp that I like, and it had the 'warning' tag attached near the plug.  I think Bill must have thought that the crate was too close the entry to the kitchen, so he pushed it back.  Guess who spotted the tag?  Luckily, she pulled the tag, which pulled the plug out of the wall.  Of course, she then pulled the cord inside her crate, removed the tag, and the plug as well!  UGH!!  You know that 'small' part of you that wishes she would gotten zapped?  Yep, I felt that too.  Oh well, not really her fault I guess.  Strike ONE!

Last night was the Foundation class, so earlier I'd set up a few fun stations to work on.  Some wraps, tight turns out of tunnels, a teeter on a table, etc.  What a great opportunity to work Nettle for a few minutes.  I took her out to the building, we played some tug, I took her leash off and did some wraps to a tunnel.  AWESOME!!  Then a family of sparrows, apparently taking their first flying lesson, appeared not 10' from us.  Trust me, I can NOT compete with 5 sparrows, not to mention uncoordinated fledglings!  Nettle left me, SURPRISE, then pounced and got one!  Well, almost, it somehow wiggled away under her paw and off it went.  I only went down hill from there. 

I called her to come, she looked at me, looked up at the top of the building and decide....Nope!  So, I began to just calmly walk her down.  I walked, she walked...and walked and walked.  Now, how hard could it be to walk down a dog in a 60X80 building?  Let me point out that there was never a direct walking to her, all the contacts were set up too.  I vowed long ago that I would never do another 'Come to Jesus' on one of my dogs, but it crossed my mind while I was walking.  So, I thought about other things, like....'would it be possible to put a sparrow on the end of a tug toy'?  Okay, probably not a good idea.  Finally, after 20 minutes (maybe more), she stopped, and she let me take her collar.  I got her to tug again, let her go off again, called her a couple times to play and called it a day. 

Thinking back on it last night, I wish I would have just left.  There was no where she could have gone.  I could have just left her in there for 15-20 minutes and went back, so that's what I'll do if this ever happens again.  I could also have left her leash on, but I won't do that when working a contact piece, just too dangerous. 

Today she redeemed herself.  Of course, I wasn't in the building, I was out front.  We did some nice bouts of 'shadow handling', and even with Kruz as a distraction (he wanted the cookies too), she hung in there with me.  So, there is hope!  We'll just keep on celebrating the accomplishments, and try to figure out how to avoid the 'backsliding'.  I'll all work out in the end!!

Now, how am I suppose to read my book at night? 
JEFF!!!  Help!!!  VBG