Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chihuahua Thursday - more than meets the eye

I bought a new collar for the Chihuahua, and Adrian's mother gifted us with her ID tag. 


I think it suits her rather well.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Staying fashionably warm


Today is a cold day. 

Which means, much to Cohen's chagrin, I broke out the winter jacket. I felt a little silly putting it on her, as she normally copes with the cold relatively well, but it definitely helped during our 2 hour long walk in the woods. All told, there were only a few minutes of moping before she started having fun. These are photos from the moping period.

It's like they're twins. 
 I also bought a new winter coat for Megatron. She came with a few, but none really covered her properly, so I wanted to invest in a good one. It's a bit long for her, but it's got great neck & belly coverage. Mega coped with the whole process like a champ - she greeted strange people, explored a new environment, and had no problems being manipulated in and out of jackets while I searched for the right size.

It was still rather cold of course, so I let the tinydog stay home to sleep on the couch while I took the bigdog out. I think each of them were happy with the decision.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Fit Dawgs pt 3 - small wonders

Since Megatron arrived I've been trying to slim her down some. She's had disc problems in the past, and has been carrying excess weight since she was a pup (hence the name Megatron, Adrian insists). I've always felt that her weight posed a serious risk to her already fragile back, and have been anxious to get it off. 

As most readers of this blog are aware of by now, I'm slightly preoccupied with the physique of my dog(s). So Mega is my next project. I've not paid particularly close attention to Meg's food consumption (if anything I feel like she might be getting more with all the time wasting treats I'm throwing at her). I've also not been doing much more than walking the tinydog on a daily basis (and with the Christmas season I've missed a day or two here and there). 

Peanut fun for everyone.

I took the picture above earlier today to act as a marker for the start of Meg's weight loss journey. She's balancing on a Fit Paws inflatable peanut which I purchased to help keep Cohen in shape over the winter, and Meg has taken to it rather well too. 

She still needs to slim up a bit - I'd like to see the end of her rib cage and some more definition in her waist. She also needs some more muscle definition in her front and hind quarters. But all in all I'm actually quite pleased with what I see.

Unfortunately I don't have many pre-arrival photos of Mega, so the one below will have to serve as her "before before" photo. 

She's propping herself up on her fat rolls.

It's not the most flattering photo in the world, and it's tough to compare with her in such different positions, but I was surprised comparing the two side by side. I've barely gotten Mega started, but I think she's come a long way already -- both physically and mentally (the changes in mentality will be a future blog entry). I brought her back to Adrian's parent's place last week, and even they commented on Mega having lost weight. So long, tiny sausage shaped dog!

The cold weather will limit how much walking we can do, so I expect real changes to occur in the spring. But I'm very pleased at how well Mega seems to be settling in. 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happier awkward family photos

Cohen, what big everythings you have.
I think Mega was huddling next to Cohen for heat. Any port in a storm and all that.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Compare and contrast

Relaxed, no? 
Loud, no?
A while ago I wrote about the byproducts of owning a dog, in which I mused about how it was the annoyingly energetic bits of Cohen which made her irritating as heck, and how they were exactly what I loved about her. It's pretty simple: energetic dogs have energy even when you don't want them to. It drives some people crazy, but I really thrive on it.

Yesterday Adrian and I were talking about how the merging of the dogs into one household was going. Both of us are stressed out (by the dogs, and life in general), and each of us are having trouble bonding with the other's dog.

Adrian said something rather interesting during our conversation. He said something to the extent of, "your bond with Cohen is intellectual, mine with Mega is because she wants nothing more than to sit in my lap all day." I think it sums up the problems both of us are having quite well. 

I'm having trouble with Mega because all she wants to do is sit in my lap, and I find that tremendously boring after about 15 minutes. She sleeps most of the day, and when she's not sleeping or sitting on your lap she's off in her own world (and possibly barking). Simply put, she's not interested in DOING anything, and I'm having trouble adapting to a dog who isn't genetically keyed in to my every mood and movement. Apparently I really need the "intellectual" aspect - 2 way communication between handler and dog.

Adrian simply doesn't have the time or energy to relate to Cohen on any sort of "intellectual" level. His desire for a dog is something to welcome you home after a long day and keep you company as you unwind with some video games. His days are already so monopolized by the stresses of work (among other things) that the additional obligation to the dog(s) is unwelcome. He keeps his distance from Cohen to keep her excitement level low so she doesn't get riled up and pose a possible threat to tinydog. He really loves his little lapdog. 

I think the photos from today sum up each of the dogs quite well. 

Tinydog wants nothing more than to lay with you.

Almost all my photos of Mega are of her sleeping, thinking about sleeping, or wishing she were sleeping.
Oh laps, how I love you so. Never leave me. 

And now the crazy starts...


BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK BARK
HEY IS THAT A RABBIT??? I'LL JUST POP OVER THERE AND SEE.

OH HEY A MOUND OF DIRT. IMA GONNA RUN ALL OVER IT.

MORE JUMPING IN DIRT YES!
YOU'RE TALL. SEE I CAN BE TALL TOO. SORRY WAS THAT YOUR CAMERA?
Obviously there are plenty of people who would adore a tiny little low maintenance dog who lives to sit on you and worship the heat of your body. I'm one of those crazy people who relishes handling a high maintenance dog. Cohen and I had the time of our lives on our walk earlier today.

So, there are some kinks yet to be worked out with the dogs. I've had very little opportunity to work with Mega this week, since work has been crazy and I've been spending what time I have with Adrian and the demanding dog. I suspect we'll work out the kinks eventually. I think being able to take down the gates will go a long way to family cohesion, but that's still a few weeks away at least.

Today has been a good day. I managed to work Mega on the inflatable peanut I bought for Cohen, and Mega waited patiently for kibble as I worked on a new trick with Cohen (Cohen didn't wait as patiently while I worked with Mega). I've given Mega plenty of lap time, and Cohen got her 2 hour romp in the woods. Balancing the two dogs is possible... on days when I have nothing else to do.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I threw a ball for Cohen, and she whimpered as she got to it. I think she tweaked something in her left front leg (I'd been noticing her favour it EVER SO SLIGHTLY over the last week). Poor girl.

I did kind of enjoy the cuddling she requested immediately afterwards, as a bit of comfort while I assured her she'd be okay.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Walking in a warm, damp winter wonderland.


Okay Cohen, stay... good... let me reposition.... now... HUP!
These shots are from last week actually. We've not had any snow fall since. The lack of snow drifts/shoveling is nice, but it's not exactly easy to get into the spirit of the season. I'm posting older shots because, well, I've been too busy to come up with anything more productive.

Cohen had spent several minutes tugging on this branch prior to the photo being taken. 
I foresee this holiday being an extremely difficult one with my Dad being gone. That's the reason I've been dragging my feet in regards to Christmas. That, and I've been so incredibly busy with paperwork and prepping the house for sale. But we purchased our Christmas tree yesterday! Maybe the smell of pine will encourage me to start my shopping. 

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The start of awkward family photos

That's about as close as Megatron allows herself to get to Cohen.
Mega is getting more used to being forced to walk in the cold (because I'm a terrible horrible person). The dogs are wonderful outside together, in that Cohen completely ignores Mega, and Mega is getting less skittish when Cohen does a driveby with a ball.

Mega is also significantly less reactive to strange dogs now that she's here. She's had a number of almost polite greetings (interspersed with awkward "lemme out of here" ones).

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Chihuahua Thursday

Chihuahua Thursday is totally a thing. 

Megatron is settling in well. Cohen still wants to molest her, but I feel like we're starting to make headway. 

I brought Mega by my training facility tonight to join in on class two of a basic obedience session. I was expecting to spend most of the class with Mega in her crate while I worked on desensitizing her to the sights, smells and sounds of the building. Apparently I underestimated her, because she was up and ready to work as soon as things got going. 

That's right, my fatty Chihuahua was ready to work. *glee*

It took a few minutes before she settled down enough to understand the mechanics of "stay", but she gave fantastic attention and didn't have a single reactive outburst towards a dog (and there were some crazy dogs in this class). By the end of the exercise, she was staying like a champ through proofing exercises, the distraction of other dogs and handlers, and I even walked around behind her once or twice. By the end of the class she was getting full (damn tinydog stomachs) but she continued to work with some excited praise. Basically, I was hugely impressed by her. She probably was the top performing dog in the class. 

I really, truly believe that a strong relationship between a dog and its owner is forged through training. It's that relaxed, rewarding, genuine interaction between animal and human that really cements the bonds of trust and friendship. I put a great deal of weight on how my dogs respond to me when I ask something of them. So I'm thrilled that it looks like Mega and I have started off on the right foot. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Megatron's first day

Making herself at home whether we like it or not.
So Megatron is here, and she's impossible to photograph in focus. 

I don't have a lot of time to write out a full summary of my experiences thus far, so I'm going to keep it brief. 

the good

- Megatron and Cohen are doing a wonderful job parallel walking together. 
- Cohen completely ignores Mega when she's running around off leash.
- Both Cohen and Mega are quick to recover from stress.

the bad

- Cohen is staring a lot at Mega. I don't think it's the "hard stare" you read about  in books, but more of a "something is happening over there and I will pay close attention" type of stare.
- Cohen's excitement is triggered when she hears Mega scuttling around, and gets visibly aroused. 
- Mega barks at all the strange happenings in the house... a lot. Hopefully she'll get used to the environment quickly.
- Mega, being overweight at 7lbs, can only eat so much, which drastically limits the amount of food rewards I can offer while training.

the ugly

- This morning when I wasn't present Cohen apparently targeted Mega. It sounds like it might have been a triggered play drive situation where Mega was scuttling about (she scuttles a lot) and Cohen walked towards her, then pawed and mouthed at her. I think Mega yelped in fright, and Adrian grabbed Cohen. Both dogs recovered quickly. Lesson learned. We were being too lax. 

-

Meggy is set up in an ex-pen in the kitchen, and is only to be let out when there's at least one door separating her and Cohen at all times. I'm hoping that the issues we're running into will fade once Cohen grows more accustomed to Mega's movements, and Mega grows more accustomed to her new environment. 

I'm doing a lot of mat work with Cohen while trying to desensitize her to Mega's scuttles. We're doing a lot of Its Yer Choice type games with the two of them too. 

I'd be lying if I said this wasn't stressful. If anyone has any pointers I'm all ears. 

Freshly bathed, and with a case of the bath time crazies. 

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Holiday cheer. And photos.

Merry Christmas, folks.
Serene Christmas Cohen.

Are we having fun yet? 

This can't go on much longer, can it? 
Fine, fuck, do whatever you want. 
This IS my "Christmas Happy Face"

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Something on muh face?

Do I has something on muh face? 
A photo from the first snow of the season. Cohen just ate it up - she loved it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

She's almost here.

Megatron is almost here.

She's laying there... waiting. 

With Adrian just about moved in at the house it's almost time to move his dog in too. I'm excited and incredibly nervous. The size difference between Chubby Chihuahua and Ornery Aussie is a serious one, and could result in serious trouble. I'm going to go absolutely overkill on managing everything. 

I'm really looking forward to the opportunity to work with a new dog. She's lazy, fat and not particularly well trained - I'll whip her into shape. Or at least I'll try. She has a bad back, so I'll have to be careful.

She's nervous around Cohen. So far Cohen has been really good at ignoring her when they're out on walks together. Inside I get more nervous, as Cohen will guard resources (including me) and any lashing out from Cohen could result in serious injuries to Meggy simply due to the size discrepancy. There will be lots of enforced quiet time in the house with the dogs separated, and lots and lots of walks. 

She should be moved in within the next week or two. Exciting! Nervous!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday of few words

Uh, Cohen, I don't think dogs are supposed to eat trees. 
Cohen? COHEN? Oh god, she's dead. Killed by tree munching.
Some photos of when it was warmer, sunnier, and greener.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jump jump

I was out on my walk with Cohen today and we found a could nice big stones. So I spent a few minutes getting her to jump from one to the other while I took photos with the phone on my camera. 


She's coming right for us!


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fit Dawgs pt 2

So I wandered by a vet clinic yesterday and they let me use their scale to track Cohen's weight. As of yesterday she's 17.0kgs. That's a weight-loss of 0.2kgs in 3.5 weeks, and a teensy bit more prior to me tracking it. I think she's just about perfect now.

She still has loads of muscle in her shoulder and thighs, and has great core strength. She's just slightly less soft in her mid section. Now when you pat her it's like patting a furry brick wall - all muscle... and fur. I think I could stand to condition her more, but I'm very content knowing that she's not carrying any unnecessary weight. 

17.0 kgs as of yesterday, or 37.4 lbs. ~21" at the withers.
Please note her fancy new effeminate pink harness (mostly for car trips, but since she doesn't like anything around her midsection I'm having her wear it for fun romps in the woods) and her high butt (which she'll surely never grow out of now). 


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Fit Dawgs

A little while ago I decided that Cohen was fat.

Not like "fat fat" but... with a bit more padding on her ribs than I liked. I think it was the result of the combination of using a lot of cheese and hotdogs as training rewards, having bones, kongs etc tossed at her to keep her busy when were were otherwise occupied, and a decrease in the quality and quantity of walks. Unfortunately when families are thrown into turmoil it's the dogs who get the shit end of the stick when it comes to proper attention. 

Being active with Cohen is a key part of our relationship. Sports aren't easy on a dog's body, so I'm super mindful of any additional weight Cohen may be carrying unnecessarily. 

So I decreased her food intake at meals, started using kibble for the bulk of her training treats, and increased her exercise. She was weighed at the vet recently, and came in at 17.2 kilos (38 pounds). I'll have to take her back soon to get another reading.

This is from early on in the stricter diet regimen. Not a lard-ass by any means. 
I'm not being particularly careful about the regimen however. I'm just eyeballing slightly reduced food amounts for meals and periodically placing my hands on her sides to keep tabs on the padding on her ribs. She doesn't seem to notice/care about the reduced amount of food being tossed her way, so I think the difference is nominal.

But just this week after 2-4 weeks of keeping closer tabs on her I've noticed the rib padding has been noticeably reduced. I think in another 2-4 weeks she'll be exactly where I want her. The difference in actual weight will be nominal I'm sure, but in the long run it will have a positive affect on her health.  

I get asked all the time what type of dog Cohen is, and people seem genuinely surprised when I respond that she's pure Aussie. I think partly it's because people think all Aussies are merle, and partly because 98% of Aussies are grossly obese (or at least chunky). I know the breed is more stout than the Border Collie, but I've not quite been able to wrap my head around why so many people think that Aussies should be shaped like ottomans. I also understand that it's tougher to take visual inventory of medium-furred dogs' body condition, but jeez. 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Scent reactivity

I was walking Cohen down the street yesterday and saw her two nemeses at the corner a block ahead of us. These two dogs are normal, relatively inoffensive charcoal coloured standard poodles, and I don't think either of them have ever done anything terrible to Cohen -- they've just become the object of her ire due to them being two big black fluffy dogs that look vaguely like the big black fluffy dog who attacked her at the park when she was 4 months old. My dog holds grudges. Pointless ones.

So anyways, I had seen these two dogs up ahead, but they were too far ahead for Cohen to notice. So I slowed my pace to make sure they stayed far ahead of us as we made our way to the park. It surprised me that when we got within about 10 meters of the corner Cohen started to have a reactive episode and was particularly difficult to calm down. She'd apparently picked up their scent and found it offensive enough to kick up a fuss.

This pretty much ended up poisoning the rest of the walk. Cohen was on alert and stressed. Since I was unable to properly predict and preempt her reaction all those fun little stress hormones were making their way through her body and generally making her a pain in the butt.

It caught me off guard when Cohen reacted solely because of a scent. It left me a bit despondent when I realized that I could not sense the offending stimulus. How can I possibly preempt her reactivity when I was ignorant to what (or where) the problem is? We managed to fumble through it, and I've learned to give offending dogs an even wider berth than I do already. It was a good example of the importance of being able to correctly identify your dog's triggers when trying to manage and cure reactivity.

Dogs don't react at nothing, despite it sometimes feeling like they do. Clearly they're 100% capable of reacting to stimuli undetectable to us silly humans.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On the importance of building tolerance to handling.

Oh, the indignities I make her suffer through...
The recent trip to the vet got me thinking about the importance of having a dog who is tolerant to body handling and being physically manipulated.

When it was obvious that Cohen had hurt herself she allowed me to give her a layperson's examination where I could ascertain roughly what was hurting her. She communicated clearly that she was in some degree of pain, but allowed me to palpate, stretch and squeeze as I went. Her "okay that hurt" signal was orienting to me and licking her lips.

When she was brought to the vet's, his examination was more thorough than mine. He checked patellas, hips (through some pretty invasive stretching) and other joints, not to mention taking her temperature. Clearly Cohen was stressed to be in a new environment and uncomfortable in a number of other ways, but she had very appropriate responses to her stress. All the while I was very mindful of her stress level and watched closely for signs that she was overwhelmed. I know that all animals are capable of biting, and those who are stressed and in pain have a lower bite threshold.

After how well she coped with the examination (and seeing an overweight elderly beagle having to be muzzled for an examination in the back room) it started me thinking about how much of Cohen's tolerance is genetic, and how much has been learned.

On the day we brought Cohen home, her breeder had just finished cutting her nails, and had recently bathed. Since then I've been cutting her nails every few weeks, brushing her weekly, and bathing her as necessary. Nail cuts are quick and uneventful. She's fine with being brushed, and unhappily tolerates me brushing mats out from behind her ears. "Do you want a shower" causes Cohen to toss out appeasement signals left and right, but she accepts bathing without additional complaint. I've taught Cohen to jump into my arms, and she is often picked up in play and is accustomed to being carried.

I've always made a point of handling her body casually while we play, and I'll offer up treats for particularly invasive methods. Lately I've been working at handling Cohen's mouth: pulling back her chops or opening it manually. In a perfect world all this preparation would be for naught, but accidents can and do happen.

The examination yesterday served to be a marker of my success. I won't deny that some of that success is due to her genetics -- she is unusually emotionally resilient when you look at how flighty she can be at times. It gives me confidence that Cohen will cope with whatever the future may have in store for her.

Don't underestimate the importance of desensitizing your animals to being handled. It can be achieved in mere minutes a day, and can really pay off in the long run.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hurty paw

Hurty paw: right rear 
Cohen has hurty paw. 

On Sunday I had a marvelous walk with her in the valley, where we stayed out and enjoyed the wonderful sunny fall weather for well over two hours. On the way back to the car I noticed a peculiarity in Cohen's gait, but it was minimal and I expected that she would walk it off soon. It wasn't the first squirrel-chasing injury she'd had, and she's a tough little dog. 

Sunday night her limp was more exaggerated. Monday morning it was worse - she wasn't putting any weight on it at all. Monday afternoon I ran her into the vet's. 

The vet suspects a tendon injury on her inner weight bearing toe (not a break). So he prescribed an anti-inflammatory and said that exercise was to be restricted for the next two weeks. If it doesn't improve, she'll go back for x-rays in a couple weeks. 

Historically, Cohen isn't a big fan of exercise restriction. After her spay she was up and rearing to go the next day. But yesterday she seemed (mostly) content just being let out for bathroom breaks, and taken on a car ride where she could stick her nose out the window and take the air in. The poor girl must be pretty uncomfortable. 

So, limited exercise it is! Unfortunately this means that I've cancelled tonight's agility class, and the weekend's performance at the Exhibition Grounds.It also means that walks will be practically non-existent for the next little while. That's what gets me most: no walking. I've always used dog walks through the woods as a method of stress relief, and I've got stress a'plenty right now. Ah well. I think both Cohen and I will cope. 

Get well soon, hurty paw. 

Cohen, what a big butt you have. Also, hurty paw.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bad news made badder

The only one looking at the damn camera is Cohen. 
We got some bad news yesterday.

We were told that my father's cancer had spread, despite him undergoing chemo/radiation for the last 5 weeks. The doctors have told him that it's terminal.

It's funny - he was laying on the same couch, saying the same thing as my mom said 5 years ago. Everything feels like déja vu. I'd been braced for the worst since his diagnosis, but I really felt like we were going to get some good news this week.

So it goes.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

You know you're too into your dog when...


  • You can not only predict the time of a dog's bowel movements, but the consistency they will be. 
  • You find that musty doggy smell not only endearing but tremendously comforting.
  • All activities on the long weekend are centered around dog activities.
  • You automatically think, "great day for a walk" on sunny days.
  • You spend more money on your dog than you do yourself.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Trial summary - October 2nd 2011


Cohen and her (single) Qualifying Score ribbon.
Cohen and I competed for the second time this weekend. It was a very different experience from the last trial. The last trial was idyllic. This one was cold, wet, rainy and kind of lonely. I was huddled with the dog in my car for most of the afternoon trying to stay dry.

In brief:

  • AAC, Daytripper Dog Training, Valencia ON
  • 4 runs total.
  • Qualified: 1 Starters Standard.
  • Did not qualify: 1 Starters Standards, 1 Starters Jumpers and 1 Steeplechase. 

First in Starters Standard #1.
Second in Steeplechase.
Third in Starters Standard #2.
Do placements still count when you NQ?
In detail:
Sunday

First run:
Steeplechase. NQ. 
Judge: Shelly Price
Second place.

I don't think I appreciated quite how fast you have to move to qualify in Steeplechase. Cohen ran very nicely, received no faults, but ended up being over time by 3 whole seconds. Yikes. It doesn't help that I arrived at the trial a bit late and almost missed the walkthrough. 

Second run: 
Starters Standard 1. Q!
Judge Shelly Price
Run time: 51.72 seconds.
SCT: 63 seconds.
First place.

This was what I had hoped to achieve this weekend: a qualifying standard run. Woot! I thought I had blown it when Cohen refused the dog walk twice before I finally got her on it. I think a cracked pylon might have been throwing her off - I've never seen her have a problem with the obstacle before. Despite thinking we'd blown it we ran the rest, and, well, turns out you can have a few refusals on contact obstacles without faults. Because of that it wasn't quite as pretty as I would have hoped, but Cohen did wonderfully. 

There were a set of 12 weaves that she handled like a pro, she nailed both the teeter and the table (and I remember to decelerate for each this time!), and, well, she just ran her heart out despite it starting to rain just as we started running. The unusually high run time is mostly due to our dogwalk issues. 

Third run:
Starters Standard 2. NQ.
Judge Shelly Price
Run time: 59.58
SCT: 65
5 faults.
Third place.

You know when you ignore a potential problem because it's not actually a problem yet? Yeah, that's probably what happened here. 

I've always been very pleased with Cohen's start line stay. I tend to take long lead outs to get ahead of her. Well, lately she's been getting really barky on the start line as she gets more worn out. Today she was barky, but I set her up fine, turned my back and when I turned around again Cohen was walking towards me, eyes locked on me, every muscle in her body tense...

She walked right past the start line (starting the time) as well as the first jump. I went back, fixed the start line, and started again. I think I was faulted a refusal there since Cohen did technically walk past the jump and had to be circled around to reset her start. I blew the run before we even started. And funnily enough Cohen ran wonderfully again. 

Take home lessons:
  • Address problems before they become Actual Problems.
  • Keep an eye on my dog as I leave her at the line. 

Fourth run:
Starters Jumpers. NQ.
Judge Shelly Price

I'm not too sure what happened here. It was a bit of a disaster. I had been tugging with Cohen when the dog ahead of us ran. I think this amped her up too much, and coupled with her being wet, cold and tired from being out all day it pushed her over the edge. She was a barky mess on the start line, and when I released her she blew past me and decided she was going to make her own course.

It's never happened before. Cohen is normally so keyed in on me that I never considered she'd get zoomified. It was disappointing since I had thought that this jumpers course would be in the bag, and I could complete it and move up to Advanced. But it was interesting to see Cohen really running at (almost) full speed. She's normally more focused on me than running super fast. She can be pretty damned speedy when she feels like it. 

I didn't even look to see how many faults we gathered. It was a lot. 

 ------------------

Cohen didn't knock a bar all weekend, which was fabulous. Her weaves were flawless. She's really starting to love the sport. 

This is how most of our downtime was spent between runs. Hiding in the car trying to stay dry. 

Sleeping in the driver's seat. 
I'm not too sure how I feel about the weekend. At the time when I was cold and damp I was feeling poorly that we didn't do as well as I felt we were capable of. But what I really wanted was for Cohen to get her first Standard Q, which she did. Now that I've had a chance to warm up a bit I remind myself that we're both pretty new at this and if we're both having fun then we're doing marvelously. It is just a game, after all!

We keep making lots of little rookie mistakes which I'm worried we may never grow out of. But damn if I don't enjoy it. Next time I'm going to try to make sure I go out with friends, and I'll hope for sun.