Eleven Years Young

My grey lady in the sunshine on a bitterly cold Birthday.

My grey lady in the sunshine on a bitterly cold Birthday.

Earlier this month, my grinny girl turned 11 years old. That’s pretty hard to believe. Mainly because she doesn’t act her age and people often confuse her for a puppy. 😉 I can’t say I’m complaining about that. I want her to be youthful, energetic, and bouncy for as long as she can be. I’m very proud she doesn’t look her age. . .though the ever-creeping grey is starting to really betray it. It’s also hard to believe she’s been a part of my life for almost 9 years!

Risa certainly didn’t need any more things for a Birthday present. She got plenty of toys for Christmas, always has treats and goodies, and didn’t really have any other needs that could be fulfilled with a gift. So, like we did last year, we trialed in AKC rally instead.

It was her 3rd and 4th attempts at earning more RAE legs. She showed at this time last year and it was ugly; we were excused during our Advanced run. I didn’t have to worry this time around. While she was still unfocused, she was much less unfocused. It’s clear the work we’ve done on attention is paying off. Of course, we have a long-standing habit to break, so it won’t improve overnight. 🙂 I cannot get upset with her about it either. Her wandering is clearly based in curiosity. She likes to check out the judge and see what’s going on. With her fearfulness, I can’t chastise her for it. It just means we need to work harder. 😀

Her scores were pretty good both days. She had an 85 in Excellent and an 87 in Advanced on Saturday and a 92 in Excellent and 97 in Advanced Sunday. Sunday’s course was much more difficult for her. There were no stationary signs until halfway through the course. Since I tend to lose her focus while heeling and regain it for the signs, we struggled. Even so, her Advanced run was beautiful (IMHO). Very minor wandering and excellent performances on each sign. It’s a shame I didn’t get it on video!

Risa and her qualifying ribbons from RAE legs 2 and 3.  Progress!

Risa and her qualifying ribbons from RAE legs 2 and 3. Progress!

On her actual Birthday, we went for a walk at one of the locations we don’t typically get to. I wanted to take her somewhere special. It was pretty cold out and windy (18 degrees) even though the sun was shining. She got chances to sniff things and I asked her to climb up on stuff to work on her conditioning and body awareness. We even walked off the main path to follow a trail she wanted to investigate. It was her day. And we walked over 6 miles! She napped pretty good for the rest of the day not surprisingly. Risa may be tireless on the walk but, unlike in her youth, she enjoys a long nap afterward!

I hope she continues to retain her youth for many more years to come. I love that she refuses to act her age and rarely shows signs of slowing down. She shows some. . .but not many. I think long walks, mental exercise, a good diet with supplements, and conditioning have really helped her hold up well. Keep defying those age stereotypes, Miss Risa. 😀

About Jamie

I'm just a traditionally-trained artist with interests in dog training. I currently teach classes at the local obedience training club (tricks, freestyle, and Rally-FrEe) and I also teach classes professionally for an organization who helps veterans train their own service dogs.
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