“I’m so proud of you!”

You can’t take away his sparkle!


Last week Nolan was sent to the principle’s office for hitting three kids. They were making fun of his glasses. This week Nate and Kelly met with the ABA professional for results of testing Nolan has been undergoing for a few weeks. No surprise, but still hearing the autism diagnosis makes things real. Above average intelligence. Not a surprise either. Tested 2nd grade level in reading and math. He just started 1st grade. Amazing to all of us, he tested 4th grade level in listening…which I’m assuming includes comprehension.

I’m so grateful to be included in the inner circle. It will take time to research, process and develop an action plan, but Uniquely Human is an excellent start. That night Kelly shared this from the intro:

“…some professionals, they see certain behaviors as “autistic” and undesirable and perceive their goal as eliminating these behaviors and somehow fixing the child.

I have come to believe that this is a flawed understanding – and the wrong approach. Here is my central message:  The behavior of people with autism isn’t random, deviant, or bizarre, as many professionals have called it for decades. These children don’t come from Mars. The things they say aren’t – as many professionals still maintain – meaningless or “nonfunctional.”

Autism isn’t an illness. It’s a different way of being human. Children with autism aren’t sick; they are progressing through developmental stages as we all do. To help them, we don’t need to change them or fix them. We need to work to understand them, and then change what we do.”

Later that night Kelly sent out a group email to her family and friends. Brecken’s response hit the nail on the head in only a few sentences, and is filled with hope:

Thanks for the info! He is a wonderful little guy and you guys have done an amazing job raising him 😊 His quirkiness is endearing and gives him character. He always makes me laugh!  (“You can’t take away my sparkle!” 😂)

Hopefully he and the whole fam will be able to thrive even more with some new tools and knowledge. Keep us updated! Eager to hear more. I’m sure it will be a long ongoing process, but absolutely worth it ❤

Walking out to the car after class Friday Nolan’s “I’m so proud of you!” several years ago came to mind. Boyd must have been napping. Nolan and I were tossing a big ball outside. Every time I caught the ball he ran to hug me exclaiming, “I’m so proud of you!” I  ❤that kid! Tanner was so proud of himself Friday. The expression on his face was priceless, obviously so happy about the work he did.

The aframe obscures the view of the tunnel. The course was left from a 4-day OMD seminar the previous weekend. Those courses are usually designed to be worked in segments and a focus on a particular skill within each segment. We ran 1 – 20 initially, walked the course with Lori and then chose something to work on during our next turn. (#9 was a jump, not the tire.)


My dogs offered lots of off-course teeters. 🙂 Yes!!

Tanner had a blast the first run. He loves ‘the things’ and if he’s ever able to cope with a trial environment we’ll start with Standard for sure. Mid run I said he thought he was at the playground! Zopa did a decent job with this hard course full of many challenges.

Zopa and I worked the start through the weaves, focusing on getting from 1 – 2 without the off-course aframe, the teeter and the weave entry coming out of the tunnel. Lots of good work!

I wanted to work Tanner’s weaves and a send to tunnel entrance #35. Whee! Not only is that entry back in the corner, but the dog can’t see it. He did a tremendous job of continuing to work on something that wasn’t ‘clear’ to him and when he succeeded the expression on his face, as I said, was priceless. He was so tickled with his accomplishment!

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September 13

Thursday course

Reviewing video brings a big smile. I’m laughing on course. I’m not shutting my dogs down. Thank you Professor Goose.

Fun big running course with lots of choices at #2. Bringing the dog around the outside wing sets a better line to the tunnel. German. Japanese. Send to the back and wrap. We played with best choices the second time out on the floor.

Out of the tunnel through #5 either serp the landing side of #4 if you can send the dog to the tunnel or blind cross out of the tunnel and again 4 – 5.

6 to 7 front cross or blind cross the takeoff side of 6.

Converge on the line from 9 to 10.

12 – 13 blind cross or front cross.

Out of tunnel 14 support 15. Slice at 16 sets a better line to 17 than a wrap. So…options there are Japanese or rear cross.

After playing with choices at 2:

Edie = Japanese

Tanner = German

Zopa = either

Edie did super, driving out of the wrap, but, for her, the Japanese gave her the most clear info. Tanner, Zopa and I had great training opportunities working that wrap.

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Stop ‘n Smell the Roses

Dr. Repine gave me the okay to work an obstacle, not run the course. “Debby! You have an incision!” 🙂 Of course the teeter was out for the first time since the move. So that’s what we worked. It was located in the hardest corner, right next to the doorway from the crating area. Plenty of distractions, noise and pressure. Lots of opportunity to train. 😉

The course looked super fun and very challenging. Would have loved to play with that turn into the tunnel off the a-frame (#14 – #15)…and the lap turn into #2.

Friday Course

Notes from walking the course with Lori…
~ Motion past the exit @ #2 should indicate it’s the wrong end
~ boomerang and lap turn will get you down the line and in position to cue #5
~ front cross is a better cue than a blind cross, as the front will give the dog better information as s/he enters the tunnel
~ @5 – you’d need to be way ahead to cue a blind cross; whisky-ish cross or backlap are better options
~ step to #7 tunnel to prevent off-course onto the a-frame
~ a couple of options to get to the dog walk; blind cross the take-off side of #8 or serp the landing side; rear cross #9
~ Lots of options 11 – 13 including a tandem to #13
~ tandem off the a-frame into tunnel #15; tandem starts as dog reaches apex of the a-frame
~ blind cross out of the tunnel and push to #17
~ run on the dog’s line to #18

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Evie is a Champion!


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Thursday & Friday

Thursday Course

Just in case video doesn’t make it through production… My dogs are working – whoops! playing – with me. Except (I think) for looking up at the ceiling when The Tan Man was worried about the weaves I’m having Goose Fun. That’s my new go me training term. Goose Fun. Never once did I express frustration to him.

The above course presented opportunity for the dogs to run in extension as well as handling challenges. Threadle #4 – 5. Backside @ #9. Serpentine 12 – 14. Tunnel #19. Along with off courses. Weave poles from #12. Jump coming out of #tunnel 19.

We worked it. Zopa. Tanner. And Edie. Norma Jean broke out of a trot during her first run. Elliot got in some wide open running. PLUS!! Norma Jean was inside, in her crate, the entire class! Very little noise coming from my setup. Score!!

Friday Course

Tanner LOVES ❤️💙💚💜🧡 this place. Finally he can embrace his joy without environmental worry or distractions. The contacts! He ❤️💙💚💜🧡 them! Zopa is engaged and running. So excited to trial her the end of September. This year off wasn’t a bad thing. It’s good for me too. This place. I’m learning to run at speed instead of ‘gathering up’ my teammate. I sorta experienced ‘getting there’, running fast with Goose outside, being in the right place for the next cue. Rarely does has that really fast feeling, almost out of control, happened with my dogs. Edie, if we’re in sync, changes her gait to a canter/gallop…but even when she’s running her fastest it’s not like running The Tan Man or Zopa.

It’s ever evolving. I ❤️💙💚💜🧡 it too.


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