Archive for June, 2014

A Fox in the Henhouse

June 12, 2014

Yesterday morning I went out and found one of my Buff Orpington hens very dead and eviscerated laying in the middle of the fenced chicken pen. This is a 6′ chain link. The fox had to jump over the fence to get in and jump out again.

The sally port for the chickens is an out-of-service doggie door. My enhanced security measure means I have to slide shut the door every night. Not much more than that I can do.

I’m pretty sure I could catch the fox. And I might do that. I’d like to drive him like 100 miles away and dump him. More likely it’s the momma fox and her kits would starve. Oh well. All this would take is a gate trap with a pressure plate. I’d put it right inside of the sally port and the fox would slyly blunder into it.

I saw him last year you know, when he killed my last New Jersey Giant. A bird we called “Chip”. I walked down into the woods behind the house and he sat in a shady bit under a tree. We regarded each for a minute. And then he ran off. He was a beautiful red thing; and evil as a Republican.

Lesson Plan

I’ve begun a project for lesson plans. I’m going back to the JFF Agility Notebook to rerun lesson plans. The very first one I ever published was published in May of 2000. I’ll share the courses that I published below, but spare you the lesson plan (about another dozen pages of gritty step-by-step)

~ Way Back

Week One – Colors

Red (Beginners) Course

Blue (Intermediate) Course

Green (Advanced) Course


This course will be numbered only for the Red, Beginners course. Intermediate and Advanced handlers must walk the course using the course maps found below.

Each team must run at each of the three courses at least once. One score for each course (color) must be used to derive the team’s League score. This will require some collaboration and decision making between team-members. Each course will be judged under JFF rules.

Marking your JFF Dance Cards: No faults allowed for a qualifying score. The red course will qualify for Beginners Agile Dog. The blue course will qualify for Intermediate Agile Dog. The Green course will qualify for Superior Agile Dog.

Good luck to everybody!

~ Return to Present

For most of the ebooks that I’ve published the past five or six years I’ve included in the document “hidden code” for CRCD. I didn’t do that in the early days of The Just for Fun Agility Notebook. The problem is, of course, that I wanted to give it a mild edit… because my brain has changed a bit over the years. And yeah, let’s face it, back in the day I was a Sheltie guy and I wasn’t much daunted by short transitional distances between obstacles. But today I run a big old long legged Border Collie and those short distances make me more than nervous. So, if you take the advanced course I published above, edit it for a more rational universe, then you’ll have the course that I set up for my Wednesday class, below:


We used “break-down” format for the lesson plan. That means you break the course down into challenge elements, and obsess over the handling possibilities. Then, if there’s enough time, you run the course again. I suppose I’m going to have to republish JFF #1 one of these days, with the updated/edited maps and lesson plans.

Looking Back

What strikes me about the first issue of The Just For Fun Agility Notebook… it was the early days of league play at Dogwood. In retrospect I’m sorry that we didn’t retain our dogs’ scores from that league. It would be fun to run dogs I have today and compare their scores with dogs that are long gone now (but not forgotten).

With that in mind, one of the design features of Top Dog in which I’ve been very interested is the capacity to run a course at one point in a dog’s training and career, and maybe run that same course five years later to compare performances.

The Top Dog concept remains a burning ember. Here’s a bit I wrote tonight:


Questions comments & impassioned speeches to Bud Houston The web store is up and running. I have five volumes (over 100 pp each) of The Joker’s Notebook available on my web-store at an inexpensive price. These are lesson plans suitable for individual or group classes for teaching dog to work at a distance.