Saturday, March 29, 2008
This is what a stressed out boonie looks like...
Friday, March 28, 2008
I wanted to work on Go Ons, Wraps, Weave poles. I did two out of three.
I worked Go Ons first, and Wicca totally gets it. I just needed to actually cue it, and train it. Who knew. I used a ball, sent her to it once down a row, second time I had it in my hand and threw it as she went over the second last bar, and the third time I didn't throw it until she had gone all the way down the line. Perfecto.
We then set up a sequence that had an open weavepole entry. I put up a gate and the first time Wicca would have blown by and really had to rock back and collect. I C/T and rewarded. Second time she had no problems. I also pushed her alot and made her pretty frenzied before sending her to the weaves. Three times I made her fail. By the fourth time she worked hard enough even with me ahead and running and cheering to get through all the poles. Good Girl!
I didn't get to wraps at all. Will have to do that next time. I worked on front crossing instead and have decided I have horrible timing- something that Sarah has told me millions of times, but I was kind of in denial. Two times I made her knock the bar by crossing too late. The first one was kind of not my fault in that I forgot where we were going....We've all had those moments. The second one was just all around bad timing. Something to work on I suppose!
Overall I was happy with Wicca- her contacts were great, her jumping not too bad. She knocked 6 bars in total. Three of those were "first bars" and the other three were on sequencing (late FC's etc)
Boone has never been to the agility field. He was terrified.
We rent space from a boarding kennel. So the field is kind of attached to the building. So you have barking dogs on one side, and a highway on the other side. And in between you have a gorgeous, almost flat fully fenced in field. It is perfect....but loud. Boone really doesn't like loud. I have never owned a sound sensitive dog before. It is strange.
The first time I brought him out he couldn't look at me, or take food. I sat on the ground and waited for hand touches. He was out maybe 5 minutes.
Second time he was out I sent him through a tunnel before he realised he was scared and then worked just on hand touches. He seemed to gain a little confidence. I took his leash off and he tried to go back to his kennel. Three times I called him, treated him, and let him go again. Soon, he was just sitting at my feet. Still scared, but not running away.
The third and final time he came out I asked him to do a jump. No problem he said. And then he tried to leave again. I asked him again and he ran away. Again. So I settled for a hand touch and we walked back to the crate. On my terms.
At the end, we let Wicca and Gyp run around and play. I let Boone out too and closed the crate door. He did pretty good. He was definitely getting more upbeat and was even kind of excited to be out. He did try and go back to his kennel but I didn't say anything and just let him figure it out. I rewarded him with attention and cookies (when he'd take them) I even managed to get a few spins out of him!
So- I learned a few things.
I think it will take a few weeks before Boone can even think out there, let alone learn.
I also need to let him run around at the beginning with the other dogs- gain some confidence before I try and work with him
He needs to be hungrier
I might try putting his kennel outside the gate. So he can't get to it....
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Rescue is a big part of my life, and one that I rarely talk about on here. Mostly because I have a rescue blog so I don't really feel the need to tell the same stories twice. Yesterday was a pretty rough day though and I am still having a hard time getting over it. I was thinking that maybe writing it all out might help. I didn't want to put much detail into the actual rescue blog site as I am not sure that people really want to know. But here, this is my space and I know that if you want to read it you will, and if you don't you will pass it over. And that is okay.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Our weakest exercise is also the most important. It can make or break you. Out of Sight stays are a killer but I think that if maybe I learn to like them more it won't be so horrible.
Every morning Wicca gets put in a stay while I prepare breakfast. Sometimes it is in the bathroom, sometimes in the bedroom. She has always breaks once. Except this morning. She didn't break at all! Yay for Wiccie. I find stays hard to teach because really I should be rewarding her away from me- that's kind of the whole point. Yet, I have to return to her to reward her. If it doesn't make sense to me I am not sure how it makes sense to my dog!!!
Boone has been learning both types of finishes and we have been working on quarter turns so that he is more aware of his rear end. I want him to be an upright heeler and doesn't really want to be that, so we are having to compromise. I don't make him stare at me, but I make him check in with me as we halt, and before we continue.
Vito is learning what it means to come to front. He is quite horrible at it so we have been experimenting with different methods. I now have a safety pin on my pant leg that he targets to. It has helped alot.
And Sam is learning how to pick up his toys and put them in the toy box. It is a slow process!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
From left to right
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
but on the other hand we do live in Alberta.....
the wind sometimes is so cold and strong it blows over all the jumps you have just set up. There are days we can't use the chute at all. It will take two sets of tunnel bags to hold the tunnels in place, and some days the dog walk is deemed unsafe (small dogs can be picked up by the wind!) The gophers and resulting holes can be killers, mowing the field is not all that fun and although I enjoy being outside the bugs, hot sun and resulting sun burn is not all that pleasant.
then again some days are beautiful and perfect...I personally enjoy training outdoors more than indoors. For some reason it seems like there is more freedom. For us, there is most definitely more training time- as we can go out pretty much anytime we'd like and train.
Last night Wicca stayed home and the boys got to come. As a barn wrap-up we ran two courses- a steeplechase and a gamble.
Vito got to play and did pieces of the steeplechase. He did really great and actually did better than I thought he would! He was super excited to be there, and with help from Julia to rev him up at the start line he dove through the tire and onto the course. His A-frame was great, except he face planted on the way up the first time! But his contacts were good- I am still baiting the target for him but he is clearly understanding what I want! He had a great send to the table, and finished the course in great time. He had a blast!
I ran Boone as well- he was VERY excited to get to play, and took only a little reminding of what a start line is. We have been working hard at home every day so it was nice to see that he is getting it. I like to run courses once in a while as it gives you a good indication of what you need to work on. Boone also got to do the gamble- which of course he didn't get but he had fun gathering points!!! He is so cute when he runs!
Sending ahead to a jump
rear cross on jumps
finding a line
speed and motivation
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
Oh yeah, We also Q'd in two standards, advanced team, and gamblers. Wicca had a kick ass weekend and I am so proud of her. She was great, and for the exception of steeplechase (which was a disaster) she was listening, and responsive.
She earned two more titles- her starters game dog title, her advanced title (and officialy her Masters Gamblers title as well....) So Wicca is now Bluetrix a Little Wicca Majic CD SAADC AJNJS SHD SMGDC SSGDC
The first run of the day was Gamblers. The Gamble was very simple jump out to a curved tunnel, back to a curved tunnel out to an off set tire and over a jump. We earned 72 points. Q
Advanced Std. 1- we missed our weave entrance and she came off the a-frame before she was release so of course we re did it.
Advanced Std. 2- she was awesome and we worked great together as a team. It felt like a pretty good run. 48.38 seconds. SCT- 68.00 Q
Advanced Jumpers- we had three bars and it was pretty messy. She was a little on the wild side, and despite the fact that I did a beautiful lead out- I still somehow misjudged my FC and was not where i needed to be....the back part of the course was amazing though- we had great distance and I handled it well.
Sunday morning, Wicca was feeling very fresh and was a freakin' maniac for steeplechase. We knocked bars, had an off course and it was pretty bad all around.
She redeemed herself though with the 3 rd Standard- she listened, payed attention and we ran clean. Yay! When I walked the course I didn't really think that Wicca and I could run it clean. It was pretty technical and with her Steeplechase run still in my mind I didn't think we could pull it together. Well, it wasn't beautiful but it was clean, and run in 45 seconds. The SCT was 64.00
This Q earned Wicca her Advanced title.
Advanced Team- paired with Gyppie. Wicca ran the second half and we did great! She missed her weave entry but with the new team rules you are allowed 5 faults...so Masters Team here we come! We had the fastest time in the class.
And then as my stomach rolled and the stress settled in came Starters Snooker.
My plan was two fives and a seven. It worked. Beautifully. We had one moment where I thought she might flick off to a jump, but I kept in her head and we did it. No bars, nothin. I was never so happy with her...All over a fricken' starters snooker Q....I never imagined it would be that difficult with her. ...So finally- no more starters...Yay for Wicca!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Start lines- she has been scooting a bit lately, and we are working on fixing that
Weave Entries....she has improved greatly in practice, we'll see how it is at a trial
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Sarah bet me I'd have it for a month or less....I'm going to try hard to use it faithfully and lot loose it!!!! Afterall, I'd hate to loose something so pretty!
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday morning was the advanced session. I had planned on rotating Boone and Vito but Vito is no where near the point where he would have been succesful with what we did. I worked him on the sidelines, and over one jump at the back.
So Boone got to do all the work and I was very impressed with him. I have been working with him every week and every day on little things at home, but really he blew me away. He was ULTRA confident and didn't have one moment of worriedness. Things I need to work on with him:
1) stays- because he is so sensitive about things I haven't been super serious about teaching him what stay really means (he has his own variation but it's not quite right!)
2) don't babysit him- and for doGs sake keep your arm down- if you always run with your arm out then how the heck is the dog supposed to know when to actually move out.
3) more teeter games...
At the end Boone ran a full course- with no problems. I was very happy with him and I am looking forward to more training with him. I also need to get serious about the whole weave thing.
Wicca ran in the afternoon Masters session. Kiersten knows my dog very well as I have run under her a lot. (she is a judge) So she knows exactly what her little quirks are. I was both glad to hear that she had some tips for me but also a little anxious about being picked on!
Well, I was picked on, but it was great!
We started with Snooker Strategy and Planning. I am pretty good at Snooker I think. Over the years of running Wicca (sometimes just a few seconds) I have run a lot of snooker and have the game down pat. The problem is that together Wicca and I just can't get it. It all comes down to her not wanting to come in close to me. So- back to the snooker. I had a great plan but Wicca wrecked it not once, not twice- but three times with knocked bars. Now- to give her some credit two bars were my fault. One was a late rear cross and the other was just bad handling. So once we managed to get it through to her that I was serious about keeping bars up Wicca ran it well. I was pretty happy with her. (I have decided to re-enter snooker at the next few trials...we'll see how it goes)
After snooker we got into a discussion about "the evil arm." As you read in my blog post about Kim Collins- she really hates the off arm flip. Despite my reasoning she made it sound like her way was still better. So I have been working very hard at not using the flip, and trying to put a verbal cue to it. Kiersten disagrees. I was ecstatic. I have been struggling with the reason behind not doing it and wasn't sure if I fully agreed- but if everyone else agreed then there must be some truth to it right? (after all a flip is essentially a rear cross on the flat) So I vowed to keep my evil arm down and use a verbal cue instead. Kiersten said that she doesn't have a problem with a flip, and in fact uses one herself- but it should be done properly and the dog needs to understand it. My dog understands it just fine, but I need to follow through more. I am in the habit of letting my arms do the handling and I should be using my whole body. So I am going to make my flip better and that's that. =)
Kiersten then set a course which we picked apart and ran piece by piece before putting it together. She addressed our issue of Wicca not wanting to come close and she suggested I teach it and put it on cue....why didn't I think of that? Or had I, and just not put it into practice????? (I will have to look back on my blog and training notes) Anyway- so she had me work on that, over, and over, and over again until Wicca started to somewhat respond...I am confident that I know what to do now to get her to that point and can't believe that something so simple could fix such a huge problem. At the end of the day we ran the course and it was great. Not perfect- but pretty close, and it felt awesome.
I am understanding more and more how my dog thinks, and what I need to be doing to keep her focused on both me and the equipment! It was also great to listen in to what she was saying to the other participants- particularily our students...we push our students hard so when she set up the starters course I could see their confidence rise. It wasn't a super challenging course, but I think (and hope) that everyone got a lot out of it. As an instructor and someone who really loves to learn I love watching the other dogs, and hearing what she has to say. I learn alot that way. Wicca is such a whirlwind compared to the boys- I got some good ideas for Vito and some good tips for Boone- even when it wasn't my turn. Seminars are great because there are lots of different types of dogs and it can be a great learning experience. It is an outside perspective and if you can get one good thing from it then it was money well spent.
Saturday, March 08, 2008
- "slow" does not mean short choppy strides. Long and Slow is smoother and a better signal to your dog
- wicca really needs work on her fronts/finishes.
- apparently I taught my dog how to forge =) I need to have a better picture in my mind of where my dog should be. This is what happens when you train mostly by yourself....
Friday, March 07, 2008
Thursday, March 06, 2008
In a year Sam has seen three regular vets, two specialists, three physio therapists, a massage therapist, and a T-Touch practitioner.
According to one vet he had a cruciate, another vet said that crate rest will fix it, and the specialists said that no- he has a herniated disc in his lower spine. Unfortunately I am not made of money, nor do I have a money tree in my backyard. All of my "savings" were spent on initial treatments. There is no possible way I can afford a surgery like that. So we do what we can to make him feel better. He gets a 1/2 dose of Derramax every four days, and sees Genie, a physiotherapist, once a week. April comes once a week to do Ttouch on him, and between all of those things he does not too badly.
He of course can't play agility, and rarely can do rally or anything like that. I have taught him lots of new tricks in the past year and just generally do what I can to keep his spirits up. We play fetch (but not traditional fetch) he stays, I throw, he tries to catch. We play hide and seek. I have taught him the names to his favorite toys, and he now knows scent discrimination.
It is frustrating of course. He is this super high drive, up and at 'em kinda dog who can't play. Most days he can't even go for a walk. He doesn't understand why he doesn't get to go anymore, but I try very hard to make sure that he still gets one on one time with me, and still gets his little "training" sessions.
It is very hard some days as I still struggle with decisions I have made for him. Some days he is in a lot of pain and those days especially I wonder if I've made the right choice for him. But mostly Sam is a pretty happy guy- he is still wild and crazy, and still banks of the couch and wrestles with his sister. All in all he's quite alright.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
I haven't put alot of things together with him. Last night we did Tire, Dogwalk, Tunnel. After the contact on the dogwalk he was quite reluctant about taking the tunnel. He was quite obviously very focused on me and wouldn't look ahead. He started offering tricks and such- rather than look ahead. I need to work on his contact release driving ahead to something at home.
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
This is Kato- he is the most handsome Xolo I have ever seen. He is a Standard Size Xoloitzcuintle (pronounced- Sho-low-eets-queen-tlee). I have spent a lot of time with a Xolo prior so his skin and texture isn't new to me- but believe me he is super soft, almost leathery. Kato also has very soft fine black hairs on his face and his tail. He has very cool eyes- they are a bright brown and combined with his fuzzy black face I think he's pretty darn cute!
My friend Natalie just got him last night- he is a Canadian Champion but at 18 months his bite had gone "off" so he was for sale. Natalie recently lost her Xolo Cholti and although wasn't looking to replace him this quickly a dog-less house was more than she could handle. Kato became available and here he is!
Anyway- I met Kato last night and was very shocked at how friendly he was ! His tail was wagging, and he was quite happy to play fetch after a few minutes of meeting me. I was astounded as this breed is a very aloof breed, typically used for guarding.
Mind you Kato has not been just a kennel dog- he grew up with Rottweilers and was shown alot all over the world so he is pretty much bomb proof. Anyway, I introduced him here as Xolo's are a pretty rare breed and it's kinda nice to educate people once in a while. Not to mention that you'll probably be seeing the odd pic or story about him.
You can read more about Xolo's here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Hairless_Dog
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Vito got to play and he was even better than last time- he was down to business right away and he was much more responsive this time too. I have been working on his lie downs and he is getting a little more reliable. I didn't get any video of him, but I think Sarah or Jenny got a few pictures.
Wicca was good- she is still tired from her big day yesterday but was better about taking direction this time because of it. We are teaching Comeby and Away- she used to know this very well but we haven't used it in more than a year so she is a little rusty. Despite that she did well. She is still reluctant to move all the way around them but is getting better each time. Next time I am going to try going with her last- so she has some excitement built up from waiting her turn.