Today Jolene, Kim and I went to Okotoks for a funmatch. (Kim travelled in her own vehicle- it's hard to car-pool with a bernese mountain dog. :) )
The people there were surprised that we would drive all that way for a funmatch. We are used to having to travel for everything. Living in a small city doesn't allow for much training opportunity in new places.
In any case it was well worth the drive. I wanted to see how Pixel would do in a new place. She had a melt down at her first obedience trial, and her second was only marginally better. But today she was great- I had happy, bouncy Pixel almost all the way through the routine. We weren't perfect- she had to be double commanded on the drop, and went around the high jump. She did the broad jump but again needed some help from me. That is more than just a few kinks to iron out in a short time... But overall I was super impressed with her. I love that she is happy and sassy in the ring.
Wicca on the other hand- who I entered in Open just for fun (and with no stays...), was off. She loves obedience and open especially with all the fetching and stuff. But she was pretty flat in the ring and I had to really get her riled up between exercises. It was very un-wicca like.. Jo thought maybe she was anticipating the stays and was worried about it... She is likely right. Poor Woo.
We made up for it by having a good play outside. The property where the match was is beautiful and the girls had a few good walks and runs. It was a great way to spend the day!
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Today Jolene, Kim and I went to Okotoks for a funmatch. (Kim travelled in her own vehicle- it's hard to car-pool with a bernese mountain dog. :) )
Friday, April 29, 2011
Every week in class I am pushing her harder and harder- speed, distance, tougher challenges and she does it.
She still has trouble on some things, but we break them down and then she's ready to go. (For instance the teeter at a distance still concerns her a bit so we worked on that last night)
We have sorted out the dogwalk issues and now I am proofing and adding every sort of challenge I can think of. She is without a doubt understanding her job. It will be interesting to see how it holds in a trial- but I am hopeful. lol
Her thoughtfulness can be a pain in the ass at times (the broadjump) but mostly it turns out great. She never forgets stuff and tries very hard. I love that about her. Although running a dog like that you really have to be on your game as a handler- screw ups are very apparent...lol
Moving on past the awesomeness of Pixel...
This weekend is going to be a busy one. I am heading to calgary for an obedience match on Saturday. Pixel needs lots of new ring experience, so although it is far to go for a funmatch it's really the only opportunity we have...
Sunday I am going to Medicine Hat to teach one day of agility. It will be lots of fun- I've got some great stuff planned, and it will be neat to teach some new people. I haven't decided who will get to tag along for the day but it will likely be Pixel. Wicca is not known for her patience....
Oh, and it's snowing this morning. At the end of April. I may be moving soon. lol
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Each of the dogs have their own little things that we are working on. I have a big yard so can do quite a bit of stuff. For agility I only have a few jumps, and weaves, and an old tunnel for equipment but we do lots with that.
Here's what we've been working on lately...
Wicca- working on rear crosses. She does still flick the wrong way (or just pull off) sometimes so I have been working on jump commitment, and tight rear crosses. Obedience wise all we do is her "Mat" work. We're going to get those stays some day. lol.
Boone- not much agility, mostly some two jump drills with super high rewards. Working mostly on obedience and focus with him right now. He doesn't have sustained eye contact so we are working on that.
Vito- tricks, and weaves. He doesn't really "do" agility but I will likely enter him at our trial this summer and it would be nice if he could weave twelve poles. His weave training is very short, and with a huge party at the end. It is exhausting. lol. But he is really driving into the poles now so it's helping. He is learning a few new tricks too.
Pixel- can you say broadjump? lol. I just blogged about that so won't go into much detail. Agility wise we are working on directionals, and distance. She is getting pretty good, and it has been noticeable in class so I am happy.
Brit- running with me, retrieving, and building value for the food toy. We just started some one jump stuff the other day. We also have just started eye contact stuff for heeling. She loves to stare at me so I think she will be an awesome heeler. :)
So all of that usually takes up about an hour after work, and then we go for a walk (split in two groups), and then whatever is planned for the evening. It's a good thing I love training!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
The Judging Schedule came out for the Obedience trial in a few weeks! There are only 8 Open B dogs- which is one of the reasons I love this trial. It's nice and small. There will be limited amounts of people to watch my cute little dog run up to the broad jump and then perch on it. :)
She has been doing SO great at everything else. Her drops are good, her fetching is great (as long as I remember to give her the right cues!), and her heeling is very nice. But the broad jump has been an issue almost since the beginning. She thinks it's a perch, or that I am asking her to do her board work (from agility). She is confused about the whole thing, and I am not sure what I can do to make it clearer to her.
What has been working is having something for her to target to- it gives her the momentum and forward focus to not think so hard about what's in front of her. Without that she will run with all her might, and then pop up on the board. Sigh.
Someone suggested putting jump standards on either side- that only had her boinging in the air,and then landing on the board...
I will keep doing what I am doing with the targeting- and hope that with enough reptition it will just become second nature. She's such an odd dog about some things- I always say her problem is that she thinks too much. :)
Regardless I am stoked about her first time in the Open ring. I think it will be so much fun! She is also entered in her first Excellent Rally trial on the Sunday. Her back up is pretty solid, and that is pretty well the only new thing.
Wicca is entered in Rally both days. No Open for her until we have those stays solid....
Monday, April 25, 2011
It seems that spring may finally be here to stay! The dogs and I had a great weekend not really doing much of anything.
Bits of training, lots of walks, and lots of time outside enjoying the sun.
Yay for the Sun!
Sunday, April 24, 2011
|Quite possibly the cutest picture of Pixel ever. :)|
|Boone had a great time running around trying to get the girls to chase him...|
|where there is one, there is two. It's like they are attached at the hip. Wicca is the ioriginal cool girl.|
|Boone trying to entice the girls to chase him again- this time with fancy moves, and a different toy.|
|Vito doesn't share, and will play catch all by himself- here is mid throw|
|and what did Brit do during these festivities? Watch. lol|
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
I spent the afternoon with my sister and her family. Nolen is getting so big! It's crazy. He talks a lot, and is a total boy. :) We had a great time at the park, and I took many, many photos.
I haven't looked through all of them yet, but I think this is my favorite.
I can't believe that April is almost over. Seriously, this month is just a blur. On the plus side, Spring is sure to be around the corner right?
Although my grass is slowly turning green, the trees are still not budding yet, so I am not feeling too optimistic. But a girl can hope!
May is a busy month aswell- but hopefully will be a good one.
Our Agility classes go into full swing- three full nights a week. I am teaching a one day agility seminar at the beginning of the month, and then will be off for Pixel's Open Obedience debut, followed by our first outdoor agility trial. Like I said, busy!
And of course within all of that I am working, training, and living. It's getting easier and easier to find the balance though. In the past I have struggled with too much dog stuff, and not enough life. But as I a understand more what I want, and how to get it, things have become easier. And for that I am grateful.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Pixel just went through a shed not too long ago and is regrowing all of her coat- including her fabulous tail. :)
Her poufy tail is one of my most favorite parts of her. It's like her trademark or something...
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
She hasn't done it again (that I know of) and there has been only one suspect wet spot since. But it was small and could have been Boone licking the dog bed (which he does, all the time...)
Anyway, I wanted to ask my vet about it. She thinks that Brit is too young to be incontinent, although it can happen. So we are going to rule out an infection and go from there. I am not too worried about it though- as it has only been once.
Brit was awesome at the clinic though- we did sit/stands/downs in the waiting room, and then I had her up on the table for cookies while we waited for the vet. She was happy, and relaxed for most of the exam (except for the temperature taking, and while the vet was looking at her vulva...) But hey, who can blame her? :)
She is going in tomorrow so they can get a sterile urine sample, and we should have results back right away. I suspect that I am over-reacting, but figured it was a good time to meet the vet anyway.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Yesterday the Childrens Festival filled the entire day. It was great though- the dogs had fun, and I think that the people were pretty entertained. My dogs performed a lot- and were very tired last night!
Wicca did her trick. It was awesome. :) Boone had a TON of fun doing all his tricks. He wasn't nervous at all, and really seemed to enjoy himeself. It was so nice to see him so happy doing stuff. And Pixel did Scenthurdle. Also Wicca and Pixel parrticipated in the agility demo. I put together a montage of some of the festivities. I will do Wicca and Boone's trick videos seperately tomorrow...You do get to see the best part of Wicca's tricks in the montage though... :)
Today the dogs let me sleep in until 9!!! It was amazing. lol. Then we went for a nice walk in the fresh snow (again!), and then off to scenthurdle practice...Where we blew the scenthurdle dogs brains by racing against flyball dogs. lol. It was completely chaotic. But- if they can race against that they should be able to race against quiet scent dogs.. Now to get them actually to do their job even with the flyball dogs in the next lane...It's going to take some work.
Now I am home with the dogs chilling out. Tomorrow is Monday. I hate that. lol
Friday, April 15, 2011
I waited until the very end because I wasn't sure- but I am sure now that she will be ready.
Regionals is all masters courses- two standards, two jumpers, and two gamblers. This is spread over two days. This will be my first time running two dogs at regionals. Mentally I didn't handle running one dog very well last year so maybe two dogs will be better. lol (joking.) In truth I have found that running Pixel is less stressful and easier almost. Even on the same course. At trials this has been a great benefit for me as I am more relaxed, and it totally rubs off on Wicca. So I think this will transfer over to regionals aswell. :)
Pixel is definitely ready I think and will do fine with the courses- the only issue will be the gambles. At this point we aren't doing so well in the distance department. But it's coming. Last night she drove into the weaves no problem at almost 20 feet! And we are working on adding distance, and funny angles to our contacts. Our "turn" cue is still not as strong as it needs to be. But we've added that into our training at home every day and already I am seeing improvements. Her dogwalk is very good in training- we haven't been to a trial lately to test it out, but I am sure that she is understanding for sure what I want. Our next trial isn't for a month still.
I am really waffling about Nationals at this point- everything is so expensive! Flights are more, hotels are more- and sadly I don't have a money tree in my backyard! But I haven't ruled it out yet.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Anyway the dog demos are going to be a lot of fun. The festival runs all day so we have a bunch of stuff spread throughout the day.
The obedience demo is going to be fun, although probably a tad bit unorganised. But kids won't care. :)
The agility demo will be fun- although I still can't find the demo CD so will have to make a new one...
The scenthurdle demo is going to be great for our dogs- we are going to race against kids!
but it's the trick demo that is going to be the most fun for me. I love teaching tricks- and my dogs know quite a few. Choosing what trick and when is the hard part! Boone's tricks are all motion/movement type tricks- spins, back ups, go outs, weaving through my legs, running backwards around me, jumping over my leg. I still havent' found a song that I like though- but we've been training to the Cars theme- Life is a Highway. If I can't find anything else that will be it. I thought putting the tricks together would be hard, but really it is just about flow and I think we have it. Now, wether or not we will have it in front of people is different. Boone does get stage fright. I am hoping that I will be able to keep him happy...
Wicca's tricks are super funny. She does the standard dead dog, rollover, wave, weave through legs, but she also does things with props- she can put a ball in a basketball net, she can push a soccer ball into a goal net, she can ride a skateboard (although i could only find the small one so she just kind of pushes herself on it), and best of all she can spell! We did it for the first time last night and she was awesome. I can't wait to video it. lol Until then you will all have to wonder what I am talking about.
I am looking for song suggestions- kind of faster paced, kid friendly, I was thinking Disney but haven't found anything yet!
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
|Brothers Bruce (grey) and Robbie (orange)|
|Bruce says brothers are awesome...|
|This is what he does to suck you in to pet him- as soon as you reach out to him he's savage..|
|See! Savage ears....|
(p.s Yes, those are skates hanging from my neighbors tree. Don't ask me why...)
Monday, April 11, 2011
Wicca is 7 years old now. And I notice. And it makes me sad.
Mostly it's small things- she naps more in the day/evening now. She tires out sooner. She actually slept flat out at training last week when Pixel had her turn! She likes to sleep in now. She likes to cuddle (I attribute that to her mellowing out due to age as she certainly didn't cuddle before..) And I can see it in her colors aswell. You can see in this photo quite well how the white is creeping up on her muzzle and ears...
I wish there was a way to keep them young forever.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
|fancy footwork... lol Boone cracks me up.|
|look! an expression other than the creepy border collie stare!|
|she ran to the river and immediately lied down. It was strange. lol|
|tilted by the wind...|
|some coulee scenery for you.|
|wicca's a rebel|
|vito on the lookout for birds...|
I took the dogs for a nice long walk at the riverbottom and had a good time. It seems as though spring is finally here in Alberta- there are tons of birds out, and you can see the hint of green in the coulees now.
The dogs had a blast getting muddy. :) I have many more photos to post, but thought I'd tease you all with a boring posed photo first.
I believe this is the first official family photo since Brit came.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011
I was supposed to go to an agility trial this weekend- but the arena it was in flooded. As in under water for the last week or so. We just found out on Wednesday it was cancelled though. I guess they were hoping that the two feet of water would evaporate in a few days, or something. In any case I managed to get a last minute working spot in a seminar on Saturday instead! I am pretty stoked about it- I had looked at it when the information came out but had already entered this trial. So it must have been meant to be or something.
The seminar is being taught by Cheryl Bartlett from Saskatchewan. She has been doing agility forever, and seems to have kept up with the trends and such. I know she and a few other well known canadian instructors do a big Puppy Camp thing every year, and I have heard good things about her sessions. I figured this would be a good opportunity- only a few hours away, and for a good price.
I am signed up for the morning foundation seminar, and the afternoon distance seminar. I am going to take Brit in the morning- which is exciting!!! I am sure it will be lots of the same things that I have been doing, but it will be good to see how she does in a class setting, and maybe get some pointers for her obsession with moving things.. (we won't talk about the recall that almost wasn't- last night when a sheltie ran by...lol)
And Pixel for the afternoon. I may bring Wicca as back up in case the dogs are worked a lot. Pixel doesn't do well with lots of agility. I have until morning to decide. Pixel definitely needs the distance help though- she is not overly confident with her gambles, and my timing needs to be better with her. She doesn't react as fast as Wicca at a distance so the last few gambles have been NQ's because of me. I am hoping to get some good pointers.
Sunday will be spent doing laundry, and yard work. Going to put away the shovel. :)
Thursday, April 07, 2011
She is very motion sensitive and could not focus on me if the cats, or Pixel were moving around. She is also very distracted by food and likes to sniff the floor. She did not understand that when I said her name she was to look at me.
With work she is coming along though- and has made lots of progress in the past few weeks.
Here are a few things we are doing:
The Name Game: Say the name, feed the dog. Now Brit will look away from anything- moving pixel, the cats, food- on just her name.
Crate Games: This is a huge way to build up impulse control, and increase excitement for working. We are at the "your in, your out" stage right now.
No Mugging: (see photo above) The dog needs to learn to have patience to get what they want. This was very difficult for Brit as she is VERY food motivated. The second part of this will be teaching her to maintain position (i.e a sit) and not move her feet, or lean forward or up to catch a dropped cookie. This may take a while.
Stay: Pretty self explanatory but basically she needs to learn to stay in position- sit, stand, down and not move until she hears a release word. We can proof this with thrown toys, dropped food, my motion, the other dogs motion etc.
All of these games will help her to learn to stay focused in exciting environments. We are also doing other games to increase motivation, toy drive, body awareness, and all that kind of stuff. So far I am doing the exact same thing I did with Pixel when she was a baby. :) And I know that it created a good working dog the first time around so I am pretty sure it will work a second time!
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
We've been doing lots of super basic stuff- collar games, crate games, nose touches, perch work, recalls, and the ever important impulse control (of which she has none...)
I've also been trying hard to get some photos of her that actually show some expression other than "I am a border collie, look at me stare..." It is difficult because that is pretty much how she is all the time. Her other favorite expression is the "I'm so cute and happy, and please touch me..." The problem with that is she is usually an inch or two away at that point...so no photos. ;)
But I won't give up! Now that she has a solid stay it will be helpful. I am looking forward to the time when I can take her off leash with the dogs- we are almost there!
In the mean time here are some more "I'm a border collie, look at me stare" photos taken in the backyard...
|on the perch...she can circle left and right, and we've just started some pivots...|
|in a down stay while the ball is thrown for Pixel...otherwise known as torture...|
|Stand. Stay. She is not solid on this yet, but at least is starting to understand.|
|and look very cute. :)|
An agility person in my area posted a blog yesterday about agility and trialing, and training and I thought I would share it here. It is a thought provoking post, that will likely cause a few upsets among the agility folk- but worth the read anyway.
Shape Up Dogs
First off I agree 100% about the sniffy, bored, distracted dogs in agility- starters especially. We've all been in starters of course, but I know for myself I didn't put my dog into a trial until they were ready. And by ready I mean able to run a full course and stay focused on me, and on agility. I believe that sniffing is mostly an avoidance behaviour- so what is the dog avoiding? The nagging owner, scary equipment? Either way and there is some training to do at home. I realise that not all dogs come with drive for agility- but you need to build that- away from the ring. And I do know (from personal experience) that agility is not for all dogs. But if your dog consistently loses their focus, leaves the ring, then you need to be doing something about that!
I also agree that there are people who take all the fun out of agility- trying to be perfect, to train and handle to a "system" to the extent where they analyze every little thing. I am not like that. At all. Yes, I like to be consistent with my dogs and do follow a system- but I try not to stress about what to train, or how to handle, or what to do if there is a part on course that *gasp!* doesn't allow me to handle to my system. I am not outside the ring analyzing how to handle a course for an hour, nor do I stare at a piece of paper for hours. I think that when you are over analytical about agility you take all the fun out of it. Training aswell often takes hit in the fun department- let the dogs be dogs. Let them have a chance to play with other dogs if they want, let them play with a ball for doG's sake!!! You can still allow your dog to play- without you once in a while, and have a dog who loves agility, works hard, and pays attention. All of my dogs play ball, the play with each other, they play with toys without me, and are just dogs for the most part.
I play agility because it's fun. My dogs and I have moderate success. I am proud of my dogs for sure, but I don't think about agility every waking moment. There are times when i would much rather just play with my dogs than train agility- and often I do just that.
Anyway, just some thoughts for a Wednesday morning. :)
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
But it was worth it and a lot of fun. It was our local teams Debut run and although it was a bit rocky to start the dogs improved as we went along. At first the dogs were a bit confused as to what they were supposed to do. It was like they'd never been trained or something. lol. We had some crossing over to the other dogs lanes, we had incorrect retrieves, we had missed jumps, we had extra jumps, and just about everything that they could do wrong they did. :) But ya gotta start somewhere!!
Once they got their groove they were great. Pixel was super and just had a few little flubs. I think with the excitment she had a hard time scenting and brought back the wrong dumbbell once, and another time didn't find hers in our box so went to look in the next lanes box. Ooops. lol
We came away with lots of great tips and ideas as to how to make our dogs more confident, and some good training ideas aswell. We are going to set up some practices with some Flyball people as they are the most similiar sport to Scenthurdle. That should at least duplicate the double lanes!
Anyway here is some video for you viewing pleasure. :)
Wicca is on a Southern Alberta team called Due South. That team is made up of half old pros (like Wicca) and newbies so we were a bit more succesful than No Nonscents. Wicca was on her "A" game and didn't make an error all night. She did second guess a few times but never brough back the wrong dummy. I am not sure how many points she earned. I imagine I will find out this week sometime.
And Pixels team- No Nonscents. Check out our fancy vests. :)
And some No NonScents Bloopers to make you laugh..
p.s the cardigan at 1.26 on the bloopers video in the close lane is related to Wicca. They have the same sire. His name is Henry and he is super cute!
For the sake of a few photos I let Wicca play with one of her High In Class Ribbons on Saturday. She had a great time rolling around on the thing, throwing it in the air, and we even played a bit of fetch. :)
Jolene was horrified. lol
Monday, April 04, 2011
The weekend went so well, I so proud of my dogs, my training, and my friends!
Jolene and Kort have come a long way- and he is a completely different dog than he was a year ago. Patience, and training have made him a happy, focused worker in the ring. I am so proud of Jo for sticking it out with him, even when he was a monster. :) We don't always get the dog we had hoped, but sometimes the dog we get is better than we imagined.
Kim and Bosley earned a leg towards their CDX with a beautiful run. (and High in Class!) Bosley is another dog who has not been an easy dog to train. Everyone was talking about his brilliant drops, and his retrieves, oh, and his heeling- he is a beautiful heeler when he wants to be!!! It is really starting to come together for them, and I am proud of Kim for being such a great trainer.
And my friend Donna and her dog Epic had their Novice debut and did pretty great! Epic is a whole lotta' dog and Donna does a great job with him. He earned two legs towards his CD.
Scenthurdle was a blast- we have lots of training to do, but at least we can say now that we've done it, and we know what we need to work on. We are going to train with some flyball dogs just to get dogs in the next lane as that really was the issue.
I love dog show weekends on a whole too- the visiting is always great, I had a chance to visit people I only see once in a while. It was nice to talk dog. :) And traveling with Jolene is awesome. She is seriously the funniest person I know. She carried on a conversation in french with the radio. The thing is she doesn't know french. Uh Huh. This went on until I couldn't breathe and threatened to pee my pants unless she stopped. It helps that our dogs get along so well too- hanging out in the room was fun!
And I also need to mention a thanks to my friends who watched my other dogs. Jen and I traded dogsitting so she got Brit this weekend. I was a little worried to leave her but Jen said she had a great time. I think it is good for dogs to spend the odd time away from home so I am sure it was a good experience for her. And the boys went to Wendy's where Vito was a pest with the cat(s), and Boone became a snowman. :) Check out Crazy and Little for fun pics.
Thanks Guys for taking such good care of the beasts! I appreciate it!
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Pixel earned her Rally Advanced title this weekend with two 98/100's and two Second places. Both times coming second to big sister Wicca. :)
I am so loving this happy, bouncy Pixel. I really think that she is starting to feel comfortable in the ring and I think that all this rally is going to make her performance in Open all that much better. I am just thrilled with how she did this weekend. She tried very hard, and I am so proud of her.
On to Excellent, but first we need to learn to back up in heel position. :)
Saturday, April 02, 2011
So far the girls and I have had a great day.
We still have to go back for scenthurdle, but we are taking a break at the hotel.
Wicca earned a High In Class in Excellent B this morning! She scored a 99/100 and was a very good girl. She went on to earn a 98/100 in Advanced aswell which I think is her fourth or fifth RAE leg. (and she earned a second place)
Pixel was super this morning and was the happiest I have ever seen in the ring. The judge, and the crowd thought she was the cutest thing ever. :) She earned a 98/100 aswell- her second advanced Q. I am so proud of her. I have had to work very hard to get her up and motivated and am pleased with the results today.
Tomorrow we are in again. Wish us Luck!!!!
Friday, April 01, 2011
I suspected a bug of some sort. Pixel likes to stick her nose where it doesn't belong. And for the benadryl to have worked I was guessing that it had to be a reaction to something like that. Yesterday we were puttering around in the yard and she got bit again!!! This time I heard her yelp and run for the house so I know the general area she was in. She has three more large bites on the other side of her nose now. I raked the area she was in and picked up all the sticks and debri from the trees, and then sprayed the crap out of the ground with bug killer, and used an xpen to block the area..... Some people have suggested that it could be wasps coming up from the ground, or maybe a nest of Spiders or something. Whatever it is they are mean! Poor Pixel.
|photo taken with my iphone....|
She is still on Benadryl to keep the itch away so she doesn't make her nose worse- but it looks awful. Thankfully the swelling is all gone now though- she was looking a bit like a bull terrier for a while...
Of course we are heading off to a Rally Trial this weekend. :( Other than how it looks she is fine- her usual spunky self. She was a little reluctant in the yard last night, but today she has forgotton all about it and I saw her snuffling through another pile of leaves....