Monday, March 31, 2014

Nosework Update

Training the dogs in Nosework has been a lot of fun. It is a new challenge, and I am enjoying learning about something new again. I've been doing lots of reading about scent, and how it travels, and what sort of training methods are out there.

Wicca continues to improve and is getting better each time. We are still really not ready for the trial that is coming up in a few weeks. I am regretting entering it- only because I think she will be frustrated and I don't want her to fail. It is the vehicle search more than anything- she doesn't understand to really look hard if it's not obvious right away. It has been so cold that we haven't had much opportunity either- but now it is mostly decent enough out that I should be able to get one in each day. Some of the things we are working through right now- commitment, and focus. She is getting better about staying committed to the source, but is not always very focused. I don't like the wandering around she does. And if she is really excited she is very vocal whining, and barking. lol. But I am hoping that frequent, short searches will help that.

We went somewhere new (a friends Tae Kwon Do studio), and it was great for them to work in a new exciting environment. I have video of Wicca's two searches. She also successfully did a blind vehicle search. It was slow, but she did it. So progress all around. 

Here is the interior search


and a box search.


and Vito got to come too. He is pretty good- once. Anything after that first time and he mostly just goofs around. Frustrating really. lol. In the video you will see I start on leash, and then have to take it off. He hates the leash touching him and gets all weirded out. He's a special one. lol


I also started Pixel on Sunday- just the basics. I am experimenting with a clicker, and spending more time teaching an actual indication right away. I will keep track here how it is going. So far so good.I am going with a down. She caught on to the one box pretty good. She's a smartie-pants so I suspect she will get it fast. 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

For some of us....

For some of us this never ending winter is no big deal. Embrace it, says Pixel...

And for the rest of us.... 

Make. Winter. Stop.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Like riding a bike....

The other day I was talking to a friend about agility and the fact that I was a little nervous about how it would be the first time back. She said it was like riding a bike, you don't really forget.

I didn't believe her. But this weekend it was exactly that way. It was easy. To run, to handle, to play with my dog. The only hard part was the new stuff, and being pushed outside my comfort zone. The rest was exactly like getting back on a bike after years of walking.

We attended a seminar focused on handling and although Leo was the most inexperienced dog there he did a great job! It was a great learning experience.

Saturday we front crossed, rear crossed, blind crossed, and ran an 12 obstacle course! Sunday we mostly blind crossed, with some fancy stuff thrown in for good measure.  We ran together and were connected. And for the first time I saw "it" in him. You know that look that a dog gets at the start line. The excitement, the quivering, eager to go, looking ahead, ready. I saw it, and it made my heart flutter a bit.

The actual stuff we learned was hard. Challenging. And totally cool. This weekend taught me many things. Aside from some new handling options, I learned what type of warm up he needs, what he looks like when he needs a break, what his favorite toys are, what he needs from me in order to direct him around a course. I also learned that he has great distance and obstacle commitment, but is also a great launcher. Lol. I learned what I need to do to get him to turn right, and what I should do to create the best path for him.

It was a great weekend, and what we needed to kick start our training. I came home with a better understanding of how, and why. And more importantly it was a great experience for both us. For me to see how he will be in that sort of setting, and me to feel how it will be to be back. Now if only winter would take a hike so we can get going!!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Blog Post about Stuff!

Such an interesting thing. Full of ups and downs, confidence, nerves, mistakes, success, frustration, and fun. Sometimes all within a few minutes. ;)
I have said it before- but this is unlike anything else I have ever done. It is so hard. But so awesome.
Brit has taken a big step backwards. Heavy sheep, and too many long drives too soon squashed her confidence. So I bumped her back to Novice at the last arena trial. It was a good choice as the sheep were super slow, and she had to push on them. She had fun though, and did a great job. So much to learn still, and she is hard to train because she can't work long mentally, or physically. (more on that farther down). Leo is good. He has great feel for his sheep and often knows better than I. He is learning about driving. It is going okay. We had some trouble in that he could do it off my left, but not my right. I think we have that sorted. Our other problem is short flanks, and close up work. He gets excited, and wide. I am hoping for a lesson from Scott before they hit the road. I am looking forward to spring/summer. So much training and learning for me and for the dogs. It's going to be awesome.

I have things figured out, and we had our first outdoor practice the other day. It was amazing. It felt so good. Man, I have missed that. Leo has a great time, and is pretty speedy, and a lot confident. His contacts are coming, and I think with now being outdoors it will be easier to progress faster. I have him signed up for a few seminars! Mostly for the experience. We need to put in the time on the course, to figure each other out, and he needs to experience that group/trial setting. It will be fun. I am nervous actually! I feel slow and rusty. And I am sure I am! But with the support of my friends I am feeling pretty good about myself and my dog. For me I am going back to agility to have fun, play with my dog, and really just get back to feel. I miss my agility friends a lot. So I am excited to think about getting back into that scene this summer/fall.

Pixel and Brit are training for various obedience things. Brit is doing mostly heeling. And Stays. Pixel is doing utility stuff mostly. Her go outs are coming along. And the dreaded signals are as hard as I thought they would be with her. lol. But we are having fun and moving slowly.

Wicca LOVES this game. And I am not sure that she will be able to do it much longer. She has been lame off and on. It makes me sad, and angry. I mean, she is walking around a room sniffing. How hard  can it be on a little body. I think it is just the increased activity, the excitement, her enthusiasm cannot be contained very well. She is having so much fun. I hate to stop. She had a rough few weeks- we didn't do anything. And now of course we are even farther behind training wise for the trial I entered. I did a bit today- Wicca was feeling great so we did some outside stuff, and a vehicle search. She did pretty good! She is certainly keen. But we will see. I won't put her health at risk just for a trial, or test. So we may just train at home for fun, and not have a goal per say. Vito is a brat. He is so good...sometimes. Other times he just wanders on by the very obvious hide. lol. Small little baby steps with him- as it has been his whole life. ;)

Boone gets his own paragraph. He is good. Not acting his age at all. I haven't shaved him in ages so he is the fuzziest he has ever been. I should take a photo. The groom is coming soon though as I can't keep up with the cording that is starting. He has the weirdest coat. Healthwise he is good. He lost his off leash privileges a few weeks ago when I nearly lost him. He was gone. Poof. And I searched the coulee for half an hour before giving up and walking back to the car- only to find him under it..... I was terrified. And haven't told anyone that because I feel like a terrible dog owner. So I dug out my dusty flexi leash and he is attached at all times now. He doesn't seem to mind.

So that's all the stuff. I'm a busy lady. The blog seems to be the last thing updated. But I need to change that as I really do rely on the blog to look back and remember things!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Windy Spring Day

Two Short Dogs.

Leo, ready to chase someone. Sadly for him this was a leash walk. (mostly)

Leash Walks. This is how it goes. They pull me up a hill.

Ending with a play at the park.

Pixel's favorite

Nom, Nom, Nom

This toy has a great squish.

Blurry, but intense.
I have lots of things to blog about. And no motivation to do so. Lots of really great things happening lately. Maybe later this week I will sit down and actually write stuff. ;)

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Stiff as a board

Brit and Wicca had an appointment with my rehab/chiro vet today. She comes to our city every few months, so unless there is an absolute issue we wait for her to come. Brit has been lame more often than normal- she has a funny leg that sometimes she is fine on, and other times not. I've had xrays and there is some breakdown at the hip joint but in the past this vet has thought it was a sacrum issue. Anyway- lately she has been worse. She had a slip on the ice a bit ago, and seemed okay after rest but she just seemed off.

I was not wrong. Brit was very crooked. Like visibly so. Both her head and pelvis.  Her head was really weird- no range of motion in either direction.  She had a few adjustments in her spine, and then her pelvis/sacrum area. Dr.Devall  attributes Brit's limp to Sciatica (sort of), as the leg itself is fine. I had her look at the knee and she said there is no deformity, or issue. I have some exercises to do to keep her sacrum area stretched out. She said I should continue doing what I am doing with her though- as her core is getting stronger and there is new muscle there.

Wicca was stiff as a board. So tight that it was too hard to do much even. She got a few adjustments though, and seems looser already. It's nothing new- all part of Wicca's chronic, ongoing, never-ever-ending issues. This time though it  may be a slight psoas strain even- but she was too tight to manipulate much. She is on Robaxin for two weeks, and then likely a follow up appointment after. Her neck and shoulders were good this time though- so that's something positive. She was very sore, which does not surprise me, as even I could feel it when I would massage her. Hopefully the robaxin will loosen up those muscles to get some blood flow back in there. On the plus side she is using the little stairs I borrowed for the couch!

Next time Veronica comes I am going to bring Leo. Just to be proactive as he gets more into agility. He is been sound (knock on wood, no, really...) But given my luck I do want to be really sure that he is physically good to go.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Super Sniffer

Shauna and I drove to Calgary in a snowstorm this morning. lol. The things we do in the name of "fun."

This particular fun was Sporting Detection Dog (Nosework) trial prep workshop, with a bonus DOT test in the afternoon.

The morning was spent talking about each of the steps for the test, the different searches, basic rules, training tips etc. We also got a chance to work through each of the searches- Container, Interior, And Exterior.

It was good for our dogs because we haven't really trained anywhere new- so it was good to see how the dogs worked in a new environment. Wicca did pretty good- she was distracted, but I had a chance to see how good/bad her alert would be. She did great on the container search, and so close on the interior. The hide was under a cabinet- with an air vent directly above. She did indicate- twice!, but I missed it and she went around to the backside and paw'd- so I called it. (I learned that more than anything today!!! Listen to the dog!)  She did not like the exterior search at all. She didn't even sniff. lol. But it was VERY cold, probably too cold really.

In the afternoon we did a DOT test- the Designated Odor Test is the first test, and is similar to an instinct test in that it is a pass/fail. It is just to see if the dog is somewhat trained I think. lol. In the US- where the trials fill super fast, it is required. In Canada it is not (yet!). Wicca ACED the DOT- she was confident and knew for sure where it was. It was neat to watch her. So yay for Woo!!!

She had a great outing- and I am sure will be tired for a few days now. It was so awesome to have my best little dog at my feet again. Someone commented about how well behaved she was! lol. I told them she was ten so I'd hope she would have manners by now...

Vito also came along!!! He too tried the DOT, but failed. And it was totally, completely my fault!!! He TOLD me where it was, and I thought he was just goofing off.. Sigh. In any it was great for him- and for me to see how he would work in that situation. The biggest surprise is that he wanted to visit! And even schmoozed with a stranger!!! Like grunting and everything. Usually that is reserved for those that he really loves. But he was handing it out to someone he had just met. Amazing. <3