Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Rally Fun

Tonite we had a little Rally fun night- a few of our friends are off to a Rally trial this weekend and I thought it would be a good idea to have a little practice.

I decided to bring the boys and let them play. I have been teaching them the stations, but haven't really put it all together yet- but they did pretty darn good!!!

Boone was very happy and up beat and only had one little moment and recovered beautifully!

Vito REALLLY wanted the cookie and couldn't understand why I wasn't feeding him at every station. But he was happy and eager to be playing!!!

Skills and Drills

I got some of our training on video from last night. We worked on more weave pole entries- jump drills- serpantines, and pinwheels- and again with start line positions.
It wasn't a super productive session as she did really well on most of everything we did- she had one pop out on the weaves- which was brought on by my lateral motion and we also had three bars which were her fault ;o)

I got an email from Kim Collins today reminding us of all the things that we should be working on before the next outreach- which is in two weeks. I have no idea where I am going to find the time......

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


This is Su'nar isn't she cute? She is a Wicca relative and comes to one of our Agility classes. She reminds me a lot of Wicca- she is super spunky and full of herself- loves to play and is already proving to be quite an agility star. I love her. ;o)

Monday, January 28, 2008

- 45

First off I'd like to say it's FREAKIN' COLD!!!! This morning even my dogs didn't want to go out- and they aren't wimpy about snow. With the wind chill it is -45C this morning. Ugh. I hate the cold.

The weekend was spent doing doggy things and relaxing. Saturday I worked for a few hours at the daycare, did some training with the beasties and finished the day by playing cards with my family. Sunday started off with an Obedience funmatch.

I entered her in Novice and Open- just to get the heeling practice in.
Her novice run was awesome! She was very up beat and happy to be there. Her recall sucked though. We still did well though and got a 190 (I think)
Her open run started off great. I made sure to play with her between exercises and it seemed to keep her spirits up. Her drop on recall was perfect- I threw the dumbbell far to the left on the retrieve over jump and she started to come around the jump. And on the broad jump she walked it the first time, and did it no problem the second time. I think with Wicca it is a momentum problem- in that she isn't focusing ahead really so she isn't able to get the momentum to get over it. This is something we have been working on for a while.

I also did one run thru of Rally and she was awesome. Attentive and tail up and waggin the whole time. It was only 13 stations and really simple but we haven't done rally in a long time so I was really happy with her! (and me for remembering all the signs)

On the Obedience front I just got two really great books- Marie Sawfords Ring Ready- I have only browsed through it but am really excited to start reading it. There is a ton of hints, suggestions and ideas for common obedience problems. I also finally ordered Beyond Block Heeling by Terry Ryan- there are lots of great fun games and drills in there for my workgroup class when I start it again.

And that's all the news of the weekend....

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sleepless Nights

Three nights in a row Vito has had to go out multiple times in the night. Ugh. The first night he was sleeping loose in my room and failed to ask to go out- so I had to carpet clean, light candles and then go back to bed. Second night- Vito in a crate- this way, no accidents. He'll ask to go out right? Wrong. Mess in crate- the crate and Vito had to have a bath. Last night- smaller crate (fits easier in bath tub) right beside my bed. Any whining and I shot out of bed and raced him outside. No accidents but I was up four times. Ugh.

So I don't think he's feeling sick really- during the day he is lively, playful and acting normal. He is tired- but I don't dare leave him home. So today he is in a crate at my feet at work. He didn't get fed this morning- but I will feed him tomorrow- some rice or something.

Now I am wondering what is causing his upset tummy- he hasn't gotten into anything and nothing has changed in his diet- except for one thing. I discovered earlier this week that Vito eats poop. There, I said it. I caught him at the daycare on Monday (or Tuesday it's hard to remember) and have been keeping an eye on him but when there are 25 dogs you miss some poop....Anyway, I did some research on the internet and yes indeed- Poop eating dogs are prone to all sorts of upset tummies. So- I will be keeping a close eye on him- and hopefully stop it before it becomes a really bad habit!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Practice makes....perfect???

Last night a few of us worked a bit on Outreach stuff at the daycare.

Wicca's exercises of the evening:

We warmed up with some good old Stays- I really need to make a better effort to teach her. Whenever she breaks I tell myself it is my fault for not teaching her...It makes me work harder!

One Jump Exercises (rear end work) did well-she really does have a hard time with this as her jumping is not very efficient most times anyway. We did 10 reps and had 4 ticked bars.

Start Lines I used thrown food past the jump to try and get her to sit like a vulture- and increase her desire to take the jump. It worked really well, she broke twice, but not really to take the jump....not quite sure what she was thinking.

Start line position changes I am doing this to make her more aware of me at the start line. I wonder if some of her startline problems are becuase she is so focused on what she wants- agility. This makes her think and she is doing really well. She is scooting forward a bit at each position change but it is getting smaller and smaller.

Weave entries- 90 degree entry- no equipment before or after, just sending her ahead to three poles. 3 reps great, and then fell apart- I was rewarding in the wrong spt (surprise) so she started missing the last pole. Fixed it by using a target- first time with target stole the food without weaving- little bugger.

Weave Entries with speed- used a ball to get her driving out of them more- did great 4 reps

Weave Entries with distraction and speed. - added a jump- (do you like my little sketch)

o o o o

did great- five reps perfect. ball as a reward

2 reps of reving her (holding collar until she was barking and pulling) failed 2 x. Had to give her an extra verbal cue. 3 reps with ball reward- good.

Next session I want to work on Jumping patterns- threadles, FC on 270's and handling.

Record Keeping

We started a new barn session last night and had previously decided to change the format. We are now working as a large group- split into three. There are three stations and we rotate through them. There were two groups of three, and a group of four. Each group is required to record keep and goal set- we were pretty adamant about that. It worked out GREAT! I felt personally that I got a lot done with my dogs and my group members seemed happy with the setting aswell. Each week (if I remember) I will copy down my record keepers notes and talk about the night.
Goals- FC practice on pin wheel and discrimination
1st Attempt:
bar down on jump 3- A starting to move for FC.
wall contact- did not bottom on first Cue
redid wall- great contact, verbal and physical praise
A said wall- meant tunnel, dog not listening anyway- did correct (tunnel) obstacle ;o)
My observations:
Broke Start line.
I didn't move quick enough to get over to do a FC so pulled back- resulting in the knocked bar.

Wicca didn't drive to 2on2off- waited it out to see if she would offer- no such luck. made her get off and redid it.

2nd Attempt
late FC- W took off course jump
Try again.
Perfect- timing better. said name to get a tight turn.
*Barked when asked to repeat things

Boone- focus and jump work- building reward system (goodie container)

Goals: table. no hydraulic ass ;o)
1- lift off immediately
2- C/T for getting on and immediate down, C/T for duration. Started lift but self corrected when cookies stopped coming
3- add speed jump-table...lift but self corrected C/T
4- didn't go all the way down- did not self correct- after 5 sec. called Off table.
5- great
6- great

Goals: Entries-

used three poles only. rewarded with GC for fast and accurate
broke start line- A started asking Wicca to change position (sit.down.stand) before releasing- Wicca scooting forward at each change.

Boone- building value for GC- weave accuracy. restrained recall over jump to weaves (building speed) Very happy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Grooming 101

before grooming- cute, but untidy...

So I have been fighting with Boone's coat since I got him. I have to brush him everyday to keep him tangle free- and sometimes that just isn't possible. Yesterday he had to have a bath and after he was nice and clean I decided the time had come- to get the clippers out.

A month ago I went at him with thinning shears and he looked great- but it took a really long time and he was still uneven and too long. I talked to Natalie and she suggested I go and find a long clipper comb- as long as I could and see if it would work- I picked up a 1 1/4 comb- and away we went.

He looks great- he still has lots of hair- but it is short enough that it isn't going to tangle quite as easily. He handled the shaving very well has he had been shaved right down by his previous owners a few times. He also did great when I cut his nails!
He looks pretty spiffy- too bad I forgot to take a picture and didn't bring him today!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Outreach #1

My brain hurts. (and yours may too after reading this) I was at Outreach seminar #1 with Kim Collins this weekend. There is lots and lots of information to sort through now. Outreach is a really cool program that should theoretically help Wicca and I quite a bit. It is a series of three seminars over the year with the same instructor. All year you work with a training buddy and record keeper and when you get back to the seminar you should have improved somewhat. It is great for Sarah and I as we don't get instruction in our area- we can go to Calgary for lessons but not on a regular basis so this is the perfect thing. You can find out more on Outreach here:

Some things I can remember off the top of my head (without consulting with my notes that I left at home)

So- the number one thing I learned this weekend and can remember off the top of my head is- REWARD WHERE YOU WANT THE DOG TO BE. Sounds simple right? Wrong. For the life of me I don't know why I do this but unless I catch myself I reward my dog with her head up on contacts- and sometimes even right next to me- I should be rewarding her with her head down and/or away from me. I know this- and I still do it wrong.

Wicca's bar knocking is/can be triggered by my arms. Interesting eh? Kim noticed right away, and then my record keep noticed aswell. So basically if I do a fast or tight front cross cue my dog knocks the bar- if I hold the cue a little longer the bar stayed up...Interesting...

I have taught my dog to release on motion. And not just any motion...but head motion. Yup- a nod or turn of the head and my dog thinks she can blast away...

my table took one trial for it to become a major issue...Wicca's not gonna know what hits her when I set up a table in the living room and she has to do a table 20 times a day ;o)

Some things that we did at the seminar that I am not sure I want to do:

Nose touch on contacts- I don't want a nose touch on my contacts. My dog has great contacts and we faded away the nose touch long ago

get rid of my arm flip. I LOVE my flip and use it often- Wicca was one of THREE dogs who got a really nasty (and I do mean nasty) weave entry due to my flip. Kim doesn't like it- not because I taught my dog to flip away from me but that she does it on an arm cue- she said that it can confuse the dog because any sort of arm cue should mean the dog comes into you. She said that a verbal cue would be better....hmmmm

to get better speed across the dog walk she had people race their dogs across- do a FC cue in the middle and have the dog jump off (a low dogwalk) I chose to skip this station. my handling sucks sometimes and if I do the FC cue late/early whatever my dog must ALWAYS complete the obstacle I have sent her to.

I signed Vito up for the puppy sessions and he had a pretty good time. There wasn't a lot of working time for the pups but I learned alot and now have some more ideas of what I need to do with Vito

We started with a shaping exercise- no luring, and you had 5 minutes to get your dog to lie down with his head on the ground. Vito did it and held it for three seconds ;o) He is pretty clicker savvy and tried hard to figure out what I wanted. She has some great ideas for foundation work and I am excited to implement some of them. We did lots of plank work and she really splits behaviours down for the dog.

I will bring my notes tonite or tomorrow and retype them aswell as construct a training plan- for each dog which I will post here- so that I will be reminded every day to work on it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Camera Happy ;o)

I took this picture yesterday- She's so pretty ;o)

And here are more pictures that Sarah took from our walk the other day-

Sarah uploaded the funny pictures to Flickr from our walk in the coulees the other day....our dogs are a little nutty somtimes!!!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Workin' it off


So Wicca and Sam are notorious scavengers and ate about 12 cups of cat food yesterday while I was at work. Somehow they got into the spare room where the food is I came home to two dogs who looked like they swallowed basketballs. Nice. Out came the peroxide- Wicca puked up about three cups of slimy food- and Sam puked up none- that's right- retch, swallow, retch, swallow- there was no way he was giving up that food. Nice. Needless to say they are now fasting for a few days and will be only fed rice and pumpkin the days after. Wicca has a busy weekend and it is amazing how quickly she gets fat....Not sure she will be back to normal by Saturday, but I hope so. This picture was taken this afternoon- they have both pooped 4 times since yesterday evening. Nice.

Last night I took Vito and Boone to the barn. I have never been more proud of a dog than I was of Boone last night. He was perfect- he was happy, and he wagged his tail all night. It was so nice to see that he can be normal in an active, noisy setting. We worked on various skills- targets, one jump work, building a motivator (a goodie container), contact work, and some weavepole stuff. He is not very comfortable working off my right side so we worked mostly on the right.

Vito did some dogwalk work- and we worked on the teeter and some one jump exercises. He's pretty cute and is getting more and more confident. I have to remember sometimes that he is only a baby- and is doing pretty good all things considered.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


It's Official- Wicca is the #2 Cardigan Welsh Corgi in Canada for 2007. Go Wiccie Go!
(according to AAC stats as of Jan14/08)

It has been a GREAT year and I am very proud of her. She gives her all every time we are in the ring and I couldn't ask for a better partner. I expect next year that we will be Number 1 as she just keeps getting better and better. Thanks for a great year Wiccie!

Monday, January 14, 2008


aren't they cute??? Look at those cute little feet!

The Saga continues

6 missed weave poles entries
1 pop out at the 10th pole
3 knocked bars
3 off courses
1 non sticking teeter contact
= no Q's for Wicca

Despite how badly the above list looks she actually ran very well. We had some really good control, great distance, and she didn't have any sort of meltdowns. I was pretty impressed with her mostly- the weave thing is getting pretty frustrating and I am going to hold off doing any more trialing until she is giving me at least 80% accuracy at home. The courses were very technical and required quite a bit of front crossing-which is fine, if I can get there. Her three off courses were the result of rear crosses that should have been fronts. There were some really great handling challenges (some of which i did really great with) and it was nice to have some different judges. The trial itself was really great- usually this trial goes until late at night (9:30 last year) but this year it was smaller and we were done at a decent time both days.

I am very happy about her three knocked poles. It used to be there would be three or more PER she is most definitely improving. The teeter contact annoyed me as there was no reason for her not to stick it, so I made her go back and redo it.

Also- she has a new thing...well, maybe not new...but certainly it could escalate to become a new problem. She has a hydraulic butt on the table ;o) It gets higher and higher until the judge stops counting and we have to restart. So we will be working on her table in the next little while.

Her most outstanding run was first thing on Saturday. Only four other dogs in the whole masters class got the gamble. Wicca did it- but the whistle blew before she exited the tunnel.
It was tunnel, weave, flip out to a jump, and send back to a tunnel. She did perfectly and if we hadn't been so far away when the first whistle blew we would have had it. I was very proud of her as it was quite difficult. It was the only weave entry she got all weekend ;o)

I ran Kaleb and Q'd, which was nice. Made me feel like less of a failure :o) He is a pretty funny dog- he ran well for me but had a hard time concentrating on me because he was so busy looking for his Momma....

So Wicca gets the week off. We have our first Outreach Seminar with Kim Collins next weekend. I am pretty excited, but also kind of nervous. I have Vito entered in the puppy session, which should be fun, and then Wicca of course in the seminar. I have done a seminar with Kim before. She is a great instructor, and has some really neat ideas. We'll see how we do.

Oh- and the best news of the weekend- Boone did fine at Natalie's!!!!! He didn't bite her, ate all of his food, and was well behaved. He was stressed, but managed it just fine. This is a huge breakthrough for him and I am very proud of him. Vito got to play "dog show" and "pet shop" with Rayna and Jack. And Sam had a fun weekend at my parents. All in all a pretty good weekend...except the no Q thing....

Friday, January 11, 2008

Nice Pictures!

Yesterday I took Wicca and Vito for a run with Sarah's dogs. The dogs had a blast together-. She got some great pictures! you can see some more pictures on her Flickr Site.

Last night I did my orientation for some new manners classes and brought Sam along as the demo dog. He had a lot of fun, and was VERY excited to be out!

We are off for Calgary tonite. It should be fun!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Vito went to the barn this week aswell and did great. He is really starting to understand his contacts now. We played some teeter games and worked a bit on stay aswell. I have been making a concious effort to make sure that this dog knows exactly what stay means. I tend to slack off with teaching it to my own dogs. I know, weird.

So this weekend is a Wicca only weekend- all the boys are staying home. Sam is going to my parents house- where he will have free reign to do whatever he wants :o) Vito is going to Natalie's because her kids LOVE Vito and the feeling is very much a mutual thing...and Boone....well, he's going to Natalie's aswell. It is stressful for me.

The last time I left Boone home I left him at my house with my dad staying there. It was hell. Boone was terrified, my dad was terrified. It was a lose lose situation. Even now there is a big trust issue between Boone and my dad- neither one of them want to forgive or forget. So- Natalie graciously offered to have Boone at her house. He has been there before- I dogsat for two weeks before Christmas so he knows the house, he knows her dog, and most importantly Natalie knows how to deal with him. No touching, unless he initiates it, no grabbing and for god sake don't corner him. Those are the golden rules for Boone. I think I am more worried about leaving Boone then I am about the trial.

But Boone has to get over himself- and this is a good step. I just hope that everything goes well.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Trial Prep

We are going to an agility trial this weekend- and last night I worked on some specific skills that could be a problem at a trial.

Wicca has been doing great with weaves lately- rarely missing her entry from all angles and speeds- last night I did some proofing with a tennis ball. She did great and even with a tennis ball flying past her head nailed her entry and weaved faster than I thought possible. We did a few repetitions of this to be sure it wasn't a fluke :o)

Knocking the first bar. This really sucks at a trial. Three times out of five she knocked the first bar last night in a jump exercise. Ugh. I have been struggling with what the consequence of this should be. She knows that when she knocks a bar she is to lie down and stop moving. But with the first bar I'd like to make her leave- that's it, done. I am still considering all my options...On the plus side she didn't knock any of the other bars....

Contacts- Wicca's contacts are pretty much rock solid- she will stick a contact anywhere, with any distraction, but I like to proof this again- the flying tennis ball came out...we raced and I kept going, I sent ahead, did some distance stuff and again tested with the ball.

And of course we worked on start lines ;o)

So hopefully we will have some good runs this weekend.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Cheering Up

I took Boone to daycare today and put him with the puppies- I was outside just now taking pictures and Boone gave me a little smile! ;o) Made my day.


Ooops- this post was supposed to go to the rescue blog...but hey, you guys can read it too...

I am sure you have all heard about the 4 week old Puppies who were found in an outhouse. I got an email initially from a friend who lives in the Pass who was involved in the rescue. It has now spread to the Tv and Radio news. It is pretty disgusting and is a pretty good example of just how horrible people can be. Unfortunately abandoning or throwing away dogs or litters of puppies aren't all that uncommon. We have had four cases of just that in the past three months. There is no end in sight to this sort of thing I guess it all comes down to education.

They were discussing this on the radio this morning and one of the hosts said something to this effect "you could at least put them in a box and leave them on someone's door" how is that for sending a message to the public. I didn't hear this first had mind you, but a concerned friend called me to vent about it. I am not quite sure if the host was joking or serious but either way he is sending the wrong message...But perhaps that is what he thinks and knows???

Now bear with me here, as I am a bit on the cranky side today....

If you don't spay your dog, who lives out in the yard, or gets loose one day and ends up having puppies- whose responsibility is it???? That's right- yours.

When said puppies are 3 weeks old and start to need actual food- whose responsibility is it to feed them??? That's right- yours

When said puppies are 8 weeks old and need to find new homes- whose responsibility is it to find loving, caring, homes??? That's right- yours

When said puppies are 7 months old and have ended up in a shelter, pregnant themselves, or tied up on a chain starving and cold- whose responsible- that's right- You are.

I will post more later when I am less cranky.

Slept In...

I slept in this morning. It sucked. So of course I am still tired, and a little on the cranky side- not a good combination when you work at a doggie daycare....anyway...

Yesterday was the start to my never ending busy schedule from hell. I work full time at the daycare- 6:45-2:45, and then I teach Mon, Tues, Wed, Thur from 6pm- 9:30pm...Wowsers.
Mondays are agility/teambuilding classes at the daycare.
Tuesday is the barn night- this is the coldest night, aswell as the most work- setting up, take down and moving equipment- not to mention running/standing on dirt for three hours.
Wednesday is the obedience night- I am done slightly earlier these nights
Thursday is the Paws on the Run night- I teach a Manners Class and a Puppy Prep. These classes are just starting up again. There are so many people for the manners class that we are splitting into two time slots...which means another 9:30pm night...
I don't mind being busy and I do LOVE teaching but sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself.
See- I told you all I was cranky...I will post again later when I am more cheerful

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Happy Birthday

Wicca is 4 today- I can hardly believe it.
Happy Birthday Woo!

Friday, January 04, 2008

the sky is falling, the sky is falling!!

Yesterday I took Wicca and Boone to a local school field (shhhh....don't tell) and played ball. They were having a great time. We are working on Wicca's stay so she has to stay until it's her turn and is released- this is a great way to work on a solid stay- we did this all summer and it has made an improvement..Anyway- back to the story.

So Boone is doing great- LOVES the tennis ball and is goofy, growly and mouthy- it is very cute. And then a car went down the alley. Boone took off and wouldn't or couldn't listen to my calls. I released Wicca and she totally ran into him with such force they both fell. It was enough to break Boone's "spook" and he came back the second I called. I gave him lots of cookies and praise before putting him back on leash. He was freaked out after that and wouldn't play- kept pulling to leave but I made him deal with it.

Wicca and I played for about 15 minutes while Boone sat and shook. I put Wicca in a stay and started working with Boonie- sit,down,touch,sit, stand, etc. He came out of his spookiness and again played with the ball- Yay!!!

And then the sky almost fell...really. At the other end of the field two guys came out with a remote control plane. I knew it would be too much for Boone so started to leave. He heard the buzzing of the plane and was frozen- wouldn't budge, just stared at it- and pee'd on the spot. Poor Boone. And then it fell- about 20 feet from us, slammed into a snowbank- Wicca took off after it barking very ferociously- and then Boone got brave too! Walked up slowly- barking and woofing but totally okay.

So- I was proud of him that he "got over" his fear quickly. But it was pretty scary (for me) when he bolted. I have started a list of what is scary for Boone so I can keep track of what the triggers are.

  • sounds- loud, sudden or unusual

  • city bus- probably related to sounds

  • crossing the road- I know, weird.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Poor Kate

This is Kate. She almost never gets mentioned, and never gets her pictures on the blog. Part of the reason is we don't do any training at all anymore. She hates it. So we just don't go there. She also spends almost all of her time at my parents house now. She hates the corgis and is horrible to them. Which makes it hard for everyone- Kate gets in trouble, she is sensitive so she takes things very personally, the Corgi's are upset or excited (Wicca tends to be overly submissive to her and things quickly get out of hand)...It is a vicious cycle. Kate also has seperation anxiety which for whatever reason is non-existent at my parents. She has her only dog friend at my parents- their Rottweiler cross Drew- who is her buddy and best friend. They love each other and play alot. It was a hard decision to let her live away from me, but one that has made a big difference in how she is and how our relationship is. She is a dog that I put a ton of work into but in the end it was more me wanting to do it- not her. So our working relationship went from bad to worse until I finally said she could lay on the couch and just do normal doggie things. I love her alot, and thank her for putting up with all those years of making her do stuff- but she truly is having the time of her life now...Kate's life story is a complicated one (and about 10 pages long), and although she has been a challenging dog I wouldn't change her or trade her for the world. This dog taught me so much about dog training, and life in general. She is a great dog.....anyway, here are some pictures of her...

This one was taken at the dogpark the other night. It is a horrible picture but is the most current one I have.... :o)

and now for some old ones- but great ones!
this was taken a year or two ago. It is one of my most favorites.

Baby Kate- wasn't she cute???!!!

anyway, just wanted to let all of Kate's friends and fans know that she is in great health for an old dog, and is enjoying her retirement!!! One day I will share with you all her story

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

It's Lassie!!!

This is Ally....isn't she pretty? And yes, I know she's not a collie. It's an inside joke. Ally is a Sheltie that belongs to a friend of mine. Brenda has three shelties actually who are all very nice dogs- they aren't barky, spinning, obnoxious things- they are actually nice dogs. :o) I bug Brenda all the time about Ally looking like Lassie and being Collies. I know, mean. But still very fun.

This is Ally when she was a baby

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Wicca- Steeplechase run from October

Sarah uploaded this yesterday for me, and I thought I'd share :o)