Friday, October 31, 2008

trick or treat

Halloween night, a nice cool evening, but not cold, a nice cloud cover, a mild breeze, should be a great night for trick or treating. I have a big bowl of goodies so hopefully we will have a lot of kids come by!

If you should happen to see these three witches, be aware, they are good kids but can be a bit desperate hunting for candy!


Halloween 2008

These are our pumpkins, guess which one was made by my teenager? LOL, very creative. It says "I'm with stupid", nice....

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Voting/Juries/IRS, life's little pleasures?

Sometimes things that look so easy can be so complicated.....One complication in my life has been voting. I am in CA so I am registered to get an absentee ballot. I thought I was being so careful and reading all the information and I wanted to make my vote count and do it all right. I am putting the ballot in the envelope to mail I see a little paper that says DO NOT mark over your line more then once. WHAT?????? There are little arrows, actually very thick arrows and you are supposed to connect the one side to the other side to indicate your vote. My OCD kicked in and of course I felt like I needed to COMPLETELY make the arrow one continuous arrow. I spent quite a long time carefully coloring in my arrows...I will have you know. So then I was really worried my vote would not count, but a quick call to a friends who has a husband running for office, who called the registrar of voters and assured me I might be a pain in the rump-it might get kicked out of the machine that reads it, but the vote would count even if they have to hand count it, so ....yippie, it is all ok. I thought I was being so careful.

Then I also got a summons for Jury Service, like I get called at least every three months for say the last.....ummmmm 12 years. Since my kids are homeschooled and I have no one to watch them all day if I am gone to jury service and they couldnt be at the court house they have always ended up excusing me, but just one more hassle...LOL. Rest assured the day that I have child care they will have me doing jury service because they never tire of summoning me every few months, just in case things have changed......I know it is an honor and our duty and all of that and I respect that, but seriously what would I do with the kids?

Then of course the IRS is still sending all sorts of letters every few days which is very stressful. They use a lot of words like we owe, and interest, and penalties, not things I like to see. The funniest thing about that was when my post man came up to the house to get me to sign for the latest round of letters he asked if I had a business and had been cheating the IRS and was that why they were after us??? I was like "WHAT????", I wish. I said no we actually are a one income family and my husband is a teacher so not like we are big fish at all. SOOOOO then my little postman says oooh but you must have a business with the dogs because you have all this dog stuff and you must just take a lot of money under the table for your dog business, did they catch you? It was too funny, and left me wondering if the IRS was hiring mailman to gather evidence, would he later testify when I told him of my black market dog training business??? LOL, of course my doggie hobby just costs tons of money and none of it is reimbursed on our taxes. Sheesh!!! Do I look smart enough to make this expensive hobby pay for me??? I dont think so!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chloe-drop in on a class in our neighborhood

AGhghghghghghgh!!! Took Chloe to class today here in town, it has been about a million years since I have gone to that class, and this class is a few levels lower then the level we took last....but it was just what Chloe needed. Short sequences, a small class, and she really feels comfortable in that yard. So we worked on putting my treat pouch down on the ground by the start of the sequence and then we didnt go to get treats until we finished and I brought her over there. By the end we had the treat pouch where she had to run right by it, and she caught on really quickly, sort of glanced at the pouch and continued on. Always fun to go and work on something you know you and your dog will do pretty well at, not that we didnt have some bobbles, but just a nice relaxing class.
I got to bring out Liz and new yard, new equipment, new dogs, not a lot of dogs but they were dogs she didnt know, and wha laaaa she was a tad distracted getting to the start line, but once we start running she is just on it. She was looking so good, so confident and so fast, and reading everything really well except a couple of late calls I gave her, but we cant hold her responsible for that, LOL. All in all a great afternoon, especially since I do not have my regular agility lesson this week because Alicia is out of town :-( for the nationals, was really nice to have another class to drop in on.
Does anyone notice that Liz seems to be on a real uphill spiral? I know we will have some back sliding but, gosh things just seem to keep going GREAT. QUICK FIND SOME WOOD TO KNOCK ON!!! LOL!

Leapin' Lizzie amazes her mom AGAIN!!!

Ok so we had our second class. This class is seriously more then I would have ever thought Lizzie could handle EVER!!! I know she could not have handled this class even a few months ago. She was so awesome, she just keeps amazing me. So first off there is free play. I think it really threw Liz that her buddy Hunda was not there when she went in. I think from watching her she gathers some confidence from having her little buddy there and from having her Alicia around. She was just more unsure and not as wild about free play, and she was so ecstatic when she saw her friends. Of course there were other dogs this week that were rougher dogs, and Liz is not into rougher play. The funny thing is little Hunda who is corgi size is Liz friend, and he is by far the smallest dog there and the instructors were worried about him playing because of his size. Every week he just marches in and is so confident, and acts like he doesnt have a care in the world and it has never occurred to him that anyone could ever give him any trouble. Liz on the other hand is always sizing everyone up and making sure everyone knows not to sniff her too much, dont get too much into her space, and is very busy letting everyone know she is no threat, the minute they give her any eye she is rolling over letting them know she does not mean to take anything over. Liz is also the official fence checker, she feels she needs to recheck it every week, just in case....I notice that and that worries me about her. I am getting to be a pretty good fence checker myself, and gate watcher. All the other people in the class do not seem to worry that much about the gate and are sort of more laid back, I can tell their dogs probably wouldnt just run, I think mine would....... One thing I have noticed that suprises me is that Liz does go up to all the people that are there, people she knows and people she doesnt to say hi and ask for a few pets. I have always wondered if she got loose and got lost if she would go to people and I am suprised at how much she does look to anyone she finds, so maybe that is good.

So then we get into class. OMG!!! It is really a rough one for the dogs I think, purely higher level concentrating and not a lot of break in between or no spacing out the concentration with some sort of movement exercises. Liz is doing ok with it though. So they did sits next to each other with people coming up and trying to temp their attention with food, pets, walking right by them and the dogs only get rewarded for continuing their attention to their owner. One helper did try to tempt liz to pay attention to her and when Liz did, Liz was so sweet this lady kept petting her. LOL, that was not how it was supposed to be, but the lady did it every time, so someone didnt get their instructions too well. Then they did like a million hour down stay. This was our first class and the instructor asks do your dogs have a down? Then we launch into a half hour down, LOL. Of course that was broken up with some ends to some exercises and then we would start another but for almost a half hour we had them in a down and people would heel dogs right next to them, they would call dogs right in front of them, lots of people took turns walking over them, we all walked off to 30 feet and did a long down. I was just awe struck and couldnt believe Liz would do that. Even with other dogs breaking and people going into reposition them she still just lay there, I could tell she was thinking that it was really weird and she wasnt sure about it all, but she did it. In between exercises I have Liz tugging and she is tugging like a champ, taking treats the whole time and seems to be doing ok, I see slight stress once in awhile but really she is keeping up really well. THis class would have been horrible for her a few months ago, but it is really just the thing she needs right now I think. Liz is just turning into an amazing dog, every week I marvel at the lessons she is teaching me, and I am so glad we are through so many things, makes me wonder where we will be next year, but gosh she is actually getting to be a really cool dog, and sometimes it actually makes me feel sad to see the naughty puppy disappearring. Do not get me wrong I am very happy about what is happening and I am so proud, and I feel like she is a much safer girl, and I think she will always have that spark and enough naughty in her that she will always be that naughty puppy in my eyes, LOL, but she is just getting to be an awesome dog that anyone might think was an awesome dog, not just a dog that I love because she is mine.

Chloe -first AKC trial-Woodly Park

So Breeze/Chloe/I went to an AKC trial this weekend at Woodley Park. First off we got to see Molly/Eric run, and Molly was looking great, very sound and happy, Becky/Trevor ran-and they had some nice runs and an especially gorgeous JWW run where almost everything seemed to come together for them, and we saw Denise/Kody, although I was looking forward to spending some time with them but when I saw them I was getting ready for my standard run and then I didnt see them afterwards, but it was really great to see both of them there. Alicia was nice enough to be there both days even though she and Pickle just ran on Saturday. Pickle had some gorgeous runs and was looking very happy, confident and was running fast.

I was really sweating getting measured because it was Chloes first AKC trial and she is right on the line height wise. I knew if she measured over 14 inches we were going to have to scratch and she has been measuring all over the place around 14 inches. We squeeked by, although the judge could not do an official measurement so it was only good for this trial and we will have to deceide what we will be doing about the measurement at the next trial. I can put Chloe in performance then if she measures high she will still jump 12 inches, but she might jump 8 if she measures where I think she should....or I could put her in regular classes and if she measures over....just scratch and try again the next will have to think about that, but for this weekend, we made it in, LOL.

Now I was told that I have to mention three positive things before I can mention anything negative, I will, hahahahahah.
1. Chloe was under time the whole time, she was basically happy and moving. A year ago we could not make time, and we had lots of time to spare so....that is a really positive thing.
2. I realized that Chloe just does an automatic down on the table and at class on thursday would not do a sit on the table. So we did some quick training and of course at this trial there was a sit on the table both days. The first day in excellent it was a down on the table and I thought I had it made, but they changed in the middle of the day. During the first standard run on Saturday Chloe looked at me like no way am I going to sit, but she did get up into a sit and hold it, YIPPIE!!! The second day-IT WAS A SIT AGAIN, but no problem Chloe sat like she had always been doing it, so we had a great table performance, which I had been worrying about.
3. I ran all my runs exactly as I had planned (except one run where I had watched the open and excellent and then when it was my turn I got thrown and took the route that they took and was off course for my run, but hey, it happens, LOL-lesson learned), and I did accurately predict any problems, I knew where we might have trouble and I know my little Chloe and she did just what I figured she would.
4. Chloe had no problems with the panel, the teeter (she has been bailing if I am not close enough), the broad jump and there was a tunnel as the first obstacle, no problem there, there was a chute followed very closely by a tunnel with the EYES for the timer there, something she had never seen any of those componants and she still just dived in and did fine, we hit all our contacts, what more could I ask for???
5. We did get TWO Q's, and a first and a second, so hey, that works for me.
6. Breeze/Chloe did very well, relaxed in their crates between times, we are getting our timing for getting ready more under control, I am getting my little routinue of how to get all my crap to and from the trial and what crap I need down. That might sound like nothing to the people that have done this for years but for us newbies that can really throw a person, not knowing if we need an easy up, how to get everything out and set up, trying to think of what we will really need, how to keep an eye on when our runs will start. AND like every trial I have been at but one-it has been small to tall jump order every time so there are rarely more then one or two dogs before it is my turn, so to get the dog ready, get the right amount of treats and fun and get the walk through and be ready on the line, that is one of those things that can throw me, but it is getting better. Especially with Chloe because I have to work a bit to keep her really up and happy.

OK SO I THINK I HAVE CONCENTRATED on the positive for long I can let our problems rip!!!!!! hahahahahhahhahhahah
Really it isnt that bad!
1. OK first off I thought I got whistled off for my start line. I will not even attempt to explain what the problem was, but basically I was starting Chloe past the plane of the first jump, facing the opposite way and then twirling her around over the first jump. I did get Whistled, and then Chloe wouldnt even come back to me, yes a proud moment, LOL, but the judge let me restart. I chose this method of starting Chloe because she wont hold a stay, like yes she has been taught a stay but she gets all worried and upset and then wont leave the line. IF I do it the way I have been doing it, she wont take off before I am ready, it gives me a little head start since I have to run with her and I can keep her up and happy. So, I will be investigating working on our start line and how to make that look and work better. Anyway, lesson learned and I can still do that start but I have to be more careful about my placement.
2. Chloe HATES THE HEAT. Every time we rounded a corner and there was shade, boom she dove for it. I was really trying to wet her down, but she is no dummy and sees no reason with all her hair to be running around in the heat. OF course ALL the weaves were under the trees with the jump setters right next to them and in the shade. Gosh talk about a prescription for disaster. Poor Chloe. So I was getting better about getting her wet down to her skin, I kept pouring water on her but it would roll off, so anyway, there is an art to wetting down a long haired dog. This was the first time she has missed weaves in a trial. She basically didnt even look at them and was just diving for the shade.
3. We have to work on treats. I am really concerned Chloe has figured out in a trial there is no hope of treats in the ring and is pretty bummed out about it. She has taken to figureing out where the treats were left and wanting to leave the ring to go to the place/person that has the treats, so as soon as she rounds a corner and sees the person/place, boom she is thinking lets cut to the end and get the treat business going.
4. As always there is my nerve problem, I do get nervous. The first several trials I did not get nervous, or not very nervous but the last trial was horrible and this one was a lot better but I was nervous. ONe time I yelled Chloes name and I heard my voice and thought eeeekes, sorry girl, I didnt mean to sound like that.

Sooooo all in all we did not have horrible runs, and there was not anything really hideous, and there were some good things, we all made it there and out in one piece, so all in all a good weekend.

I did spring for a room for the weekend. The trial was small enough and ended early enough that I could have went home, but who knew??? It was really relaxing though to sit and take a long walk with the dogs on saturday afternoon, there was a great pool, which felt great on the back, I had some great quiet time to sit and read in the evening and instead of getting up early and rushing around sunday I went out for a nice breakfast and was rested and refreshed and took my time getting to the trial. Too bad I couldnt do it that way all the time!!!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Class in Acton Oct 23, 2008

I was able to take Liz out of the crate, go to the start line and run a beautiful little run yesterday at agility class. I felt like she won nationals, LOL. It was dark by the time we were doing that or I would have video taped it, and drats I would have loved to have had that on video.....oooh well. Liz was not at all interested or excited by the other dogs, she just wanted to play AGILITY. Breeze is getting in much better shape-not tiring out as quickly and is doing very well and looking very sound. Breeze is funny because she gets out to do agility and acts like such a spazz, but she can just turn that off and on and get her head about her in a split second, she really is a neat dog to train. All three dogs were able to stay out in the yard in their crates and did very good even watching the class work. Chloe ran a little course to make sure she had seen things we dont see very often, like the panel jump, the broad jump, the chute....she did great but she has some sort of strange lure to the table and kept running out of her way to get there, that must be the object she is perceiving will pay this week, LOL, and she is not thinking that tables are for sitting, she knows we down on the table, so what do you want to be this weekend will be a sit on the table during the trial. Chloe is doing her first AKC trial at Woodley park this weekend, so that should be fun. I will be the weak link in this little pack this weekend. Since my back has been out the last few weeks I am way out of shape again, funny how fast my endurance can be lost. My back is finally starting to feel better so I hope to start my quest for physical fitness again next week, but for this weekend, I am afraid I might be a slow, hurting puppy, and definately the weak link in our team, LOL, poor Chloe she has a lot of handler problems.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Liz's New Class

So I found a new class to take Liz to. The goal: just working around other dogs and helping her develope confidence and learn how to control herself around other dogs and people, and I felt like somewhere other then agility would help her do that. So I went to class, the instructor is named Lynne, and we had it ok'd that if the class was too far off my training philosophy we would just do our own thing around the other dogs. Soooo I was very pleased with the first class and I was very pleased with Liz. The first thing they do in the class is an hour of free play with all the dogs. I was very leery about that, but it seemed very well supervised and they didnt seem to put up with any dogs being rude, so I deceided to let Liz try the group. She did great, she was nervous entering the group but quickly settled in. She did her little nervous zoomie but the instructor did not let the other dogs chase her or pack up, so Liz quickly settled in. Of course Liz did the complete fence check, LOL, some things never change. After an hour the dogs were very quiet and had really burned off a lot of their energy. So during the class the only thing that I wasnt totally on board with was the fact that the class was almost an hour of behaviors that it seems like asked a lot of concentration from the dogs. It wasnt broken up with some sort of exercise where they did some faster movement to break it up. maybe because of the free play first, or ??? but, Liz did really well even though it was so a lot of concentration. I did stop between exercises and play with her,and she was relaxed enough to tug and get really wild, but she was a trooper. So there were a couple of interesting exercises. One was an exercise where the instructor had meat, good steak and tried to lure Liz attention away from watching me with eye contact, she made sure Liz was not able to get the treat and then I would give her a really good treat when she looked back at me. By the end of the evening she could hardly get Liz attention even when she brought dogs right by her and when she would stroke Liz's tail or poke her gently. It was pretty neat. Then there was a lot of work with the dogs all sitting right next to each other doing sit stays, and there were some exercises where the dogs would all walk with attention on their owners while they walked very close to dogs coming at them and everyone walking by each other almost crashing. It reminded me of some of the control unleashed parallel games, or some of the work I have done in reactive dog classes. The class is a long way away, which is a pain but I think this is really going to mesh well with our training goals, so we are going to sign up for a session. I think I will bring another dog next week though to rotate into the class if the concentration gets to be too much for Liz, I do not want to push it to where she goes over the edge, but she did remarkably well. The funniest part of the class was the other students came in and I didnt see any treats or toys, they must have just had handfuls of food in their pockets or I just didnt see their "stuff". I walked in with my plastic bag FULL of toys and food. I had my little mix of rollover, natural hot dogs, kibble, kong tots, roast turkey breast and ham. Then I had a package of pastromi I was trying out, which was a hit, I used that for the attention game that class started out with, then I had liverworst that I used at the end of the class when it was getting harder for Liz to pay attention (I got my fingers bit a few times for that one, guess that was a hit), then I had string cheese for the stay work. I guess I took the instructor seriously when she told me to bring my best treats, LOL! I had several toys, all her favorites, so those were in my bag. Anyway, I felt a bit freakish walking in with all my gear.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Working the Levels

YIPPIE, we are having a blast working the training levels
Chloe, Lizzie and Breeze have successfully completed all the tests for Level 1 and will begin work on Level 2 today. They have a lot of the behaviors down but there are holes in our training, LOL, imagine that.
Cherry is progressing well on Level 1 and is getting the hang of the game.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Living for the weekend

I spent saturday at the Driven Dog trial in Fillmore. It was the perfect day for a trial, the temperature was just right, it was really nice sitting under the trees, just felt like the perfect place to sit and enjoy the day. I ran into some people I know who were set up next to some people I really enjoy talking to, so there was a lot of really great conversation and visiting. There were some courses with a lot of places that were difficult so I could sit and watch how people handled them - what worked and what didnt. The really interesting thing was there were a lot of places on the courses that the Linda M handling system I am trying to learn would have worked well so I was really trying to watch those places to see how others handled those. I brought Cherry and I brought Breeze because Breeze doesnt get out as much as Lizzie lately, it always just seems more important to get Liz out. The day ended with a great Mexican restaurant in Fillmore and some more good company, so it was a very nice day, and I was ready for that!!
Sunday was a day of training. I am going to work on some more obedience training with all my dogs. I think that it will be really good especially for Liz to help learn to handle her excitement and stress levels working around other dogs. I am going to take her to a class and I am also working on the Training Levels. Training levels is a yahoo group that is really fantastic.
They offer support and instructions for doing just some all around positive training. There is a little bit of tracking, obedience, agility, etc.... The behaviors are split into levels to break down training them so you start out with very easy parts of the behavior you want to teach and then each level builds on the complexity. They say that if you get to level 3 or 4 you have all the behaviors your dog will need to be a very nice pet, be easy to live with and you will know how to work with your dog. IF you get to level 7 your dog will have enough behaviors that with 3-4 weeks work in your specialized area you will be able to do what ever type of activity you want to do with your dog. I believe they are also adding on some new levels very soon.
This is Susan Ailsby's site that has a lot of the descriptions and basically a free book that explains how to teach the behaviors. Anyway, it is really great and I like how they explain how to teach the behaviors and how they are broken down, and it is FREE for goodness sake. So I am going to take Lizzie for a class so she can work around other dogs but I am also working on the levels at home.
We had a great training session today and I had a great training partner today, so we got some good work done for agility and for obedience with Liz, Cherry, and Breeze. The biggest thing I learned today was Liz who was doing wonderful recalls between myself and my friend, just lightening fast recalls with tons of confidence and done very happily-when we added a dog just sitting where Liz would have to pass him to do the recall-all of a sudden Liz lost a lot of her confidence and was a bit worried with her recall. We have done a recall class and we did a lot of recalls where the dogs would recall past the other dogs sitting at the side, but today that was a stressful thing for Liz. Anyway, as soon as we finished, which we kept that short because she did lose some confidence, Liz took off on a zoomie run, which it has been a long time since she did that, so it was just interesting to see how the increased stress affected her, I learned a lot about my girl today.
It was a very nice weekend and I was once again hit with the realization that a lot of time friendship and support comes from places I dont normally expect to find it. I also feel very grateful for the people that really do support me and have been so willing to help me and to build me up when I need it.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Class in Acton Oct. 17, 2008

OK, I know very few other people will be interested in our little class, but it was just full of great stuff for me. I have lived the last two years learning to appreciate the small steps forward and lately we have had giant strides, so while they do not look huge to others....for us here, they are what we have worked for for two years and it is just so exciting.
WELL, had a great class last night, first off Liz, Breeze, and Chloe all were on the field in crates and all of them did really well while watching the other ones work. I was so proud of them all. Chloe looks like she is all ready for the trial in Woodley Park next weekend, she was doing the broad jump well-we havent worked with that recently, and she didnt get bothered with the panel jump-and I am not sure when she last saw one of those. I am going to have to stay a little closer to the teeter then I have wanted to lately, because that is the one obstacle when I get a certain amount of distance away from her she is bailing off, and I will have to start retraining some distance, and we are going to have to start working on a little stronger contact behavior with the Aframe. The 2O2o is hurting her and so she is avoiding it, and we havent really trained a running contact, and when she just is encouraged to run through she is getting to look like I think she is going to start leaping off.
Lizzie is starting to understand motion better. As far as her jumping when she is doing a jump with collection she has a beautiful rounded jumping style and kicks her legs out back-it is very nice. When Liz is doing a jump that requires her to use speed going up to it and needs extension she is sort of lifting her legs up and more into her stomach, but she still is clearing the jump well, but it is definately not as nice a style. Then when she is doing some real extension she sometimes picks up her legs to her stomach she seems to take a minute to figure out what she is supposed to be doing so she knocks the bar. All in all she is getting the game, and think she is going to be awesome. We are avoiding the contacts issue for now and I will revisit that in a couple of weeks, but for now,....we are going to cut down some pressure for Liz and for me.
The really exciting thing is that at the end of our private lesson I was able to put Liz on the table which was at a horrible entry angle to the weaves, I was able to release her and she got the entrance, and completed the weaves, quickly and confidently and then continued to a jump WHILE THE NEXT CLASS WAS ARRIVING. This was probably one of the first times she could stay on task with that sort of distraction. She looked at the people and dogs arriving, she knew they were there and she CHOSE to continue playing with me, YIPPIE!!! During the class our first exercise with Lizzie as a circle where if you went one way I had to stop before the second jump, and then when you reversed the direction you are running past the jump. Liz was reading that wonderfully. At first I tried to do the sequence with Liz on leash and Alicia told me to take the leash off and of course Liz was ready for that leash to come off before I was apparently and did absolutely fine off leash. I was also able to take her off leash for a three obstacle sequence with the other dogs standing around, and she had plenty of chance to run off but she is choosing to stay with me. The biggest difference I am seeing now is she is getting really excited and deceiding agility is more fun and exciting then running off. Have I said lately how much I just love this little girl? It is just so sweet and exciting to see her blossoming every week, and to know how much work she and I have done together for all this time. She has been the hardest dog I have ever had, but also the most fun and I certainly have learned more from her then any other dog I have known.
Breeze made her come back to lessons. She was so happy and excited. It was very obvious she was rusty and she got tired, but she looked sound and looked great. Breeze is so much fun to work with, she is the dog that lets me work on my handling, and she just is patient with me and is always ready and willing to play the game. I love watching how happy working makes her.
Even Cherry got to get into the class and was working as the "demo" dog to show some teeter games. Good girl Cherry was having so much fun and was more then happy to show how much she likes the teeter.
SOOOO.....while all of my doggies were working on pretty basic stuff, it was such a great lesson, followed by such a great class, everyone was doing really well, everyone is making really good progress, the class is made up by such supportive people with such neat dogs, is there any better way to spend the evening? All I could ask for is a bigger car more easily fits crates, treats, manners minders, toys, planks, water, me and four dogs. LOL.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

migrating microchips

So when I had Lizzie into the vet to check her ears after she had been shaking her head more then usual, we discovered a little "cyst" at the base and just below the bottom of her left ear. Turns out the "cyst" was her microchip and it had migrated. In this case the vet feels that it will still be picked up if she is scanned.....which I am hoping to be true, but I think this points out the need to have the microchips scanned for when I go into the vets office in the future. Just to make sure they are where they should be. The bummer of the deal is that Liz is my dog I would imagine is the most likely in my pack to NEED her microchip one day. She is getting so much better at coming back but when she gets excited movement is so intoxicating to her that she is way more likely then anyone else to just get excited and RUN. I think she would be quite aways away before she would figure out that she had gotten into a situation she might not want to be in. ANYWAY, so I am going to make sure to have everyones chip scanned when we go into the vets office for other things.
On the positive side, Lizzie was a little angel today at the vets office. You know she can be such a handful at times, but she is the best natured little girl. She was doing all her tricks and using very good focus while we were in the waiting room, she was very good at just keeping herself from getting too excited. A little boy ran over and sort of jumped on her and was hugging and kissing her. Liz and Chloe are my only dogs that I have no worries if something like that happens. Liz just loved on the little boy and didnt even jump on him. When we took her to see the vet -she was wonderful with the vet tech and did her tricks (I was using a lot of tricks and keeping her mind occupied to help her keep her excitement under control). The vet was able to examine her and mess with her all she wanted and Liz was an absolute champ. We walked in on a loose leash and were able to keep the leash loose say about 80+% of the time and we were able to leave on a loose leash. See Liz is not just a hard girl to train, she is also one of the sweetest dogs I have ever had and except for her excitement, she has the most stable temperment and just handles so many things so well. I am really happy I have her, I sure would not have chosen her if I knew what I was in for....but ......I really am lucky to have her in my life :-) .

Friday, October 10, 2008

Random training results

Sooo we are trying some new things with the wild Miss Liz to keep her training moving along. One thing we are doing is to have her play agility with Alicia, our awesome instructor, and I have been fortunate enough to have Pickle run with me so that I can feel how it feels to have a dog that really understands their job, so I can handle Liz with more confidence. WE have also went back to decreasing her distractions, and gosh we had some beautiful work this week. Liz really likes to play agility with Alicia. I found having someone else run Liz had some very big benefits,
1. I can see what Liz is doing that are mistakes because of my handling and what she just isnt understanding.
2. I found it VERY useful to see how Alicia handles Liz, she is very upbeat and very exciting and I found it really neat to see her use that with Liz and see how she motivates Liz with those type of skills, I think that will help me a lot. I have also been understanding lately that I do not have to be worried about Liz level of excitement, it just has to be handled and directed and Alicia does that really well with her. Liz is getting way more used to working with a higher level of excitement and I think if we can get her trialing that will be a good thing. Watching someone else who is of course going to have different tools is very useful to see different ways to handle things and how they work.
3. I think it will give me more confidence with Liz to see that I can trust her more then I do at times-although I totally love her but there are times when I should trust her more but because I am trying so hard to make sure she does well I do not give her as much a chance to shine as I could.
4. I would guess that working with more then one person will help Liz to generalize her job and understand what she is doing even when there are slight differences in how different people cue the job.

SOOOO for the rest of my dogs, and any new puppies I think that having them learn to work with other people will be something I am going to make sure to add to my little list of things I would like to teach my doggies. I was soooo proud of Liz, I knew she would work for Alicia, but I did not know she would do as well as she did. I was sitting right next to them working and the first minuete she was not sure what she was supposed to do but then she understood that Auntie Alica has good things to eat and she knows how to use a toy, then she was more then happy to hang with her and play agility.

ON the other side of the equation, I got to run a little with Pickle. Pickle is my hero and such an awesome dog. It did feel really neat to be working with a dog that so totally understands his job. I think that my experience with him will really help me back off and let my dog do their job and run with more confidence. So THANKS Pickle for putting up with my learning experience.

Sooo the other thing that has happened is I pulled my back. Man am I a hurting puppy, and now for some reason my knee is killing me too. So I have been just hanging out moaning and groaning. Sooo this afternoon I deceided to do a little clicker training with Liz and Breeze. I didnt want to get up and let one outside so I was trying to think of something to teach them both at the same time that I could do without moving around a lot. So.....bored minds can react weirdly and I deceided to see if I could teach them both to target each other at the same time-to sort of give each other a kiss..... My poor girls-I am sure they would like the SPCA to know some of the things that go on around here. Anyway, it turned out to be a very fun experiment. It was really neat to see how each dog was learning just a tad different. First they are so used to shaping that when I got out the clicker and the treats they very quickly started to figure out that I was clicking for their noses getting closer to each other. It wasnt that easy to think of something that I would be able to have criteria for both dogs that I could click at the same time for both and so it was a little more challenging then I might have thought. At first they got really spastic because they had never targeted each other so they were pawing, nosing and batting at everything they could see that possibly be the key to getting their click. You could see the wheels turning that they were thinking hummm, it seems to have something to do with touching my sister, but how could that be? Finally I think Breeze totally had that she was supposed to touch Liz's nose with her nose,, and I think what Liz was understanding was to turn her nose toward Breeze and let Breeze do the nose touch on her nose. Anyway, it ended up with a very sweet kiss looking behavior and when I left off we were putting it on cue. It was a way to pass a little time and kept my girls busy for a short while, and I just love doing fun little training sessions because I am always so amazed at how quickly they pick everything up and figure things out now a days. Just seems the more we play with shaping the quicker they get it, and now they are so quick.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Welcome Keen

WELCOME to new little Keen. My training buddy just got this sweet little guy, and think we are all going to have a lot of fun having him in our little training group. Keen is 5 1/2 months and came from http: // .

Monday, October 6, 2008


YIKES, so Miss Breeze is once again causing problems!!! Just when I think we have everything handled, poor little girl. So this time Breeze has a little weirdness to her gait and is unable/unwilling to sit to stand and keep her left leg under her body so she was throwing it out in an odd way. Well a couple of days after that we went to class and I let the dogs run in the agility yard, which is what I normally do. So I was watching all the time and Lizzie, Cherry and Breeze were having a heidi hoo time running around and being wild and all of a sudden Breeze would not use her left leg at all. Of course she still was running full out on three legs. I of course had a sick lump form instantly in my stomach and got out her mat and started grabbing ice packs to sit down and stretch Breeze, put ice on her and figure out what the problem was. So I turned around and she wont use either back leg. Now I was really feeling sick. So I get Breeze over to her mat, and try to do my deep breathing, assuming that she has pulled something in her leg, AGAIN. Well, her whole inner thigh was just covered in hives, her skin was so thin you could tell it could just tear off without any problem at all. Her thighs looked like they had rope burn, they were blood red and splotchy, it was horrible and I couldnt figure out what happened. When I calmed down I noticed her breastbone was all red and bumpy too. So not knowing what to do I gathered everyone and everything and threw them in the car and headed to the nearest town to get some benadryl and a collar so Breeze could not chew on herself and make the situation worse. So turns out she had some sort of Toxic Allergic reaction to ????? something. I think that is why she was using her leg weird, she does have huge open, weeping sores on her thighs where it meets her body now. So now I am all weirded out trying to figure out what could have caused this and what to do. Everything in my house is getting washed with non allergenic soap, she is getting tea tree baths, she has had to have some prednisone just to get this all under control and she looks a mess. I did notice some nasty smelling somthing in the Acton yard and thinking perhaps it was sprayed or someone dumped something on the grass and Breeze brushed up against it or possibly there is even just some little bugs in the grass biting her because the grass is really long and there are a lot of wild animals that I think go through the yard-gophers, mice, owls???? ANYWAY, just getting really tired, you know I have had more health issues with breeze since she turned a year old then I have had with all my other dogs combined. I love Breeze and good thing she is the sweetest little girl, but goodness some days it feels like she is a train wreck. I keep thinking gosh this has got to be the end of her bad luck, and so when anything else happens it feels like such a huge thing because of the cumulative effect.
LESSONS LEARNED: If any allergic reaction is suspected, WASH the area off immediately. I should have hosed her down right away. I had thought of it but then I was afraid I was going to break open all the skin and make it worse because the skin looked so bad and so fragile, but I should have hosed her off. When in doubt probably a good thing to do.
I NEVER should have taken out the emergency first aid kit from my car, what was I thinking???

So as a consequence of this latest incident, which this is the least of my worries, but training has once again had to be put on hold because her skin is still raw and pinkish and she is cranky as all heck so I just dont think she feels really good. I just feel so bad for my little girl.